Watercress Line

New version of Frozen

Whilst Disney is good and the recent film Frozen has been very popular with children we at the Railway we can also produce some  entertaining winter scene effects. The drips from the water  crane at Alresford,that occur due to a slight leak on the valve, have been subject to about 10 days of frost and have slowly built up to form a column of ice. As the sun never penetrates this far down in the cutting at this time of the year any ice doesn’t get chance to thaw hence the unusual but quite spectacular effect. The column was in fact hollow and was able to be broken of quite easily, so any loco that might have need a top up would have had to have it lumps. All the rest of the machinery, the  tank, valves and pipework were found to be fine without any problem due to the weather. We look to tackle the passing leak in the valve when the weather improves and fingers are a bit more supple when handling steel pieces.

In the workshop the renovation of the crossing gate lamp for the Medstead yard  has had further work done on it in between the regular work.  An original glass lens has been fixed into a purpose made frame and the hinged lid has been repaired and fitted to the body of the lamp. This has now been installed on the left gate facing outwards to show for vehicles approaching on that side if the road and will help to set the scene for the goods yard and goods shed museum area-  its not the red light district of Medstead.

The cast iron lamp is of a typical Southern region style and the bracket that holds the lamp to the gate was generously donated to the Mid Hants Railway, having originally been fitted at Baynards Station level crossing near Waverley in Surrey on the Cranleigh Line where the location and gates played a part in the 1942 Will Hay film “The Black Sheep of Whitehall“. A suitable rain cap has since been located and will be restored and fitted in due course to the lamp. The photo shows a misty  day at Medstead & Four Marks with Black 5 45379 steaming into the station on Santa Special duties.

Also in the workshop we have at last taken delivery of the second Halls Distemper sign that we have been awaiting for some time. It was worth the wait as the artwork is brilliant. As opposed to the two man post mounted sign we erected at Ropley in the summer this one is a wall sign and will be fixed at Alresford station. The exact location is yet to be determined, and there are limited suitable wall spaces on which to fix it, but we will sort something out to give it the prominence it deserves.

Coughs, cold, flu, rain and cold have played a part in limiting work carried out on some days but quite a lot of ‘bitty’ jobs have been done. Not least in the Goods Shed at Medstead where the internal walls and ceiling have reached the stage of painting. Already the overall effect can be seen as to what the finished article will look like and will provide a suitable setting in which the displays of goods traffic related artefacts and information can be mounted. A fan heater was brought into play once the electric circuits were complete, not only to give a bit of warmth to the chaps but also to help the paint dry. The cross beams in the picture will be stained and the metalwork picked out in black to add a heritage look.


Bob Brooks

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