10th, 11th March 2018

After the snow last weekend, we have experienced rain and mist for most of this one. The headstock has been successfully fitted on the NER van body, together with the first underframe section.
We were joined by the Junior Volunteers this weekend. They have helped us clean down a lot of cut rail ends ready for priming. A couple more loads of soil/spoil have been loaded and delivered to the Station to complete the embankment works.
Along the lineside we have had 3 good fires today. They were all slow to start, due to the damp weather, but again we have burnt a goodly amount of scrub.
Weighbridge Teas, who have been in residence all week for the visit of Tornado, sold a wide variety of goodies – including ice creams even though not all the snow has melted!
Our Womble Work Week commences next Saturday, for a 9 day bash. We have to resleeper the track next to the level crossing for the PWay; excavate and lay a duct for the S&T from the end of the Up platform to the points south of the Station; burn scrub and collect logs from along the lineside; re-roof the paddock hut; replank the NER van alongside the dock; etc., etc. Could you come and help us – all labour gratefully received. The Weighbridge team will also be in attendance to keep us fed and watered.

3rd, 4th March 2018

It’s all white now! The road into the Station is totally blocked at the top corner – it’s 10’ deep there. Lower down we have managed to clear the road, so once someone has dug out the top we will be back in business. We managed to get in via the Forest Drive using a 4×4 vehicle, but it’s not recommended
Back at the Station both platforms, the level crossing, and all paths have been cleared of snow. The points have been dug out and are ready for use; all we need now is a train….
As the planned lineside burning has not been possible this weekend, we have progressed with the restoration of the NER van body in the Station Yard instead. The new headstock is nearly fitted, just a minor tweak with the chisel will get it into place. A start has also been made replacing some of the underframe side beam ends, which have suffered from rot.

24th, 25th February 2018

It’s been a cracking weekend, weather wise, allowing us to continue the great burn up along the lineside near Platelayers Cottages, 5 fires were required over the weekend to dispose of all the brash. There is now a quarter mile of lineside and river retaining walls completely cleared of scrub. There is still a lot of timber to be removed (but this is all in hand). Several photographic viewing positions along the forest road have been opened up again, just in time to watch Tornado pass next week.
Although Weighbridge Teas were not open this weekend, they are open from next Saturday and every day that Tornado is running. Why not come and support them and watch the locos pass?

24th February 2018

It is with sadness that I have to announce that Mark Sissons, Womble and the Railway’s Archivist, passed away yesterday evening. Mark has been with the railway since the early 1970s and was part of the group which first set up Levisham, turning it from a derelict shell into an award winning station. He has since been instrumental in developing the Archive building and setting up the archives within it.

17th, 18th February 2018

The North Eastern van, alongside the dock, has had the rotten planking removed. This revealed that the vertical planking behind was well past its best, so this was removed also. The wooden framing was cleaned down and given a liberal coat of wood preservative. The inner skin has been replaced with 2 layers of plywood. The steel exterior cross bracing has been unbolted (a lot easier said than done!), wire wheeled clean, and given a coat of primer.
A start has been made wire wheeling clean the ¾ mile post, recovered last weekend off the lineside.
North of Platelayers cottages we have begun the big burn, disposing of the cut brash and scrub which has been quietly drying out. A start has also been made clearing the railway’s retaining wall on the opposite side of the river. There is a lot more to do!
Weighbridge Teas have been in attendance again, selling hot drinks and ice creams to our visitors. The sales cart is having a repaint, to smarten it up ready for the main season.
Don’t forget you’d be welcome at the ‘Annual Womble Work Week’, which is running from the 17th-25th March inclusive. There will be lots of jobs to do, to suit all skills.

11th, 12th February 2018

Well the trains have started again, and to celebrate this it snowed!  So, for the first trains we were out cleaning the platforms – again.  All four white wicket gates have been refitted; now they are smart and white again.  The second 6’ platform bench has also been completed and is ready to go out again (once the weather improves!).

On the NE van body, the new north end plank bottom frame has been made to fit and is ready for fixing back into place.  The other NE van, alongside the dock, now sports a sheet over it whilst we re-plank the west side and finish the frame repairs.

Up the line, between the 14½ and 14¾ mile posts, further scrub and small trees have been dropped, opening up further views of the river.  There is now quite a lot of material to burn, all the way between the 13½ and 14¾ mile posts.

Our Exhibition has opened for the year and is getting a refresh, with some new photos, a re-varnish and upgraded lighting.

Weighbridge Teas have re-opened for 2018.  A few hardy visitors came yesterday but it was busier today.

The ‘Annual Womble Work Week’ will be 17th-25th March inclusive this year.  We have a packed programme of works planned; including scrub bonfires (no surprise!), log collection, wagon restoration on both North Eastern vans, wagon turntable painting, and other jobs.  Weighbridge Teas will be opening to support us in our endeavours.  Please come and join us – the more the merrier!

3rd, 4th February 2018

We start this update with news of a special train working last Wednesday; the railway had a visit from DB Cargo’s 66102 and 10 Network Rail auto ballaster wagons.  They had come to drop ballast on the re-laid track (which we assisted with 3 weeks ago!) in Northdale, and used Levisham to ‘run round’ the train before returning to the ‘Big Railway’.

At the Station, three of the level crossing wicket gates have received their final paint and touch up coats, ready for reinstalling next weekend.  The fourth has had filler applied where necessary and the paint completed on the rest of it.  This should be ready for installation next weekend as well.  The Exhibition van is getting a refresh; with some new photos being prepared and the woodwork getting a re-varnish.

We have returned to lineside management activities again, this time between the 14½ and 14¾ mile posts, clearing yet another pair of retaining walls of the trees and scrub which were growing in and over them.  This work has opened up a couple of pleasant views of the river for our passing passengers.  As usual there is quite a lot of scrub to burn and logs to remove.

Trains start next weekend for half term, and so does service at our Weighbridge.  Come and buy your drinks and cakes here, and help celebrate the start of the 2018 season!

27th, 28th January

Apologies for the delay in the last Blog – technology issues prevented me uploading it.

Any way,  this weekend was one of tidying up after the last 2 weekends away.  When we were up in Newtondale laying track, we rescued several small pine trees from the lineside.  These have been delivered to the Station and planted in a small nursery whilst they grow up.

Raking out of the lineside ditches continues, returning the drainage of the area back to what it should be.

We have put 2 of our 12’ benches into the CCT to dry out, as both back planks need replacing.  At the same time we will give the bases a repaint to keep them smart and watertight.  Our workshop has been given a tidy up, making it easier to find our tools and spare parts.

In the General Room the 3 repaired wicket gates have been repainted, whilst further rotten wood has been removed from the fourth.

20th, 21st January 2018

It’s all white now…  Snow and ice have covered the Station, but didn’t stop our works!  At the Station, we finally got the new Palvan door hung; making the whole van look a lot better.  It will need some final adjustment once the weather warms up a bit.

The lineside ditch, north east of the level crossing, has been raked clear of old reeds allowing the water to flow freely.  This should help the adjacent land dry out better and stop our trackbed getting waterlogged.

Whilst all this was going on a second team was again working with the PWay Dept., this time at Trout Farm just outside Pickering.  We assisted with lifting the track, helping part 2 of the winter relay.  On Sunday it was ‘all hands’ at Pickering, as more track needed lifting quickly to allow the digger access to dig out the old ballast.  We got the track lifted by lunchtime, just as the snow started to fall again.  It did make for some interesting photos though.

13th, 14th January 2018

And now for something completely different….! We have been called out to help the Pway Dept. this weekend, out in the open in Northdale. They needed some assistance laying the new track out there – G44 concrete sleepers, and new 113lb/yd flat bottom rails. This was a bit different but we enjoyed the change. That doesn’t mean we didn’t do any lineside management, as there were several sections of scrub and small trees which needed to be removed whilst we were there! This should allow the ditch to be cleaned out as it’s blocked with grass, branches and rubbish; preventing the water from running away into the river.
Back at the Station the repainted 6’ bench has come out of the General Room to be replaced with another which needs a bit of TLC. The final wicket gate has been stripped of loose paint, revealing several sections which are rotten. Hopefully we will get these cut out next weekend.

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The gang clear snow off the level crossing 3Mar18Snow surrounds the Weighbridge 3Mar18.Phill, Lee, Michael and Martyn clear snow off the platform 3Mar18

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