18th, 19th January 2020

We’ve had another glorious weekend, albeit cold and frosty, but working in -3°C doesn’t put us off!

We have continued cutting and burning scrub between the 15 and 15¼ mile posts.  After 3 days we have finally burnt the major patch of blackthorn scrub.  Behind this we have continued cutting down the smaller scrub between the mature trees and tidying the whole area.  Four large fires were needed to dispose of all the brash.

Further south, more trees growing along the edge of the river and leaning towards the track have been cut down.  As well as removing a safety hazard, it’s opening up some good views of the river.

Back at the Station the platform bench planks, stored in the General Room, have been sanded down and given a coat of primer on both sides.  The Whistle and Gradient Boards have been scraped down, sanded and left to dry out.  The land around the Camping Coach has also been given a good weed and prune where necessary. 

11th, 12th January 2020

We were joined on Saturday by our timber contractors, who collected a lot of timber and took it away.  Quite a bit of this was laid across the river and their hi-ab was great at lifting it all clear.  With the long timbers removed, we could clear the area of the spindly branches which were left.  The strong wind prevented us lighting fires, but we got plenty more cut down.

The rain this morning again prevented getting any fires started, so we concentrated on cutting down more trees which were leaning towards the track.  These were also right on the edge of the river and against the railway’s retaining wall, so removing these will help prevent any more damage occurring along here.

The Weighbridge has been given a good clean out, following the laying of the new floor.  This allowed the Team to reinstall the freezers and give the whole building a good winter clean.

1st-5th January 2020

Well we hope you all had a happy new year and didn’t overdo things.  On the 1st we had our annual day off so we took the opportunity to go to Kettleness Station and walk along the old railway to Runswick Bay, and returned via the beach.  There was also time to have a round trip from Grosmont to Pickering on the DMU.

Work has continued since then, clearing scrub, cutting down trees which are growing/leaning over railway land, and burning the arisings near the 15¼ mile post.  The area views are opening up where we have disposed of all the scrub.  We are working within a possession, ‘owned’ by the Pway, and had been informed that there were no train movements planned through to the end of the weekend, so we were surprised to hear diesel horns on Friday.  These were not coming towards us but were coming from Goathland Station where they were shunting the rail cranes and wagons!  We have now cleared most of the scrub from the west side to the top of the 1 in 49 (or 15 1/8 mile post), following 5 good fires.

Back at the Station, the platform seat planks have been sanded and given a coat of primer.  The ‘Whistle’ board near the 15¼MP has been brought back to the Station, as the paint is peeling.  It will be dried out in the General Room before getting a repaint in the spring.  The Christmas trees and lights have been taken down and put back into store for another year.  The Station looks really dark now.  North of the level crossing more clearing of the east side ditch is continuing, ensuring that the water drains quickly away.

30th, 31st December 2019

Well as the year draws to an end, its time to catch up on the last couple of days.

In the Weighbridge, the new quarry tile floor has been laid and looks very smart.  A new mat well has been constructed, complete with a coconut weave mat.

Up near Kidstye, we have continued cutting the scrub and leaning or rotten trees off the lineside and river bank.  Some of this was tricky to do, balancing on a thin bank between the retaining wall and the river.  There is now quite a bit to burn here.

Today we have again been in Pickering helping out the S&T.  This time we have installed a turning chamber, concreted another chamber base, installed T piece troughs and continued generally tidying up the site.  The frost never really cleared all day, making some of the digging more challenging.

So that’s it for this year and we hope you all have a very Happy New Year.  We are taking a day off tomorrow (shock horror!), but will be back at work from the 2nd to the 5th clearing the lineside of more scrub and other jobs.

27th-29th December 2019

We hope you have all had a very Merry Christmas (but not too merry!) and are looking forwards to a good New Year.  After a couple of days off for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, work has recommenced with a vengeance.

Northwards from the 15¼ mile post to Kidstye Farm crossing, our clear felling work continues.  Lots of scrub and rotten and leaning trees have been removed from the West side, re-opening views of the river.  A lot of scrub growing in the river has also been removed, helping the river to flow more easily.

Back at the Station, the hot water tap in the Gents was running slightly due to a damaged washer.  The tap has been taken apart and a new washer fitted.  The wire wheel cleaning down of the north end of the Mink Wagon steelwork has continued.  Inside the van the Wagon Group have sanded down the ceiling prior to repainting it.  The cleaning of the east side lineside ditch north of the crossing continues, allowing the water to flow better and drain the adjacent land.

We have also had a day helping the S&T at Pickering as they were short of staff.  They are having to provide new location cases and trough runs along the east side of the line to allow the west side to become the new Carriage Shed.  We assisted installing a king post and plank retaining wall before laying out the bases for a pair of location cases.  Further along the site we stacked and sorted troughing and turning chambers ready for use nearer to Pickering.

Weighbridge Teas opened for the last 3 days but trade was sparse.  They have now closed until the start of the new season, in April, and are taking a few well-earned holidays.  This has allowed us to strip out the fridges and freezers and put them into a van out of the way.  The tired lino and laminate flooring beneath has been lifted to allow a new quarry tiled floor to be laid tomorrow.

21st, 22nd December 2019

The weather was a touch warmer and dry this weekend. 

We have continued from where we left off last weekend, clearing the blackthorn back off the ‘roadway’ alongside the track so we could get past with our vehicles.  This allowed us to keep cutting down the scrub south from here towards the “No Sheep” Hut site.  The river is right alongside us here, so we have used some of the cut branches to help reinforce the bankside to prevent water erosion.  In the same area the east side ditch has become blocked, which has resulted in the water running across the track to the other side.  We have re-cut the lineside ditch and Lo! – the water flows correctly again, along the ditch and to the correct culvert.

Back at the Station, general tidying up in the vans continues once darkness falls.  The Christmas lights and baubles also need checking, and rehanging where necessary.

We will conclude with wishing all our readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.  Our lineside work will continue from the 27th, once the festivities are over with.  Don’t forget Weighbridge Teas will be open from the 27th-29th inclusive and look forward to welcoming you all to our Station.

14th, 15th December 2019

Brr, it’s been cold this weekend.  Frosts each morning and evening, and a layer of snow on Sunday, meant we kept our layers on – until we got hot chain sawing and clearing snow off the platforms!

Talking of sawing, we were working over the weekend between the No Sheep Hut and Kidstye.  A lot of small scrub has been cut down against the river, along our boundary north of the 14¾ mile post.  A wider section of land has also had the small trees removed.  This should make a nice view in the spring.  A long length of blackthorn scrub was tackled today, which is difficult to deal with because it all locks itself together and is incredibly thorny!  There is a lot to burn here, which will keep us busy over Christmas and into the New Year.

Back at the Station, work continues wire wheeling the north end of the Mink wagon.  Although it’s too cold to apply paint, getting the worst of the rust and lumps off it does mean that, when the weather improves, all it needs is a quick clean off before the new paint goes on.  Several NER signal castings have also been cleaned down ready for painting.

The Christmas trees at the Station had several baubles blown off during the week, so they have been carefully collected and rehung this weekend.  The road side approaches to the Station have been cut back and cleared of leaves, whilst the weighbridge table has been cleaned off and brushed clean.

The Weighbridge Teas team have again been helping out at Pickering, serving hot drinks, etc.

7th, 8th December 2019

I think we would rather have had the frosts of last weekend, instead of the showers today!

On Saturday we went back to the lineside around bridge 15, which we had cleared 5 year ago, to deal with the regrown scrub.  We also cut off the new growth on the old tree stumps and plugged them to prevent regrowth (we didn’t have the plugs 5 years ago).  On Sunday it was up to the 14¾ mile post, where we continued the lineside clearance from where we finished last spring.  This work has re-opened views of the river, which runs alongside the line.

Back at the Station, the clearance of the lineside ditches has continued.  The Christmas tree in front of the cottage has been decorated with baubles, as has ‘Albert’ – the conifer growing opposite the signal box.  Albert now also sports battery-operated lights.  The three tired platform bench planks have had the loose paint scraped or burnt off them.  They are now back in the General Room, which is currently closed, to continue drying out of the timber.  Unfortunately one end of one plank had rotted, so 2’ had to be cut off it.  This plank might eventually be trimmed to make a shorter bench rather than try and splice in a new 2’ length.

We mustn’t forget the Weighbridge Teas staff, who are working each weekend at Pickering, serving teas and coffees to the Santa passengers, as a change from Levisham.

30th November, 1st December 2019

Brr, it’s cold; the frost stayed in the valley all weekend, but at least it was dry.

The Station has been decorated with our Christmas signs to welcome the Santa Specials, and complements those set up for the Northern Lights Express. 

We have been back out on the lineside and commenced this seasons clearance.  First up was the removal of the scrub – blackthorn and wild rose – which we didn’t manage to clear last year, half way between the 13¾ and the 14 mile post.  Although not a large area, it’s a pig to deal with and very prickly.

Just south of Platelayers cottages we have recut brush wood, which has regrown since we cleared the area 4 years ago.  We have also removed the saplings between the lineside and the river, opening out more views for our passengers.

Back at the Station the stream at the back of the paddock has had the sides cut back, where they have been collapsing into the flow.  The stream bed has also been cleared of branches and other detritus.  Kevin found out that the water level is just deeper than the height of his wellies!!  The front of the cottage now sports its ‘Big W’ for the Christmas season.  We have erected a Christmas tree in the front garden and installed the lights on it.  The rowan tree also sports its rope lights and the Father Christmas train is on the wall outside the Gents.

23rd, 24th November 2019

It’s been wet on Fen Bog this weekend, but the work still goes on.

It was all track laying over the 2 days; lifting sleepers and then rails into place.  When we came to ‘close up’ the final section, the gap was too big to take the fishplates.  Therefore we had to unclip the next section, and associated fishplates, before we could slide up the rail to space the gaps correctly.  Once that was done we then had to tackle the next 2 lengths, repeating the process to get the correct gap along the track.  220 of the old sleepers were also stacked into packs of 20 ready for collection later.

Back at the Station three of our 12’ platform bench seats are cracking and need repair, so the timber has been taken off the legs and brought inside for a dry out.  It will then have the rot dug out, new wood spliced in, and then be painted.  North of the level crossing on the east side, the lineside ditch has been cleared of dead reeds and growth.  This has allowed the water to flow much better and helped dropped the incoming levels further up.  Tidying up of the gardens continues, they should look lovely with the new growth next spring!

The Station trackside has been prepared – by contractors – with lights, ready for the commencement of the Northern Lights Express trains.  Check out the railway’s website to get your tickets; there are still a few seats left on some of the trains.

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