Author Archive

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.

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!?!

19th and 20th May 2018

We’ve had another glorious weekend of weather at Levisham. The midweek shunt went well, with both the GUV and the green BG coach leaving the Station; whilst the green Palvan has been moved into the Yard on the front siding.  This van has a poor pair of doors on the west side, so first up was their temporary repair to make them secure.  The 2 ends and the west side were then scraped clean and given 2 coats of black fence paint to smarten it up.

The NER van body now looks like a proper wagon; the wheel sets are now underneath and the body itself lowered to the correct height. The Exhibition van ends have been repainted in early BR bauxite, and the VEA now sports bright yellow ends.  The Palvan framing has been completed and the old generator exhaust exit plate has been removed, with “new” ply bolted into place.  Eagle eyed visitors will have noted that several of our vans now sport their numbers; hand painted with care.  More wagons will follow over the next few weeks.

The grass around the Station has been strimmed round the edges; the main areas will be cut later this week. The final 12’ platform bench is now out in situ, following its repaint last week, whilst another with a poor back piece has had its beam replaced and repainted.

This weekend was also Family Volunteering Weekend; with Junior Volunteers and family groups working around the Station and at Newtondale Halt.

The Weighbridge team have been kept very busy all weekend keeping the Junior and Family Volunteers fed and watered, along with quite a lot of visitors who also sampled their wares.

17th, 18th February 2018

The North Eastern van, alongside the dock, has had the rotten planking removed. This revealed that the vertical planking behind was well past its best, so this was removed also. The wooden framing was cleaned down and given a liberal coat of wood preservative. The inner skin has been replaced with 2 layers of plywood. The steel exterior cross bracing has been unbolted (a lot easier said than done!), wire wheeled clean, and given a coat of primer.
A start has been made wire wheeling clean the ¾ mile post, recovered last weekend off the lineside.
North of Platelayers cottages we have begun the big burn, disposing of the cut brash and scrub which has been quietly drying out. A start has also been made clearing the railway’s retaining wall on the opposite side of the river. There is a lot more to do!
Weighbridge Teas have been in attendance again, selling hot drinks and ice creams to our visitors. The sales cart is having a repaint, to smarten it up ready for the main season.
Don’t forget you’d be welcome at the ‘Annual Womble Work Week’, which is running from the 17th-25th March inclusive. There will be lots of jobs to do, to suit all skills.

11th, 12th February 2018

Well the trains have started again, and to celebrate this it snowed!  So, for the first trains we were out cleaning the platforms – again.  All four white wicket gates have been refitted; now they are smart and white again.  The second 6’ platform bench has also been completed and is ready to go out again (once the weather improves!).

On the NE van body, the new north end plank bottom frame has been made to fit and is ready for fixing back into place.  The other NE van, alongside the dock, now sports a sheet over it whilst we re-plank the west side and finish the frame repairs.

Up the line, between the 14½ and 14¾ mile posts, further scrub and small trees have been dropped, opening up further views of the river.  There is now quite a lot of material to burn, all the way between the 13½ and 14¾ mile posts.

Our Exhibition has opened for the year and is getting a refresh, with some new photos, a re-varnish and upgraded lighting.

Weighbridge Teas have re-opened for 2018.  A few hardy visitors came yesterday but it was busier today.

The ‘Annual Womble Work Week’ will be 17th-25th March inclusive this year.  We have a packed programme of works planned; including scrub bonfires (no surprise!), log collection, wagon restoration on both North Eastern vans, wagon turntable painting, and other jobs.  Weighbridge Teas will be opening to support us in our endeavours.  Please come and join us – the more the merrier!

3rd, 4th February 2018

We start this update with news of a special train working last Wednesday; the railway had a visit from DB Cargo’s 66102 and 10 Network Rail auto ballaster wagons.  They had come to drop ballast on the re-laid track (which we assisted with 3 weeks ago!) in Northdale, and used Levisham to ‘run round’ the train before returning to the ‘Big Railway’.

At the Station, three of the level crossing wicket gates have received their final paint and touch up coats, ready for reinstalling next weekend.  The fourth has had filler applied where necessary and the paint completed on the rest of it.  This should be ready for installation next weekend as well.  The Exhibition van is getting a refresh; with some new photos being prepared and the woodwork getting a re-varnish.

We have returned to lineside management activities again, this time between the 14½ and 14¾ mile posts, clearing yet another pair of retaining walls of the trees and scrub which were growing in and over them.  This work has opened up a couple of pleasant views of the river for our passing passengers.  As usual there is quite a lot of scrub to burn and logs to remove.

Trains start next weekend for half term, and so does service at our Weighbridge.  Come and buy your drinks and cakes here, and help celebrate the start of the 2018 season!

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