28th, 29th November 2020

Well, it’s been the big burn up this weekend.  The huge amount of scrub and tree stumps dumped at Platelayers Crossing have been burnt this weekend.  The scrub cut down in August, alongside the river there, has also come in for the same treatment.

Along the access track from Platelayers to the 14MP the roadway edge has been levelled off with our mini digger and the bankside tidied up, allowing road vehicles to proceed along it at a safe distance from the track.  This job was started last March but was not completed due to the first Lockdown.

A large pile of ash and stone, which has been dumped at Platelayers since the track was relaid there a few years ago, has been loaded into the dumper and brought to the Station for re-use.  This has finally left a tidy, level site here.  Near the Fogmans Hut at the Distant signal the high land has been levelled and the fire fighting water butt has been sited here.  Like the No Sheep Hut, we plan to fit small guttering around the hut roof to help fill the butt and screen it with timber palings. In readiness for Christmas, a pine tree has been brought off the lineside to the front of the cottages, erected in the garden and decorated with lights and baubles

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.

14th, 15th November 2020

A small group of us came down, working outside with social distancing, as volunteering is still allowed under lock down 2.

We have been working near the 14MP this weekend, lowering the roadway along the top of the retaining wall.  At the same time, the slotted drain pipe on the other side of the track has been lifted and levelled.  The pipe trench has been backfilled with spent stone and ash ballast, dug off the roadway.  Between bridges 16 and 17, 200y north of the 14MP, the excess stone on the roadway also helped with backfilling of the drain.  This work could only be undertaken during a possession (which the railway is currently under) and has been a great christening of our mini digger, supported by our dumper.

31st October, 1st November 2020

We’ve had a mixed weekend of rain and some sunshine, but everything was very wet and soft underfoot.

On the mini digger, one or two isolated areas of surface rust have been cleaned down and repainted.  The preloved insulated roofing panels have been cut down to suit the new pitched roof on the container.  One side has been completed, whilst work progresses on the panels for the other.

The roof sheets over the Mink van have been adjusted, as has the scaffolding along the side, to prepare for repairing/replacing the edge roof boards.

With the announcement of the second lockdown, the rest of the weekend has been spent tidying items away properly and making sure everything is safe and secure.  This also includes making items snow proof – as historically the last weekend in November has been snowy – if it does snow it’s generally an indication of a hard winter to come.

24th, 25th October 2020

Overall it’s been a very pleasant weekend of weather – bar late Saturday afternoon when it persisted down!

The JVs have been installing more ‘new’ recycled fencing south of the Station.  The old rotten fencing has been brought back to the Station for disposal.  More of the cut scrub has been burnt on site.  More scale has been chipped off the wagon turntable castings.  Inside the container, new shelving brackets have been welded to the end wall.  A pitched roof frame has been made ready for fitting to the container.  We will be using some of our insulated roof panels to keep the container dry.

The new digger has been out for trials and seems to perform very well.  A canvas cover is being made to keep it protected when it’s not stored in its container.

Around the Station, weeding of the ash continues, as does the pruning of the roses.  Some further daffodil bulbs have been planted in the platform beds. A new timber manhole cover has been made to complete one of the lineside cross track turning chambers.

20th October 2020

We are pleased to announce the delivery of our pre-loved mini digger today.  This has been bought with help from York Area Group and several volunteers.  It has come to help us with ditch clearing, retaining wall rebuilding and general lineside maintenance.

17th, 18th October 2020

The rain has kept away this weekend, although the sun has been a bit shy today.

We took delivery of the steel shipping container, for storing our mini digger in, early on Monday morning – so early it was still dark!  This has been placed at the bottom of the yard whilst we prepare it for its new role.  Externally, the sides and roof have been wire wheeled clean and the bare bits of steel given a coat of primer.  The sides have been painted in green to help it blend in with the countryside.  Internally, a bench – complete with vice – has been placed at the rear and a start made on fixing some shelving above it.

The cutting back of the roses continues on the Down Platform.  The 12’ bench on the Up Platform has received its second top coat and is now ready for use – sometime.  Some rusty signal fittings have been delivered for cleaning down and priming, before going back to the S&T workshop for further work.

The JVs have been out and about, making the field cross fence using recycled materials.  They have brought back the rotten timber for future disposal.  The 12¼ mile post has been planted near the Advance Starter signal south of the Station.  20 treated fence posts have gone into store whilst another 10 have gone into the dipping tank.  They have erected the ‘kitchen tent’ over the cast iron parts of the wagon turntable to allow them to work on the casting during poor weather.

North of the level crossing, hut No. 5 has been fitted out with shelving and a start made on re-organising all our plumbing parts onto the shelving.  Some of the scrap fencing has been cut up ready for burning on the signal box fire.

Weighbridge Teas had another steady weekend, with bacon butties still being popular.

10th, 11th October 2020

Well, the rain has eased compared to last weekend – just intermittent drizzle this time.

South of the Station the JVs continue working on the fence, with the next section dismantled and the material brought back to the Station for sorting into good and firewood.  At the far end the old gateposts to the lineside crossing have been dug out (one with a shovel!), and replacement posts sourced and installed on the fence line.  The fencing across the culvert bridge has been dismantled and post holes bored ready for new posts.  Further scrub has also been burnt as part of clearing the lineside there.

The roses have come in for more attention this weekend, as they still needed pruning and tying back ready for the next season.  Weeding around the Station paths and roadways has also continued.

In the paint shop many miscellaneous metalwork parts, including the two large shelf panels, have been undercoated and then top coated.  The buffer beams of the repainted wagons also received a coat of black gloss.  As part of the wagon spares reorganisation, the metal shelving has been moved into the shock van and rebuilt in a new configuration – ready to receive the stores again.  A toilet door has been sticking shut, necessitating the occupants having to be ‘rescued’ from outside; so it has been taken down, adjusted, and rehung.  Users can now use the toilet in sanitised safety!

North of the 14MP, the retaining wall has been raised using the recovered stone from the river, and at Stape, along a 60’ length – restoring it to its correct height.  We are now out of building stone so it looks like the next 60’ length will have to be raised using gabion baskets and stone rubble. 

Weighbridge Teas are still open at weekends, with a wide variety of hot and cold wares to tempt passing visitors.

3rd, 4th October 2020

Well, what a wet weekend!  This, not surprisingly, limited what we could undertake.

It’s been a tidy up and sort out weekend, working under cover in our storage vans.  Painting of cleaned down steelwork has continued in our paint shop.  Weeding of the yard has continued, in between the showers.

The Weighbridge had a quieter weekend, with fewer passing tourists wanting to sample their wares.

26th, 27th September 2020

Blimey, it’s been wet and windy.

Under the marquee sheet, the Mink wagon has been lettered and numbered in Great Western style.  Minor fittings on it have also been cleaned down and repainted.  In the General Room, the new Running Board frame has been put together, filled, and painted.  It’s now ready for the enamel sign to be refitted.

The Station Yard weeding has continued, as has chipping the scale off the turntable parts laid there.  Several pieces of metalwork have been wire wheeled clean and a start made on priming them.  A broken spade has also had a new shaft fitted.

South of the Station, the lineside fence has been completed at the far end of the latest length – with the last 9 posts installed and rails fitted.  The majority of this has been undertaken by the Junior Volunteers and they should be very proud of it!

North of the Station, at the 14 mile post, work has continued cleaning off the riverside retaining wall.  Several tree roots and stumps have been removed from the wall, along with general vegetation.  The far end of this wall is now in sight!

Weighbridge Teas had another good weekend and we have been allowed to use the picnic tables, which proved popular with their customers.

The big news this week is the purchase of a Kubota 2.8T KX71-3 mini digger for the Station.  This will be invaluable for our works on the lineside and for installing the wagon turntable.  Thanks must be expressed to York Area Group for giving us a large donation towards the cost, along with other Wombles who have dug deep into their pockets to help.  There are one or two attachments we would now like to purchase including a flail mower, and a timber grab for lifting bigger stones and logs.  If anyone would like to sponsor all or part of these please get in touch.

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