As you are no doubt now aware by now, a little while ago now (been rather busy since!) three locoyard bloggers assembled together for the MHR Spring (!?) Steam Gala. As a first time visitor to the railway it was great to be shown round by Simon and Dave, it made our day much easier as they knew all the best spots, so thanks once again for that chaps. As a rare excursion into Southern territory strange sites greeted me, signals went the wrong way, the coaches were the wrong colour… 😀 However it was good to have some steam action, as the GWSR has its winter shut down period until early March.
Our first view upon arriving.
We began at Alresford, greeted by the sight of 4464 “Bittern” fresh from mainline service. As Simon says, this was a major factor in me attending, or to be more specific, Dad driving me there! This was the loco we ended up seeing most of all day in the end, and we had no complaints about that.
“Bittern” running round at Alton.
We rode behind Bittern all the way to Alton initially to take in the full length of the line. Considering the constraints of only having half of an island platform at Alton to share with mainline trains, the MHR have done a pretty good job of maintaining a heritage atmosphere. However, there wasn’t an awful lot to do at Alton so we hopped back on the same train.
Medstead and Four Marks station.
We jumped off the train at Medstead and Four Marks to meet up with Simon and Dave and took a wagon tour around the yard:
Restored CCT acting as workshop.
The wagon group do an amazing job in not great conditions, it must be rather cramped working in and around their few sidings, especially as at the moment with some of their precious space taken up by a diesel loco project (class twenty-something was it!?) Being a carriage and wagon volunteer it was interesting to hear how they cope, to us working outside just isn’t something we have to content with with restoration work.
I was rather pleased with this shot – Black Five 45379 under the footbridge at Medstead with shafts of winter sunlight streaming through the steam.
A clear Ropley station.
Next it was off to Ropley, the railway’s headquarters, to have a look around. It was interesting to compare facilities they had with ours at the GWSR. Ropley has much more comprehensive loco facilities than Toddington but I think we have the edge for C+W workshops. 🙂
850 ‘Lord Nelson’ light engine at Ropley
After this we had a wander up the path beyond Ropley station to get a couple of lineside shots, as a couple of trains were scheduled to come past the right way in quick succession:
70000 ‘Britannia ‘passes through with a passenger train…
…Swiftly followed by 34067 ‘Wadebridge’ with the freight shuttle
After that we had a look round the various stands and at this point Dave got collared by someone, so we parted ways for the train back to Alresford and the journey home, after an excellent day out…
The view from the footbridge at Ropley just before leaving