It’s hard to believe that one small engine could be as important to the running of the Line of Lode as the Parsons marine engine housed at the West Darling Machinery Preservation Society’s Crystal Street workshop.
When the diesel engines first kicked over at the Central Power Station, they were started with this Parsons marine engine. The engine was used to power the air compressors that in turn ignited the main power station engines. If these engines failed, the power supply would be lost to the entire operations of the Line of Lode.
The engine on display at the ‘Conservation Centre’ is one such machine. It is believed to have been installed for the life of the power station, first as the primary ignition, then later on, as an emergency backup in case the more modern solution failed.
It was originally rescued from the power station by Pro Hart and later donated to the society by Pro’s son. This piece demonstrates the great craftsmanship that went into work at the time with several beautifully made brass gauges, levers and other components.