A Sunny August Bank Holiday Saturday

For once the August Bank holiday looks to be set fair, weather-wise. Saturday often sees  the volunteering gang depleted, as members take a last break for the season or attend  to family commitments. However, there were nine in attendance and much of the efforts went into the continuing battle to keep the vegetation and weeds in check.

When I arrived the Avon Scaffolding  team were well on their way to removing all of the the scaffold from around the Ticket Office.


This meant that the roof repainting was completed and that our pretty and unique  GWR Tickets Office could once more be seen in all its glory. It just remains for the walls to get a lick of paint and it will be ready to do battle with the winter elements once more.

At the northern end of the Station Site,  Building Services were busy on the  concrete infill of the crossing on the Malvern side.


It always amazes me how a relatively small team, lead by Pete Dickinson get so much done and still have a smile on their faces at the end of it! Nice one gents…

On other fronts Ben has been instrumental in tidying up the display cabinet in the ticket office, with a view to showcasing the GWR models donated to us.


Apologies for the poor quality photo – I tried to make all of the “what not to do when taking a photo” happen at once! Note these balsa models are not of any great monetary value, but they represent someones great modelling skill and clear love of all things GWR.

Yesterday Ben continued with the marathon barrowing exercise to complete the pathway to the compound.

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Oh to be that fit again!

I’m afraid my time was curtailed also yesterday, therefore that’s all I have to report, but please continue to follow our antics – the Autumn will be bring a new set of challenges.



Trains and Boats and Planes….

Bob and Ros Stark enjoying a well earned break in Canada, away from  their Cheltenham volunteering duties!


Bob says “This is more exciting than steam engines, but even noisier! Weather was glorious with fantastic visibility”.

It certainly looks a vintage seaplane (a DeHavilland Beaver maybe?). I’m wondering whether the sack truck is for transporting fuel or removing the human “wreckage” after the flight! Continue to enjoy your holiday folks……

Treading the Boards and All That!…..

After a somewhat enforced absence from duty for 6 weeks, it was good to be back among my volunteering chums yesterday. It was a  bright sunny morning and, as ever, the to-do list was long and winding.

For Tim and Ben the challenge of the morning was to reset the boards (sleepers) that bridged a dip in the pathway to  the storage compound underneath the the Evesham Road Bridge.


Some careful foundation work with  some  convenient rubble and some new retaining tubes, well driven in, saw the job completed. Well not quite, to complete the task it was necessary to retrieve some ballast from the north end of platform 1 (about 3 days camel ride) to fill in and stabilise other parts of the route into the compound.


Here Tim and Ben wend their merry way northward..

Back at the Ticket Office Dave G and Stephen were continuing with the never ending task of preparing and re painting the spear fencing. Not a very salubrious passing shot of Stephen hiding in the bushes at the rear of the fence!


Further along the gardening POD was getting a major refit from John  and I have to say  the result was a real work of carpentry art.


I’m sure all of the gardeners will appreciate the well thought out shelves, racks and bays. Nice one John.

Speaking of gardening, of course there is always much to done – weeds, flowers shrubs and trees grow at an alarming rate this time of year – no less so at the Station.

Terry led from the front yesterday with efforts to keep things looking neat and tidy beyond the station.IMG_0018

I would encourage you to to stop and enjoy the variety of colours on show.

As ever, other important activities were in progress which I either missed photographing or even missed all together! Sorry! I know for instance that we now have “hedgehogs” in the Ticket Office guttering, lovingly placed there by Dave T and Dave G. Naturally not the the four legged kind but bottle brush type material intended to keep the pine needles from blocking the gutter. Incidentally the Building Services team did a grand job on completing the TO roof this week – such an important maintenance task.

As well a Formarke Hall and tank loco 4270 in action, we had  extra steam visitors!

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These two excellent models are part of a  donated collection of locos, beautifully made from balsa wood and cardboard – how clever is that – my own skills only ever extended to Airfix kits!

Steamers of the day:


4270 picks up water.


Foremarke Hall runs around the second train of the day.


And the gang were all here, at Cheltenham Racecourse Station: 13 regulars (Dave T, Dave G, Mick, Mike, Tim, Ben, John, Terry, Maurice, Andy, Bob, Ros & Paul)  plus 2 more guest workers on the roof and another foreign team (from Toddington not elsewhere in Europe) down by the level crossing.  Just as well there was a coachload of passengers or the volunteers might have outnumbered us!  Just joking, of course, but a formal thanks to the teams from elsewhere within GWSR for their help.  What were we up to?  Well………

Personally, I should, of course, know better by now!  When the team leader sends out an innocent sounding email saying that ‘there are a few weeds’ that need clearing on the bridge.  I thought I’d get on with this task and have it done by the time anyone else arrived.  Big mistake.  Huge in fact!!

Two hours later, and having ‘recruited’ Ben, Terry and Andy along the way, the job was done.  A few weeds indeed!  Anyway, it looks much better.

Elsewhere, Dave G, the resident expert painter, was taking extreme measures to remove the existing layers:IMG_20170812_113144

And Bob and Ros were doing their usual sterling job on the Platform 2 gardens/embankment (I’m not sure why P2 always tempts me to take photos on an angle?!) :

B&S were busy with ‘big boys’ toys’ improving drainage and generally putting the infrastructure in better order.  We look forward to the delivery of the Fogman’s Hut for the base (bottom left).

I am sure there was much other activity – such as the roofers – which I didn’t record; but here’s Maurice doing his David Attenborough and just visible through the hedge line:

Plus the newly appointed Paint Store Pod – so much better from a Health and Safety viewpoint I imagine.

So, well done to the gang: ‘here to entertain you’!!!  (Go on sing it out loud!)

Regards to all,



It was a delight to see the Racecourse Station the hub of activity this morning as guest workers from other departments were hard at it on several projects.  Sadly, I didn’t learn any of their names so my work descriptions will be a bit short on attribution – apologies for that.  From the usual crowd there was Mick, Mike, Ros & Bob, Andrew, Mary, John, Steve and Paul.  (Dave T at a meeting and Dave G in charge of the Station!)

First the good news: Billy the Goat is back and no longer gruff – in fact he’s on top form, with Paul wearing a very fetching set of ear defenders:IMG_20170805_093537

Elsewhere, and having been away last week on holiday, I was dismayed to see that someone has carelessly let the vegetation run riot!!  You turn your back for a minute at this time of year and there are 10 foot brambles appearing from every possible location.  So Mary was busy removing weeds the far end of P1 whilst I tried vainly to chop the ‘hedge’ back to an old fence line:

Meanwhile, John was settled in into the Garden Pod further refining the racking system – in fact he was so cosy down there he didn’t come in for Mike’s preparations of tea/coffee & doughnuts!

Andrew was supervising Ticket Office roof renovations from on high:

On Platform 2 Bob and Ros were gardening and weed supressing, whilst a team from B&S were putting the finishing touches to the base for the ‘Fogman’s Hut’.  I hope there’s an unveiling ceremony on a suitably dank and dreich November day.IMG_20170805_093717

Steve was strimming (the GWSR equivalent of painting the Forth Bridge) while Mick reported that he had finished the shop fitting work and sealed the kitchen unit – very nice to get these last 2 tasks completed.

And finally, here’s the view from the roof: Racecourse looking verdant and Cleeve Common in the background.


Thanks to all involved.