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.


Brian reports from Medstead on Tuesday with Richard, Keith, Chris S, Malcolm and Dave V, (as promised), in time for tea break. 

Chris started painting the screw heads on the three panels fitted on the Town end of BY S 653. Brian sorted through some of the steel work located in the BY, and recovered two of the larger handles for the BY entrance doors and de-rusted these. One had two encrusted bolts which took some time to remove using the good old method of WD 40 and a good sized hammer. This was finally cleaned down and given a coat of red oxide.

Richard continued from last week with sorting out nuts, bolts and washers, also making up some labels so they know were to look in future. The last of the wood screws were moved to the CCT where Keith continued to make new shelving. 

Malcolm was working on making and fitting new ply panels above the BY doors in the Guard’s compartment. He has done most of the work and will finish off next Tuesday.

The forecast for Wednesday was a bit damp for Alton, so we split resources between Wednesday and Thursday.

Wednesday at Alton started with light drizzle and the first task was to cover the 2nd Palvan (B 776446) which Adrian, Roger, Nick and Steve set about using two tarpaulins previously sorted out from the tarp store. 

Meanwhile, Adrian and Nick hammered away at the rust in a couple of central sections of LSWR bogie S 57479 and Roger was chipping/de-rusting the floor of the Alresford end of the Dance Hall break van joined by Steve.  At about 11.30 it started to rain quite hard so Adrian and Nick, together with Daniel who had just arrived from his long bus ride from Epsom, joined Roger in the Queen Mary brake van.  

After lunch the rain eased so Steve and Adrian carried on with the bogie wagon, and by the end of the day 2 1/2 sections were de-rusted by chipping and scraping.  And the vertical surfaces rotary wire-brushed as far as was possible in wet conditions.

While this was going on, John Q and Bob were progressing their 'gallows' attached to the back of the mess hut, where work is swinging (!) along to provide racks for the longer pieces of timber.

Thursday was supposed to be dry and sunny all day, but started off raining. This soon cleared, and the sun came out... but it meant that S 57849 was wet to start with. Clive, Ray, Paul and myself however concentrated on derusting the framework, continuing on from the Wednesday's efforts. Red oxide was applied to two sections before lunch, but there are other sections almost ready for priming. It was thought best not to prime in the afternoon, as the temperature was quite low. Ray found some lettering on the nearly 100 year old steel work "Earl of Dudley" who we believe owned the Brierley Hill steel works in the West Midlands.

John Q and Mick were working on the new "long timber" storage facility.

Saturday at Medstead was one of those cold damp miserable days, but a productive one, with Jose, Dillon, and John D in attendance.

Another ‘hit’ on the Gunpowder van was the order of the day. With all extensions run out and all the lights plugged in, it was quite cosy inside. John and Jose, armed with wire brushes and chipping hammers made a start on the London end walls and roof. These were cleaned up and given a coat of red oxide, (except for areas still needing attention).

Outside, underneath a temporary cover, Dillon finished welding the second panel fitted last week. With the hot air gun on the inside of the panel to keep the steel warm, the outside was ground back and filled.

The first of the GP van doors has been removed and placed in the CCT, for assessment/ repair. The second door has a problem with the lower hinge pin being broken and seized up, and will require a little thinking about!

Dillon sanded back the filler which had finally gone off, followed by Jose with the red oxide. Then by the time everything had been put away and extensions coiled back up it was dark!.

Chris Le Corney

Photo gallery