Narrow gauge train plan for Crossness Pumping Station visitor attraction

PUBLISHED: 18:30 16 January 2019

Learning activities will be based around Crossness Engines Trust's locomotive Busy Basil. Photo: Robin Parkinson

Learning activities will be based around Crossness Engines Trust's locomotive Busy Basil. Photo: Robin Parkinson


The March launch of a new railway at Crossness Engines Trust looks to be on schedule for 2020 but don’t expect a flood of commuters, this is set to be a new visitor experience.

The tireless work from an army of volunteers at the Crossness Pumping Station, next to Erith marshes, has overseen some incredible progress.

Just two years ago, the building had to be shut down to remove asbestos, which is expensive work.

Some £478,000 later, it’s done and now more fundraising is needed to provide some astonishing transport from the car park to the Beam Engine House station.

That will be in the form of 700 metres of track.

Railway team lead Robin Parkinson said: “That will provide not just a simple shuttle service bringing our visitors from the car park at the Thames Water entrance to the site to our iconic Beam Engine House.

“It will also provide an exceptionally valuable educational resource developed through an exciting programme of learning activities based around our locomotive Busy Basil.

“We are now at the stage of needing funds to purchase rail track materials.

“It is an awesome project and we thank all the people and organisations that have helped us so far. This is the final push to develop something incredible.”

Robin told us: “On the RANG railway, or Royal Arsenal Narrow Gauge, we have received £30,000 from Enovert Community Trust, and are seeking by a further £18,500 for rail materials.

“Our target for the full completion of the works is sometime in 2020.”

The team is also celebrating the work of former railway engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette, the visionary designer of the London sewer system.

Robin said: “Without Bazalgette’s vision, London would have no sewers and the new narrow gauge track is being built on the bed of the first contractor’s railway built in 1860 for Bazalgette.”

He also worked closely with the engineers building the London Underground to ensure they found the best routes around his sewer system. He died in March 1891.

Busy Basil runs on a two foot gauge track.

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