Watercress Line

Due to the COVID-19 emergency the Watercress Line Mid Hants Railway is temporarily closed to the public. The safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors is our most important consideration. You will know that the Watercress Line relies on ticket revenue to cover its operational costs, which currently work out more than £75,000 a month. Without money coming in from running services, the railway is eating into its financial reserves to survive. If you can help, please click on the Virgin Money Giving link below which allows you to donate a single amount or pay monthly if you're able to. You can also text WATERCRESS to 70085 to donate £10, texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message. Thank you for continuing to support us during this unprecedented situation. We hope to be able to welcome you back to the Watercress Line soon.

Wagon Group Report 16th March 2020

An update on Wagon Group activities over the past few weeks...
At Medstead BY S 653 has been out and about a bit, partly for a photo charter and partly down to Ropley for some vac cylinder work. It is now back in Bennetts (down siding at Medstead) where more internal painting has taken place, lighting circuits completed, and window grills replaced. Ideally we want to see it back in the up yard to finish the steam heating and a few other bits to finally complete all works.    
The up yard itself has several wagons in for adjustment/repairs to running gear. These include Conflat A B 506889, and Palvan B 782114. The latter had a lot of play in the drawbar hook, and this has been removed; the worn area built up with weld; grinded smooth; and the hook replaced. There are a couple of OLEO buffers to replace, but our entire stock of OLEO buffers went down to Alresford in December to hold down the marquee in the station forecourt. Subsequently they were used for similar purposes for Flying Scotsman marquee. That loco now having departed we might get our buffers back!
Queen Mary brake van S 56302 has had more of the T&G removed, repaired, and reinstated.
The GW Iron Mink W 105761 has had a bit more welding repairs on the sides, and future attention is heading towards similar welding repairs to the roof. The roof itself is propped up, and new wooden curved roof hoops have been made for this.
The wood store is progressing and now has a roof!
Jamie and Jose have been doing some dismantling works on the Fergie tractor. I'm not sure exactly what they are doing, but I'm sure they know.
Down at Alton there has been a lot more preparation works on LMS van M 517317, and effectively this stage is completed and it is ready for a 50/50 mix of undercoat and topcoat. Although we had a sheet over the wagon (which was a bit past it), it was a bit of a mystery as to why the south side remained totally dry and the north side wet... We got a new sheet, and this allowed the north side to dry out.
B 772824 we started preparing in November 2018, but before we could complete it, it was required the west of Butts bridge for the duration of the bridge replacement works and moved westwards in early January last year. Now back at Alton, the sheet that had lasted 15 months over it at Ropley got trashed by the recent gales at Alton. Notwithstanding this, the van which was in 50/50 undercoat/topcoat was in good condition and we were able to put a bauxite topcoat more or less straight on. We have another "refugee" partly completed van from Ropley B 760337, but this is more in primer stage.
The new roofing between  the Mess room and the ISO container is more or less completed now... this replacing the disintegrated storm damaged one.
We had a sales stand at the Basingstoke and North Hants model railway show on Saturday 14th March, and many thanks to all who visited us and made some purchases.
Not specifically Wagon related, but the original LSWR footbridge Alton station was removed by Network Rail over the weekend 7/8th March, this now giving a new view over the station from the modern replacement footbridge. 
Well despite the storms, cold, wind, and rain of recent weeks, the weather is warming up a bit, so what else can possibly hinder us now... well it's just the Coronavirus! This is likely to impinge on our volunteers somewhat over the coming weeks...   
Chris Le Corney  
 

Photo gallery