Tender loving care – Swanage Railway nears target to finish restoration

In a matter of months, Swanage Railway has raised £20,000 towards the work to restore the tender belonging to a unique Victorian steam locomotive, but is still £5,000 short of its total.

Enthusiasts are now calling on supporters to give the £25,000 appeal a final push.


The fundraiser was launched in December 2021 to help pay for the repair of the T3 class steam locomotive’s tender, which stores 3,300 gallons of water and three tonnes of coal for the engine.

The 1893-built London and South Western Railway locomotive was due to be scrapped after the Second World War but was saved after being chosen by British Railways to celebrate the centenary of London’s Waterloo station in 1948.

T3 locomotive
Andrew PM Wright

Restoration work started with the dismantling of the tender at Norden before being taken to the Herston engineering works

Restoration began in 2019

The No. 563 was gifted to the Swanage Railway Trust by the National Railway Museum in 2017, with work on its £500,000 restoration beginning during 2019.

Costing a total of £50,000, the restoration of the locomotive’s tender is taking place in the Swanage Railway’s Herston engineering works on the outskirts of Swanage.

It is hoped to have the 81-tonne locomotive back in steam and hauling trains, for the first time in 75 years in 2023, for the centenary of the Southern Railway and the 185th anniversary of the formation of the London and South Western Railway.

T3 locomotive
Andrew PM Wright

Volunteers inspect the tender

“Realise the dream”

The Swanage Railway Trust’s 563 Locomotive Group chairman Nathan Au said:

“We urge people to continue to donate to help realise the dream of No. 563 steaming past the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle and through the beautiful Isle of Purbeck.

“The T3 is a visual delight and an evocative time machine back to the days of the Victorian railway system which helped to power the industrial revolution, develop communities and our cities as well as bringing economic development and prosperity to this country during the 19th century.”

T3 locomotive
Andrew PM Wright

There is a lot of work to do to bring it up to operational standard

Sole surviving

The last time the No. 563 hauled a train was in 1948 and many people thought they would never see the unique T3 locomotive work again.

The only steam locomotive owned by the Swanage Railway Trust, the No. 563 is the sole surviving tender engine designed by renowned locomotive engineer William Adams.

Built in 1893 for hauling express trains on the London and South Western Railway, the T3 class was withdrawn by the Southern Railway at the end of the Second World War in August, 1945, after it had run 1.5 million miles.

T3 locomotive
Andrew PM Wright

There isn’t another tender like this anywhere

“Significant number of milestones”

Swanage Railway Trust chairman Gavin Johns said:

“All the fund-raising work has been managed by the 563 Group, supported by the Swanage Railway Trust, for which the Group must be congratulated.

“As always, we’d like to thank our supporters for their generous standing orders and donations that have helped us achieve a significant number of milestones on the railway in a relatively short amount of time.”

The locomotive was built at the Nine Elms locomotive works in London and had a top speed of 80mph.

T3 locomotive
Andrew PM Wright

The aim is to have it in working order for centenary events in 2023

Further information

  • Donations towards the restoration of the T3 tender can be made by visiting the Swanage Railway Trust website.
  • To find out more about the work of the 563 Locomotive Group – and how you can help, visit the group’s website.
T3 locomotive
Andrew PM Wright

Swanage Railway volunteers. From left, John Wight, Keith Bowers and Dave Brooks


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