11th, 12th November 2017

It’s been a day of two halves – bright, sunny but frosty this morning and wet, wet, wet this afternoon. We have been working south of the station this weekend, revisiting the lineside down to the distant hut. It’s been 4 years since we cleared this area and some of the scrub was over 12’ high. However, better to get it down now rather than waiting another few years and we then need the chainsaws.
Back at the station, more metal parts have been painted, the wicket gates have had some decayed wood cut off them and new pieces made to suit (but not fitted yet). The gardens have had a bit more tidying up done. The fire from last Saturday was still warm yesterday (!) so further garden rubbish was disposed of before tidying up all the ash. The new headstock for the NER van has been put inside the van and a start made on marking it up for drilling and cutting.
A contractor has been in during the week to lay a new lino floor in the signal box to replace the cracked and damaged old one.

3rd, 4th, 5th November

Well the passenger trains may have finished, but we are still going strong.
On Friday, Weighbridge Teas were open to welcome 12 Velocipedes to Levisham. These unusual rail vehicles then went for a ‘run’ to Goathland and back, quite a stiff pull both ways over the railway’s steep gradients. Following this event, Weighbridge Teas are now closed until the Christmas week running. They will be open on the 27th-29th of December, from 11am until 3pm each day.
On the Station, the gardens have been topped up with more well-rotted manure. We have recovered another length of poor fencing from north of the Station, alongside the land now cleared of forest. Any re-useable posts and rails have been put aside and will be brought back to the Station to go into store, the rest has been used to top up our bonfire; as yesterday was time for the annual Womble Bonfire and Firework display. The bonfire itself was excellent, as were the fireworks and sparklers. The fire was ‘topped up’ again today with more rotten fencing and general tree rubbish. The hot fire was ideal for ‘freeing up’ several bent and/or seized metal components, allowing them to then go into the winter paint shop for a coat of primer.
In the winter paint shop the three wicket gates, removed last weekend, have been sanded down and the rotten timber taken off. They will still need a couple more weeks to dry out before they can be repainted. Elsewhere in the room, a large number of metal components have been laid out and a start made on repainting them.
Up the line, near the 13 mile post, we have continued the lineside fencing renewal project, after a pause to allow the Forestry Commission to remove the trees close to the line without the new fence being damaged. This area is particularly wet, with old ditches in the adjacent land being blocked, leading to some very muddy boots and trousers.

28th & 29th October 2017

Life has returned to ‘normal’ at Levisham. We have taken delivery of some more plywood, donated by a Pickering firm. This has been sorted and moved into one of our stores vans to keep it dry. Some further material has been delivered, which is only good for burning. Let’s hope next Saturday at dusk is dry! The green marquee main poles have been given their second coat of paint (there wasn’t time before Wartime to do this). Work on the Palvan door continues, with further sanding and filling taking place. After a busy autumn, the time has come for our workshop coach to get a tidy up. A start has been made, which has included sorting through further donated tools and screws.
In readiness for the lifting of the box van body into position in the yard, where further work can take place on it, the nearby wagons have been shunted clear of the site.
In preparation for our continuation of lineside fencing renewal, we have delivered some more fence posts up the line to the site where the Forestry Commission are clearing their trees alongside. Gardening around the Station has continued, with planting of bulbs and the spreading of manure, more of which was delivered during the day.
Weighbridge Teas have nearly closed for the winter (see below) after another successful year. They will be transferring their skills to Pickering in December, to help out with the Santas. They have been using their carving skills this week, preparing the pumpkins for the Halloween trains.
Don’t forget, the Velocipedes are returning to Levisham this Friday. Weighbridge Teas will be open all day especially for this event.

21st, 22nd October 2017

On Monday after last weekend a goodly turnout of 7 Wombles, 5 Weighbridge Teas, supported by 5 S&T volunteers had an excellent day taking the main marquee down, tidying up the kitchen, taking down the kitchen tent, changing all the station signs back to English, dismantling the radar and making the rest safe for the week!
This weekend we were supported by some of the Junior Volunteers on the Saturday to help move all the picnic benches back to the paddock area, dismantling the radar baseboards and tidying them away, moving the Meschersmitt back into store and finally, virtually into the dark, pressure washing all the plastic flooring.
Today we started with a trip north of the station to repair some of the lineside fence, damaged whilst the Forestry Contractor has been removing trees. Back at the station, the last of the ground matting, bar, radar and tarpaulins were put away. It was then time for a tidy up of the Warehouse, workshop and kitchen shed.
Weighbridge Teas, had a quieter weekend, still with a reasonable number of visitors to keep them busy after last weekend. A start has been made on the end of season stock take and tidy up. Next weekend is their last one before their Christmas week opening so make sure you get down to see them before their well-earned rest.

13th, 14th, 15th and 16th October 2017

Wow, what a weekend! Excellent weather, stunning displays and lots and lots of visitors. So what did you miss? – North of the level crossing was the Wurzburg Fu MG A-D Radar, used to located aircraft and pass the information onto the 2cm Flakvierling 38 (4 barrel anti-aircraft gun), by radio, which would then shoot them out of the sky. These were manned by a detachment of Luftwaffe radar technicians and Helferin (female auxiliaries) respectively. The radar and flak were built by our re-enactor colleagues and ourselves as a joint exercise.
The General Room, on the Down Platform was taken over by the German Army for their Radio Room. Inside there was a display of Radio Equipment, field telephone equipment and maps. Did you look at the maps showing Invasion routes into Southern England!
South of the station in the Paddock was the living history tented display where the soldiers rested, cleaned their kit and slept. Alongside was the gun and mortar display where the different types of gun were displayed, explained and then demonstrated.
In the field alongside was a crashed Meschersmitt ME109 and the soldiers demonstrated how to get the pilot out when his cockpit is jammed shut. Fortunately they got him out just before the fuel tanks exploded.
If this sounds exhausting, Le Tea Hut and Weighbridge Teas offered take away snacks and drinks but if you wanted something more substantial, the Café Alle du Bois offered a sit down dinner and bar. A new line this year was Bouef Bourguignon or Vegetable Cassoulet de Legumes, all served on proper crockery, not polystyrene. The whole team were worn out! Entertainment was provided inside the huge marquee by Luna Nightingale.
Over 60 of our re-enactor colleagues joined nearly 30 Wombles and 20 Catering staff and volunteers to put on this event. As usual, a joint Saturday night 3 course dinner was prepared by MacWomble for 90 of us, followed by a disco for everyone to let their hair down.
All we have to do now is take it all down and put it away, easy!?!

7th, 8th October 2017

Ah the calm before the storm. We have had a very busy weekend getting ready for our transformation into Le Visham. The large marquee, the kitchen tent and the green marquee have all been erected in the Station Yard. All the picnic benches from the paddock have been moved into the large marquee and the marquee ‘dressed’ with French posters and pine branches. The kitchen area has been set up, cleaned and prepared for action. The final signs have been made, the no waiting cones and the Meschersmitt brought out from store and readied for use. The bases for the key exhibits have been set out ready for final works later this week.
Our re-enactor colleagues have delivered some of the key items and prepared as much as they can here before the big event.
Weighbridge Teas and the Tea Hut have made their final checks, the orders for the food and drinks completed and a final stock take made to ensure they won’t run out of anything.
This work was only possible thanks to a large turnout of Wombles and the invaluable support of the Junior Volunteers and their supervisors.
All this was completed whilst still running the station this weekend, selling teas and coffees as normal and tidying up from last weekends Steam Gala.

Parking this week is very limited in the Yard due to the marquees and from Thursday this week there will be NO PUBLIC PARKING at Levisham. Limited parking is available on the hill above the station, which will be supervised by our National Park colleagues, but visitors are strongly recommended to travel to Le Visham by train.

29th September – 1st October 2017

It seems to have been a good Gala Weekend, although the weather has been decidedly poor at times. ‘The Womble Inn’ was set up in the General Room for all 3 days and had a steady trade over Friday and Saturday, although today was poor; as was the weather.
Both Weighbridge Teas and the Tea Hut were open over all 3 days as well, and did particularly well when the weather was poor. It was nice seeing the Freight Train at the Station this weekend, with ‘our’ brake van in use. We found a small leak on one side, which we were able to cure with sealer whilst it waiting here between trains.
Preparations continue for Wartime Weekend, with the 2 new marquee poles now ready for use. Work continues on the new road signs, some parts still need to be assembled but all have now been painted ready for use. A lot of work has been undertaken on this year’s key exhibit by our Re-enactor colleagues, and it is nearly ready for painting. That doesn’t mean it’s all together yet – it’s too big! Strimming of the land north of the level crossing has continued, hopefully we will get it completed next weekend.
Next weekend is the big Womble Wigwam erection in the Station Yard; of the huge marquee, the green marquee and the kitchen tent. Consequently there will be very limited parking at the Station. Weighbridge Teas will be open to keep all the volunteers supplied with drinks, plus our visitors.

22nd, 23rd, 24th September 2017

The rain has stopped and the land is drying out, which has allowed us to get the grass cut at last. The paddock took 3 runs with the mower to get the grass down to the correct length. We had to rake off the cuttings before we could do the third cut!
The modified marquee poles have been trial erected with the green canvas tent and it goes up much more easily, and safely, now. Work has continued making the new road signs for the approach to Le Visham.
In the Station Yard, a further section of the wagon turntable has been primed and undercoated. Hopefully we will get the top coat on next weekend. Further monument blocks have been recovered from the lineside for use as parking markers in the yard.
North of the level crossing a lot of strimming has been carried out, the garden waste pile has been burnt, and the base for this year’s key exhibit has been screwed together. On the dock, three interestingly shaped sections have been made for the secret weapon. Two loads of well rotted manure have been collected from Levisham, ready for our gardener to use on the platform gardens once he has completed the tying back of the roses (he’s nearly there now). Both platforms have had a de-weed and general tidy up of the tarmac areas, and the drain gulleys cleaned out.
Weighbridge Teas have had a steady weekend, allowing them to plan what they need to do for Steam Gala and Wartime. The condiment boxes have been cleaned out and repainted.
In support of other stations we have dispatched fencing to Pickering and our stage flooring to Goathland, who also received 2 of the JVs BBQs for their event last night.
Both the Weighbridge and the Tea Hut will be open for the Gala. There will also be the “Womble Inn”, set up in the General Room. A variety of beers from Darwin and Ainsty Brewery will be on offer. The bar opens at 11am each day.

16th, 17th September 2017

It’s been another wet weekend in our lovely valley. The regular showers, varying between drizzle and torrential, put pay to some of our plans and curtailed others. We were again joined by our re-enactor colleagues; cutting and welding more metal for this year’s display. We put up one of our marquee sheets in the Yard to keep them dry and keep them working (I don’t like people just sitting doing nothing!). You still can’t tell what it is yet, though! On the main frame, the last of the drilling (for new fixings) has been completed.
We have taken delivery of two new poles for the main marquee. These have been ‘roped’ up and had their pulleys fitted, ready for Wartime weekend. Our modified pole for the green marquee has been adjusted and welded where needed. The marquee canvas itself has been on a trip to Pickering, where we have been able to use the sowing machine in the Upholstery repair coach to adjust it to suit the new poles. This change should also make putting up the marquee much safer and easier.
A start has been made on making support frames for our new road signs for use over Wartime Weekend. These should be more robust than the old cardboard ones we have used in previous years.
In between the showers, one of our gardeners has continued pruning and tying back the roses and generally tidying up the gardens. I now need to get some more well rotted manure for him. The weather eased enough for the shed in the Paddock to receive a coat of green paint, as did the rear and side of the Tea Hut. Near the south end loop points further lopping of the scrub has taken place.
Weighbridge Teas have been quiet this weekend, the poor weather keeping people and walkers away.

9th, 10th September 2017

Work began in earnest this weekend on this years ‘secret weapon’ for Le Visham’s Wartime Weekend. A two front approach was adopted with help from our re-enactor colleagues. What is it, we can’t tell you – you’ll have to come and see it!
It was also Family and Junior Weekend so the station was awash with orange! They have helped us by sanding down the rear of the Tea Hut and all the Paddock Hut. They even managed to get a coat of paint on before the weather spoilt itself, again. Elsewhere a separate group continued the manufacture of the side panels for the new fake box van body whilst another group were out lopping scrub along the lineside at the station. Yet another group were wire wheeling one of the base castings for the turntable. Unfortunately the rain came before they could finish it and get a coat of primer on them, but the worst of the job is done. Everyone had a good time and we look forward to seeing them all again shortly.
In the Station Yard we have installed most of the cold water plumbing inside the kitchen shed and fitted edge trims to the doorway. A new delivery of timber poles have been placed under cover and some more roofing laths have been de-nailed and put into store. The pair of marquee poles, made last weekend have been given a further sand down and the metalwork fitted at the tops. One of our long wooden ridge poles has been shortened to suit the green marquee to replace the original poles. The tying back of the roses continues….The Palvan door is now complete and looks like a door, with the repaired frame parts screwed onto the plywood back board. A start has been made on repainting it all.
Weighbridge Teas had a steady weekend although it did get very busy when the Juniors came for drinks!

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