Watercress Line

Sat 19th Jan p-way blog

A report by Adam Kitchen , photos by Adam and Corina.

A large gathering split into two groups after the ritual offerings of tea and biscuits.

A small team of Corina, Neil and Adrian N went up to Alton to the foot of the now closed Butts bridge to retrieve an original LSWR boundary marker that Steve H had hidden and undisturbed for a few decades before the demolition team move in and it is lost forever.

Meanwhile the main gang saddled the working Wickham and headed to Alresford to change a length of 8 wooden sleepers, just up from the Sun Lane bridge, that had passed their best. The wooden sleepers, while having the right 'heritage' look and being significantly lighter than the concrete sleepers, do not survive as long before they start to break down. They are also a lot shallower than the concrete sleepers, so once the old sleepers had been removed, the track bed needed digging down to allow the taller concrete sleepers to sit at the right level.

After changing the sleepers the light was beginning to fade. So the decision was made that the finalising of the positioning and filling in with ballast would be left till the following week, and they'd be packed (chipping filled in under the sleepers to infill any voids) and the ends of the sleepers embedded in ballast to ensure that the track was stable for any stock movements that might be happening over the week.

The gang took advantage of being so close to the station to remove some bags of green waste from the cattle docks for disposal.

Back at Medstead Corina did good work, cleaning up the boundary marker and progressing the painting of the Wickham parts.

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