I had the pleasure of attending the Mid Hants Railways Autumn Steam Gala this year with Mr LocoYard himself and had to say that the Watercress Line held another fantastic steam gala. When 2 of the scheduled visiting locomotives dropped out I did start to worry about the gala, but the four Great Western visiting locomotives ranging from the mighty Castle to the tiny 14xx class supplemented by the railway’s home fleet insured there was non-stop steam action.
The first of the guest loco’s from Jeremy Hosking’s visiting fleet we got to see at the Mid Hants Autumn Gala was the nearly restored GWR 42xx class 4270. Currently based at the GWSR she put in some great performances tackling the alps and featured an even better soundtrack. Designed to haul the heavy coal trains in the south of Wales she wasn’t a smooth ride, so much so that LocoYard nicknamed her the Great Coffee Shaker.
For me the real star of the show was 5029 Nunney Castle, I have always said I view the GWR Castle are the most beautiful steam locomotive class in the world. Nunney put in some brilliant performances with even some of the MHR’s die hard Southern crews saying she was one of the best locomotives they’ve seen tackle the alps.
4270 running around her train at Alresford, I was watching her trundle around the tracks whilst LocoYard was chatting to Dave of DJ Models. You cant help but be impressed by the 42xx and the brilliant job the GWSR team have done restoring her. The most popular train of the day was the 14xx 1450 and her autotrain, myself and LocoYard had a few things we had to do at the gala and getting a ride on the autotrain was top of that list. She was a lovely little loco and was impressed with the smoothness of her ride and how fast she accelerated out of Alresford.
During the Spring Gala several people recommend that we walked up to the footcrossing between Ropley and Alresford for photographs and during this gala we finally did. The foot crossing was very busy with around 30 photographers taking shots of the passing locomotives. I got this one of Lord Nelson with her Cunarder headboard.
My favourite photo of the day was also from my favourite photography spot on the Mid Hants this time featuring Nunney Castle hauling the Pines Express. I do hope to do my Mid Hants PTS sometime next year so next year I will be able to try out some different locations.
Thanks for reading