DEDICATED volunteers are embarking on an ambitious challenge to overhaul a Victorian locomotive. 

Swanage Railway Trust’s 563 Locomotive Group is to overhaul 1899-built London and South Western Railway T9 class steam locomotive No. 30120. 

The locomotive was attacked by a German fighter near Wool during the Second World War. 

On loan from the National Railway Museum, T9 No. 30120 arrived on the Swanage Railway from the Bodmin and Wenford heritage railway in Cornwall in 2017. 

But the unique Victorian steam locomotive has not steamed in Purbeck since 2020 when it failed its boiler examination. 

Nicknamed ‘greyhounds’ for their turn of speed on the main line, the T9 class steam locomotives operated on the 10-mile Wareham to Swanage branch line from the 1920s through to the early 1960s. 

It was only in October the team restored an 1893 London and South Western Railway T3 class steam locomotive No. 563 to working order as part of a £650k project. 

563 Locomotive Group chairman Nathan Au said: “It is exciting to be embarking on our second ambitious challenge because see the overhaul of the T9 as the natural follow-on project to the T3 in providing the Swanage Railway with another affordable locomotive with an impeccable Southern pedigree. 

“We are delighted to be able to support the National Railway Museum in its mission to ensure that selected steam locomotives from its National Collection are available for the public to enjoy in steam and hauling passenger trains.” 

National Railway Museum’s railway partnerships manager Paddy McNulty added: “Following the success of the T3 restoration, we are pleased to be working with the Swanage Railway Trust on its plans for the T9. 

“We look forward to seeing progress towards the successful overhaul of the T9 and enjoying the splendid sight and sound of both locomotives in steam on the Swanage Railway in the future.” 

Mr Au added: “The project to overhaul the T9 will start with an assessment of the locomotive to confirm what work is necessary, that the restoration work is viable and that there is the necessary financial support available before a commitment is made to the full overhaul. 

“The hoped for overhaul of No. 30120 will be shared between the Flour Mill engineering works in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, and the Swanage Railway’s Herston engineering works in Swanage with the Flour Mill doing the boiler and tender and the Swanage Railway doing the chassis of the T9. 

“The Flour Mill successfully returned the T9 to steam in 2010 so its skilled staff are already familiar with the locomotive while their involvement in No. 30120 builds on the successful relationship established with the restoration of the T3.”