Weymouth Jazz on Swanage Railway

A renowned Weymouth jazz band that has entertained audiences across the country and around the world is to play on a special evening steam train through the Isle of Purbeck – from Swanage to Harman’s Cross, Corfe Castle and Norden. Veterans of television and radio performances in this country, the acclaimed Gerry Brown and the Mission Hall Jazz Band has built up a strong reputation second to none at venues in this country and abroad. The unusual music train for jazz enthusiasts will be making two return trips through the beautiful Purbeck countryside when it takes to the rails on Saturday, 22 June, 2013 – departing Swanage station at 7.30pm and returning at 10.30pm. With the special music train having sole use of the Swanage Railway that evening, Gerry Brown and the Mission Hall Jazz Band will be welcoming passengers at Swanage as well as playing on the station platforms at Harman’s Cross and Corfe Castle. With tickets only available in advance from the Swanage Railway, passengers can only board the jazz train at Swanage and seating cannot be reserved.

Covering a total distance of 24 miles, the  special jazz train will include a fully stocked Wessex Belle bar coach and locally made light refreshments. The special train offering two hours of top class jazz has been organised by a small group of live music enthusiasts who volunteer their services in maintaining and improving Harman’s Cross station which is located between Swanage and Corfe Castle. When opened in 1989, Harman’s Cross was the first wholly new station to be built in Dorset  for more than half a century and the volunteers’ latest project at the station has been to build a new booking office and waiting room building. One of the jazz train organisers, Bob Bunyar, has even made a special ‘Jazz Train’ headboard which will be put on the smokebox door on the front of the steam locomotive hauling the special music train.

A dedicated Swanage Railway volunteer for more than 20 years, and a former guard on the preserved heritage line, Bob Bunyar said: “A nostalgic steam train running through the beautiful Purbeck countryside and past the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle is the perfect background to live music of the calibre of Gerry Brown and the Mission Hall Jazz Band. “Performing on a working steam railway will be a new experience even for Gerry and his fellow band members and I know that they are looking forward to it immensely. We are looking forward to welcoming them to the Swanage Railway,” added Bob. Fellow organiser John Dainton said: “The band genuinely enjoys what it does and this is very much appreciated by their audiences.  Two hours of top class jazz music will make the special steam train an unforgettable experience because jazz and steam is the perfect combination.” Tickets for the special jazz train are £12.50 and can only be booked in advance from the Swanage Railway on 01929 425800.