The Mid Hants Railway ‘Watercress Line’ Autumn Steam Spectacular 2013.
Arriving to the sounds of a full sized steam engine waiting to receive passengers from a busy station, we came across many steam train enthusiasts, both young and old. Camera at the ready the first engine that we spotted was No. 70000 ‘Britannia’. On we boarded with the help of willing staff. We were placed in a carriage which had been converted to hold 6-7 beer kegs to quench the thirsty passengers. Although a tight squeeze we were happy to be onboard our first train.
Departing from Alresford we got off at the next station, Ropley. Unfortunately not all the coaching stock has space available to take wheelchairs and buggies, and we were informed that we could not continue from Ropley for a while, and we would have to wait for a suitable set of coaches. We therefore decided to catch the next train back to Alresford which was to be pulled by my favourite train No. 60163 ‘Tornado’.
Whilst waiting for ‘Tornado’, engines No. 34046 ‘Braunton’ and No. 34007 ‘Wadebridge’ came through as a ‘double header’ on their way to Alton. Then ‘Tornado’ appeared in its new royal blue, red lined livery. Boarding ‘Tornado’ we made our way back to Alresford. Arriving in Alresford we saw the freight train. This consisted of immaculately restored trucks and vans pulled by No. 45379, a Black 5. We then had the opportunity to take some photographs of ‘Tornado’, and Wayne was able to go on the footplate and take some of the cab and driver. Outside the Alresford shop we met author, Christopher Vine, who was selling books and DVDs from a series of children’s railway stories that he has written called Peter’s Railway. These are based on a family model railway which is in their back garden. We also saw No. 850 ‘Lord Nelson’ as it changed carriage sets.
Boarding No. 31806 an ex Southern Railway U Class we made our way back to Ropley, where we again changed platforms to return Alresford, this time pulled by No. 45379, the Black 5, which had exchanged the freight wagons for a passenger coach set.
So much to see and do, all in all a great day out, click the photo to see the images in the gallery.www.watercressline.co.uk