Mid Hants Railway

Mid Hants Railway

A1 Tornado at Four Marks
A1 Peppercorn Tornado at Medstead & Four Marks

Picture Above: © Copyright Peter Trimming and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

The Mid Hants or Watercress Line as it’s affectionately known, is a Standard Gauge Steam preservation railway running from the Town of Alresford to The Mainline at Alton, via Ropley and Medstead & Four Marks.


The route totals a 20 mile round trip.


Alresford is the Main Starting point on the railway, the Eastern Terminus of the line.

There is a fairly large Car Park, Restaurant, Gift Shop, Booking Office & Waiting Room. The Restaurant is housed in the Ex-Lyme Regis Station building, which was saved after the Lyme Branch closed. (See Cannington Viaduct, Related article.)


Ropley is the Railways Headquarters, here they have their Engine shed & Works, Carriage maintenance etc…

During Thomas Events, this is bustling with people, you can barley move! Thomas doesn’t haul the trains, but does races with an 08 Shunter in the yard.

The Engine Sheds I believe can be viewed, I thought I read somewhere that there are plans to build a 10 1/4″ gauge railway in the Grounds!

Medstead & Four Marks

This Station serves the Villages of Medstead & Four Marks, to state the obvious…. 😉

The footbridge at the Station was originally Cowes Station on the Isle of Wight. There is also a Signal Box and P-Way hut here.


Alton, the Western Terminus of the line. This is where the MHR and the Mainline meet. The mainline also Terminates here. The MHR and South West Trains share the station, with SWT using Platforms 1 & 2, and the MHR using Platform 3.

Rolling Stock

Nearly all the locomotives and Rolling Stock are of Southern Railways Origin. Trains normally consist of 4 or 5 coaches, the Railway does also run a 3 car DMU service.

Ropley Workshop Blaze

A recent incident occurred at Ropley MPD. A fire broke out in the Railways new Carriage & Wagon Workshop, fortunately no one was hurt, the building was empty at the time. It was well documented in a recent edition of Steam Railway Magazine, but I don’t recall if it say’d what started the blaze. The line sadly, lost some stock, including a newly restored Tender for a Southern Loco currently undergoing restoration, I believe they may have salvaged the Frames.

Website: http://www.watercressline.co.uk/Home

Operating Dates: See Website

Line Length: 10 Miles

Operational Locomotives:

  • BR Standard 9F 2-10-0 No.92212
  • Austerity 0-6-0ST No.1 (Converted to Thomas the tank engine)
  • USA Class 62 lookalike 0-6-0T No.30075
  • USA Class 62 0-6-0T No.30076
  • SR West Country Class 4-6-2 No.34007 Wadebridge
  • LMS Black 5 4-6-0 No.45379
  • BR Standard Class 5 5MT 4-6-0 No.73096
  • Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0 No.10 Douglas (Originally 0-6-0ST) (Under Overhaul)

I have not listed all the locos here, as I would be here all day!


0-6-0 Douglas
Hunslet 0-6-0 “Douglas” near Medstead & Four Marks

Picture Above: © Copyright Richard Thomas and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Steam loco "Wadebridge" at Ropley
Wadebridge entering Ropley

Picture Above: © Copyright Peter Trimming and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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