19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd March 2018

We have had a good week, so far. The weather has been kind and we have got a lot done.
The under track crossing (UTX) has been covered in a concrete cap, and then backfilled with ash. A further duct has been dug in from this UTX to just beyond the point work. The land has been levelled following this work. Nearer the Station, the trench has been backfilled with the ash and the excess clay has been taken away. The ash and stone on the alignment of the yard siding have been cleared off, ready for the track to be relaid. North of the level crossing huts, the land has been levelled away from the track.
Further north, between the 15½ and 15¾ mile posts, a lot of scrub has been disposed of on 5 large bonfires. Once this area was cleared we returned southwards, to the 14¾ mile post, where a large amount of blackthorn scrub and willow has been dealt with. This work has revealed the access ramp to a very old level crossing – reputedly the first installed along the railway.
The Weighbridge Team have been in attendance, carrying out maintenance and deep cleaning ready for the start of the new season. The park benches have been given a clean down and a coat of teak oil.
Cleaning and painting of rail ends has continued in the General Room, along with work on repainting the ¼ mile post. The 7 mile post has also been wire wheeled clean and is ready for priming.

17th, 18th March 2018

Blimey, where did all this white stuff come from?! What a start to the work week. It was only 4 wheel drives at the top corner this morning so we set to, in a howling snow storm to dig out the drifting snow. We had just about finished when a tractor and snowplough turned up! It did the job though back down to the station. The road is now open again and safe for 2 wheel drive cars.
Even so, we have done very well work wise. First up was loading with a mini digger and fetching a couple of dump truck loads of spoil from Platelayers down to the Station to level some land. The track panel just off the north of the level crossing on the down (Grosmont) side has had several sleeper bays dug out ready to change 8 poor sleepers. The ‘new’ sleepers were delivered by Martyn from the Pway this afternoon by train.
Off the Up Platform a trench has been dug down to the yard siding to allow cable ducts to be laid. The ducts are in and most of the trench backfilled. Not surprisingly there is quite a bit of spoil to dispose of. The track access into the yard has been lifted to allow the trench to be dug through. Hopefully the trench will be completed down to the signals tomorrow.
Nearer the end of the loop an Under Track Crossing (UTX) has been excavated and, as it got dark tonight, the ducts were laid into position.
For the rest of the week, we have to finish all these jobs and a few others as well including a lot of scrub burning along the line. Can you help us this week please, we are here every day?

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.

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Pike, Michael, Stephen and Bob burn scrub at 6 signal 23Mar18Kevin and Elaine clean the end of the Weighbridge 25Mar18The gang take tea whilst Stephen works away 22Mar1808850 and 08485 on PW train at Levisham 23Mar18

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