Purbeck Community Rail Partnership
The Purbeck Community Rail Partnership has been working since 1997 to re-establish a regular passenger rail service from Swanage to Wareham.
A number of steps need to be completed before a service is established, with funding in place to bring these to fruition.
In 2010, Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council committed £3.2million for re-signalling improvements and other work needed between Wareham Station, Worgret Junction and Swanage Railway‘s existing signalling system at Corfe Castle. This work is part of Network Rail‘s 2013 Poole to Wool re-signalling scheme.
BP also contributed £500,000 towards works at Norden Level Crossing. This was a legacy donation to the community when the oilfield was sold to Perenco UK Limited
Swanage Railway was awarded a £1.47 million government grant from the Coastal Communities Fund. This successful bid helped provide the finance to enable the refurbishment of rolling stock and improvements to the infrastructure.
Swanage Railway’s grant, together with the funding from Purbeck District Council and Dorset County Council and BP, means that the operation of a limited service in 2017 is now a realistic proposition.
Dorset County Council has underwritten Purbeck District Council’s financial commitment to the signalling work. The funding has been raised through the Purbeck Transport Strategy which aims to improve movement around the district, taking traffic away from the congested A351 by using alternative forms of transport. The Strategy is funded by contributions from development.
Enabling a rail link between Swanage and the mainline meets Purbeck District Council’s priority to “help all people access services locally”.