Boost for two major London heritage railway projects

By Geoff Courtney

IN a boost for two major London heritage railway projects, the revival of a line in the west of the capital that closed more than 70 years ago has taken a significant step forward, while another a few miles away near King’s Cross station is set to reopen within months.

Ready for duty: Immaculate Kerr Stuart 0-4-2T Sunbury is ready for duty with driver Riley on the footplate outside Hampton waterworks on July 8, 1924. The 1916-built engine was one of three that worked on the Metropolitan Water Board’s 3½-mile Hampton-Kempton Park railway throughout the line’s 30-year existence, delivering coal for pumping engines at both ends of the line until closure in 1946. Behind Sunbury is Morelands engine house, which still stands as a Grade II listed building and is currently being converted for commercial use. MWBRS COLLECTION

At the core of the west London scheme is a former 2ft gauge line that ran from 1916 until 1946 from a wharf on the Thames at Hampton to Kempton Park, transporting coal to power pumping engines at two large waterworks at either end of the line.

Opened by the Metropolitan Water Board, the 3½-mile railway’s motive power was three identical 0-4-2Ts designed by the company’s engineering department, built by Kerr Stuart of Stoke-on-Trent at a total cost of £2187, and named Hampton, Kempton and Sunbury. The pumping engines consumed nearly 150 tons of coal a day, which prior to the arrival of the railway was delivered by horse and cart.

By the end of the Second World War the amount of coal required had been substantially reduced due to modernisation, and the railway, whose rolling stock included 140 tipper wagons, was closed, its trio of locomotives scrapped, and the track lifted.

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