Watercress Line

Support us

The Mid Hants Railway is a not-for-profit organisation, meaning that all profit generated from your visit is re-invested in the railway. It relies upon your generosity and support; whether its through paying to visit us or through personal donations. There are several ways you can support our continuing mission to preserve part of the country's railway heritage for future generations:

Queen Mary Brake Van

The iconic 25 Ton Queen Mary Brake Van was introduced by the Southern Railway in 1936. The new builds were built on a shortened version of the carriage underframes from the LB&SCR motor luggage vans made, which were made redundant when the LB&SCR converted from overhead power to third rail. The cabin of these smooth riding Bogie Brake Vans was spacious and comfortable and considered by the guards who used them as being “fit for a queen.” King George V was the monarch at the time, his Queen being Mary of Teck, hence the nickname that stuck.

One of these uniquely Southern vehicles has been on the MHR ‘wish list’ for many years. They don’t become available very often but the opportunity has arisen to purchase a good condition, fully restored and operational Queen Mary.

We need to move quickly to secure this vehicle for the MHR. Our Wagon Group have already raised two thirds of the purchase price, and we have agreed to bridge the difference from existing funds so the opportunity is not lost.

If you would like to contribute towards the purchase of a Queen Mary for the Watercress Line it would be appreciated.

MHR_Queen_Mary_Brake_Van.pdf (pdf - 179149 bytes)

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Annual membership

Help support our railway heritage and receive the following benefits:

  • 50% discount on all Mid Hants Railway fares! (except Day Out With Thomas & Santa Specials, Dining trains and RAT's)
  • FREE Members’ and Shareholders’ weekend in September
  • FREE magazine, the ‘Mid Hants News’, issued 3 times a year to keep you up to date with the latest information and reports from the railway.
  • Join and attend regional group meetings.
  • The opportunity to become a working volunteer in a variety of areas such as office, loco, catering, shops, building, permanent way and more!

2016 membership rates
Adult - £28 (annually) / £112 (5 year)
Junior (under 18) - £12 (annually)
Over 70 - £20 (annually) /  £80 (5 year)
Family (2 Adults + 2 Juniors) - £40 (annually) / £160 (5 year)

How to join
To join the MHRPS please download the application form below. Alternatively you can email us here. Please note that membership is valid from 1st January to 31st December. 

Please make cheques payable to MHRPS Ltd and post with your completed application form. To pay by Mastercard/Visa/Maestro/Solo card please call 01962 733810.

If you are renewing your existing membership please include your membership number in all correspondence. Renewals can be made by standing order.  How to set up a standing order can be found in the Mid Hants News.  Alternatively, you can now renew your membership online.  Its quick and easy!

MHRPS Membership Application Form (pdf - 81592 bytes)

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Your railway needs you!

Volunteers are the backbone of the Mid Hants Railway, without them there would be no trains running, no coaches to sit in, no stations to wait at and no track to run on.  With the exception of 50 paid staff, the railways 450 volunteers do everything from driving the trains to maintaining the station gardens.  From a day per month, to days in a week, hundreds of loyal volunteers take it upon themselves to travel up to 100 miles to help out in one way or another.  There’s a surprising variety of volunteer roles, it’s not all just engineering and locomotives. Whether you have existing skills or you would like to do something totally different, we also have requirements in education, catering, retail, building, carpentry, customer services and even horticulture!

With some people fitting their visits around full time work commitments and others joining when they retire, the MHR's volunteer workforce keeps us functioning every day. Keeping body and mind active, the railway is a ready-made community waiting to welcome you in!

So why should you join?

  • As part of a ready-made community you will be working with a group of like minded, dedicated people with a common purpose.
  • Volunteering keeps your mind active and many tasks will help you keep physically active too.
  • To be part of a historical legacy, preserving steam travel for future generations.
  • To see and hear the delight of visitors enjoying all your hard work is a truly rewarding feeling. 

Find out more...
Through our website - You can find out about the activities of all our departments through our website Preservation section and regular preservation blogs, detailing many of the happenings up and down the line. 

Speak to our volunteers - On a day when services are running you can come and speak to numerous volunteers in pretty much all of our departments to find out more about what's involved.

How to join
Email info@watercressline.co.uk and we will be more than happy to send you more information, or forward your email to the head of a specific department.

Come to a Volunteers Welcome Day in the Goods Shed (Alresford station):
Sunday 28th May 2017, 10am

For more information about the Volunteers Welcome Day and to book a place please contact Dave Yaldren on 02380 906 211. 

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MHRPS Grand Draw

When you visit us please purchase an MHRPS prize draw ticket from our sellers. The total prize fund is £1800, with a first prize of £1000, and winners are drawn in October.

MHRPS Grand Draw Form.pdf (pdf - 145203 bytes)

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Via easyfundraising.org.uk

Sign up to the Easy Fundraising website and raise funds for the Watercress Line when you shop at over 2000 major retailers online including Amazon, M&S, John Lewis, Argos and many more! Each retailer will donate up to 15% of whatever you spend and you can see your donations add up as you go along! Its very simple to do - just set up an account with Easy Fundraising and then select which organisation(s) you would like to support. Easy Fundraising gives you a unique ID so that they and the retailers can track the donations, but be assured that all of your details are secure, there are no adverts or nasty things like spyware or viruses and Easy Fundraising cannot see the details of your purchases.

See how much we've raised so far

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You can make a straightforward donation to the Railway in several ways, and we would be very grateful for your support:

Send us a cheque 
Please make cheques payable to The MHRPS.  If you are UK resident and Taxpayer please accompany your cheque with a note giving us your post code, this will allow us to claim Gift Aid. If you would like your donation to go towards a particular project please let us know.  Please send cheques to The Mid Hants Railway, The Railway Station, Alresford, Hampshire SO24 9JG

We have a secure payment process where you can make donations online using a credit card for each individual appeal, please click the link next to the relevant project below.

Cash donations can be made at any of our stations.

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The Mid Hants Railway Ltd, the Company that owns and operates the railway, uses its income to cover the operating costs of the railway, including the overhaul costs of the coaches, some locomotives and the maintenance of the infrastructure.

However, in common with other organisations such as ours, not just heritage railways, funds for major capital projects have to be raised in other ways, and this where the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society comes in.

Major projects often need a ‘kick start’, this can be in the form of support from organisations like the Heritage Lottery Fund, PRISM (Preservation of Industrial & Scientific Material) or those who generously choose to leave a legacy.

Legacies are a very valuable and much appreciated source of income for the Mid Hants Railway.

Making a Will
It is important that everyone makes a Will to ensure that your estate goes to whomever you choose. Leaving a Will ensures that your wishes are carried out, leaving no doubt or uncertainty for those you leave behind. A Will can also include a gift to a charity or charities of your choice.

Anyone can leave a charitable gift in their Will. It can be a simple cash payment or a percentage of the remaining or residuary estate. Should you so choose, be assured whatever the size of your gift, it will be most warmly received by the Mid Hants Railway.

When you are preparing a Will or planning your finances for the future, would you consider the Mid Hants Railway? By leaving such a gift you will be helping to secure the future of the railway and the continued development of our tracks, stations, locos and coaches. You can leave a gift to a specific item such as an engine or for the benefit of the general running of the railway.

How to Leave a Legacy
Simply let your solicitor know that you would like to include a gift to the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society and provide our full address and charity registration number:

Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society, The Railway Station, New Alresford, Hampshire SO24 9JG Registered Charity No. 284406

Inheritance Tax
Leaving charitable gifts in your Will can certainly help you to reduce the value of your estate liable for Inheritance Tax. The current taxable threshold stands at £325,000. Above this amount, subject to certain provisions and exemptions, everything can be taxed at a rate of 40%. Charitable gifts are tax exempt, and so by leaving a gift to the Mid Hants Railway you could reduce the amount of tax paid after your death. A useful leaflet is available from HM Revenue & Customs 

For more information: If you would like further information please contact: mhr.membership@btconnect.com

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Corporate fundraising

One of the fundraising areas the MHRPS trustees are looking to develop is corporate fundraising and we need your help. Many companies recognise the importance of supporting communities as part of their corporate social responsibility; support from external organisations could include donations of  money, employee time and second hand engineering tools/equipment. We have created a fundraising pack which outlines why the MHR is a great cause to consider and includes case studies of our past successes. We have recently had a donation of BSW nuts and bolts which will keep our stocks full for a short while as well as a MAG drill.

MHRPS Corporate Fundraising Pack (pdf - 734515 bytes)

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Restore Southern Railway Merchant Navy Class No. 35005 Canadian Pacific

This magnificent locomotive was designed by OVS Bulleid, Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Southern Railway, and was assigned to the heaviest of duties.  The cavernous firebox must have been a Fireman's nightmare, but the locomotives steamed beautifully and were known for their power and speed, topping 100mph towards the end of steam was not uncommon.  Can Pac, as she is affectionately known, was even recorded achieving 105mph! Following the fantastic Heritage Lottery Fund award of £895,000 we still need to reach our £200,000 match funding contribution to finance the restoration of Canadian Pacific and the two Bulleid coaches, much of which is happening at Eastleigh Works where she was originally built. 

We therefore still need you help!

Contribute online

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Restore BR Standard Class 4 No.75079

The opportunity arose recently to acquire the partly restored 75079 and although much work has been done on the restoration, there is more to be done and the estimate of the cost of that work currently stands at £200,000. The engine is ideally suited to our line; with the hill in the middle we must have powerful engines, but not unnecessarily powerful.  The Standard Four is just right; it can cope with five or six coaches but it could not manage significantly more, so it is economical to run. It is also a simple engine, built using the latest technology, and therefore easier and cheaper for the Railway to maintain. We therefore require your generous donations and contributions towards this project!

Contribute online

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