Steam in London: help me prioritize

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Greg_Lewis » Thu May 30, 2019 5:37 pm

Thanks, Barry. Crossness will be open one of the days I'm there. Perhaps I'll do Greenwich, Crossness and Water & Steam and then see what time is left. It looks like Greenwich would be most of a day; Honey would go with me and probably want to see some of the other stuff in the area. How much time would you allow for Water & Steam?
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BarryS
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by BarryS » Thu May 30, 2019 8:32 pm

Art water and Steam there are usually some engines running on steam. If a beam engine is running try to time your visit to see that event. People’s interests are different but I would allow at least a couple of hours to see the museum. I said before that Kew Bridge station was on the London Overground. That was not correct. Southwest Trains serve this station from Waterloo. Your Oyster card should be valid on this train. About 30 to 45 minutes for the trip.

I am sure you are aware of the “Network Rail Enquiries” and “Transport For London Plan a Journey” sites. If not they are very useful for planning travel in London and throughout the UK.

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Greg_Lewis » Thu May 30, 2019 8:48 pm

Thanks, Barry for the tip on the transportation sites. We'll be staying in the Forest Gate area, about 8 miles east and a little north of the central city. It's a BnB we've used before — the lady that owns it is such a character that we wouldn't stay anywhere else.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
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Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

INGE
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by INGE » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:31 pm

I was just in London last February.
In 3 days , do these:
1. Science museum - has a dozen or so live steam models on display, a really big corliss engine, the oldest pumping engine extant, oldest surviving steam locomotive, rocket replica, and one other full size loco
2. Steam and Water at Kew bridge - has 4 of its original pumping engines,the largest being 3 stories tall and a 100" bore, a mill style engine, a triple expansion pumping engine, and some beautiful beam engines. They run a 2ft ga tank engine on weekends. See their web site
3. The British Rail Museum in York is a day trip, get on the train at Kings Cross, get off across the street from the museum in York. Many live steam models in the "warehouse" building - don't miss. get your train tickets on line in advance.

INGE
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by INGE » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:37 pm

BarryS wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 8:32 pm
Art water and Steam there are usually some engines running on steam. If a beam engine is running try to time your visit to see that event. People’s interests are different but I would allow at least a couple of hours to see the museum. I said before that Kew Bridge station was on the London Overground. That was not correct. Southwest Trains serve this station from Waterloo. Your Oyster card should be valid on this train. About 30 to 45 minutes for the trip.

I am sure you are aware of the “Network Rail Enquiries” and “Transport For London Plan a Journey” sites. If not they are very useful for planning travel in London and throughout the UK.
You can get with in a mile of the Kew Bridge museum on the underground, Gunersbury stop I think. Then use your Oyster card to hop on a red bus for the last mile, stops right at the museum. see web site for instructions. Have lunch at the Express Tavern a block away.

INGE
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by INGE » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:43 pm

Glenn Brooks wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:59 am
+1 for Harrods!
Just bring lots of cash -we had 2 fish and chips and 2 sodas in Harrod's Grill for $94 (25 quid for 1 fish and chips, that's about $33. plus 15% service charge, etc)

Cary Stewart
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Cary Stewart » Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:59 pm

I think you are already gone but for the record, if you are interested in general British then Stone Hinge, Canary Warf area, just about anything in London or any where else. Steam! Romney, Heith & Dimchurch RR and Blue Bell RR in the sough. Kew Bridge Pumping Station museum and the garden across the river, any of the other restoration RRs anywhere in the country, the RR Museum in York, one or more of the 2ft gage slate RRs in Wales, etc. There are something like 600 Model Engineering clubs in the Sothern Federation of Model Engineering Societies and there are more in the Northern Federation. There are rides all over the place. Take your pick.
Cary

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apm
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by apm » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:33 pm

I wish I had heard of Crossness before going to the UK but sadly some how I missed it so we never went. So with that being said I can't help you rank that one vs The London Museum of Water and Steam at Kew Bridge but I can help with the comparison between Kew Bridge and the London Museum of Science.

The London museum of Science is kind of like the Smithsonian in that it will have a lot more historically significant and amazing stuff to see than Kew Bridge, however on the other hand the Kew Bridge museum is like hanging out for the day with the guys at your local live steam club.

So I guess if you are into looking at big famous monuments of industry you will probably see more at the London Science Museum but If I had to choose between the two of them Kew Bridge would be #1 by far. Basically once the guys there realize you are a fellow live steamer, you quickly start making friends and getting the behind the scenes tours. While there they took me into their off limits machine shop behind the scenes, and in their shops a local live steam locomotive repair man rents a stall there and does a lot of work. It was neat to see all his projects and chat with some local live steamers about what the hobby is like across the pond. You won't get any level of that camaraderie at the London Science museum whose atmosphere is a lot more "academic".

Additionally the big pumping engines there are really a sight to see and even my wife enjoyed them. What is really amazing to think of is how important those pumping stations really were in their day and age. When you consider how many people would have died of the plague from drinking from the dual purpose water supply/sewer rivers of their day and age I bet that pumping station saved tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives, and their builders spared no expense in decorating such magnificent machinery. In our day and age we take that stuff for granted but it is clear the builders of Kew bridge and Crossness really knew how important their work was and they were damn proud of it. So I would say Kew and Crossness would be top of the list for London.

Also another thing if you are there with the wife, Kew gardens is not far and will make her happy you took her there. If somehow she is more tolerant to your interests prepare to spend as much time at Kew Bridge museum of Water and Steam.

I would say after visiting as many of the great steam sites in England as I could cram into a 2week round trip around the country it is really hard to rank the best of the best over there. They do steam preservation on a level that is almost incomprehensible to an American.

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Greg_Lewis
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Greg_Lewis » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:01 pm

Thanks, guys, for the additional comments. It looks now like this: We'll arrive in London from Dublin about noon on a Sunday, so we'll scoot right over to Water and Steam. Then Monday we'll do the Science Museum and I'll take Wifey to the British Museum. Tuesday Crossness will be open and I've made a contact there. Wednesday we'll spend the day at Greenwich and environs (I'm looking forward to seeing John Harrison's H4 chronometer). Then Thursday we're off to Canterbury and the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch railway. All this means we'll have to forego the Markfield engine, but it's also a pumping engine and the Crossness looks to be more of everything in that department.

We've been to York, the Mother of All RR Museums, and anyone who gets to the UK must go there. (We also went to a Sunday service at York Minster, the second largest Gothic cathedral of Northern Europe. Our visit there is a topic for another forum, but suffice to say, a service (regardless of your religion or lack thereof) in a giant cathedral with the boys choir, sunlight streaming through the stained glass, pipe organ at double forte, is something to experience.) And we've also been to some of the other UK sites including the Ffestiniog and the Jacobite out of Fort William. You could spend a year in the UK and still not get to every railroad and engineering museum.

I'll try to send a travelog of these sites if time permits. We're usually quite exhausted by the end of a travel day, and all I'll have to type on will be my iPad, which is awkward to say the least.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
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tsph6500
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by tsph6500 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:09 am

My daughter just got back 2 weeks ago from a fortnight in the UK with her husband. Both are experienced steam locomotive engineers/firemen here in Canada & the US, so they spent a day on the Great Central Rwy with a 2-6-0 and six coaches. They made 2 round trips of the mainline (18 miles each way?), trading driving and stoking the fire on each run.

Nice equipment, spotlessly maintained, looked like barrels of fun.

I'm not jealous… LOL
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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by fredrosse » Wed Jul 17, 2019 7:59 pm

Went to London to see steam sites, and wanted to take video of everything. When I went into Crossness on their steaming day, I went into a trance at the sight of this fantastic Victorian machinery lurking in every direction. Didn't get much video, but will remember this visit in detail until the day I die.

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Re: Steam in London: help me prioritize

Post by Greg_Lewis » Thu Jul 18, 2019 1:31 am

We're here now. Have done Water and Steam, the Science Museum, Crossness and the Greenwich Observatory. Headed toward the Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch RR. My eyeballs have fallen out and all the circuit breakers in my brain have tripped. The English language does not contain enough words to adequately describe it all. I hope to have time for a report when we get back. All I can say at this point is that everyone should make this pilgrimage. It will change you forever.
Greg Lewis, Prop.
Eyeball Engineering — Home of non-interchangeable parts.
Our motto: "That looks about right."
Celebrating 30 years of turning perfectly good metal into bits of useless scrap.

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