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, with seven in attendance. Entrance to Medstead was a bit of a nightmare first thing, as a very large Arctic lorry was present delivering large amount of track materials.

John, Keith P and Dave were all involved in getting the scaffold platform level changed so they could work at a higher level for adding a second coat of black top coat and the fitting steel plates on the country end of BY S 653. Work on this proceeded at a good pace with rubbing down the original top coat, adding a second and eventually the fitting of the steel plates. Many hands needed for the latter as these were pretty heavy to get in place ... and using over a 120 no.14 screws!

Richard was moving back and forth between helping Keith with the Paint Store door frame, plus painting various areas with grey undercoat on the non running side of the BY.  Keith cut out a piece of door rot in the frame and made a replacement. There are only a couple of small jobs left on the door which Keith also rehung, and they can then get a final coat of green topcoat applied.

Ian Johnson continued to undertake assembly works with the vacuum braking pipe work, and eventually with help from Brian and John hung a number of sections around the central area of the underside of the BY. Ian took a number of pieces home to undertake modification to ease the fitting a bit. 
Brian had spoken with Ian again about the missing periscope bits for the BY, and as Bulleid coach S 4211 was running that day both took another look at that installation. Ian measured up the fitting essentially a long handle with a bent section which pivots at part of it length then into a fork which fits the window cleaning arm!! Ian is going to use his skills and make two.

Brian did not seem to achieve much actual work, (which he was reminded of by our friendly team of course), except he did entertain new volunteer Andy Clements who was held up getting to Medstead, as there were traffic problems in Guildford. Andy did tour of the facilities and Brian did his bit on safety issues. Andy is going to get the appropriate clothing  etc, and they expect to seem him next week.

Brian got his tea break at about 11.30, and despite observations did do some cleaning and paintwork on the non running side BY Guards door posts. They left the site at about 3.15.

A good day at Alton on Wednesday, and a welcome to Gary Pittman for the first time.

We started black topcoating of the bogies and under frames at the London of LSWR bogie wagon S 57849, and Gary was soon lying on the ground painting and getting his hands black also. I forgot to advise him to bring some gloves....... John B, Clive and I assisted also painting, whilst Steve and Adrian readjusted sheets over the Dance Hall brake van and one of the Palvans, which had been "disturbed" by the winds the previous weekend. 

Roger and Pete continued on with derusting and priming S 57849 bogie at the Alresford end, so derusting should be coming to an end soon, well hopefully.

Daniel arrived, (even later than usual!), just as we were having lunch, and afterwards he undercoated bits of the under frame still in red oxide.

Ian cleaned down and primed new steel "U" strengthening sections. Steve had planned to cut these to size this week, but we had rashly lent our current working angle grinder to the Building Group last week (for use on derusting the water tower at Alton, and it had not come back yet..........

Saturday at Medstead was a productive day with Jose, Jamie, Jason, Mark, Alex and Stephen.

Attention was turned to the gunpowder wagon with Mark and Alex de-rusting the bottom corner angle, whilst Jason and Stephen worked on de-rusting the north side sole bar and horn guides.

Meanwhile Jose and Jamie set up the scaffolding and sanders to start working on the roof, by first sanding the newly installed roof panels to remove the light surface rust that had formed, before then sanding back/ keying the rest of the roof that could be reached and then red oxiding.

Whilst the red oxide was drying Jose and Jamie headed down to Bennett’s siding to install a locking pin for the vac hose on SR van S 47777, which it had been noticed missing on earlier check on the freight. It was then time for lunch.

After lunch all the areas that had been de-rusted earlier were given a coat of red oxide whilst Jose and Jamie undercoated the roof section. The north side, London end quarter of the gunpowder wagons roof is now in its first undercoat.

Finally after watching the Ivatt climb the bank with the last service of the day and packing away tools, they called it a day around 1730.

Chris Le Corney 

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