The National Traction Engine Trust

As many people will be aware, for some considerable time the National Traction Engine Trust has been working hard to try and find a way in which owners and crew can legally and equally as importantly, affordably extract water from Fire Hydrants.  It’s a path of negotiation that has often met with frustration, but we were delighted to be able to announce that we thought we were in a position to introduce the ‘Authorised Water Extraction Scheme' for steam vehicles on the road.

The scheme had been negotiated by David Smith, Head of our Technical Services Unit and the then, Managing Director of Aqam Water Services, who had hoped to get sufficient water utility companies on board to proceed with the first phase of a 2 phase scheme.
Phase 1 was/is the 'Calm Network Training' or CNT.

This is a FREE to NTET members on-line training and examination facility administered by AQUAM and the NTET.  The successful candidate will recieve an AQUAM Calm Network Training Certificate.

The NTET  initially attracted large numbers of members to the Scheme and  this initial 'bulk training' period was completed by the end of 2016. It was hoped that this would showcase the interest in the scheme to the water industry.

Phase 2 was to be the launch of the 'Authorised Water Extraction Scheme'. This would have been the actual working of the scheme, which has now been put back due to substantial management changes within Aquam and the water utilities.

We still openly encourage all engine owners and crew members who are members of the Trust to register for the online training, via hydrants@ntet.co.uk  – it will cost you nothing, yet will lead to you being able to display an understanding of the fragility of the water system and the correct equipment that is essential for its use.

We do however warn you that it is still a criminal offence to extract water from the network.

At the time of the original announcements Chairman of the National, Anthony Coulls commented, “We are delighted to be working with the water industry on what I believe is perhaps the most important single positive development for the road steam world in my lifetime. Any engine crew taking water from a hydrant over the last three decades will have done so with one eye over their shoulder for the water authority. It must be stressed that this is being driven by our friends in the water industry and we all owe them every cooperation as the scheme progresses”

The NTET is aware that there will be plenty of engine owners and crew members who are not members of the Trust who might wish to take part in phase one of the scheme.  We openly invite you to join us to take advantage of Phase One of the Scheme, contact our membership secretary via membership@ntet.co.uk quoting ‘ntet-hydrants’ and she will happily welcome you on board.

Where Are We Today:

We have to confess to a degree of frustration and trepidation with regard to this project.

You will recall the enthusiasm with which the then MD of Aquam, helped devise the principles of the scheme and how he encouraged us to start the Calm Network Training before 2017 started. He wanted as many as possible of our members to take up the CNT in order that Aquam to demonstrate to the water utilities the large number of trained itinerant users.

We must remember that out Authorised Water Extraction Scheme was to ride on the back of Aquams success in negotiating their own deal with the water utilities to undertake the maintenance of their networks infrastructure. Our scheme was always going to be a bonus.

You can imagine our disappointment when we were asked by the Director responsible for negotiating with utilities to 'back off'. Our enthusiasm had reached the ears of the remaining utilities with whom negotiations had not been concluded and were asking 'what’s this about a free water scheme'. It was considered that quite rightly the cart was before the horse and was in danger of messing up negotiations.

However at the end of March 2017 we wwere contacted and told that the batten will once again be picked up on our behalf in the very near future. It does mean that we have to resubmit all emails and paperwork - but we are pleased to say there is still contact and some movement!

The National Traction Engine Trust is aware that our communications to those that have signed up for the CNT side of things has been less than perfect, but as we are sure you'll appreciate, negotiations at times have been delicate.

We will endeavour to  bring news on this scheme as and when we have it, both good and bad.

07 Jul 2016