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LSWR T3 4-4-0 #563 & GER #3 to star in the Railway Children!

Click on each image for a closer look!
London & South Western Railway Adams T3 4-4-0 #563 to star in the Railway Children production
Following on our previous news posting which provided some background on the history of the London & South Western Railway, we want to provide more of a detailed history of the undisputed star of The Railway Children (at least from a railway perspective), the preserved steam locomotive which will be used during the performances. The Toronto production follows on very successful runs at the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York and Waterloo International Station in London in which the “Sterling Single” locomotive from the NRM was used to be the show's star locomotive.

Various options for a locomotive to star in the show were assessed, but it was determined by the producers that they would like to continue using a British locomotive for the very British story of The Railway Children, and thus a deal was struck with the NRM to loan a different locomotive to the Toronto production.

Many locomotives in the NRM collection would be of the appropriate size and appearance for the show. However the chosen locomotive is London & South Western Railway No. 563, a T3 Class 4-4-0 (often referred to in North America as the “American” wheel arrangement for its common usage in early locomotives in the United States). #563 was built in 1893 for the LSWR at Nine Elms in London, and was in service until it was the last of the twenty T3 locomotives in August 1945. The T3 class locomotives were designed by William Adams, the locomotive superintendent of the LSWR from 1878-1895 to be express passenger locomotives. The class had 6’ 7” diameter driving wheels and were used for express passenger train services to destinations such as Southampton, Exeter, Plymouth and Padstow along the southwest coast of England.

After being withdrawn from service and retired, 563 was designated for official preservation because of her age and unique status as the last of her class following her long service life, and was saved from scrapping. Over the intervening years she has been on display at the now closed Clapham Museum of Transport in London, the National Railway Museum at York and most recently, the NRM’s new outstation “Locomotion – The National Railway Museum at Shildon” where she recently departed to commence the journey across the Atlantic Ocean to star in The Railway Children with a likely arrival date during the week of April 4th.

We will have more updates on 563 once she arrives in Toronto for the summer and her starring role in “The Railway Children”.

The pictures above were taken by Thomas Blampied in December of 2010. Thomas was at the time our intrepid TRHA field agent in the U.K. (while pursuing his academic studies in York).
For more information on Adams T3 class steam engines, visit this Wikipedia entry and this additional website. For additional pictures of #563 at Swindon, click here.

Accompanying #563 and also starring in the Railway Children production will be the Great Eastern Railway Director's Carriage #3 which is also a part of the collection at Swindon. Below is a photo of #3.
To read about the arrival and preparation of the train set at Roundhouse park, click here.
Posting by Stephen Gardiner

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