Watercress Line

Coronavirus / Covid-19 Update

Our priority during the Coronavirus / Covid-19 outbreak, and the railway's closure, is on meeting our running costs. We need around £75,000 per month. Without this income, within a relatively short period we will exhaust our reserves which are so important us for our long term plans.

Although these are difficult times for all of us, we are asking you to consider providing financial support to the railway. With your support, ideally through a monthly standing order, the railway can be in a safe and good position to move forward rapidly when circumstances allow.

The amount is up to you as everyone’s circumstances are different, but please give as generously as you can. One-off donations would also be welcomed.

Thank you.

Visit our donation page to make a monthly gift or donate a single amount.

You can also text WATERCRESS to 70085 to donate £10. Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message.


Happy New Year to our reader/s... It's been a couple of months since the last report... well with our Christmas lunch, the Christmas and New Year breaks, weather etc, time seems to fly by...

Anyway, an update on recent activities.  The Queen Mary brake van S 56302 was reported with a soaking wet guards cushion following the Autumn Gala, and the source of this we determind was a leak above the guards ducket on the north side. Alterations have been made to the lintel above the ducket, and it should now be watertight. At the same time as this we had planned to replace the T&G planking in the guards cabin south side, as the timbers were showing signs of rot. Upon removal it appears the T&G had been installed the wrong way up (at it's previous restoration base), and hence a tendency to trap water in the channels. 

Our QM restoration man David Taylor moved to Portishead several years ago, but finding frustration with local steam railways thereabouts, he has now decided to commute back to Medstead on a regular basis. Welcome back David! Anyway the south side of the QM now has the new T&G installed, and awaits final painting works. There are some other smaller areas of T&G rot, and these will be dealt with over the coming weeks.

BY S 653, although not fully completed, made it's first operational runs in late November on a "Mad Hants" photo charter. It has now come back to Medstead for completion of the steam heating piping, window frames, internal painting and other bits and pieces. There is another photo charter planned to include it in February.

Work continues on the "Gunpowder" van with cutting out the last two remaining rotten steel panels and gas axing out rivets. The Maroon CCT S 1765 has had more scraping, chipping and derusting of the underframe. Dillon has taken part of the steam heating drain pipe thereon home for repair/replacement.  

We have some new T&G for the model railway PMV at Alresford S 1995, but a December expedition to fit this came up with a problem of coaching stock in the adjacent siding restricting access to get the new planks in... So a bit more planning required here.

With the Alton Butts bridge closure for pretty well all of 2019, it's been exactly a year since we last had a shunt at Alton... but the two completed Palvan B 782114 and B 776446 were taken down to Ropley last Friday for Fitness To Run exams this week, along with a rake of wagons from Bennetts.  So now we just need to get some "new" wagons to Alton to work on, one of which hopefully will be the BR Meat van B 870073. Following it's arrival a couple of months ago, we sheeted it over down at Alresford, so the timbers should be dry. We will need to construct some new doors here, as the timbers are well past it.

So over the past weeks at Alton we have had to be a bit inventive to create some work. The station staff have been having a good tidy up around the station area, and we have been busy also filling the Rudd wagon down the end of the yard with unwanted rubbish. Last week, we oiled the Palvans doors, so they now opened a lot easier; oiled the 16 ton mineral wagon (used for the cranes coal storage) axle boxes, and screw couplings. Some more preparatory work to the Dance Hall brake van S 55506, with angle grinding off bolts holding ply sheets at the London end. A quick trip up to Medstead also to measure up for some new chalk destination boards for a van.

SR brake van S 56506 at Medstead has also had some new roofing felt, and a couple of coats of black bitumen thereon. The 75079 loco group were also commissioned to make a couple of roof vents for this wagon, and these will be fitted on the roof soon.

Chris Le Corney

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