18th, 19th May 2019

It’s been nice and warm this weekend, with just a few spots of rain.

After many weeks of waiting, the new shed now has its cladding fitted.  A couple of days of cutting and fitting around the roof joists provided us with nice tight joints.  Although the doors are not hung yet, they have been given the preservative ‘treatment’.

We had a good burn up on Saturday evening, getting rid of all the old rotten timber fencing we brought back last weekend.

Another batch of fence posts have come out of the preservative and been moved up to site.  Another 9 posts are now sitting in the drum for the same purpose.  Another trolley load of scrap fencing components was brought back as a return load.  Hopefully we will dispose of this next weekend.

The Lamp Room door and frame have been sanded down and repainted, where the paint was peeling.  The Tea Hut has been given a gentle sand down and repaint, smartening it up for the season.  The repainted notice board has been rehung on the Weighbridge and looks much smarter.

Weighbridge Teas had a steady weekend, although there was a rush for their Paninis during Sunday lunchtime!

11th, 12th May 2019

It has been a mixed work list this weekend.  The grass has been cut and the edges strimmed where we can (daffodils are still growing).  We have taken delivery of the cladding for the new shed, and this has been given a coat of traditional wood preserver.  Hopefully we will get these fitted next weekend.  A further 8 fence posts have been installed near the 13 mile post, and all 8 were a pig to do.  Large tree roots, rocks, and an old Whitby & Pickering stone sleeper block (!) had to be cleared before the posts could be installed.  A further 31 posts have been collected from the wood yard and are now drying and being treated, before they too are installed in their new positions.  125 fence rails have been delivered and these are now out on site ready for fitting, along with 25kg of 4” galvanised nails (that’s 1,926 nails!).

Back at the Station, the notice board on the end of the Weighbridge has been taken down for a scrape and repaint.  A dripping tap in the Gents has had a new washer fitted, whilst the entrance door has been given a coat of top coat.  The ride on mower has had a tyre inner tube repaired (twice!) and the fuel system has been given a clean out and a new fuel filter fitted.  It is now in working order and raring to go.

We have been assisting the Wagon Group again, with undercoat and top coat applied to the body of the mineral wagon.  They have supplied new metal channel and plate, to allow our welder to cut and fit replacement sections into place.  They have been doing the unpleasant job of wire wheeling the wheelsets and axles under the wagon.  They also gave these a coat of primer.

A ticket stock check has been undertaken in the Booking Office, to see how much stock we need for the season. This is not an exciting job, but very necessary!

Weighbridge Teas have had plenty of visitors again with a wide variety of good flying off their shelves.  Inside the tea hut a start has been made on a tidy up and repaint.

4th-6th May 2019

All the High Fire Risk signs are out, so of course it’s been a wet weekend!

The main project has been the lineside fence renewal.  We installed 43 posts over the 3 days and have now run out of posts (more are on order!).  Installation should be straight forward, but buried old fence rails and post stumps, tree roots (some quite large), brambles, and standing water have made this a challenging job at times.  At present we have just fitted 2 rails, top and middle, with netlon fencing to keep it sheep proof.  The other rails will be installed by the JVs and Families who are joining us in a fortnight.

Back at the Station, one side and end of the 16T mineral wagon have been wire wheeled clean.  The side was primed but the damp weather today put a stop on applying paint to the end.  The other side and end have been given their first coat of off white undercoat.  The roadside approaches have been cleared back, where the grass was growing onto the road.

The Tea Hut display table has been replaced, as the original one was going rotten.  A new hanging solution has been created to support the table.  A new picnic bench has been delivered to Grosmont.

Weighbridge Teas did fairly well considering the weather, with hot drinks being the norm.  Ice creams were still selling to the hardy visitors though.

23rd – 28th April 2019

The weather finally broke in the middle of the week and since then we have had typical April showers.  The Wombles have been in attendance all week, making the most of the Easter break.

The fine weather did allow us to complete both bolting up the Palvan, and the paint job on it during the week.  The shock van also received several coats of paint, but is now awaiting delivery of another tin of top coat to finish the job.  The recalcitrant door hinge on the van has had the seized hinge pin squeezed out and new brass bushes made.  This has allowed the door to be rehung this weekend.

Talking of doors, the Ladies Room entrance door has been taken down, given a thorough sand and repaint, and then rehung.  The lower internal walls of the Ladies and the General Rooms have been given their second coat of brown paint.

North of the Station, we have recommenced the lineside fencing renewal project.  We managed to install 15 posts and the top and middle rails have been fixed in place.  We hope the Junior Volunteers will help finish the job.  In the same location, broom and gorse are encroaching onto the track; whilst our senior team were doing the fence, the younger team tackled the prickly problem.

We’ve also had an open forum meeting at the Station, which was well attended.

The Pickering Wagon Group have been here this weekend, checking over the freight train in readiness for its run out next weekend.  They have also commenced the cleaning down and priming of the BR steel open wagon.  Some weld repairs will be needed where the rot has got through but overall, it’s not in too bad condition.

Weighbridge Teas are now getting into regular weekend opening and are looking forward to next weekend’s 3 day Bank Holiday.

19th-22nd April 2019

Well, what a wonderful Easter weekend of weather – wall to wall sun. This has allowed us to have dinner outside every evening. The main project this weekend was the renewal of the west side ply panels on the brown Palvan. This had got beyond the repaint stage, but it was 60 years old! All the bolts were cut out, which allowed the ply to be knocked out. With the old ply clear, a start could be made knocking off the scale and wire wheeling clean all the steelwork. The rusted bolts could also be banged out of the frame. Whilst this was going on, recycled ply was being cut to size and painted. With the steelwork clean, it was time to give it a full repaint. Once everything was painted – the hot sun helping to dry each coat faster than planned – we could look at putting the ply back into place. The van now looks a lot better and is secure once more! There are still a few more bolts to fit (they are being delivered on Tuesday) before the final top coat of paint is applied. A second van, our shock van, has had the west and south ends repainted and the holes in the ply (it had a hard life) have been covered over. One door required renewal of the ply (it had delaminated), but again it is now ready to fit. One of the door hinges had a seized pin, so this has been cut off and the hinge barrels are now being drilled out. The paint shop van storage cupboards have had a re-sort, and the shelves relabelled. This should ensure we can find the correct paint at the correct time. The stained picnic bench has been given a final sand and stain. It is now awaiting delivery to Grosmont. All our other benches here have been given a check over and loose bolts and screws tightened up. A couple needed more major work; with poor planks exchanged for new ones. These are now all out in the paddock and being enjoyed by our visitors. The S&T have been installing fibre cable at the station. This needed one of the Trespass Guards lifting, which promptly fell apart. Consequently this has been rebuilt, with a mix of original and recycled materials. North of the Station, a check of the lineside fence revealed several rails missing (plus the known gaps). The good rails have been refixed but several more had to be fetched from our store to restore the fence to its full purpose. The known gaps have been temporarily plugged with blue and red mesh fencing, until we can get out there and install the new fence posts and rails. Near Platelayers another 700 tree stump plugs have been drilled into the stumps. Several have been reduced in height at the same time to make a tidier finish. We are not finished there yet, but the end is in sight! Weighbridge Teas had a very good 4 days with ice creams, not surprisingly, top of the pops. Easter cakes and other fare were still popular however. They are also trialling a new range of Paninis. If you’d like to sample their wares come and visit them any weekend the trains are running, and bank holidays too.

13th, 14th April 2019

It’s been a relatively dry weekend albeit with a cold wind.

With the delivery of more tree stump plugs (1000!) we have been back on the lineside, cutting the tree stumps nice and low and then drilling the tops to insert the plugs.  At last we have finished those between the 14½ and 14¾ mile posts, so we have returned to the Platelayers riverside to continue the same there. The timber fence at the top of the embankment has had the odd fence rail renewed and others reattached.

The logs are finally off the lineside, having been transferred to the Station Yard.  Many trips with the dumper were required to do this. 

At the Station a new picnic bench has been made, whilst the materials for a second has been sanded down and stained (to give a different look).  The grass has had another cut but fortunately, with the cool weather, it’s not growing too fast – yet.  The gardens have continued receiving TLC.

The shock van (the second van in the siding) has had the station side and south end cleaned down and primed.  The side has also had 2 undercoats and its first top coat applied.

Weighbridge Teas have had another good weekend, with hot chocolate and ice creams selling well.

6th, 7th April 2019

We’ve had another dry weekend for City of Wells. At the Station, finishing tweaks continue on the new Exhibition in the Warehouse. The General Room lower walls have been given a coat of paint to smarten them up. The doors for the new shed have been made up. All we are waiting for now is the timber for the sides from the woodyard (still!). A start has also been made preparing the timber for some more picnic benches, with lots of sanding down completed. Up the line, work to clear the log heaps has continued. Small scrub caught in the river has been cleared out, along with the last bits on the hillside. A good fire has put paid to all the scrub and rotten timber. We have again been supported by the Junior Volunteers on both days. Our wagon building team have been busy again, this time making a silhouette of a typical narrow gauge wagon. This has been placed on the incline to show how the stone would have been moved from the quarry at the top to the loading dock alongside the railway. Weighbridge Teas, who have been in all week and both weekends to support City of Wells, have had another good start to the season with plenty of visitors. They are now back to opening weekends and bank holidays only. During a major shunt this week, the 4 stored coaches north of the Station have been returned to Pickering. In their place we now have the railway’s Freight Train. This looks a lot more in keeping with the Station’s aesthetic than the coaches. The freight train is planned to be out for demonstration shunting at Levisham over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend. We also have 2 of their wagons in our yard – a shock van and a 16T mineral steel open. These need some TLC and the Pickering Wagon Group will be joining us to do these.

30th, 31st March 2019

It’s been a wonderful weekend weather wise. 34092 City of Wells performed the main act this weekend, with support from the J27, B1, Std 4 tank, Repton and the DMU. We were supported over the weekend by the Junior Volunteer Group, who did a sterling job for us burning brash and moving logs. Saturday was the major burn, at Platelayers, where four fires were in use to dispose of all the scrub there. On Sunday we moved nearer to the 14 mile post to complete the scrub burn there. Two large fires dealt with the brash and log rubbish. There are quite a few logs still to recover and the gang moved them all up to the top of the bank ready for collection. Back at the Station we took delivery of another load of plywood. This was unloaded next to the level crossing before the JVs carried it all to our storage van. Rumours that we are collecting all this in case of Brexit can be denied. North of the Station the stored lineside fencing materials have been re-sorted clear of the siding, which is being shunted this week. The new Exhibition in the Warehouse was fully opened this weekend. Final works included the manufacture of a pseudo packing case (made out of recycled pallets) to disguise the electric distribution board. Come and see the new displays and photos. It was possible to view Union of South Africa at Levisham this weekend (and next), thanks to JV Alex bringing his OO gauge model of the loco, which ran on an oval of track in the General Room. It’s that time again, we can’t put off cutting the grass any longer, so it’s been out with the mower in an effort to keep the areas looking tidy. Our wheel barrows came in for some stick over the winter so Geoff has been in residence repairing them ready for the hard work to come this year. The gardeners have again been on site dealing with weeds and setting up the vegetable patch. Weighbridge Teas had an excellent weekend, with plenty of visitors sampling their wares. They will be open especially on Tuesday to Thursday this week, as well as next weekend, to support the City of Wells running.

23rd, 24th March 2019

It’s been a much better weekend weather wise, with sunshine and a stiff breeze. At the Station, the Ladies Room walls have had another 2 coats of paint on the walls and the woodwork paint touched up where required. The pictures have been rehung and the accoutrements reinstalled to get it ready for next weekend. The winter paint shop, AKA the General Room, has been returned to its normal duty, following a clear out, vacuum, and mop. The overhauled mileposts have been handed over to the PW Ballast Regulator team for delivery to site. Just north of the level crossing the lineside fence installation has been completed, and a new, to us, access gate has been hung. All that now remains to be done is the end gates and shed; the latter is still awaiting the delivery of the timber wall boarding. The vegetable patch has had onion setts and potatoes dug in. On the platforms a start has been made on weeding the garden beds, following the winter slumber. Up the line, the riverside scrub burning has been completed opposite the incline at the 14 ¾ milepost area. There are still a lot of short logs to recover but the site does look a lot better. Between bridges 16 and 17 (200 yards north of the 14MP) the logs have been cleared and the scrub burnt. The opportunity was taken to burn the old bracken and gorse there at the same time. Weighbridge Teas re-open next weekend for the visit of Union of South Africa. Their usual selection of pies, cakes, hot and cold drinks, plus ice-cream, will be available to sample.

16th, 17th March 2019

With a steady downpour on Saturday, it was the ideal time to concentrate on fitting the lino in the Ladies Room. With the lino down, the skirting boards could be refitted and mastic sealed to the lino. This should stop water seeping between the 2 and rotting the boards. The skirting boards have since been touched up with paint to keep them looking smart. Both the internal and the exterior doors have had to be removed and have their bottoms trimmed, to suit the thicker lino and underlay. New ‘Vacant/Engaged’ door locks have been fitted to the 2 internal doors. All that now remains is to complete the repainting of the walls and we are ready to go! The Booking Office door latch has been renewed as the old one was worn out. Sunday dawned dry and frosty, so work recommenced outside. At the site of the ziggurat, the last of the rocks and spoil has been dug off and relocated to the site of the new S&T equipment room down the line. The good soil has been spread and levelled on the yard entrance grass, filling quite a few ‘pot holes’ in the ground caused by settlement and the activities of moles. The ziggurat site has been left safe and level, and will hopefully be covered in tarmac later this year. In the meantime it is neat and tidy. Meanwhile up the line, 2 more fires have disposed of more brash. Some small brash which was in the river has been cleared out. The clearance of the logs has allowed the river side to be tidied up, leaving a neat site. Our PAT testers have been on site this weekend, and have completed the checking of the Signal Box and Weighbridge portable equipment, ready for the new season. Due to the amount of equipment at the Station, different areas are phased throughout the year to keep it all in date.

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