Narrowboat Tacet

Silent Movement - Our gap year travelling the inland waterways

Friday, 3 May 2013

Crofton Pumping Station


As we approached Crofton it was with great excitement we noticed smoke from the enormous chimney.  Then we realised that tomorrow was the start of the Bank Holiday weekend and they were probably preparing the boilers for steaming over the weekend.


After we had been through the lock we moored up on the well kept visitor moorings just below the pump house. Nb Chance carried on their journey to Hungerford, having ‘done’ Crofton when travelling in the opposite direction a few weeks ago.



We took advantage of the lovely day and the good edge on the right side of the boat and did a bit more work on the red paintwork with the T-cut and polish. It is looking better and better.






As we made our way up to the Engine House, we passed a load of coal ready to be put to use over the weekend.

In the old days it would have been delivered by boat, of course.





Once in the building the first thing you notice is the heat coming from the enormous boiler, which was lit and we found out had in fact been running the engines as a trial earlier this morning. Shame we missed that.

The boiler holds 18,000 litres of water and uses 1.25 tonnes of coal per day.




Some of the massive spanners needed to make adjustments to the engines.







The steam cylinder heads and the steam valves.



P1080735 P1080737

The great beams connecting the driving cylinders to the pumps.  There are two engines here, together capable of pumping 20,0000 litres of water a minute.



The water was pumped from Wilton Water a reservoir at canal level 12 metre lower down. It would pour out of these black shutes into the canal leat taking it to the canal summit level a mile or so away.





Enjoying the chimney views.

P1080750 P1080752 P1080755


  1. Hope you had a good trip to Newbury.... Thanks again for your company over the last week, hope we meet again sometime, Best Wishes James and Doug x

    1. Thanks to you too. Look out for the blue and red shiny boat!!!
      Maybe we'll meet again Manchester/Liverpool later on.

  2. Boy I would have liked to have seen that beam engine working, the other big water pumping engine I have seen over here is the charcoal gassed engine "Humphrey Pump" at a place called Cobdogla in the south Australian River Land.

    Regards David in OZ

  3. The old engines are majestic. I love the sounds and the smells.