Built in February, 1893, London and South Western Railway T3 class, No 563, is on display at the Swanage Railway’s Corfe Castle station after being donated to the Swanage Railway Trust by the National Railway Museum in May this year and now, thanks to a generous donor, the locomotive will be examined to see if restoration is possible.
It will be taken to the Flour Mill locomotive workshops – at Bream, near Lydney in Gloucestershire – during November, to be stripped down and fully examined to establish if restoring it to full working order is possible mechanically and financially.
The Swanage Railway Trust has already started to raise funds for the project, should a restoration to full working order be possible.
Responsible for the T3 locomotive, Swanage Railway Trust trustee Matt McManus who is also a volunteer driver said, “I would like to say thank the very kind and generous benefactor who is funding the stripping down and examination of the T3 by a prestigious engineering workshop that has a proven track record in overhauling Victorian steam locomotives.
“No 563 was last steamed more than 70 years ago and the extensive engineering assessment at the Flour Mill workshops will show us just how much has changed on the T3 over the years, exactly what condition it is in and how much it is likely to cost to overhaul and return to full working order.
“The Swanage Railway Trust feels that No 563 can tell its story most effectively by actually hauling trains on a branch line railway that it was built to run on more than 120 years ago.
“It’s our aim for the LSWR T3-class locomotive to steam again but that will only be possible with some serious finance and hard work from the staff at the Flour Mill as well as Swanage Railway engineering staff and volunteers.”
He added that the locomotive is one of the trust’s most prized assets and that “on initial inspection, No 563 looks eminently restorable to full working order and that is our aim.” However, should the mechanical examination rule out the locomotive’s return to steam “the T3 would be reassembled and returned to an showroom exhibition condition with appeal money being used to fund its ongoing conservation,” said Mr McManus who has been involved in the heritage line since he was a teenager.
T3 class No 563 was withdrawn by the Southern Railway at the end of the Second World War in August, 1945, by which time it had run a total of 1.5 million miles. During its long working life, the T3 class locomotives hauled trains from London on the west of England main line, across Dorset and down to Corfe Castle and Swanage.
Designed in 1890 by William Adams – one of the greatest locomotive designers of the 19th century – for smooth running at up to 80mph, and built at Nine Elms in London, the 81-tonne N. 563 was not scrapped in 1948.
Instead, the unique locomotive – that carried three tonnes of coal and 3,300 gallons of water – was selected for restoration and display at London’s Waterloo station centenary celebrations during 1948 in a move that guaranteed the preservation of No 563.
To make a donation to the T3 fund, send a cheque – made payable to the Swanage Railway Trust – to the T3 Fund, Swanage Railway Trust, Station House Swanage Dorset BH19 1HB.
Gift Aid forms for donations are available on the Swanage Railway Trust appeals website – at www.swanagerailwaytrust.org/giving – with the form being available in a link marked Single Donation Forms under the Appeals banner.
To discuss a potential donation towards the T3 locomotive, contact Swanage Railway Trust trustee Matt McManus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Tags: Swanage Railway