Hopes rise for steam loco to return to service

Moves to help get a hundred year old steam locomotive back into operation have been agreed by Swanage Railway and the National Railway Museum.

The Victorian T9 class locomotive No. 30120 has been languishing in the sidings at Swanage Railway after its boiler certificate expired in August 2020, which meant that it wasn’t able to operate for safety and insurance reasons.


Now a plan has been hatched for it to remain in Swanage and for an inspection to be undertaken to assess whether the locomotive could once again be returned to service.

T9-30120 Steam locomotive
Andrew PM Wright

Built in 1899 and part of the National Collection

The T9, built in 1899, is part of the National Collection and has been on display in the past at the National Railway Museum in York.

It’s hoped that despite its age, the locomotive will be able to steam past Corfe Castle once again in the future, but only once the engineering assessment is done will the team know whether that is an economically viable prospect.

T9-30120 Steam locomotive
Andrew PM Wright

“Stay in our care and hopefully be overhauled”

Volunteer at the Swanage Railway Trust, Matt McManus said:

“The T9 has been a popular member of the Swanage Railway locomotive fleet for some years now and we are delighted to have reached agreement with the National Railway Museum for the T9 to stay in our care and, hopefully, be overhauled and returned to service.

“No timetable has yet been set for the engineering assessment of No. 30120, although Swanage Railway is keen to complete this as soon as possible for it to be included in its overall motive power plan.”

T9-30120 Steam locomotive
Andrew PM Wright

Long and interesting history

This steam locomotive has a long and interesting history. It was built at the Nine Elms Locomotive Works in London during 1899 for the London and South Western Railway.

In the 1940s during World War Two it came under attack from the Luftwaffe at Wool in Dorset and the driver had to take cover to avoid the firing.

The locomotive was withdrawn from service in 1963 and later went on display at the National Railway Museum in York.

In 2010, it was overhauled at the Flour Mill engineering works in the Forest of Dean, and operated on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway, before moving to Swanage in 2017.

Anthony Coulls, senior curator of rail transport and technology at the National Railway Museum, said that the museum still saw a working future for No. 30120 but whether that was possible, was dependent on the practicality of another overhaul to get it back into working condition.

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