An A4 at Alresford

Originally uploaded by fred pipes
Belting through the green Hampshire countryside, we see a train in the distance. What's pulling it? Is it a diesel? A Spam can? No, bloody hell, it's a Streak, an A4 like Mallard the world speed record holder for steam! The world's second most beautiful locomotive (well, I am an LMS man, after all). As we arrive at Alresford station, the train is just pulling in. It's 60019 Bittern in Brunswick green British Railways livery. Wow! I'm on my second Worthing Coaches excursion, this time to the Watercress Line. As the other passengers amble off into town, I can't wait to get onto the platform. LMS Class 2MT 2-6-2T No. 41312 is in steam in a siding and I wait for Bittern to change ends to take some photos. Then I sit and eat my Boots sandwich as she quietly chuffs away. Our train is this one, but two hours later, so as Bittern headed off to Alton, I head off for a pint of Ringwood bitter at a local hostelry. Arlesford is a Georgian town and actually had a Post Office open, so I took advantage to buy some stamps.

Back at the station I crossed the footbridge to take a snap of the train coming in, wheels and all. Then it was on board for our cream tea, in the front coach. At Ropley I jumped up to cop the engines in the shed: BR standard class 5 4-6-0 No. 73096 and SR Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 No. 35005 Canadian Pacific amongst others in various states of repair. At Alton I popped out to take more photos and on the way back we passed a lonely DMU with zero passengers on board! Then it was into the coach for a scenic ride home. Never did get any watercress!

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