10th, 11th November 2018

The weekend has gone up in smoke and flames, with the annual bonfire and fireworks display at the Station. A goodly amount of old timber collected over the last few months, together with a neighbour having a clear out, provided the fuel. A pleasant evening was had by all, sat around the fire (but not too close as it was too hot!).
On Friday and Saturday, we were graced by a selection of Velocipedes (human powered rail vehicles). They made a colourful sight at the Station, before they rode off into the distance. Weighbridge Teas were especially open for them (as well as serving passing visitors).
The East side of the green Palvan has benefitted from an undercoat on the underframe, but the weather prevented a top coat being applied on the Sunday. Both this, and the North Eastern van next to it, have been hand shunted around the yard in readiness for the extraction of 1111 in a weeks-time. In the softwood stores van further shelves have been fitted.
Another mile post has been delivered to us – Number 9. This has been cleaned down and given a couple of coats of primer. The other 2 posts in our care have received 2 coats of white gloss as part of their refurbishment.
The ziggurat has been cleared of old plants and the track items placed to one side. The coal hole has had a good clear out and a re-stack.

3rd, 4th November 2018

It’s been much milder this weekend, although the sun has stayed hidden behind cloud all the time.
The green Palvan has received its second top coat resulting in a much smarter look, whilst both buffer beams now sport black gloss. The underframe on both sides has been wire wheeled clean and given a good coat of metal primer. There was even time to give the west side a coat of grey undercoat as well.
Our ply store has been given a good sort out, putting the multiple sized panels into similar stacks. Damaged and poor sheets have been removed for disposal next weekend. A goodly amount of full lengths have been despatched, by train, to Goathland in the care of their Station Master who turned up out of the forest. These will be used to clad the inside of their new shed, whose erection is progressing well.
The two mileposts have received their second coat of metal primer and two coats of white undercoat over the weekend. 1111 has been decorated on the south end ready for its departure later this month.
Weighbridge Teas had a quiet weekend, giving them time to give the Weighbridge a good tidy up. The park benches from outside the Weighbridge have been taken inside for the winter to protect them.
For those who like the unusual, Levisham is hosting a collection of Velocipedes on Friday and Saturday next weekend. To support them the Weighbridge WILL be open, serving drinks and snacks including bacon butties and pasties!

27th, 28th October 2018

Brrr. We’ve had a touch of the white stuff this weekend, although nothing has settled (unlike elsewhere on the Moors).
Following the clearing out of 1111, it’s been time to refill it! All the spares for both 1111 and 945 (the other coach stored at Levisham) have been removed from our stores wagons and laid out for review. This includes several doors and sections of side framing, recovered from a coach from Sandsend over 20 years ago to provide spares for 1111. A group of LNERCA and NERCG members came here this morning to decide what they wanted and what could be disposed of. All the good stores have been placed into the respective coaches ready for when they leave us this winter.
The clearing of the spares has allowed us to tidy up two of our open wagons and consolidate some of the stores within. A good sweep up of old dead flies, dust, dirt, rust, etc., filled half a wheelie bin with rubbish!
Our softwood storage van has had a really good tidy up, with new shelves fitted to hold long lengths and off cuts, allowing other lengths to be stored vertically underneath them. More shelving will follow. In the CCT the north end doors have had Kingspan insulation fitted, helping to keep the vehicle warmer and keep out the drafts. In the new paint shop van, the paint has been sorted out and all the ephemera tidied up.
Around the Station, the General Room and Weighbridge have been decorated for Halloween. The downpipe drain behind the Booking Office, which was blocked with leaves and mud, has been cleaned out (a rather mucky job!). Nearby, a start has been made clearing the ziggurat garden of woody plants and weeds.
Weighbridge Teas had a quieter weekend compared to last. Its their final opening of the season next weekend so come and give them a really good send off!

20th, 21st October 2018

It’s been a better weekend weather wise, compared to the previous one. The last of the kitchen kit has been put away, which has allowed our marquee to be dropped and tidied away.  We can only do this when the canvas is all dry, otherwise it goes mouldy and rots.  The picnic benches have been moved onto hard standing for their winter storage.  One or two require minor repairs; something to keep a couple of people busy shortly.  We had support from the Junior Volunteers again, who helped transport everything around the Station.

Our ‘new’ Palvan has had a second coat of green undercoat applied, followed by its first coat of Brunswick Green top coat. It’s starting to look quite smart now.  Inside the van work has continued fitting it out as our new paint store.

Elsewhere 1111, the NER old coach, is now virtually stripped of our materials and tools following a concerted effort today. This does give us the challenge of finding somewhere to put it all!  To help us in the short term we have re-erected the tent on the dock, following its use as the kitchen tent last weekend.  Our younger volunteers did a lot of the emptying and did very well getting the huge workbench out on their own.

Work on clearing the gardens of this year’s growth continues and the vegetable patch has been stripped of old growth, dug over and prepared for the winter.

Weighbridge Teas were back to usual and were kept busy with customers. In between serving the visitors they were able to clean out and ‘winterise’ the Tea Hut, as it’s not needed now until next year.

12th-14th October 2018

It’s been a weekend of wild variation, weather wise. From damp on Friday to very wet on Sunday, Saturday was a huge contrast being dry and hot. Wind though was a major problem (isn’t it always) all weekend; indeed the marquee tried to collapse on the Friday evening, resulting in us having to get out after 9pm and add quite a few more ropes to ensure it stayed in the yard.
This year’s 1945 VE Celebration at Levisham centred upon the British Restaurant theme with vegetable soup, minced beef and vegetable stew and dumplings followed by Spotted Dick and custard being the main choice. A vegetarian and vegan option was available, together with lighter options. Along with hot drinks, a bar was available for those wanting a different sustenance. As usual, the catering was well received by our visitors. The Restaurant was supported by Cash and Carry outlets (our good old Weighbridge Teas and the Tea Hut). These were selling their usual take out wares, the latter outlet being particularly popular.
The reason for this popularity was the presence of the Dance Hall marquee in the paddock. This hosted both taped and live music from a variety of acts, both bands and solo singers. To support the tea hut, another bar was set up inside this marquee as well.
A big thank you to all the Wombles and Catering Teams who helped set all this up, work in the marquees and then help clean down and tidy it all up (which continues tomorrow and next weekend.).
Elsewhere around the station, work has continued emptying 1111 together with fitting out of the paint shop Palvan. In the CCT, a plan has been drafted for the final layout of the racking and stores.

6th, 7th October 2018

Well, haven’t we had a busy weekend? We are 95% ready for next weekend’s Wartime Event at Levisham. Both Weighbridge Teas and the Tea Hut have been transformed into “British Restaurant Cash & Carry” outlets. Our huge marquee has been erected in the Station Yard and has been set up as a “British Restaurant” Canteen. British Restaurants were created by Flora Solomon as a national wartime initiative, with support from Winston Churchill, to provide hot meals, off ration, for the nation. Period posters and flags decorate the marquee, to provide the appropriate ‘atmosphere’.
In the paddock contractors have erected another large marquee, complete with floor and low level stage, ready for use as a Dance Hall on Saturday and Sunday. Both platforms and both marquees have been decorated with Red, White and Blue bunting, inside and out. A small corrugated iron pig sty has been constructed out of recycled materials to house the “Pig Club” pig – a community activity, encouraged during the war.
We have been helped hugely, again, by the Junior Volunteers who were invaluable in the set up process for Wartime Weekend.
Elsewhere, the new Palvan has had one end and a side painted in green undercoat, whilst inside it most of the new ply skin has been glued to the Kingspan and given a coat of white emulsion. All the paint, and the paint cabinets have been moved into this van from 1111 as part of the clear out of 1111 ready for its move in a months time.
In the Warehouse, work continues staining and varnishing the display boards. Our rose branches and scrap wood have been burnt to tidy up the Station.
Overall, there were 25 Wombles on site each day, plus a further 25 Junior Volunteers! It’s not a simple job getting the Station ready for the busiest weekend of the year.
Don’t forget, that there is NO PARKING at Levisham, or anywhere nearby, next weekend from Friday to Monday.

29th, 30th September, 1st October 2018

Well, what a cracking Gala! The trains ran to time, we had lots of engines and the Womble Inn was very popular. The final set up of the Inn occurred on the Friday morning ready for an 11am opening. The pub signs went up, glasses and bar prepared, float sourced and the barrels checked for readiness. Over the 3 days, our visitors managed to sup 5½ 9 gallon barrels of beer. This was in addition to all the tea, coffee and other drinks, snacks and goodies which were on sale at our Tea Hut and Weighbridge. Both outlets were open, as a trial, this weekend and were very popular. Additional supplies had to be brought in over the weekend, demand being so high!
In the week before the event our ex-army Palvan goods van was delivered from the MPD, where it has been in use as a store for them since it arrived 14 years ago. Not surprisingly, with no maintenance done on it over this time it needs quite a bit of work to get it ready for its new role. First up was the roof. This had next to no covering over it, so it’s been up with the scaffolding on either side to fit a new thin ply skin over the frame before fitting a felt covering. The bodysides have all been sanded down and given a coat of primer. This was ‘sucked up’ showing both how dry and how bare the sides were. The exterior metal framing has all been wire wheeled down and given a coat of primer. Hopefully over the next few weekends the weather will be kind enough to allow further coats of paint to be applied. Inside, in readiness for its new role as a paint store, the ceiling and sides have been covered with Kingspan insulation. A start has been made cladding this with further ply to provide a protective covering.
In the Warehouse, the information panels have all been cleaned down and painted with new timber edging fitted over the aluminium edges to give a more period look.

22nd, 23rd September 2018

The final doorway insulation jobs have been completed on the CCT, and other internal sections coated in paint. The transfer of stores from the workshop has continued. A large quantity of pre-loved steel racking, together with several storage racking sheets, have been cleaned down and painted prior to being fitted inside the CCT.
In readiness for next weekend’s “Womble Inn” pub in the General Room, the bar accoutrements have been moved in. The beer is due this week. The pub will be open from 11am on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. In the Warehouse, the fitting of the display boards continues.
Work on the gardens continues, with the last of the roses tied back and the old growth removed and taken to the fire pile for disposal. The rest of the beds have been tidied up.
In the kitchen shed work continues to get it ready for the Wartime event. We were helped in this by the S&T, who also got to use their testing meters on the ‘new’ cash till!
We celebrated the 50th wedding anniversary of two of our staff on Saturday evening with a nice hot dinner for 35 cooked by Madame Cholet, with cake and prosecco afterwards.
Weighbridge Teas had a ‘steady’ weekend, but it did allow them to prepare the Tea Hut ready for next weekend’s Gala opening. They will also be open over all 3 days of the event.

15th, 16th September 2018

Work on Bella and the Palvan alongside has continued, getting them ready for their new roles. Progress continues in the CCT, with the installation of Kingspan insulation. In the Warehouse, further notice and information boards have been hung. Several other ‘new’ boards are being cleaned down and painted ready for use.
We have been supported by the JVs again, who have helped level the ground north of the crossing, bringing in a couple of dumper loads of spoil/soil. The new van body for Goathland has been moved from our Yard, over to the lineside, ready for loading onto a train on Gala weekend. In the Yard itself, a French drain has been created at the top end to help with surface water drainage. The next section of lineside fence has been completed with lots of rails fitted. The station area edges were strimmed.
The roses are nearly all tied back following another mammoth session this weekend, as well as cutting the old growth off, getting them ready for the winter.
Weighbridge Teas had a good weekend as well and were kept busy, with all the JVs needing sustenance alongside all the Station visitors.

8th, 9th September 2018

‘Normal’ service has now resumed at Levisham. The old exhibition van (known as Bella) has been completely stripped of its contents, ready to take on its new role as a softwood store and workshop. One of the workbenches which has been stored on the dock this summer has been installed together with most of the equipment and small timber.
The new NER van is now full; it’s amazing how many NER trolleys and hand carts you can fit inside if you carefully stack them up. All these trolleys came out of the CCT, which is becoming the new workshop store. With so much space inside, the opportunity has been taken to finish the gloss painting of the ceiling and sides which couldn’t be done whilst it was full!
The tying back of the roses is continuing, getting them ready for the winter and hopefully another cracking display next year.
The walls in the Warehouse have been varnished to seal them, ready for its new use as the Exhibition. The first of the large notice boards has been fixed in place and the others aligned ready for their final positioning.
Weighbridge Teas have had a quieter weekend now that the children are back at school. Is this the calm before the autumn ‘storms’ of the Steam Gala and Wartime Weekend?! Talking of Wartime, further noticeboards have been made and painted ready for the Ministry of Food signs to be pasted on. Planning continues with the British Restaurant menu – some of it was trialled tonight. The large dishwashers have been overhauled ready for the event as well.
A lot of fruit has been picked and turned into jams and jellies this weekend with more to be picked off the trees next weekend. This will help keep us going during the winter and spring. The jars of course are recycled, in best Wombling tradition!