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We are delighted to be able to offer a second full day of steam photography at the Mid-Hants Railway using home-based British Railways 'Standard' 9F Class 2-10-0 No.92212. This will be one of the last charter opportunities with No.92212 as the locomotive's current boiler certificate expires in June 2019 when it will be withdrawn for heavy overhaul. We will work with both goods stock (morning) and passenger stock (afternoon) starting at 08.00 in the morning and running through until sunset with a lunch break around mid-day which is likely to be at Alresford.
Start location is to be confirmed, though it is likely to be from Alresford. We will have use of the line between Alresford and Medstead on both days - the line beyond Medstead will be closed in 2019 until July as there is major bridge repair work scheduled near Alton station. That will still leave us with plenty of line and locations and, with the mixture of stock during the day, we will have ample opportunities on offer to keep us gainfully employed.
No.92212 was built at Swindon Works and entered traffic on 22nd September 1959, its first allocation being to Banbury Shed. In 1961, the locomotive was based first at Bath Green Park from June to September for use on Summer Saturday Specials over the Somerset & Dorset route, a task for which the 9Fs proved admirably suited. It moved to Ebbw Junction in Wales in September 1961 and, in July 1962, to Tyseley Depot in Birmingham where the loco spent four years until its final allocation to Carnforth Shed in July 1966. After only just over eight years in traffic, British Railways withdrew the locomotive in January 1968, another premature casualty of the headlong rush towards dieselisation towards the close of the 1960s.
Purchased from Barry scrap yard in 1979 by 92212 Holdings Limited, the locomotive was returned to steam by its owning group at the Great Central Railway in September 1996. It has worked on several heritage lines since then including the Severn Valley Railway and the Bluebell Railway, and is now permanently based at the Mid-Hants Railway. No.92212 is now privately owned and is to receive the boiler from class-mate 92245 during its imminent heavy overhaul.
The Mid-Hants Railway runs from Arlesford to Alton over a route that includes a steeply-graded section known as 'The Alps'. The line was purchased from British Rail in November 1975, having been closed by BR in February 1973. The route re-opened in stages, the first being Alton to Ropley (30th April 1977), Ropley to Medstead and Four Marks (28th May 1983) and Medstead to Alton (25th May 1985). It is ten miles long and is known as The Watercress Line due to the original line having been associated with carrying locally-grown watercress from the 'beds' near Alresford to London.
These are the first TimeLine charters at the Mid-Hants Railway and we are grateful to both the Railway and the locomotive's owner for facilitating this event. This is a fine line featuring some challenging gradients, and we hope you will wish to join us for the second of our two days at the Watercress Line.
Event cost £80.00 per person.