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.

3rd, 4th December 2016

Well we have reached that magic month, when the Santa trains return to our line. No snow, but it was dry all weekend.
Work has continued on the Palvan, with the new door fully bolted into place and planed where necessary to give a good fit. The top timber beam of the doorway was very rotten and the steel frame behind it had a lot of scale and rust. These were preventing the door closing properly, so we have taken the timber down and begun the task of chipping off the scale and cleaning off the rust back to good steel. Unfortunately one job leads onto another – the plastic roof sheet on this van is also in poor condition. Removal of the sheet showed that the edges of the timber ply underneath had rotted. Fortunately the main roof is one large sheet and the edges are a separate strip, 8” wide. The edges came off in pieces, some very small and some with a brush. This does allow us to clean down the top of the steel frame at the same time. A protective coat of primer has been applied to all the cleaned metalwork. Close of play tonight saw a large sheet covering the whole van, to keep it dry and secure.
Elsewhere we took delivery of another quarter mile post, for cleaning down and repainting. This has now been cleaned off and a coat of primer applied. In the Yard shed further storage cupboards have been fitted, prior to being filled up with items previously stored elsewhere.
Preparations have been made for the installation of 2 more large bore pipes in the ditch, to extend the viewing area north of the Station.

26th, 27th November 2016

Brrr, it was cold but clear on Saturday. Although today was also dry it was a lot warmer and more pleasant.
We have had a weekend working at the Station, after spending the previous 2 out with the Pway. We have top coated the Palvan door and managed to get it fitted today (it’s blooming heavy). It still needs some final adjustment, but at least it’s secure and the van contents are protected from the weather again. The shock van door has also been worked on, with the timber screwed back together and several coats of paint applied. This was done inside our winter paint shop, which is heated. Hopefully we will get the door rehung next weekend.
In the Station Yard, work has continued fitting out the sheds. Works have advanced so well that we were able to dismantle the small marquee today, and tidy up the Yard. The last of the plastic staging from the marquee has been power washed down and put into store ready for next year.
At the Yard entrance a couple of loose setts have been lifted out, the beddings tidied up, and then the setts reinstalled in a sand cement surround. The grassy area alongside the entrance was covered in leaves, and a concerted effort has been made to rake them all up and use them to mulch the nearby vegetable bed. Talking of mulch, we have collected 3 dumpy bags of well-rotted manure from one of our friends in the village. This will be going on all the garden beds to help reinvigorate them.
The Pway ballast train has been through 3 times this weekend, dropping stone on the re-laid track just north of the station. Their engineering low wagons and crane were left in the opposite platform at Levisham, waiting for a large delivery of fencing materials to be loaded. This kept us busy for a while, moving the materials from the roadside onto the wagon. Later this afternoon we joined the train as it went south, stopping half a mile away to help unload the new materials on site. We then walked back whilst the train went on to Newbridge Yard.
We are ready for next weekend’s Santa trains, with a small Christmas tree decorated in front of the cottage and the Merry Christmas signs fitted to the Station lamp posts. Remember the Santas run from Pickering to Levisham and back – it is not possible to join the train at Levisham.

19th, 20th November 2016

The weather has been the opposite of last weekend, with a lovely day yesterday but wet today. As before, we were out with the PW gang working on Levisham straight, sorting out the west rail this time. We unclipped around 2000 pandrols, unbolted numerous fishplates, moved the rail along, lifted 3 field level crossings and put it all back together with the corrected fishplate gaps.
Back at the Station, the kitchen shed has had the floor sealed with floor paint and the fridges and kitchen units trial fitted. All this equipment has been donated to the Station.
In the Weighbridge the gang have been having a move around, with a replacement fridge freezer, of a better size and layout than the existing one (and donated again), put in. It did mean that some of the other units needed adjustment though. Another, older, unit which was getting towards the end of its life has been exchanged for the replaced fridge.
Our CCT van (the long red one against the Down platform) has an old roof canvas on it that is now leaking. We have placed one of our old marquee sheets over the top to provide an under-cover working area. This will allow us to replace some rotten timberwork on the sides of the roof in the dry, and allow the rest to dry out over the winter.
We are already looking at our work plan for our Christmas week (you have to work off all that turkey!). It looks like we might be laying a cable duct south from the Station, for the S&T team, down to the outer home signal half a mile away. As usual we will be using a mini digger to make our lives easier.

13th November 2016
Well we started with a good burn up on Friday evening, getting rid of the scrub and old rotten fencing, albeit a week later than we had planned.
Saturday dawned damp as we took delivery of come pre loved kitchen storage units for the new shed in the yard. With these safely under cover it was time to catch the train!
This was no ordinary passenger train but the Permanent Ways engineering train which we boarded to take us along Levisham straight. Once on site we helped with the un-clipping, un-fishplating and moving of the rails. Why, I hear you ask? The expansion gaps between rails were insufficient so the gaps required widening.
Saturday night was a big dinner event at the Black Bull pub just outside Pickering where 30 of the group got together for an evening together. Everyone enjoyed a good time, bar your Station Master who had to go to work that evening and missed the event.
Sunday was a re-run of Saturday, helping the PW team re-clip, re-fishplate and generally finish the job.

12th, 13th November 2016

Well we started with a good burn up on Friday evening, getting rid of the scrub and old rotten fencing, albeit a week later than we had planned.
Saturday dawned damp as we took delivery of come pre loved kitchen storage units for the new shed in the yard. With these safely under cover it was time to catch the train!
This was no ordinary passenger train but the Permanent Way’s engineering train which we boarded to take us along Levisham straight. Once on site we helped with the un-clipping, un-fishplating and moving of the rails. Why, I hear you ask? The expansion gaps between rails were insufficient so the gaps required widening.
Saturday night was a big dinner event at the Black Bull pub just outside Pickering, where 30 of the group got together for an evening out. Everyone had a good time, bar your Station Master who had to go to work that evening and missed the event.
Sunday was a re-run of Saturday, helping the PW team re-clip, re-fishplate and generally finish the job.

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