Michael S. Welch

Over the Alps: The Mid-Hants Railway in Colour

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Today the Mid-Hants Railway is probably best known for its wonderful ability to recreate the BR era of the 1950s and 1960s which is remembered with affection by so many people. Locomotives in black or Brunswick green livery, coaches in SR green and stations beautifully restored in cream and green colours - what more could a Southern Region enthusiast wish for? Construction of the line between Alton and Winchester started in 1863 and required deep cuttings and gradients as steep as 1 in 60, with trains starting to use the route from October 1865. No wonder enginemen working along the line often referred to it as going Over the Alps . The Mid-Hants was not included in the Southern Railway s electrification schemes and began a slow decline in the 1930s. Latter day interest in train workings came mainly from its use as a diversionary route for heavy expresses hauled by Southern Pacific locomotives. Photographs selected for this book cover the last fifteen years or so of the BR era up to closure in 1973 and scenes on the preserved section between Alton and Alresford from reopening in 1978 to 2004. They have been carefully chosen to emphasise the Southern nature of the line and virtually all are published for the first time. 85 full colour photographs.