A new narrow gauge steam railway is being built in South-East London to bring visitors on a scenic trip to the Victorian pumping station at Crossness.
Crossness is the amazing Bazalgette pumping station and being restored to its Victorian grandeur.
The Crossness pumping station sits within the Thames Water sewage treatment works, and they recently built a dedicated pedestrian walkway which provides a secure route between a new car park on the outside of the sewage plant, and the heritage site within.
But rather than walk, why not take a ride on a light railway?
That’s the intention of the Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge (RANG) railway, which is laying a new track and restoring two old locomotives, one diesel and one steam.
The railway is not just a delightful convenience for visitors, but also a restoration of real heritage, as pumping stations of this sort usually had a light railway to carry coal for their steam powered pumping engines.
Adding to the heritage of the proposed railway, it’s thought that the alignment of the proposed railway, by chance happens to follow that of a temporary railway which was built to support the construction of the treatment works during the 19th century.
In a way, this is a disused railway line coming back into use.
Restoration of Severn-Lamb locomotive Busy Basil and a rake of carriages is nearly complete thanks to a donation of £29,800 from Enovert Community Trust.
To complete the track they are appealing for £18,500 to buy rail materials and points to get the train on the move.
The RANG is now crowdfunding to raise the final amount.
£20 will buy them twelve NG sleeper screws, whereas £40 buys them six pairs of rail joining fishplates + bolts, and gets you a footplate ride when the train opens.
£60 pays for a full meter of completed rail track (rail/sleepers/fixings), and gets you free entry to the museum and rides on the trains.
You can read more about the project and support them here.
Give it a couple of years, and a trip on the new Elizabeth Line to Abbey Wood could conclude with a trip on a steam train.