The Mid-Hants Railway (Watercress Line) :: Shared Description

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, 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. To provide engineering and maintenance facilities, the main locomotive shed and workshops were constructed at Ropley. 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
by David Dixon

86 images use this description. Preview sample shown below:

SU6332 : Britannia Class 70000 at Ropley Sidings, Mid-Hants Railway by David Dixon
SU5832 : Watercress Line, Alresford Station Platform 2 by David Dixon
SU6332 : Diesel Locomotive in the Sidings at Ropley by David Dixon
SU6635 : Medstead and Four Marks Railway Station by David Dixon
SU6232 : View from the Watercress Line near Ropley Dean by David Dixon
SU5832 : Mid-Hants Railway, New Alresford by David Dixon
SU6332 : Steaming engine seen from the Handyside Bridge by Basher Eyre
SU5832 : Platform 2, Alresford Station by David Dixon
SU6232 : Watercress Line, Blake's Crossing by David Dixon
SU7138 : The Watercress Line Approaching Mount Pleasant Road Bridge by David Dixon
SU6232 : Watercress Line (Mid-Hants Railway) by David Dixon
SU6232 : View from the Watercress Line, Northside Lane by David Dixon
SU6635 : Looking from the bridge at Medstead and Four Marks Station by Basher Eyre
SU7239 : 850, Lord Nelson, at Alton by David Dixon
SU7239 : Alton Railway Station by David Dixon
SU6232 : Rear of Ropley Railway Station by Basher Eyre
SU5832 : Steam train limbering up for the afternoon at Alresford by Basher Eyre
SU6534 : Grosvenor Road by David Dixon
SU6635 : Train steaming at Medstead and Four Marks Station by Basher Eyre
SU5832 : Mid-Hants Railway, Alresford Station by David Dixon
SU7239 : Alton Railway Station Platform 3, The Watercress Line by David Dixon
SU6332 : Mid-Hants Railway Sidings at Ropley by David Dixon
SU6032 : View from the Mid-Hants Railway by David Dixon
SU7138 : Mid-Hants Railway, The Bridge at Borovere Lane by David Dixon
SU5832 : Alresford Railway Station by David Dixon

... and 61 more images.
These Shared Descriptions are common to multiple images. For example, you can create a generic description for an object shown in a photo, and reuse the description on all photos of the object. All descriptions are public and shared between contributors, i.e. you can reuse a description created by others, just as they can use yours.
Created: Thu, 24 Jul 2014, Updated: Thu, 24 Jul 2014

The 'Shared Description' text on this page is Copyright 2014 David Dixon, however it is specifically licensed so that contributors can reuse it on their own images without restriction.

You are not logged in login | register