Published at 14:15 on Thursday 23rd March 2017
Tags: Swanage, Steam, Bulleid

SR Bullied Battle of Britain Pacific No. 34070 "Manston" climbs from Herston Halt to Harmans Cross on the Swanage Railway. This loco will be one of the stars of the forthcoming 'Strictly Bulleid' event. Gary Packer

The largest gathering of operational SR Pacifics since the summer of 1967 will be taking place on the Swanage Railway from 31st March to 2nd April to mark the 50th anniversary of the end of steam on the Southern Region of British Railways.

A total of five Bulleid Pacifics, in both original 'Spamcan' and rebuilt condition, will be in operation during the line's 'Strictly Bulleid' gala event, which is aimed at recreating the swansong of these locomotives on trains between London and Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole, Dorchester and Weymouth. The last examples to undertake these duties were all withdrawn following the end of the day duties on 9th July 1967. For one of the visiting locomotives, namely rebuilt SR 'Battle of Britain' class No. 34053 Sir Keith Park, this will be the first time that it has been seen at Swanage since the summer of 1964, when it hauled a train from the Purbeck seaside resort up to Waterloo.

The Railway's General Manager, Matt Green, said: "We are looking forward to the sight of five classic 1940s Bulleid Pacific steam locomotives in action. The last Bulleid Pacific ran down to Corfe Castle and Swanage on 18th June 1967, at the head of an excursion for railway enthusiasts marking the impending end of steam trains in southern England."

The frames of West Country class No. 34010 Sidmouth, which is awaiting restoration, will be on display at Corfe Castle station during the event, and the Railway's Herston engineering works, on the outskirts of Swanage, will be open on the Saturday and Sunday so the public can admire classmate No. 34072 257 Squadron in the final stages of its restoration.

In addition to No. 34053, the operational roster will be made up by rebuilt West Country No. 34046 Braunton (in the guise of No. 34052 Lord Dowding) and original 'Spamcans' Nos. 34092 City of Wells, 34081 92 Squadron and Swanage based No. 34070 Manston.

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