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This DVD looks at the line from its origins in 1865 to today’s Watercress Railway. Archive film shows the last steam and diesel services prior to closure, early preservation and track relaying in the 1980s on the Alton extension. Also, take a 1970s cab ride from Winchester Junction to Alton and see some spectacular gala visitors on the Watercress!
Today, the Mid-Hants Railway Watercress Line is one of Hampshire’s premier tourist attractions. Originally opened in 1865 as a route between Alton and Winchester, the line was also used as an alternative through route between London and Southampton – the main line being via Basingstoke. This programme looks at the very beginnings of the line and its construction through the picturesque Hampshire countryside at the western edge of the South Downs.
Although the line had continued service for over 100 years, it was always under threat due to poor passenger numbers and this eventually caused its closure in 1973. Following one of the most vigorous campaigns to save a secondary route, many supporters decided to try and re-open the line as a steam railway and so from 1977 the line from Alresford towards Alton was gradually opened as tourist railway.
We see sequences of archive films of the period showing the last steam and diesel services prior to closure and also footage of the beginnings of preservation. Rare archive films show the track relaying of the mid-1980s as the line was extended to Medstead and Four Marks and then eventually Alton in May 1985.
The DVD includes an edited cab ride along the whole line in the early 1970s from Winchester Junction to Alton on board a ‘Hampshire’ DEMU. A survey of locomotives currently operating on the line and the many facilities at all the stations. Visiting locomotives are featured as they operated at special gala weekends over the past few years.
This is the full story of this beautiful railway in the heart of Hampshire with plenty of steam action!