A SUMMER seaside steam service to Bournemouth and Weymouth is to run from Basingstoke and Woking again this year.

The Dorset Coast Express is due to depart from Basingstoke each Wednesday from July 30 until September 10.

This week, historic 1945-built Black 5 locomotive No. 44932 is scheduled to haul the vintage rail coaches of The Dorset Coast Express.

This class 5 4-6-0 steam loco was built at Horwich by the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMSR) as a mixed traffic locomotive for use on passenger and freight trains.

The steam trains are organised by heritage rail operator The Railway Touring Company, which is also running seaside steam services The Scarborough Flyer from stations in the North West and The Weymouth Seaside Express from the Bristol area.

Historic locomotives, including Black 5 No. 44932, 1946-built No. 34046 Braunton and 1947-built No. 34067 Tangmere, will haul The Dorset Coast Express on different dates.

The train steams from London Victoria to Bournemouth and Weymouth, stopping at Staines, Woking, Basingstoke and Southampton Central to collect passengers along the way. On the return, because Weymouth does not have a turn table to turn the steam loco, the vintage train travels from Weymouth to Southampton hauled by diesel where it is to be re-met by its historic steam locomotive for the remainder of the homeward journey.

The Dorset Coast Express is expected to reach Bournemouth at 12.50pm and Weymouth at 1.45pm, giving passengers time to spend the afternoon on the beaches.

Find out more from The Railway Touring Company on 01553 661500 or visit railwaytouring.net.