On a beautiful warm and sunny spring morning a special working approaches Wareham passing the up and down side sidings. Swanage Railway's mainline registered class 33 D6515 hauls a pair of class 73 locos and a 3CIG EMU.
D6515 returns "home" with 73136, 73205 and unit 1498 running as 5Z73 1215 Bournemouth to Swanage.
Turning round and crossing the road for the train slowing to a stop at Wareham to pick up the token for Swanage branch.
A quick drive up to Worgret and the train leaves the mainline at the junction and will proceed slowly along the branch.
At Furzebrook D6515 comes into view with its train. The loco is showing headcode GB for GBRf, the freight company providing the traincrew and facilitating the move.
3CIG unit 1498 was last used on the Lymington branch by SouthWest Trains but has since been withdrawn and sold to the Epping and Ongar Railway for use on their line. Swanage has hired it prior to it being delivered to Epping. Here it passes the disused oil loading sidings on the left.
Another quick relocation and D6515, 73136, 73205 and 1498 takes the rust off the railhead here at Cats Eye. The boundary between Network Rail and Swanage Railway is out of sight just round the curve. Two catch points protect the boundary.
This and the previous shot were taken from the road over bridge on the A351 near Norden and it is the first time I have done the shot. Here the train curves gently to the right to enter the woods at Norden. Extensive clearing work has been carried out on the right hand side.
James Cox looks out from the cab of D6515 as it nears the road leading to Wytch Farm oil wells and the park and ride carpark for the railway. A service train is in Norden platform and the special will have to wait until it hands back the Norden to Corfe token and it has been reissued and brought back for this train to proceed.
With D6515 over the road with traffic halted by a man with a red flag, 73136 "Perseverance" passes over.
Followed by 73205 in InterCity livery and carrying the name "Jeanette".
The 3CIG unit 1498 now passes over the road. Ross stands at the crossing on the left.
The train enters Norden station and will proceed down to Swanage in between the service trains. Now to head back to Wareham to be ready for the second convoy.
The main convoy bringing in the guest locos for the diesel gala has West Coast Railways 57601 hauling 56301, 37503, D9009 and D1062.
With a brief stop in Wareham station to collect the branch token and 57601 heads onto Worgret Junction. Here it slows for the turnout.
The back of the consist with diesel hydraulic "western" class D1062 showing the tail lamp as the train gains the branch proper.
At Furzebrook and 57601 leads the convoy past the 128 3/4 mile post from Waterloo. The train details are 0Z36 0830 Barrow Hill - Swanage. There should have been a class 33 in the consist also but it developed a hotbox and was left at Washwood Heath, Birmingham
The going away shot at Furzebrook and the loop here was originally for the ball clay traffic from the transshipment shed on the right, still with its siding leading off.
The convoy comes round to pass below the A351 having cleared the boundary catch points.
The afternoon sun lights up the convoy perfectly here as they head into the woods at Norden and onto the passenger section of the branch.
With the Norden to Corfe token in the possession of the footplate crew, the driver brings 57601 past the STOP board protecting the level crossing towards Norden station. The loco carries a headboard "Arnold Lane MPD on tour".
A small crowd has gathered at the level crossing at Norden as 57601 creeps over the road.
Second in the lineup is 56301.
Followed by 37503.
The comes D9009 "Alycidon".
And lastly is D1062 "Western Courier".
The train runs into Norden station and will pause here for a few minutes. Time for a quick move.
A quick and heart pumping climb part of the way up the castle mound to gain height before the convoy moved away from Norden. Here the sunlit convoy is caught perfectly.