Swanage to Wareham service awarded its first major prize

The two-year trial diesel service from Swanage to Wareham has earned the Purbeck Community Rail Partnership an Innovation in Community Rail award.

The award was made at the annual dinner for the Association of Community Rail Partnerships at its gala evening on October 5. It was hosted by East Midlands Trains in Derby’s roundhouse museum.

Swanage Railway Company chairman Trevor Parsons with the Innovation in Community Rail award. ANDREW P M WRIGHT

The service is operated by West Coast Railways on behalf of the heritage line.

The Swanage Railway has been a member of the Purbeck Community Rail Partnership since the group was formed in 1997.

Its aim is to enable the reconnection of the passenger rail link between Swanage and Wareham that was axed by British Rail on January 1, 1972, with more than half the line subsequently demolished.

The award was collected on the partnership’s behalf by the Swanage Railway Trust chairman Gavin Johns, Swanage Railway Company chairman Trevor Parsons, as well as Kelly Flynn of Dorset County Council and Phil Dominey of South Western Railway.

A Swanage to Wareham train leaves Norden hauled by West Coast Railways Class 33 No. 33025. ANDREW PM WRIGHT

Gavin said the award was “richly deserved”.

He added: “The new two-year trial service between Swanage and Wareham is unique among community rail activity across the UK.

“There is much to be learnt from the experience of the Purbeck Community Rail Partnership that could be used elsewhere in the UK to provide community-led rail services.

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