Main line hopeful rescues Swanage steam season

AN EARLY return to action of Maunsell U class 2-6-0 No. 31806 – which is being prepared for main line test runs – has helped get the Swanage Railway’s summer steam timetable back on track.

High season services were left in the hands of diesel traction for several days after two steam locomotives collided during a low-speed shunting operation.

U 2-6-0 No. 31806 departs from Swanage on Thursday, August 10. ANDREW P M WRIGHT

Bulleid Pacific No. 34070 Manston and BR Standard 4MT 2-6-4T No. 80104 (renumbered 80146 for 2017 and the 50th anniversary of the end of Southern Region steam) collided in an area not open to the public between the Swanage signalbox and engine shed just after 9am on Monday, July 24. Nobody was injured.

The two-train passenger service between Norden, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross and Swanage was afterwards fulfilled by the line’s two-car Class 108 DMU and Class 33 No. 33111 hauling five carriages. The enforced withdrawal of the duo left passengers who had arrived expecting a steam journey disappointed.

It was later found that Manston had sustained damage to its buffers, while the other had only minor damage.

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