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.
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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