THE National Railway Museum surprised enthusiasts on March 30 with the unexpected announcement that it had gifted the unique London & South Western Railway 4-4-0 No. 563 to the Swanage Railway Trust.
The William Adams-designed ‘T3’ has for some time been on the periphery of the NRM’s core collection, to the point where the museum felt confident to send the loco to Canada in 2011 for a six-month starring role in a production of E Nesbit’s The Railway Children at Toronto’s Roundhouse Park.
More recently, back on this side of the Atlantic, the loco has been the star of the same show staged at King’s Cross. Its transfer to the SRT makes it the second ex-main line steam loco to be disposed of from the National Collection in the last year, the other being North Staffordshire Railway 0-6-2T No. 2.
No. 563 arrived direct from London by road at the Swanage Railway’s road-rail interchange at Norden on April 12, from where it was hauled under wraps to Corfe Castle station.
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