Disastrous Dorset Diesel Gala at Swanage

Published 19th June 2012

Loss Of Locomotives Affect Passenger Numbers

DORSET - Disastrous Dorset Diesel Gala At Swanage

Diesel Gala Event

SWANAGE - Railway, hosting another of their usually popular Diesel Gala Events from Friday May 11th to Sunday May 13th, suffered greatly as a convoy of visiting locomotives failed to reach the Isle of Purbeck on Thursday, May 10th.

The visiting locomotives, which were D8059 and D8188 (Class 20s), D821 (Class 42) and 55019 (Deltic) were anticipated to be hauled by resident Swanage “Crompton” 33012 between Barrow Hill, Kidderminster and the Motala Ground Frame between Wareham and Norden. Unfortunately, due to a technical problem, 33012 was declared a failure on Wednesday May 9th en route from Swanage to Barrow Hill. It was returned to Nemesis Rail’s facility at Burton upon Trent.

Multiple Failures

47375 was sent to replace it, and collected 55019 as booked, before going forward to Kidderminster. It would then haul the Class 20s and Class 42 with 55019 on Thursday. Unfortunately, as it made its way along the Cross Country route in the Gloucester area, it too was declared a failure, with 50049 being sent from Kidderminster to rescue the train. Unfortunately, this could not continue, and as such, all of those visitors, along with 33012, were removed from the line-up.

The Swanage Railway had planned an intensive timetable of operations, with three rakes of coaching stock out in service at any one time. Unfortunately, owing to the lack of available diesel motive power, a Steam engine was forced to stand in and supplement what remained.

Final Line-up

The finalised locomotives were D5401 (Class 27), 33111, 50026 and 57312, and GB Railfreight were kind enough to organise the transportation of 73136 from St Leonards to Swanage on Friday, May 11th. A reasonable turn out ensued, although many were deterred by the large loss of two Class 20s, one of which was scheduled to be used in “Drive a 20 for £20”, the loss of the “Warship” and a regular favourite, the “Deltic”.

On Saturday, 50026 was reported a failure at Norden, and was side-lined for a short period, with punctuality then sliding as trains had to run around at Norden, instead of “turn and turn about” of locomotives.

The event was being held in conjunction with the Dorset Beer Festival at Harmans Cross, which, incidentally, was the terminating point of some Brake Van Specials featuring Class 08 traction.

The weather remained favourable for most of the event, however the inclusion of steam motive power and the lack of visitors were a severe problem. A lesson may need to be learnt in future to allow these convoy movements more time, perhaps running them on Monday and Tuesday instead.

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Swanage gala

Posted on Wednesday 20th June 2012 | 5:45 PM

The swanage gala isn't that bad, i thoroughly enjoyed 3 days of diesel traction at the event. As for 50026 failing at norden, I will give credit to the owner, who had it fixed and ready to haul on saturday AND sunday... The missing locos has NOTHING to do with swanage, as Network Rail called the convoy off.

kenneth Raistrick

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