12th, 13th September 2020

The sun and warmth continued here at Levisham.

The east side of the BR brake van has been sanded, primed, undercoated, and topcoated; leaving just the few rotten planks to replace.  The rest of the GW Mink has also had its first coat of gloss applied.

The turntable castings have had more rusty bolts driven/hammered out and some of the scale on the plates chipped off.  The Station yard has had the top half weeded, smartening the appearance for our visitors.  All the grass around the Station has had its weekly cut.

South of the Station, the lineside fence renewal continues with another 8 posts and associated rails fitted by the JVs.  All the post holes to complete the job have also been bored ready.

Down the line the scrub and tree stumps have been brought down to Platelayers for disposal, along with the cut branches there.  We have also taken delivery of several loads of stone and rocks, moved by the Junior Volunteers, from the new Stape Volunteer Accommodation site as they needed clearing from the camping field.  This stone will help with the continued retaining wall repairs.

Weighbridge Teas had another good weekend, with plenty of drinks, snacks, and ice creams sold.

5th, 6th September 2020

Well, it’s been another good week with mostly pleasant weather.

The cattle wagon and box vans have had their gloss paint applied, completing the wagons except where a few sections of rot remain.  These are now awaiting replacement planks fitting.  The west side and south end of the Standard BR brake van have been primed, undercoated and top coated.  The GW Mink has also come in for the paint treatment, with most of it now in GW dark grey.

On the lineside another 20 fence posts have been installed, along with their associated rails, thanks to more help from the Junior Volunteers.  The rotten fencing has all come back to the Station for sorting/disposal.

Further north, just beyond the 14 mile post, we have returned to continue rebuilding the retaining wall.  Several tree trunks and roots had to be dug out; one of which was huge.  These trunks had caused the wall to collapse, so we had to start again down at river level.  There is an awful lot of old ash and ballast on the top of this wall – this is going to have to be removed, so it looks like another night job in the future!

In the General Room, the last wicket gate has now been painted – up to and including its first top coat.  In the Yard, the car parking markings have been painted white to aid vehicles parking neatly alongside the fencing.

Weighbridge Teas had a quieter weekend compared to last, but their wares are still appreciated by all their customers.

31st August 2020

Well, it’s been a mixed week weather wise, with unfortunately typical Bank Holiday weather for most of the week but at least Sunday and Monday were fine and dry.

Work has still been successfully undertaken though.  South of the Station the new lineside fence continues to expand southwards, with another 13 posts installed and rails fitted.  This takes us over the first 50 and we are half way there!  The old section beyond has been dismantled and the scrap wood brought back to the Station for disposal.

In the yard, the standard box van has had the east side sanded and then ¾ of the side fully repainted.  The remaining quarter planks have some rot in them, which needs to be dried out before they can be repaired.  The cattle wagon alongside has also had the east side cleaned down, primed, and undercoated, along with the door on the west side.  Tarpaulins cover the part repainted sections to keep the worst of the weather off them until we can get the gloss on.

In the General Room, the wicket gate has finally dried out and the new pieces of wood required to rebuild the end post have been cut, glued and screwed into place.  After the glue and filler dried, it was sanded and primed, then we applied a couple of coats of undercoat all over started to smarten up the gate.  In the same room, the new woodwork for the “Gentlemen” sign has been mated with the enamel sign, screwed and filled.  Undercoat and top coat have since been applied.

The paint shop van has been partially tidied up and a cupboard fitted onto the wall to hold all the glues.  Gardening and tidying up around the weigh table continues.

Further north, near the 14 mile post, the rebuilt retaining wall has had more spoil backfilled behind it and some scrub has been lopped down.  The river has risen quite a bit because of the rain but the wall is nice and firm.

Weighbridge Teas have had a good weekend, with a steady flow of socially distanced visitors coming to buy drinks, cakes, and ice cream.

22nd, 23rd August 2020

It’s been a mixed weekend weather wise, with sunshine and showers being the order of the day.

During the last week the Junior Volunteers have completed the fixing of the fence rails to the posts already planted.  This weekend a further 13 posts have been installed and the top rails nailed on.

Back at the Station painting of the vans has continued.  Inside the paint shop a new support rail and bar for hanging the smaller painted objects on has been made and installed.  The cattle wagon and adjacent box van have had their waterproof covers moved over the unpainted sections, to keep them dry for repainting.

After 8 months of closure, Weighbridge Teas has finally re-opened.  A special screen has been fitted  at the serving window and a one way system with 2m distance markings has been laid out, ready to welcome back our visitors.  A reasonable number of passing walkers and visitors sampled their wares. The Station Yard has also re-opened for cars.

The rest of the Station remains closed, including the toilets, due to the Covid precautions.

16th August 2020

We have collected another 50 new fence posts from the timber yard.  These are now drying out in one of our vans, before their bases are dipped in traditional wood preservative.  The next section of the lineside fence has been dismantled, ready for us to continue the installation of the new posts next weekend.  Elsewhere, the cattle wagon south end and west side have received their gloss top coat.  In the metalwork van further metalwork parts for the S&T have been cleaned down, before being returned to their off site store.  Tidying up of the roses continues, with more dead heading as does general gardening. 

Stop Press!  Weighbridge Teas hope to re-open this weekend coming.  They will be able to offer drinks and a limited selection of prepacked sweets and cakes.  Social distancing whilst queuing will be the norm for the future, with access only available from the roadside.  No seating or benches will be available for use and the platforms, yard, and toilets will remain closed.

9th August 2020

It’s been another good week of work at Levisham and its environs, even though the Station and Weighbridge remain closed to visitors.

At the Down Distant hut, a start has been made on laying a new ‘torch on’ roofing felt system in an effort to keep the shed watertight.  An underfelt and half the top felt has been fitted so far using the heat of the hottest day of the year, so far, to help keep the bitumen soft and sticky.

Two and a quarter miles further north, just beyond the 14 mile post, the next section of collapsed retaining wall against the river has been tackled.  This was not as big a job as that seen on Channel 5’s Yorkshire Steam Railway, but still involves the movement of some big stones.  The wall had been damaged by tree roots, again, and subsequently collapsed – bringing down the side wall of an undertrack culvert.  We got the culvert rebuilt back in February, but the rest of the wall has had to wait until now.  As before, stone had to be retrieved from the river and lifted back into place.

Back at the Station, a box van from the freight train has had both ends and one side sanded/wire wheeled clean, primed, undercoated, and finished in freight brown gloss.  One end of the cattle wagon has also been cleaned down and undercoated.  The remaining half of the GW mink van has also had its coat of undercoat applied.  Great Western grey gloss has been supplied by the Wagon Group to finish off the van.

The two ‘dolls’ of the bracket signal opposite the signal box have been cleaned down and repainted, completing the whole signal – the latter having been painted last month.

Gardening continues with the cutting of all the dead rose heads along the platforms, along with the clearing of weeds from the stone setts around the weigh table at the yard entrance.

2nd August 2020

Hello, and yes – we’re back!  After the enforced shutdown, trains began again this weekend.  Unfortunately the Station and Weighbridge Teas will have to remain closed for the foreseeable future, due to the Covid restrictions.  After hibernation The Wombles are finally out and about again, albeit not at full strength yet due to social distancing, etc.  We had a ‘soft start’ with limited numbers of Wombles on selected jobs, mainly to do directly with the restarting of train services.

On the Station, the roses are now past their best and a start has been made on dead heading them all.  Our usual catering team have turned their hands to gardening as they currently can’t sell their wares.

There is still a lot to do however.  Less glamourous, but definitely necessary, is the new door ‘vacant/engaged’ lock which has been fitted in the Gents.  You would think this would be a quick job, but oh no!  By the time the lock had been modified to fit, and the door frame woodwork tidied up, a whole day and a half had passed.  Anyhow, all that is left to do is paint all the wood.  The outside ‘Gentlemen’ sign wood frame was rotten, so a start has been made on making a new one.  The fire bucket racks on both platforms have also had some attention with a complete repaint.  The platform edge and the garden edging have been repainted white – there’s just the planters left to do, if there is enough paint

On the GW Mink van, half the east side has been given a coat of dark grey undercoat.

Down the lineside, at Platelayer’s cottages crossing, a lot of scrub growing out of the river retaining walls has been cut down.  The cut stumps will be treated with stump plugs shortly to prevent regrowth.  Even further north, around the 14½ mile post, a large blockage in the river – formed of fallen trees, branches and general detritus – has been removed.  This has exposed another damaged section of retaining wall which will have to be dealt with.

South of the Station, the renewal of the west side lineside fence has restarted with 12 posts installed and backfilled.  They are now ready for a start to be made on fitting the fence rails.  Only another 90 odd posts to replace!

20th-22nd March 2020

Well, the country might be shutting down but work still continues, albeit carefully, at Levisham.  Up the line we have hired the digger again, for a 4 day long weekend, to continue our clearance works.  Two new ditches have been cut on the east side of the line where water was passing through the track.  As soon as we started the north ditch the bankside immediately started discharging water.  This ditch is draining into a cross culvert just south of the 15MP.  The southern ditch has already been fitted with a perforated pipe and surrounded by gravel, as the hillside is moving.  The land around the No Sheep Hut has been cleared and levelled, with the southside drainage ditch recut.  The roadside along the track has been widened south from No Sheep to the 14.5MP.  The blocked ditch below the incline hillside, which we cleared last year, has been dug out and the culvert entrance opened up.  The No Sheep Hut itself has been taken to the Station to allow it to be rebuilt.  The last of the scrub between the 13¾ and 14 mile posts has also been burnt in another large fire.

Meanwhile back at the Station, work has continued on the new fencing panels for the Camping Coach steps.  The Waiting Shelter bench, and then the Guard Van side, has received further coats of paint.  Two more gradient boards have been brought back to the Station for cleaning down and repainting.

14th, 15th March 2020

For a change we have been to Pickering on Saturday – to chop down some trees there!  These were in the way of a new fence and also blocked the sighting for the newly positioned 10 Signal.  All were down by lunchtime and logged up.  The large amount of scrub there is now waiting to be burnt, once it has had a couple of weeks to dry out.  At the same time the rest of the gang were up at Kidstye, burning more scrub on the west side of the line there.  Several leaning trees were also felled, with the scrub going straight onto the fire.

On Sunday a new fire was lit on the west side nearer more scrub, whilst another on the East side towards Newtondale Signal Box base has finally disposed of the last on this side of the line.

Meanwhile, back at the Station, painting continues on the rail ends – including some more just cleaned off – and the Waiting Shelter seat has had a second coat of undercoat.  The platform edges have been cleaned off, ready for white line renewal.  In the woodwork shop, repairs to a couple of A boards have been completed; they are now ready for repainting.  The ‘chippies’ have also made a start ‘boxing in’ under both Camping Coach steps.  This is to provide a more discrete bin store under one and a cleaning store under the other.  This work was requested of us by the Commercial Manager and is part of the general refurbishment of the Camping Coach, which is being done during the week by the Infrastructure Team.

7th, 8th March 2020

Boy, have we burnt a lot more scrub this weekend!  5 large fires over 2 days have really cleared a lot of cut scrub and opened up the views.  On Saturday we cleared the last of the scrub on the 1 in 49 east side, which had been cut down a couple of months ago.  A lot of logs were cut and recovered, whilst the scrub was burnt on site.  On Sunday it was the turn of the west side, near Kidstye crossing.  This area is always wet and boggy – so mud was the order of the day!  Once the fires were going, they quickly ate up the scrub.  The dumper has been used to haul a harrow backwards and forwards, along the lineside access road, to level out the lumps and bumps.

Back at the Station a start has been made on repainting the brake van, with primer applied to the bare parts and a start made on applying the first undercoat.  Inside the winter paint shop several pieces of S&T kit have been given a couple of coats of primer, following their cleaning down.  The two mileposts are now finished, following a touch up of the black.

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