As is often the way, today was a fairly typical bank holiday with most of it being spoilt somewhat by very wet weather conditions (or as the Water Companies say; “drought conditions”!) Not letting the rain dampen my spirits; I made the most of this much appreciated day off by visiting Ropley on the Watercress Line.
Two locomotives were in steam, the first being a foreigner to the south, ex-London Midland Scottish Railway Black 5MT 45379 (above). Stanier’s design (in my opinion) looks just right and for me at least, seeing a black 5 is still enough of novelty to be of interest. I know that both in preservation and in service this type was and is very common, but being a southerner I’ve not had quite the same level of exposure as many other enthusiasts out there. So it was good to see the locomotive.
The second locomotive in service was the Maunsell’s four-cylinder beast, 850 Lord Nelson. Another favourite of mine (yes I have many!), the locomotive looks and is very powerful. It certainly is capable of pulling more than the three carriages it had in tow and of course it could go a lot faster than the heritage line’s speed limit of 25mph. Nevertheless, it is a real privilege to see it in steam, after all the many volunteer hours put in to make it happen. Click on the link below to see a video of its departure towards Alresford.
A visit to Ropley could never be complete without a visit to the engine shed and loco yard. As U class 31806 was visiting Didcot to celebrate the now closed Didcot, Newbury and Southampton line and 9F 92212 is on loan until the end of July to the Bluebell Railway, the yard was somewhat empty. BR standard 5MT 73096 was the main subject of interest and I took the opportunity to get a close look at this machine, that is no longer operational due to its 10 year boiler certificate having expired.
850 Lord Nelson returned back from Alresford and I took a few more pictures and a video – see link below. Additional pictures have also been uploaded onto Steam Tube and the link for this is also below:
Steam Tube Photograph Album from the day
With that I returned to the car where my very patient wife was waiting for me. It was about then that the rain stopped and the sun came out… a typical bank holiday indeed! I hope all my followers enjoyed the long weekend too 🙂