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Fen End Pumps - Prototypes pictures of old pumping stations

Fen End Pit


This is one for those of you who fancy building potato or sugar beet railways, or maybe a drainage board line taking clay to strengthen a bank. I took these pictures a good few years back during an afternoon driving around the fen. Some of these magnificent buildings are still standing though most of the engines inside them have long since gone.


First up is Hundred foot bank, near Welney.




Like several of the engine houses you have a tall central section which originally housed a large beam engine. The lower brick section nearest the camera held the scoop wheel while the section on the other side was a boiler house. The extension at the end with the large door is later addition which would have housed the diesel replacement for the steam engine. Stretham Old Engine is very similar and still contains the preserved beam engine.




The end of the extension needed a fair bit of buttressing to stop it from falling over!




The rear of the extension is distinctly more utilitarian than the original building.






I think it is fair to say that the modern replacement station which is adjacent to it doesn't quite have the same presence and the automated weed rake doesn't quite have the same attraction as the Ruston 10RB drag-line it would have replaced.




Again at the other end of the spectrum is this tiny pump which I'm afraid I don't have a record of the location of. It contained a single electric centrifuge pump.




On the A10 just north of Brandon creek are this pair of engine houses. One had been converted into a house at this time but the other still contained an engine and pump.




I used the other engine house at this location as the basis for a building on my 7mm narrow gauge layout 'The Works' several decades ago.






Along the old bank between Littleport and Ely was this old engine house. The road had a distinct bump where it went over the main water pipe. The chimney had long since been taken down and capped but the building still housed a pump.





On the River Lark near Prickwillow is this little group of buildings




At this site there was still an old boiler.




Last of the pumping station photographs is this one of the engine house at 'The Overfall' on the road from Ely to Queen Adelaide along the river, this was where the original route of the River Ouse turned towards Prickwillow before the new cut direct between Ely and Littleport cut off the corner. This engine house has now been demolished but there is still a modern pump at this location. 




Finally there is a wonderful collection of farm buildings behind the museum at Prickwillow. This is the one I based the new engine shed on Fen End Pit on.






The curved end has this wonderful lattice beam structure.




I hope you enjoyed that quick drive around the fens.



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So there would have been a Ruston 10RB drag-line working behind that low relief building in the background pulling plastic weeds from real water? If you thought having real sand on a layout was a bad idea .........

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Do you think the one just downstream of the Little Ouse was ever connected to the standard gauge network?

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42 minutes ago, LNERGE said:

Do you think the one just downstream of the Little Ouse was ever connected to the standard gauge network?

The Wissington railway terminated just across the road in two sidings. I can't see any evidence that it ever extended across the road.  Coal and later oil would have been delivered by barge rather than rail.


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A fascinating system of railway. The narrow gauge system south of the Ely - Norwich line equally so. I have a wheel and a few bits of rail and Jubilee sleepers from that system. I get a call now and then from the farmer out that way when he ploughs up a bit and i nip out and get it. It's all junk but quite interesting.

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5 hours ago, russ p said:

Where was the narrow gauge? 

There were several systems in this area of the fens.


Going east from Shippea Hill were a bunch of lines operated by Chivers. Going the other way was a system on the land owned by Hyam's, also on the other side of the river Lark was a system running over Hasse Fen.


All these are marked on Rail Map Online



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