Steam Railway Preservation in the 1980s and 1990s, New winds of change at the Mid-Hants

Steam Railway Preservation in the 1980s and 1990s

New winds of change at the Mid-Hants

From an article by Mervyn Turvey

2 BulleidsComparing notes! Two Bulleid Pacifics stand side by side at Ropley on April 29, 1003. On the far left is ‘Swanage’, nearest to the camera is ‘257 Squadron’ coupled to the tender from ‘Bodmin’. It is an interesting combination of unrebuilt engine with a rebuilt tender.

The sun was beating down on Ropley at the end of April as the teams in charge of the two unrebuilt Bulleid Pacifics were preparing them for a weekend of adventure with a difference.
The home-based Pacific ‘Swanage’ was having a boiler inspection for insurance purposes and the visitor ‘257 Squadron’ was receiving a check over after delivery by low-loader from Swanage.
The crews positioned them together for the purpose of a photographic exercise and chatted about their experiences as guardians of the two locomotives.
To the very few passers-by it was a moment of extreme interest because the sight of two locomotives of this kind side by side in 1993 is a pretty rare experience.

Latest 2015 News:

Spring Steam Gala

LNER A4 Pacific No. 4464 ‘Bittern’ and Britannia Class No.70000 ‘Britannia’ will be at the Watercress Line for our Spring Gala!


The Gala will be an exciting event that will not only see ‘Britannia’ return to steam after her time spent at Ropley but it will also see the welcome return of ‘Bittern’ back to MHR rails.

Alongside these two great engines will be our popular home fleet: Schools Class No. 925 ‘Cheltenham’, Lord Nelson Class No. 850 ‘Lord Nelson’, West Country Class No. 34007 ‘Wadebridge’, BR Standard Class 9F No. 92212 and Stanier Black 5 No.45379.

Our Spring Steam Gala always aims for the spectacular, with a dazzling display of steam powered magic! Over 3 days we run an intensive timetable – giving you the opportunity to ride behind as many of the engines as possible, as well as giving great photo opportunities.

Throughout the weekend there will be opportunity to see the demonstration freight train and behind the scenes with our shed tours and viewing galleries. Don’t forget our gift shop at Alresford station carries a wide range of modelling items from Bachmann, Hornby and Dapol!


Adult £25
Adult 3 day pass £50
Child (aged 2-16 yrs) £13
Child under 2 FREE
Family (2 Adults and 2 Children – 1 child effectively free) £63

Advance tickets include all booking fees and tickets cost the same on the day.

Entry is by travel ticket only. Once tickets are purchased they cannot be changed or cancelled for any reason. Site/platform tickets, intermediate fares and discount vouchers, including Tesco Clubcard vouchers, are NOT VALID for this event.
We are unable to offer footplate rides during this event.

FREE parking at Ropley in the field.
The Company does not guarantee that the trains will arrive or depart at the times stated and reserves the right to cancel, alter or suspend any train without notice, or to substitute a different train should this be necessary for whatever reason.


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