Waterworks Railway

Every winter we organise an inspection of our railway track. This year our external expert recommended that we carry out some works on one part of the track before we run our railway again. The work on the track will now take place later in the Spring and we will let you know as soon as our railway is back up and running.

Many Victorian waterworks had their own railway. At Kew Bridge this is demonstrated by a short line featuring the “Wren” class locomotive Thomas Wicksteed, which is typical of a waterworks engine. This locomotive was completed in 2009 and is currently the newest working steam locomotive in the United Kingdom.

Also featured is Alister, a 3 cylinder Lister diesel locomotive of 1957. Our Locomotive, Thomas Wicksteed, has an annual check-up every January and early February. Wicksteed returns in February half-term.

The museum’s railway is inspired by the Hampton to Kempton Park coal railway built and operated by the Metropolitan Water Board between 1916 and 1946. Coal was delivered by barge to the MWB wharf on the river Thames at Hampton and moved by three steam locomotives to the boilerhouses of the Hampton and Kempton Park waterworks.

The engines were built by the Kerr Stuart Locomotive Company and were named Hampton, Kempton and Sunbury. None of the engines have survived, but the Museum has one locomotive headlamp and shunter’s lantern in its collections.

Some of the trackwork is now incorporated in the museum’s demonstration line. We also have an extensive photo collection of the lines at Hampton and Kempton Park.