Despite the lockdown, work has been able to continue at the Flour Mill on No. 563’s boiler and the inner firebox.
The girder stays have been cast and heat-treated, courtesy of our friends at Premier Patterns & Castings Ltd and Boro Foundry. They are now at the Flour Mill where they will be machined ahead of fitment.
Once completed and after they have also finished constructing our brand new inner firebox, the girder stays will eventually be mounted on top and suspend the whole assembly within the boiler. With the girder stays finally delivered, we expect to see some fairly rapid progress with the inner firebox in the coming weeks and months.
We have become acutely aware of the need to get the restoration of the Tender of No. 563 underway, to stop it holding up the completion of the project further down the line.
With this in mind, we are now planning to launch an appeal to fund the restoration of this, which will be a key fundraising initiative for 2021. To date, we have obtained quotations to get the tender restored by a contractor. To keep costs down, we plan to strip the tender using volunteer labour, when COVID restrictions allow (if you’d like to help, please drop us an email). The work required includes renewing metal in the water tank, replacing the brake rigging, replacement springs and an overhaul of the running gear. We plan to do this work ‘in house’ at Swanage Railway’s Herston Works, allowing us to use volunteer labour and provide an important income stream to the Railway during these uncertain times.
There has been one niggling doubt surrounding the tender. For some reason when the T3 was moved from Clapham Museum to York the tender was transported on a wagon, instead of behind the locomotive. To avoid any unwanted surprises come strip down we have asked the National Railway Museum to see if they can establish why this was done.
In the next few weeks we intend to formally launch a new appeal to fund this aspect of the restoration, in the interim, any help financial or otherwise would be greatly appreciated.