Swanage Railway given National Collection T3 4-4-0

A UNIQUE LSWR 4-4-0 has returned to its home territory – after the National Railway Museum gifted it to the Swanage Railway.

The ownership of Adams T3 No. 563 has been transferred to the Purbeck Line, after it was decided that Victorian and Edwardian 4-4-0s are otherwise well represented in Britain’s National Collection.

LSWR T3 4-4-0 No. 563 outside the Locomotion museum at Shildon: the sole survivor of a class of 20 which may have run over the Swanage branch in its working life. NRM

Never having steamed in the heritage era, the T3 starred in acclaimed stage productions of Edith A Nesbit’s classic The Railway Children on both sides of the Atlantic.

Arriving on a road transporter at the Swanage Railway’s road-rail interchange at Norden on Wednesday, April 12, the T3, covered by a protective tarpaulin was hauled to Corfe Castle station by a BR Class 08 diesel shunter.

Built at Nine Elms in February 1893 for hauling express trains, and designed by William Adams for smooth running at up to 80mph, the T3 – one of a class of just 20 – was withdrawn by the Southern Railway at the end of the Second World War in August 1945, by which time it had run 1.5 million miles.

However, the 81 tonne T3 was not scrapped in 1948. Instead, it was selected for restoration and display at the centenary celebrations for Waterloo station during 1948 in a move that thankfully guaranteed its preservation.

Delighted Swanage Railway Company chairman Trevor Parsons, a volunteer signalman and guard on the line, said: “It’s absolutely incredible to see the T3 on the Swanage Railway and marvellous that it has finally arrived.

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