1st, 2nd September

It’s been a strange weekend, as the Wombles took on another major retaining wall rebuild.  Why was it strange? The only time we could do the work was after the days train service, which meant we were working well into the night.  Over 3 nights (Friday to Sunday) we successfully rebuilt a 100’ section of stone retaining wall, just short of the 14 mile post (or 1½ miles north of Levisham Station).  This was again a joint effort between ourselves and the PW Dept; whose digger and excellent driver, Peter, were invaluable.  The first shift started with the lifting out and moving back to site of large stone sleeper blocks, washed downstream during flooding several years ago.  Once the final train had cleared the section between Goathland and Levisham we were granted possession of the line, which allowed us to use the digger alongside the line.  As darkness arrived the posession also allowed us to set up additional site lighting, clear of the working area.  Work steadily progressed on rebuilding the wall, including adjusting the adjoining sections so they would ‘marry up’ correctly.  It took 2 nights to complete the section and restore the lineside access.  Work could then commence on removing the next section of excess soil and ash, and revealing the top of the retaining wall.  We were joined in all this activity by Channel 5, who are making a further series on the NYMR.  They were very interested in our work, particularly as it is unglamorous but vital for the safe running of trains.  The fact that this could only be done at night made it even more interesting.  Hopefully it will make the ‘final cut’.  I must thank the volunteers who helped out on this job, as working well into the early hours of the morning is not the norm and their willingness and support were very welcome.  ‘Normal’ service will resume next weekend.

Meanwhile, back at the Station, work continues on dismantling the exhibition in the box van and transferring it into the Warehouse.  New ‘fake’ rafter timber has also been painted ready to be installed in the Warehouse.  More NER carts have been transferred from the CCT to the new NER van.

Weighbridge Teas had a steady weekend, although they did decline their support to us during the night shifts!?!

25th, 26th, 27th August 2018

It’s been a mixed weekend weather wise, does that make it a typical Bank Holiday weekend?
Preparation works continue to get everything ready for the Big Retaining Wall Rebuild next weekend. Tools have been collected together, and all the site lighting and generators have been tested. We need the lights as the only time we can do the work at this time of year is at night, after the passage of the last train each day.
The major work on the Warehouse is now complete, with all the cladding now fitted to the ceiling and walls. The new door threshold drain has been installed and concreted into position. At the same time the ‘spare’ concrete was used to tidy up the Waiting Shelter floor, plus the ramp onto the dock.
After many years as the Station Exhibition, the van on the dock is to get a new use. Consequently the display boards are being carefully dismantled and will be moved into the Warehouse, where a new Exhibition will open next year. The van is needed as a stores vehicle now our workshop coach is leaving us.
Following its successful re-wheeling, the NER van 75101 is now being loaded with most of the stored hand carts and platform trolleys. Some of these are very heavy and had to be partially dismantled to allow us to lift them into the van.
The grand cut back of the roses has begun, preparing them for the winter and next year’s new growth. Following this summer’s dry spell, a larger water butt has been installed alongside the vegetable patch alongside the level crossing. This is being clad in timber to keep it hidden from view and maintain the 1912 appearance of our station.
The yard has had a top up of stone where dips and small pot holes had appeared. Hopefully this should also stop the water running through the marquee at Wartime Weekend.
On Saturday evening a goodly number of Wombles congregated for a BBQ and chat. The large Beer Tent was used opposite the cottage to keep the weather and midges at bay (we had a 50% success rate – can you guess which one failed!). On Sunday it was time to move the tent into the paddock, ready for its second use over the weekend as a sun cover for the Hunmanby Village Brass. They entertained us this afternoon and the Tea Hut was opened especially for the event. The Weighbridge was also open all weekend and although yesterday was a bit of a washout, they did well overall. Following the concert, the tent had to be dismantled and put away, leaving the Station neat and tidy for the week.

18th, 19th August 2018

The warehouse refit continues, with most of the sides now in first layer of ply and half the roof completed with its faux planking. A lot more ply has been cut, sanded, rasped and painted ready for the second fix. The raised concrete threshold has been broken out, as it would have made it difficult for wheelchairs to access. A new piece of floor drain has been placed in the doorway and now awaits concreting into position.
The grass has put on a major spurt of growth, so it’s been out with the mower all round the Station. It will need a second cut next week to tidy it up. The gardens have had the roses dead-headed, and a start made on tying them all back onto place. The veg patch continues to bear fruit; well, beans and courgettes.
New steel rods have been delivered to replace the full length bars through the new NER van underframe, which were removed when it was grounded. We have found out that the van was built in August 1915, at York Carriage and Wagon works. What we have not been able to determine yet is when it was grounded at Middlethorpe in York – can you help?
Weighbridge Teas had a quieter weekend, thanks to the poorer weather today. We even had a short shower at tea time!
Don’t forget next weekend we have a visit from Hunmanby Brass Band on Bank Holiday Monday; they will be entertaining us in the paddock, in the afternoon.

11th, 12th August 2018

Work continues on the refit of the warehouse, with more first layer internal boards fitted. Some second layer boards have also been cut from plywood and stained, ready for fitting next weekend. Repairs are underway on both sides of the door frame to straighten and strengthen them.
Various other items have been painted for use in future projects.
We had a ceremony on Saturday morning to officially unveil the plaque for the National Railway Heritage Award for the signalling system operating between Pickering and Goathland. This uses machines designed over 100 years ago, but communicates between these machines via the internet.
Weighbridge Teas had a good day on a fine, warm Saturday: but Sunday started with rain which seemed to reduce our visitor numbers.
Planning and preparation continues for the ‘All New’ Levisham Wartime Weekend scenario. This year will be completely different to anything seen before, so will be worth a visit.

4th, 5th August 2018

The sun has returned following a few thunderstorms during the week.
We have continued working in the river, at the 14 mile post, recovering more stone blocks which had been washed out of the retaining wall further upstream.
At the Station the NER van frame repair seems to have worked, so the W iron has been bolted back into place. At long last the floor can now be reinstated, although several planks had to be drilled to sit over the new nut and bolt heads which are holding the repaired frames together.
The Warehouse has received its second exterior coat of paint and the black border line has been reinstated. Inside, a further wall has been clad and the planking has been painted.
The General Room lower planks have also been given an overall repaint, following their partial touch up a couple of weeks earlier. A sack barrow has also had the paint treatment, as have some further planks for the Goathland van body. All the grass has required cutting, thanks to the rain last week and this. It’s been great not having to cut it whilst it was so dry!
Weighbridge Teas had another good weekend, even though their main ‘crew’ were away on holiday.

27th, 28th July 2018

What’s this strange stuff coming out of the sky?! A cracking thunderstorm on Friday evening, and torrential rain for most of today, has certainly damped things down a bit.

We have had a busy week this time. On Monday we were joined by the younger Junior Volunteers (who were taking part in the JV work week) for a very hot and sunny day. They painted several steel brackets, destined for the Goathland box van, and some new marquee poles for us, and did a lot of hand weeding between the platforms and along the yard siding.

On Friday it was the turn of the Senior JVs to visit. They made the door framing for the box van and applied preservative to the new planking, which will shortly be fixed to this framing. The weather was even hotter on the Friday, and certainly sapped the strength of the team.

It was time to visit the 14 mile post retaining wall site again on Saturday, making the most of the river level being very, very low. This allowed us to prepare the base of the 2 wall sections we will be rebuilding over the August Bank Holiday weekend. This will be a 2 or 3 overnight possession job, as the digger is too close to the line to allow the work to proceed whilst trains are running. The stones at water level have been cleaned of clay, and a concrete cap has been mixed and laid to give us a secure, level start to the job.
Back at the Station, the interior of the Warehouse cladding has been fixed to the ceiling and one side. Outside, the first top coat has been applied to the walls and doors. The metal brackets for the Goathland van have received a coat of black gloss.
A section of underframe on the NER van in the yard, which had cracked through, has been cut out and new hardwood cut to fit, and then glued and bolted into place. The Down (Grosmont) bound platform has been given a good sweep down and the corners and edges de-weeded where required.
Weighbridge Teas had a good day on Saturday, but today was quieter (no surprise). Ice creams on Saturday and teas on Sunday!

21st, 22nd July 2018

It’s been another very hot and dry weekend at the Station. We have collected another 50 fence posts from our supplier, to help us replace the poor fence north of the Station. These are now under cover until we need them. Several NER metal brackets have been cleaned down and primed; these will be fixed to the fake van body to help give it the correct ‘look’.
The Warehouse has had its platform and dock sides sanded down, primed where necessary, and then undercoated. The platform face has also had top coat of cream applied. Inside the Warehouse, a start has been made on fixing the ply to the ceiling.
There was a wedding booked for the Paddock on Saturday, and we were roped in to help ferry goods to and from the paddock. The Tea Hut was also opened (as a bar!) especially to support the event.
Weighbridge Teas have been kept busy all weekend again. More ice cream deliveries are expected this week as it’s been selling rather well of late.

14th, 15th July 2018

We have had another successful transformation into Elvisham as part of the railways 60’s event. As the Station name change hints, we were joined by Elvis himself over the weekend as he entertained the crowds with lots of his hits. To support him there was also a display of Elvis memorabilia, including items given by him as well as those worn or used by him.
As usual, a lot of preparatory work took place on Friday and Saturday morning including changing the Tea Hut into an American diner, cutting the grass in the marquees, setting up the bar, stage, dressing area, power supplies, and seats together with lots of 60’s bunting and changing the Station nameboards to Elvisham.
With both the American Diner (which sold out of hot dogs twice!) and Weighbridge Teas open, together with the paddock bar (where additional barrels of beer had to be brought in), nearly £5k was taken over both days. Sadly all good things come to an end though and once Elvis had left the building (ok Paddock), it all had to be dismantled and put away. This did take quite a while on Sunday evening, including washing up lots of glasses used over the day. It all had to come down as there is a private wedding taking place next weekend, and the paddock had to be clear ready for their marquee to go up during the week.
Other minor bits and pieces did occur over the weekend. The new steel strengthening brackets have been bolted onto the NER van and the East side door closing mechanism fitted; some new poster back boards have been made ready for the autumn; the CCT has had a pair of doors repainted where the paint was peeling and one door runner has been reinforced and the interior of the CCT has been tidied following the transfer of the stores from the Warehouse last weekend.

4th, 6th-8th July

It’s a bumper report this time, thanks to 4 days of work this week. On Wednesday we were joined by some Network Rail staff from Northern House in York. They helped erect the Beer Tent in the Paddock, undercoated the west side of the Exhibition Van, cut the grass in the Paddock and tidied up the gardens. On Friday a different group of Network Rail staff joined us, this time from George Stephenson House in York. They helped us put up the main marquee in the Paddock, dismantle and ‘flat pack’ the NER van body in the Station Yard so it’s ready for transport to Goathland, top coat the Exhibition Van, scrape and sand down the South end of the Shock Van, sand the west end of the VEA, empty the Warehouse contents into the CCT and move some sleepers from the siding to the headshunt.
The tent and marquee have been erected ready for next weekend’s 60’s Fest, when Elvis will be returning to perform in the Paddock. The Tea Hut is ready for its transformation into an American Diner.
On the new NER van, the new underframe disc and plate straps have been bolted into place. These help hold the ‘W’ irons securely in place. The Exhibition Van has received a second top coat, whilst the south end of the shock van has been primed, undercoated and then top coated.
The Warehouse has been cleaned down internally to remove any old nails and hooks. The roof has had recycled insulation slabs fitted, prior to fitting a boarded ceiling.
Weighbridge Teas were again kept busy selling their wares, with ice cream being particularly popular. They were also on site on Friday to support us, whilst they prepared the outlets ready for next weekend.
Don’t forget that both outlets will be open, and there will be a bar in the Paddock to support Elvis and his fans.

30th June and 1st July 2018

The sun continues to shine on Levisham (and everywhere else in the country!).
We are very pleased to announce the arrival of a ‘new’ North Eastern wheeled box van. After probably a century as a grounded van body, this afternoon it moved on its donor wheels for the first time. This was a very satisfying moment for the Group, after many hours of hard work repairing the underframe, sourcing wheels, refurbishing springs and ‘W’ irons out of our stores, replacing the east side panelling, re-felting the roof, and giving it a full repaint.
Elsewhere on the Station, the new roof sheeting for the grounded van body has been offered into place and is now ready for fixing in place when it gets to Goathland. Works to prepare the Tea Hut for its transformation into a shiny, silver, American Diner continues. The south end of the Palvan has now received 2 coats of satin top coat, returning it to a smart condition. The dock side of the exhibition van has had a good sand and scrape down, the rusty metalwork has been cleaned off, and a coat of primer and undercoat has been applied. Hopefully if this good weather continues we should get a second undercoat on, and the top coats applied next weekend.
The gardens look superb at present with all the roses in full bloom, as well as the flower beds. The task of keeping the roses in check goes on unabated. Hand watering is the order of the day at present, particularly on the sweet peas and runner beans.
Weighbridge Teas have been kept very busy selling cold drinks and refreshments; there has been quite a run on ice creams (no surprises there then). Sandwiches and cakes are still popular too, though.

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