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Drive your own locomotive at Swanage

The public has the rare chance to experience the thrill and excitement of taking to the controls of four main line heritage diesel locomotives on the Swanage Railway.

One of the classic steam trains at the volunteer-lead railway Credit: Swanage Railway

Under supervision, the public can drive mighty Class 55 Deltic No. 55 002 'King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry', Class 50 No. 50 026 'Indomitable', Class 37 No. D6700 and a Class 33.

The locomotives are appearing at the Swanage Railway's annual Diesel Gala and Dorset Beer Festival this weekend.

One of the classic steam trains at the volunteer-lead railway Credit: Swanage Railway

As well as receiving a full safety briefing before driving a return trip, participants will also enjoy a ride in a carriage behind that same locomotive from Swanage to Corfe Castle and Norden.

One of the classic steam trains at the volunteer-lead railway Credit: Swanage Railway

Participants will also enjoy a visit to a signal box, be presented with a certificate marking their special day and receive a year's membership to the Swanage Railway Trust.

One of the classic steam trains at the volunteer-lead railway Credit: Swanage Railway

Swanage Railway's 'Winter Warm Up'

The train will take passengers on a journey with beautiful surroundings Credit: Swanage Railway

Classic steam and diesel locomotives will be running through the Dorset countryside this festive time as part of a special gala day.

Swanage Railway volunteers will take passengers from Swanage, Herston Halt, Harman's Cross Corfe Castle and Norden Park & Ride on Saturday, 28 December, 2013.

Passengers can ride in the locomotives over the festive period Credit: Swanage Railway

Swanage Railway General Manager Richard Jones said: "The public will be able to enjoy the nostalgic delights of classic steam and diesel locomotives – and an evocative freight train from yesteryear – against the beautiful backdrop of the Purbeck countryside and the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle."

One of the classic steam trains at the volunteer-lead railway Credit: Swanage Railway

Adding to the 'Winter Warm Up' day's nostalgia, a milk tanker wagon will be attached to the steam trains in a throwback to when freight wagons were added to passenger trains and back to the days when there was a dairy next to Corfe Castle station with the milk being sent away by steam train.

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1966 passenger train to boost economy

Swanage bay platform in September 1966 Credit: Swanage Railway

A chartered train from London has used a newly restored platform at Swanage for the first time since 1966.

The train excursion from London to Corfe Castle via Wareham is the first to have a train and crew supplied by South West Trains.

The 'Purbeck Adventurer' route ran via Woking, Basingstoke, Southampton, Bournemouth and Wareham on Saturday June, 29 and was organised by UK Railtours, in Hertfordshire.

The train brought in 370 passengers to boost the Isle of Purbeck economy.

Swanage Railway Company chairman Peter Sills said: "We had a very good reaction from passengers on board the 'Purbeck Adventurer'.

"Passengers really appreciate being able to enjoy a fast run from London to Corfe Castle and Swanage which enabled them a seaside special from the Capital to the coast."

London to Swanage train in the bay platform in 2013 Credit: Swanage Railway