Abbey Pumping Station Visit 2011

by Bob Humpage

Abbey Pump Station and National Space Centre, Leicester.

Sunday the 11th of September saw a number of club members heading north up the M1 to Leicester to visit the Abbey Pumping Station and the National Space Centre. I had been to the NSC myself not that long ago so I decided to visit the Pumping Station on their Seaside Special Steam Day. The car park outside held a display of old Buses and it transpired that  the Leicester Heritage Transport Trust  were holding a running day with their own and visiting busses and were giving trips around the town. There were around 15 busses on site spanning around 50 years of Omnibus transport from 1939. On entry to the Pump Station past the 80 ton RB steam excavator I found that they had built a beach with sand and water and a mini model yacht lake and soon enough the kids were messing around in the water and building sand castles.  The Abbey trust is hoping to restore the excavator to running condition.

The pump house holds four massive steam engines that were built around 150 years ago to pump sewage. Two of the engines were in steam and the view at the top watching the massive beams gracefully rocking back and forth is quite amazing.

There were plenty of other things to see around the site. The narrow gauge steam loco was trundling around its track. A varied collection of classic commercials cars and a couple of old scooters were on show next to the kids

Fairground stalls. In one of the buildings on site which houses a number of vehicles there were a number of model displays including busses and a live steam model workshop, there was also a railway layout built into a W & H Smith platform kiosk.. The museum had a fair bit of its own transport collection on show ranging from Horse drawn delivery vans, a Mini van and a 100 year old Leyland tower truck used for repairing overhead tram cables. Also on show were a steamroller and a very early diesel roller.
On the vehicle side of particular interest to me were a number of O series Bedford trucks, including a Fish and Chip van with coal fired fryers and they were selling chips at a 1 per portion. Other Bedford’s included a breakdown truck and an Austin beer lorry. (More conversion ideas).

All in all it was a good trip out and I would recommend the Pumping station as a visit for anyone.


Bob Humpage.


              1 Per Portion                      82 Ton Tracted Ruston Bycyrus                 100 year old leyland
            1939 AEC Renown                            1947 Leyland PS1                1951 Crossley 8A                                                                                               Willowbrook Body                Brush Body Work456
1954 Leyland Titan PD2                          1958 AEC Plaxton Consort                 1958 Leyland Tiger789
1965 AEC Renown                           1967 Leyland Titan PD3                     1974 Leyland Leopard Marshall


1975 Bristol RE                                       Another Conversion                     Beam Bearing Nearly A Foot Across131415
Beam Engine At Work                           Bedford Breakdown Truck                  Bedford Chip Van

Beer Truck Conversion                                   Bristol RE                                         Conversion Possibilities

Crane Details                                           Daimler                                             Engine Flywheel                                                      

Last PD3 In Leicester 1982                         Leyland Tower Truck                       RouteMaster


                          Static Beam                                                                              Towing Dolly


Club Meetings held at

Windmill Primary School Windmill Lane Raunds