Last year I had the good fortune to attend the Watercress Line’s Spring Steam Gala and what a Gala it was. Originally it was planned to be an event where you able to see three of the National Railway Museums 4-4-0s in steam together. However as everyone knows the legendary GWR 4-4-0 City of Truro was withdrawn from service following boiler leaks. This left just the two Southern Region 4-4-0’s in the form of Schools class number 925 Cheltenham and ex-LSWR T9 number 30120. Luckily for me there was some Great Western traction in action as the Severn Valley stepped in and offered large prairie No 5164 to the Mid Hants for the gala. It was lovely to see the prairie, one of the most iconic Great Western locomotives. I had the good fortune to spend the day with Dave from LocoYard which helped make for an excellent day and gala.
The full line up
T9 ‘Greyhound’ No 30120
‘King Arthur’ Class No 777 ‘Sir Lamiel’
‘Schools’ Class No 925 ‘Cheltenham’
SR ‘Lord Nelson’ Class No 850 ‘Lord Nelson’
SR ‘West Country’ Class No 34007
GWR 5101 Class No 5164
LMS Black Five No 45379
The T9 leaving Medstead for Ropley she was easily the most photographed locomotive of the weekend because she is so elegant. At the time the location where I took the photo was a car park but it has since been developed into housing.
5164 leaving Medstead next to Wadebridge on the freight. I was on a wagon tour when this photo was taken which gave me a unique perspective of 5164 leaving the station.
Wadebridge at Ropley with the first train of the day from Alresford. I actually caught it to Ropley and it was still at the station after I got off and wondered around to the loco yard.
A lovely shot of Sir Lamiel in between Ropley and Alresford. Since this photo was taken the Mid Hants permanent Way gang have built a small hut which houses the electrical box.
5164 arriving at Ropley with the first train of the day from Alton.
Lord Nelson and Cheltenham double heading at Alton. In this photo we also get to see the lesser spotted LocoYard blog creator.
Lord Nelson and Cheltenham at Alton again from the other end. It does seem to be a MHR tradition now to get these two locomotives double heading at galas.
Cheltenham steaming towards Alresford. It’s a shame I didn’t have a video camera to capture her departure as the sound track was amazing.
No gala would be complete without the a non-passengers train and here we have Black 5 with the engineers train at Ropley.
It was a great gala and I had a very enjoyable time. It is amazing to think how much the line has changed between the 2013 Autumn and 2014 spring gala. That being said with the new platform building at Ropley being constructed, we will get some new photo opportunities at the 2015 spring gala.