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Crofton Pumping Station

Discussion in 'Everything Else Heritage' started by johnofwessex, Jul 26, 2021.

  1. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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    For those that havnt been - its ex GWR

    https://www.croftonbeamengines.org/

    I was first taken as a child by my father in the early 1970's and have visited regularly ever since, annually since my first child was born.

    After closure last year it was in steam again on Saturday 24th, being potentially vulnerable the issue of 'timed' tickets was a major attraction and the maintenance of 'Covid Safe' procedures.

    I was one of a number of people who had trouble with booking timed tickets on line but the Site Manager was very helpful and booked them manually for me by phone.

    I headed off with my two oldest sons, 12 & 19, past Gresleys old school, Marlborough College and down the tiny lane that leads to the station.

    Organisation was good and we wandered round outside until it was time to go in. Sadly as we were about to go in the only currently operational engine, the 1812 Boulton & Watt lost a pin on the water injection system, this meant that not only was the engine not running but the boiler was blowing off into the boiler room and the fires had to be shovelled out before visitors could be admitted.

    The situation was handled well, we were kept informed and everyone seemed happy.

    Just before two when we were thinking of heading home, an engineer emerged from the station with a portable pump and it was announced that they would have a go at starting up, first the condenser tank had to be filled by a spectacularly leaky hose then away it went, and we piled back into the engine house to enjoy the engine running.

    Interestingly enough the 'Old' engine is about 1.8% efficient, the new (1844) one 2.4% compared with 1% for the Bulleid Leader.

    So, if you havnt been, go!
     
  2. Miff

    Miff Well-Known Member Friend

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    I agree it’s well worth a visit. When I went I asked one of the volunteers how the pumping, for which the station was originally built, was normally done nowadays i.e. on all except the occasional steam days. “There’s an electric pump under there”, he said, pointing to a small manhole cover.
     
  3. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Very enjoyable visit - I'll have to make another trip, it's been a few years.

    Also worth visiting in the immediate vicinity: http://www.wiltonwindmill.co.uk (Easy to combine a trip to both). And a bit further away: https://www.claverton.org/

    Interestingly, the efficiency of Claverton is about 60% (and entirely renewable)!

    Tom
     
  4. johnofwessex

    johnofwessex Part of the furniture

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