Privacy Policy

The Boiler and Engineering Skills Training Trust (BESTT), which represents all steam sectors, is dedicated to providing  a training programme to address the shortage of skilled craftsmen who can repair and maintain heritage steam boilers and carry out mechanical overhaul of steam engines.

For normal commercial use the steam locomotive boiler is obsolescent. Until the 1960s, huge numbers were in use on railway locomotives, ships, traction engines and similar but today the locomotive type boiler is to be found in tourism and heritage.  It is crucial to the continued operation of hundreds of heritage visitor attractions and there are several thousand privately owned steam  engines - traction engines, privately owned locomotives as well as a smaller number of ships and stationary engines. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the few remaining boilershops to keep up with the needs of operating heritage attractions and as the boilers themselves get older increasing skill is needed to keep them in good repair.

Operating at pressures sometimes exceeding 250psi (18 Bar) and above and at very high temperatures, locomotive boilers are safety critical components. They can be kept in operation only through the application of specialist skills and equipment. Around 50 skilled boilersmiths are at work in this country, together with less qualified assistants and supported by specialist boiler inspectors. However, many skilled specialists are now retiring and there is an increasing shortage of young people entering the industry and gaining appropriate experience. There is also an absence of the appropriate qualification structures which can provide the transferable skills to create a healthy job market.

The heritage steam industry is not sustainable without the ability to comply with all safety, legal and regulatory requirements.

Giving heritage steam a working future