SU6635 : The Watercress Line, Medstead and Four Marks Railway Station

taken 10 years ago, near to Four Marks, Hampshire, England

The Watercress Line, Medstead and Four Marks Railway Station
The Watercress Line, Medstead and Four Marks Railway Station
Opened in August 1868 as "Medstead", the station's name was changed to "Medstead and Four Marks" in October 1937. It was closed by British Rail in 1973 and re-opened as part of the extended heritage railway in May 1983. At 644 ft above sea level, it is believed to be the highest operational standard-gauge railway station in Southern England LinkExternal link and is a depiction of a quiet 1940s Southern Railway station.
The Mid-Hants Railway (Watercress Line) :: SU5832

The Watercress Line is the marketing name of the Mid-Hants Railway, a heritage railway in Hampshire which runs for 10 miles from New Alresford to Alton where it connects to the National Rail network. The line gained its popular name in the days that it was used to transport locally grown watercress from the beds in Alresford to markets in London.

The line to connect with the existing London & South Western Railway lines at Alton and Winchester was opened in 1865 as the Mid-Hants Railway. Trains were operated by the London & South Western Railway which eventually purchased the Mid-Hants Railway Company in 1884. New stations were initially constructed at Itchen Abbas, Ropley and Alresford; the station at Alton was already in existence. The station at Medstead and Four Marks was added in 1868. As well as transporting locally produced watercress, the line was particularly important for military traffic between the army town of Aldershot and the military embarkation port at Southampton.

The line became part of the Southern Railway in 1923 and then part of the Southern Region of British Railways in 1948. Use of the line declined during the inter-war and post-war periods of the 20th Century and electrification of the line from London to Alton in 1937 meant that the Watercress Line was no longer part of a through route; it became necessary to change at Alton. Although it survived the “Beeching Axe” in 1963, it was eventually closed by British Railways in 1973 and the section of line from Alresford to Alton that is now run as a heritage railway was purchased from British Rail in November 1975.

Reconstruction of the line progressed in stages. The section between Alresford and Ropley re-opened as a visitor attraction in 1977. The main locomotive shed and workshops were constructed at Ropley to provide engineering and maintenance facilities. The extension to Medstead & Four Marks opened on 28 May 1983 and the final section to the mainline station at Alton opened in 1985 with its own station buildings on Platform 3. Today the railway runs the full 10 miles between the market towns of Alresford and Alton, preserving an important piece of 1940s-70s railway heritage.

LinkExternal link Mid-Hants Railway The Watercress Line
LinkExternal link Wikipedia

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This photo is linked from: Automatic Clusters: · Watercress Line [27] · Rail [20] ·
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SU6635, 162 images   (more nearby 🔍)
David Dixon   (more nearby)
Date Taken
Saturday, 19 July, 2014   (more nearby)
Friday, 25 July, 2014
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 6688 3534 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:6.8075N 1:2.7567W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 66878 35328
View Direction
North-northeast (about 22 degrees)
Clickable map
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Image classification(about): Geograph
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