Costing £50,000, the restoration of the tender – which stores 3,300 gallons of water and three tonnes of coal for the engine – will be taking place in the Swanage Railway’s Herston engineering works, on the outskirts of Swanage.
This will enable locomotive No 563, built in 1893, to return to steam for the first time since 1948, when the engine escaped being scrapped so it could celebrate the centenary of London’s Waterloo Station. It was gifted to the Swanage Railway Trust by the National Railway Museum in 2017, and work on its £500,000 restoration began in 2019 using specialist contractors in Gloucestershire.
It is hoped to have the 81-tonne locomotive back in steam and hauling trains in 2023, for the centenary of the Southern Railway and the 185th anniversary of the formation of the London and South Western Railway.
Nathan Au, the Swanage Railway Trust’s 563 Locomotive Group chairman, 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 holidaymakers first visited Purbeck by train,” added Nathan who is a volunteer steam locomotive driver on the heritage line.
Swanage Railway Trust’s fund-raising chairman and volunteer signalman, Randy Coldham, said, “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.”
Donations towards the restoration of the T3 tender can be made by visiting the Swanage Railway Trust website at swanagerailwaytrust.org/appeal.
To find out more about the work of the 563 Locomotive Group – and how you can help – visit 563locomotivegroup.co.uk.
Please share post:
Follow us on