In a twist on the "SideTracked" series of caches that exist on the Green Frog site, this is a series of four OpenCaches at stations along the "Watercress Line" preserved steam railway in Hampshire.
In 1861 the Alton, Alresford and Winchester Railway Company was authorised to build a new railway to connect to the existing London & South Western Railway lines at Alton and Winchester. It was opened on 2 October 1865 as the Mid-Hants Railway. Trains were operated by the London & South Western Railway who eventually purchased the Mid-Hants Railway Company in 1884.
Stations were initially constructed at Itchen Abbas, Ropley and Alresford. The station at Alton was already in existence. The station at Medstead & Four Marks was added in 1868. Just outside this station, the line is at it highest point (652 feet (199m) above sea level) having risen from Alresford (263 feet (80m) above sea level) and descending to Alton (339 feet (103m) above sea level). The section of line became known as "the Alps", due to the steep gradients.
The railway was eventually closed by British Railways in 1973. The section of line from Alresford to Alton that can be seen today was successfully purchased from British Rail in November 1975 and restored over the next 10 years.
Ropley is a pleasant little village and the station lies at one corner of it. The cache is placed a very little way outside the station however, if the station is closed, access to it may require more effort. Ropley is the motive power depot for the preserved railway and here you will find steam locomotives stabled and being maintained all year round, even when no services are running.
This cache is a 500ml lock top box. It is intended to be an easy find however it may prove to be a little trickier than the smaller ones at Alton and Four Marks! The clue is intended to confirm loss, not help you find it!