Sunday, 29 May 2011

A sneak preview.

If you can't wait for The Woolwich to be moving under her own steam, then look no further than Youtube. 

There are a couple of videos of the Bicton Woodland Railway up on the site.  The Woolwich and The Carnegie (now at the Royal Gunpowder Mills) were in regular service.  This one was shot in 1976:

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The beginnings of the journey.

This morning at 7am we set off from Bexley to the Royal Gunpowder Mills at Waltham Abbey. 

Our truck was ready and waiting for us, with the crane extended to lift the locomotive onto the back.

Our unusual cargo caught the Woolwich ferry across the Thames, providing a spectacle to the other drivers.  One passenger even felt inspired to sing!  You meet all sorts. 

An emotional moment: back into the Royal Arsenal site itself to be greeted by the Woolwich Historical Society and many passers-by with camera phones.  You don't see sights like The Woolwich every day!

The BBC sent a crew to capture the day and our assembled historians, steam enthusiasts and people caught in the moment.

A couple of miles down the road and through the gates to the Crossness Engines site.  Greeted by the members, who donned their hard hats for the lengthy task of unloading.

The locomotive was carefully lowered onto a short section of narrow gauge track.  A JCB was enlisted to move the sheer bulk of The Woolwich into the engine shed, an example of the Victorian gothic architecture on the Crossness site.

It was a long day, but we got home in time to catch ourselves on the London edition of BBC's 6 o'clock News.  You might find it on BBC iplayer. 

Check out the photos on our online album - there were many people with cameras today so we'll try and get others to add images to this page as well.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Steam trains come to Crossness!

An explosive piece of local history is moving to the Crossness Engines Trust.  The steam engine The Woolwich has been very kindly loaned to the Crossness Trust for a period of seven years to restore to its former glory.

The locomotive was originally a working part of the Royal Arsenal site, the 1,300 acre ammunition factory formerly adjacent to the Crossness Pumping Station.  The engine is currently owned by the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey.

In the future, the 'Crossness Experience' will begin the second the visitor steps onto the platform, with the sights and smells of the steam train transporting visitors directly to the colossal beam engines next to the Thames. 

The steam engine will take several years to restore, but in the meantime, visitors can follow the progress by visiting Crossness or can really get their hands dirty by joining the Trust. 

Watch this blog for the project diary, related links, articles and full colour photographs.