Sir Keith Park returns to Swanage

The line-up for the Swanage Railway’s ‘Strictly Bulleid’ gala is rapidly taking shape, as following the announcement that ‘West Country’ No. 34046 Braunton is to attend (in the guise of ‘BB’ classmate and 1967 survivor No. 34052 Lord Dowding), it has been revealed that No. 34053 Sir Keith Park will also visit the line.

There’s no place like home, as rebuilt ‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34053 Sir Keith Park will leave the SVR for the Swanage Railway’s ‘Strictly Bulleid’ gala. It is pictured here at Bridgnorth at its rededication ceremony. BOB SWEET

There’s no place like home, as rebuilt ‘Battle of Britain’ No. 34053 Sir Keith Park will leave the SVR for the Swanage Railway’s ‘Strictly Bulleid’ gala. It is pictured here at Bridgnorth at its rededication ceremony. BOB SWEET

With both Nos. 34052 and 34053 attending the ‘Strictly Bulleid’ event, it will be the first time two consecutively numbered Bulleid ‘Pacifics’ have been together since Barry scrapyard, and the first time a pair has run together since the end of Southern steam.

It will be a homecoming of sorts for the Severn Valley Railway-based ‘Pacific’, as it is owned and was restored to working order by Southern Locomotives Ltd, which is based at Herston works on the Swanage Railway.

Sir Keith Park has never run on the line, having been a resident of the SVR since it returned to steam in 2012. The locomotive will also line-up alongside Swanage resident unrebuilt ‘BB’ No. 34070 Manston – another locomotive from the SLL stable.

Before No. 34053 makes its journey to Dorset, it will attend the Nene Valley Railway’s ‘Bulleid 50’ event on February 25/26, where it will run alongside recently overhauled classmate No. 34081 92 Squadron.

It is also anticipated that Sir Keith Park will appear at the Mid-Hants Railway’s summer gala on July 1/2 and 7-9.

For further details on Bulleid-themed events this year, and more on Sir Keith Park's restoration, buy the latest edition of Steam Railway, on sale now.