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Rail Minister Visits the Purbeck Region August 2023

Great to have Huw Merriman Minister of State for Rail visiting our region as part of his Summer Rail Tour of the UK. He was invited by the Purbeck CRP to travel the Wareham to Swanage mainline link with the Heritage Railway. He was accompanied by Richard Drax MP, Cllr Ray Bryan of Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Transport, SWR and SR representatives to have discussions regarding the sustainability of the service, joined-up transport initiatives and the Wareham Strategic Plan. Huw took time to talk to staff and volunteers and the many stakeholders working in partnership to promote travel by rail and reduce congestion on the roads in this beautiful part of Dorset. This was an informal visit to the Swanage Railway in the Isle of Purbeck visiting the Dorset heritage line via its trial diesel train service from the main line at Wareham.

The Minister was hosted by Purbeck Community Rail Partnership chairman Mike Whitwam and Dorset Council Councillor Beryl Ezzard of the Friends of Wareham Station who gave the Minister a tour of the station built in the 1880s. Then hosted by Swanage Railway Trust chairman Gavin Johns, the Minister boarded the Swanage Railway’s trial heritage diesel train service to Corfe Castle and Swanage.

Departing on the 11.19am train from Wareham for the 40-minute journey to Swanage. At Swanage station, the Minister met volunteers before enjoying a footplate ride on 1940s Southern Railway Bulleid Pacific class steam locomotive No. 34028 ‘Eddystone’ during a trip from Swanage to Corfe Castle. At Corfe Castle station, the Minister toured the Swanage Railway Trust’s Museum housed in the Victorian goods shed before visiting the station signal box which liaises with the Network Rail signalling centre at Basingstoke, in Hampshire, when Swanage Railway trains run on to the main line into Wareham station. The Minister then returned to Wareham on the Swanage Railway’s heritage diesel service operated by an overhauled and main line upgraded 1950s former British Railways diesel multiple unit.

Rail Minister Visits the Purbeck Region August 2023 Gallery