Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The Watercress Line: Back to the 1940's

Hang on? Back to the 1940's? I must say, I've never actually been, myself.

Yet, I found myself at Alresford on the day after Boxing Day buying a ticket for a (steam) train to Alton surrounded by people dressed in fur coats, feather hats, soldiers' uniform, stockings and other such items. The children were running around in their flat caps with their name tags billowing from around their necks. Gas mask cases at their sides.

I'd been invited to one of these wartime train journeys before by my good friend Stephen (ex-colleague and biscuit-stealing buddy) but had always previously had prior commitments. Even this time, I had expected to have my Dad down for a couple of days for Christmas. As it happened, he could not make it and therefore here we were, Martin, Stephen and I, tickets in hand, boarding the 45379 to Alton.

On the train there were loads of people all dressed up in some really quite wonderful clothes. I had to, of course, take a few images of some. Please excuse any 'out of character' cups, cars, people and anything else you might notice. This wasn't strictly for the dressed up. I didn't actually dress up and so probably ruined a couple of other people's photos myself! :)

I tried various different effects of colouring and playing with contrast and saturation whilst editing and couldn't really find one I particularly liked and so, they're all a little bit different actually...

The girl in the image above and the one below, I believe were twins.
They looked awesome.

Mother and daughter. How lovely.

This guy actually reminds me of Jack Dawkins. The Artful Dodger. :D

Lovely lady here aswell. I initially got her partner in the image but unfotunately he blinked in both photos. Tsk. Men.

This one, as you can see, I went for a black and white but I really like it actually.

And these two looked lovely as well.

Outside the train...

... and when we got to Alton... we came straight back to Alresford again!

Not before I got this shot though:
... which I liked rather a lot. :D

For this one (as I think it was my favourite edit/effect) I brought the saturation right down and then upped the red by about 20 and the yellow by about 40 with the 'Colour Balance' tool. May re edit some others as I liked the effect a lot.

Back at Alresford, we had a walk round and a little explore.

I snapped these sisters again:

Lovely girls.

And then I spotted this of all things:

This may not look like much, but this happens to be the top of a set of Avery scales.

Now then, (prepare to be potentially bored to death) as the Industrial Revolution 'gathered momentum' in 1813, a smallish scales/weighing company was passed to two brothers, William and Thomas Avery, who renamed the company W&T Avery. From this point, the company grew tremendously and Avery scales soon became the highest selling scales in the world (I think).

The reason I'm bothering to tell you this (as I know most of you will think that it's incredibly unimportant), is that it turns out, Thomas Avery is in fact my great, great, great, great Grandfather. W00t. :D

Well done Great (x4) Grandaddy Thomas! Your ancient scales are still testing time!

The company has since been adopted and is now called Avery-Weightronix. It sounds like the scales could now potentially transform into robots. Avery-Weightronix, form up! Just me?

Anyway, sorry about that. Back to the train station:

Ol' Winston was there of course:

Ohhhhhh yes!

and then next we went back outside the station to have a little look around.

There were people dancing:

and smiling...


... and just chatting.

There were cars...

more cars...

(now that's what I'm talking about)

Kids with guns...

... wait... what?

Everyone was having a great time.

And then, of course, we had the engines themselves.

I had this image in my mind that I was going to get this train on it's last run before I was on it again, coming under the bridge pulling all it's carriages and billowing smoke from it's, err, pokey-uppey thing. (Joking Stephen. I mean funnel.)

Unfortunately, whilst standing on the opposite platform waiting for this train, Stephen informed me that this one (51806) was in fact going to be coming in 'tender first', more commonly known as backwards. :D

Like this:

However, later on, I got some images of it coming back up the line to turn around, or to shuffle across the line. I'm not sure of the term for it switching lines and reversing, which is what it does, but I am sure Stephen will me kind enough to swiftly educate me, lest I embarrass myself any further.

(In fact, he's probably told me already and will tell me off for not listening. :s )

So here's the other:

And then a little later, I got another from the platform.

(Odd colouring. Not sure on this one yet...)

This time, because I am in fact, a girl (benefits and special priviledges!) I got to have a little look inside the engine at the furnace. It was one of those 'woah, what does this lever do!?' moments.

I would have felt a bit guilty about being let on the engine my first time on a steam train when all these enthusiasts come here constantly and are never invited up due to being the wrong gender...

... but when I was trying to peep over and get a picture with my camera from the platform, one of these enthusiasts, literally shoved me out of the way to get his own picture!

So I hopped on board and took some pictures up close. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

We then boarded the train one last time (or, technically, this train for the first time as we initially went on the other engine running that day) and made the journey to Alton and back before going back home.

A lovely day out. Perhaps next time, Stephen will take me on Thomas the Tank Engine who frequents this railway in the summer.

I think not.

NB: If I have taken your photo at this event and you would like a copy of it (even if I took it but you haven't seen in on here) send me an email at: and I will happily send you a copy. Thanks.


  1. Brilliant photography and a well written blog. Impressed with your work Chloe. Well done!
    Dad x

  2. Lovely account of a great day!

  3. My favourite theme shoot...
    B Bull