Unique LSWR ‘T3’ No. 563 could return to steam by 2022, after the Swanage Railway Trust approved, as expected, the overhaul of its 1893-built 4-4-0.
The decision comes 18 months after the Adams-designed locomotive was moved from the ‘Purbeck Line’ to Bill Parker’s Flour Mill workshops in the Forest of Dean for strip-down and mechanical assessment. Now that approval for the former National Railway Museum locomotive rebuild has been given, the SRT has launched a £350,000 appeal to return No. 563 to steam for the first time since 1948.
SRT trustee Matt McManus told Steam Railway that, should funding be forthcoming, the ‘T3’ could return to steam in “two to three years’ time, though it is probably going to be nearer the latter".
He added: “We don’t want to rush it; we want it to be a reliable engine for Swanage. I’d rather it took longer and be good, than rush it and for the final product to be rubbish.
“If we had the £350,000 now, there’s the possibility of turning it around in 12-15 months.”
He added that, while the ‘bottom end’ was in “remarkably good condition; the motion is almost new”, the cost of restoring the boiler – complete with a new inner copper firebox – would account for nearly half the estimated total cost of returning the locomotive to working order.
The 'T3' overhaul will almost certainly include a return to its 1910 condition, with deep Holly Green livery.
LSWR 'M7' No. 30053 (under overhaul) and 'T9' No. 30120 (operational) are also based at the Dorset line.
To donate towards the 'T3' project, or for more information, contact project manager Matt McManus via firstname.lastname@example.org