The knowledge of transient flow in pressure pipelines is very important for the designing and describing of pressure networks. The water hammer is the most common example of transient flow in pressure pipelines. During this phenomenon, the transformation of kinetic energy into pressure energy causes significant changes in pressure, which can lead to serious problems in the management of pressure networks. The phenomenon is very complex, and a large number of different factors influence its course. In the case of a water hammer caused by valve closing, the characteristic of gate closure is one of the most important factors. However, this factor is rarely investigated. In this paper, the results of physical experiments with water hammer in steel and PE pipelines are described and analyzed. For each water hammer, characteristics of pressure change and valve closing were recorded. The measurements were compared with the results of calculations perfomed by common methods used by engineers – Michaud’s equation and Wood and Jones’s method. The comparison revealed very significant differences between the results of calculations and the results of experiments. In addition, it was shown that, the characteristic of butterfly valve closure has a significant influence on water hammer, which should be taken into account in analyzing this phenomenon. Comparison of the results of experiments with the results of calculations? may lead to new, improved calculation methods and to new methods to describe transient flow.