Watercress Line

Blitz at Alton

There were a few outstanding jobs that we had at Alton to finish off, and due to the current lack of through trains it was decided to get a team up there to complete them in one visit rather than split the teams up on the regular volunteer days. The chaps organised themselves- there’s a novelty- into three groups to blitz the work and get the tasks completed in one day. One team tackled the replacement of the newly constructed running-in board that had been worked on since the line was temporarily truncated. Another team put together the component parts of the train watering hose reel cabinet that had been taken to the station previously and stored. This will give frost protection to the new hose reel that was fitted earlier in the year. The final team did a refurbishment job on the Strongs of Romsey sign that had some parts of the frame that need replacement. This was swung to the ground on the bolts installed as part of the construction to allow such repair work to be carried out more easily at ground level - a little forward thinking does help.

An item that has been in storage for some time has finally seen the light of day. It is an original etched glass panel from a set of doors from the Railway Hotel in Farnham. This was an hotel that was build and run by the London and South Western Railway and is now call the Mulberry Hotel. We did have two panels, but one got broken a while ago whilst it was in storage, so it was thought prudent to ensure this relic had a safer future. It has been mounted in a purpose-built frame in order to display the LSWR etching and has been hung in the Old Goods Shed at Alresford.

The new sash windows for the waiting room at Medstead have finally been painted up to gloss and installed. These are a fairly complicated construction from scratch and a fairly long gestation period was involved in their construction and glazing. However, now fitted they look very well and completely replicate the originals and hopefully will give many years of service.

Further signs have been produced for Ropley station to create a more cohesive look around the station site. The latest are replacement signs for the gates to the top car park showing visitors and staff the time when the gates are to be locked each day. They have now been fitted but some work on the gates will follow to repair some damage to the panelling and new retaining catches have been made to hold the gates open during the day, which are more functional than the concrete blocks used to date. More traditional looking direction signs are to follow to compliment the new interpretation attractions being installed in the Boiler Shop and Carriage Works. Also, some fence panels are in the course of construction in the workshop to edge the exit path from the Boiler Shop viewing gallery which will soon come into play.

Bob Brooks

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