The Railway Station
Hampshire SO24 9JG
The Mid Hants Railway (MHR) ‘Watercress Line’ preserved railway is an easily accessible day trip from London. The MHR has a mainline connection at Alton Station serviced by South West Trains. The mainline trip takes approximately 1 hour.
South West Trains offer a half hourly service from London Waterloo station, via Woking (hourly service on Sundays until midday). A direct train from Waterloo to Alton takes just over one hour.
The Watercress Line
This lovely preserved railway set in beautiful rolling Hampshire countryside, has four perfectly restored stations, ten miles (16 km) of track and a wonderful selection of restored steam and diesel locomotives and carriages.
The line has steep gradients requiring large powerful locomotives. These steep grades prove a test of skill for loco crews, however they are a bonus for visitors with exciting views of hard working locomotives encased in steam (especially in the cooler months).
Each station has a passing loop allowing trains to pass one another, with all but Alton station featuring two platforms connected via a footbridge. The line got its charming nickname from the days when it was the main transporter of fresh watercress to the Covent Garden fresh produce markets in London.
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Situated at the northern end of the Watercress line, Alton Station is the direct connection to the Mainline Rail System. South West Trains operate on platforms 1 and 2, and the Watercress Line operates from platform 3.
When arriving by South West Trains, cross the footbridge to platform 3 to purchase your Watercress Line tickets from the shop. Watercress Line tickets are not available from the South West Trains booking office.
If arriving by car, check the ‘Getting There’ information below.
Medstead & Four Marks Station
This station is the highest station in Hampshire and depicts a quiet 1940s Southern Railway station building. This is where trains usually pass on standard running days. Both platforms have no steps and are easily accessible. Access to either platform can be gained via the cross-track ramp if accompanied by a member of MHR staff. No Disabled Parking or toilet facilities available.
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The station is famous for its topiary and houses the largest signal box on the line. There is an elevated picnic area available via a steep sloping pathway from the centre of Platform 1 but at the top it is grass with a loose cinder path.
Ropley is the engineering centre of the line and the location of the locomotive maintenance and running sheds. The path to the boiler workshop viewing area is loose cinder. The signal box controls movements through the station, as well as much shunting to and from the locomotive yard.
Entry to the station building from both the platform and the front is step-less. As with Alresford access to Platform 1 is limited to a cross-track ramp if accompanied by a member of MHR staff. There is no designated Disabled Parking.
The free Event Parking is in a field and the route to the station is quite steep.
Located at the southern end of the line, Alresford is the main station for passenger facilities, including a museum, buffet, Disabled Parking and accessible toilets. Most of the carriage stock is stored at this station.
Themed Running Days
As well as standard running, there are themed running days including a ‘Day out with Thomas’. Other special events are ‘War on the Line’, Bus Rally, Steam Galas, and Wizard Week. On selected Saturday evenings the MHR run Real Ale trains from Alton station. There is also a dining service ‘Watercress Belle’. The ‘Countryman Pullman’ offers a Sunday lunch. These are all very popular and require pre-booking.
Given the heritage nature of the railway, there are some restrictions for wheelchair bound passengers. However restricted mobility users will find it fully accessible with ramps provided for boarding trains and accessible toilets at all stations except Medstead & Four Marks Station.
For detailed Accessibility information, go to Web: Watercress Line/ Accessibility External Link
The standard MHR train ticket gives visitors ‘freedom of the line’ – all day, allowing passengers to stop at each station and thereby fully appreciate this magnificent piece of living history.
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Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1962 733 810
Watercress Line External Link
The Watercress Line is located just off the A31, about seven miles from Winchester. The railway’s official website has an excellent map and parking information on their ‘How to Find Us’ page. Go to Web: How to Find Us External Link
Google Maps - Watercress Line