That’s just the sort of question one can get asked when one says that we spend Tuesdays at the Kempton site of the “Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway” [particularly by the wife!].

Well, here’s a task that is far from obvious, is quite time-consuming, but is essential, and quite satisfying when completed: Fixing the point-change mechanisims:

Let’s say we start with a turnout.

It’s repaired and ready – except that there is no point-change mechanism!

We need to get a suitable mechanism ready; it might look a bit like this pile of ‘useful parts’ :

So there is work to do, mainly at a convenient work-bench under the A316, stripping the bits apart – which sometimes takes a lot of easing-oil, elbow grease and brute force – and then cleaning them up and painting them, ready for re-use.
Sometimes the bits are just too corroded for reuse and new parts have to be made, but most are re-useable. The work bench is soon a mass of disassembled and part-renovated pieces:


But you can soon see progress and before too long you have a point-change mechanism which is all-but ready to go into action, and all that is needed is a few final adjustments which are made on-site:


Of course those few ‘adjustments’ might involve a lot of ‘blood, sweat and tears’; certainly a bit of hammering, drilling and sometimes a bit of work with a saw, but when the mechanism is finally in place on the “Hanworth Loop” and the clunk of the mechanism and the swish of the point blades as they swing across makes it all very satisfying.

Here is our “Track Supervisor”, Jim Hewett, testing the newly installed mechanism for the trap-point to the siding West of the Hanworth Loop platform:


There is still quite a pile of unrepaired mechanisms, as the second picture shows, and lots of points to which they need to be fitted – the next one being the ‘break-out point’ from the Hanworth Loop to the mainline line towards the A316 and on the Hampton, which might be installed in the next few months.

So if you would like to join us at Kempton to develop the Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway all the way back to Hampton then check out our website

And then if somebody asks “What will you do all day?” you can assure them that it is not pointless!