Luke’s posters help the Railway

Andrew P.M. Wright

Andrew P.M. Wright


A Bournemouth student is spearheading a new campaign to recruit more volunteers to work on Dorset’s award-winning preserved Swanage Railway, thanks to his skills in designing a new set of catchy and colourful station posters.

Featuring photographs of existing volunteers who work for the registered charity, and with the catch line ‘Our volunteers put their stamp on the railway. You could too! the new posters are the work of enthusiastic 20-year-old Luke Farley who lives in Weymouth.

A Swanage Railway volunteer himself, the youngest train guard on the Swanage Railway as well as a station porter, booking office clerk and ticket inspector, Luke is studying for a Bachelor of Arts (BA) honours degree in media production at Bournemouth University.

Luke said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Swanage Railway and the new poster campaign has been designed to initially run across our stations to reach people who travel on our trains.

“Built from nothing since 1976, and relying on volunteers to maintain and operate the line all year round, the need for volunteer staff is all the more vital as the Swanage Railway operates one of the most intensive timetables of any heritage railway in the country.

“Our volunteers are drivers, firemen and signalmen, track relaying and maintenance workers, shop and buffet staff, ticket collectors as well as booking office clerks – many of whom have been with the steam railway for many years,” explained Luke.

Steam and diesel train services from Norden ‘park and ride’ to Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross, Herston and Swanage begin in-mid February and run every weekend during the year – and daily from April to October as well during the evenings across the peak summer months.
Add to this evening dining trains, special railway galas and occasional charter trains from the national railway network and there is a need for a very broad workforce of people with a wide range of interests, skills and experience.

The poster themes and design concepts were developed by Luke Farley and so far the first two posters show volunteer guard Martin Boscott from Poole and female volunteer locomotive fireman Pat Platt from Langton Matravers near Swanage.

Volunteer liaison officer Mike Whitwam said: “The Swanage Railway is like a large family and our volunteers, including myself, hugely enjoy their very professional work and derive a great sense of community service.

“Luke’s excellent recruitment poster campaign clearly identifies the important and very different roles that volunteers can play. We are always looking for people to join our team, either utilising their existing skills or developing new skills.”

Commercial manager Martin Payne said: “The railway is already very successful but we have to continually find new volunteers to keep it going and move towards our goal of reopening the line to Wareham for regular passenger trains so Swanage is again joined to the national rail network.”

The Swanage Railway’s relaid Purbeck Line has enjoyed its two most successful years in terms of passenger numbers since work started to rebuild the line from nothing in 1976. During 2010, the railway carried more than 210,000 passengers, the second best performance in its history.