Visit Winchester > Blog > A Winchester Life – Allan James, Volunteer at the Mid Hants Railway

A Winchester Life – Allan James, Volunteer at the Mid Hants Railway


Volunteers are the backbone of the Mid Hants Railway. We meet Allan James – one of 450 volunteers helping to keep the heritage railway running so you can enjoy a happy trip…

I’m busy at the Watercress Line taking bookings for our events that have just been announced. It’s quite exciting because as well as our annual events, we have Flying Scotsman visiting us in February and March for the first time, to celebrate the re-opening of our line to Alton, and we also have two new events: VE Day 75th Anniversary and a 50s Weekend.

I do a number of volunteering roles at the Watercress Line. My main role is running the Information Office at Alresford Station, open daily throughout the year. We’re the first contact for customers who are ringing and visiting the railway. I also help with our Santa Specials event in December and our school educational visits.

I’ve been doing this for 11 years since I reached retirement age. I was looking for regular volunteering work and the Watercress Line was perfect for me as I’m interested in railways and it’s local. I feel like I’m part of a lovely group of volunteers here who do all sorts of things around the railway.

The views across to the South Downs National Park are glorious as you travel through the Hampshire countryside. The Watercress Line is great for special events because it lends itself to a variety of events for everyone, from Day Out With Thomas, Santa Specials, War On The Line and our dining experiences, not forgetting our famous ‘RAT’ (Real Ale Train)!

At the end of the day I reflect on the day’s events and like to feel I’ve done a worth while job before unwinding. Sleep is never a problem for me after all that fresh air!