Duchess sparkles in eight-locomotive Swanage gala


By Cedric Johns

THE Purbeck Hills resounded with the sound of working steam when the Swanage Railway fired up eight locomotives to take part in its successful autumn gala held on October 12-14.

Fielding an impressive line-up of motive power, the locomotives in action ranged from LSWR Drummond T9 4-4-0, No. 30120 built in 1899, to a Maunsell 2-6-0, two Bulleid 4-6-2s through to BR Standard 2-6-4Ts.

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The star attraction was undoubtedly the recently-repainted Stanier 4-6-2 No. 6233 Duchess of Sutherland, finished immaculately in LMS crimson lake. Its appearance was the first ever of its class on what was once a Dorset branch which, apart from summer holiday traffic, was a secondary line mainly the province of M7 0-4-4Ts, but now a thriving heritage railway.

Princess Coronation Pacific No. 6233 Duchess of Sutherland runs west of Furzebrook on Saturday, October 13. ANDREW PM WRIGHT

Also appearing in the gala was Bulleid Battle of Britain class 4-6-2 No. 34072
257 Squadron which first ran on the Purbeck Line 28 years ago and had been out of service since 2003. Now returned to traffic after overhaul, the 4-6-2 made its second debut on the gala’s first day.

Another visitor was LMS ‘Black Five’ No. 44871, one of the four locomotives which hauled the legendary ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ on August 11, 1968.

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The full line-up for the event, the theme of which was the Locomotive Exchanges of 1948, was No. 30120, BR Standard 2-6-4Ts No. 80078 and 80104,
U class 2-6-0 No. 31806, LMS ‘Black Five’ 4-6-0 No. 44871, Bulleid 4-6-2s No. 34053 Sir Keith Park and No. 34072 and No. 6233.

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