13th, 17th, 18th June 2017

Blimey, it’s been that hot ‘it reminds me of when I was in Punjab…….’
The hot weather has slowed us down a bit, just a bit, this weekend; mostly as we had to keep stopping to top us our liquids!
With the help of 10 Network Rail staff, who were undertaking a day of voluntary service here, on Tuesday, we were able to wire wheel and prime most of both main top castings of the wagon turntable. At the same time, 4 steel cover plates were also tackled. At the Camping Coach, the old peeling non-slip tape was removed and all the rusty metalwork on the treads and landings were cleaned off and wire wheeled. The 2 wheel sets benefitted from a coat of grey undercoat. Finally, the scrub has been lopped down on the west side, from the south end of the platform to the end of the loop. Our thanks to them for helping us to push a project forwards.
On Saturday Michael and Stephen went off to Goathland, to operate the mini digger for the Junior Volunteers and Lineside Fencing Team. A blocked lineside ditch was cleared out, allowing the water to drain into the river. This was done in conjunction with the fencing team as they removed the old fence, allowing the machine in, and then replaced it over the rest of this weekend. Meanwhile, back at the Station, work continued cleaning and priming the wagon turntable castings – both are now looking much better. The wheel sets have received a coat of black gloss, and now sport white wall tyres. On the Camping Coach the rest of the metalwork on both sets of steps has been cleaned down and primed. The treads have received undercoat and one set is now in gloss (we have to keep one set always available to the users during the day).
The time has finally come for the Palvan to have its roof replaced. Once the marquee sheet had been removed we were able to complete the cleaning down of the roof steelwork. A coat of primer was then applied. The new plywood came out of store and has been screwed into place on the top. A layer of thin carpet and the wagon sheet was laid in place but time prevented us fixing it down. Consequently, a smaller tarpaulin has been fitted over the top, as it has tie down cleats, to hold it all in place.
The second drop down door for the new NER van has had the final timber parts fitted, following painting this week. The shrub planters and the running in board posts have been given a coat of white masonry paint. The ‘new’ lawnmower has been out, keeping the grass under control.
Weighbridge Teas have had a very good weekend with lots of demand for cold drinks and ice cream. Even so, sandwiches, bacon butties and cakes were selling fast.

10th, 11th June 2017

‘Normal’ service has now resumed. With a wet Saturday, work concentrated on the NE van body as we can work on it under a marquee sheet and keep dry! The bottom beam on the east side has now been bolted and glued together. The horizontal door bolts have been drilled through this beam and the main frame. The new vertical door upright has been spliced into the frame and bolted into place. All is now ready to accept the repaired drop down door.
Following the failure of our small ride on mower (due to engine seizure), one of our Wombles has donated us his old, larger, ride on mower, for which we are very grateful. It came with a new battery and it didn’t take long to get the front lights working! All it now needs is a repaint and the application of flame stickers and it will really go!
The gardeners have been busy today, as everything seems to be growing extra fast with all the rain and sun recently. The roses should be a treat this year, looking at the number of buds on them.
The wagon turntable parts have all been separated, ready for a clean down and repaint. All the old seized bolts have been knocked out – which was surprising as we expected to have to burn them out with oxy acetylene!
We have shunted the Yard again, to get ready for re-wheeling the NER van body. The milk tanker is now on the siding adjacent to the running line, so it has been given a good clean down to remove the green and brown dirt all over it. The Junior Volunteers have helped complete the 2 new end panels for the Goathland shed. The panels now boast insulation as well! They also sent a team to Newtondale Halt to cut the grass and generally keep the station looking smart.
We were entertained on Saturday afternoon by some Morris dancers – male and female in 2 Sides. Unfortunately the weather was not kind to them, so the musicians had to play under umbrellas!
Weighbridge Teas have had a steady trade with a steady stream of visitors, plus the Juniors today as well.

26th-29th May, 3rd, 4th June 2017

It’s a bumper blog this weekend. We start with work undertaken the Friday before the Bank Holiday weekend, when a large party from Network Rail came to Levisham to help us out for a day. They were challenged to level the ground just beyond the huts, north of the level crossing. A large spoil heap was spread over the steel culvert pipes, to provide a large level area. We will use this area to build up the North Eastern bracket signal we are working on, and eventually make a large viewing area for the public. All this was undertaken on the hottest day of the year so far – 28ºC.
It was then time for some of us Wombles to go on our annual ‘fact finding’ holiday – this time to South Wales. We managed to visit 10 railways in South Wales and Bristol/Somerset area and picked up one or two useful tips.
Meanwhile, back at the Station, other members of the team continued the painting of the new wagon wheelsets and tried to repair the ride on mower (it looks like the engine has seized in it). The repair of the Palvan door framing continues, with further gluing and splicing of new hardwood timber pieces into the original parts. At the back of the Paddock a rotten section of fencing has been replaced, using some preloved posts and rails we had in stock.
This weekend the mammoth grass cutting session has continued, albeit with the smaller hand pushed machines we have. The sides have also been strimmed – it’s amazing how much it grows in just 2 weeks! Continuing from the site levelling last week, a final level off and sorting out has been undertaken. The platform edges have also had their annual white painting undertaken.
In readiness for the eventual re-wheeling of the NER van body, we have prepared some raised stands for the body to sit on. These will hold the body up in the air whilst we fit the ‘W’ irons, which hold the axleboxes and the wheels.
Weighbridge Teas remained open and were especially busy over the Bank Holiday weekend. This weekend was slightly more relaxed but the weather was more kind, ice creams being popular today.

20th, 21st May 2017

It’s been “Family” and “Behind The Scenes” Weekend with lots of special opportunities for families to come and help, and see activities not normally on view. At Levisham it was possible to see inside the Signal Box and the Pickering Experimental Engineers and Modellers Society had a short length of 7½” track in the Station Yard offering rides for young and old alike. One of our members also brought a model railway along which depicted Blakey Junction on the Rosedale Branch and was supported by a display on the original line and its remains today, provided by the Rosedale History Society and the This Exploited Land of Iron project.
The Junior and Family Volunteers were working with us around the Station. The grass has been cut and strimmed; two end frames made for the Goathland shed; lots of planking cut to length, then painted with preservative and black fence paint; small bushes cut down around about; the small Gala tent dismantled and put away and the large one received back from Grosmont; paving flags and ash laid in front of the Yard huts; the kitchen shed fitted out a bit more; painting of wagon roof hoops and planks; timber repairs to the Palvan door; and finally, lettering of the first wartime fire bucket.
Weighbridge Teas were kept busy with all the Junior Volunteers, plus our visitors, chocolate being particularly popular.

13th, 14th May 2017

After another hard day lifting and laying stone sleeper blocks, phase 1 of the retaining wall rebuild is complete! The adjacent sections of wall have had the faces cleared of vegetative growth, revealing the whole length which fortunately is not too bad.
Back at the Station, more metalwork has been cleaned down and painted for the box van body and the new pseudo body for Goathland. The CCT has had its final top coat applied inside (that we can reach!) and the carts temporarily stored outside are now back in place again. The box van body has had further woodwork framing manufactured to replace rotten parts.
The Exhibition Van has had its displays refreshed and is ready for re-opening next weekend. The small bar tent has been erected, also ready for next weekend, in the Station Yard. Next weekend is the Behind The Scenes/Family Weekend along the railway. As part of this we will be hosting a model railway and display about the Rosedale Railway and mines in the tent. We hope to have the Pickering Experimental Engineers and Modellers Society, who will be bringing a short miniature railway and offering rides up and down the yard.
Weighbridge Teas had another good weekend, helped by the glorious weather today (after a damp start). The regular crew are on holiday for a week, but our other team members have ably held the fort.

6th, 7th May 2017

After a 2 month gap waiting for materials and plant, we have returned to the site of the washout at the 14 mile post. It was a very early start (5.30am!) and we were joined by Peter of the Pway Dept, and his digger, to help lift the recovered stone back out of Pickering Beck. This, with the help of the dumper truck, allowed us to move around 30 tonnes of dressed stone back to the hole. With the machines out of the way, we could continue rebuilding the wall. This sounds easy, but a lot of the stones were very, very, heavy. The wall is now looking quite good but we will shortly be at the stage where we need the digger again to move spoil, so we can move onto the next section of collapsed wall.
Back at the Station work continues on repairing the NER van body, with more cutting and mortising of the new bottom beam. Painting of the cleaned steelwork pieces continued at the same time. The interior of the CCT walls have received a further coat of yellow gloss. We had help from some of the JVs again this weekend, even though it wasn’t a formal JV day.
Some more spare fire buckets have been cleaned down and painted, this is an ongoing task, as and when resources permit.
Weighbridge Teas have had another good weekend although they are always looking for more help.
More training has been given to a few more Signalmen on the new EPOS till system.

29th April-1st May 2017

It’s been another 3 day weekend, allowing us to get even more done than normal!
On Saturday it was time for some more tree pruning, but not along the lineside. This time it was in and near the Paddock where small trees were rapidly growing into large trees, and also overhanging adjacent properties and where we site the marquees.
Up the line, at the 14 milepost washout, the rest of the gang were getting their hands (and some even their feet!) wet, recovering stone from the river which belonged in the retaining wall. Quite a bit has been moved to the site, ready for lifting out. We know they are ours as the stones are whole or half pieces of the old railway sleeper blocks, with the 2 holes in for the cast iron chairs! Hopefully we can start lifting these out, and back into the wall, next weekend.
Back at the Station, the CCT sides have been given their second top coat and now look rather smart. The marquee roof has been taken down and a new canvas cut and fitted. At the moment it is only temporarily held in place, whilst we wait for it to settle and the creases to ease out, before we permanently fit it in place. Hopefully this will keep it dry and watertight for a good long time.
Work continues on the NER van body, with the 3 pieces of new framing on the East side now cut ready for gluing together. On the same side, the drop down door metalwork has been cleaned down, rusted bolts freed and the woodworm attacked timber removed. Three new door planks have also been fitted, the steelwork given a good wire wheel clean, and the whole door given a couple of coats of primer and an undercoat. The west side door steelwork has had it’s new wood trial fitted, planed to size and also given a coat of primer.
The gutter to the rear of the station yard shed has been adjusted and a start made on repositioning the water butt. This will be welcomed by the gardeners to keep the vegetable patch nearby well watered. They have been busy around the Station, moving plants and keeping the gardens well manicured.
6 old fire buckets have come out of store. They are being cleaned down and repainted ready for use at Wartime Weekend fully lettered in French!
Weighbridge Teas have provided a steady flow of hot and cold snacks for our visitors and passengers. The new litter bin is now in place and the old one dismantled for re-use.

18th-23rd April 2017

We’ve had another good week overall, with lots achieved. During the week the roof of the CCT has been nearly completed, bar the actual canvas – the ply sheet covering and carpet underlay have been fixed down to the roof boards. The last of the exterior timberwork has been replaced and both sides have been sanded down/wire wheeled as required. Following a patch coat of primer, and then undercoat, the first of the top coats has been applied.
On the North Eastern van body further bolted plates have been removed, the rotten ends cut off and new threaded bar welded back onto the studs where required.
Several loads of well-rotted manure have been collected for use in the vegetable patch – we are hoping for bumper crop this year.
A new litter bin has been made, using pre-loved timber.
The Weighbridge Teas have had another excellent weekend of sales, helped by the good weather.

14th-17th April 2017

We hope you all had a Happy Easter. The weather has been mixed, although predominantly dry, which has led to great contrasts in the sales at the Weighbridge. Some days they were running out of ice cream whilst others it was hot soup and pies! Overall though, they have had a good long weekend and now for a request, does anyone have a good under counter fridge available? If so, the Weighbridge Team would love to hear from you. You can contact them via the website or call 01751 473427 and leave a message.
Meanwhile, on the Station, the CCT is now structurally complete again (for a while) with door runners refixed, timber cover plates refitted and the whole lot given a coat of paint. The west side exterior has been sanded down, wire wheeled (on the steelwork), primed where necessary and then undercoated. A start has been made applying the top coat, but there is more to cover.
On the NER box van body, a start has been made on the east side frame repair; well actually it became the east side frame renewal! We had hoped to keep half the side frame but on close exam it proved to be in very poor condition. We have now removed it and made a new frame unit ready for installation later. Two of the corner post bottoms are also rotten, leading to these being trimmed back to solid wood and new hardwood pieces made as replacements. These were a challenge as they have 2 mortices that have to be cut, at different heights, on different faces! The rotten headstock on the south end is being chiselled out and the metal straps, drawbar plate, and corner brackets carefully removed. This metalwork is now cleaned down and given a coat of primer.
Elsewhere on the Station other painting continues; with the latest half mile post now ready for dispatch back down the line. Several steel road pins have also been painted into Station orange.
The grass cutting season is now in full swing and the ride on mower now sports a new (pre-loved) seat, which is a great improvement for the operator.
The gardening continues with more well-rotted horse manure collected for digging in. The daffodils are coming to the end of their season after a good display over the last few weeks. General weeding continues, as does trimming old the bushes to ensure a good display this season.

8th, 9th April 2017

What a lovely hot, sunny weekend. Work has concentrated on the wagons this weekend. On the NER box van, the replacement north end grab handle has been ‘adjusted’ to fit the existing bolt positions. The rotten lower panel beam on the east side has been knocked out; the steel angle brackets undone and removed; the drop down door taken off and the old, rotten and rusty bolts knocked out of the timber underframe.
The new top beam for the CCT has been installed, together with a new upright that has been morticed into it. The whole beam has then been through bolted, with the door runner girder remounted on the outside of it. This sounds easy, but there were 2 days hard work involved to get to this stage. Elsewhere on the wagon, a new window top frame been is being made to replace the existing, which is rotten.
On the Palvan, the warm weather has allowed the roof steelwork to receive a quick clean down and then primer, undercoat and topcoat has been applied. This should allow us to start replacing the timber roof panels next weekend (weather permitting!).
The General Room exterior has benefitted from a good scrub down and rinse clean, to remove the loco soot and the green mould which grows on it over time.
In the volunteer accommodation all the carpets have been given a major clean down and are now as good as new, thanks to one of our members bringing in a professional cleaner.
Weighbridge Teas had a good weekend with ice creams selling like hot cakes (which also sold). They are looking for more helpers, could you be those people? Come down any weekend for a chat and see what is involved.

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