The Anonymous Widower

Beeching Reversal – Project Wareham – Complete The Link

This is one of the Beeching Reversal projects that the Government and Network Rail are proposing to reverse some of the Beeching cuts.

A Visit To The Swanage Railway describes an enjoyable visit I made to the Swanage Railway, just after the first part of Project Wareham had been completed.

This was my conclusion in that post.

There is a lot of potential to improve services on the Swanage Railway.

I suspect that if South Western Railway and the Swanage Railway got into serious discussion, there will be a solution, that would be beneficial to both parties and all those who live and work in or visit Swanage and the Isle of Purbeck.

This page on the Swanage Railway web site describes the project.

Completing Project Wareham

I can find very little on the Internet about what is proposed in the completion of this project.

So perhaps, the proposal is to start a project to see what could be developed on the Swanage Railway to the benefit of residents, commuters and visitors.

Hourly Trains

From a railway point of view, I suspect the most important thing, is to make it possible for an hourly train to connect from the Swanage Railway to the South Western Main Line.

This would enable the following.

  • Residents along the route to commute to or go shopping in Poole and Bournemouth.
  • Better public transport connections to the local councils at Dorchester and Warham.
  • Better visitor access to the Isle of Purbreck and especially the Swanage Railway.
  • Development of some possible housing and industrial sites.

There could be a lot of beneficiaries.

What Trains Would Be Used?

The Swanage Railway seem to be proposing running heritage diesel multiple units on connecting services. They have a Class 117 train and a Class 121 train, that were built around 1960, that have been fully-refurbished for the service.

These would be fine for the service and I suspect to cut emissions, they could be run on biodiesel.

I also think that if the service was successful, that more trains would be needed.


  • The South Western Main Line is fully-electrified.
  • The Swanage Railway is only 5.5 miles long.
  • South Western Railway probably want to go to an all-electric fleet.
  • Battery electric train technology is improving rapidly.
  • South Western Railway will probably be running battery electric trains on other services in their network.
  • The route might be suitable for Vivarail’s ideas, like the Pop-Up-Metro.

I believe that South Western Railway could connect Wareham and Swanage with a battery electric train charged on the main line.

I’m sure that Bombardier, CAF, Hitachi, Siemens or Stadler, would be able to supply a suitable battery electric train to replace the company’s Class 158 and Class 159 diesel multiple units.

Where Would The Trains Run?


  • The obvious route is between Wareham and Swanage, but as I showed in A Visit To The Swanage Railway, the timings might not be friendly to an hourly shuttle.
  • Changing trains is something that discourages regular passengers.
  • I believe a service to Poole or Bournemouth may be more attractive to passengers.
  • Some passengers might even like the occasional service to London.

I can see an innovative timetable being developed containing elements like these.

  • One train per two hours (tp2h) between Swanage and Wareham, run by the Swanage Railway. using a heritage diesel multiple unit.
  • One tp2h between Swanage and Poole or Bournemouth via Wareham, run by South Western Railway, using a modern battery electric multiple unit.
  • Some services might extend past Bournemouth to Southampton or Salisbury.
  • Early morning and late night services between Swanage and Bournemouth.
  • At least one train per day in both directions between Swanage and London Waterloo.
  • Services would be seven days per week.

I believe that the more comprehensive the service, the more it will be used.


After my visit in November 2018, I said this.

There is a lot of potential to improve services on the Swanage Railway.

I stand by what I said and feel that comprehensive services between Swanage and Wareham can be developed for the benefit of residents, travellers and train companies.

August 1, 2020 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , ,


  1. […] Shepton Mallet (Mendip Vale) Radstock railway reinstatement St Anne’s Park station Primrose Line Transforming the Newquay Line Mid Cornwall Metro Restoring secondary services on the Great Western Main Line Goodrington and Churston Stations New station for Langport and Somerton Area Charfield Station Reinstatement of Bodmin-Wadebridge Railway and associated works Increased service provision Bodmin General-Bodmin Parkway Ashburton & Buckfastleigh junction railway Bristol West capacity enhancement Light railway extension to the Barnstaple Branch (Chivenor Braunton) “TawLink” Cirencester Community Rail Project Project Wareham – Complete The Link […]

    Pingback by Beeching Reversal: Fifty Disused Rail Lines On Track To Reopen « The Anonymous Widower | August 1, 2020 | Reply

  2. why not some sort of light rail/heavy rail mix? Even using heritage light rail (with some mods for accessibility)

    Would trolley poles get too much in the way of other heritage uses? 3rd rail light rail or maybe a mini power cart with battery/modern diesel (like a Flirt power car).

    Comment by MilesT | August 1, 2020 | Reply

  3. I think this branch line may be more complicated, than we think. Remember Wytch Farm, which is Western Europe’s largest onshore oil field is in the area and although the oil and gas are pumped away by pipeline, I suspect in an emergency, the railway would be called upon for emergency freight. So I suspect that any form of electrification would have to be examined carefully.

    Comment by AnonW | August 1, 2020 | Reply

  4. From recollection, my understanding of the ‘full’ Project Wareham was to introduce steam services into Wareham. But this could only really happen if a platform 3 was converted back into railway use to allow steam (or diesel locomotive) runaround. This would minimise the amount of time the line was blocked to normal service use. There was also the possibility to convert the sidings east of Wareham to a runaround loop, so that the operation could be performed off the main line therefore increasing capacity.
    As is typical of Network Rail, or its predecessor, obstacles were put in the way during the signalling upgrade a few years ago to allow a straightforward build into a platform 3 on the northern side, therefore adding significant and unnecessary cost to any future movement on this. At least one example was the placing of signalling cabinets being placed on the formation of the potential loop. There are examples of this sort of activity all over the place when there is a serious likelihood of encroachment from the Heritage sector onto mainline metals. These sorts of charges are inflated multiple times to make it worthwhile for NR to even consider it, or kill a project off entirely unjustifiably.
    The other solution which would have more chance of making it work would be to restore the bay platform on the southern side of the station by reclaiming space from the existing car park. The advantage to this would be the use of only one of the main lines into Wareham, minimising infrastructure use. This would then limit the choice of trains to be used by the Swanage Railway to the DMU’s or shortformed T&T diesel (or possibly steam) hauled services. I don’t see any serious infrastructure issues preventing that option other than restoring the platform interface from the current car park.
    Either way, I would love to see Wareham station modified to incorporate a regular SR service that would not only benefit the tourism sector but also the local populations as Swanage station is so well placed in the town.

    Comment by Andrew Bruton | August 1, 2020 | Reply

  5. I actually think, that in some places Network Rail have improved.

    Look at the co-operation going on between the Mid-Norfolk Railway, Greater Anglia and Network Rail. All three must have got on well, as it now looks like they’ve put in a bid for funding to develop a new service between Norwich and Dereham.

    And a lot of the fifty projects in the Beeching Reversal list include input from heritage lines.

    I can’t imagine that happening a few years ago.

    To return to Wareham, I feel that the train timings are against a sensible solution involving steam or diesel locomotives doing a runaround.

    So I think that one heritage diesel and a SWR battery service both running 1 tp2h might offer a solution.

    Comment by AnonW | August 1, 2020 | Reply

  6. […] Project Wareham – Complete The Link […]

    Pingback by Vivarail’s Plans For Zero-Emission Trains « The Anonymous Widower | October 18, 2020 | Reply

  7. […] Wareham and Swanage […]

    Pingback by Ashington Targets 2023 Opening « The Anonymous Widower | April 9, 2021 | Reply

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