Miraculously, large sections of the original 5,350 yard long track bed from Hampton riverside to the Kempton Waterworks buildings survive more or less intact, though the rails themselves have long since disappeared. It is the long term aim of the MWBRS to eventually restore the original route in its entirety. At the moment we are also considering three new routes for the Kempton end of the line, although we do not yet have permission for any of them.
From the station the line is planned to run south until it reaches the Shepperton branch railway line where it will turn roughly east (3).
Route 1 then heads north along the old standard gauge siding trackbed and crosses the Staines Aqueduct on the old SG bridge, passes the Gauge House (shown in 4) and rejoins the original trackbed (as shown in 6).
Route 2 continues eastward parallel to the Shepperton line for another 150m or so before swinging roughly north east, crossing the aqueduct on new bridge before joining the old route (as shown in 7). Both these routes have been surveyed but are less likely to be allowed than Route 3.Route 3 continues parallel to the Shepperton Line for approximately a further 200m before crossing the aqueduct in the vicinity of Bunny Lane (9). It may be possible to use the existing bridge there (or part of it) to cross the aqueduct or it may require a new bridge. There will also be a station here to serve the Kempton Nature Reserve.
The line will now enter a rather pleasant area alongside the aqueduct (11 & 12) before dropping a little to go under the Shepperton line (13). Here we encounter an engineering problem. At some time since narrow gauge trains last ran the bridge has been strengthened by fixing new beams underneath the old ones, thus reducing the headroom by about a foot. This leaves about 7 feet clearance from the concrete roadway. This is not really sufficient so the options are either to build special low height rolling stock or try to lower the trackbed. Removing the beams is not thought to be an option.
There is a steepish climb out from under the bridge (14) and that will bring the line alongside the Red House Reservoir which is a most delightful setting (15, 16, 17). After about 200m the line enters Hyde’s field (18) and turns south away from the Shepperton line to terminate by the Upper Sunbury Road. This last section is now totally overgrown with quite mature trees and will require a lot of clearing. One possibility here is to have a continuous loop of track here so that the trains will not have to be reversed.
Other suggestions for the Kempton end have included running under the A316 flyover to a station on the west side and running a branch to Kempton Park station for the convenience of passengers arriving by train. Both these are possibilities but are not part of the initial plan. There could be all sorts of variations as we not only have to satisfy the requirements of Thames Water but also those required to get planning permission. It is quite likely that at first the line will go no further than Bunny Lane.
While we await permission to commence the Hampton – Kempton line we have progressed a ‘demonstration’ railway in the Paddock to the north west of the A316. This is adjacent to the Kempton Great Engines and leased to them. This we have styled “The Hanworth Loop” as it is in that area of Hounslow.