Posted in Railways on Saturday 25th February 2006 at 9:33pm

The final Saturday of the engineering possesion which has made Highbridge a railway no mans land for the past three weeks. We had planned a trip for last week, which hadn't happened for a number of reasons. So today, struggling to wake up after a very late night, the party began to assemble here at my flat for a trip to the Mid Hants Railway. Started out well, noting 59204 on 6W20 at Highbridge station as we left. Relying on GPS to get us across country, we noted we were passing through Cranmore in Mendip quarry country. Stopped off to look at the terminus of the East Somerset Railway which was being whipped by an icy wind. Not much to see this early in the day, but tried to get an angle on 47365 which was stored near to the road entrance to the site.

47365 on a cold morning at Cranmore
47365 on a cold morning at Cranmore

Pressed on, and arrived at Alresford around 11:00. A pretty little market town, which I'd have liked very much to explore further, and hope to at some point. Since we were eager to get onto the railway, visited the shop in the ex-goods shed, and booked tickets for the journey up to Alton. Quite soon after, a Pressed Steel 'bubble car' in pristine Southern Railway green livery arrived. Boarded in a prime seat for the driver's eye view which I remember from the times these operated the Cross City Line in my former home area. Soon off, with some quite lively running along the ten mile line!

Pressed Steel Class 122 'Bubble Car' arrives at Alresford
Pressed Steel Class 122 'Bubble Car' arrives at Alresford

Particularly intersting was Ropley where much of the MHR stock is stabled for engineering and preservation activities. Lots to see here including the mighty 'Bodmin' and a number of diesel locos. Strange topiary in evidence too, which I later noted in some very old photographs of the station also!

Arrived at Alton to find a 450 in the station awaiting departure for Waterloo. We had a number of possible plans now, but finally decided to complete the original route by travelling on to London. Rebooked and boarded the 12:44 departure. Exciting journey, especially since one of the party had never been to the capital before, and several had not been to the LSWR terminus at Waterloo. Some quite frantic EMU spotting went on along the way, much to the horror of some of the normals on board!

Not much time at Waterloo if we were to make it back for the last MHR train to Alresford. Wandered up to the Eurostar platforms, then stocked up on provisions for our journey back to Alton. Considering it was a first trip, I think at least two more members of the party left wanting to visit the city again and to explore more thoroughly. More frantic number gathering on the return journey.

Arrived back into Alton in bright evening sunshine and watched 73096 run around it's stock ready for departure as the 15:55 to Alresford. Boarded and found comfortable seats for the journey back.

73096 runs around at Alton
73096 runs around at Alton

Back at Alton we set off home via a less 'bendy' route at the request of our driver. Another eventful and entertaining trip, with more ideas for future jaunts thrown around during the day. Arrived back at Highbridge a little after 19:00 and waited in Arctic winds with some of the group for the bus back to Bridgwater. With them finally tucked up on the warm bus, retreated to the Cooper's Arms for a well-earned pint.

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I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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