Watercress Line

Due to the COVID-19 emergency the Watercress Line Mid Hants Railway is temporarily closed to the public. The safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is our most important consideration. You will know that the Watercress Line relies on ticket revenue to cover its operational costs, which currently work out more than £75,000 a month. Without money coming in from running services, the railway is eating into its financial reserves to survive. If you can help, please click on the Virgin Money Giving link below which allows you to donate a single amount or pay monthly if you're able to. You can also text WATERCRESS to 70085 to donate £10, texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message. Thank you for continuing to support us during this unprecedented situation. We hope to be able to welcome you back to the Watercress Line soon.

Help Please! Seats, Seats, Seats….

We are looking to raise a further £23,000 for seats and tables to go in two Bulleid designed wooden-framed carriages dating from the late 1940’s that we are restoring at Ropley. The carriages are part of the Canadian Pacific Project which centres on the restoration of Merchant Navy class locomotive, Canadian Pacific. Canadian Pacific, or CanPac as she is affectionately known, will become the flagship steam locomotive on the Watercress Line and the two wooden-framed carriages will form part of her carriage set.

No.1456 is a 64-seat open third, so there are 64 seats arranged in two open saloons (each containing 32 seats). While, No.4367 is a semi open brake third, therefore, it has one open saloon and two third class compartments right in the middle of the carriage, which hold eight people each. All of the seats for the open saloons are being manufactured new, because there were none surviving in either carriage. The internal frames for the compartment seats from No.4367 did survive, so these will be renovated and upholstered with brand new moquette (fabric covering). In all we are looking to purchase 96 seats, you can sponsor a seat by donating £240 and when 1456 and 4367 are back in service come and take a ride on the carriages!

Drawings for the structure of the seats do not survive, but we are lucky enough to have general arrangement drawings for the interiors of the carriages which do give several dimensions. This, coupled with our experience from renovating Bulleid brake 4211, which has been in service for approx. 2 years, has allowed us to make the design for the new seats. The design will be outwardly identical to the old seats, but include some internal metal strengthening to allow a greater life span for the new seats (see photo).

The seats will all be covered in brand new moquette, made by the original manufacturer, Holdsworth Fabrics (now known as Camira). The moquette is the Southern Railway Fleur-de-lys pattern and can be seen in interior photos of the carriages when they were in service (see photo).

These carriages were used as part of the Bournemouth dining trains and had tables in the open saloons. Most Bulleid carriages did not have tables, but ours did, so new table tops will be manufactured and the legs and brackets will be made in our workshop.

The target is to finish Bulleid open-third 1456 by March 2019 and the aim for it to be in service by mid-2019 hauling passengers up and down the Watercress Line. No.4367 will not be long behind it with a target date of 2020. 

Sponsor a seat for £240, with 96 seats to purchase there are more than enough! 

We would really appreciate your donations to help ensure that we can complete the renovation work and put these two carriages back into service behind our flagship loco, Merchant Navy class no. 35005 Canadian Pacific. 

Donations can be made via our My Donate page or a cheque made payable to Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society. If you are a UK resident and taxpayer please accompany your cheque with a note giving us your postcode or download our gift aid form.  Please send cheques to Canadian Pacific Project, Mid Hants Railway, The Railway Station, Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 9JG

Thanks for reading, 

Becky (Project Supervisor)

Photo gallery

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