16th, 17th February 2019

Well, there is only 1 week to go until our winter work week commences.  We have lots of things to do, including building the frame for the new shed, lineside fencing repairs and renewal, lots and lots of brash burning, timber cutting and recovery, renewal of the lino in the Ladies, general painting, etc.  All help is gratefully received.

This weekend work has concentrated on clearing a lot of scrub and rotten trees off the lineside at the site of the old incline.  The incline can now be clearly seen but there is a lot to burn there.

Back at the Station, the blockwork base of the new shed has been laid.  The timber framing has been brought from store and given a coat of wood preservative for good measure.  Further metalwork has been painted ready for the new shed.  In the Warehouse work continues on the interior smartening up.

We have welcomed the Weybridge team back from their winter hibernation (and exotic holidays!?!).  They had a reasonable number of visitors to keep them busy.  The weather was even warm enough for ice creams!  They will be open again next weekend.

9th, 10th February 2019

It’s been a weekend of lovely weather – warm and sunny both days, just what we needed. On Saturday morning we took delivery of 3m3 of ready mix concrete for the new shed base. This had to be wheelbarrowed from the road to site, but a great turnout of Wombles with wheelbarrows soon cracked this job. The base was then tamped, levelled and left to dry in the sun. There was just enough spare concrete to lay the base for the manhole down near 18 signal, south of the Station. The hole did need opening out a bit to suit the size of the concrete blocks which will make the walls, but there was enough concrete. We could then return to our lineside clearance works in Newtondale around the 14½ mile post. A goodly number of small trees were removed from the riverside retaining wall. This opens up another good stretch of the river views for our passengers. On the other side of the line, scrub and rotten trees have been removed, opening up again views of the old narrow-gauge railway incline. This used to serve the old Levisham Quarries on the cliff edge near Skelton Tower, with stone being brought down the incline to be transhipped onto the old Whitby and Pickering Railway. More details about this and the other sidings along the line can be found in our book – Goods on the Whitby and Pickering Railway, available from station shops and Levisham Weighbridge. Talking of Weighbridge Teas, they re-open next weekend (and the following one) for the Half Term running. Come and buy a book and get a drink at the same time!

2nd, 3rd February 2019

It’s all white again, just 2” if that, but enough to make it pretty.  This morning it was bitterly cold, minus 6°C at 9am with everything frozen solid.

The new shed base reinforcement has been installed, and the roof timbers moved alongside the base.  These will be used to provide a roof over the fresh concrete next weekend to protect it.  The concrete blocks, for the first layer of the shed, were delivered this week, along with the timber and reinforcement.  Again these have been moved to site (once they had been separated – they were frozen into a large block!).  Another set of blocks have been moved south to the manhole site near the loop points.  Hopefully when it warms up a bit these can be installed and a thick timber lid made for it.

North of the Station further scrub and small trees have been removed, clearing our fence line ready for its renewal shortly.

Inside the CCT the new PPE cupboard has been installed and fitted out, replacing the old collapsed timber one.  We have been given several old gate hinges for our stores, so these have been cleaned down and now await our painter to give them the usual treatment.

26th, 27th January 2019

We have returned to the lineside this weekend, spending the daylight hours completing the clearance of the river banks near Platelayers cottages. This has re-opened the view of the railway from the Forest Drive, something shown to effect in Heartbeat back in the 1990’s. The logs have been disposed of, whilst several fires will be had to clear up the scrub.

Back at the Station, work on the new Exhibition and the painting of more metal parts in the General Room continues. The last pair of fence posts have been planted near the new shed site, ready for the ‘new’ pre-loved gates to be fitted.

19th, 20th January 2019

It was all white on Saturday morning, the Station being covered in 1” of snow. This curtailed the lineside work this weekend as our lineside vehicle could not get to the station. It didn’t stop us working however! First up was clearing all the routes to our storage vans, Signal Box and the General Room. In the Ladies toilet the right hand cistern has been dismantled and the flush diaphragm replaced. The worn rocker rod has been cleaned of limescale and turned. The toilet now works fine. The left hand toilet rocker rod has also had the similar treatment. The lino in here is approaching the end of its life so new is being ordered and should be replaced as part of our Womble Work Week. The Gents urinals have been cleaned down with hot soapy water prior to getting a sealing coat when its dry and warm enough. In the General Room the painting of the metal parts and mileposts continues. We have the ‘full set’ of posts in there now, albeit at different paint stages! In the CCT work continues building new shelving and the support frame for the new PPE cupboard. The signal box sink tap has developed a drip so the washer has been changed (easier said than done). One of the cottage showers developed a small leak due to some sealant failing. This has been dug out and replaced so we are now dry again. The annual Womble Work Week takes place this year from Saturday 23rd February through to Sunday 3rd March. We have a packed programme of works to complete at the station and along the lineside so the more helpers the better. Could you spare a few days to help us?

12th, 13th January 2019

We have continued our lineside clearance programme, completing the cutting back from last weekend (just short of the 14MP). All the stumps have been ‘plugged’ with stump killer to hopefully stop them regrowing. We had to unlock a large amount of timber at one of the Environment Agencies ‘slowing the flow’ blocks. This block is going to have to be removed as all it is doing is forcing the water to undercut our retaining wall; we do not want to have to rebuild another section! With this section completed we moved back to Platelayers Cottages. The river retaining walls here are also obstructed with timber and roots, so we have had to be standing in the river (in wellies!) to get at the ‘root of the problem’. As before, we have also been plugging these stumps as we go along. Meanwhile, back at the Station, another ¾ mile post has been brought in for ‘the treatment’. It has been wire wheeled back to bare metal and the first coats of metal primer applied. Our painter has been kept busy this weekend, as there are quite a lot of small pieces awaiting the full treatment. A large steel cabinet has also been painted – this will be our ‘new’ PPE cabinet. Work in the new Exhibition continues, with some new pictures installed and some of the archive pieces bolted to the walls. North of the level crossing we have continued extending the trackside fence of our viewing area, including space for another gate. This will give us easy access to the trackside when we are loading up the Pway trolley with tools or materials. The Forestry Commission have returned to cut more trees down, this time to the West of the line. They have cleared all the pine trees up to the outer home signal. There is now a clear view of the rolling stock stored in the north end siding.

5th, 6th January 2019

A start has been made extending the fenced compound to include the new shed site north of the level crossing. Several fence posts have been installed and some of the rails nailed into place. Care had to be taken to keep clear of the S&T duct run, which follows the line of the fence. We have started this year’s lineside clearance with works near the 14¼ mile post. ‘Light’ clearance here has opened up a good view of the adjacent fields and hillside. Following this we moved south of the 14 mile post to continue the clearance started there last year. Again good views of the river have been revealed. As usual, there are quite a few logs to recover and the brash will be burnt once it has dried out a bit. The important thing is to get these trees out whilst no trains are about as when they fall they go over the tracks. We are again working within the PWays possession and were graced with one of their Engineering trains, which passed us this afternoon on its way to site for re-loading with more materials for disposal.

24th, 27th – 31st December, 1st, 2nd January 2019

We hope you have all had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. As you can see from the date list above we have not been sitting idly around. On Christmas Eve we took a load of wagon spares down to the lineside store at the distant signal on a Pway trolley. This was arranged in Pway’s possession, as there was no time to do this during the Santa trains. After this we had to shunt the Pway train (they were loading sleepers up in Newtondale) before joining them for another trip up the line to help load another wagon full. Those with a poor back will be pleased to know that the crane did the lifting, all we had to do was fit the lifting chains each time. Following 2 days off (for Christmas!), it was back to work on the 27th. The lineside just north of the huts next to the level crossing has been levelled and the soil bank tidied up. This allowed a start to be made on re-instating the fence. As usual at this time of year, with the dark afternoons, it was out with the flood lights so we could keep on going. The gate, which has been sat there propped up for many years, has finally been hung on a new gate post (an old railway sleeper). The fence ‘steps’ down to match the level change in the ground. With the fence up and the ground levelled we could identify exactly where our new shed should be built. This is required to house our petrol-powered equipment and the ride on mower and flail; the latter 2 need re-housing following the loss of 1111 and the subsequent re-sorting of all our stores. This shed will be similar to the one next to it and will replicate a pair that were there back in LNER and BR days. Power will be required in the shed for lighting and a socket for the saw sharpener, so another duct run has been laid. We were supported by Alex of the Junior Volunteers who did a lot of the pick axing. A surplus armoured cable was recovered (which used to serve the old hut here) and has been laid in for the new hut. With the duct in we could mark out the site for the hut. Formwork has been made for the edges and a trench dug round to thicken the concrete base slab under the walls. Alex again came to the fore with his pickaxe. He made a fine sight, working as the train came in, whilst Stephen and I sat nearby keeping an eye on things from a safe distance!?! Weighbridge Teas were open for 3 days over the festive period, keeping our passing trade well fed and watered. They have now closed for a well-earned rest and will re-open for the February half term. A couple of rotten trees have been cut down at the entrance to the Station yard. Both were leaning over the road and one would have fallen onto the Weighbridge. The logs will keep the signal box in fuel for most of the season! On the 27th a group of Wombles got together for a Christmas dinner of 2 ducks with all the trimmings and 2 flaming Christmas puddings for afters. Our annual day off occurred on the 1st, with a trip on the DMU to Goathland followed by a stroll down to Darnholme, over the stepping stones and on to Water Ark to watch the trains pass. A picnic lunch followed, before a visit to Beck Hole and a walk along the old rail trail to Grosmont and a ride home. We finished with bonfire and fireworks back at the Station to cap off another successful year at Levisham. A quick tidy up of the fire site on the 2nd and the signalling through of the Pway train, off on their way to relay another section of our railway, completed our festive break.

22nd, 23rd December 2018

It’s nearly Christmas but we are still working at the Station. The CCT tidy up continues and the end is now in sight – the floor is also in sight! In the shock van, the workbench is now clear of stores, an old timber cupboard has been dismantled for firewood and a steel cabinet has been moved to the metalwork shop (for refurbishment prior to redeployment). The metalwork shop has been ‘christened’ with quite a lot of small steel pieces de-rusted, de-bolted, straightened and prepared for painting. Weighbridge Teas have continued to support the Santa operations, working in the Learning Centre at Pickering serving hot drinks and mince pies. They are returning to Levisham for the 27th-29th December and will be selling their usual wares from the Weighbridge. We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We will be in residence all week, continuing the works and watching the trains come through.

Brrr; no snow just blooming cold! The van re-organisation continues. The metalwork shop has had a major sort out. You can get to the bench now, and there is more than 1 square foot of floor to stand in. The paint shop/large ply store now houses all the latter. On the yard side of the van, some temporary ply has been fitted to the doors to hide the poor original underneath. These doors will need rebuilding next year when it’s a bit warmer. In the CCT further racking has been built, allowing more screws, drills, bolts, nails, etc. to be tidied up. Inside the Warehouse exhibition the fitting of signs and pictures continues. A frost heater has been plugged in to keep the worst of the damp off, now the whole building is insulated. The Weighbridge Teas team have been working again in the Learning Centre in Pickering, serving teas, coffees and mince pies to all the Santa visitors before they board the train to see the great man himself.

15th, 16th December 2018