Watercress Line

New lamps for old

We now have had another couple of original railway lamps donated to the Railway, and thanks for those to the donors. We haven’t as yet got detailed plans for them but we hope to cosmetically restore them in between the programmed work and we will look display them in a suitable location to be decided. It’s no good just having these kind of artefacts in store, they need to be renovated and on display for current and future generations to be able to see and appreciate the history they reflect. I think the blog title was used before for a similar donation but its worth repeating.


A  job for Alton during the ‘closed season’ has been to fix dado rails in the public toilet block. A team from the station staff have started to repaint the interior, following the exterior repaint by contractors. The dado rails  will provide a border to which the walls can be regularly cleaned and re-painted as necessary without having to go right to the quite high ceiling, as the upper parts should not need to be dealt with as often as the lower areas. The rails also help to give a bit more depth to the interior instead of the large expanse of bare wall. It is also planned to extract some photos of the Alton station in steam days from the Railway’s archive and to frame and mount them on the toilet block walls to give even more of a less bleak feel. Well done to those of the station staff for their help keeping the station looking good.


The Goods Shed at Medstead having got to the fit out stage shows more visible signs of the finished interior. The new doors which will provide the normal access and daylight illumination are being fitted and the painting has now progressed to the gloss finish on the walls. Doors for the cabinets for the artefacts are being made in the workshop, and are of the style used in other projects, replicating a traditional tongue and groove finish to be painted in interior Southern green. I think we have got examples of this type in every station along the line now following various projects we have done. The stove in the workshop has had to be kept going with scrap wood and coal during the working days this last few weeks in order to try and get the paint to dry between coats - and to help cold fingers to actually grasp the paintbrushes and rollers.


Following our sub-contracted work for the S&T Department the said S&T chaps have now planted the new starter signal at the London end of the downside platform at Medstead. This was done without the aid of photos at the time but the finished article is now available for view. The back fill was done with the spoil removed from the hole and the embankment and will eventually be finished of with a traditional covering of ash when the ground has settled.


At Ropley, on a very cold day,  we installed a new batch of signs to designate where visitors can park in the upper car park area. These are in the laybys in the track to the Watercress Lodges holiday cottages and provides parking for visitors additional to the Railway car park off Bighton Hill. It is hoped that the visitors will park face in to allow more space for cars, unlike the chaps fitting the signs- but there wasn’t anyone else around on the day. The current roadworks at the bottom of the hill at the junction with the A31, being carried out in conjunction with the small housing development, makes turning in much easier as the lane is now a double carriageway for a couple of hundred yards or so. The new signs also provide a new perching spot for a friendly Robin who watched us erect the posts, but in true nature photography form flew off just a the photo was taken- that’s wildlife for you.


Bob Brooks

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