Today I did a little day trip to Swanage, by train, in the traditional manner.
The Swanage Railway has an illustrious history, on the subject of which I am somewhat hazy. Their website says Wareham to Swanage branch line was opened in 1885 (does that sound a bit late to anyone else?) and was closed and demolished in 1972, presumably thanks to our good friend Dr Beeching. Anyway, since 1976, volunteers have been rebuilding it and today it’s technically reconnected to the main line at Wareham, although it’s very rarely opened.
It mostly runs steam trains – rescued and restored locos, I think – but they alternate with heritage diesels during the summer because it’s an hour and twenty minutes between departures – twenty minutes each way plus twenty minutes change over time at each terminus, although “terminus” feels like too big a word to describe Norden and Swanage stations.
It was a very grey day, the sort where you expect the morning mist to burn off but it doesn’t because it’s actually cloud. With the very best of intentions, I can’t make Swanage on such a grey day look appealing, bless it. I went along the promenade, out on the pier, watching the boats, then I stumbled across Chococo, a chocolate shop and cafe (they also have a shop in Winchester) and bought a chocolate pirate medallion and some chocolate Jurassic Coast dinosaurs before stopping at the Swanage Pantry for a lovely cheese toastie (very much needed; Swanage was about as chilly as it looks) and then some chocolate orange ice cream from Fortes on the prom (alright, it was a little bit cold for ice cream) before getting the train back.