Crofton houses the world’s oldest working beam engine – a Boulton and Watt engine installed in 1812. Alongside it is a second ‘younger’ beam engine made by Harvey & Co installed relatively recently – in 1846.
The station started work in 1809 pumping water up to the canal’s highest level – the section between Crofton and Burbage, which was above any reliable local water source.
Crofton’s engines are often in steam on bank holiday weekends during the spring and summer months. If you stay around long enough when you visit Crofton on those days you will see both engines working at the same time – a dramatic sight and a dramatic noise.
The beam of the older engine weighs six tons; that of the more sophisticated Harvey engine weighs four and a half tons. They pack an awesome punch.