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Saturday 1st June 2024

The Contactor


Issue 8 was mailed out at the beginning of June along with AGM notices.


The latest edition is full of news of recent activity at The East Kent Railway and latest on the 4-Sub’s restoration.

Recent and past issues of The Contactor  newsletter can be viewed and/or downloaded as Acrobat .pdf files.
Find them on the 4SA page of news.

Class 503 Preservation hits the buffers

Monday 12th February 2024

The Heritage Electric Trains Trust has taken the decision not to pursue with the restoration of its three car Class 503 Wirral EMU and will be retaining only the driving motor brake second car as a future project. Both the driving trailer and centre trailer cars are to be disposed of in the next couple of months.


This decision, by the Trustees, has not been taken lightly and is based on sound reasoning of the realistic position this unit now finds itself in and what prospects present themselves for the vehicles future. This comes down to the following:

> There is no prospect of the unit ever running again under its own power. The infrastructure that would permit this does not exist and the unit will never be of the standard required for main line running. The absence of any spare parts makes this prohibitively expensive.

> The support needed to fund the continued existence of the unit has failed to materialise to a significant level and current support will only fund the monthly cost of very basic storage of one coach.

> There is no alternative site for the complete unit and the opening of Margate as the One:One Collection Museum means that a poor condition unit cannot remain in store there.

As mentioned, the trailer cars are in very poor condition and would require extensive renovation to be brought up to display standard. HETT feels the display of a single vehicle in the future will offer the same interpretation value as a full unit and the reduction in associated costs will make that a more viable option over the next decade.


For the avoidance of doubt, disposal of these vehicles means that they will be sent for scrap after useful components have been recovered, but if any other organisations or preservationists would like to acquire these vehicles they should contact HETT without delay; prospective owners must be able to provide evidence that they can remove the vehicles at their own cost from Margate within two months, have a guaranteed location to take them to and can provide an indication of their future prospects and ambitions.

The Heritage Electric Trains Trust can be contacted at:


4-Sub unit 4732 offered a permanent home at the One:One Museum in Margate.

As reported via the 4-Sub Association’s Facebook page recently, after years of being stored outdoors in Coventry it has been announced that 4732 has been offered a permanent place on display in the One:One Museum at Margate.


The proviso is that the unit undergoes a full cosmetic restoration to display standard. 

This is simply too good an offer to turn down.


From being stored in a field on the outskirts of Coventry in all weathers – to being on display alongside an A4 [Bitten], a Deltic, a Eurostar and other iconic trains in an all weather facility is a far more appropriate retirement for the very last of the 4-Sub units, and the Heritage Electric Trains Trust is very grateful for this chance.

The 4-Sub Association will be launching an appeal to start the work very soon. Driving Motor Brake 12796 is now designated ‘Car One’ and will be the first vehicle to temporarily leave site for a body overhaul, under frame cleaning and full repaint before being returned to Margate.

Completion of Car One is aimed at June 2022 with the other three cars to follow in sequence with the whole unit aiming to be complete and on display by Summer 2024.


We will need your support, and full details of how to be a supporter of this wonderful opportunity will be published here and on the 4SA’s news pages in due course.


As a supporter you can even help us decide which livery we will paint the 4-Sub.

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