23rd January 2022

It’s been another chilly week, with everything frozen solid.  Our machines have been brought back to the Station for a clean and service whilst it’s so cold.

At the Station, 3 of the mileposts have had their numerals picked out in grey undercoat and the final one has received its first coat of white gloss.  Inside the toilet van, all the framing has been made and fitted to the three interior door frames.  The site for the baby change cupboard and top has been measured up.  In the Yard, the fence alongside the vegetable patch has been extended and tied to the new gate fitted last week.  More tidying of the stores continues.

16th January 2022

We’ve had one cold, frosty and foggy day and then another much milder and sunny one.

With the fibre laid to the access point at the top of Northdale we have returned to complete the digging in further south.  Work is still continuing north of Northdale by the Lineside Apprentices, who are clearing scrub and trees to make way for the fibre run.

We have dug the trench and laid the fibre in from near the 15MP joint box up towards Kidstye Farm where the fibre was buried back in July.  The opportunity has also been taken to clean up where a few trees have fallen across the river or were leaning towards the track.

Back at the Station, the last of the Christmas displays have been placed back into store for another year.  Several pieces of S&T metalwork have been cleaned down ready for reinstallation at Pickering.  A new compost heap has been built, alongside a new gate to keep the vegetable patch dog free.  A further 2 coats of paint have been applied to the mileposts, just the black highlighting to do now.  More reorganisation of the sheds continues.

9th January 2022

Brr, it’s been a cold and frosty weekend!

Nearly all the Christmas lights have now been taken down at the Station.  Our Christmas tree has been cut up and the main trunk has been earmarked as a new ridge pole on Alex’s den, whilst the branches will be used for lighting our site fires.

At the Station, clearing of the vegetable patch and lineside ditches has continued.  A new site, in a better position, has been identified for the compost bins and work has started to rebuild them.  In the kitchen, thanks to a donation of oranges, a large batch of marmalade has been made to keep the Wombles well fuelled.  The mileposts have had a second undercoat and a first coat of gloss applied.

In Northdale, scrub blocking the sight lines at the public footpath has been cleared and stacked ready for disposal.  At the road access point, the fibre cable has been laid past the site and the lineside ditch cleared where brash and roots had again blocked it.  The access gate post has been repositioned and a replacement clapping post has been brought to site (the existing post is rotten).  Willow trees have been cut down where they have blocked a culvert exit, with the logs recovered and the brash stacked waiting for disposal.  The works necessary for the next ¾ mile have been agreed with the fire patrol representative and lineside conservation manager.

3rd January 2022

We hope you all had a good New Year and are now ready for whatever 2022 has in store for us all.

Our fibre trenching works have continued in Northdale between the 16½ and 17 mile posts, steadily working our way northwards.  The west lineside ditch, which was blocked by grass and weed, has been cleared out as we worked our way up the valley.  At the access point, where the forest road meets the railway, work has been started to improve the gradient and the drains.  We still have a few challenges to face here including trying to find 2 culverts, which are probably blocked, where there is a large area of standing water.

Works will be continuing here, both midweek and at weekends, and we hope to reach the summit by February – weather and additional works permitting.

Back at the Station, the timber cladding has been measured up and marked ready for fixing to the steel container.  The lineside ditches just north of the level crossing have been raked clean of dead grass, weeds and obstructions.

27th-31st December 2021

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and are now looking forward to a Happy New Year.

Our fibre digging works continues and we have now got to the north end of Northdale straight.  To aid the fire watch teams we have created a new turning point for them near the foot crossing at the south end of the straight.  The lineside here was flailed to remove scrub along the route, some of which was growing in the ditch.

Back at the Station, work is continuing on the bog van rebuild, with the interior door frames temporally set up to check the fit and confirm the new layout.  The new third toilet has been set in place and the floor cut for the outlet.

The 16¾MP has joined the 16 and 16¼MPs at the Station for a repaint and has been wire wheeled clean and given its first coat of primer.

Tidying up of the vegetable garden continues, not helped by the owners of dogs thinking it makes a good toilet (for the dogs!).  Oh and the shed re-organisation continues! Weighbridge Teas opened for 3 days this week and passing walkers made good use of it – justifying their opening even without passing trains!  They, and the railway, have now closed to the public; passenger trains return on the 2nd April 2022 but other trains will run as required anytime.  In the meantime there is plenty of work to do both at the Station and on the lineside.  Better get back to it!

18th, 19th December 2021

The ‘big dig’ has continued this week, with the cable now buried to just short of the 16½ mile post.  The big lineside ditch on the west side, back towards the 16MP, has been cleaned out to reduce the level of the standing water in this area.  This has made the cutting of the last of the scrub near the 16¼MP a lot easier.  From here to the 16½MP has now had all the scrub and leaning trees cleared from around the fence line on the West side, a simple sentence that doesn’t do justice to all the work involved.  A start has been made on the East side but there is another couple of days work here before it’s all sorted.  The culvert near the 16 1/3rd marker has had large trees cleared from both the inlet and outlet headwalls, allowing the stream to flow much easier.  There are now quite a few logs to collect from this last corner before the straight in Northdale begins.  There is also quite a bit of scrub to burn, when the weather dries up!

Back at the Station, the shed tidying up/sort out and general roadside leaf clearing has continued.  The stores at the back of the Yard have been de-weeded and bark laid to allow an easy access route through the area.  In the winter paint shop, AKA the General Room, another 2 coats of paint have been applied to the mileposts and the metal gate has received its first top coat of green gloss.

We will finish by wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

11th, 12th December 2021

Further fibre cable has been dug in near the 14MP, widening the roadway at this tight spot.  The 14¼MP and the adjacent gradient board have been moved back slightly to keep the roadway clear.

Just south of the 16MP PW hut the lineside ditch has been cleaned out of scrub and raked clear, so it flows well.  North of the PW hut, a lot of scrub has been cut clear of lineside and fence lines across the deep ditch.  There is quite a bit to burn here later.  A stream off the nearby land which runs into the lineside ditch has been raked clear, along with the culvert entrance under the track.  We saw Rudolph (the Q6) pass by several times with the Grosmont Santa train, supported by the Class 37 on the rear.

More fibre was dug in during the week from the 16MP towards the 16¼MP, including recutting a tight lineside ditch against the retaining wall.

Back at the Station, the 16MP and 16¼MPs have been wire wheeled clean and given a first coat of primer in the General Room.  More leaf and garden tidying up has continued, as has the shed sorting.

4th, 5th December 2021

The land around the 16MP PW hut has been levelled and the blocked ditch has been cleared out, along with a second nearby, allowing water to drain away rather than pooling on the lineside.  Several tree roots have been dug out of the ditches and scrub elsewhere has been cut back.  More work is needed here, once the quagmire has dried out a bit.  The next quarter mile section has been strimmed ready for digging in the cable this week.

Further south, a pine tree has been cleared from the lineside.  This tree has been temporarily re-erected outside the cottage at the Station and decorated with lights and baubles!  ‘Albert’, the pine tree opposite the signal box, has also been decorated for the season.  Scaffolding was needed to decorate both trees!

The shed reorganisation is continuing, before long none of us will be able to find anything!  Lots of leaves have been cleared from the roadside and yard entrance, clearing drainways and keeping the site looking smart.

Sunrise over a snowy Station

27th, 28th November 2021

Brr, it’s been a cold and windy weekend.  We had a few hail showers on Saturday, but nothing much, whereas we awoke to 1” snow on Sunday morning which made everything look very pretty indeed.  A dry day led to a couple of very heavy snow showers at 5.30 making ‘escape’ from the Station ‘interesting’ to say the least!

Work has concentrated on getting the fibre cable in the ground this week.  The works from Newtondale Halt back to bridge 18 have been completed.  This included spreading and levelling the ground so it will be easy to maintain in the future.

Northwards from Newtondale Halt (15¾MP) the same has been done as far as the PW hut just beyond the 16MP.  Our speed of advance through here was restricted by a long length of ash spoil that had been dumped right where we needed to get the fibre cable in.  Once we had backfilled the trench we levelled the site, re-opening the access road up to the PW hut for this first time in over 20 years.  All we have to do now is repair the hut and make it watertight again!  The trench has continued beyond the hut, where a blast furnace slag retaining wall is close to the track, before the possession has to be handed back at the end of the day on Tuesday.

There was also time for a couple of sledging sessions during Sunday as well.

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