30053 (SR 53, SR E53 & BR 30053)

30053 (Southern Railway No 53 and E53, British Railways No 30053) was designed by Drummond and built by the L&SWR at Nine Elms in London in 1905 and worked all over the L&SWR’s, and later Southern Railway’s, lines.

In 1930 the locomotive was fitted with the compressed air push and pull control developed by the former London, Brighton & South Coast Railway.

BR motive power depot allocations since 1948.

Date ArrivedDepot
January 1948Eastleigh
November 1950Fratton
March 1953Faversham
July 1953Brighton
May 1959Eastleigh
February 1960Brighton
April 1961Three Bridges
June 1962Eastleigh
January 1963Tunbridge Wells West
September 1963Three Bridges
December 1963Bournemouth

It was withdrawn from service in May 1964.

30053 was picked for preservation as it was considered to be in the best condition of the surviving M7 engines.

It was then stored at Eastleigh where it was subsequently cosmetically restored and the push and pull equipment removed before it was moved to Fratton for storage.

In April 1967 it was towed along with Schools class 30926 Repton to Gladstone Docks at Liverpool and shipped to the United States in April 1967, for exhibition at Steamtown USA, Scranton, Pennsylvania. There it remained for twenty years, out in the open, the sun bleaching its paintwork and leaving the humble tank engine in a very sorry state.

A group known as the Southern Repatriation Group evolved with the aim of returning 30053 and 30926 to Britain. Some of the people in the group were closely involved in the development of the Swanage Railway. After five years of negotiations 30053 was purchased by the Drummond Locomotive Society in June 1986 and after further fund raising the locomotive left the USA at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey in March 1987aboard the Nedlloyd ship Rosario which docked at Felixtowe in early April and 30053 was then transported to Swanage.

After being displayed at Swanage and at the LSWR 150 celebrations at Woking in May 1988 the locomotive was moved to the former GWR Swindon Works site for overhaul and restoration. As space at Swindon was then needed for exhibits temporarily displaced from the National Railway Museum at York another home had to be found for 30053.

In December 1990 the partly restored engine was moved by road to the East Anglia Railway Museum at Chappel & Wakes Colne. The restoration was completed there which enabled 30053 to be returned to steam on the Swanage Railway in June 1992.

30053 had a valid boiler certificate which ran out in early 2017 but an extension to the certificate was obtained as the boiler had been re-tubed in 2011. The locomotive was in service until the end of October 2017 when the boiler certificate expired.

In December 2017 the boiler was lifted off the frames to enable the overhaul of the locomotive to start.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Swanage RailwayUnder overhaulDrummond Locomotives Ltd
30053 at Brighton – September 1960
30053 at Eastleigh – date unknown
30053 looking as if it is fresh out of the works at Eastleigh shed – June 1962
30053 on Eastleigh shed – July 1962
30053 at Eastleigh – March 1966
30053 at Eastleigh – January 1966
30053 at Swanage – September 2008
30053 on the Swanage Railway near Corfe Castle – 2009
30053 at Corfe Castle on the Swanage Railway – April 2011
30053 at Loughborough on the Great Central Railway – January 2012
30053 at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway – September 2014
30053 at Bewdley on the Severn Valley Railway – September 2014
30053 on Victoria Bridge over the River Severn on the Severn Valley Railway – September 2014
30053 & 34053 Sir Keith Park at Highley on the Severn Valley Railway – September 2014
30053 on the Swanage Railway – April 2017

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