SWANAGE HOPES TO RETURN ITS ‘NEW’ 4-4-0 TO STEAM
Railway is quick to put minds at rest over future of locomotive acquired from the National Collection.
SWANAGE Railway jubilation at being handed the 124-year ‘T3’ 4-4-0 by the NRM, has been blemished by public controversy over the giveaway, concerns over where and how the ‘Purbeck Line’ (which has no museum facility or covered visitor centre) will display the locomotive - and inevitably, the question of whether No. 563 will or won’t be restored to working order. But Swanage Railway Chairman Trevor Parsons moved quickly in early April to give assurances to the railway’s many supporters and well-wishers - and hope to those who want to see the veteran LSWR engine back in steam again, after the passage of almost 70 years. An upbeat Mr Parsons told Steam Railway on April 12 - the day of the locomotive’s arrival by low loader from King’s Cross: “We are exploring the possibility of returning the ‘T3’ to steam. Initially, it will go on display in the goods yard at Corfe Castle station, but it will be kept under wraps until the official handover ceremony, which is expected to take place next month. “We’ll then move it to the railway’s works at Herston, where our engineers will undertake a thorough mechanical and boiler inspection to determine its suitability for restoration to working order. “It would be lovely to ultimately return it to steam, but that obviously depends on what we find, and importantly, whether we can find the money to restore her,” he said. If No. 563 is deemed beyond economic repair, it will be placed on public display under cover, although at this stage the railway has yet to decide on where and how this will be done. The Swanage Railway maintained discretion throughout the transfer “because we didn’t want to lose it,” Mr Parsons said. the ‘t3’s’ most high-profile appearances in recent years have been to take the role of the ‘green dragon’ in stage productions of e. nesbit’s The Railway Children. latterly, these have been performed at King’s Cross, but in 2013, the locomotive was loaned to the roundhouse park in toronto, Canada.
Swanage railway Chairman trevor parsons.