Author Archive

5th June 2022

It’s a double issue this week, following a weekend away for the scribe.  As politicians say, it was a fact-finding tour of other North East preserved railways.  Two key issues were apparent – we are the best and every other line is also short of volunteers with catering outlets closed and sheds and displays off limits.

Meanwhile, at Levisham both platforms have been decorated with red, white, and blue bunting and two flagpoles were erected to displaying Platinum Jubilee flags.  Both cottages, the Warehouse and the General Room had Union Jacks displayed at the windows.  Weighbridge Tea was also decorated, and the staff wore red, white, and blue uniforms as well.

The black tank wagon barrel has had a second coat of grey undercoat and the lettering has had white undercoat applied.  The NER van has had its lettering and numbering on the east side repainted.  A donated length of cast iron guttering has been wire wheeled clean and primed.

Work to overhaul the dumper truck and make improvement to the engine continues.

Near the yard sheds the brick stores have been restacked to make space for a lean to and small shed behind the existing fencing.

In the toilet van a new close coupled toilet has been fitted to replace an original one, which had a cracked outlet.  Tightening up of all the joints continues to make sure it’s watertight.

Grass cutting continues and strimming has been undertaken to tidy up the edges around the Station.  There is still more to do.  One of the small timber board chamber covers in the paddock has been repaired.

Weighbridge Teas have had another good long weekend but a few more visitors would always be welcome!

15th May 2022

We’ve had another glorious weekend of weather at the Station.

The woodwork van has received two further undercoats and its first topcoat of BR early bauxite livery, whilst the NER van has received 3 undercoats and its first topcoat of NER grey.  Both only now need their second topcoat and then they can be re-lettered.  Scaffolding has been erected at one end of the black tank wagon in readiness for its repainting.

Weeding along the platform beds continues, as does the grass cutting.  Weeding has also continued around the weigh table setts at the Yard entrance.

On the container the second window has been fitted, with just the main ‘doors’ to follow.

There have been no locos to fix this weekend, but the DMU did need our services to re fix a door trim which had come loose.  We also supported the Fire Watch teams with additional labour on Saturday as they were short handed.

Work on the toilet van continues, with the new water supply pipe dug in from the manhole to the van and then up inside.  This exposed pipe has been lagged and contained within a short length of black duct to protect it from frost.  A first topcoat has been applied to some of the architrave and skirting boards.

Meanwhile, after changing the fuel filters the dumper truck has, after much trying, restarted and is now running again.  With the fuel side sorted, it was time to take off the exhaust to weld up a few minor pin holes.

Weighbridge Teas had another couple of steady days, with ice creams being again popular thanks to the hot weather.

27th March 2022

Well, what a cracking week of weather we have had!

The last of the winter fibre cable installation has been completed near the 14MP.  Once the marker tape was laid, the trench was backfilled and the area levelled so it was neat and tidy.  Just a quarter of a mile further north, the lineside access has been titivated to improve the cross level (it was too steep) and to remove a couple of ‘speed humps’.

It was then time to move the machine to Newtondale Halt and complete the backfilling and tidying up there.  Working steadily northwards, the trench backfill was completed and the lineside access levelled across to the lineside ditch.  At the concrete PW hut the area in front of it has been levelled and left neat and tidy.  Beyond this the next ¾ of a mile only needed a ‘light touch’ to finish it all off.  With the machines out of the way the repainted cast iron mileposts have been reinstated, as have the repainted speed restriction sign and gradient board.  The last of the logs and rotten sleepers, left over from a much earlier relay, have been recovered to leave a neat and tidy lineside.

Back at the Station, it’s been painting to the fore.  The NER box van has had the last of the bodyside wire wheeled clean and then lots and lots of paint applied – 1 primer, 3 undercoats, and 2 top coats.  The Wagon Group Palvan has had its wheels cleaned and primed.  Our VEA box van has had cracked paint removed, then been sanded, primed, and undercoated.

The correct timber has finally been delivered to allow us to make the new wicket gate for the level crossing.  Again this involved lots of sanding, priming, 2 under coats and then 2 top coats have brought it up to a good state.  Next weekend it should be ready for installation.

A bonfire has disposed of more garden rubbish and branches pruned around the Station.

One of our gardeners was here again, undertaking minor weeding and sorting out of the platform beds.  As predicted last week, the garden edging and concrete planters have all been cleaned down and given a coat of white paint – the Station is looking rather good for the start of the season!  On the container front, the new small door has been painted and fixed into place.  Further timber has been fitted to support the front roof sheets, which have also been painted – this time in bitumastic paint.  The main planks for the large door have also received their top coat – Rail Red.

Weighbridge Teas were here for the final tidy up and sorting out ready for re-opening NEXT WEEKEND.

6th March 2022

We were at a celebration on Saturday for one of our old volunteers, who has reached the magic age of 100!  The family still work at Levisham and are now on their fourth volunteering generation.

The timber cladding on the container has progressed further and is getting to the stage of fitting the fake windows and doors.

The refurbishment of the digger has almost been completed and is ready for use next weekend.

The leaders of the re-enactors have visited for an initial planning meeting for this autumn’s Wartime Weekend event in October.  We hope to have an excellent display all around the Station.

Some of the volunteers having been clearing the stream at the back of the paddock, and the pipes under the bridge, to ensure the smooth and easy flow of water should we get more downpours!

30th January 2022

Both machines have been washed clean and a start made on regreasing them.  The mini digger has a damaged idler wheel on one track which will need replacing before we can use it again.  The dumper is enjoying a rest and some TLC.

The east side of the Wagon Group’s Palvan underframe has been wire wheeled clean and given a coat of primer.  The west side underframe has been given a first coat of undercoat.  This is the first time in over 6 weeks that it’s been warm enough and dry enough to apply paint externally.

One of the platform lamp tops had to be removed as the top support was rotten and the wind blew it over, fortunately without any real damage.  In the toilet van the steel underframe, which had been primed at Christmas, has also been undercoated and glossed.

The timber for the cladding of the container, along with the ‘new’ palings, have been treated with wood preservative.  Work on the vegetable garden continues with the hanging of the gate and closing bolt fitted.  The new compost heaps have been set up ready for the spring.

21st, 22nd November 2020

It was white over with frost this morning, a keen one with the ground frozen solid.

Continuing from last weekend the same limited group has been back at the 14 mile post. The last of the roadway has been levelled and the spoil has been carefully dug off the top of the retaining wall. The turning point at Bridge 17 has been lengthened by a yard to make it more useable. The lowered roadway has been titivated; removing uneven spots, pot holes, and humps. This completes the roadway and spoil works here.

Scrub has been cut around Bridge 16 and towards Bridge 17. This has been burnt, along with timber and roots dug out of the roadway spoil – keeping us warm on a cold frosty day.

6th and 7th July 2019

The Station is almost ready for the 60’s Event next weekend. In the Paddock, both the Main Marquee and the Beer Tent have been erected. Bunting now decorates the marquees and both platforms.

The rebuilding of the litter bins continues, with several smart new ones now around the Station. The roses are all out along the platforms and look excellent. This didn’t stop the gardeners getting out and weeding, cutting back, etc. – there is always something to do.

North of the Station the East side fencing replacement is complete, with the last 20 posts installed today. Work will commence shortly on the West side, alongside the freight wagons where a short length requires installation.

Weighbridge Teas had an excellent weekend with lots of visitors, including a couple of motorcycle groups making use of their facilities. Sales went so well they had to re-evaluate the ice cream order to ensure there will be enough for next weekend. Both Weighbridge Teas and the Tea Hut will be open next weekend with the usual wares on offer and, for one weekend only, hot dogs! The Beer tent will also be open both days selling a selection of beers from Darwin (Sunderland), Yorkshire Heart (York) and Breworks (Pickering) Breweries. Cider and wine will also be available for those who aren’t real ale fans.

15th, 16th June 2019

The fencing renewal scheme continues, with another 5 posts and associated rails installed.  The next set of posts have been placed in the dip tank ready for next weekend.

Back at the Station, the new shed has had the door locks fitted and further insulation panels installed on the inside.  Work to renew some of the litter bins has continued, making them more sturdy in the process.  The paddock hut front and side have been scraped down and given a couple of coats of green shed paint.  One of the water stop cocks was leaking from a split in the plastic housing, so has been replaced with a new stop tap.

All the grass has been cut, again – will it never stop growing!?!  The paddock edges have been strimmed to keep it all smart.  The gardeners have been in residence again, with work on the vegetable patches, the lineside planters and the platforms attended to.  In the Station Yard the long grass has been strimmed and the north edge comprehensively weeded to smarten the entrance area.

The 16T mineral wagon top coat of paint has been completed, as have the two white stripes at the north end.  These identify to operators which end the end opening door is.  On the Shock Van the west side metalwork clean down has been completed and it’s been given a couple of coats of primer.  Once this was dry it was time to give the whole side a coat of brown undercoat.  The east side has received two undercoats, the priming being completed last weekend.

Weighbridge Teas – now ‘As seen on TV!’ – had a relatively quiet weekend.  This did give them more time to sign autographs and pose for photographs though….

8 – 9th June 2019

 It’s a double issue this week, following our annual Womble fact finding tour (the cruel say holiday). We have been called out twice this weekend to deal with cows on the line. In both cases they were accessing the lineside via the river, so we ended up erecting pig wire fencing across two points to try and prevent this re-occurring.

We are continuing with the replacement of poor sections of fencing, this time closer to the Station. Fortunately, so far, no rocks or tree stumps have been found where we are trying to install fence posts, but there is more to do next weekend. The other new fence has been having all the second nails installed in each rail, with a few more still to do. We have also collected another 30 fence posts from the timber yard.

Meanwhile, back at the Station, the repainting of the 16T mineral wagon continues, with the wheelsets now in black gloss with white rims. The new steel section, which was welded into the side, has been sanded down and the paint process has commenced on this as well. The shock van steelwork framing on both sides has been wire wheeled down and given a coat of primer. The woodwork on the west side has had the paint burnt off the poor panels and been given a coat of wood primer.

The gardeners have been in residence, weeding, watering, and adding new seasonal plants to give us that extra burst of colour. General cleaning and tidying has also been on going.

As to our ‘fact finding tour’, this time it was down south near Portsmouth. Several standard and narrow gauge railways were visited. At all, the comment was “Oh, you’re from the NYMR, come on in, have you been on telly yet?”. To which the answer was “Yes, not yet, but we hope to be. Look out for some gents working at night on a retaining wall, that’s us”. It’s always good to visit elsewhere and compare what we do, how we do it, etc., to others. This usually reassures us that we are doing well, but there is always something new to learn.

Whilst some of us were away, Weighbridge Teas have been open each weekend and a steady clientele has continued to keep them on their toes. They even had time to apply another coat of paint to the tea hut exterior!

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.

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