7th-9th July 2017

It’s been another glorious weekend. It was a 3 day session this time, as we were again joined by some colleagues from Network Rail (NR) who came to volunteer for a day with us. They undercoated the wagon turntable parts, previously cleaned and primed by another NR group; wire wheeled some more parts and got those primed; sanded down and primed the Station side of the NER van; and, finally, spread and levelled the latest spoil delivery north of our storage huts.
On Saturday we completed the fixing down of the roof of the CCT, including making a ‘sandwich’ finish on each end where the canvas is turned over. The skirtings on the front of the Yard shed have been completed, together with the cover strips over the vertical planks and doors. Another 3 picnic benches have been put together, and were delivered to Grosmont on Sunday morning. Thanks must go to some MPD workers who assisted in carrying them along the platform at Grosmont, as the brake van on the train was well down towards the Whitby end.
Some of the metal parts of the wagon turntable had been bent before we took delivery of them. Fortunately we have a Geoff – who has a big hammer and a gas torch which bent most of them back into shape.
Today saw the undercoating of the primed wagon turntable steelwork, the priming and undercoating of the aluminium strips along the roof edges of the CCT, and the undercoating of the NER van side. The grounded van body cover sheet has finally been removed and the 2 drop down doors fitted, allowing both sides to be closed. All the grass has been cut and strimmed, another regular task which has to be undertaken.
Weighbridge Teas have been kept busy, with ice creams going particularly well in the hot weather. More silver paint has been applied to the Tea Hut, touching up parts missed earlier. It’s only 2 weeks now until Elvisham; where we will have Elvis performing. Both Weighbridge Teas and the Tea Hut will be open, together with the Real Ale bar in the paddock!

1st, 2nd July 2017

On Friday evening we were lucky enough to have the Great Western Saloon, for a ride from Pickering to Grosmont and return. The regular Levisham volunteers filled the coach and enjoyed a sumptuous buffet, prepared by some of the Levisham Ladies.
Both goods vans under restoration have had their new roof sheets fitted into place over the weekend. The Palvan roof had its canvas tucked under the roof ply and then bolted into place, whereas the CCT had metal strips fitted over the canvas/steel interface. Both vans are now looking a lot better.
The lawnmower has received a good rub down, and a couple of coats of gloss paint. It’s looking rather smart now. We have started assembling the 6 latest picnic benches – all will be eventually required at Grosmont. Following sanding down, the timber pieces could be drilled and bolted together. The first 2 have been dispatched today.
In the Station Yard the timber shed has received its exterior skirting board along the front face. The roses are still looking great around the station, giving a great reward to the gardeners and the hours they spend working at them.
In preparation for Elvis’ visit, at 60s Weekend (22nd/23rd July), the Tea Hut has received a coat of aluminium primer making it look like an American Diner. Once the event is over it will revert back to green (it needed a repaint anyhow).
Weighbridge Teas had another good weekend with lots of satisfied visitors leaving our Station.

24th, 25th June 2017

Well it’s been another lovely weekend, weather wise. Both days started in darkness at 3am! This was the time we had to get up, ready for a 4am start on site at the retaining wall/14 mile post job. We were joined by Pete, his digger, the dumper truck from the PW Dept. and a veritable army of biting midges!. We were there to dig off the excess material from the top of the retaining wall and create a safe way through for emergency vehicles past the works we have done to date. With that completed, we could dig out the next bit of collapsed wall, place the good stone to one side, and remove the tree stumps which caused the wall to collapse in the first place. All this had to be done before the 1st train service on Saturday and Sunday morning. It’s strange having lunch on the lineside at 10am!! With the digger then moved down to the foot of the embankment, it was time to get some more stone, which had been washed down from the wall, out of the river for the rest of the morning. We will be back to ‘normal’ hours next weekend when, hopefully, we can start the rebuild job.
The timber for 6 new picnic tables has been collected and given a good sanding down. These, once completed, will be for Grosmont tea room garden. The ‘new’ lawnmower has been given a good wire wheel clean and a coat of primer. The wheelsets for the NER van body now sport white gloss wall tyres.
The gardens look superb this weekend, all the roses are out in bloom.
Weighbridge Teas have been kept busy both days, as usual, with ice creams going down particularly well.

13th, 17th, 18th June 2017

Blimey, it’s been that hot ‘it reminds me of when I was in Punjab…….’
The hot weather has slowed us down a bit, just a bit, this weekend; mostly as we had to keep stopping to top us our liquids!
With the help of 10 Network Rail staff, who were undertaking a day of voluntary service here, on Tuesday, we were able to wire wheel and prime most of both main top castings of the wagon turntable. At the same time, 4 steel cover plates were also tackled. At the Camping Coach, the old peeling non-slip tape was removed and all the rusty metalwork on the treads and landings were cleaned off and wire wheeled. The 2 wheel sets benefitted from a coat of grey undercoat. Finally, the scrub has been lopped down on the west side, from the south end of the platform to the end of the loop. Our thanks to them for helping us to push a project forwards.
On Saturday Michael and Stephen went off to Goathland, to operate the mini digger for the Junior Volunteers and Lineside Fencing Team. A blocked lineside ditch was cleared out, allowing the water to drain into the river. This was done in conjunction with the fencing team as they removed the old fence, allowing the machine in, and then replaced it over the rest of this weekend. Meanwhile, back at the Station, work continued cleaning and priming the wagon turntable castings – both are now looking much better. The wheel sets have received a coat of black gloss, and now sport white wall tyres. On the Camping Coach the rest of the metalwork on both sets of steps has been cleaned down and primed. The treads have received undercoat and one set is now in gloss (we have to keep one set always available to the users during the day).
The time has finally come for the Palvan to have its roof replaced. Once the marquee sheet had been removed we were able to complete the cleaning down of the roof steelwork. A coat of primer was then applied. The new plywood came out of store and has been screwed into place on the top. A layer of thin carpet and the wagon sheet was laid in place but time prevented us fixing it down. Consequently, a smaller tarpaulin has been fitted over the top, as it has tie down cleats, to hold it all in place.
The second drop down door for the new NER van has had the final timber parts fitted, following painting this week. The shrub planters and the running in board posts have been given a coat of white masonry paint. The ‘new’ lawnmower has been out, keeping the grass under control.
Weighbridge Teas have had a very good weekend with lots of demand for cold drinks and ice cream. Even so, sandwiches, bacon butties and cakes were selling fast.

10th, 11th June 2017

‘Normal’ service has now resumed. With a wet Saturday, work concentrated on the NE van body as we can work on it under a marquee sheet and keep dry! The bottom beam on the east side has now been bolted and glued together. The horizontal door bolts have been drilled through this beam and the main frame. The new vertical door upright has been spliced into the frame and bolted into place. All is now ready to accept the repaired drop down door.
Following the failure of our small ride on mower (due to engine seizure), one of our Wombles has donated us his old, larger, ride on mower, for which we are very grateful. It came with a new battery and it didn’t take long to get the front lights working! All it now needs is a repaint and the application of flame stickers and it will really go!
The gardeners have been busy today, as everything seems to be growing extra fast with all the rain and sun recently. The roses should be a treat this year, looking at the number of buds on them.
The wagon turntable parts have all been separated, ready for a clean down and repaint. All the old seized bolts have been knocked out – which was surprising as we expected to have to burn them out with oxy acetylene!
We have shunted the Yard again, to get ready for re-wheeling the NER van body. The milk tanker is now on the siding adjacent to the running line, so it has been given a good clean down to remove the green and brown dirt all over it. The Junior Volunteers have helped complete the 2 new end panels for the Goathland shed. The panels now boast insulation as well! They also sent a team to Newtondale Halt to cut the grass and generally keep the station looking smart.
We were entertained on Saturday afternoon by some Morris dancers – male and female in 2 Sides. Unfortunately the weather was not kind to them, so the musicians had to play under umbrellas!
Weighbridge Teas have had a steady trade with a steady stream of visitors, plus the Juniors today as well.

26th-29th May, 3rd, 4th June 2017

It’s a bumper blog this weekend. We start with work undertaken the Friday before the Bank Holiday weekend, when a large party from Network Rail came to Levisham to help us out for a day. They were challenged to level the ground just beyond the huts, north of the level crossing. A large spoil heap was spread over the steel culvert pipes, to provide a large level area. We will use this area to build up the North Eastern bracket signal we are working on, and eventually make a large viewing area for the public. All this was undertaken on the hottest day of the year so far – 28ºC.
It was then time for some of us Wombles to go on our annual ‘fact finding’ holiday – this time to South Wales. We managed to visit 10 railways in South Wales and Bristol/Somerset area and picked up one or two useful tips.
Meanwhile, back at the Station, other members of the team continued the painting of the new wagon wheelsets and tried to repair the ride on mower (it looks like the engine has seized in it). The repair of the Palvan door framing continues, with further gluing and splicing of new hardwood timber pieces into the original parts. At the back of the Paddock a rotten section of fencing has been replaced, using some preloved posts and rails we had in stock.
This weekend the mammoth grass cutting session has continued, albeit with the smaller hand pushed machines we have. The sides have also been strimmed – it’s amazing how much it grows in just 2 weeks! Continuing from the site levelling last week, a final level off and sorting out has been undertaken. The platform edges have also had their annual white painting undertaken.
In readiness for the eventual re-wheeling of the NER van body, we have prepared some raised stands for the body to sit on. These will hold the body up in the air whilst we fit the ‘W’ irons, which hold the axleboxes and the wheels.
Weighbridge Teas remained open and were especially busy over the Bank Holiday weekend. This weekend was slightly more relaxed but the weather was more kind, ice creams being popular today.

20th, 21st May 2017

It’s been “Family” and “Behind The Scenes” Weekend with lots of special opportunities for families to come and help, and see activities not normally on view. At Levisham it was possible to see inside the Signal Box and the Pickering Experimental Engineers and Modellers Society had a short length of 7½” track in the Station Yard offering rides for young and old alike. One of our members also brought a model railway along which depicted Blakey Junction on the Rosedale Branch and was supported by a display on the original line and its remains today, provided by the Rosedale History Society and the This Exploited Land of Iron project.
The Junior and Family Volunteers were working with us around the Station. The grass has been cut and strimmed; two end frames made for the Goathland shed; lots of planking cut to length, then painted with preservative and black fence paint; small bushes cut down around about; the small Gala tent dismantled and put away and the large one received back from Grosmont; paving flags and ash laid in front of the Yard huts; the kitchen shed fitted out a bit more; painting of wagon roof hoops and planks; timber repairs to the Palvan door; and finally, lettering of the first wartime fire bucket.
Weighbridge Teas were kept busy with all the Junior Volunteers, plus our visitors, chocolate being particularly popular.

13th, 14th May 2017

After another hard day lifting and laying stone sleeper blocks, phase 1 of the retaining wall rebuild is complete! The adjacent sections of wall have had the faces cleared of vegetative growth, revealing the whole length which fortunately is not too bad.
Back at the Station, more metalwork has been cleaned down and painted for the box van body and the new pseudo body for Goathland. The CCT has had its final top coat applied inside (that we can reach!) and the carts temporarily stored outside are now back in place again. The box van body has had further woodwork framing manufactured to replace rotten parts.
The Exhibition Van has had its displays refreshed and is ready for re-opening next weekend. The small bar tent has been erected, also ready for next weekend, in the Station Yard. Next weekend is the Behind The Scenes/Family Weekend along the railway. As part of this we will be hosting a model railway and display about the Rosedale Railway and mines in the tent. We hope to have the Pickering Experimental Engineers and Modellers Society, who will be bringing a short miniature railway and offering rides up and down the yard.
Weighbridge Teas had another good weekend, helped by the glorious weather today (after a damp start). The regular crew are on holiday for a week, but our other team members have ably held the fort.

6th, 7th May 2017

After a 2 month gap waiting for materials and plant, we have returned to the site of the washout at the 14 mile post. It was a very early start (5.30am!) and we were joined by Peter of the Pway Dept, and his digger, to help lift the recovered stone back out of Pickering Beck. This, with the help of the dumper truck, allowed us to move around 30 tonnes of dressed stone back to the hole. With the machines out of the way, we could continue rebuilding the wall. This sounds easy, but a lot of the stones were very, very, heavy. The wall is now looking quite good but we will shortly be at the stage where we need the digger again to move spoil, so we can move onto the next section of collapsed wall.
Back at the Station work continues on repairing the NER van body, with more cutting and mortising of the new bottom beam. Painting of the cleaned steelwork pieces continued at the same time. The interior of the CCT walls have received a further coat of yellow gloss. We had help from some of the JVs again this weekend, even though it wasn’t a formal JV day.
Some more spare fire buckets have been cleaned down and painted, this is an ongoing task, as and when resources permit.
Weighbridge Teas have had another good weekend although they are always looking for more help.
More training has been given to a few more Signalmen on the new EPOS till system.

29th April-1st May 2017

It’s been another 3 day weekend, allowing us to get even more done than normal!
On Saturday it was time for some more tree pruning, but not along the lineside. This time it was in and near the Paddock where small trees were rapidly growing into large trees, and also overhanging adjacent properties and where we site the marquees.
Up the line, at the 14 milepost washout, the rest of the gang were getting their hands (and some even their feet!) wet, recovering stone from the river which belonged in the retaining wall. Quite a bit has been moved to the site, ready for lifting out. We know they are ours as the stones are whole or half pieces of the old railway sleeper blocks, with the 2 holes in for the cast iron chairs! Hopefully we can start lifting these out, and back into the wall, next weekend.
Back at the Station, the CCT sides have been given their second top coat and now look rather smart. The marquee roof has been taken down and a new canvas cut and fitted. At the moment it is only temporarily held in place, whilst we wait for it to settle and the creases to ease out, before we permanently fit it in place. Hopefully this will keep it dry and watertight for a good long time.
Work continues on the NER van body, with the 3 pieces of new framing on the East side now cut ready for gluing together. On the same side, the drop down door metalwork has been cleaned down, rusted bolts freed and the woodworm attacked timber removed. Three new door planks have also been fitted, the steelwork given a good wire wheel clean, and the whole door given a couple of coats of primer and an undercoat. The west side door steelwork has had it’s new wood trial fitted, planed to size and also given a coat of primer.
The gutter to the rear of the station yard shed has been adjusted and a start made on repositioning the water butt. This will be welcomed by the gardeners to keep the vegetable patch nearby well watered. They have been busy around the Station, moving plants and keeping the gardens well manicured.
6 old fire buckets have come out of store. They are being cleaned down and repainted ready for use at Wartime Weekend fully lettered in French!
Weighbridge Teas have provided a steady flow of hot and cold snacks for our visitors and passengers. The new litter bin is now in place and the old one dismantled for re-use.

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