Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Last Chance to See World-Renowned Wiltshire Pumping Station in Action This Weekend

1812 Bolton & Watt Engine to be fired up ahead of vital winter work at Crofton Pumping Station

26 September 2012: This weekend (29th and 30th September) is the last chance Wiltshire residents and steam enthusiasts will have to see one of the wonders of the Industrial Revolution in action.

Crofton Pumping Station, at Great Bedwyn, near Marlborough (SN8 3DW), will open its doors to visitors for the last time until Easter 2013, for its annual Steam Gala. The site is owned and operated by the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust (KACT), which has worked tirelessly over the past 50 years to restore the canal and historic buildings along the 87-mile waterway.

In addition to seeing the station’s world-famous 1812 Bolton and Watt engine - the oldest working beam engine in the world - there will be a number of activities, including country dancing, a BBQ and real ale bar, as well as vintage tractor ploughing demonstrations in a nearby field.

During the winter, Crofton’s skilled band of volunteers will undertake a number of restoration projects at the station, one of which includes the raising of a pump’s six tonne plunger, which pulls water 40 feet up the hill to supply the canal. It’s believed to be the first time the 10-ft long plunger will have been examined in over 150 years.

Jon Willis, the station’s chairman, says: “We are very excited about this last steaming event of the year, which takes a lot of co-ordination and planning to ensure that we put on the best possible show for members of the public. After that, the volunteers will have to get down to the time-consuming job of making sure the mechanisms and machinery are in tip top condition for next year.

“We very much hope that people will come along and support the station, much of which is under cover, and so can cope with whatever the weather throws at us!”

Entry to the site for the general public and for KACT members will be £4. Entry to the engines will be at a reduced price for the general public and free for KACT members. Every KACT member who brings along a non-member will enable that friend to gain half price access to the steam engines.

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