MID‑HANTS RAILWAY CARVES OUT CUTTING FOR NEW STORAGE SIDING
The Mid‑Hants Railway is widening Ropley cutting for a new siding – with the resulting spoil being tipped at Butts Junction near Alton.
A second siding is needed to store operational coaches and steam cranes that are normally based at Alton, during the six‑ month period next year when the latter station is cut off by the rebuilding of the road bridge at Butts (SR482).
Four ‘Rudd’ wagons were hired from the Severn Valley Railway and used along with the ‘Watercress Line’s’ two examples to take the chalk dug from the cutting to be tipped on the former Meon Valley formation at Butts – where more carriage sidings are also planned in the long term.
The four‑mile section from Medstead & Four Marks to Alton is due to close on January 11 for the bridge to be rebuilt and the road layout altered, to improve access to a new housing development on the nearby Treloars Hospital site. The line is scheduled to reopen at the end of July, and new General Manager Jason Houlders said that a replacement bus service is expected to operate “on key dates and special events”.
The scale of chalk excavation for a new siding east of Ropley is clearly visible as visiting BR ‘4MT’ 2‑6‑4T no. 80078 pilots resident ‘Schools’ 4‑4‑0 no. 925 Cheltenham down the bank from Medstead & Four Marks, during the Mid‑hants Railway’s Autumn Steam gala on october 20.