Swanage Railway calls for restoration of Victorian locomotive supply

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An appeal for £ 25,000 has been put out to help fund the restoration of the tender belonging to a single class T3 Victorian locomotive to facilitate its return to steam.

The work would see the locomotive return to steam for the first time since 1948, when the engine escaped scrapping so it could celebrate the centenary of Waterloo Station in London.

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After London and South Western Railway Locomotive No.563 built in 1893 was donated to the Swanage Railway Trust by the National Railway Museum in 2017.

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At a cost of £ 50,000, the restoration of the locomotive annex – which stores 3,300 gallons of water and three tonnes of coal for the engine – will take place in the engineering works of the Swanage Railway in Herston , on the outskirts of Swanage.

The 81-ton locomotive is expected to return to steam and traction trains for the first time in more than 70 years in 2023 for the centenary of the Southern Railway and the 185th anniversary of the formation of the London and South Western Railway. .

Swanage Railway Trust Locomotive Group 563 Chairman Nathan Au said: “The last time No. 563 smoked and towed a train was in 1948, so for over 70 years many thought that they would never see a single T3 locomotive running again.

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“We are working hard to ensure that the engine is preserved for the enjoyment of future generations and the best way to do that is to see No.563 resurrected.

“With an incredibly rich story to tell – given its Victorian heritage – the T3 is unique as 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 looked like during the industrial and social development of Dorset in the late 19th century.

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“No. 563 is a direct link to the Swanage Railway’s past, which dates back to the early days of the London and South West Railway, when holidaymakers first visited Purbeck by train,” said added Nathan, volunteer steam locomotive driver on the heritage line.

Randy Coldham, chairman of the Swanage Railway Trust fundraising, explained: “All of the fundraising work has been handled by the 563 group itself which is to be congratulated as the group continues to ensure that that the T3 be back in service.

“The Swanage Railway Trust is launching this winter call to raise £ 25,000 for the cost of restoring the T3 tender in our Herston engineering works.

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“As always, we would like to thank our supporters for their generous Standing Orders and donations which have helped us complete a significant number of stages on the railroad in a relatively short period of time.

“While the work on the tender at Herston is important, so is the ongoing 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 the interest and contributions from new supporters – continues, the T3 could catch its breath and tow a train in 2023, which is very exciting,” added Randy, who is a volunteer flagger. on the Swanage Railway.

Built in February 1893 for the transport of express trains on the London and South Western Railway, the T3 Class 4-4-0 wheeled locomotive No. 563 was withdrawn by the Southern Railway at the end of World War II in August 1945 , by that time he had traveled a total of 1.5 million miles.

Designed by William Adams for smooth operation up to 80 mph – and built at Nine Elms in London – No.563 was saved from scrapping in 1948 when it was selected for restoration and on display at the celebrations of the centenary of Waterloo station in London.

This decision ensured the preservation of No. 563 with the only and last steam locomotive in its class in the collection of the National Railway Museum.

Donations for the restoration of the T3 tender can be made by visiting the Swanage Railway Trust website at swanagerailwaytrust.org/call.

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