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.


At Medstead finalising works continue on BY S 653 on the vac and steam heating piping; painting internally; electrics; conduit for the lighting; and the lettering and numbering has been procured. The "Gunpowder" van W 105691 is being repainted internally and externally, as are the doors which have been removed for overhaul. Jose and Jamie have been working on low sided B 726064, removing the two planks on the north side, sanding and filling them, replacing, and painting them. Currently they are in second undercoat stage.

Both the BY and the Gunpowder van were moved up to the dock siding at Medstead for the recent Open Weekend, and our sales stand was held in the BY. These are likely to in attendance there again for the Autumn Gala in October, and we shall be pleased to see visitors old and new. 

It was a very cold January day at Alton when we removed the wooden timbers forming the flooring of LSWR bogie S 57849, and we have all been really looking forward to burning off the calories putting them back on again! 56 timbers in total there are, if you were wondering ... In between times the wagon has undergone a comprehensive derusting and painting and fitting of a through vacuum pipe. Effectively the wagon is now completed in BR grey topcoat. We have though got to release a screw coupling at one end, or find a replacement one. 

We did recently apply some test seating to S 57848 ... to create an LSWR "open" saloon, but this experiment had to be terminated when we realised the seating would be deemed too soft for modern day regulations! 

The two Palvans B 782114 and B 776446 have also been completed, the last job being to fix two new chalk destination boards on the sides of one of them. 

Of course until the line reopens at the Butts, it tends to make getting a shunt to get "new" wagons in to work on, a bit difficult! On the subject though of new wagons, we are looking forward to a BR Meat van B 870073 arriving on the railway shortly. This is a highly ventilated van, with 4 vents at each end, plus additional ventilation on the sides. It is I believe the only van left of this type, and it is planned to go into it's original BR crimson livery.

Our Mess Room at Alton now has the old corrugated sheeting replaced with torch on roofing felt, which looks a lot neater than the flapping sheeting which also covered the corrugated sheets. Many thanks to the Building Group for the rolls of torch on felt for this. 

Chris Le Corney

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