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.

9th, 10th March 2019

Each day this weekend has been a game of 2 halves, very wet/wet in the mornings and dry in the afternoons. At the Station, the sleeper lean to behind the Waiting Shelter has had an internal partition removed, the contents re-organised and new shelving installed. In the Ladies Room the repaint of the walls continues. The new lino has been loose laid in the 2 toilet compartments. The main entrance area should be tackled next weekend. In the yard entrance the rotten tree stub has been cut down below ground level and plugged with stump killer to ensure it does not return. In the new exhibition building a flat screen monitor has been mounted. It is planned to show a selection of photographs from our archives and more current events. Up the line near the 14¾ mile post, scrub clearance has continued. The land around the old blacksmiths has been cleared near the crossing point at No Sheep Hut (look at the hut when you next pass), joining up with that cleared last week around the cottages. Just beyond this, on the same side, scrub removal has continued, opening up the view of the river again.

25th February-3rd March 2019

They think it’s all over, well it is now. The Annual Womble Work Week is finished for another year. The major project this year was the big lineside clearance scheme near the 14½ milepost. After a lot of work, 15 large, and I do mean large, bonfires finally disposed of the scrub, brush and branches off the trees. On Tuesday we had 14 people on site burning scrub with another 3 working at the station! Most of the felled timber, quite of lot of which was rotten and/or leaning dangerously towards the track, has been recovered. Some of the small logs have been loaded onto rail wagons, others have been collected but an awful lot are still to be removed. However, the large embankment is now clear and shows clearly the old narrow gauge incline up to the quarries. On the other side of the line the riverside and retaining wall have been cleared of timber, although there is a good days burning still to do there to get rid of the last of the scrub. Just north of this the gardens of the old No. 1 Newtondale Cottages have been cleared, allowing the snowdrops, and soon to bloom daffodils, to be seen. Both cottages, twins to those at Levisham, have had the small scrub cleared and 1 large tree removed. The old well has been uncovered, as has the old garden path. These cottages were built by the NER for the Platelayers and fell out of use when the trackmen were moved elsewhere. Meanwhile, back at the Station, the timber frame has been braced and the rafters screwed down on the new shed. Its new black corrugated iron roof has been fixed into place. In the Ladies Room, the skirtings have been removed for a repaint and the lino has been lifted as it is worn out. New lino has been purchased whilst a padded underlay has been fitted. A start has been made on repainting the walls. The ziggurat garden, outside the Booking Office, has been dismantled as a lot of the sleepers were rotten. The soil has been removed to use elsewhere. There is a lot of soil to dig out, so the job is still ongoing. Quite a few old bricks and lumps of concrete were in the base and have been put aside for use on another job (later in the year). Although Weighbridge Teas were not open to the public they did support us over some of the days, whilst carrying out a deep clean of the Weighbridge outlet. It’s not long now until they re-open for the A4 running session.

23rd, 24th February 2019

The weather has been glorious for the first 2 days of our Winter Work Week. At the Station, the new shed frame has been erected using a variety of second hand materials. Three timber sleepers have been used as the door frames, ensuring the doors will not sag over time. The new planks which will make the door have been collected from the timber yard. The ziggurat garden next to the signal box is being steadily dismantled. A lot of the timber sleepers are rotten, which has made getting some of them out ‘interesting’. The soil will be removed and used to help level dips within the paddock where the moles have made the ground uneven. Along the line north of the station a start has been made on the big burn. 6 fires have so far been lit and quite a lot of scrub has been disposed of. Unfortunately, there is quite a bit more to get rid of. The cutting of the trees is continuing although several have been challenging as they are very rotten. We will be continuing this work during the week. Weighbridge Teas have had a very good weekend with plenty of visitors to sample their wares. They will be getting the park benches out of hibernation and giving them a good teak oil ready for the new season amongst other activities this week.

16th, 17th February 2019

Well, there is only 1 week to go until our winter work week commences.  We have lots of things to do, including building the frame for the new shed, lineside fencing repairs and renewal, lots and lots of brash burning, timber cutting and recovery, renewal of the lino in the Ladies, general painting, etc.  All help is gratefully received.

This weekend work has concentrated on clearing a lot of scrub and rotten trees off the lineside at the site of the old incline.  The incline can now be clearly seen but there is a lot to burn there.

Back at the Station, the blockwork base of the new shed has been laid.  The timber framing has been brought from store and given a coat of wood preservative for good measure.  Further metalwork has been painted ready for the new shed.  In the Warehouse work continues on the interior smartening up.

We have welcomed the Weybridge team back from their winter hibernation (and exotic holidays!?!).  They had a reasonable number of visitors to keep them busy.  The weather was even warm enough for ice creams!  They will be open again next weekend.

9th, 10th February 2019

It’s been a weekend of lovely weather – warm and sunny both days, just what we needed. On Saturday morning we took delivery of 3m3 of ready mix concrete for the new shed base. This had to be wheelbarrowed from the road to site, but a great turnout of Wombles with wheelbarrows soon cracked this job. The base was then tamped, levelled and left to dry in the sun. There was just enough spare concrete to lay the base for the manhole down near 18 signal, south of the Station. The hole did need opening out a bit to suit the size of the concrete blocks which will make the walls, but there was enough concrete. We could then return to our lineside clearance works in Newtondale around the 14½ mile post. A goodly number of small trees were removed from the riverside retaining wall. This opens up another good stretch of the river views for our passengers. On the other side of the line, scrub and rotten trees have been removed, opening up again views of the old narrow-gauge railway incline. This used to serve the old Levisham Quarries on the cliff edge near Skelton Tower, with stone being brought down the incline to be transhipped onto the old Whitby and Pickering Railway. More details about this and the other sidings along the line can be found in our book – Goods on the Whitby and Pickering Railway, available from station shops and Levisham Weighbridge. Talking of Weighbridge Teas, they re-open next weekend (and the following one) for the Half Term running. Come and buy a book and get a drink at the same time!

2nd, 3rd February 2019

It’s all white again, just 2” if that, but enough to make it pretty.  This morning it was bitterly cold, minus 6°C at 9am with everything frozen solid.

The new shed base reinforcement has been installed, and the roof timbers moved alongside the base.  These will be used to provide a roof over the fresh concrete next weekend to protect it.  The concrete blocks, for the first layer of the shed, were delivered this week, along with the timber and reinforcement.  Again these have been moved to site (once they had been separated – they were frozen into a large block!).  Another set of blocks have been moved south to the manhole site near the loop points.  Hopefully when it warms up a bit these can be installed and a thick timber lid made for it.

North of the Station further scrub and small trees have been removed, clearing our fence line ready for its renewal shortly.

Inside the CCT the new PPE cupboard has been installed and fitted out, replacing the old collapsed timber one.  We have been given several old gate hinges for our stores, so these have been cleaned down and now await our painter to give them the usual treatment.

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