Full steam ahead for rail exhibition

Sunday 24th April 2016 6:00 am
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THE Angel Inn on the A32 at Privett is to house a permanent display of rare photographs documenting the history of the Meon Valley Railway line.

The 22.5-mile line from Alton to Fareham closely followed the River Meon and had stations en route at Farringdon, Tisted, Privett, West Meon, Droxford, Mislingford, Wickham, and Knowle Halt.

At its northern end in Alton, where the first sod was dug in around 1900, it linked the Mid-Hants Railway to Winchester, the main line to Brookwood and the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway.

At Fareham, it linked with the Eastleigh to Fareham line, the West Coastway line and the line to Gosport.

Built by the London and South Western Railway, the railway was authorised in 1896 and opened in 1903, making it one of the last railways of any size to be built to mainline standards in the UK.

The Meon Valley Railway closed to passenger traffic on February 5, 1955, but the southern goods services to Droxford was retained until 1962 when British Railways had to cut costs. A goods service to Farringdon was maintained until 1968, when the final part of railway closed.

Nearly half a century on the story of the Meon Valley Railway is to be brought to life in pictures by enthusiast Ron Stone, who lives in Alton and grew up beside the railway at West Meon and recalls seeing the old trains steaming along the line.

The permanent display is due to open on April 30.

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