Visitors to the Swanage Railway’s popular three-day Diesel Gala and associated Dorset Beer Festival are being given the rare chance to drive a locomotive that starred in the hit 1995 James Bond film Golden Eye – for just £20!
Being staged from Friday 11 to Sunday 13 May, 2012, the historic event will see the Swanage Railway host its first ever 1950s-designed ‘Warship’ class locomotive – and a scrapyard rescued 1960s locomotive making its preservation debut by hauling its first passenger trains in 22 years.
The powerful Class 42 diesel-hydraulic ‘Warship’ named ‘Greyhound’ was the first main line diesel locomotive to be preserved by a private group in 1973 – and only the second privately owned preserved diesel locomotive to run under its own power on British Rail, albeit not hauling a train.
Built in 1968, Class 50 No. 50026 ‘Indomitable’ will be making its preservation debut and hauling its first passenger train in 22 years on the Swanage Railway after being rescued from a scrapyard in 1992 following its withdrawal by British Rail in 1990.
Made famous when it collided with Pierce Brosnan’s Russian tank in Golden Eye, the 72-ton Class 20 diesel-electric No. D8188 built near Manchester in 1967 will be driven by lucky members of the public over a mile of unused track between Norden station and the A351 Catseye bridge towards Furzebrook for just £20 a time.
A total of ten ex-British Rail diesel locomotives – six of them visitors to the Swanage Railway – will be put through their paces in the Diesel Gala which co-incides with the Dorset Beer Festival being staged next to Harman’s Cross station by the Globe public house in Swanage.
Also appearing at the popular nostalgia event will be the mighty Class 55 Deltic No. 55 019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’ – built in 1961 – which made history as the last Deltic locomotive to haul a British Rail passenger train in December, 1981.
The Swanage Railway Diesel Gala features an intensive three-train service between Norden Park & Ride, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross, Herston and Swanage from 9am to midnight on the Friday and the Saturday – and until 7pm on the Sunday.
Subject to availability, the visiting main line diesel locomotives starring in the diesel gala will be:
Class 55 No. 55 019 ‘Royal Highland Fusilier’ – courtesy of the Deltic Preservation Society.
Class 50 – 50026 ‘Indomitable’.
Class 42 Warship No. D821 ‘Greyhound’ – courtesy of the Diesel Traction Group.
Class 27 No. D5401 – courtesy of the Northampton Type 2 Group.
Class 20s No. D8188 and D8059 – courtesy of the Somerset and Dorset Locomotive Company.
The Swanage Railway’s four resident diesel locomotives also taking part in the annual event – ex-British Rail Class 08 shunters No. 08 436 and No. D3591 as well as Class 33s No. D6515 and No. 33 111.
On the Friday and Saturday, there will be a two-train service from 7pm. The first of those trains will be the Wessex Belle bistro dining train – for which advanced booking is advised – while the second train will include a buffet serving light refreshments and alcoholic drinks.
Diesel Gala adult rover tickets are available for £22 for a one-day ticket, £33 for a two-day ticket or £40 for all three days. There are also discounted fares available for children, ‘priv’ (privilege) card owners and CAMRA members at £16 for a one-day rover ticket, £25 for a two-day rover ticket and £31 for a three-day rover ticket.
For further updates and details, visit www.swanagerailway.co.uk, call 01929 425800 or send a stamped addressed envelope to the Swanage Railway, Station House, Swanage, Dorset BH19 1HB.