18th/19th February 2017

After last weekend was so wet, this one’s been much better – and the trains have returned!
After a month in use as our winter paint shop, the General Room has returned to passenger use. The timber has been emptied out (a lot of it is now refitted), the 6’ platform benches put outside and the floor vacuumed.
On the CCT further coats of paint to the ceiling have been applied, and the cover boards on the side refitted. The hardwood framing, installed last week, has been planed to size and a coat of primer applied.
The NER box van has had its floor reinstalled and everything has been given a coat of wood preservative. The new cladding for one side has been given a coat of preservative and a first coat of black shed paint, prior to fitting.
Up the line we have had a couple of good fires, disposing of a lot of scrub to leave a tidy lineside with much improved visibility for both crew and passengers. There is even a nice view of the river now as well.
After a well deserved break, Weighbridge Teas have awoken from their post Christmas hibernation. A steady flow of visitors and staff kept them busy. They are in residence next weekend as well, ready to serve our passengers and visitors. They will also be open for every day of the Royal Scot visit in March.

11th, 12th February 2017

Well, what a wet weekend! We started on Friday evening, arriving in a snow storm with everything covered in the white stuff. Saturday was a steady mix of rain and sleet, all day. Sunday was better, albeit snow and sleet showers.
A new bottom beam has been made for the NER grounded box van from an old hardwood sleeper. This is necessary as the majority of the original is missing. On the van itself the remaining bolts, which used to hold this beam, have been cut off. Inside the van, the primed interior steelwork has received a coat of undercoat and black gloss.
On the CCT, most of the new hardwood top beam has been cut, trimmed and installed. The top is starting to look like a van again now! Inside, new cover boards have been made to replace the missing and rotten ones. We have even been applying paint now we have wire wheeled the steelwork and sanded the woodwork on the ceiling.
In the paint shop several rail off cuts have been primed and undercoated, and more wood for the CCT has been primed and undercoated ready for installation. The bench seating in the General Room has also had another top coat on the seat where it gets scuffed by visitors.
Up the line we have continued cutting down brush and scrub in the snow showers, which has really opened up the visibility around the corner. Obviously we didn’t even try a fire (!) but that’s something to look forward to next weekend.

4th, 5th February 2017

We’ve had another good weekend on the lineside north of the Station. The area has been cleared and a lot of scrub burnt on two good fires. The area around Bridge 17 and northwards looks a lot better. There is also a good view for our passengers now of the adjacent river, fields and sheep.
Back at the Station, the second half of the roof has been slated. A lead flashing top is now all that’s left to do. The grounded van body has had a second coat of primer and then undercoat applied to all the steel parts. In the CCT, the last of the rotten wood has been cut out and all is now ready for the new timber to be inserted. Inside the winter paint shop the 6 foot station seat is now in top coat, as are the timber pieces for the CCT. Inside the Signal Box the woodwork and walls have had their paint touched up.

28th and 29th January 2017

It’s been another weekend of good progress here in deepest Newtondale. At the Station 2/3 of the exterior metalwork on the NER grounded body has been cleaned down and a coat of primer applied. On the CCT, new through bolts have been fitted to the replacement beams we installed a couple of weeks ago.
The garage to the rear of the coal shed, which is owned by Station House, has had just roof underfelt on it for quite a while, but it’s time has finally come for the slates to be fitted. In a joint operation with Station House, we are installing the slates on their behalf. To date we have laid about half the roof.
Along the line we have returned to scrub removal, with a goodly length of willow scrub removed on the East side of the line. This continues our work from last winter, as we steadily work back towards the Station.

14th, 15th January 2016

A weekend of 2 halves; snow and ice on Saturday, and rain and fog on Sunday. Our work reflected this weather. Saturday was the day of the big burn up, with 2 large fires consuming a lot of the scrub and branches cut down over the last month or so. After a slow start, the fires soon developed into larger ones which rapidly ate all the branches and brush. By darkness the west side was just about clear of scrub, leaving just the old logs to be recovered. Hopefully we can burn off the blackthorn on the east side next weekend.
On Sunday it was time to deal with 2 of the wagons at the Station. First up though was thoroughly gritting the walkways, as the early morning rain had frozen on contact with the cold ground resulting in a nasty layer of ice everywhere. The old NER box van body was first to be tackled. The double layer of floor planks were lifted as many had rotten ends. Between the 2 layers were some old sacking and lime bags used, we think, to keep out the draughts. We believe the second layer was added once the van became a grounded body, to prevent people falling though the rotten first layer. We then began refitting the floor, jointing the good parts of the original planks on top of the underframe beams. This framing is in excellent condition and will be good for a long time. Any exposed steel framing was cleaned down and primed at the same time.
Secondly, half the team moved on to the CCT. Here we hoped to cut out the final rotten section of the side beam; however, cutting revealed the rot went a lot further back than we hoped. To that end, we have had to take off the steel door runner channel to expose the whole extent of the problem. This has revealed we need to replace a somewhat larger piece, approximately 12’ long. Elsewhere on the van, we have continued replacing some of the old roof screws with bolts, to hold the roof planks tight against the hoops.

7th, 8th January 2017

Another damp, foggy, weekend at the station.
We have continued the lumber jacking at milepost 14¼, removing the scrub and trees which were in danger of falling onto the railway. A lot of branches have been cut into smaller pieces ready for a good fire, but the damp weather so far has prevented this. The PW gang were working in the same area today, so we carefully dropped the trees well clear of them.
Back at the station we have continued repairing the CCT van. We have replaced several rotten/rusty bolts and reinstated some of the steel ‘T’ bracing units. Unfortunately we have also had to remove more rotten wood; however, this appears to be the last large chunk that needs to go. A new hardwood piece will have to be made to replace it. On the roof hoops, several loose and rusty screws have been replaced with new stainless steel bolts, re-fixing the roof planks securely in place. At the same time the rusty steelwork has been cleaned down and a coat of primer applied.

2nd January 2017

A Happy New Year to you all.
We have had another successful Christmas break at the Station. We continued our work around Bridges 16 and 17, cutting down the scrub and opening out views from the train of the lovely valley. Not surprisingly, there is a lot of burning to be done now.
Back at the Station we have continued repairing the CCT van, inserting more timber where large grubs/bugs seem to have eaten the original timber work. New planks have been fitted to the roof and bolted into place. A reshuffle of the stores within has allowed us to reach the next section of rot – something to look forward too for next time!
Our annual day off was the exception to the mild weather this break – rain, hail and sleet showers. This didn’t stop us having a good walk though, investigating the old railway cottage remains between Levisham and Newtondale Halt. After a picnic lunch at the Halt, it was back to Levisham village over the Moors with some stunning views back into the valley.
Today work has continued on the van (in between multiple shunts for the PWay Dept) even though it has been cold and icy – getting out of the valley this evening was ‘interesting’.

29th December 2016

29th December 2016
We hope you all had a very Happy Christmas and didn’t over indulge the turkey or Christmas pudding. We didn’t have a white Christmas but the hoar frost has given us that winter look.
Unfortunately the promised blog on Christmas Eve didn’t materialise due to my computer dying but we were out helping the PW unload sleepers near 14¼ milepost for their post Christmas relay and collecting old sleepers from the 13¼ milepost (the pre Christmas relay). At the station, we took delivery of an old NER box van body, which had been used as a store at Newbridge PW yard for many years. We had originally assumed we would be dismantling it for spares, but its condition is much better than we thought. Consequently we will be repairing it prior to it going to Goathland as a new store for the S&T. To that end, the loose and damaged felt roof covering has been stripped off, extraneous notices on the sides removed, the interior cleared of rubbish and recyclables. A temporary cover has been fitted over the whole van to keep it dry whilst we plan the next steps.
Since Christmas we have been concentrating on two projects; the mornings have been spent cutting down scrub at the next PW relay site, whilst the afternoons have been spent working on the CCT van at the station. The scrub has been a mix of willow and hawthorn, the latter is well knotted together (and prickly) and awful to work your way through. Hopefully the worst is behind us now. On the van, more rot has been cut out, allowing new hardwood sections to be manufactured and installed.
Weighbridge Teas have been open for the last 3 days, keeping staff and the occasional visitor warm with hot and cold drinks and mince pies. They are now having a well earned rest (to the Isle of Wight to start with) prior to re-opening for the February Half Term.

17th, 18th December 2016

We actually saw the sun for a while this weekend, before the mist returned.
On the Palvan, the Yard side roof edge beam has been needle gunned clean and wire wheeled. A coat of primer has been applied to preserve it.
The CCT has actually had some woodwork applied to it! The new hardwood beams, prepared last week, have been installed and bolted up. With the beams in place new bottom planks have been affixed to the roof, returning the north end to a reasonable state. Further along, on the east side, more rotten beams have been found. These have been cut out and another hardwood beam prepared to slot back in. With the back of the steelwork exposed, we have taken the opportunity to wire wheel it clean and apply a coat of primer.
This will be the penultimate blog before Christmas (we are working Christmas Eve, all labour gratefully received), so we will finish by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

10th, 11th December 2016

The mist has been to the fore this weekend, as has the frost.
North of the level crossing and storage huts we have finally installed two steel pipes to culvert the existing lineside ditch. Thanks to Martyn and the PW for supplying, delivering and lifting in the pipes. All we have to do now is backfill and level the area.
Work has continued on both storage vans. The Palvan door frame has been needle gunned (thanks to the off site S&T for their kit), as has the rest of the steel edge beam along the west side. A coat of primer has been applied to preserve it. On the East side and both ends the wet, rotten edge plywood has been stripped and the loose scale swept off. The worst of the hardy scale has been chipped off. This now awaits the needle gun to finish it off.
On the CCT, the rotten wood on the West side has been cut out or chiselled back to sound material. The bottom edge boards of the roof have been cut off where they were badly split. A new hardwood piece has been set into the frame, where the old beam had ‘passed on’. On the East side more serious rot has been discovered, leading to a large section of the roof beam being cut out and removed (some of it with a vacuum cleaner!). The bottom edge board of the roof has also been cut out where split. A new hardwood beam has been prepared for fitting.
The gardens have been spread with the manure collected last week. More manure is now required for the vegetable patches.
In the paint shop, several coats of paint have been applied to the miscellaneous steel and timber parts. One of our 6’ platform seats, which has been undercover for a while to dry out, is now well on the road to refurbishment with primer applied.

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