Continuing with our visit to the Watercress Line. We had relocated to Ropley to await the arrival of Cheltenham and Mirrless Pioneer which we had left behind at Alresford.
This station also houses the locomotive shed, although the inner workings were not visible from where we were at the platform.
The signal box is also a relic from a bygone age, and a brass plaque explains that was originally at Netley, and it was closed on 9 March 1980. It was re-erected at this site and reopened on 14 October 2007. With much growling and steam our train arrived and I was able to have a close look at the coupling method used. In South Africa we use a knuckle type coupling and our trains do not have buffers. The two locos were connected with a chain! I will be honest it did not look very safe to me, and coupling a train like that on a regular basis must have been a very dangerous job
Cheltenham now backed off to the loco shed, followed by Mirrless Pioneer.
One more train was scheduled to arrive, but it we would have to wait awhile, so I drifted off to find that locomotive shed. There wasn’t much to see from the gate, but there was one class of loco that I wanted to see standing there.
“Winston Churchill” is a Battle of Britain Class 4-6-2 loco bearing the number 34051. Now if only she was running…. Heading back to the platform I spent some time photographing odds and ends and being chased by an amorous bee. Once again this station is stuck in another age, and everything is from a different era altogether.
Then it was train time again, and a rake of coaches came down the line, which I suspect may have been the rake attached to Tornado in Arlesford we had seen earlier. Motive power was provided by yet another diesel, this time Class 50-027 “Lion”.
She then uncoupled and ran forward before reversing onto the line that went into the depot, obviously also to be bedded down for the night. Her coaches she left at the station.
It was almost time to go, a quick last look around a a few pics and we were off back to Southampton. It had been a really interesting journey, and the next day we would continue by looking at Medstead and Four Marks Station, as well as the end/beginning of the line at Alton.
DRW © 2013-2021. Images recreated 10/04/2016