Presenter: Keith Brown
An encouraging audience of fifty gathered for our first meeting of the new season to hear Keith Brown give an illustrated presentation entitled ‘The Mid Hants Railway Then and Now’. Keith is particularly qualified to give this talk as, apart from being a long-time volunteer on the line, is station master at Medstead & Four Marks station and has recently taken on the role of MHRPS Archivist. Keith started with a survey of the geographical setting, followed by early development of railways in the Guildford, Farnham and Alton areas before moving on to the Mid-Hants proper. As was often the case with secondary routes, The Alton – Winchester line itself was initially promoted by local worthies and businessmen, but the inevitable financial difficulties from its opening in 1865 soon drove it into the arms the LSWR who took it over entirely twenty years later. For many years through trains from Waterloo to Southampton Terminus worked this way, but from 1937 a push-pull service connected with electrics at Alton. Starting at the Alton end, Keith then treated us to a detailed survey of the stations and other significant points on the line, illustrating his comments with a superb selection of old photographs, maps and drawings. Sadly, by the time Alresford was reached, we ran out of time, and we sincerely hope that Keith will visit us again on a future occasion to complete his talk.