On the right track at Kempton and Hampton railway

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On the right track at Kempton and Hampton railway

The next phase of a prestigious heritage project is set to get underway after Thames Water gave the go ahead for work to start.

Britain’s biggest water company has officially signed the lease to allow Hampton and Kempton Waterworks Railway (HKWR) to extend the passenger steam railway on the company’s land.

The 2.6 kilometre railway will run from Kempton Steam Museum, next door to its namesake water treatment site, to Hydes Field in Hampton and will be open to the public, once funding has been secured. Currently you can only take a ride on the train around the Hanworth Loop.

The railway was originally built in 1915 as an industrial line, used to ferry coal from the River Thames at Hampton to the Kempton and Hampton pumping station, and was in operation until 1945.

The restoration of the track initially started in 2012 and the second phase, which will begin now the lease has been signed, will increase the journeys on the line, plus include the construction of a recreational and educational centre.

Thames Water’s external affairs director Richard Aylard, who signed the lease on behalf of the company at a special ceremony, said: “We’re delighted to be associated with this project and glad that by signing the new lease it can now expand even further.

“Partnerships like this are a great example of our ongoing commitment to support and invest in the communities we serve and we hope people will continue to enjoy the railway for many years to come.”

The railway line is the only steam-operated passenger railway within the M25, and is constructed, managed and operated by volunteers from HKWR.

Michael Hamilton, chairman of HKWR, was delighted the lease had been signed and said: “This landmark event is the culmination of many years of co-operation with Thames Water to gain permission to rebuild the original 1915 industrial railway across Thames Water-owned land.

“This extends our already five-year operational `loop’, enhancing our remarkable heritage railway’s potential as a major attraction for local communities.”

For more information on the railway, or to find out opening times, visit www.hamptonkemptonrailway.org.uk

(Below, Thames Water's external affairs director Richard Aylard signs the lease and top, on board the train)

On the right track at Kempton and Hampton railway