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.


Brian reports fog greeted those arriving at Medstead on Tuesday morning, which included John D, Chris S, Richard,Chris P, Malcolm, and a little later Ian J. 

Brian had to leave at midday, but up to then was very busy discussing, and prioritising work associated with BY S 653 ceiling light blocks. John painted the five pairs of blocks and willed them to dry in front of the electric fire. In the meantime Chris P made some wooden adapters to accept the new ceiling light rose's. He then drilled out fresh holes for the mounting and with John's help attached them to the ceiling in both ends of the vehicle. John, Chris S and Richard were all involved in getting the wiring run in.

Ian bought with him some new painted brackets for the vac pipe work and these are now in the BY for storage. He spent all his time fitting the door mechanisms to the country end both sides of the vehicle, and will complete this next week.

Chris P and Malcolm fixed the wire mesh to the interior BY ventilator fittings. These can now be painted and fitted as required. They also assisted Ian with some woodwork associated with re-fitting the BY luggage doors furniture, and then they managed to find some suitable timber to start the BY’s steps, making most of the Town End running-side step.

Wednesday at Alton was relatively mild and at times sunny. By the time everyone arrived there was a maximum of 10 working on derusting and priming the LSWR bogie S 57849, and a number of additional under frame sections were completed. I think those who had previously avoided derusting the wagon had run out of work on timber stores and decoration of the mess room! There are only the outer sections to do now, before attacking the bogies and underframes. 

The tyres on the bogies were cast in 1914 at Eastleigh, which is about 10 years before the wagon was built, so perhaps they were transferred to the wagon at an overhaul? It seems unlikely the wheelsets were just lying around for 10 years at Eastleigh, waiting a wagon to come along...

With our Wagon Group AGM at Ropley on Saturday, there was no working party at Medstead that day, but in the upstairs meeting room we could see the first trains of the season from the window.

Chris Le Corney

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