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Rare engine type passes through

(August 31, 2011)
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THE futuristic steam engine 'Dominion of New Zealand' passed through Warminster today - but if you missed it there is a major steam up on the Purbeck line soon.

''I saw it parked on platform 4 in Salisbury today, and a very impressive sight and sound it was,'' said Steve Dancey.

here are the details - photo taken by my friend Andrew P M Wright.

A large historic 1930s express steam locomotive which escaped the cutting torch in 1966 – taking more than 40 years to restore and bring back to the rails – is to star in the Swanage Railway's Grand Steam Gala.

The popular Autumn event on the relaid Purbeck Line domwill be the first time ever that a streamlined Gresley A4 class pacific wheel arrangement express steam locomotive – nick-named a 'the Streak' – has run into Corfe Castle and Swanage, even during the days of the Southern Railway and British Railways.

Weighing 167 tons and carrying eight tons of coal and 5,000 gallons of water, former London North Eastern Railway (LNER) A4 class pacific No. 4492 'Dominion of New Zealand'  will be joining the Swanage Railway's five main line steam locomotives for the Grand Steam Gala which takes to the rails from Friday, 9 September to Sunday, 11 September, 2011 (inclusive).

Designed for hauling prestigious high-speed express trains on the King's Cross to Edinburgh east coast main line, No. 4492 'Dominion of New Zealand' entered service in June 1937 and was scrapped by British Railways in 1966. After more than 40 years, the mighty steam locomotive finally returned to steam during 2007.

Swanage Railway commercial manager Martin Payne said: "It is a real coup and very exciting to have a Nigel Gresley-designed streamlined A4 class pacific steam locomotive starring in our autumn Grand Steam Gala.

"With its characteristic streamlined boiler casing – the height of technology and very futuristic back in the 1930s – the 'Dominion of New Zealand' is sleek and powerful; a very impressive steam locomotive in appearance and performance. It's not nick-named 'the Streak' for nothing.

"It will be a real treat and quite an experience for our locomotive crews to work on – and not the sort of experience you enjoy every day. This will be a Grand Steam Gala to really savour and remember," explained Mr Payne.

The three-day Grand Steam Gala features an intensive steam train service between Norden 'park and ride', Corfe Castle, Harman's Cross, Herston Halt and Swanage every 40 minutes between 10am and 6pm – including steam trains on the Friday and Saturday evenings until just before 11pm.

Alongside the Grand Steam Gala, there will also be a three-day Classic Vehicle Rally with exhibits, stalls and refreshments next to Harman's Cross station organised by the Poole and Bournemouth Preservation Club.

Featured will be a huge array of classic road transport – motorcycles, cars, lorries, tractors and stationary engines – and includes stalls, a bar and refreshments as well as live entertainment on the Friday and Saturday evenings.

Advance booking for one, two or three-day Grand Steam Gala Rover tickets – giving unlimited daytime train travel – is available as well as combined tickets covering entrance to the Classic Vehicle Rally next to Harman's Cross station.

Built at Doncaster, No. 4492's sister steam locomotive is fellow A4 class streamlined pacific No. 4468 'Mallard' which still holds the world
record for the fastest recorded speed by a steam locomotive – 126 mph – recorded near Grantham in Lincolnshire during 1938.
But, appearances can be deceptive because 'Dominion of New Zealand' is – under the nameplate, the number and the LNER blue livery –
actually fellow Gresley A4 pacific No. 60019 'Bittern' which has been hauling rail tours around the country this year and is set to carry the
disguise for three years.

Swanage Railway train service and special event details are available by going online and visiting or by calling the Swanage Railway on 01929 425800.

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