The Victorian T3 class locomotive could be seen running again soon after an appeal was launched to restore its tender and get the locomotive back in steam.
South Western Railway locomotive No. 563 was built in London in February 1893 and was last in steam in 1948 when the engine escaped the claws of the scrapyard so it could be part of the centenary celebrations for London’s Waterloo station.
The locomotive was gifted to the Swanage Railway Trust by the National Railway Museum in 2017, with work commencing on its £500,000 restoration using specialist contractors in Gloucestershire during 2019.
The locomotive’s tender holds 3,300 gallons of water alongside three tonnes of coal, and its restoration will be carried out at Swanage Railways Herston engineering works.
The railway hopes to have the 81 tonne loco back in steam and pulling trains for the first time in over 70 years during 2023 in time to celebrate the centenary of the Southern Railway and also the 185th anniversary of the establishment of the London and South Western Railway.
The Swanage Railway Trust’s 563 Locomotive Group chairman and volunteer Nathan Au said:
“The last time that No. 563 steamed and hauled a train was in 1948 so for more than 70 years many thought they would never see a unique T3 locomotive work again.”
“We are working hard to ensure the engine’s preservation for future generations to enjoy and the best way to do that is by seeing No. 563 brought back to life.”
“With an incredibly rich history to tell – given its Victorian heritage – the T3 is unique because it is the only surviving tender engine designed by renowned locomotive engineer William Adams.”
“The only steam locomotive owned by the Swanage Railway Trust, a working T3 gives us the opportunity to show our visitors what the railway was like during the industrial and social development in Dorset at the end of the 19th century.”
“No. 563 is a direct link to the Swanage Railway’s past – right back to the early days of the London and South Western Railway when holiday makers first visited Purbeck by train,”
The Swanage Railway Trust’s fund-raising chairman and volunteer signalman Randy Coldham explained:
“All the fund-raising work has been managed by the 563 Group itself, on which it must be congratulated, with the Group continuing to ensure that the T3 returns to steam.”
“The Swanage Railway Trust is initiating this winter appeal to raise £25,000 towards the cost of the restoration of the T3 tender at our Herston engineering works.”
“As always, we’d like to thank our supporters for their generous standing orders and donations that have helped us achieve a significant number of milestones on the railway in a relatively short amount of time.”
“While the work on the tender at Herston is of importance, so is the continued and expert work on the restoration and overhaul of the locomotive at the Flour Mill engineering works in Gloucestershire.”
“If their continued support – as well as interest and contributions from new supporters –continues then the T3 could be back in steam and hauling a train during 2023 which is very exciting,” added Randy who is a volunteer signalman on the Swanage Railway.”
To make donations towards the restoration of the T3 tender, please visit: http://swanagerailwaytrust.org/appeal
For further information about the 563 Locomotive Group, please visit: http://563locomotivegroup.co.uk