What an event the Spring Steam Gala 2014 was! The Watercress Line put on a fantastic show, helped by a good dose of sunshine and even better dose of friendly volunteers to make the day even more enjoyable. Over the past few week’s, many blog posts have been published from the day and all are linked to here, including those from fellow locoyard blogger Simon.As is usual on the railway’s events, much of Ropley locomotive works could be viewed, with progress on BR standard 4MT 4-6-0 75079 being evident in the picture above. The Boiler shop was also open (see below), an impressive facility.
Big events such as these give societies within the railway a good opportunity to introduce themselves to the public. One such society being the Urie Locomotive Society Ltd who have two projects on the go. These are to bring S15 classes 499 and 506 back into service. I have to say that I was very impressed by the friendly chaps that Simon and I spoke to at this event and shall be joining the society in the near future! The frames of these two 1920 Eastleigh built machines are pictured below.
As well as exciting new projects, there was also evidence of some change afoot in the railway’s locomotive fleet. A number of locomotives based on the line are privately owned by one individual and unfortunately it looks as if they will be moving on this year. Only one of those is running order – U class 31806 which was working it’s last gala on the line. Another of this particular collection is the first to leave the railway; rebuilt Bulleid West Country pacific 34016 Bodmin could be seen at Alresford awaiting to be taken away to Carnforth by road (see below).
Also to be found in Alresford was the line’s wagon group model railway demonstration exhibition; a fantastic interactive resource (click here to read Simon’s excellent blog post on this).
The following blog posts have been published looking at the locomotives that were in action on the day, plus some excellent pictures by Simon and a report on the railway’s wagon group. Click on the links to read more
Just a little reminder that the Mid Hants Railway are currently stripping 35005 Canadian Pacific down for assessment of works and costing in Eastleigh and before they can start restoring her we need to raise the funds. This is where we still need your help. As I have mentioned before the boiler work is alone expect to exceed £100,000 so anything you can give will be gratefully appreciated no matter how small you think it might be.
Both links take you to the Mid Hants Railway Website which is where you can find out more information on how you can help. Thank you.
Don’t Forget to check out the Brookes Castle – Volunteer Diary to catch up on the stripping down of Canadian Pacific at Eastleigh Works.