By Robin Jones
THE Swanage Railway’s latest addition – globetrotting LSWR T3 4-4-0 No. 563 – may be returned to steam for the first time in 72 years.
Controversy flared earlier this year when the National Railway Museum decided that as part of a rationalisation process, the 1892-built locomotive, the sole survivor of a class of 20 and part of the National Collection, should be ‘gifted’ to the Purbeck Line – on the proviso that if there comes a time when it is no longer required, it must give the NRM first refusal.
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Now, Bill Parker, whose Flour Mill workshops at Bream in the Forest of Dean have become widely regarded as market-leading experts in the restoration of Victorian locomotives, has offered to dismantle No. 563 to assess what needs to be done to return it to working order.
The Flour Mill has offered the Swanage Railway covered accommodation for the T3 (minus the tender) over the winter and has drawn up a proposal to dismantle it.
The cost of the move to the Flour Mill and the dismantling would be met by an unnamed supporter.
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