A visit to the Mid Hants Railway, Alton, Hamsphire, England

Also known as the ‘Watercress Line’ this preserved steam railway runs for 10 miles (16km) from the town of Alton to Alresford, through green Hampshire countryside. The ‘Watercress’ tag comes from one of the major agricultural activities in the area. Trains took the crop to London. Watercress is still grown in the area.

My visit was on Sunday afternoon 14th September, a cloudy day but luckily it didn’t rain. I stopped in Winchester for a couple of hours. It was packed with visitors and as everyone has pictures of the place I saved my batteries. I decided to take a bus to Alton and come back on the steam train.

The Mid Hants Railway originally ran from Alton to Winchester. It was closed to passengers in 1972. The line between London and Alton had been electrified as part of the London commuter network as long ago as 1937, but the rest of the line remained a backwater. Diesel trains started running in 1966 but the line was a victim of the massive railway closures of the period. The preservation group bought the line between Alton and Alresford, but the remainder has been lost to building and will never re-open.

The official website for the line is at and there is a Wikipedia article at charting the history of the line from its opening in 1865  to  closure (to scheduled service) in 1972, purchase in 1975 then gradual re-opening until the present day.

For the visitor without a car or who does not wish to drive, it’s easy to get to and a nice day out. Alton is the terminus of a commuter line from London Waterloo operated by South West Trains, with service every 30 minutes every day except Sunday mornings when the trains run only once each hour. Connections are possible from a huge variety of other places. For train times in detail see or

Alton station is shared between the private and public railways, so there is no problem with local transfer and access.

There are buses every 30 minutes weekdays and Saturdays from Winchester to Alresford at the other end of the line, about every hour on Sundays. (The bus station at Winchester is several minutes walk from the railway station.)

Ropley is the centre of the line´s preservation and restoration activity. Most weekends the timetable is sufficiently frequent to allow an hour or two between trains to have a good look around. There aren’t any pubs close by. The village centre is about a mile away. Alton and Alresford stations are in the middle of town with all the usual facilities close at hand.

I hope you like my pictures which are at

The low sun was getting in the way, so some are not as good as I would prefer.

A visit to the Mid Hants Railway, Alton, Hamsphire, England

Tagged: on September 29, 2014 by cubsur51

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Southampton visit

In Pictures from England on September 25, 2014 by cubsur51 Tagged:

I spent a week in Southampton, mainly to watch cricket  but was able to take a couple of walks around the city. There is quite a lot still to see of historic interest, despite much of the old city having been destroyed during a bombing raid in World War Two.

The city’s history goes back to Roman times, although there is considerable dispute about what was actually situated in what we now call Southampton. From the Anglo-Saxon times (mid 5th century AD onwards) it is known that a settlement called Hamtun existed in what is now the St Mary’s area and at some time thereafter it became known as South Hamtun, to distinguish it from North Hamtun, now Northam.(In the Saxon tongue, ham = village and tun = enclosure, yard or Ham might have been someone’s name eg Ham’s yard. I dunno!)

City walls and stone churches appeared after the Norman invasion of the late 11th Century. For more about Southampton’s history, see the Wikipedia article at

One thing I did not know, until I saw a mention of it, is that in Jane Austen’s time Southampton was known as a spa and bathing resort! She and her family came down from their home near Winchester to take restorative walks along the seafront. Hard to imagine that now!

Southampton was and still is one of the UK’s busiest merchant ports and is also a base and calling point for several passenger cruise ships. It’s a busy city, with plenty going on. The oldest part of the city sits on a small hill above what was once marshy ground. Large sections of the city walls still stand, along with the Bargate, one of the best kept examples of a Middle Ages city gate.

Bargate, Southampton

Right in the modern city are several large parks, quite a surprise for the visitor.

Houndwell Park, Southampton

My own pictures are at


Uncommonly nice weather in southern England

Apart from a thunderstorm in Southampton on Thursday morning that is! The sun has been seen, daytime temperatures are in the 22 – 24C range. Mornings are rather misty though.

I am now in Tonbridge for the weekend. Far too much beer will be consumed. My time will not be my own as I join old friends in the various sports venues and pubs.

I will have the opportunity early next week to upload some pictures from the week in Southampton, which I found to be rather more interesting than when I spend some time working there around 15 years ago.

Uncommonly nice weather in southern England

Tagged: , , on September 20, 2014 by cubsur51

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Albufeira at night

In Albufeira, Algarve, Portugal on September 10, 2014 by cubsur51 Tagged: ,

The Cais Herculano and the oldest part of town on Sunday night 7th September.

Albufeira Cais Herculano and old town at night


Albufeira beach Saturday 6th September 7.22pm

In Albufeira, Algarve on September 7, 2014 by cubsur51

Albufeira beach Saturday 6th September 7.22pm

Albufeira beach 060914


Some kitty cats for you

In Albufeira, Algarve, Animals on September 7, 2014 by cubsur51

Not far from where I live, seen yesterday.


kitten 2


Foggy in Albufeira

In Albufeira, Algarve, the weather and things on September 6, 2014 by cubsur51

View from my window across the marina at 1220pm


fog in albufeira




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