The largest gathering of working, classic 1940s Bulleid Pacific class express steam locomotives since the summer of 1967 will take place at Swanage Railway – marking the 50th anniversary of the end of British Rail steam in southern England.
Five of the massive steam locos – built at Eastleigh in Hampshire by the Southern Railway for use on its main lines between London and the coast – will be hauling trains through the Isle of Purbeck during a three-day 'Strictly Bulleid' event from Friday, 31 March, to Sunday, 2 April, 2017, inclusive.
Trains will be running along the whole nine and a half mile length of the Swanage Railway – including the newly completed four-mile extension between Norden and the River Frome, within sight of Wareham.
The end of steam trains on British Rail's Southern Region on Monday, 10 July, 1967, saw electric trains brought in between London and Bournemouth with diesel trains operating between Bournemouth and Weymouth.
Swanage Railway general manager Matt Green said: "It will be very evocative and reminiscent of the Bournemouth and Weymouth locomotive depots from the mid-1940s through to the end in July, 1967".
The four Bulleid Pacific steam locomotives visiting the Swanage Railway for the three days will be West Country classes No. 34046 'Braunton' and No. 34092 'City of Wells' as well as Battle of Britain classes No. 34053 'Sir Keith Park' and No. 34081 '92 Squadron'.
The fifth Bulleid Pacific appearing at the 'Strictly Bulleid' commemorative event will be Swanage Railway-based Battle of Britain class No. 34070 'Manston' which sports its original 1940s air-smoothed casing over the boiler. Visiting Bulleid Pacific No. 34046 'Braunton' will be appearing in the guise of fellow Bulleid Pacific No. 34052 'Lord Dowding' which was scrapped.
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