The Kempton pumping engines were once connected to the Thames by a narrow gauge (2′) railway that could supply the coal for the boilers, remove the ash, haul new equipment and also distribute sand to the filter beds. It connected all the pumping engines at Kempton and Hampton so that they could be supplied from the river or from a standard gauge railway at Kempton via the Shepperton branch. This way advantage could be made of whichever route was cheaper or more convenient at any time.
In 1912 plans for an industrial railway were completed and approved by the Metropolitan Water Board’s directors. The Deputy Chief Engineer had estimated the cost at £17,000 for a 2ft. gauge railway running over some 3 ½ miles of track
Two hundred tons of 35 lb. flat bottom rail was ordered plus 320 foot of tram rails. Regular track was laid on Baltic Fir creosoted sleepers. Work was completed by 1915. Three locomotives based on M.W.B. engineers’ specifications were ordered from Kerr Stuart and Company of Stoke-on-Trent. They were named Hampton, Kempton and Sunbury, costing about £700 each. Livery was green with an unusual triple striping. Although running on 2ft. track the locomotive width was 6ft., overall length 15ft. with a weight of 10 tons. There were about 140 Vee-shaped tipper wagons and some flat trucks. On 15 to 20ft. curves, these would be pushed into the boiler houses by hand. The locomotives were required to cope with 40ft. curves and had re-railing bars fitted at both ends! Only two engines worked on a daily basis, one delivering coal to boiler houses and the other on shunting duty at Hampton Wharf.
To learn more about the History of the Hampton and Kempton Park Waterworks Railway click here
Although dismantled by 1947 the track bed remained almost intact and the Metropolitan Water Board Railway Society was founded in 2002/3 with the intention of re-creating The Hampton and Kempton Park Waterworks Railway. To see their progress to date click here.