12th March 2017

We have all survived the Womble Work Week, and a lot has been achieved. Thanks to one of our volunteer’s contacts, we have taken delivery of a large amount of ply off cuts from a local firm. The ply is a mix of 1/8” through to ¼” thick and is ideal for several projects we have coming up.
This weekend the NER van body has had the roof edge planks replaced, as they were split and rotten. Some of the ‘new’ ply has been fixed over the top of the roof planks and a layer of roofing felt laid down on top. We have started the process of manufacturing the last few pieces of new hardwood timber required, with the ‘blanks’ prepared from an old ‘pre-loved’ sleeper.
More scrub, cut down last year where we are renewing the lineside fence, has been tidied up and burnt. Some scrap fencing was brought back to the station; the good pieces have gone into store, whilst the rest joined the pyre.
A new cupboard has been made and painted ready for installation in the Booking Office next weekend. This will help store the printer, paper and the EPOS retailing equipment.
The CCT is now all glossed on the inside after a couple of days of work. There is still a bit more work to do inside, including replacing another rotten door upright, but the end is definitely in sight. On the roof, the first of the ply cover sheets have been fixed into place.
We were joined by drivers from a main line company today for a photo shoot for a 2018 calendar. The calendar is in aid of one of the Cancer charities and followed the ‘Calendar Girls’ theme, although the drivers were all male. Look out for the Rail Rogues 2018 calendar on sale later this year!
Weighbridge Teas were again in residence to keep us supplied with tea on Saturday.
It’s now the end of the Womble Winter Work Week and we have achieved a lot. Thanks to all the volunteers, we achieved over 900 hours of labour – not bad for the smallest station of the railway!
We will continue next weekend…..

5th-10th March 2017

Well we’ve made it to Friday, and achieved quite a lot! Monday dawned bright and sunny and we welcomed the first of our Network Rail colleagues, who came to help us. The first task was quite simple, move a pear tree from against the Weighbridge to a sunnier site. Following this, it was down to the ditch to install the remaining 22 clay pipes. We continued the installation method trialled on Sunday, and all the pipes were in by lunchtime! Some of the ditch required further clearing of roots and growth towards the end of the pipe run, and beyond, to ensure the water runs away. After lunch it was time to get out the paint brush, with further undercoats applied inside the CCT. The ends and west side of the NER box van body were given a coat of black barn paint by a second gang. Following an afternoon tea break, the PW Engineering Train arrived ready for us to load all the stone (moved onto the platform over the weekend), together with tools, cement mixer, ladder etc. etc. All Aboard! for a ride to site to unload all the stone and materials.
Tuesday commenced the rebuilding of the washed out retaining wall, including collecting stone from the river where the flooding had carried it away. Good use was made of the PW digger and it’s driver Pete! Slightly south, the scrub burning continued with a large fire disposing of a goodly amount.
Wednesday continued the stone rebuilding, with driver Pete lowering the large stones into place with his digger. Quarter of a mile away, 3 fires allowed the disposal of a further large amount of cut scrub. A further section was cut down to ensure we leave the whole area neat and tidy. Work had to stop to allow a DB Cargo ballast train through our work site – it was off to drop ballast nearer the Station. A start (with a bit of redesign!) has been made on construction of a new cupboard to house the new till and computer in the Booking Office. It will also house the printer and include some storage space to tidy up the Office. More undercoat was also applied to the CCT.
Thursday was the best day of the week, weather wise, and the retaining wall is rising out of the ground very well. The last of the scrub was burnt and the site left neat and tidy. Back at the station, gloss paint was applied to the CCT and the SW planks were fixed into place on the NER van body.
Today, Friday, the rest of the new planks were fixed into place on the NER van body, all the screw holes filled, and the whole side and both ends given a second coat of barn paint. The East side, untouched so far, has been cleaned down and repainted as well. On the CCT, most of the loose roof boards have been bolted down – only 70 bolts left to fix! The last of the undercoat has been applied to the ceiling, now all it needs is a lot of glossing.
At The Grange foot crossing, the waterlogged path approach has had the side ditch recut to allow it to dry out. A rubber panelled foot crossing deck has been delivered from the Station, on a PW trolley pushed uphill for half a mile!
Weighbridge Teas have supported us all week, in-between giving the building a good spring clean and beginning work on a new counter.
Only 2 days left to go now on our Winter Work Week and there is still plenty to do, so do come down and join in!

4th, 5th March 2017

We have started out Winter Work Week extremely well. The lineside ditch south of the Station has had a further clean out, and the first 2 clay pipes installed. The rest should be installed tomorrow, all being well.
North of the Station, a further section of scrub has been cut down along the lineside as we steadily work back towards Levisham. More scrub has also been cut down alongside the river, ready for our rebuilding of the collapsed wall.
At the Station, the stores at the north end of the CCT have been removed to allow us to finish that end of the van. The ceiling has now been wire wheeled down and a coat of primer applied. The side walls have been sanded down and a bit of filler applied where there were one or two large holes. The NER van body west side has had new hardwood filler packers made and fitted. The existing frame has been given a coat of preservative and the first three new side planks trial fitted.
The gardeners have also been here to keep tidying up the gardens.
Weighbridge Teas have been in attendance for us over the weekend and we are looking forward to welcoming them over the rest of the week.
If you fancy joining us there is plenty to do this week, there is always a job for you!

25th, 26th February 2017

We’ve had another excellent weekend of progress.
The interior of the CCT is now looking very smart, with cream gloss applied on more of the ceiling and sides. A further area of ceiling has also been cleaned down and undercoated.
The NER van body now sports its new bottom beam! It went together remarkably easily, considering all the things that could have gone wrong with it. It is now bolted into place and ready for the new vertical planks to be fitted. Talking of planks, the last few have been treated with preservative and then painted ready for use. The other side of the body also needs 12’ of bottom beam, which has been made out of hardwood this weekend and is ready for installation.
Further up the line the cutting and burning of the scrub continues, with a couple of good fires swallowing up the brash over the weekend.
The gardeners have been in attendance again, cutting down the old foliage ready for the new season. Another load of well-rotted manure has been delivered ready for spreading where necessary.
South of the station, one of the lineside ditches has been cleaned out, ready for piping where the railway is too close to the edge to keep the ditch clear.
Weighbridge Teas were in residence again this weekend and had a steady trade each day.
We are just about ready for the Womble Work Week, which commences next Saturday for a 9 day work-athon. Could you help us over some of that time? Weighbridge Teas will also be in attendance to support us.

18th/19th February 2017

After last weekend was so wet, this one’s been much better – and the trains have returned!
After a month in use as our winter paint shop, the General Room has returned to passenger use. The timber has been emptied out (a lot of it is now refitted), the 6’ platform benches put outside and the floor vacuumed.
On the CCT further coats of paint to the ceiling have been applied, and the cover boards on the side refitted. The hardwood framing, installed last week, has been planed to size and a coat of primer applied.
The NER box van has had its floor reinstalled and everything has been given a coat of wood preservative. The new cladding for one side has been given a coat of preservative and a first coat of black shed paint, prior to fitting.
Up the line we have had a couple of good fires, disposing of a lot of scrub to leave a tidy lineside with much improved visibility for both crew and passengers. There is even a nice view of the river now as well.
After a well deserved break, Weighbridge Teas have awoken from their post Christmas hibernation. A steady flow of visitors and staff kept them busy. They are in residence next weekend as well, ready to serve our passengers and visitors. They will also be open for every day of the Royal Scot visit in March.

11th, 12th February 2017

Well, what a wet weekend! We started on Friday evening, arriving in a snow storm with everything covered in the white stuff. Saturday was a steady mix of rain and sleet, all day. Sunday was better, albeit snow and sleet showers.
A new bottom beam has been made for the NER grounded box van from an old hardwood sleeper. This is necessary as the majority of the original is missing. On the van itself the remaining bolts, which used to hold this beam, have been cut off. Inside the van, the primed interior steelwork has received a coat of undercoat and black gloss.
On the CCT, most of the new hardwood top beam has been cut, trimmed and installed. The top is starting to look like a van again now! Inside, new cover boards have been made to replace the missing and rotten ones. We have even been applying paint now we have wire wheeled the steelwork and sanded the woodwork on the ceiling.
In the paint shop several rail off cuts have been primed and undercoated, and more wood for the CCT has been primed and undercoated ready for installation. The bench seating in the General Room has also had another top coat on the seat where it gets scuffed by visitors.
Up the line we have continued cutting down brush and scrub in the snow showers, which has really opened up the visibility around the corner. Obviously we didn’t even try a fire (!) but that’s something to look forward to next weekend.

4th, 5th February 2017

We’ve had another good weekend on the lineside north of the Station. The area has been cleared and a lot of scrub burnt on two good fires. The area around Bridge 17 and northwards looks a lot better. There is also a good view for our passengers now of the adjacent river, fields and sheep.
Back at the Station, the second half of the roof has been slated. A lead flashing top is now all that’s left to do. The grounded van body has had a second coat of primer and then undercoat applied to all the steel parts. In the CCT, the last of the rotten wood has been cut out and all is now ready for the new timber to be inserted. Inside the winter paint shop the 6 foot station seat is now in top coat, as are the timber pieces for the CCT. Inside the Signal Box the woodwork and walls have had their paint touched up.

28th and 29th January 2017

It’s been another weekend of good progress here in deepest Newtondale. At the Station 2/3 of the exterior metalwork on the NER grounded body has been cleaned down and a coat of primer applied. On the CCT, new through bolts have been fitted to the replacement beams we installed a couple of weeks ago.
The garage to the rear of the coal shed, which is owned by Station House, has had just roof underfelt on it for quite a while, but it’s time has finally come for the slates to be fitted. In a joint operation with Station House, we are installing the slates on their behalf. To date we have laid about half the roof.
Along the line we have returned to scrub removal, with a goodly length of willow scrub removed on the East side of the line. This continues our work from last winter, as we steadily work back towards the Station.

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.

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