Watercress Line

Miniature Railway Report

We had hoped to get our second platform ready for the August DOWT event but the weather and other priorities conspired against us. None the less we completed the platform ramp paving during the event just leaving some fencing and general tidying up to be done. Many thanks to Martin Champion for taking the lead role in this ably assisted by Richard Matthews, Martin Pratt, Tony Neil, Ben Skelton and even I was press ganged into service!

Day one (Sat 8th) of the Thomas event saw us get off to a storming start with 105 trips made carrying 1080 passengers which was a record for the Miniature Railway. I say “was” as this record was to be broken twice more before the end of the event. On Wed 12th we made the highest number of trips namely 121 but only carried 890 passengers. Thursday was pretty much a washout with torrential rain stopping play for much of the day and gloomy Friday was decidedly average. Then the records started to tumble once again. On Sat 15th we made 114 trips and carried 1112 passengers which itself was surpassed on Sunday when 103 trips saw us carry 1209 passengers. The total for the 9 days of the event was 825 trips during which we carried a grand total of 7377 passengers. To put it into context, for a round trip length of 240m, this means that the train travelled 198km or 123 miles, roughly equivalent to two trips to Portsmouth and back! As I write this I’m still astonished by these numbers for such a small train.

We were particularly privileged to carry our local PC and his irrepressible Vicar friend. Bob the Vicar was very proud to bring his granddaughter for her first ride on the Miniature Railway.  It was particularly gratifying to hear all the positive feedback and to see lots of happy children come back and see us over and over again. The only slightly negative comments were regarding the shortness of the ride with some asking if we are intending to extend the railway. Well we do hope to start extending towards Four Acre Field in the not too distant future but we still have much to do to complete what we have such as cladding and getting power to our container plus finishing off the station. However, I am confident that we will get there, it is just a question of when rather than if.

As always many thanks to everyone that has helped us throughout what we think was a very successful event. Particular thanks are due to Dave Hill, Richard Matthews and Martin Pratt for operating the railway and for putting up with me for the majority of the event!

Ray Briscall

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