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16th, 17th October 2021

Autumn is definitely here, with damp mornings and mist in the valley all day.

The black Palvan has received its second brown undercoat.  Minor filling of holes in the panels where screws were removed has also been done.  The first coat of late BR bauxite gloss has been applied to one side and both ends.

In the Yard, the rest of the digger trailer has been wire-wheeled clean and given a coat of primer.  The dumper has had a rear spotlight fitted as well.  The Junior Volunteers have dug the short trench for the drain from the toilet van to the main ‘sewer’.  Hopefully we can install the chamber next weekend.

In our storage shed north of the level crossing, new shelving has been fitted in No. 5.  This was started last summer but the reintroduction of the restrictions had put a halt to this!

Weighbridge Teas are still doing well, indeed they ran out of hot pasties today the demand was so high.  Just two more weekends left before they close for the season now, doesn’t time fly!

9th, 10th October 2021

We’ve had another great weekend of weather, even if it now gets chilly overnight.

We were sorry to say “goodbye” to Lucie on Saturday morning.  It was great having, and using, her over the gala and we look forward to seeing her next year.  Piglet and the loco crews certainly enjoyed themselves down at our Station, we just need to get that pit built now!

Work has concentrated on the black Palvan, with both sides and ends primed (in the case of the metalwork two coats) and then into its first undercoat.  Having scaffolding all round it does make life easier, even if we have to adjust the decks height wise to do the top and bottom.

In the yard, following the success of the lights on the dumper, a second light has been fitted to our mini digger arm so there is now one on each side.  We had noticed, when we were digging for the fibre cable in July, that at night it wasn’t always easy to see the bucket as half of it was in shadow.  Several small weld repairs have also been undertaken on our small tent frames.

To help display the books on the sales cart better a new set of shelves are being made and fitted.  The nuts and threaded ends on the green Palvan and toilet van have been primed and given a couple of coats of undercoat.

Weighbridge Teas had another good weekend with a steady stream of visitors , helped no doubt, by the good weather.

2nd, 3rd October 2021

It’s been the calm after the storm that was last weekend’s great gala.

The Junior Volunteers helped us pack away all the bar accoutrements and beer tent into the paddock store, with the strong wind in the morning drying out all the tent sheets following the heavy morning dew.

A start has been made on repainting the black Palvan now it has been sheeted over to keep it dry.  The west side and north end have been sanded down and the metalwork wire wheeled clean.  Metal primer has been applied to the cleaned down framing and a start made on priming the wood panels.

With the heavy rain on Saturday afternoon the opportunity was taken to begin dismantling the interior of the toilet van ready, for its refurbishment.  The interior door fames have been carefully dismantled, as has the old heating equipment and switches.  The exterior door adjustments have been completed, with the bolts cut back to the correct length.  The paintwork has been touched up where required.

Lucie is still with us and a couple of JVs have been polishing the copper pipework to keep her looking smart.  Piglet himself has been down to check up on her.  No doubt she will be off when he has time to move her.

The dumper truck now sports new headlights, which will be particularly useful now the nights are drawing in.  Further wire wheeling continues on the trailer, again thanks to the JVs, whilst timber planks have been cut and trimmed to go in the front end of the deck.

18th, 19th September 2021

It’s been another glorious weekend weatherwise, bar 1½hrs this lunchtime when it rained (but not too much!).

We have been working towards getting everything ready for the Steam Gala next weekend.  The two tank wagons used in the freight train have been shunted into our south yard for a spring clean.  They have been scrubbed and power washed to remove dirt and green growth.  Alongside this, our Camping Coach has also been given the same treatment and the roof has gone from green back to white!  Overall, it looks much better.

All the wagons in the siding have been checked and the axle boxes oiled, in readiness for the big shunt next week.

The grass has been cut around the Station, the down platform has been given a thorough weed, and more roses have been tied back.  Further strimming along the lineside north and south of the Station, and roadsides, is helping to give a neat and tidy appearance to our Environs.

The beer tent has been erected in the paddock and the bar set up inside.  The bar has been modified so we can now use 3 beer engines on it at once.  Again, everything has been given a good clean, as it’s over 2 years since it was last used.

With the number of storage units we now have, our key box was overflowing so a new, larger, one has been made up.

Work on the brake van continues, with the south end having the beading glued and screwed into place on the veranda.  The new floor has also been screwed down.  A cover patch has been fitted to the south end headstock on the LNER van to keep the water out of a large rotten section.  This headstock will need renewing, perhaps using our newly cut oak beams?

Weighbridge teas have had another good weekend, particularly on the Saturday with lots of breakfast paninis and ice creams in demand.

Both the Weighbridge and Tea Hut will be open for all 4 days of the Steam Gala, along with our beer tent.  The latter should have a selection from 8 real ales and a couple of ciders to whet your appetites.  Please come along and support us, drink our supplies and give a good boost to our sorely depleted funds.

11th, 12th September 2021

On the brake van new hardwood framing was cut and fitted to the south end veranda base, before the new planking was screwed into place on the inside face.  The screw holes have all been filled and the new plywood sheet for the floor there has been cut and trimmed to fit.  The edges have been treated with wood preservative.

The noticeboard and park bench for Stape Outstation have had their upper faces treated with another coat of teak oil.  A new piece of plywood has been cut and similarly treated for the back of the noticeboard.  Once the teak oil had dried off, the ply – along with 3 new pieces of fibre board – was fixed into place.  The noticeboard is now ready to return to Stape. A pair of recovered metal gate posts have been wire wheeled clean.

The lineside grass north and south of the Station has been given a cut to keep it neat and tidy.  Where the mower couldn’t reach the strimmer has been put to use.  The edges of the paddock were also given a good strim.

We have had a large fire today to dispose of the old van doors, rotten planks from Newtondale Halt, and gardening rubbish.  The area north of the huts is now a lot neater ready for the gala. All the bar accoutrements have also been checked, cleaned, and prepared for use in our Womble Inn beer tent at the upcoming steam gala

Weighbridge Teas have been busy again.  They are also planning how much they need to order to be ready for the 4 days of the Steam Gala.

4th, 5th September 2021

Work on the brake van is coming to an end.  The new steel bracing plates have been fixed into place and painted.  The cover strip has been similarly treated on the south end veranda, whilst the last of the handrails and bars have all been painted in white gloss.  The ply panel on the inside of the south veranda was well past its best and has been removed.  If anyone fancies a 1000 piece ply jigsaw, please get in touch!  Once the ply was gone the lower timber beam could be removed, again in 1000 very wet pieces.  This area will be left for a week to dry out before new hardwood framing is reinstated.

In readiness for the big shunt during gala weekend the timber stored underneath our stock has been moved and sorted, to ensure the wagons can safely pass along the siding.

A recovered hardwood point timber has been cut up to make 2 ‘blank’ timber baulks for the end uprights of our NER vans.  Further planing will be required to taper the beams from 4” square down to 3”x4” at the top.

The service of the digger is just about complete, with new or cleaned filters fitted as necessary.  This should stand it in good stead for the all the winter digging we have planned.

Work on tying back all the roses continues, as does general weeding along the platforms and around the weigh table and weighbridge.

Talking of the Weighbridge, they have again had a cracking weekend – with lots of visitors wanting to sample their wares.

W/E 30th August 2021

The brakevan repairs are continuing, with the renewal of the north end planking and the repainting of most of the steel grab handles.  The rotten planks on the east side are being steadily replaced.  The disabled toilet van east side door closing steelwork has been fitted once a final adjustment was made of the doors so they would close tightly.  Underneath, the wheelsets ‘W’ irons and axle boxes have been wire wheeled down, primed, undercoated and given a top coat of black gloss.  The tyre rims have been picked out in white gloss for that extra special finish.  Externally it is now virtually complete.

The Broadhead family have repainted most of the shock van bodywork, whilst we have tidied up the lettering edges on all vans.  Hopefully all these vans will be in the gala freight in a few weeks’ time.

The insulation panel has been fitted to the final paint shop Palvan door, complete with a timber frame.

Following the receipt of the spare parts, the mini digger has been put back together and is now complete with its new tracks.

Weighbridge Teas have had another very busy weekend.  On Sunday morning a large group of cyclists arrived, all wanting bacon butties and drinks – all before 9:30 in the morning!

14ht, 15th, 21st, 22nd August

Another fortnight has passed so quickly, but still the work goes on!

In the paint shop van, the first of the two doors has had the insulation panels fitted to the inside of it, with the edges trimmed with timber to keep it all secure.

The digger has come back to the Station for a service.  The new rubber tracks have been fitted to one side following, an overhaul of the components underneath.  The other side is waiting for a new idler wheel and fittings, as the bearing on the old one has disintegrated.  The oil and hydraulic oils are being checked and may get replaced whilst we are on with all this.  New filters will be fitted as a matter of course.

On the toilet van both east side doors are now fitted and two of the three holes for the door opening metalwork have been chiselled out and primed.  Not much more to do on this now.

We have been helping the Wagon Group fit the brake gear to their shock van in readiness for it going into the Gala freight train.  The north end of their brake van has also had the planking removed and the framework behind cleaned down, with rotten wood removed and scale on the metalwork chipped off.  New hardwood framing pieces has been made to replace the rotten pieces and will be screwed into place shortly.

We have been to Stape to recover a park bench and notice board from outside the old village hall (which was demolished several years ago).  These have come back to the Station for an overhaul and will be reinstated outside the Railway’s new Stape accommodation.

Weighbridge Teas had a cracking weekend, helped unfortunately by the failure of a train elsewhere on the line which meant the train stood here had a lot of thirsty passengers on board who all headed to the Weighbridge for sustenance!

30th, 31st July, 7th, 8th August

It’s been a busy fortnight at the Station and elsewhere.

The mini digger has been at work in the evenings at Kidstye, completing the tidying of the cable route from there to bridge 18.  Southwards from there the lineside was flailed so the required route of the fibre cable can be seen for another quarter of a mile.  The first 200 yards of the route was then dug, the cable installed, and backfilled.

Back at the Station, the trailer for the mini digger has had a minor repair and is ready for more service now.  We have been given a bunded fuel tank to allow us to have a diesel store for the digger, as we have a lot of work to do this winter digging in all the fibre.  This has been set up in the yard and is behind fencing and will be screened from public view.  A trench has been dug between the yard shed and container ready to install a power cable.

The fourth and final door for the disabled toilet van has been made, glued, screwed, and filled.  A couple of coats of undercoat have been applied, along with the first top coat.  The four hinges for the east side of the van have been wire wheeled clean and given a couple of coats of metal primer.  The drop bolt for the green Palvan door has been fitted, with a pair of holes through the horizontal beams necessary to line it up.

Weighbridge Teas have been ‘steady away’ this weekend, after a full 9 days of service keeping the JVs in drinks and food as part of the JV activities the previous week.  In between trade they have even had time to begin dead heading the roses!

24th, 25th July 2021

It’s been thankfully cooler this weekend after last weekend’s high temperatures.

The fourth door for the green Palvan has been fully bolted up, masticed, and the door catch bolted into place.  It now awaits a final touch up of top coat and the reinstallation of the insulation sheet on the door interior to keep it warm inside the van during the winter as it’s our paint store.

The third door for the toilet van has been screwed and glued together, with filler over the screw holes.  This is now ready for painting.  The framing for the fourth and final door has been cut out of hardwood sleepers and is now ready for putting together.

Grass cutting and gardening continues; the roses are still in bloom and looking splendid.

Weighbridge Teas started slowly on Saturday morning with few visitors but by lunchtime trade had returned to ‘normal’ and they were in full swing.

In readiness for more digging in of Stakka boxes on the lineside, on Sunday evening road stone was taken along the forest drive access road to fill in the pot holes.  The pole saw was also used to trim back overhanging branches which were touching the vehicles.  Sunday evening saw us working in Northdale installing said fibre connection box, along with improving the foot crossing there.  Lineside scrub was also cleared to improve sighting there.

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