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 from Medstead on Tuesday...a dry start after all the recent rain, and the return of Kevin after a three month visit to Australia.

Firstly John and Steve sorted out some alternative bolts for the steel grab handles on the town end of BY S 653, plus fitting of another grab handle on the country end ... which Dillon had straitened out last Saturday. Meanwhile Kevin sorted out some suitable hardware to fit the remaining step board which had been creocoted previously, this entailed drilling out the holes to make fitting a bit easier. 

One of the steps was missing a packing piece which was found in the CCT, and on further inspection there were a couple of other bolts that required changing as there was insufficient thread. 

As they had the red oxide can open John following Brian, Steve and Kevin in the derusting the BY town end buffer beam and the running side, plus some other areas that had been previously painted but over time had started to rust again.

In order that they can access the country end of the vehicle all of them were involved in moving the BY a couple of metres, with Richard as brake operator. Once in place and blocked, John and Steve reassembled the scaffolding again and found some suitable timbers for the working platform. This is the first stage of preparation of painting the first coat of black paint, and hopefully in the coming weeks they can fit the three steel plates. Just need some decent weather now.

Brian assisted Keith move the reworked replacement paint store door and Keith fettled the additional top and side strips, and finally the door itself. They need to fit a new padlock next week.

During the coffee break Brian had a conversation with Bernie Dench, asking if of his team would be able to cut back some tree stumps by the corner of the PMV. This is in preparation for planning the safety protection which has to be installed in this area in the coming weeks... to minimise the risk of someone falling down the embankment. 

Well Wednesday at Alton was myself, John Q, John B, Roger, Ian, Clive and Daniel and was mainly spent working on the LSWR bogie S 57849 ...derusting, priming and undercoating and also removing more of the rusty thin top steel sheeting on top of the underframe. After running out of the ex MOD undercoat I found half a can of yellow undercoat, which we used up. Not intentional, but the wagon looks a bit multi coloured at present! But it will soon be a more sober black and grey topcoat. 

John Q was busy fixing the vice to the outdoor table and applying filler and wood preservative to the table top. John and I subsequently reattached one of the sheets over a Palvan, which had become detached with the recent winds.

Saturday at Medstead was a much better day weather wise than previous weeks, with Jamie & Jose in attendance.

They started at around 0930 and although the weather showed signs of wanting to brighten up there was light drizzle at the start, so they started by continuing from the previous weeks work of undercoating the inside of the country end of the gunpowder wagon.

By the time this was complete the drizzle had stopped, dried up, and the sun even made an appearance! This now meant that the outside of the gunpowder wagon could see the same treatment as the inside, starting with the two south side country end panels that had previously been sanded back and painted in red oxide.

After lunch the undercoating continued by giving the country end of the gunpowder wagon its second coat of undercoat, starting with the central and right-hand side panel. Whilst Jamie was finishing undercoating the right-hand panel, Jose set about filling and sanding flat a couple of small areas on the left-hand panel that needed smoothing, the corner of this panel was also de-rusted. The latter area was then given a coat of red oxide. Once the red oxide had dried, the left panel was given its second coat of undercoat, leaving the small strip along the corner, which Jose caulked shortly after.

After Packing away tools and a quick tea, they called it a day at around 1700.

Chris Le Corney

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