It is with pleasure, and I hope also a renewed sense of a growing confidence, that I write to you about the future of the Swanage Railway’s William Adams T3 Class locomotive No. 563.
Of course we are all aware of the dire effects that the coronavirus pandemic has had in 2020 on the governance of every heritage railway in our country. Every single one has had to suspend operations at some point, with catastrophic implications on their income, and all have had to look for financial savings wherever they could. The Swanage Railway was no exception, and the “Save Our Service” appeal, to which many have contributed, has only partially helped reduce the overall losses. Nevertheless the Trustees, staff and volunteers are extremely grateful for everyone’s support and contributions.
You’ll be encouraged to hear that the 563 Locomotive Group, under its expert and energetic leadership, has now resumed work on a programme to return this historic locomotive to working order – and maybe with a higher profile at Swanage than we might have foreseen a year ago. Very soon we will be sharing exciting news about the overhaul, although as ever progress is dependent on a continued flow of funds.
I know that all of our pockets have been depleted in many ways in 2020, but I do hope that there may still be some small change at the bottom to help restore this beautiful and exceptional engine to its rightful place – in steam on its old stamping ground on a former London & South Western Railway line. Let us all therefore renew our efforts as much as we can to bring that to pass…
With all very best wishes for a happy and healthy Christmas season and 2021.
Hon. President : 563 Locomotive Group