Crowd Fundraising Appeal Launched for Unique Victorian Steam Locomotive
The Swanage Railway Trust wishes to return LSWR T3 No.563 to steam. Our £50,000 initial funding appeal is now LIVE!
Designed by Williams Adams in 1891 and built in 1893 London and South Western Railway T3 No.563 is the sole survivor of the twenty strong class. During their working lives the T3s worked from London Waterloo to Swanage, playing their part in the development of Swanage as a thriving seaside resort.
The locomotive tells an important story of railway, industrial and social development in Dorset at the turn of the 20th century. Before the arrival of the railway, Swanage was a small fishing port and export point for Purbeck stone by sea. The arrival of the railway in 1885 transformed the town into a bustling, seaside resort and that legacy remains to this day.
Donated to the Swanage Railway Trust in March 2017, it has always been our intention to return No.563 to steam. Thanks to a generous donor, in 2018 T3 No. 563 will be undergoing an assessment of the work required to restore the locomotive to running condition. Carrying out the extensive works anticipated will depend on the raising of significant funds. In the unlikely event that the condition prevents restoration to running status, No 563 will be cosmetically restored and placed on display.
No.563 forms an important part of our future motive power plans, it fills a gap in our story and allows us to show our visitors what locomotives and travel were like at the turn of the 20th century. Returning the locomotive to running condition is the best way for No 563 to tell its story as a live, working and living link to the past.
Having not steamed for over 70 years, this project is ground breaking. Its return to steam will tell us even more about its history and enable us to show a express passenger locomotive actually running and hauling trains on a railway that it was built to run on. This will create a living piece of history.
In time, we hope to share No. 563 with as many people as possible and aim to make the locomotive accessible to all. The locomotive will travel to other heritage railways all over the country from time to time, to help tell the story of the London and South Western Railway and to become an ambassador for our local area.
We hope that you are able to generously support this exciting project. Your contribution will help ensure that a return to steam will be possible and once again, No. 563 will return to Swanage Railway as a working, living locomotive.
Story by Matt McManus
Photographs by Andrew P.M. Wright,
Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer.
The Swanage Railway always welcomes new volunteers so, for a chat, contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 or email him at email@example.com.