Let the train take the strain as you sit back, relax and travel through the heart of the English countryside. Whether you are taking a trip down memory lane or creating new ones, it’s the perfect way to unwind and experience the nostalgic sights, sounds and smells of steam travel from a bygone age.
Our fares give you all day unlimited travel, so you can enjoy the slower pace of life as you explore each of our four period stations along the ten mile route, the engineering workshops and the nearby towns all on one ticket.
Running along the edge of the South Downs National Park in Hampshire, you can join us at New Alresford: located just 7 miles from the ancient city of Winchester and famous for its clear chalk streams and watercress farms. Opened in 1865, the railway was soon nicknamed for its early role in transporting this locally grown crop to the markets in London and beyond. Alresford has a charming Georgian town centre with independent shops, a picturesque river walk with medieval Fulling Mill, and National Trust property Hinton Ampner is just a couple of miles away. Grab a bite to eat in our West Country Buffet on the platform, or a take-away cream tea for onboard the train.
At Ropley station you can enjoy a stroll on the elevated picnic area, from where you can walk in Harry Potter's footsteps over the iron footbridge where he received his Hogwarts Express ticket; the famous film location from King's Cross station that is now here at the Watercress Line! This takes you into our Loco Yard; here you can get up close to the locomotives and see behind the scenes in our impressive engineering workshops, where the locomotives and carriages are skilfully restored to their full glory.
"I had no idea that the railway had workshops... I thought that there were some well meaning volunteers, not a proper programme. The apprentices programme is commendable.”
At the peaceful country station of Medstead and Four Marks, the highest station in Southern England, you can relax and watch the world go by. The steep gradient of the line to this station means we need a fleet of large, powerful steam locomotives capable of hauling heavy trains ‘over the Alps’; a spectacular sight and sound at any time of year!
At the Alton end of the line you can also join us by mainline train, just an hour from London Waterloo. This bustling market town has a delightful mix of historic buildings and modern shops, with its own Curtis Museum and Allen Gallery and links to Jane Austen’s House in nearby Chawton.
"The best thing? Seeing the railways through my son's eyes!”
We are open every weekend from mid February through until the end of October and we also run midweek from May until September. For this 'standard travel' you can book your tickets in advance if you are coming in more than a weeks time, or simply pay on the day when you arrive.
We run steam and heritage diesel locomotives throughout the year, with fantastic special events, Sunday lunch and fine dining trains and our famous real ale trains; for these advance bookings are either recommended or essential and they can all be booked here online. We welcome group visits, who often enjoy lunch or a cream tea on the train, and have a wide range of Railway Experience days that make very special gifts.
"My family aged 22 months to 60 years had an absolutely wonderful time, made all the more special by your brilliant volunteers... A fantastic memory made & can't wait to come back again soon!”
We look forward to seeing you at the Watercress Line and hope you enjoy your visit!