News & Events

Congratulations to the Friends of Wool

Congratulations to the Friends of Wool for winning second prize at the National Community Rail Network awards in December for their Making Connections project. Well done to them and all of our hardworking volunteers

Swanage Railway wins Government grant for updated feasibility study into Wareham train service

Swanage Railway volunteers have won a Government grant of up to £50,000 to pay for an updated feasibility study and business case aimed at reinstating a train service to reconnect Swanage and Corfe Castle with the main line at Wareham.

South Dorset MP Richard Drax has welcomed the awarding of the grant from the Department for Transport’s national ‘Restoring Your Railway Fund’ as “an important step to ensure our iconic railway sustains its place in our hearts and our livelihoods.”

The regular train service between Swanage and Wareham was controversially axed by British Rail in January, 1972, with six and a half miles of the single track line from Furzebrook to Corfe Castle and Swanage being lifted in just seven weeks that summer.

The Swanage Railway has been rebuilt from nothing since 1976 and in 2014 the heritage line was connected with the national railway system – near Worgret Junction, south of Wareham, on the main London to Weymouth line – thanks to an innovative signalling system linking the heritage line with Network Rail.

Richard Drax said: “I am delighted that the Swanage Railway’s submission to the ‘Restoring Your Railway Fund’ has been successful.

“This will allow a detailed scoping exercise to be done to see how train services can be expanded to the main line Wareham, bringing more trains to the stunning resort of Swanage which, in turn, will bring more economy benefit to the local area.

“More money will be needed before expansion plans can be executed but this is an important step to ensure our iconic railway sustains its place in our hearts and our livelihoods,” added Mr Drax.

Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “For towns and villages left isolated and forgotten by Beeching cuts, restoring a rail line or a station has the potential to revitalise a community. It breathes new life into our high streets, drives investment in businesses and housing, and opens new opportunities for work and education.

“The dedication and determination shown in Swanage, with volunteers painstakingly restoring the line, underlines just how important these connections are. The potential to transform a steam train service into a modern, reliable link will transform the town.

“By building back with a real focus on better connections, and supporting left behind communities, we are delivering our promise to level up this country,” he added.

Swanage Railway chairman Gavin Johns said: “We’re delighted that a updated and detailed feasibility study and business case into our plans to operate train services from Swanage and Corfe Castle to the main line at Wareham have been successful in this round of funding for the Government’s ‘Restoring Your Railway Fund’.

“The grant will pay for a fully updated feasibility study, and we hope a positive business case, for a passenger train service between Swanage and Wareham once the Coronavirus pandemic is over,” added Mr Johns who is a volunteer signalman on the popular heritage line.

Swanage Railway Project Wareham director Mark Woolley explained: “We hope that the new feasibility study and business case – last carried out 12 years ago in 2008 – will be wide-ranging and fully take into account our existing award-winning heritage railway.

“We look forward to working closely with the Government and our stakeholders in the next stages of the ‘Restoring Your Railway’ process as we further develop our business case and plans for reinstating and running a train service from Swanage and Corfe Castle to the main line at Wareham.

“Funded by the Government grant, we hope that the outcome of the feasibility study and business case work will provide us with an updated way ahead on how to operate a sustainable train service to Wareham.

“We are also hopeful that the work will also help us identify potential sources of further funding to provide the necessary train servicing and maintenance facilities to achieve this,” added Mr Woolley who has been a dedicated Swanage Railway volunteer for more than 35 years.

During the summer of 2017, the Swanage Railway ran a 60 selected day trial diesel train service to Wareham which saw four trains a day operate from Swanage and Corfe Castle to the main line at Wareham.

Click here to read the article on the BBC website

The Swanage Railway always welcomes new volunteers so, for a chat, contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 or email

Trespass was on the increase during lockdown

Swanage Railway Steam & Lights this Christmas

What can I do to travel safely?

  • Wear a face covering – in line with the recent government announcement, passengers must wear a face covering. Children under 11, and people with a disability, illness or condition that means they cannot wear a face covering are exempt.
  • Travel outside of busy periods – with social distancing in place, we have limited capacity so try to travel outside of peak hours if you can and use quieter stations where possible.
  • Keep your distance – the risk of transmission is small at 2 metres and where possible, you should maintain 2 metres distance. If you cannot keep a 2 metre distance, reduce the risk to yourself and others by maintaining a 1 metre distance where possible, and taking suitable precautions.
  • Wash your hands regularly – please wash your hands before and after you travel, you may also want to carry your own personal hand sanitiser.
  • Plan ahead – check your journey in advance.
  • Buy your ticket online – buying your ticket online will make your journey through our station seamless and contact-free. Make the switch to our Touch smartcard, it’s free and you don’t need to queue to get your tickets.
  • If you do need to buy your ticket at our stations, use contactless – all of our ticket offices and most ticket machines are not currently accepting cash, so use contactless.
  • Allow other passengers off before you board – stand well back and allow your fellow passengers off the train before you board, giving them plenty of room.
  • Be considerate of fellow passengers – when finding a seat consider your passengers and respect social distancing. Try and leave at least two rows free between yourself and other passengers when finding a seat. Where possible, travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them.
  • Be prepared to queue – we may need to introduce queuing at our busier stations to ensure social distancing, which means your journey may take longer.

Trespass Increase

This highly emotional video highlights the devastating consequences that trespassing on the railway can have.
Supplied as part of the You vs. Train campaign. Everyone loses when you step on the track.

Welcome Point at Wool Railway Station

Welcome Point At Wool Railway Station

The finishing touch to an information point at Wool Station has been fitted into place.

Several years ago, the Friends of Wool Station commissioned a village map for the front wall of the station building. An outdoor leaflet dispenser was later installed alongside the map so that station users could pick up a timetable or the Wool Village leaflet at times when the booking office was closed. The finishing touch was the addition of a LOCAL INFORMATION sign above the map.

Tony Smale, who set up the station adoption group in 2010, says “we felt the map was being mistaken for just another advertising poster. Our new enamelled sign is clearly visible from the main road, so now anyone passing the station will clearly see that the station forecourt is a good place to seek out information about the local area.”

The sign was produced at Dorset Highway’s workshop and the cost was largely met by a grant from Dorset AONB’s 60th Anniversary Fund. South Western Railway staff helped fit the sign in place on the station wall. In awarding the grant, Dorset AONB acknowledged the station’s importance as an ideal setting-off point for exploring the glorious countryside around Wool.