It’s the perfect way to unwind and witness the sights, sounds, smells and magic of steam travel from a bygone age.
You can either join the line at the picturesque Georgian town of Alresford or Alton, a bustling market town. On your journey you can stop at Ropley and Medstead & Four Marks stations and marvel at their preserved history.
Special Events throughout the year including Day out with Thomas, War on the Line, Spectacular Steam Galas and much, much more - please see the website for further details www.watercressline.co.uk
On selected Saturday evenings the Watercress Line runs Real Ale Trains from Alton station and its dining service ‘Watercress Belle’. ‘The Countryman Pullman’ offers a Sunday lunch. In December we also offer special Christmas Dining trains. All catering/Real Ale Train services are immensely popular and require pre-booking.
The Mid Hants Railway opened in 1865. London & South Western Railway agreed to take over and run the line, providing the locomotives and rolling stock whilst the Mid Hants Railway provided the station staff. Today our railway is staffed by a dedicated team of skilled staff and over 450 volunteers whose objective is to preserve part of the country’s railway heritage for your generations to come.
The railway was once used to transport passengers as well as local Watercress and other produce up to market at Covent Garden and beyond and was a diversionary route for BR when engineering work was undertaken on the south west mainline. The Mid Hants railway is one of the steepest graded lines in the country with a ruling gradient of 1 in 60, pretty steep for a railway. Such is the effort required by man and machine to crest the summit at Medstead & Four Marks, this became known as ‘Going over the Alps’. We have a fleet of large steam engines capable of working heavy trains over the line, a spectacular sight and sound any time of year!
The Mid Hants Railway was closed as part of Beeching’s plan in 1973 but, thanks to the dedication of volunteers, the railway was restored from Alresford to Ropley and re-opened to the public in 1977. In 1983 the line was extended to Medstead & Four Marks station, the highest railway station in Southern England, and continued to Alton in 1985.