A failure late Saturday afternoon (August 10) in right hand fire tube resulted in the cancellation of the steaming of Crofton’s historic beam engines on the following day and threatened the cancellation of the rest of this year’s steaming programme.
And for one of the Marlborough area’s prime visitor attractions, that would have been close to disastrous.
John Warren is Crofton’s heritage engineer: “The safety of our historic boiler and engines have to take precedence over the events programme. The fault seems to be a collapse of the rear fire bar support and we will need to examine this as soon as we can safely get into the fire tube”.
Visitors to Crofton on Sunday (August 11) saw the volunteer engineering staff removing the still hot fire bars to get to the problem some 2.5m into the tube. Any repair would have to be both robust and not compromise the integrity of the boiler.
A course of action to support the rear of the fire bars was agreed and over the following three days to allow the boiler to cool further the repair was made.
John Warren praised the work done by the volunteers: “It is a great credit to volunteers that we are able to finish our planned steaming schedule for this year”.
Thanks to the volunteer engineers’ work Crofton will be in steam again over the August Bank Holiday weekend with our Makers and Crafters Fair.
Crofton Beam Engines are situated on the north side of the Kennet and Avon Canal near its highest point. It was built to pump water to the highest level of the canal some 13m (40’) higher and 1.13Km (0.7miles) to the west.
It is home to two magnificent steam driven beam engines one of which can claim to be the oldest in the world still in its original location and doing the job it was installed for in 1812.
Crofton Beam Engines are a Grade 1 listed site. It is also a branch of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust who operate the site through an enthusiastic band of volunteers all of whom are keen to provide visitors with a memorable experience.
There is more information here: www.croftonbeamengines.org/