Monday, June 30, 2008

Excitement at Crofton

Mooring at Crofton is very special - or at least we think so. I am not sure if it is unique on the system but there cannot be many places where the old and its nemesis, which caused the canals first demise, combine to such an effect.

We were fortunate to be here again when the pumping house was in steam and this just adds to the atmosphere. The knowledge that whilst it is in steam it is doing the job that it was built to do in 1807 - 9, namely pumping water to the top pound of the K & A. The electric pumps are switched off and one's imagination takes you back to the days when the canal was first built.

The years of the Industrial Revolution eventually led to the development of the railway in 1841. The thought of the sight of the steam from the pumping house chimney, the steam from the steam engines passing on the railway and the working boats carrying coal and Bath stone makes me wish I was here to to see it!

Some of the restored boats can be seen at Hatton soon.

At the meeting we attended with Robin Evans a serious proposal was made that the BW restored working boats should make a trip to Crofton loaded with coal for the engine. Now that would be good to see.

We knew that Network rail would be working on the railway that runs parallel to the Kennet and Avon canal at Crofton.
What we did not expect was to be woken at 3. 30 am to hear what sounded like an enormous aircraft and very loud frequent thumps! Looking out the porthole this is what we saw!

A very long goods train carrying ballast and a "machine" that was doing all the work supervised by men with powerful torches! It had travelled from Reading and was going to Pewsey laying the track ballast and new rails (we think!).

All the work continued during Sunday and we took the opportunity to visit the pumping station again. More of this tomorrow!

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