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Watercress Line to host nostalgic steam rail event

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The Watercress line will play host to Somerset and Dorset (S&D) steam locomotives on 1 October 2021.

The Autumn Steam Gala will run for three days, with a range of trains provided by the S&D Railway Trust.

A number of passenger and home fleet locomotives will be at the event for visitors to learn about – boarding the trains as they run between Alresford, Ropley, Medstead and Four Marks, and Alton stations each day.

The varied timetable will see Somerset and Dorset at work with both goods and passenger trains on Friday, a holiday theme for Saturday and the Pines Express as the focus on Sunday.

Highlights include the 34092 City of Wells, from East Lancs Railway, and the home fleet’s 53808 7F, courtesy of S&D Railway Trust, which was used for both goods trains and holiday excursions.

Another draw for crowds will be the grand opening of the Watercress Line’s new museum in Alresford. There will also be a Real Ale Train on Saturday evening.

Simon Baggott, Watercress line.

Historic S&D wagons will be on display around the railway. There will also be a display of shunting and brake van rides at Ropley, as well as gift shops and refreshment stops along the way.

Watercress Line general manager Simon Baggott said: “Join us for the Autumn Steam Gala event to turn back time to the railway’s golden eras of the Fifties and Sixties. Visitors will have a rare opportunity to see a representative selection of S&D steam locomotives up close and take a ride on board through the glorious Hampshire countryside.

“There’s plenty of steam locomotive nostalgia, so don’t miss out on the gala this autumn at the railway.”

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