The Mid Hants Railway (MHR), also known as The Watercress Line, has announced that brand new facilities at Ropley Station are now open for visitors to use.
Thanks go to both South Western Railway (SWR) and the Government for providing the finance for this project of £55,000 from the following funds:
- SWR’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund – providing £40,000
- Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Covid Recovery Fund – £15,000
The new attractions are as follows:
- Play Area for children – with the key feature being a wooden climbing frame based on one of railway’s steam locomotive, Southern Railway V “Schools” Class No.30925 “Cheltenham”. Features include a slide, a tunnel and a fireman’s pole. Also in the play area is a basket swing, a climbing wagon for toddlers and a luggage trolley for seating.
- T-Junction café – hot and cold food and drinks will be provided by the new café, which can be enjoyed at the nearby picnic area.
These new facilities can be enjoyed once the preserved line reopens on Monday 12th of April 2021. This comes thanks to a change in UK Government advice and restrictions regarding COVID-19, slowly taking the UK out of Full Lockdown.
Fans of “Thomas the Tank Engine” will be pleased to know you can meet him on the Day Out With Thomas event running between Saturday 29th of May and Sunday 6th of June. On these days, additional activities involve an all-new live entertainment show starring Sodor Station Sweepers Rusty & Dusty, The Fat Controller, Diesel, Toad and Duck.
For more information, to book your visit now or support the Mid Hants Railway, please visit their website here.
The railway’s general manager Simon Baggott said: “It’s wonderful to be opening and we look and we look forward to welcoming visitors back to the Watercress Line after the past few months in lockdown.”
“We have plenty to see and do for people of all ages and this season promises to bring even more fun. The new locomotive playground is a fantastic new attraction for children and we are grateful for the support we have received from South Western Railway and the government.”
“There’s a full calendar of exciting activities for the year ahead and we’re all looking forward to welcoming back Thomas this May – a day out at the Watercress Line is always a memorable one!”
Senior Regional Development Manager at South Western Railways Phil Dominey said: “We were delighted to support the Watercress Line with this innovative and nostalgic project.”
“The new playground is themed around one of our own locomotives – the Schools Class Locomotive No 30925 Cheltenham. It promises to be great fun for children and may bring back some happy memories for older visitors.”
“Our Community Improvement Fund has helped to enhance the Watercress Line’s range of attractions and it will hopefully boost the local economy by bringing in even more visitors post lockdown.”
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