Green light for Swanage Railway Trust partnership with Ellis Jones

Full steam ahead: Staff members from Swanage Railway and Ellis Jones Solicitors, including Managing Partner Nigel Smith (cab window) and Lauren Day, Partner (third right), celebrate the launch of the new partnership.

It’s full steam ahead for an innovative partnership between a Dorset law firm and one of the UK’s leading heritage railways.

Ellis Jones Solicitors is to provide free legal advice to the Trustees of the Swanage Railway Trust, a registered charity,.and also to the Board of its trading subsidiary, the Swanage Railway Co.Ltd.

It is also offering discounted legal advice for staff of the railway and establishing a bespoke free Will writing service for all staff and Trust members.

In return, the law firm will feature in editions of the Swanage Railway Magazine and also receive tickets to entertain guests on one of the railway’s dining trains.

In addition, all staff of Ellis Jones may apply for Swanage Railway Railcards which provide discounted fares on Swanage Railway services between Swanage and Wareham.

The partnership comes four years after Ellis Jones was praised for its ‘pivotal role’ in securing a historic lease allowing Swanage to be linked with the main London to Weymouth railway line.

The law firm acted for Swanage Railway in the complex negotiations with Dorset County Council and Network Rail. The railway has been a client of Ellis Jones for more than 14 years.

Nigel Smith, Managing Partner, said: “We’re proud to partner with such a nostalgic and integral part of the community.

“As a firm, we’re committed to putting something back into the communities we serve as well as raise awareness of the importance of writing a Will.

“We also wish to encourage the importance of leaving charitable legacies, allowing the Swanage Railway Trust to continue to thrive for many years to come.”

Paul Clements, a Director and Legacy Officer of the Swanage Railway Trust, added: “Having worked closely with Ellis Jones during the past 12 months on a complex legal matter, it was only natural that we should seek their support to collaborate on this marketing initiative.

“It is estimated that more than one half of the adult population of the UK have not made a Will and will die ‘intestate’. This can result in some family members and friends being excluded from any inheritance. We do not want the next of kin of our staff and members to suffer the disputes which can arise as a result of such a situation.

“For this reason, we wish to encourage all those who have not yet made a Will to do so. This agreement with Ellis Jones will enable them to complete this task free of charge in respect of all basic estates.”

The Swanage Railway has been rebuilt from nothing since 1976, after being controversially closed and demolished by British Rail in 1972.

It is now one of the UK’s leading heritage railways and in 2017, the first year of trial running to the main line at Wareham, carried more than 213,000 passengers.

As a prominent member of the Purbeck Community Rail Partnership, Swanage Railway is estimated to contribute approximately £15 million per annum to the Purbeck economy.

The second year of trial main line services using the railway’s own heritage diesel trains is due to continue next year.

In the meantime, Swanage Railway has joined with the South Western Railway in launching a new ‘Summer Saturdays’ service linking the key towns of Salisbury, Yeovil, Dorchester, Weymouth and Wareham with Corfe Castle on the Swanage Railway.

The service began on May 26 and runs until September 8. Special discounted fares apply. Full details can be found at or


Note to journalists:

Ellis Jones is a regional law firm with more than 160 staff including 14 partners.

It has five offices across the south coast in Bournemouth, Canford Cliffs (Poole), Ringwood, Swanage and Wimborne – as well as London – and offers a wide range of services to individuals and businesses.

Ellis Jones was named ‘Law Firm of the Year’ at the 2018 Dorset Legal Awards. Nigel Smith, Managing Partner, also received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

For more details, please contact: Andrew Diprose, Director, Deep South Media Ltd, on 01202 534487.