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

Help support our railway heritage and receive the following benefits:

  • 50% discount on all Mid Hants Railway fares! (except Day Out With Thomas & Santa Specials, Dining trains and RAT's)
  • 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.
  • Join and 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!

2019 membership rates
Adult - £28 (annually) / £112 (5 year)
Junior (under 18) - £12 (annually)
Over 70 - £20 (annually) /  £80 (5 year)
Family (2 Adults + 2 Juniors) - £40 (annually) / £160 (5 year)

How to join
To join the MHRPS please download the application form below. Alternatively you can email us here. Please note that membership is valid from 1st January to 31st December each year. New members joining between September and December recieve membership until the end of the following year.

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.

If you are renewing your existing membership please include your membership number in all correspondence. Renewals can be made by standing order.  How to set up a standing order can be found in the Mid Hants News.  Alternatively, you can now renew your membership online.  Its quick and easy!

MHRPS Membership Application Form (pdf - 81592 bytes)

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Your railway needs you!

Volunteers are the backbone of the Mid Hants Railway, without them there would be no trains running, no coaches to sit in, no stations to wait at and no track to run on.  With the exception of 50 paid staff, the railways 450 volunteers do everything from driving the trains to maintaining the station gardens.  From a day per month, to days in a week, hundreds of loyal volunteers take it upon themselves to travel up to 100 miles to help out in one way or another.  There’s a surprising variety of volunteer roles, it’s not all just engineering and locomotives. Whether you have existing skills or you would like to do something totally different, we also have requirements in education, catering, retail, building, carpentry, customer services and even horticulture!

With some people fitting their visits around full time work commitments and others joining when they retire, the MHR's volunteer workforce keeps us functioning every day.

So why should you join?

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

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 Becky Peacock on outreach.mhr@hotmail.com.

Click here to read an article about a young volunteer's enjoyable time here on the railway

Find out more...
Through our website - You can find out about the activities of all our departments through our website Preservation section and regular preservation blogs, detailing many of the happenings up and down the line. 

Want to learn about some of the different roles on the railway. Watch our short films:

Speak to our volunteers - On a day when services are running you can come and speak to numerous volunteers in pretty much all of our departments to find out more about what's involved.

How to join
Email info@watercressline.co.uk and we will be more than happy to send you more information, or forward your email to the head of a specific department.

Come to a Volunteers Welcome Day (pre-book only) in the Goods Shed at Alresford station:


  • Sunday 2nd June

For more information about the Volunteers Welcome Day and to book a place please contact Dave Yaldren on 02380 906 211. 

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


You can make a donation to the Railway in several ways and we would be very grateful for your support:

Cash donations can be made at any of our stations, via the Booking Office.

Please make cheques payable to MHRPS.  
If you are UK resident and Taxpayer please accompany your cheque with a note giving us your post code, this will allow us to claim Gift Aid. 
If you would like your donation to go towards a particular project please let us know.  
Please send cheques to Mid Hants Railway, The Railway Station, Alresford, Hampshire SO24 9JG

We have a secure payment process using MyDonate, where you can make donations online using a credit card or debit card.
For donations to our general funds, please click this link.
For donations to specific appeals, please click the link next to the relevant project below.

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Restore Southern Railway 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 money to restore Canadian Pacific and the two Bulleid carriages. 

We therefore still need you help! To find out more information about the project click here or to donate click here

Want to know more? Watch a short film about Canadian Pacific or about the restoration of our wooden-framed carriages.

Visit our website at www.watercressline.co.uk/canpac 

Contribute online

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Restore British Railways Standard Class 4MT no. 75079

The opportunity arose recently to acquire the partly restored 75079 and although much work has been done on the restoration, there is more to be done and the estimate of the cost of that work currently stands at £200,000. 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 Four 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. We therefore require your generous donations and contributions towards this project!

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

Contribute online here.

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Restore British Railways Standard class 4 tank engine no. 80150

Please help us to put a genuine “Watercress loco” back to work on our line! Built in 1956, 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 is now being worked on regularly by its own support group and this long-term project is gaining considerable momentum. Our locomotive has been heavily stripped of parts and your donation will help us to acquire suitable components and also to buy materials to make new ones.

Donate online here. 

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Restore British Railways 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.

We now face the task of restoring it to full working order, although it will need to take its place in the queue of locos awaiting restoration. In the meantime, we aim to establish a working group of volunteers dedicated to 73096, in the same way that other groups have been successfully formed to work on the restoration of 75079 and to conserve 80150 prior to overhaul. The “Standard 5 group” will initially focus on further conserving the loco to prevent any deterioration prior to overhaul. If you would like to volunteer to join this group, then please contact Nik Tippen or Darren Pilton via info@watercressline.co.uk

The cost of the full overhaul may cost up to £400,000 and we will need to appeal for donations to contribute to these costs at a later date. At this stage, we urgently need £400,000 to contribute towards conservation costs and to help to repay a bank loan that was taken out to purchase the locomotive. If you are able to provide a donation, then please see the flyer in Mid Hants News or donate via our website www.watercressline.co.uk

Contribute online here.

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Restore Southern Railway 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. Under current planning it will be a number of years before the boiler can enter our boilershop. The good news is that an unexpected opportunity has arisen to send Wadebridge to an outside contractor.

Why not help us to fast track the return of this iconic engine, the oldest surviving Bulleid light pacific?

Contribute online here.

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Paint an 08 campaign - 08288

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.

Contribute online here.

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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.

Contribute online here.

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The Mid Hants Railway Ltd, the Company that owns and operates the railway, uses its income to cover the operating costs of the railway, including the overhaul costs of the coaches, some locomotives and the maintenance of the infrastructure.

However, in common with other organisations such as ours, not just heritage railways, funds for major capital projects have to be raised in other ways, and this where the Mid Hants Railway Preservation Society comes in.

Major projects often need a ‘kick start’, this can be in the form of support from organisations like the Heritage Lottery Fund, PRISM (Preservation of Industrial & Scientific Material) or those who generously choose to leave a legacy.

Legacies are a very valuable and much appreciated source of income for the Mid Hants Railway.

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, be assured whatever the size of your gift, it will be most warmly received by the Mid Hants Railway.

When you are preparing a Will or planning your finances for the future, would you consider the Mid Hants Railway? By leaving such a gift you will be helping to secure the future of the railway and the continued development of our tracks, stations, locos and coaches. You can leave a gift to a specific item such as an engine or for the benefit of the general running of the 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 certainly 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. A useful leaflet is available from HM Revenue & Customs 

For more information: If you would like further information please contact: mhr.membership@btconnect.com

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Via easyfundraising.org.uk

Sign up to the Easy Fundraising website and raise funds for the Watercress Line when you shop at over 2000 major retailers online including Amazon, M&S, John Lewis, Argos and many more! Each retailer will donate up to 15% of whatever you spend and you can see your donations add up as you go along! Its very simple to do - just set up an account with Easy Fundraising and then select which organisation(s) you would like to support. Easy Fundraising 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 Easy Fundraising cannot see the details of your purchases.

See how much we've raised so far

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Corporate fundraising

One of the fundraising areas the MHRPS trustees are looking to develop is corporate fundraising and we need your help. 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 and second hand engineering tools/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. We have recently had a donation of BSW nuts and bolts which will keep our stocks full for a short while as well as a MAG drill.

MHRPS Corporate Fundraising Pack (pdf - 734515 bytes)

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