Tenterden - Northiam - Bodiam
Kent & East Sussex Railway

50th Anniversary Appeal - Pannier 1638

Pannier 1638 at Bodiam. Image © Neil Instrall

As part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations, we're launching an Appeal to bring a unique locomotive back to the rails: Pannier 1638.

Built in 1951, 1638 is both a ‘modern’ locomotive and a survivor of the age of steam rail travel. It is also the only one of its Class to have survived in preservation and has a special connection to the K&ESR and the local community - as the only steam locomotive to be wholly owned by the K&ESR.

Dubbed the 'maid of all work', 1638 is highly versatile and ideally suited for the varied needs of the K&ESR, capable of handling a wide variety of work along the line. Its operation not only offers visitors a trip back in time, but also serves as a unique educational asset, showcasing the broad history of the Age of Steam.

Pannier 1638 was first allocated to the Burry Port and Gwendraeth Valley Railway after completion, a line which also has a strong link to Colonel Stephens! It operated with British Railways for fifteen years before being sold into preservation with the Dart Valley Railway - from whom it was purchased by the K&ESR in 1992.

To ensure the locomotive’s return to the rails, we have set our sights on raising £163,800. Reflecting the locomotive’s number, this figure is based on initial work estimates plus a contingency. The first step will be to complete work on the frames and motion, before investigation of the boiler can begin, with the aim of providing a 10-year certificate.

We hope to attract 250 supporters who are each willing to commit to a monthly contribution of £16.38, for a fixed period of three years, to fund the project. Any upfront larger donations will enable us to fast track the start of the overhaul.

Launching our 50th Anniversary Appeal at the Volunteers Meeting on Saturday 16th March, K&ESR Chairman Simon Marsh said:

“Pannier 1638 has a great deal of symbolism and emotional connection for the K&ESR, so fundraising to bring it back to service is very appropriate as the focus of our 50th Anniversary Appeal."

“Like most aspects of our railway’s life, when we combine our efforts, we can achieve extraordinary things and do much more than any one of us could achieve on our own. This has been borne out by the success of recent restoration projects which have combined the generous support of external grant providers, sponsors and individual supporters. I am hoping we can replicate that success for our Anniversary Appeal for Pannier 1638.”

Making a donation

Donations can be made by making a single payment or creating a regular standing order which, if you are a UK tax payer, will also enable the K&ESR to collect Gift Aid.


You can also send a cheque made payable to ‘Kent & East Sussex Railway’ to K&ESR, Tenterden Town Station, Station Road, Tenterden, Kent TN30 6HE. Please write 'Pannier 1638' on the reverse of your cheque.

Download the appeal leaflet

Image © John Wickham

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