Gareth Evans reports on the Mid-Hants Railway’s three-day autumn steam gala, held between October 19-21.
The weather was undoubtedly kind during the Mid-Hants Railway’s autumn steam gala over the weekend of October 19-21.
Crowds were drawn to the trains – seat occupancy appeared to be high. Perhaps that was due to the attraction of visiting GWR locomotives in the heart of Southern territory, rubbing shoulders with the line’s residents, performing a plethora of interesting duties over the MHR’s well-known gradients.
For me, the ‘star combination’ was undoubtedly that of Nos. 5199 and 7822 Foxcote Manor double-heading. Their distinctive bark did not disappoint, especially over the 1-in-60 climb of the ‘Alps’ either side of Medstead and Four Marks station.
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At around 650ft above sea level, the station is the highest in Southern England.
Both Western locomotives were making their debut on the MHR. ‘Large Prairie’ 2-6-2T No. 5199 travelled from its home at the Llangollen Railway, while Llangollen-based 4-6-0 No. 7822 has been on hire for this year at the West Somerset Railway and is to be overhauled at Tyseley in early January.
Another guest was BR Standard 4MT 2-6-4T No. 80078, which returned to the Watercress Line, courtesy of Stewart Robinson, following a visit in July 2017 for the End of Southern Steam gala.
The MHR’s home fleet also turned out in force – including BR 9F No. 92212, BR 4MT No. 76017, Ivatt 2MT No. 41312 and National Collection-owned Schools class 4-4-0 No. 925 Cheltenham.
Providing additional interest was the mixed freight train, comprising a milk tanker, a four-wheel box van, plus a Mk.1 and a Southern carriage.
A sight to be behold was 9F No. 92212 thundering along with the delightful demonstration freight. The varied rake of restored wagons is something the MHR should be truly proud of.
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