1940s express steam locomotive returns to Swanage Railway

The Eddystone steam locomotive has returned to Swanage’s volunteer-run heritage railway after a £350,000 overhaul that took three years.

Dorset’s Swanage Railway hopes to operate the Eddystone locomotive between Norden, Corfe Castle and Swanage after Covid-safe steam train services resumed earlier this month on April 12 as the government lifted restrictions .

Swanage Railway Locomotive, Car and Wagon Manager Kevin Potts said: “’Eddystone’ looks fantastic after a lot of hard work from a relatively small team of Southern Locomotives staff and volunteers.

“Despite the delays caused by Covid-19 – and subject to restrictions in working practices – the review has been completed to a high standard. 34028 is part of Swanage Railway’s fleet of steam locomotives operated under a long-standing agreement with Southern Locomotives Limited,” Kevin added.

The locomotive was originally based at Bournemouth when in service with British Railways in the 1950s and 1960s hauling trains on the London to Weymouth line.

It also hauled passenger trains on Swanage Railway for 10 years before being taken out of service for overhaul in 2014. The work was carried out by its owners Southern Locomotives Limited.

Simon Troy of Southern Locomotives Limited said: “The transfer of Eddystone from Herston Works to Swanage Railway is the culmination of three years of hard work by Southern Locomotives Limited staff and volunteers.”

“Our decision to get our staff back to work as soon as possible to ensure the completion of the Eddystone overhaul is due to the generosity of our shareholders in funding staff salaries while our income from leasing locomotives to the Swanage Railway were suspended”

“It is worth remembering the people who made the salvage and restoration of Eddystone possible – Southern Locomotives manager Richard Moffatt, who bought the locomotive from the Barry scrapyard in South Wales, Willie Bath who orchestrated the restoration of #34028 as well as Bill Trite who brought us together in the first place.”

main image credit: Andrew PM Wright

Jose P. Rogers