The Victorian pumping station at Crossness in southeast London will be easier to visit for the next few months, as they’re laying on a Routemaster bus shuttle service.

The Victorian steam engines were installed at Crossness as part of Joseph Bazalgette’s massive London sewer network as the endpoint for the southern outflow, and was constructed with four massive steam engines to pump the sewage up from the sewer into the Thames.

The four steam engines were left in place when the Victorian pumps were replaced with modern machines, and in recent years, one of the four was restored back to working order – and is switched on again once a month for visitors.

The Crossness pumping station should be easy to visit as it’s not that far from an Elizabeth line station, but unless you’re driving, it’s usually about a 30-minute walk from the Elizabeth line station at Abbey Wood to the pumping station.

To bridge the gap, the pumping station will be laying on a complimentary Routemaster bus on their steaming open days.

The bus will be free for visitors with pre-booked tickets to visit Crossness — and will come with driver and conductor in period British Transport uniforms. The bus will run regularly between Abbey Wood station and just outside Crossness, where you can continue your journey to the pumping station on their light railway link.

So your visit to the pumping station will include arriving in a modern Elizabeth line train, catching a Routemaster bus, and then riding in a vintage light railway.

The bus will run between 9:30am and 4:30pm on the following two Sundays:

• 28 April – book tickets here

• 19 May – book tickets here

If the trial is a success, they hope to continue running the bus for future open days. The London Bus Company is supplying the Routemaster bus.

*there used to be a small shuttle bus many many years ago, although so small that it was often easier to walk anyway.


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  1. Lizebeth says:

    What a wonderful idea. This place should not be missed, and the idea of taking a Routemaster bus to and from just enhances the pleasure.

  2. Roger Norrington says:

    Brilliant. Well worth a visit for historical, architectural and engineering purposes and to support the enthusiasm of the dedicated band of volunteers..
    However be prepared – it is adjacent to the operational sewage works for most of South London and can have a certain aroma. Depending on your preference come armed with a clothes peg, nosegay, or an old fashioned gas mask.

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