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Full steam ahead as the Watercress Line gets ready to reopen

Hampshire’s popular Watercress Line is getting back on track for an exciting season of events for families and heritage railway fans of all ages when it reopens on Saturday 19th March.

A series of special activities is planned, from the family-friendly Days Out With Thomas, now featuring Sir Topham Hatt and three new entertainment shows, to nostalgia days - such as War on the Line, a 50s and 60s’ Weekend and a Vintage Vehicles event, displaying locomotives, cars, motorbikes and tractors. 

Rail enthusiasts will have the opportunity to enjoy Spring and Autumn Steam Gala days and a summer Diesel Gala showcasing visiting and home fleet freight and passenger trains. 

The Watercress Line’s year will also see the return of the spooky Wizard Week in October - and there will be more exciting news about events for the festive session later this year.

The special events calendar features: Spring Steam Gala, 29th April to 2nd May; Vintage Vehicles, 20th to 22nd May; Day Out With Thomas, 28th May to 5th June; War on the Line 18th and 19th June; Diesel Gala, 15th to 17th July; Day Out With Thomas, 6th to 14th August; 50s and 60s’ Weekend, 27th to 29th August; Open Weekend, 10th and 11th September; Autumn Steam Gala, 7th to 9th October; Wizard Week, 24th to 30th October.

The railway is also open on various dates throughout the year for trips on its preserved steam locomotives from Alresford to Alton, via Ropley, Medstead and Four Marks heritage stations. Staff are always happy to chat about the railway and the work that takes place to keep it running smoothly - and visitors are welcome to take a peek at the footplate, while chatting to the crews.

In addition, Watercress Line visit highlights include:

  • The King’s Cross footbridge featured in the Harry Potter film, now at Ropley
  • Young Engineers’ Trail at Ropley
  • Restoration work on show in the engineer sheds
  • New museum at Alresford
  • Rides on the delightful miniature railway
  • Childrens’ playground designed as a bespoke locomotive
  • Gift shop, picnic sites and tasty treats available from the West Country Buffet at Alresford and other refreshment kiosks along the line
  • Children’s birthday parties can be organised at the Watercress Line.

The Watercress Line’s Acting Managing Director Alison Houghton said: “All the staff are looking forward to the reopening of our much-loved railway on 19th March and welcoming everybody back on board.

“We have an exciting year ahead, with a wide range of special events planned for families with children, heritage steam railway enthusiasts and anybody who wants a great day out filled with fun and happy memories.

“Join us for a trip back in time to the railway’s golden eras, view our steam locomotives up close and take a ride on board through the glorious Hampshire countryside.

“There’s plenty to enjoy, so don’t miss out - visit our website and book your tickets in advance for any special events.”

Find out more and book tickets at www.watercressline.co.uk

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