Welcome to Swanage Army Link.

The Swanage Army Link is a dynamic association that has evolved over nearly 30 years between the Swanage Railway, the British Army, the People of Swanage and the Royal British Legion.

Regular ongoing visits by the Royal Corps of Signals soldiers are core to this Link, as is Team Herston, formed in 2007, bringing together local residents and ex soldiers who work regularly on our core project – the upkeep of Herston Halt.

More recently we have been proud to welcome Heroes Haven into the fold.

Want to know more? See About the Army Link .

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Heroes Haven Donations

If you would like to make a donation to the Heroes Haven, please visit their site http://www.heroes-haven.org.uk (opens in a new window) and click on the 'Donate' link in the top right of the page.

Please enter SWCP as the reference.

Swanage Railway

The Swanage Railway is situated in the county of Dorset, in an area of outstanding natural beauty known as the Isle of Purbeck (actually a peninsula). There are two main towns, Swanage on the coast and Wareham ten miles away to the north-west. A branch line to Swanage from Wareham was opened in 1884, with one intermediate station serving the village of Corfe Castle.

At the height of the railway operation, the line saw busy periods, especially during World War 2 and during summer holiday periods. Nevertheless British Rail closed the line in 1972, lifting the track between Swanage and Furzebrook almost immediately, the remaining 3 miles being left to cater for the conveyance of clays. During the 1970's British Gas discovered oil in the region and a terminal was built at Furzebrook to move the oil out by rail. As further deposits were found, BP took over the operation and subsequently a pipeline was built to Fawley near Southampton and the transport of oil by rail discontinued. At present, a by-product is LPG is sent by rail to Avonmouth.

The Railway was re-laid from the Swanage end, opening to Herston in 1984. As  the volunteer effort contnued throughout the 1990s and trains now run all the year round to Norden “Park & Ride” and include many special events. In December alone, up to 13,000 passengers may be carried on the Santa Specials.

Since the original closure, many groups have supported the Railway project. Today the backbone of the Railway is the Swanage Railway Trust (SRT), which is a registered charity. Members annually elect the governing body (the Council of Management), and also provide the volunteer work force, which supports all areas of the project.

The Swanage Railway Company Limited operates the Railway, with a seperate Board of Directors who are also volunteers.  Whilst the Company does have shareholders, a dividend is never paid and profits are ploughed straight back into the project.

The line has catered for holiday makers and railway enthusiasts in the past, but the opening of the extension to Norden has created a number of new opportunities associated with a Park & Ride car park scheme. This initiative has seen BP, English China Clay, local councils and the Railway come together with a constructive plan to reduce motor traffic levels in the area. By providing a car park adjacent to Norden Station, at the end of the Wareham By-pass, visitors haved been encouraged to park their cars and travel by train to Corfe and Swanage.

The initial construction catered for 120 cars, which by 2001, was increased to 500. Also included are a tourist Information Office, buffet, toilets and a children's playground.

The Headquarters of the Swanage Railway Project is located in the centre of Swanage with the administration being based in the original station building. Most of the engineering facilities are carried out at Herston Works 1 mile from the town centre, with track maintenance being based at Norden. The town itself is a popular seaside resort and the population can rise from 9,000 in the winter to over 30,000 in the peak summer months.

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Swanage Army Link is supported and supports the following organisations and people: