South London’s newest “steam train” service will start to carry its first passengers from next week. The Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge (RANG) railway will — when completed — create a link with the Crossness pumping station for visitors.

At the moment, even if you arrive by car, it’s a decent walk to get to the Victorian pumping house, and the railway aims to add a suitable and atmospheric alternative to walking.

Adding to the heritage of the railway, it’s thought that its route, will by chance follow that of a temporary railway which was built to support the construction of the treatment works during the 19th century.

The railway tracks are not fully completed, but this coming Sunday, the steam train will be offering short shuttle trips along the length that has been completed.

The light railway is a single track of 18 inch gauge track, and will eventually include passing loops and two small train stations at each end. Although it looks like a proper coal fired steam engine, this one, built in 1916 is actually oil fueled.

This Sunday’s event is part of the occasional open days at Crossness, although this particular open day won’t see the massive beam engine in steam as it’s undergoing unexpected maintenance.

If you fancy a dose of Victorian steam, industrial heritage, and ever so strong an occasional whiff of sewage, then the pumping station is open between 10:30am to 5pm with last entry at 4pm.

There is an admission charge – Age 16 and over – £8, Age 5-15 – £2, under 5 free.

Due to the location, there is a car park, but they also run a shuttle bus from Abbey Wood station every half hour from 10:30am to 2:30pm.

The cost of the return journey is £3.


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