23rd, 24th November 2019

It’s been wet on Fen Bog this weekend, but the work still goes on.

It was all track laying over the 2 days; lifting sleepers and then rails into place.  When we came to ‘close up’ the final section, the gap was too big to take the fishplates.  Therefore we had to unclip the next section, and associated fishplates, before we could slide up the rail to space the gaps correctly.  Once that was done we then had to tackle the next 2 lengths, repeating the process to get the correct gap along the track.  220 of the old sleepers were also stacked into packs of 20 ready for collection later.

Back at the Station three of our 12’ platform bench seats are cracking and need repair, so the timber has been taken off the legs and brought inside for a dry out.  It will then have the rot dug out, new wood spliced in, and then be painted.  North of the level crossing on the east side, the lineside ditch has been cleared of dead reeds and growth.  This has allowed the water to flow much better and helped dropped the incoming levels further up.  Tidying up of the gardens continues, they should look lovely with the new growth next spring!

The Station trackside has been prepared – by contractors – with lights, ready for the commencement of the Northern Lights Express trains.  Check out the railway’s website to get your tickets; there are still a few seats left on some of the trains.

16th, 17th November 2019

The weather has been a bit more inclement this weekend; there was drizzle on Saturday but today has kept dry.

On Saturday we were back up on Fen Bog helping the regular PW team to relay the track there.  Due to flooding of the trackbed preventing us laying track, Saturday was spent unscrewing the rail chairs from the old sleepers and fixing the chairs onto new sleepers, using new screws.

Back at the Station, as dusk was setting in, we set off up the hill to start digging.  This time it was to prepare level bases for 5 new grit bins.  These will help us keep the hill to the Station clear of snow and ice during the winter. 

At the Station itself, the vegetable beds and yard entrance have been cleared of fallen leaves.  The three new planters have been installed on the top of the wall next to the Booking Office, whilst inside on of our vans Tony has completed the third timber surround.  The lineside ditch, on the west side north of the level crossing, has been strimmed and cleared of vegetation allowing it to flow better.

Painting of the Mink van has continued, with a second coat of metal primer and the completion of the grey undercoat on the West side and south end.  The cottage floor has also had another coat of varnish for good measure.

On Sunday it was time to lay track, with 3 panels installed over the day.  The first 2 were ‘challenging’ as the water was about 1” deep across the trackbed here, and nearly 12” deep to the side.  The old sleepers were stacked into neat packs ready for easy recovery.

Once we were back at the Station, at 5pm, we made and fitted locking pins for the grit bins.  Hopefully these will keep the sheep and cows out, and the covers down, ensuring the grit is there when we need it.

8th-10th November 2019

We’ve had a glorious weekend of weather, for a change, although there were sharp frosts each morning when we woke up.

The majority of the gang have been up at Fen Bog this weekend, assisting Martyn Cannings and the PW team relay the track there.  The work consisted of changing all the sleepers for new ones, fixing the chairs thereon and then reinstating the rails.  All the old sleepers were also stacked neatly out the way, to be recovered later. We will be back there next weekend as well.

Back at the Station we had the Velocipedes on Friday and Saturday, riding between here and Newbridge.  Around 10 contraptions took to the rails – including one from Spurn Point with sails on Friday!  Weighbridge Teas were open on both days and were kept busy by all the riders needing hot drinks, pasties, sandwiches and cakes.

The General Room floor has been given a final 2 coats of varnish, to finish it off.  Inside the Volunteer Accommodation the wooden floor has been given a thorough sand down, and 4 coats of varnish, to give it a smarter appearance.

Work on manufacturing the final wooden planter surround has continued over the weekend.

We have also been working today between Platelayers cottages and just short of Newtondale Halt with a flail tractor.  The trackside has been given a good cut back where new scrub was re-growing as well as tackling areas we had not got to yet as part of our major clearance works.  Several thickets of blackthorn were dealt with, making our future works much more pleasant to deal with.

A large fire on Saturday afternoon and evening disposed of the old rotten fencing and general woody garden rubbish – cut back roses in particular(!).  A dozen Wombles enjoyed a three-course dinner, and a few fireworks were also let off, to celebrate Bonfire Night.

2nd, 3rd November 2019

Saturday dawned dry, allowing us to hang out our marquee sheets which are still wet from Wartime Weekend.  Most of these are now dry and put away, but some still need another dry day, sometime, to dry out thoroughly.

The General Room floor has been given 5 coats of satin varnish, to smarten it up and get it ready for the winter.

With poor weather arriving Saturday afternoon, it was time to retreat under the marquee sheets covering the Mink van.  All the steelwork on the West and South sides has been wire wheeled clean and given a coat of metal primer.  The Wagon Group have been down and stripped all the brake gear off the van for it to be road transferred to Pickering for a thorough clean down and repaint.

The gardeners have been trying out a new tool – a large drill for planting bulbs!  This has allowed quite a few daffodil and tulip bulbs to be quickly put in, without damaging the rest of the plants nearby.  Elsewhere on the platforms, the beds continue to be tidied of dead growth ready for the winter.  Not at the Station, but on the roadside approaching it, the ditch has been cleared out to keep the water in it and not all over the road.  This is especially important as winter approaches – we don’t want a slippery hill! 

Back at the Station, the second wooden planter box has been receiving several coats of fence paint in readiness for its installation in the spring.  North of the level crossing, the stored second hand timber fencing has been re-sorted and poor pieces put aside for burning.  We hope to have a good fire next weekend, weather permitting!

Weighbridge Teas were busier this weekend, even though the weather was still not brilliant.  Don’t forget that they will be opening especially next week, on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th November, as we have a group of Velocipedes based at the Station.

26th, 27th October 2019

We’ve had another wet weekend, will it ever dry up?  We’ve had to do quite a bit of work inside; several sections of metalwork have been wire wheeled down and then given a coat of paint.

On Sunday most of the gang were again dispatched to Trout Farm to help the S&T lay their new troughing, as part of the YMJ resignalling works.

Weighbridge Teas had a quiet very weekend, with few visitors about to keep them busy.  They will be opening especially on the 8th and 9th November as we have a group of Velocipedes based at the Station.

19th, 20th October 2019

Monday this week was spent dismantling the contents of the yard marquee.  All the picnic benches, the kitchen equipment, and the bar equipment had to be moved out of the hired marquee as it was due for removal on the Tuesday.  The dishwashing equipment and sinks also had to go away, to allow the kitchen tent to be dismantled.  All went well though, helped by some labour from the S&T to hump the equipment around.

It’s been a damp weekend, again!  The kitchen tent sheeting, which went away wet last weekend, was hung on the fence to dry out.  Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas.  We will now have to try again next weekend.  The Junior Volunteers came to help us again on Saturday, putting equipment back into its rightful place.  This included the kitchen tent poles, all the picnic benches, the temporary flooring, the bar, and all the beer tables.  They even found time to unload a delivery of loco ash and spread it around the new shed, level the ballast in the siding where the tamper had disturbed it, and lop some scrub!  We have finally got rid of all our scrap as well; as a return load back to Grosmont for the pick-up truck, we loaded all the scrap on board and then unloaded it into the MPD scrap skip as dusk fell.

The General Room floor has been given a good sanding to remove scratches and stains.  Hopefully over the next few weeks we will get several coats of varnish on the floor to reseal and protect it.

The repainting of the Mink has commenced, with primer applied to the bare patches on the West side.  A first coat of grey undercoat then followed to the woodwork.  We will be steadily working our way around the van as time and labour permit.

We have been helping out the S&T this weekend.  Several of our team went down to Pickering to cut down scrub, dig a trench, and install concrete troughing.  As some of our team are digger certified they were able to use a hired mini digger to do the digging and levelling, plus lifting some of the troughing units around.

After a busy weekend over Wartime, this weekend was decidedly quieter for Weighbridge Teas.  It did give them time to tidy up the Tea Hut and get it ready for the winter though.

11th-13th October 2019

We’ve had a more successful Wartime Weekend than last year.  We were joined this time by the Milites Hallamshire Battalion group, who set up their camp on the very wet land next to the level crossing.  They gave gun and hand grenade demonstrations for our visitors, as well as tours of their accommodations.

The British Restaurant was again in operation in the Yard, whilst the British Restaurant Cash and Carry outlets (Weighbridge Teas and the Tea Hut) provided the take away service. 

The paddock hosted the Dance Hall; with performances from The Knightingales and a pop-up theatre performance about an evacuee from Hull.

The preserves stall, selling home made jams and chutneys made with produce from the Station gardens, was quite successful on Saturday. We didn’t set up the stall on Sunday due to a lack of undercover space!

Although Saturday was good weather wise, both Friday morning and Sunday were disappointing.  This no doubt had an effect on the number of visitors who joined us on Sunday.

All we have to do now is get it all dismantled and put away on Monday so the hired in marquees can be taken down in Tuesday.

5th, 6th October 2019

We’ve had another weekend of contrasts; dry on Saturday and wet on Sunday.  Contractors erected the 2 marquees during the week – one in the paddock for the ‘Other Side of the Tracks’ pop up show and bar and one in the Station Yard for the British Restaurant.  Most of the weekend has been spent fitting out the British Restaurant with the bar accoutrements, the canteen tables and the kitchen.  The canteen tables are 22 of our picnic benches, fetched from around the Station by the Junior Volunteers (JVs).  They also brought the flooring for the kitchen and washing up shed.  The latter is our kitchen tent, which the JVs helped erect and fit out.  All the kitchen electrical equipment was PAT tested as part of its annual check up this morning.  Connecting the water has been challenging.

Weighbridge Teas had a quiet weekend compared to last (and probably next).  It has given them time to prepare everything for next weekend.  They are on site from Thursday, getting the final touches into place before opening on Friday morning for all our visitors.

22 jars of crab apple jelly were made on Saturday; look out for the preserves stall selling various home-made jams and chutneys – made with our Station produce -if you’re joining us next week.

Remember, there is NO PARKING at Levisham Station next weekend and only limited parking on the Moors above the Station, particularly as everything is saturated at present.

27th-29th September 2019

Well what a Gala, lots of engines and lots and lots of people!

With an intensive timetable, double headers, top and tailing, passenger and freight turns there was plenty for everyone.  There was also a beer festival at Levisham and Goathland on top of the usual catering facilities.

At Levisham the Womble Inn was again open for business in the General Room offering a selection of 6 real ales, wine and cider.  Both the Tea Hut and Weighbridge Teas were open, and they had a bumper long weekend, with extra supplies required on both Saturday and Sunday!  With showers on the Friday and lots of rain forecast for the Sunday, we put up our small tent next to the Weighbridge to provide additional shelter from the weather, which was gratefully received by many visitors.

Work continued elsewhere around the Station.  The first of the new planter boxes for the rear wall of the up platform outside the Booking Office has been completed, sanded and painted.  The second is now well on the way.  Further down the line we have continued work on the lineside fence damaged by the cows.  More posts and rails have been replaced, the former with old good recycled ones, the latter with new rails – we have run out of good recycled ones.  All the picnic benches have been removed from the paddock in readiness for the Marquee being installed for Wartime Weekend later this week.  The Station Yard will also be closed on Friday for the erection of the British Restaurant marquee.

We have been assisting the railways Wagon Group shunting the yard and have taken delivery of another box van, a GW Mink, a cattle wagon and a brake van!  They have all come for minor repairs and repaints, something we, the JVs and the Wagon Group will be co-operating on.  We have installed scaffolding around the Mink and then sheeted the whole thing over to keep it dry.  A full sand down and the replacement of the odd plank is required before a repaint into GW livery can commence.

21st, 22nd September 2019

We were honoured by the presence of Royalty at Levisham on Friday, no lesser than a monarch – King Edward II!  He looked remarkably well, considering his age.  We look forward to him gracing our Station next weekend as well.

The bar accoutrements have been moved into the General Room; the bar itself was given a good sand down and repaint/revarnish for the event.  The Womble Inn will open at 11am on Friday morning, all being well, with a selection of Real Ales, Cider, and Red and White wine available to consume.  It’s also possible to take some away with you in our handy 1 and 2 pint containers.

Weighbridge Teas and the Tea Hut will be open from Thursday to Sunday inclusive, to support the LNER day and 3 day Steam Gala.  They have been busy getting their outlets and wares ready for all our visitors.

Elsewhere, the fence alongside the road opposite the cottage has been adjusted to return it to vertical.  Three of the posts were rotten at the base so have been changed for new ones.  The fence has been given a coat of wood preservative to help it last a bit longer.

The east side of the Palvan has received its second top coat, sealing the van from the weather.  The Booking Office veranda has had the hand rail painted in black gloss, whilst the base area had had its paint ‘topped up’.  The cream woodwork probably now needs a repaint to brighten it up.

The signage for the British Restaurant has been brought out of store and the framing given a repaint to match the colours on the sign.  Further frames for the posters have been manufactured and will be made, painted and assembled as a homework project by one of the Wombles.

Tidying up of the gardens continues, with weeding making a pleasant change from tackling the roses.  A LOT of plums, green tomatoes, elderberries, and damsons have been converted into chutney, cordial and jam.  We nearly ran out of jam jars and did run out of sugar, even after borrowing some from the neighbours!

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