Watercress Line

Support us

The Mid Hants Railway is a not-for-profit organisation, meaning that all profit generated from your visit is re-invested in the railway. It relies upon your generosity and support; whether its through paying to visit us or through personal donations. There are several ways you can support our continuing mission to preserve part of the country's railway heritage for future generations:

Annual membership

Join the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society (MHRPS), to help support our railway heritage and to receive the following benefits:

  • 50% discount on Watercress Line fares (except Day Out With Thomas, Santa Special, Dining trains and RAT).
  • FREE Members’ and Shareholders’ weekend in September.
  • FREE magazine, the ‘Mid Hants News’, issued 3 times a year to keep you up to date with the latest information and reports from the railway.
  • The opportunity to attend regional group meetings.
  • The opportunity to become a working volunteer in a variety of areas such as office, loco, catering, shops, building, permanent way and more!

2020 membership rates
Adult - £28 (annually) / £112 (5 years)
Junior (under 18) - £12 (annually)
Over 70 - £20 (annually) /  £80 (5 years)
Family (2 Adults + 2 Juniors) - £40 (annually) / £160 (5 years)

How to join
To join the MHRPS, please download the application form below.
Please make cheques payable to MHRPS Ltd and post with your completed application form.
To pay by Mastercard/Visa/Maestro/Solo card please call 01962 733810.

Please note that membership is valid from 1st January to 31st December each year.
New members joining between September and December receive membership until the end of the following year.

If you are renewing your existing membership please include your membership number in all correspondence.
Alternatively, you can now renew your membership online.  Its quick and easy!

MHRPS Membership Application Form (pdf - 81592 bytes)

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Our railway needs you!

Volunteers are the backbone of the Mid Hants Railway - we currently have about 450 volunteers who do everything from driving the trains and maintaining the rolling stock, tracks and stations to providing customer facing retail and catering services.  
Some people volunteer for one day per month, whilst others volunteer for several days per week; some people fit their volunteering around their work commitments whilst others join us when they retire. 
Whether you have relevant skills or you would like to do something totally different, we will make you welcome.

So why should you join?

  • To be part of a historical legacy, preserving steam travel for future generations.
  • To work with a group of like minded, dedicated people with a common purpose.
  • To see and hear the delight of visitors enjoying all your hard work is a truly rewarding feeling.
  • Volunteering keeps your mind active and many tasks will help you keep physically active too.

Find out more...

To find out more about some of the activities of our volunteers, watch our short films:

Click here to see testimonials from our volunteers

If you would like to hear more about the wide variety of volunteer roles that are available, please come along to a Volunteers Welcome day at Alresford station, starting at 10am. You will be welcome with tea & coffee, shown a video and talked through the different voluntary roles, followed by lunch and then a look around some parts of the Watercress Line. You need to pre-book your attendance by contacting Dave Yaldren on 02380 906211.
The next Volunteers Welcome Day is tbc in light of the current Covid-19 situation.

If you have a specific role in mind, Contact us and we will forward your details to the relevant department recruiter.

New volunteer role for 16-24 year olds

Become a Young Explainer and be part of our tour guide team providing behind the scenes tours of our workshops at Ropley.
If you are interested in this role, please contact Kat Thomas on mhr.eventsmanager@btconnect.com

Read an article about a young volunteer's enjoyable time on the railway

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Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society is a registered charity, number 284406.

We would really appreciate your donations to our charity, to help us to continue with our work, keeping our railway history alive.

You can make a donation to our general funds or to a specific restoration appeal (see the details of our current appeals below).

Gift Aid
If you are a UK taxpayer, then you could boost your donation by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 that you donate.
Gift Aid is reclaimed by MHRPS from the tax you pay to HMRC.
This can be achieved by either -
 - submitting your donation online, which includes a simple Gift Aid process; or
- downloading the Gift Aid Declaration form below and submitting this with your donation; or
- providing a note of your name and postcode with your donation. 

Methods of payment
We will be pleased to accept your donations using cash, cheque (made payable to MHRPS) or debit / credit card.
You can do this -

  • In person
    Please make donations at any of our stations, via the Booking Office,
    or on-board our trains, via the Travelling Ticket Inspector.
  • By post
    Please send cheques to MHRPS, The Railway Station, Alresford, Hampshire SO24 9JG.
  • By phone
    Please call 01962 733810 and provide your debit/credit card details.
  • Online
    Please make donations to by debit / credit card to MHRPS using the secure payment process provided by MyDonate.
    For donations to our general funds, please Donate here.
    For donations to specific appeals, please click the link next to the relevant project below.

Charity_Gift_Aid_Declaration_form.pdf (pdf - 415468 bytes)

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Appeal to restore SR Merchant Navy class no. 35005 Canadian Pacific

This magnificent locomotive was designed by OVS Bulleid, Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Southern Railway, and was assigned to the heaviest of duties.  The cavernous firebox must have been a Fireman's nightmare, but the locomotives steamed beautifully and were known for their power and speed, topping 100mph towards the end of steam was not uncommon.  Can Pac, as she is affectionately known, was even recorded achieving 105mph!

In 2015 we received £895,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund, but we still need to raise further funds to complete the restoration of Canadian Pacific and two Bulleid wooden-framed carriages.

We're now looking to raise the final £500,000 needed to complete the project in time for 2022!

Click on these links to find out more information about the Canadian Pacific project
or to watch a short film about Canadian Pacific or the restoration of our wooden-framed carriages.

We are currently running special appeals for firebox stays and carriage seats, as well as for the main Can Pac project - please Donate here - your donations will be very much appreciated.

Last updated 11/02/2020

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Appeal to restore British Railways Standard class 4MT no. 75079

BR Standard class 4MT no. 75079 has not run since being withdrawn by British Railways in 1966 and the restoration project is on-going.

We currently need £30,000 to fabricate the tender tank for water and coal.
The engine was rescued from Barry scrap yard, but many engines had their tenders sold to British Steel for conversion to ingot carriers. Whilst the BR1B tender from 75079 survived, it was sold along with another engine no.73129 to the Midland Railway. This means that we need to build a new tender for our no.75079.

Many parts for the new tender are already well progressed.  The frames, cross-members, wheel sets, axle-boxes, and the many castings for the horns, springs, and braking system are well under way.  But one very large element that is missing is the tender tank.  The BR1B tender tank holds 4725 gallons of water and 7 tons of coal - it is a substantial fabrication.  We would like to arrange for the fabrication of the tender tank by an outside contractor in the near future, and your donations would be very much appreciated.

The engine is ideally suited to our line; with the hill in the middle we must have powerful engines, but not unnecessarily powerful. The Standard 4 is just right; it can cope with five or six coaches but it could not manage significantly more, so it is economical to run. It is also a simple engine, built using the latest technology, and therefore easier and cheaper for the Railway to maintain.

To find out more about the restoration of 75079, then click here to watch our film. 

 We would appreciate your generous donations towards this restoration project - please Donate here.

Last updated 03/05/2019.

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Appeal to restore BR Standard class 4MT tank engine no. 80150

Please help us to put a genuine “Watercress loco” back to work on our line!

Built in 1956, no. 80150 was a familiar sight on Hampshire’s railways in the early 1960s and was regularly seen at Alresford taking van trains of watercress to market. With their brisk acceleration and economical coal consumption, the BR Standard 4 tanks were also popular performers on passenger trains and 80150 will be perfect for our services.

Having spent much of the last 52 years in Woodham Brothers scrapyard in South Wales, 80150 has been heavily stripped of parts and your donations will help us to acquire suitable components and also to buy materials to make new ones.

In 2019, it is planned to complete the fitting of the new cab roof, continue working on the frames and stretchers, replace platework at the front end and make further repairs to enable the loco to be moved around the railway more easily.
We would like to raise a further £8,000 towards the costs of this conservation work and the purchase of a new smokebox and chimney (and any other "ready-made" parts that may become available for us to purchase)

Affectionately known as “BOLSO” after a mis-understanding about its number, this loco is a long-term restoration project being undertaken by an enthusiastic band of volunteers.
For more information about the restoration project, watch The Watercress Loco video.

Please Donate here. 

Last updated 20/06/2019

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Appeal to restore BR Standard class 5 no. 73096

In November 2017 MHR acquired 73096 and it has been greeted like an old friend – a favourite amongst footplate crews because it “did the job” being ideally suited to mixed traffic duties on the Watercress Line and because of its mechanical simplicity and economical operation.

Plans for the overhaul of this loco are currently under review; meanwhile donations will be used to contribute towards re-painting the loco as part of its conservation.

Please Donate here.

Last updated 03/05/2019.

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Appeal to restore SR West Country class no. 34007 Wadebridge

Completed at Brighton in August 1945 no.34007 is a "West Country” class engine designed by O.V. S. Bulleid.
Wadebridge has retained its original air-smoothed casing and chain driven valve gear - locomotives that retained their casing were known as ‘Spam Cans’ or ‘Flat Tops’ due to their shape.

Wadebridge’s 10 Year Boiler Ticket expired in 2016, at which point she was taken out of use and joined the queue to enter Ropley Works.

Plans for overhaul of the loco are currently under review; we are not currently seeking donations, until the plans for the loco overhaul are agreed.

Please Donate here.

Last updated 03/05/2019.

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Appeal to Paint an 08 diesel shunter

We would like to raise £4,000 towards the costs of re-painting diesel electric shunting locomotive 08 288 in rail blue with chevrons, to coincide with the livery it carried when withdrawn from BR.

The loco was built at Derby in June 1957 numbered D3358 and initially allocated to 87F - Llanelly.
It was re-numbered as 08 288 in March 1974 and was withdrawn from service at Swindon in January 1983.
It was saved from scrap by MHR in 1985 with strong financial support from our Woking & Guildford Group, and was used to carry out work on the extension of the railway from Alton to Medstead & Four Marks and is therefore a significant part of MHR's history.

Unfortunately, it suffered a major failure  between Ropley and Alresford several years ago, but it has now been repaired and we hope to complete the electrical testing during summer 2019.
It will then be re-painted and re-introduced back into service - it will be a key part of the MHR locomotive strategy to have 3 operational diesel shunters.

Your donations would be very much appreciated in getting this locomotive back into our operational fleet.

Please Donate here.

Last updated 03/05/2019.

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Appeal to overhaul the Watercress Wickhams

Wickham Trolleys are used by the Permanent Way and Signal Engineering Depts to undertake track and signal maintenance along the line when there are no service trains running.
We have two Wickhams and they both require major restoration work which we aim to complete within 2 years at a cost of £5,000.
The work includes -
- replacing the roof, front and rear cladding panels
- replacing the side curtains
- overhauling the engine
- replacing seat panels and floor boards.
The majority of the work will be undertaken by volunteers from the Permanent Way and Wagon Groups - the costs are for materials and your donations will be very welcome to support our dedicated and enthusiastic team.

Please Donate here.

Last updated 03/05/2019

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Legacies are a vital source of support for the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society.
Major projects typically need a financial ‘kick start’ and these are often funded by those who have generously chosen to leave a legacy to MHRPS.

We would appreciate you considering making a charitable gift to MHRPS as part of your Will.
We recommend that you consult a Solicitor to draw up a Will or to update it to include a legacy to MHRPS.
A Solicitor can advise you which form of gift is appropriate for you and to ensure that your Will is simple to execute.

If you would like to receive our leaflet about Legaicies or would like to discuss a Legacy in confidence, then please Contact us.

Making a Will
It is important that everyone makes a Will to ensure that your estate goes to whomever you choose.
Leaving a Will ensures that your wishes are carried out, leaving no doubt or uncertainty for those you leave behind.
A Will can also include a gift to a charity or charities of your choice.

Anyone can leave a charitable gift in their Will.
It can be a simple cash payment or a percentage of the remaining or residuary estate.
Should you so choose, please be assured that whatever the size of your gift, it will be most warmly received by the Mid Hants Railway.

How to Leave a Legacy
Simply let your solicitor know that you would like to include a gift to the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society and provide our full address and charity registration number:

Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society, The Railway Station, New Alresford, Hampshire SO24 9JG
Registered Charity No. 284406

Inheritance Tax
Leaving charitable gifts in your Will can help you to reduce the value of your estate liable for Inheritance Tax.
The current taxable threshold stands at £325,000. Above this amount, subject to certain provisions and exemptions, everything can be taxed at a rate of 40%.
Charitable gifts are tax exempt, and so by leaving a gift to the Mid Hants Railway you could reduce the amount of tax paid after your death.
For further information, consult HM Revenue & Customs or your Financial Advisor.

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MHRPS operates a number of fundraising schemes for which your support would be much appreciated.
If you have any comments or suggestions about fundraising then please email fundraising@watercressline.co.uk

Online Shopping
Raise funds for the Watercress Line when you shop online at over 2000 major retailers including Amazon, M&S, John Lewis, Argos and many more! Each retailer will donate up to 15% of whatever you spend with them.
Its very simple to do - easyfundraising gives you a unique ID so that they and the retailers can track the donations, but be assured that all of your details are secure, there are no adverts or nasty things like spyware or viruses and easyfundraising cannot see the details of your purchases.

By end 2018, more than 100 supporters had raised over £1500 for MHRPS... and at no cost to themselves!
To sign up, then join easyfundraising.org.uk.

Walk the Line
MHRPS organises an annual sponsored walk along the trackbed of the Watercress Line.

In 2018, approx. 950 walkers raised £15,000 which was used towards the costs of re-ballasting 1000 yards of track at Wanders Curve, between Ropley and Medstead & Four Marks stations.

200 Clubs
MHRPS runs two "200 clubs" which provide five prizes from £25 to £150 in draws every 3 months.
If you would like to join at a cost of just £12 per year, then please download the membership form below. 

Grand Draw
A team of volunteers regularly travel on our passenger services to sell raffle tickets for the annual Grand Draw.
These cost £1 for a book of four tickets and there are prizes of £1000, £350, £250, £100 and £100.

In 2018, they raised £10,000 which was donated to the Appeal to restore BR Standard class 4MT no. 75079.
If you would like tickets for the 2019 draw, then please download the postal form below.

MHRPS_200_Club__Membership_Form.pdf (pdf - 55869 bytes)

MHRPS_Grand_Draw_2020_Postal_Form.pdf (pdf - 582021 bytes)

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Corporate fundraising

MHRPS are keen to develop corporate fundraising and we need your help in introducing us to your employers, suppliers, customers or contacts.

Many companies recognise the importance of supporting communities as part of their corporate social responsibility; support from external organisations could include donations of  money, employee time or second hand equipment.

We have created a fundraising pack which outlines why the MHR is a great cause to consider and includes case studies of our past successes.
Please share this pack with your personal contacts and Contact us if they wish to discuss further with one of our MHRPS Trustees.

MHRPS Corporate Fundraising Pack (pdf - 734515 bytes)

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