Swanage-Wareham second summer season postponed

THE Swanage Railway has decided to delay the full second year of its ground-breaking diesel-hauled services to Wareham.

While hugely successful in terms of passenger numbers, the service ran at a loss because of the cost of hiring an outside party to run them, and having to use diesels at both ends because of the lack of run-round facilities at Wareham.

The railway will now wait to resume the Wareham timetable until the refurbishment of its two DMU units – a Class 121 ‘bubblecar’ and a three-carriage Class 117 unit – by Arlington Fleet Group Ltd at Eastleigh Works is complete.

One of the 2017 summer services from Swanage to Wareham operated by West Coast Railways passes Corfe Castle. ANDREW P M WRIGHT

The two DMUs are being given new wheelsets, supplied by separate contractors, as well as being equipped with Network Rail-compliant TPWS, OTMR, and GSM-R wireless communications system apparatus and central door locking so they can run on the main line from Worgret Junction into Wareham station.

It had been planned to run a 90 selected-day trial train service to Wareham during 2018 using the DMUs directly operated by main line-qualified Swanage Railway drivers and guards. However, while some special diesel and steam trains may run between Swanage and Wareham during late 2018, the full second year of the grant aid-funded trial ‘real’ train service to Wareham is now set to start during Easter 2019.

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