29th February, 1st March 2020

Well, we’ve had another cracking weekend; not a lot of rain or hail to disrupt us and a good breeze to help with the burning.

Talking of burning, a large fire near the No Sheep Hut got rid of the remaining scrub there.  The ground around the hut has been dug away, revealing the base of the hut walls; these are not in good condition. The hut is made up of panels so we have dismantled it; we can now see about repairing the framing and cladding before we reinstate it, complete with a watertight roof!

On the ‘blackthorn slope’ the last of the blackthorn has been cut and then burnt in a large fire today.  This has cleared this side of the line, improving the view ready for our passengers next month.  North of the 15¼ mile post more logs and scrub have been cleared from the river, now that the water level has dropped back to nearly normal.

Back at the Station, the two mileposts have had their tops and bases picked out in black paint.  The painting of the Whistle board has been completed, and the gradient board has had its numbers refixed and given a couple of coats of paint.  The Waiting Shelter bench has also been sanded down and given a coat of undercoat.

22nd, 23rd February 2020

Well the Womble Work Week is over, and what a lot we have achieved! 

Lots of logs have been recovered from the lineside;

Ditches have been cleared;

A new lineside ditch has been dug out and a perforated pipe installed;

Several track culvert entrances and exits have been cleaned out;

The second trackbed has been cleared of grass and mud for ¾ mile;

Three turning points were created for emergency vehicles;

Lots of scrub has been burnt on 11 fires;

A collapsed culvert at the 14 mile post has been rebuilt;

The cupboard doors in the Weighbridge have been repainted;

The plinth units have been top coated and installed;

The Weighbridge was given a deep clean ready for the new season;

Whistle and Gradient boards were cleaned and repainted, along with 2 mileposts;

Three platform bench seats were repainted;

The signal box desk, skirting boards and interior door have been repainted and the signal box windows cleaned inside and out;

The mink wagon side was repainted;

The guards van sides were sanded down;

An awful lot of food was cooked and consumed;

Thanks to everyone who came and helped over the week.  We logged over 1000 hours worked, not bad for the smallest station on our railway!

17th-21st February 2020

Time for a Work Week update. First up we forgot to mention that more ditch clearance has been undertaken north of the bracket signal at the Station last weekend.  Up the line, we have been busy burning a lot of scrub, and collecting a lot of logs, between the 14¾ and 15½ mile posts.  A blocked ditch has been dug out, using a digger we have hired for the week, and we have laid a perforated pipe along it as the land is likely to collapse into the ditch again.  We have also cleared more of the access roadway along the track, to allow maintenance vehicles and fire engines easy access.  We created a couple of turning points too, removing the need to reverse.  We have been supported by colleagues from Network Rail and the Junior Volunteers.

Meanwhile back at the Station, a lot of painting has been undertaken.  Multiple coats of paint have been applied to Whistle and Gradient boards, a pair of mileposts, platform seat bases, the signal box desk, and the side of the GW Mink wagon!  All the signal box windows have also benefitted from a good clean.

14th-16th February 2020

After the fun of Ciara last weekend, we have had to cope with Dennis this weekend.  Our Work Week commenced a day early on Friday, as the digger was delivered that morning.  Work commenced near Newtondale Signal Box clearing the old formation of grass and scrub roots.  The old siding formation, which had been covered with old ballast, has been cleared off as well.  A new turning point has been created to allow vehicles, such as Fire Engines, to turn round.

The large timbers have been recovered from along the lineside by our timber contractor.  This will allow us to clear and burn the scrub much more easily.  Scrub burning has now recommenced with four fires today; two north of the old signal box and two south of it.

The collapsed culvert near the 14 mile post has had the displaced stonework carefully removed.  The side walls have been rebuilt and the two top stones refitted; a simple sentence but not so easy to do.  The retaining wall nearby has also been raised to the correct level, using stone we recovered from the Beck 18 months ago.  Unfortunately, there is a 12’ section of collapsed wall between the culvert and the good retaining wall.  We will have to see how easy it may, or may not, be to rebuild it.

Back at the Station, two mileposts have been wire wheeled clean and given a couple of coats of primer.  The replacement Weighbridge kitchen unit kick boards have received further coats of undercoat and one gloss coat of paint.  90 primulas were unexpectedly delivered last weekend, and these have been planted around the Station now the storms have passed.

Works will continue all week and include brash burning, log collection, seat and milepost painting, fencing, guards van repainting, ditch digging, and lineside roadway improvement works.

8th, 9th February 2020

Well, we have survived storm Ciara which – according to the press – was going to be the end of the world!

On Saturday we were joined by the Railway’s new Lineside Conservation Officer, Kerry, who came to meet us and see what we were doing.  She was surprised by how much we undertake, and how far along the line we cover.  She was impressed with our work both on the lineside clearance and the retaining wall repairs.  Beyond the 15 mile post we have cleared more scrub and dangerously leaning trees.  We didn’t have a fire as the wind was too strong.  Back at the Station, lineside ditch clearing has continued – much needed with Sunday’s rain!

The wet weather on Sunday morning meant we have had a day at the Station.  This was used profitably; getting gear, materials and work ready for the big 4Ws (Womble Winter Work Week) which starts next Saturday.  Stone and concrete blocks, needed for the culvert repair, have been brought to the level crossing ready for transporting to site.

In the Weighbridge the kitchen kick boards have been trial fitted and adjusted as required.  Several damaged ones have been cut down to make shorter lengths, whilst 3 new ones have been made and given a first coat of paint.  The rotten platform seat plank that was drying out in the General Room has been cut down, to become a 7’ spare bench seat, and the bare wood given a coat of primer.  Several small pieces of steelwork, needed by the S&T, have been wire wheeled clean for them.  ‘Our’ brake van has been delivered to the Station and placed alongside the platform.  This will allow us to give it a sand down and repaint over the next couple of months.

1st, 2nd February 2020

Well we are into the second month of the year and after a dry Saturday, today was decidedly wet until lunch time.

At the Station, undercoat has been applied to all the items under restoration in the General Room.  A further section of the lineside ditch has been cleared of dead grass and other detritus, and is flowing much better.  After 5 months parked up, the dumper truck has been moved onto site ready for use during our work week.  It took a bit of effort to get it started, but once running it was fine.

Back up the line, the glade area has had all the scrub cut down and disposed of on fires.  Several rotten small trees were also removed; indeed one was so rotten all that was left of it was the bark around the edge, the centre being missing!  This area now looks very good.

A section of old pig wire has been recovered from alongside the river and rolled up ready for re-use elsewhere.  This has allowed more scrub to be cut and burnt this afternoon, on a huge fire, as dusk was setting in.

25th, 26th January 2019

We have been back along the lineside burning scrub again.  The weather today was a bit damp at times, but the fires were going well and it didn’t slow us down.

The main area cleared has been between the 15 and 15¼ mile posts, giving good views of grass areas next to the river.  The awful lot of blackthorn scrub, all tangled together, has gone onto the fires.

Further north, more rotten trees have been dropped and the branches logged. The brash has been moved into heaps ready for another fire, once we get rid of the timber.

Back at the Station, the platform seats in the General Room have had a coat of undercoat and the Whistle and Gradient boards have had a sand and prime, now they have dried out.  The cleaning of the ditching north of the Station continues, slowly but surely.

From the 14th-24th of February we are having our annual Womble Work Week.  We have a packed programme of works including; culvert repairs, lineside ditch clearing, burning scrub, cutting down dangerous trees, fencing renewal, wagon repainting, platform seat rebuilding, and wagon turntable repainting.  Could you lend us some time? Many hands make light work!  Weighbridge Teas will also be in attendance to keep us hydrated, in between refurbishing their catering facilities as well.

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.

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