By Cedric Johns and Robin Jones
FOR the first time since British Rail axed though trains from Waterloo to Swanage in 1969, a new service inaugurated by South Western Railway has restored the railway’s main link with London and towns in Wiltshire, north Dorset and the fringes of Somerset.
Now built into the working timetable, a Saturdays-only experimental service operated by South Western Railway began on May 26, running from Salisbury and calling at Tisbury, Gillingham, Templecombe, Sherborne, Yeovil, Maiden Newton, Weymouth, Dorchester South, Moreton, Wool and Wareham.
The train, a three-car Class 159 DMU, then departs Wareham at 11.17am for Corfe Castle via Worgret Junction, returning to Wareham at 12.10pm. A second ‘shuttle’ departs Wareham at 12.40pm returning from Corfe Castle at 2.10pm.
The third train of the day departs Wareham for Corfe Castle at 2.40pm and on returning to Wareham at 3.35pm forms the return train for Weymouth, Yeovil, Salisbury and which then travels on to Waterloo via Basingstoke, arriving at 8.19pm. South Western Railway and Swanage Railway promotional fares apply.
South Western Railway passengers from Bournemouth, Branksome, Parkstone and Poole are able to change trains at Wareham for Corfe Castle.
Already operating a steam locomotive, Southern U class 2-6-0 No. 31806 and a BR class 33 diesel D6515 – both passed for main line working, this new SO innovation which commenced on Saturday, May 28, firmly places the Purbeck Line on the network map.
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