Kempton Steam Engines

Every time we visit family in Teddington we travel along the M3 towards London and pass the imposing Metropolitan Water Works at Kempton with its magnificent buildings housing the pumping engines. Last Saturday, as we passed along the elevated section of the A316 we noticed a huge banner announcing that they were having a steaming weekend. Now who could resist that - certainly not us. The sight of huge working steam engines was irresistible.

One of the two enormous triple expansion engines 
 the Sir William Prescott
(Note the lower section contains the water pumps)

Kempton is home to two 1,000-ton triple-expansion steam pumping engines, known as Triples. One of the two massive engines has been restored and is now the largest working example in the world. In their day, these engines each pumped 19 million gallons of water to North London and worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from their installation in 1927 to their decommissioning in 1980.

I put together the video below of their working engine being started by a guest driver. Nowadays the engine only operates at a leisurely 60 psi rather than the 200 psi it ran when in commission.

Starting the Sir William Prescott

Because our granddaughters are less than 1.4 m height they were not allowed on the upper floors of the engine house so granddad went joined the guided tour of the static engine his own. I have to report that the whole family enjoyed the experience.

A very large spanner!

We also combined the visit with a trip on the neighbouring narrow gauge railway.

Fun on the narrow-gauge railway