On selected days throughout the year we run our heritage freight train in addition to our standard steam service.
Next freight running days:
9th - 11th February Steam Gala
28th - 29th July
19th - 21st October Steam Gala
Our fantastic 1960 freight train will be operating two round trips from Alresford* (departing 1115 and 1335), and Alton (departing 12.40 and 1500) in addition to our standard steam service. You can ride in the Queen Mary brake van; really hear the engine hauling 220 tons up the 1:60 gradients and see the railway from a unique perspective.
*The freight train will be stabled in the headshunt sidings at Alresford and leave there at 1050, arriving the station at 1052 before leaving for Alton at 1115.
Virtually every railway station in the country had its own goods yard with a daily goods train bringing in coal for the local coal merchants to deliver to our homes, new agricultural equipment and fertiliser for local farms and taking out the produce to markets in London and beyond. Butter, timber, beer, cattle, fruit, grain, wine, meat, oil, manure, cement, chocolate, watercress and almost anything else you can think of was carried by the local goods train.
At the Watercress Line we have our own wagon restoration group who have restored and maintain around 30 wagons, plus containers - you can keep up to date with all their news here. Our freight train aims to be typical of those circa 1960, even down to the packaging straw and shunters marks in chalk!
June 1st 1964 saw the formal withdrawal of freight facilities from Alresford and Medstead stations, and with facilities at Ropley and Itchen Abbas withdrawn in 1962, this saw the end of the traditional "pick up” freight over the Mid Hants; with the exception of Alton and the short remaining branches to Treloars and Farringdon which lasted until 1968. See the recent article from the Mid Hants News