2014-06-07 Watercressline

During our 2014 UK holiday we paid a visit to the Mid-Hants railways that operates part of the former Watercressline from Winchester - Alton - London
DSC02661  Our day at the Watercressline started in the old station of  Alresford DSC02671  Note: where my camera's GPS could get a fix on satelites the coordinates can be found below this caption.  Click on "See map" to see the corresponding, errrm, well, um, map! It will open in a separate window. DSC02673  Awaiting the incoming train DSC02674  Much to my delight the train was operated by a West Country light pacific.
DSC02675 DSC02676 DSC02680  This shot clearly shows the remarkable design of the West Country class in its un-rebuilt form. The class has three distinct features:   - the casing of the boiler, probably intended to ease cleaning and improve the lift of the smoke,   - chain driven valve gear  - the Bulleid Firth Brown wheels DSC02682  110 of the class were built from 1945 to 1951. A major rebuild was undertaken on 60 members of the class from 1955 until 1961. Withdrawal started in 1963 mainly with un-rebuilt examples some of which had accumulated only 600,000 miles (960,00 km). Withdrawal of rebuilt examples soon started thereafter many of them only a few years after rebuilding.
DSC02685  A view on the typical roof of the locomotive. The casing proved troublesome. It easily accumulated oil and grease spots which crusted and attracted dust and dirt. That on its turn was easily ignited by sparks from heavy braking causing fire within the cladding. The casing was removed during rebuilding. DSC02690 DSC02693 DSC02695  The crew demonstrating the visibilty problems with this class
DSC02700 DSC02707 DSC02708  The landmark Bulleid Firth Brown wheels. Intended purposes of the construction over traditional spoked wheels: better rigidity, better stress distribution, lighter construction. They were different from the more known Boxpok wheels and that they were cast instead of welded from sheet metal. DSC02711
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DSC02725 DSC02727  The characteristic front DSC02732  Well it's time to prepare for departure DSC02733
DSC02737 DSC02740 DSC02741  Go! DSC02742
DSC02748 DSC02749  Through the glorious English countryside. The Watercressline has some notable inclines and that makes the threecylinder Pacific work hard. The audible six beat was a joy to hear. DSC02750  Approaching Ropley CIMG3454
DSC02751  Ropley is the place to be if you want to see the depot. DSC02752  I first saw this West Country off. DSC02758 DSC02760  School class in pristine condition
DSC02761  I usually dislike the 4-4-0 wheel arrangement as I find them out of balance. The School is however a notable exception. Strong, powerful lines. And also powerful in tractive effort, reputedly the most powerful 4-4-0 class in Europe. The loco's were designed to serve lines that needed muscle but did not have large enough turntables to accomodate 2-6-0 designs. The 40 members of the class were built between 1930 and 1935 and withdrawn in 1961 and 1962. Three locomotives have been preserved DSC02762 DSC02763 DSC02764
DSC02765 DSC02768 DSC02770  The Lord Nelson class is the bigger version of the Schools class DSC02790  And that is why the two fronts are almost identical
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DSC02771  The BR Standard Class 7, also known as the Britannia Class, is a 4-6-2 Pacific designed by Robert Riddles for mixed traffic duties. 55 were constructed between 1951 and 1954.  70000 was returned to the main line in 2011. But today was not my lucky day, so it seems. DSC02774  Well supported to take the stress off the frame DSC02778  This 9F was on of the last steam locomotives to be produced for the Britisch Railways in 1959. When it was sold for scrap it was only seven yeards old! DSC02779  Note the flangeless driver wheel
DSC02780 DSC02781 DSC02783 DSC02784  A museum railway is more than a few nutties driving up and down. It is all about skill, professionalism and maintaing the highest standards for maintenance and overhaul.
DSC02786 DSC02792  Tender frame upside down. DSC02793  Chimney rim. DSC02804  The locomotive in the front is a rebuilt West Country, so one without the characteristic casing.
DSC02807  Two 4-6-0 in various stages of restoration. The front one is Southern Railway S15 class number 828 DSC02808 DSC02817  We boarded again to continue our journey to Alton DSC02821  Outside Ropley's station there was half a fleet awaiting restoration. On this railway alone I counted more mainline steam locomotives than are left over in the entire Netherlands (from Dutch origin that is). And in the Netherlands there is not a single original Dutch steam locomotive operational.
DSC02843  Train crossing at Medstead DSC02852  Say "Hi" DSC02853  Departure DSC02870  The U runnin' round in Alston
DSC02882 DSC02879 CIMG3461  Watching the man on board is a delight in itself. The non-verbal radiation from it alone! CIMG3463
CIMG3467 CIMG3474bklein  Some one else was watching me CIMG3475 CIMG3481
DSC02899  Who ever takes the Mid-Hants Railway: there is well stocked model railroad shop in Alston's High Street DSC02907  Our return journey was again powered by the West Country loco DSC02913 DSC02911
DSC02918 DSC02952  We thoroughly enjoyed the sound of the labouring locomotive and the glorious view over the countryside DSC02953 DSC02959  Hear the sound of a three-cylinder leisurely trundling through the countryside (open up your sound settings)
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