Watercress Line

Buildings Catch Up

The War on the Line event in June and the End of Steam Galas in July saw Building Department work mainly confined to the workshop. Cast iron signs were being re-painted ready for re-erection  at locations along the line. A tricky painstaking job that has to be done in stages to build up the paint and allow for drying in between coats. At least they do seem to last quite a long time when done which is something. A new fence panel for the picnic area at Alresford was spare was adapted and painted to replace a temporary galvanised panel at the top of the ramp and a number of other smaller tasks too numerous to list-we don’t waste any time if possible-  unless it’s for tea.


Work on the yard steps at Medstead progressed with the shuttering installed to create the former for the concrete. Reinforcement steel mesh was laid in before the cross risers were put in place and this will be raised on ‘castles’ to bring it into the concrete forming the base. This job has been a little delayed due to people on holiday- we do let them go at times- and resources diverted to other projects, like the Goods Shed fit out at Medstead. We need to move this job along as it causes confusion, easily done with some of us, when we walk to where the old steps were to find just an earth slope and have to walk back around the S&T building to get to the other steps. Once all the shuttering is in place it’s all hands to the pump (cement mixer actually) to start a concrete pour.


The goods shed project at Medstead  moved a bit further towards completion with the initial fit out of some artefacts and display material, some of it only in a temporary state. The video display screens were fitted together with the video equipment that is linked to a PIR arrangement to activate when visitors approach the screen to show a recorded film about the role of a guard on goods trains and about goods train traffic generally. Some of the other displays are flexible in that they can be changed and adapted as new information and material come to hand.- suitable donations, either permanent or on loan, are welcome. Passengers stopping off at Medstead now have an additional  attraction to view apart from the traditional station buildings, and a lot of interest was shown by passengers in the displays as they stand at present.


At Alton the re-paint of the signal box has continued, as weather permitted and gives the structure a nice fresh appearance to grace the scene as viewed from the station. Our painting team bravely changed their working day to Mondays to do this job, when there weren’t any train movements to have to work around, especially when tackling the side facing the tracks where a tower platform was used to tackle the height.


Due to the busy environment at Ropley during the two gala weekends we were unable to get much further with the drain at the bottom of the slope from the platform but the work we have managed to do to date shows the drainage channels in place and the start of laying the setts in that area. There will be much more on this- if readers can stand it- as we start to get into the job proper.


Bob Brooks

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