Heritage Story

Why the railway was built

Water-borne urban plagues were a feature of 19th century urbanisation.  Water closets known as the WC or toilet, were becoming fashionable and cesspits were simply overflowing.  It became compulsory therefore to put raw sewage into drains which eventually found its way into the Thames.  The smell or The Great Stink as it was known at the time in London, become intolerable, and with the Houses of Parliament next to the Thames, even politicians couldn’t ignore this.  In 1852 the Metropolis Water Act came into force, and in 1903, the Metropolitan Water Board was founded to bring nine private water companies supplying water to London, under one single public body to control the clean-up of London’s drinking water.  Link to heritage story


In 2004, the Metropolitan Water Board Railway Society (MWBRS) was set up by a group of enthusiasts with the objective of reinstating as much of the original Waterboard Railway as possible.   Today, the MWBRS today is embarking on a £1.8 million campaign to reinstate the original track and give visitors a more enhanced and interesting steam passenger journey through woodlands and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.  We also plan to provide a visitor and education centre.  


Want to know more about the railway in its early days?


The Story of Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway is an excellent book that details the history of the original railway that ran from 1915 to 1945 and the work of the Metropolitan Water Board Railway Society that was formed in 2004.  The book includes many photographs of the original line and the building and operation of the Hanworth Loop together with details of the plans for re-building.

The two authors, Ron Howes and Jim Hewett were involved from the very beginning…….more


Price £4.50 postage free