Swanage Railway Trust
Please help restore former LSWR T3 class locomotive number 563 so that it can once again steam on the
A Unique Locomotive with an Exciting Future
Built in 1893, No.563 was part of the famous T3 class designed by William Adams in 1891. Twenty of the T3 locomotives were built with No. 563 being the only survivor of its class. No.563 is also special because it is the last express passenger tender locomotive designed by the celebrated William Adams. No one has seen an example of this type of locomotive in steam since 1945.
The T3 locomotives, including 563, were recorded working from London Waterloo to Swanage hauling trains of holiday makers. These visitors enabled Swanage to grow to the town that it is today and No.563 was a part of that development. Before the arrival of the railway, Swanage was a 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. The social and economic impact of the railway arriving in Purbeck was earth shattering. It changed the landscape, added a beautiful viaduct, crossed heathland and countryside creating one of the most breathtaking Railways in the UK.
Built at Nine Elms, this T3 class locomotive entered service as London and South Western Railway (LSWR) number 563 during March 1893. The locomotive was originally withdrawn in March 1939 having covered 1.5 million miles but returned to service the following month. It was finally withdrawn in August 1945 and went into storage at Eastleigh before being moved to Kimbridge Junction in January 1948 to await scrapping. However, 563 was saved by the celebrations planned for the centenary of Waterloo station later that year. In March 1948, 563 was moved back to Eastleigh and restored to its original condition in preparation for being exhibited at Waterloo as a representative of the LSWR era.
At the end of the Waterloo exhibition, 563 was stored at the Farnham electric multiple unit carriage sheds. Eventually, it was returned to Eastleigh for further restoration in preparation for future display at the the planned Museum of British Transport. However, it spent a period in storage at Tweedmouth before moving to the museum when it opened in Clapham in 1961.
563 was to move again and joined the rest of the national collection at York when the Clapham museum closed in 1973. Subsequently, 563 was loaned out for stage productions of 'The Railway Children' in both London and Toronto. The locomotive was eventually donated to the Swanage Railway in 2017.
Now 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 19th century. It provides a direct link to the past.
563 departed the Swanage Railway in November 2017 and headed to the Flour Mill workshop in the Forest of Dean. This workshop has a proven track record of restoring Victorian and Edwardian steam locomotives and we are delighted to be working with them to develop a sustainable plan that will ensure no.563 steams again.
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Ways to Help
The Swanage Railway Trust believes that the best way to show off No. 563 is to return it to steam. However, having not steamed for over 70 years, this project is ground breaking and returning it to steam will tell us even more about its history. It will also enable us to show an express passenger locomotive running and hauling trains on a railway that it was built to run on.
In order to start this project, No. 563 has undergoing an initial assessment of the work required to return it to steam. A donation has generously been made to enable the assessment to start but a full return to steam hinges on the ability to raise funds for the extensive works that will be required to enable No.563 to return to steam. A successful outcome to this project not only forms an important part of the Swanage Railway's future motive power plans, it also fills a gap in the Railway's story and will allow us to show our visitors what locomotives and travel were like at the turn of the 19th century.
Details of how you can help us progress this project are in the box to the left. However you choose to help, the Trust is grateful for all donations whatever their size or frequency.
Make a Donation
The simplest way to help with this project is to make a donation directly to the Swanage Railway Trust's T3 Appeal. This can be done using the button below.
Donations are handled via PayPal but you do not need to be registered with PayPal as donations can be made using a wide variety of cards. Donations may be either a single on-off payment or a recurring monthly amount.