Southern Railway 1920s Mogul makes history!

31806 Yeovil Junction - 26th April 2018
Swanage Railway Mogul hauls first Dorset main line passenger train since 1965
Published Tue, 2018-05-01 11:14

History has been made with a Southern Railway 1920s ‘mogul’ steam locomotive hauling a main line passenger train – a special excursion – between Yeovil, Dorchester and Weymouth for the first time in more than 50 years.




31806 Yeovil Junction - 26th April 2018 © Andrew P M Wright

Swanage Railway ‘U’ class steam locomotive No. 31806 was at the head of the eleven-carriage excursion train on Thursday, 26 April, 2018, as part of the Railway Touring Company’s nine-day ‘Great Britain XI’ steam train around England, Scotland and Wales.

It was also the first time since 1964 that a Southern Railway 1920s ‘mogul’ steam locomotive – like No. 31806 – had been turned on the preserved turntable next to Yeovil Junction station in Somerset.

Thursday’s special train was operated by the Railway Touring Company – based at King’s Lynn in Norfolk – with the carriages being supplied by West Coast Railways.

With the assistance of 1930s-built ‘Black Five’ steam locomotive No. 45212 on the rear, No. 31806 hauled the heavy train up the climb from Yeovil Junction to Evershot before the descent down to Maiden Newton and Dorchester.

The ‘Great Britain XI’ excursion then ran back to Dorchester and on to Wareham – with No. 31806 on the rear – from where No. 31806 hauled the train back along the main line to Worgret Junction where it ran on to the Swanage Railway for the final nine-miles of the journey to Swanage.

The Swanage Railway’s delighted locomotive director, Kevin Potts, said: “No. 31806 performed very well and made a magnificent sight as it worked hard hauling the long excursion train up the bank from Yeovil to Evershot which is quite a sustained climb.

“No. 31806 is a marvellous machine. The fact that No. 31806 runs like a finely tuned and oiled sewing machine is a tribute to the team of dedicated Swanage Railway staff and volunteers who have been working on the locomotive over the past few years.

“It was also a very special moment when No. 31806 was turned on the turntable at the Yeovil Railway Centre next to Yeovil Junctions station. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at the Yeovil Railway Centre for their help and for making No. 31806 so welcome. My thanks also go to Network Rail, as well as West Coast Railways, for their invaluable help and co-operation in enabling No. 31806 to run on the main line,” added Mr Potts who lives in Poole, Dorset, and is a retired Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm pilot.

Swanage Railway Company chairman Trevor Parsons explained:  “The last time that a Southern Railway 1920s ‘mogul’ steam locomotive – like No. 31806 – hauled a passenger train on the main line in Dorset was in 1965 before the last of that class of steam locomotive were withdrawn from service by British Railways.

“The Southern Railway ‘mogul’ steam locomotives, of the same class as No. 31806, were based at Bournemouth and Weymouth from the 1920s to the 1960s – working both passenger and freight trains,” added Mr Parsons who is a volunteer guard and signalman on the Swanage Railway.

The ‘Great Britain XI’ excursion train started its nine-day, 1,800 mile journey from London’s King’s Cross station on Thursday, 19 April, 2018, with the tour of England, Scotland and Wales ending at London’s Victoria station on Friday, 27 April, 2018.

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