563 (LSWR 563, SR E563 & SR 563)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 563-in-locomotion-at-shildon-october-2010.jpg

563 was built at Nine Elms as London South Western Railway number 563 in 1893 at a cost of £2,450.

It passed into Southern Railway ownership on Grouping in 1923 and was renumbered E563, with the E signifying that it was maintained at Eastleigh. E563 became 563 in 1931 when the Southern Railway renumbered the locomotives it had inherited.

During its working career the locomotive was mostly based at Guildford and Eastleigh although it did spend some time at Salisbury.

It was withdrawn from service in 1939 but reinstated, only a month later, owing to the demand for locomotives at the start of the Second World War.

It was finally withdrawn in 1945 and joined the ranks of locomotives outside the works at Eastleigh awaiting the torch, but preparations for the centenary of Waterloo station were under way for 1948 and 563 was chosen to represent the old London & South Western Railway. It was partially restored and painted in the early Drummond livery of the LSWR

On the closing of the exhibition, 563, together with other exhibits, was stored at the back of Farnham electric carriage shed. In 1958 it was transferred to Tweedmouth for storage until the permanent home of the British Transport Commission Museum at Clapham was established in 1963. In due course, this was closed and in 1975 563 was sent to the new National Railway Museum at York, where it went on static display in Drummond’s 1903 livery. Around 1980  when it was arranged that cab access should be provided to this particular locomotive at the NRM a brass nut was almost immediately removed from inside the cab by a visitor.

In 2010 563 was transferred to the National Railway Museum at Shildon where it was again placed on static display.

It spent a few months in 2011 it was in Toronto, Ontario, on loan for use in a theatrical production of The Railway Children at Roundhouse Park. 563 has reprised this role in January 2015 when the production was staged at Kings Cross, London. These ventures produced a profit of £239,000 for the National Railway Museum. This was because the 771 appearances at Kings Cross produced a profit of £253,000 which more than offset the £14,000 loss on the Canadian trip.

In March 2017 it was learnt that the National Railway had given 563 (NRM Object Number{1975-7000}) to the Swanage Railway. The press statement from the Swanage Railway quoted an unnamed NRM spokesperson as saying: “We are delighted to have found such a suitable home for this locomotive” , but offering no explanation as to why the locomotive was discarded from the National Collection. Steam Railway magazine was able to discover that the NRM had asked the Swanage Railway to take permanent custody of 563 three years earlier.

Initially the engine was displayed in the goods yard at Corfe Castle station. It then went to the railway workshops at Herston where the locomotive and boiler will be examined to determine its suitability for restoration to working order. There are concerns though about the cost of restoring the locomotive and whether it is therefore a feasible option.

In November 2017 the locomotive was transported to the Flour Mill workshops where it was stored over the winter months. The plan was to start stripping it down in March 2018 in order to undertake a mechanical assessment of the condition of the locomotive. If the conclusion is that it is not economically viable to restore the engine it will be reassembled as a static exhibit.

It had been intended that the assessment of the locomotive would have been completed by May 2018 but this was delayed to an unspecified date due to other projects at the Flour Mill.

In June 2018 the boiler was lifted off the frames of the locomotive at the Flour Mill. The initial inspections found that the external condition was better than expected but the inner firebox needs to be replaced.

In May 2019 the Swanage Railway Trust authorised the work to return the locomotive to steam. at the same time an apeal was launched to raise £350,000 to cover the cost of the overhaul which will be undertaken at the Flour Mill over a two year period.

In August 2019 it was revealed that the project to restore the locomotive was running short of funds and the work might have to be stopped until more money became available.

By December 2019 a third of the funds required to restore the locomotive had been raised which gave the owners confidence that the locomotive would be back in steam in 2021. The 2021 date was subsequently revised to 2022.

In March 2022 the tender was separated from the chassis which allowed the chassis to be moved to the heavy engineering facility at Herston Works for restoration.  

The locomotive was re-wheeled at the Flour Mill in June 2022 at which time it was indicated that 563 would return to steam in 2023.

In \April 2023 the boiler underwent an hydraulic test at the Flour Mill .

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Swanage RailwayBeing restored 

Swanage Railway


563 at Eastleigh – Date unknown but possibly prior to 1948
563 at Eastleigh – circa 1953
563 at Eastleigh - c1958.jpg
563 at Eastleigh – c1958
563 in the Clapham Museum - November 1968
563 in the British Transport Museum at Clapham – 1968
563 in the British Transport Museum at Clapham - 1972.jpg
563 in the British Transport Museum at Clapham – 1972
563 in Locomotion at Shildon – October 2005
563 in Locomotion at Shildon – October 2010
563 at Locomotion at Shildon – March 2011
563 on display at Corfe Castle on the Swanage Railway following delivery from the National Railway Museum – June 2017

Back to T3  4-4-0  LSWR  Adams

Back to SR

Back to Locomotives

National Railway Museum Collection