Crofton Pumping Station: Kennet & Avon part 4.

Croften Pumping StationThe Crofton Pumping Station has the oldest James Watt steam engine still operational (installed in the pumping station in 1812). Just below the highest point of the canal, the station was located near a source of water, which it raises about 40 feet and dumps into a 1 mile long feeder which fills the canal near Bruce Tunnel. Today, the canal is fed by electric pumps, although the steam pumps were used as the primary source of water during a mechanical outage earlier this summer.

Lancashire Boiler

The station operated under steam until 1959. Volunteers spent about 30 years painstakingly restoring 2 steam engines, the Lancashire boiler shown above, and the facility. Restorations were completed in 1997 with the topping out of a rebuilt chimney (top photo).

Valves and Cylinder Head

The photo above was taken in the cylinder head room.  The piston rod is at the far right side, leading to the beam gallery overhead.  The three round things in the background are the valves which control the flow of steam into and out of the cylinders.  They are operated by connecting rods coming down from the overhead beam.  The photo below was taken in the well head, looking down towards the water level. It shows one of the two 30 inch bore, 8 foot stroke pumps, and the connecting rod coming from the beam above. The large cast iron pipe in the upper right leads to the launders, where the 1.25 tons of water is discharged on each stroke.


Additional photos can be found in my Crofton Photo Gallery.  Below, you can see the route I took from The Upper Westcourt B&B to Crofton.  Zoom in and use the satellite view to see the pumping station’s relationship to the canal and the feeder canal (upper left of pump house).

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