Tucked away under the A316 at Kempton is the UK’s
newest steam railway. The opening at the Hampton
and Kempton Waterworks railway is an important milestone for members
and enthusiasts alike. “Well I think it’s a tremendous. I looked
at this railway some many years ago, with the idea of trying to put something together and thought it
was a wonderful route but… thought it was quite ambitious.
So absolutely delighted that the Society was formed and they built this first part of the railway with a view to building the rest of it.
I think it’s an absolutely wonderful thing and amazing really amazing that with to amateur volunteer labour got so far, in such a
professional manner.” Press and VIP guests assembled for the
official opening Thomas Wicksteed is a locomotive on loan from the Kew
Steam Museum As usual it attracted a lot of attention. Everything and everyone was smartly
turned out for the opening by the boss of Thames Water. “I call on the executive officer of Thames Water to formally open the Hampton and Kempton Waterworks Railway. This is the 400th anniversary of Thames Water this year in various guises. It was 400 years
ago they developed the first scheme to bring water in to London. We’ve got the engines behind us and the railway in front of us literally the engine is behind me.
So it’s with great pleasure to open up the railway today. I cut in the middle, do I? Fantastic! We’re now going to ask the Deputy Mayor of Hounslow to formally opened the first railway
station on our railway Duputy Mayor will you do us the favour of opening first station on our newly opened railway it is called “Hanworth Halt”. It gives me great pleasure to formally name this station Hanworth Halt. After the ceremony it was time for the
fun part The VIP’s and special guests became very
first passengers “I was here about a year ago now
and it’s totally different now.” The newly restored coach will carry
paying passengers around the Hanworth Loop most weekends this summer While reporters discovered every detail
of this new narrow gauge railway the snappers – amateurs and professionals alike were in search of that special shot “Well if you look at look at the railway
behind me in and the Steam Engine Trust on the main works we’ve worked with the volunteers over
number of years. This has been a real long term project in the making. It’s taken ten years for the team to get where they are today. So
in terms of providing the support and also in terms of making the land available, also just working with the
volunteers. Not just us as the company but also our employees on the site as well This is a side of Thames Water
that people don’t normally see. This is a massive year for us, this year,
this is actually our 400 anniversary. So four hundred years ago to first
scheme was developed to bring water in to London and here we are today to
celebrate the opening of a rail way to celebrate our heritage.
Fantastic news!” So how did it all begin?
When the Great Engine Trust decided they weren’t going ahead with the railway I talked to Brian Woodriff and another local
man, Ron Keyvil, and they encouraged me to set up a society and we got off the ground back in May 2003 So as you can see it’s been quite a few
years before actually got something running But can a bunch of amateurs build a safe railway? It’s been very very interesting to see it in this area because the thing that
surprised me – and I’ve been to nearly every heritage railway in the United Kingdom. Concrete sleepers! Now you find that on the modern railway is very rarely on a heritage railway they tend to use the old
fashioned wooden sleepers and they’ve made them themselves.
That is really something I’ve taken great interest – and the important
thing here particularly in Hampton is the fact that the
waterworks museum and that wonderful engine there it will boost this railway and boost the museum as well So, congratulations to them today and I’m sure there will be a great tourist attraction The railway is now open to the public and working most weekends.
Check the website for more details.