Metropolitan Water Board Railway

Metropolitan Water Board Railway

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Metropolitan Water Board Railway

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The Metropolitan Water Board Railway was a narrow gauge industrial railway built to serve the Metropolitan Water Board's pumping station at Kempton Park near London. The line was opened in 1916 and closed shortly after the Second World War.


In 1903, three private water companies in and around London came under the control of the newly formed Metropolitan Water Board. Included was the pumping station at Kempton, three miles from the River Thames at Hampton. The Kempton engine houses contained a set of massive steam engines that drove the pumps which together consumed about 110 tons of coal a day. The cost of transporting and handling this amount of coal from the wharves at Hampton to the Kempton pumping station was significant.

A narrow gauge railway was proposed to ease the cost of supplying the Kempton engines. Construction had begun by May 1914 and by the end of 1915 the railway was ready to be opened.

Coal was brought to Hampton by barge, loaded into a large hopper by a high level crane, and then taken by the railway, in tipper wagons, to the pumping houses.

Motive power was provided by three steam locomotives, built by Kerr Stuart & Co Ltd. These were 0-4-2T side-tank engines, named: Hampton, Kempton and Sunbury. They were painted a lined dark green livery, with much polished brasswork, including the prominent dome cover. Photographs indicate that the engines were maintained in immaculate condition.

The railway fulfilled its...
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