Saturday, 17 August 2013

The Watercress Line (04). Alton

Our final stop on the journey was at Alton where the Watercress Line originates and terminates. The station is shared between Network Rail and Heritage Rail and it is an interesting contrast.




We arrived as the DEMU left the station, so I did not get any decent pics of her, however. it was the same one that we saw at Medstead and Four Marks


While we waited for the next inbound train we took more pics of random things. The station buildings on platform three are in the 1950's style and are very interesting in their own right.




Walking down the platform I discovered a magnificent Ransome and Rapier 45 Ton steam crane, and it was real beaut. It sat on a side line and  superficially was in a good condition. Whether it still worked or not was another story though, given how it is steam powered and the boiler would need regular inspections.



The crane admired, we headed down to await the arrival of the train. It was headed by a diesel, with a steam loco at the back. These were the same class 50 diesel and Schools Class loco that we had seen the day before at Ropley.  The moment the train had stopped the steam engine was mobbed by eager photographers, rubberneckers and gawkers. But she shrugged them off and disconnected from the train and moved forward to take on water, before reversing back onto the end of the train.


Then everybody started to board and soon the train started to move, steam engine doing what it does best.


Then they were past us, heading towards the next station. The rear of the train connected to the diesel. My video of this train is on my YouTube Channel.


It had been another fascinating morning of heritage rail, and I am glad I was able to see this, although travelling on it may be out of my reach at this moment in time. However, it is a glimpse into a period that is past, and one which the many children who traveled on this train did not experience. I experienced rail travel in a different country, so it is all new to me too.


It is very evident that the Watercress Line is a very professional operation that is manned by volunteers. I marvel at how they have managed to create this world from the past, and can imagine how much dedication it took to get to this point. I hope that one day I will be able to ride this train too, although sticking my head out of the window isn't possible. There are 4 sections to this blog post, this being the last. 



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