Watercress Line

Historic diesels visit Hampshire for first time at Watercress Line gala

The Watercress Line is bringing an extravaganza of diesel locomotives to delight visitors in Hampshire next month, with its annual Diesel Gala weekend.

Featuring guest locos with incredible histories, such as the iconic Deltic D9002 ‘The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry’ and 47579 ‘James Nightall GC’, the event will entertain both seasoned enthusiasts and visitors new to the world of diesel when it comes to the Watercress Line from 20-22 October.

Guest locomotive D9002, otherwise known as ‘The King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry’ was built to run on the East Coast Main Line between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh, and was one of the most powerful locomotives in the world when it entered service in 1961/62.

This diesel loco will pass under the former Kings Cross footbridge, which is now situated at The Watercress Line’s Ropley station, for the first time in 35 years.

The 47579 ‘James Nightall GC’ is visiting The Watercress Line for the first time ever, and was named to remember fireman James Nightall who was killed in 1944 while splitting a burning ammunition train. James helped to save many people from a much bigger disaster, and was awarded the George Cross for his bravery.

In addition, diesel loco D6700 will be running at the gala, along with The Watercress Line’s home fleet of 33053, 50027 ‘Lion’, and 2H DEMU: 1125.

Colin Chambers, managing director at The Watercress Line, said: “We can’t wait to bring these exciting diesel locomotives to Hampshire – some of them for the first time. There is so much history attached to these well-loved locos, and we know people will enjoy going up and down the line behind them.

“For enthusiasts, there is the opportunity to clock up the miles behind their favourite locos, and for families there is the chance to learn about a different age of heritage rail. Diesel locos are famed for their power and technology, and we hope we can open up a new rail experience for many people who already love steam.”