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.


An update from the past few weeks on wagons...

Well there's been a bit of publicity recently about the Flying Scotsman, but with the recent weather a lot of our attention has been with the Flying Sheets! We have quite a few vans and wagons that are protected by sheeting, and exposure to the winds at open locations such as Medstead and Alton has not been good for them...So a fair bit of resecuring and repairs have been carried out. We could buy some new ones, but the installation of a new one is a certain guarantee of the next gale arriving shortly, and back to square one!  

A number of wagons were shunted down to Ropley in mid January for Fitness To Run exams. Our thanks to Chris Ellick, Phil Griffin and Richard Bentley for their efforts here. There are identified actions required on some wagons, and we are working through the list. The FTR's however enabled the freight train to run for a Timeline Charter on 3rd February, and there is a photo of this in the current Heritage Railway magazine. 

BY S 653 has had further internal painting and lighting works, and these and the completion of the steam heating need to be finished. It has however been out on photo charters and we can only work on it when it is back in the yard at Medstead...

SR bogie brake van S 56302 is having some more repairs to the T&G, and the veranda doors have been removed for overhaul, having swelled with damp weather and sticking...

Gunpowder van W 105761 has had the final welding repairs on the sides, though there are some remaining to do on the roof, and the maroon CCT S 1765 is having the underframe derusted and primed, which is not a pleasant job working underneath. It is planned to repaint the exterior this year, and there are a few T&G repairs to carry out here.

Down at Alton we have had a welcome return of vanfits B 772824 and B 760337. These were shunted into Alton at the end of July 2018, but we could not start on them immediately, as we were rather engrossed in painting Mk 1 carriage roofs at Medstead from August - end of October. So we started rubbing down, filling, sanding, priming, undercoating etc in November 2018... but the vans were required the right side of the Butts bridge closure and went westwards in January last year. The good news is that most of the preparation work was done, and when the weather warms up a bit we are pretty close to topcoating.

Also shunted in was LMS van M 517317 and we have just started the rubbing down, priming and filling on this.

Preparation works have taken place on the "Dance Hall" brake van S 55506, with a lot of bolts securing non standard ply sheeting on the sides removed. We are also very grateful for a sponsor on this wagon who has donated  towards the purchase of a large quantity of T&G timbers.

The roofing structure between the Mess room at Alton and the ISO container got damaged with the recent weather, and this is being replaced with amore sturdy construction. We aquired a quantity of scaffold tower steelwork last year, and this has been cleaned off and painted.

We had a sales stand  at the FEBEX Alton model railway show in early February, and many thanks to all who came along and supported us.  So now would be an appropriate time to advise of our new 2020 limited edition 4mm model wagon for sale – “G& E Hall’s Brewery Alton”. There are two running numbers, either No 2 or 8. The wagons are £14 each, or 2 for £27. They can be obtained from the Alresford Information Office, the Wagon Group at Medstead, or by post via Keith Ottley, The Vines, Basingstoke Road, Riseley, BERKS RG7 1QD. P&P costs for up to 2 wagons are £4.50 second class, or £5.00 first class. Email for orders/information to Keith Ottley at  james.ottley@yahoo.co.uk. Tel 01189 887624. 

Chris Le Corney

Photo gallery