A Conversation for The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Peer Review: A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 1

Bluebottle

Entry: The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway - A87830184
Author: Bluebottle - U43530

An article about Hampshire's steam railway.

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A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 2

Bluebottle

I first visited the Watercress Line when I went there on a day trip with my Dad when I was 5, shortly after it first reconnected to Alton (and before it was disconnected again.) Last month I went again with my Dad, along with my wife, 6-year old son, 3 year old daughter, sister and 9 year old nephew. I've been there for Santa Specials, Days Out with Thomas and just to enjoy the railway. (Still think the Isle of Wight Steam Railway's better, thoughsmiley - winkeye)

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A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 3

bobstafford

You would think that...smiley - laugh


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 4

bobstafford

PS the entry is OK .....smiley - laugh












Excellent work...smiley - ok


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 5

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

My first thought was, 'They needed a whole train to carry watercress?'

You might give us a footnote about what people do with watercress..I suspect some people may not have eaten it...

Otherwise, good work. smiley - smiley


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 6

Bluebottle

I've added a bit more about Watercress. I can't think of anything you can do with watercress other than eat it, so I suspect the people who didn't eat it either sold it or transported it. But if anyone knows what else you can do with watercress, they can let me know.

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A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 7

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

No, I think that's great, what you did. smiley - smiley That's all I meant - many Americans have never eaten it. I only know it from salads and such, while Vietnamese Amercians of my acquaintance used to grow it in their gardens all the time.


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 8

Bluebottle

As a matter of fact I had a watercress and ham sandwich (with a dollop of salad cream) for nammet today. And an smiley - apple

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A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 9

Dmitri Gheorgheni - Freshly Vaccinated

smiley - drool


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 10

Icy North

{To this day Alresford is the capital of watercress growing, holding an annual watercress festival in the superfood's honour}

...and guess where I was the other week? smiley - smiley

The Watercress Festival deserves its own entry, really. You might mention here that the Watercress Line provides a park & ride service from Ropley to Arlesford during the one-day festival. It's probably the cheapest way to experience the railway (£5 per car).

Nice entry, although my eyes glaze over in railway entries when start talking about line gauges, bogies and stuff.

smiley - cheers Icy


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 11

Icy North

You might also mention that Alresford is pronounced "Alls-ford" (footnote, maybe?)


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 12

Bluebottle

Good points there. I've mentioned the park & ride (but left out the price, as that will date quite quickly). I thought I'd been quite restrained and not gone on about gauge, bogies etc too much either. I've also added the pronunciation footnote too – if only someone had written a handy article about pronouncing British placenames, eh?smiley - winkeye

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A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 13

Icy North

Sounds like a link to me...


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 14

Icy North

Footnote: {Although the Hollycombe Steam Collection on the Hampshire/Surrey border has a short ¼ stretch of standard gauge line.}

First, it's on the Hampshire/SUSSEX border.

Second, I don't understand what a short ¼ stretch is.


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 15

Bluebottle

Sussex, Surrey, one of those mainlandy places smiley - winkeye
I've reworded that footnote now.

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A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 16

SashaQ - happysad

smiley - book

My DF and I were talking about holidays yesterday, and DF just happened to say, 'how about a trip on the Watercress Line?' so I must read this Entry smiley - bigeyes


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 17

Gnomon - time to move on

Hi Bluebottle. This is a great entry. Well done.

As is usual in an Entry of this size, there is a lot of tidying to be done. While I could leave this to the sub-editor, I think there's a lot be gained from you doing the tidying, as that way you get to choose what goes into the entry. So this post is going to be rather long.

Here goes...

Is "Mid-Hants" the name of the line rather than "Mid-Hampshire"? I think you should put an explanation that Hants is an abbreviation for Hampshire, as it is not obvious.

the Watercress Line is not a railway suitable for tank engines -- why not?

----------------------------------------------------------------------
This is a rather long entry, so I'm going to suggest a few places where it can be tightened up.

had a mainline from London to Southampton via Winchester that had opened in 1839 -- remove "that had opened in 1839". It's not relevant.

In 1880 the LSWR confidently took a 999 year lease on the line with a right to purchase it outright, a right they exercised in 1884.
-->
In 1880 the LSWR took a lease on the line and bought it outright in 1884.

and after the war the line to Fareham closed to passengers in 1955 -->
and the line to Fareham closed to passengers in 1955

aiming to raise the shares of £800,000 required to buy the entire line -->
aiming to raise £800,000 to buy the entire line

to buy the entire line from Alton to Winchester from British Rail -->
to buy the entire line from British Rail

the funds that had been raised were returned to the donors -->
the funds were returned to the donors

to restore the three miles of line between Alresford and Ropley to allow trains to run -->
to restore the three miles of line between Alresford and Ropley

pulled the very first train on the restored line between Alresford and Ropley on 30 April, 1977 -->
pulled the very first train on the restored line on 30 April, 1977

When the official Inspector came to check on the work on 24 March, the track failed to pass -->
The track failed an official inspection on 24 March

when the first train, again pulled by 31874, ran from Alresford to Alton for the first time since the line was closed -->
when the first train, again pulled by 31874, ran from Alresford to Alton

This engine had been rather redundant on the line, but now became the focus of a major overhaul. -- remove this sentence entirely, as it repeats what was said two sentences previously.

"There is no better way to describe this than with the words of Christopher Awdry. Christopher Awdry's father, the Reverend Wilbert Awdry, created the Thomas books as his bedtime story and made Christopher the toy engine that inspired the character of Thomas. He has also continued his father's work and written Thomas the Tank Engine stories himself, so his view can be considered definitive." -- you've already told us about the Rev. Awdry and the Thomas books in the previous paragraph, so a lot of this is redundant. I'd say:

There is no better way to describe this than with the words of Christopher Awdry, the son of the Reverend Awdry, creator of the Thomas the Tank Engine stories. Christopher has continued his father's work, writing new 'Thomas' stories, so his view can be considered definitive.


----------------------------------------------------------------------Minor points:

with two additional stations between, Ropley and Medstead & Four Marks -- this is an odd construction. It's easy to overlook the comma in this, which changes the meaning. I would reword it as:

passing through the stations of Ropley and Medstead & Four Marks
of any preserved railways in Britain --> of any preserved railway in Britain

mainline --> main line (in a few places)

17-mile long line --> 17-mile-long line or better still, 17-mile line

its pure, filtered water through the chalk of the South Downs, -->
its pure water, filtered through the chalk of the South Downs,

transported to Covent Garden, from which it was sold -->
transported to Covent Garden where it was sold

Arlesford --> Alresford

it was able to provide a useful diversion between London and Southampton or Bournemouth -->
it was able to provide a useful alternative route between London and Southampton or Bournemouth

the principle port --> the principal port

freight between Alton to Farringdon --> freight between Alton and Farringdon

a second, smaller proposal was made; to save -- change semicolon to colon, as part after the semicolon is not a complete sentence

the 10-miles of railway land --> the ten miles of railway land (no hyphen)

preservationists persevered -- a bit confusing, and distracting as a result. Say:

In March 1984 work on extending the line from Medstead & Four Marks and into Alton, where it would meet the mainline, began. -- to avoid that isolated "began", reword this:

In March 1984, work began on extending the line from Medstead & Four Marks to Alton, where it would meet the main line.


preservationists worked hard

and relaying the 3½ miles of track --> and re-laying the 3½ miles of track (relaying means a different thing)

Many of the railway's creditors demanded their money back -->
Many of the railway's creditors demanded payment

"The situation continued to deteriorate when shortly after trains to Alton had been restored, the steam service was cancelled due to the urgent need to renew pads between the chairs and the sleepers. It was not until 2 August, 1985 that steam services resumed."
-- these two sentences are clumsy and could be split up and reworded to flow better:

The situation continued to deteriorate. Shortly after trains to Alton had been restored, the steam service had to be cancelled due to the urgent need to renew pads between the chairs and the sleepers. Service was not resumed until 2 Auguse, 1985.

31874 is a 2-6-0, a similar, though not identical, engine to the character of James -->
The engine 31874 is a 2-6-0, similar though not identical to the character of James

Through painting the engine red --> By painting the engine red


smiley - smiley

I've checked down as far as the title "The Journey and the Stations". That's enough for the moment. I'll try and look at the rest later.


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 18

Bluebottle

Excellent points raised, so changes have been made so far. Rather than list them all the only ones I think need to be commented on are:

smiley - modIs "Mid-Hants" the name of the line rather than "Mid-Hampshire"? I think you should put an explanation that Hants is an abbreviation for Hampshire, as it is not obvious.
smiley - biroYes, it is always 'Mid-Hants Railway', never 'Mid-Hampshire Railway' and I've added a footnote.

smiley - modthe Watercress Line is not a railway suitable for tank engines -- why not?
smiley - biroThe explanation has now been moved to the first time tank engines are mentioned, so it should make sense. Essentially tank engines cannot cope with the steep ruling gradient, which is through a deep tree-covered cutting, where leaves frequently fall on the line and make it extra slippery, while pulling a long line of coaches.

In case you were wondering what the point of having a Thomas the Tank Engine lookalike on a line unsuitable for tank engines is, basically during 'Days out with Thomas' events all the Thomas does is provide short rides back and forth along Ropley Station, while only the larger tender and diesel engines, disguised as other Thomas characters, travel the length of the line.smiley - winkeye

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A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 19

Gnomon - time to move on

Why would a tank engine be lighter than an engine which pulls its water behind it in a tender? Surely the weight of that water will increase the traction?

What's a 'ruling gradient'?

Here are the rest of the suggested changes:
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Rewording to shorten the entry:

All stations have had improvements made, originally the only station that had footbridges between platforms was Alton, but now all stations have had footbridges between platforms for health and safety reasons. -- split and reword:

All stations have had improvements made. Originally the only station that had footbridges between platforms was Alton, but now all stations have had these added for safety.

Both platforms have been extended to allow for longer trains to use them -->
Both platforms have been extended to allow for longer trains

with a footbridge between the two installed that was originally located in Uckfield in Sussex -->
with a footbridge between the two that was originally in Uckfield in Sussex

built from a 1903 station building originally recovered from Lyme Regis -->
using a 1903 station building from Lyme Regis

When the Watercress Line first reopened between Alresford and Ropley -->
When the Watercress Line first reopened

This station required the most restoration of all on the line. The station has been decorated in late 1940s style -->
This station required the most restoration of all on the line. It has been decorated in late 1940s style

descends at a rate of 1 in 100 for a mile while passing the outskirts of Alton in a cutting, passing beneath three bridges -- reword to remove the duplication of "passing":
descends at a rate of 1 in 100 for a mile through the outskirts of Alton in a cutting, passing beneath three bridges

The train then pulls into Alton's Platform 3 --> The train then pulls into Alton -- you explain in detail about Platform 3 in the next paragraph, so no need for it here.

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Rewording for clarity:

only one train is running on each section of single-line track at any one time -->
only one train is running on each section of single-line track at any time

the between the wars era --> the era between the wars

North Tawton in Decon -- check the spelling of this

Kings Cross --> King's Cross

as well as provide wheelchair access -->
as well as to provide wheelchair access

and was moved here in 1986 while a second bridge was moved here and opened in July 2013. -->
and was moved here in 1986. A second bridge was moved here and opened in July 2013.

From at least the 1880s --> From as early as the 1880s

which, when wet, making it impossible -->
which, when wet, make it impossible

It was the last station to originally open on the Watercress Line and originally opened in 1868

It was originally the last station to be added to the Watercress Line, opening in 1868

Perhaps the most impressive structure here is the footbridge, which originally came from Cowes, Isle of Wight. Remove the word "originally", as you have "original" in the previous sentence.

Soon after the train reaches Butts Junction -->
Soon after, the train reaches Butts Junction

Footnote 3 looks bad because it starts with a number 297. To separate the 3 from the 297, you could phrase it as "In total, 297 steam locomotives".


A87830184 - The Watercress Line Mid-Hants Railway

Post 20

Icy North

You mention a few facts about the settlements en route, but say nothing about the largest: Alton. I'm sure it's worth a sentence or two. Prospective visitors to the Watercress Line may well like to explore it.

Something like "Alton is a picturesque market town, famous for Sweet Fanny Adams." smiley - biggrin

Seriously, you could mention that Jane Austen's birthplace museum is in nearby Chawton.


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