Stay With Us!

We Are Pleased To Invite You To Sponsor:


A compelling opportunity to help bring to fruition the Nation’s Most Exciting Locomotive Restoration Project – specifically to complete our boiler!

Mission Statement

4253, when restored, is intended as an addition to the Kent & East Sussex Railway’s heritage locomotive fleet, to support the future planned extension to Robertsbridge.

After nearly 50 years deteriorating in the sea air at Barry Docks and exposed to the elements in the Brecon Hills awaiting restoration, work is now proceeding rapidly.

You are welcome to visit us and see for yourself the progress by pre-booking a date and time via our website. We operate Covid-19 guidelines in line with government advice.

Your Chance to Help Finish the Boiler

2019 saw major inroads into our boiler restoration. However, as the year progressed we realised that we had an opportunity to accelerate the refurbishment work on our locomotive to an earlier conclusion than originally envisaged.

So, with the blessing of our shareholders present at the January 2020 AGM, we immediately arranged for our boiler to be dispatched to Heritage Boiler Steam Services of Liverpool, where work has been progressing steadily ever since.

At that time we had the financial resilience, the confidence in our own decision-making ability, projects in the pipeline, and the reasonable certainty that our team could cope with and close the funding gap that then existed. Unfortunately, Covid-19 arrived almost immediately thereafter and, as a result, we have been unable to undertake any of our usual fundraising activities. Therefore, we now need as much financial help as possible to keep 4253 on schedule and, accordingly, have launched this sponsorship scheme.

Your support for the ‘Stay With Us’ appeal will enable us to plan for 4253 to return to steam during 2021.

The Layman’s Guide to Boiler Stays

Of all the components found in the construct of a locomotive boiler, the humble stay is probably the most important.

The thrust of our ‘Stay With Us!’ campaign is aimed at those encompassing the burning heart of any steam locomotive – the firebox.

A seemingly innocuous piece of engineering, boiler stays are generally composed of a steel or copper rod, threaded at each end and depending on location, vary approximately between 6” & 16”in length.

In keeping with Swindon practice 4253’s Firebox area has a copper inner and steel outer wrapper, with a water space between them – in front of, behind, above (the crown) and on the sides.

The stays are braced between the two in all these areas, strategically providing rigidity and flexibility to what is essentially a massive pressure vessel.

The material used (copper or steel) is in accordance with the relevant stress design criteria. They are basically screwed into position and riveted over to finish and seal.

Outwardly they have a neat and innocent looking domed appearance – inwardly they present a structural forest.

About 70% of the 4253 firebox stays are to be renewed and installed by our contractors at HBSS, Liverpool – all we have to do is supply them!

That’s where you come in!

How You Can Help

You can sponsor a set of 3 stays for £99. Each set comprises 1 crown stay and 2 nuts, 1 copper stay and 1 rigid steel stay.

Two or more sets can be sponsored by standing order, spread over 6 months.

Alternatively, you can sponsor individual stays.

By sponsoring any of the above you will receive a personalised certificate and be entered into a draw for a footplate ride on 4253 on the earliest available date after launch into service.

To Sponsor Directly from our Online Shop.

To sponsor via Bankers Standing Order.

To Sponsor a minimum of 2 or more sets of stays via a Bankers Standing Order over 6 months, please download and fill out the Application Form below, then post to the address shown on the top of the form.

Firebox wrappers

A combination of copper and rigid steel stays. We are renewing all throatplate stays, backhead stays, crown stays and a percentage of the side wrapper plate stays.

The stays within the yellow shaded area require replacing.

Cross section of firebox

Side view showing crown stays and nuts (in red). 174 stays are required to complete the task.

View of the backhead

View of the throatplate

All work being carried out in the photos below is by our

boiler-smiths, HBSS of Liverpool.