Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Return to Ropley - 39 years on!


(All copyright Steve Sainsbury/Rail Thing 'Then' (B&W) are 24.6.1976. 'Now' (Colour) are 18.7.2015)

I was lucky enough to visit the Watercress Line on Saturday, though sadly not able to travel on it. For a change I called in at Ropley and Medstead as I've always found the two termini hard to photograph. There were no such problems at the two intermediate stations!

I last visited Ropley in June 1976, before the line was reopened, and it was in deep sleep. The station is completely transformed now, as is the area it sits in, but fortunately there's no housing development and the location is still very rural. The station has of course been totally restored and the up platform and buildings have reappeared. There's a signalbox and also a large locomotive works. All in all a very pleasant spot and still with plenty of railway atmosphere.

I was lucky enough to travel on the line in BR days a few times, and I've also been a couple of times since reopening. I still find it odd that this useful line was closed, serving the large town of Alresford and also providing an excellent alternative route when the main line is closed or blocked. I'm sure the missing link via Itchen Abbas will be rebuilt in the future and the line morph into a community line with a proper 365 day service but with plenty of heritage atmosphere and trains of course!

More info (from Wikipedia)

Ropley railway station is a railway station in RopleyHampshireEngland, which opened on 2 October 1865.


The station was opened by the Mid-Hants (Alton Lines) Railway (MHR) on 2 October 1865. The MHR was leased to the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) in August 1880, which fully absorbed the MHR in June 1884. The LSWR amalgamated with other railways to form the Southern Railway on 1 January 1923.
The station was closed by British Rail on 5 February 1973.


Ropley railway station was reopened by the Mid Hants Railway (Watercress Line) on 30 April 1977. It is an intermediate station on the preserved Watercress Line, which runs from Alton to New Alresford.
The main locomotive shed and workshops for the Mid Hants Railway are located just to the east of Ropley station.
The station gardens feature notable yew topiary, which has been in situ for over 100 years (an 1898 postcard shows the topiary well established).
A footbridge was added to the western end of the station in 1986. This was recovered from the closed station at North Tawton in Devon in August 1983, restored and installed by volunteers.


In 2012/13, a footbridge, originally located at King's Cross station in London, was dismantled and later re-erected at Ropley station for a new lease of life, above the maintenance shed, where passengers can walk over and view the works below.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post and for including the old photos. I moved to Ropley aged 7 in 1977 and it began a love affair so to speak with the railway. The photos certainly bring back some great memories.