A DORSET publisher is launching a nationwide ‘Where are they now?’ search for two people – pictured as children in a photograph in 1966 – featured in a new book about the Wareham to Swanage branch railway.

With most of the 234 photographs from the early 1950s through the 1960s to the early 1970s never having been published before, The Swanage Branch In Colour – The Ultimate Archive features the largest collection of rare colour material ever published on the line.

Roger Hardingham, of Kingfisher Productions, based at Osmington Mills near Weymouth, said: “It would be great to know the whereabouts of those two people pictured as children back in 1966 looking in fascination at a steam locomotive in Wareham station, before it hauled a branch train to Corfe Castle and Swanage, because it's a charming and nostalgic photograph of childhood.

“Ever since I first saw that wonderfully evocative colour photograph, taken by the railway photographer Roy Brough, I have wondered where those two youngsters, pictured almost 50 years ago during the swinging 1960s, are now. I am appealing for the two men to contact me – or anyone who knows who and where they are – because I’d like to give them a copy of my new Swanage branch colour book, containing their childhood photograph and a complimentary ride on the Swanage Railway so they can again experience the excitement of a steam locomotive.”

The new book The Swanage Branch In Colour – The Ultimate Archive has been written by Purbeck historian and journalist Andrew PM Wright, who has been researching the history of the ten-mile railway line from Wareham to Corfe Castle and Swanage for 30 years.

Roger added: “That fascinating encounter with the branch line steam locomotive at Wareham almost 50 years ago may have prompted the two youngsters to later work on the railways in Dorset, the south of England, elsewhere in the country or perhaps even abroad.”

Published by Kingfisher Productions, the hardback book covers the period from the branch's heyday in 1951, through the decline of the late 1960s to the end in 1972 when the line was closed with six and a half miles of track south of Furzebrook lifted for scrap.

The end of steam trains and the introduction of diesel trains, with the rundown of the branch line, is covered along with the final day of British Rail passenger trains between Swanage, Corfe Castle and Wareham on Saturday, January 1, 1972.