Swanage Railway: Train to the Past

Swanage Railway Station and Corfe CastleCorfe Castle above Swanage Railway’s Corfe Castle Station, Dorset, United Kingdom.

If Disneyland had a Yesterdayland, then it would be the domain of the Swanage Railway. Reading the brochure, I learned that the first train ran on the Swanage Railway in 1885. The line was closed and the track was lifted in 1972, but the Swanage Railway Trust and volunteers rebuilt the line, section by section. Today, steam trains operate over the nearly six miles of track through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty between the Jurassic Coast’s seaside town of Swanage and the Dorset countryside’s Corfe Castle and Norden.

Swanage Railway by Corfe CastleDuring our visit, we parked in the car park at the Norden station (Sat Nav (nearest location): BH20 5DW). Instead of catching the train at Norden, we chose to walk the short distance to Corfe in order to see the train, the countryside, and the castle from various angles of approach. The above photo was taken from beside a bridge just south of Norden station. The town of Corfe is just south of the hill on which Corfe Castle sits.

Swanage Railway TrainHere, I was standing in the grassy field north of Corfe Castle’s hill just watching the train steam by.

Swanage Railway Corfe Castle StationAfter visiting Corfe Castle and the town of Corfe, we made our way to Corfe Castle station located on the eastern edge of Corfe.

Swanage Railway Corfe Castle Station BridgeI love Corfe Castle station’s details. The station and the pedestrian bridge, in particular, remind me of the train station in Goathland (notable for being featured as “Hogsmeade Station” in the early Harry Potter movies).

Swanage Railway Corfe Castle StationThe station with its charming buildings and uniformed conductors reminds me of Disneyland or at least a movie set, because it’s all just too imperfectly perfect to be real.

Swanage Railway Car InteriorAlthough tickets can be purchased at any of the three stations, we thought it easier to buy tickets for both legs of the trip at once so we purchased a return ticket to Swanage and boarded the train. We relaxed in a spacious compartment all to ourselves, reading the brochure while we waited. (Please ignore the feet on the seat. Sometimes tired feet are obstinate).

Swanage Railway PhotographersIn Corfe, the train rivals the castle as a main attraction.

Swanage Railway CountrysideAnd to prove my point, just outside of town we passed a field full of sheep and a photographer.

Swanage Railway Ewe and LambWhile he was taking pictures of the train I was on, I was taking pictures of the ewe and lamb in the field he was in. To each his own, I guess.

Swanage Railway Horse and FoalDuring our trip, we passed other animals as well. There were fleeting glimpses of wildlife and longer moments to admire some nearby horses…

Swanage Railway Horseswho didn’t seem to mind the train one bit.

Swanage Railway TracksWe passed dormant train cars,

Swanage Railway Old Phone Boothand old clumps of junk. Apparently, you really can find a telephone box pretty much anywhere.

Swanage Railway EngineAfter absorbing the countryside and all it had to offer, we arrived at Swanage station. Had we stayed at the station, we could have browsed the Railway Shop, eaten at the Bird’s Nest buffet, or taken a bite to eat over to the picnic area. Instead, we headed for the beach, which is just a short walk from the station.

Swanage Beach


About satnavandcider

An American expat living in England, exploring the United Kingdom and Europe through five senses and a camera lens.
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7 Responses to Swanage Railway: Train to the Past

  1. avian101 says:

    I love the first photo on the top, the perspective is fantastic! 🙂

  2. leiah says:

    Looks like a great place to visit. I thought that you bought a ticket for both ‘legs’ of the journey was funny considering the photo of legs, with feet attached.

  3. Vicky says:

    What a beautiful railway, and one I’ve never visited, but I certainly want to after reading you post. I
    love the old steam engines.
    You were certainly blessed with good weather 🙂

  4. lauowolf says:

    Okay, this one goes on the list of Things To Do someday.

  5. nurdatkir says:

    Me encantó este recorrido! Saludos!

  6. I love your blog so much. Your photos and the text as well are always just wonderful. I’m amazed you can even take such great pictures out of a train window! The railway scenes all remind me of Thomas the Tank Engine, they look almost too perfect to be real!

  7. Me says:

    You have a great eye for the photos.

    I love swanage railway, its the smell of the steam that gets me going. The whole operation they are running is fabulous and so much hard work has gone into resotring and maintaining this for people like us to enjoy. Its a must see for all you who haven’t yet.

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