Nostalgic May 5: Bournemouth & Corfe Castle Diesel Gala (50 p.) is a free online Railroad Discussion Forum and Railroad Photo Gallery for railroaders, railfans, model railroaders and anyone else who is interested in railroads. We cover a wide variety of topics, including freight trains, passenger and commuter railroads, rail news and information, tourist railroads, railway museums and railroad history.


Proud Earthling

To the previous part of the series:
Nostalgic May 4: Deltic, Ribblehead, Keighley & Worth Valley (50 p.)

The video for this part:

May 13 2023

This year's May journey came about as I had to cancel a September visit to the North Yorkshire Moors autumn gala. Due to lack of time, I had booked Austrian flights, otherwise I try to avoid flying as much as possible. Ascension Day - a public holiday in Austria - seemed like a good time to reschedule the flights - in the end I had a whole vacation week. I took the early flight at 6:50 a.m. from Vienna Schwechat to Heathrow in a recently delivered A320neo.

A few days ahead a shock as I looked up connections: not even a week after the coronation and on the day of the Songcontest in Liverpool, British railways were on strike once more. So, I quickly checked the National Express website - in the end the connection was not bad, but the first available bus only left at noon. I still had a 4-day-consecutive-Britrailpass England open from September, I would use it for the second half of the trip purchasing single tickets at first.

A few important services around London were operating. I boarded a Heathrow-Express for the free transfer between terminals 2/3 and 5 - at least one rail journey for a day, yay!

I will return to London for a few days next September, so running around with luggage for a few hours did not make much sense. I took a seat at Caffè Nero inside terminal 5 opposite the bus stops. Flight crews passed through getting their dose of caffeine. Later I waited outside to catch some fresher air. Line 205 starts at Gatwick and serves the Heathrow terminals. My coach already arrived almost half an hour delayed due to traffic jams on a railway-less day. I had reserved the rightmost seat in the first row which was not a good idea as it provided the least legroom. Oh well, the journey was only supposed to last less than two hours. Pro tip: book the window seat in the second row to the left on National Express coaches as the seat in the first row in front is missing - if I only had watched the appropriate "Planes, Trains, Everything."-episode beforehand...
A chain of accidents along the M3 near Farnborough delayed us a further half an hour. First stop was at Ringwood for the New Forest national park shortly before reaching my destination, Bournemouth.
I arrived at three o'clock to check in at the Elstead Hotel, quite conveniently located close to Bournemouth station. It needs some renovation - on the other hand my room was huge, very untypical of English hotels. So, I can recommend it with some reservations for a stay in railway proximity.

I went on a beach walk at 5 p.m.: View of the Isle of Wight from East Cliff, about one kilometre from the hotel. It stayed sunny and warm the whole week in England, while Central and Southern Europe partly suffered massive floods.

Don't worry the goats!

I wore a jacket, but the beach was sheltered from the wind by the cliff and was noticeably warmer.

Beach day in England in the middle of May!


Bournemouth offers even more tropical feeling.


Buses in the area are operated by "morebus", part of Wilts & Dorset, founded in 1915.

I later found this image at Corfe Castle station.

I walked 1.5 miles from the pier uphill - keep that in mind when booking a hotel - and bought supplies at Tesco Express, then soon fell asleep as I had been up since 3:00 a.m. GMT.

May 14 2023

Next morning, I could eat breakfast at the hotel with leisure, then took a South Western Railway service to Wareham. Hourly buses to Swanage or Poole depart from the nearby roundabout. I got off at "Halves Cottages" stop in Corfe Castle and walked to a stone bridge across the railway. A few photographers had assembled, but not too many.
It was the last day of the Swanage Railway spring diesel gala.

My only previous visit dates back to 16 years ago - actually the first railway trip I had documented right afterwards in the same fashion. The weather was also excellent the whole week back then:
And now... it's: Part 3 - Swanage (50 B.) (in German, please use autotranslate)

The first train to Swanage was hauled by Freightliner D1645 / 47830 (Crewe / built in 1965) "Beeching's Legacy", 33111 at the rear.

D345 / 40145 (English Electric / built in 1961) approached from Swanage. A fog layer still persisted.

50021 "Rodney" in BR Blue.


The only preserved Clayton class 17 smoked around the corner.

The soundtrack:


D8568 in front of the castle ruins.

I slightly cropped the vegetation virtually, some geezers with high tripods also had to be avoided.

33111 with a push-pull rake.

BR 45108 (former D120, Crewe / built in 1961).

D6515 / 33012.

50021 provided the expected spectacle:


After a bit more than an hour I had enough of this spot and moved on...

Views towards the railway along the way: Class 47 departing Harman's Cross.

Public footpath panorama.

Quite convincing clothing worn by the ladies - I only noticed the clue after reviewing the photos... ;-)

I met a non-railway-photographer sitting at the side of the road before I reached the crest of the hill telling me: "not the best visibility for photography today". A few steps later I noticed what he meant: sea fog blocked the view towards the coast completely.

Luckily, not towards the line: Class 17 and 73 leaving Harman's Cross.


Below the bridge where I had stood before. Contrast in the distance raised with various editing techniques.

The photo spot was located in the vicinity of Worth Lane bus stop, and the hourly service was due soon. Impressions along the main road upon returning to Corfe Castle.

"Purbeck Breezer #40" Poole - Swanage partly has taken over public transport services provided until 1972 by the Wareham - Swanage line.

Third rail electric/diesel GB Railfreight 73107 "Tracy" (English Electric - Vulcan Foundry #E3575/E345 / built in 1965) returned to Corfe Castle station.
Panoramic image from two photos, one taken at a slightly different angle as you have to lean over the platform edge to capture this much of the castle.

Work on the rear loco.

That's why you avoid English museum stations during gala days...


The second class 50 on location, 50026 "Indomitable" in "Network SouthEast" livery.


A Purbeck Breezer #40 picked me up outside overly romantic Wisset Cottage - you can book a stay here on Airbnb.

Across River Frome and through also quite nice Wareham we reached the mainline station. The platform rooves need some work. Strike messages were displayed all week long, the union ASLEF had cancelled all overtime until May 20. However, I did not notice any change to scheduled services encountered and had no further trouble during the rest of my trip.

Rolling stock had not changed in 16 years, services already were operated by class 444 Desiros back then - only nowadays often in the fairly new South Western Railway livery of the franchise taken over in 2017 by FirstGroup and MTR. The "James Bond" of the London Waterloo - Weymouth line arrived.

After a week in England, you really have enough of this slogan played every few minutes on some trains...

Next day, I was about to repeat the shot in sunlight but with parked cars, so I will show this one.

A slightly nautical theme.

If they are not too obtrusive, I love the British predilection for over-the-top safety messages…

444020 had taken me to Bournemouth and was joined with 444028 to form a ten-coach-service to London Waterloo. This one still wore Stagecoach colours of the South West Trains era (1996 - 2017), as did quite a few other EMUs.

Only three minutes after arrival, the train continued punctually at 2:50 p.m., passing below Holdenhurst Road.


The station at this spot was opened in 1885 as Bournemouth East - the previous one (1870-85) had been located on the other side of Holdenhurst Road -, renamed in 1899 to Bournemouth Central and finally just Bournemouth in 1967 after the closure of Bournemouth West.

Contradictory instructions.

See you next time in full sunlight! :)
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