Railway support the hero’s

Swanage Railway

Swanage Railway


Patriotic Swanage Railway volunteers are supporting the seaside town’s Armed Forces and Veterans’ Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, 25 and 26 June 2011 – with free train travel for both serving servicepeople and veterans.

The annual awareness and fund-raising event in Swanage will see steam and diesel train services operating on the six miles of relaid Purbeck Line between Norden ‘park and ride’, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross, Herston Halt and Swanage.

The busy commemorative weekend marking the 90th anniversary of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal will see the 11th Signals Regiment based at Blandford Forum in Dorset exercise its freedom of Swanage when the soldiers march through the town on the Saturday morning.

The Sunday afternoon will see a veterans’ parade take place through the seaside town as well as the annual Mayor of Swanage’s Civic Service in St Mary’s Church opposite the railway station. Both days of the Armed Forces and Veterans’ Weekend will also see military and non-military stands, stalls, displays, a military marching band and attractions for young and old on Sandpit Field overlooking Swanage Bay between 10.30am and 5.30pm.

 There will also be a ‘Poppy in the Park’ family picnic on Sandpit Field on the Saturday afternoon. The Heroes Haven project in Swanage is working to raise £75,000 to build a specially adapted and equipped cabin at a holiday park in the town for use by injured members of the armed forces and their families across 50 weeks of the year.

Swanage Railway commercial manager Martin Payne said: “We’re absolutely delighted to play our part in supporting the Armed Forces Weekend by offering free train travel over the weekend for serving members of our armed forces as well as veterans.

“The Swanage Railway has a very close association with the military because the 11th Signals Regiment based at Blandford Forum has held many exercises on the Railway over more than 25 years. “The Royal Corps of Signals has kindly helped with the continual development of the Swanage Railway since 1984 when the line only ran to the one mile point at Herston on the outskirts of Swanage.

 “Over the years, the Royal Corps of Signals has assisted in installing lineside telephone poles, cabling and telephone exchanges as the relaid tracks of the Swanage Railway were slowly laid up to Harman’s Cross, Corfe Castle and then on to Norden where the ‘park and ride’ station and car park were built.

“The soldiers from the 11th Signals Regiment have also helped with the maintenance and improvement of Herston Halt which was the first station to be built by Swanage Railway volunteers back in 1983,” explained Mr Payne.

Rebuilt from nothing since 1976, the volunteer-run Swanage Railway carries more than 200,000 passengers a year on the six miles of relaid railway line between Norden ‘park and ride’, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross, Herston Halt and Swanage.

The award-winning heritage railway contributes around £10 million to the Purbeck economy and profits from the running of train services and special events are ploughed back into the development and extension of the Swanage Railway and its facilities.

The Swanage Railway is run by some 500 regular volunteers assisted by a team of more than 30 full-time staff and the value of the Swanage Railway volunteers’ work is some £2 million a year if they were paid.