Monday Activity at CRC

Dear Bill,
With much of the workforce away (including this scribe) I suspect it was slim news pickings from the the Saturday team at CRC station. I understand that the few Saturday faithfulls were faced with race day crowds, a large wedding party and a final scramble by friends and workers to use up share holder tickets. I gather that to say the trains were well filled is a major understatement – perhaps when Broadway opens we will require 10 coach trains?
Today Dave Griffin and I were on the early Monday morning shift. Dave seeking to finish the preparation and repainting of the 2 sections of spear fencing near our entrance and yours truly intending to finish the final part of the Ticket Office front panel repair. Dave completed the rubbing down and spot priming of the railings this morning and this afternoon we finished undercoating one of these sections.
One more day like today and this long running task could be completed.
 After lunch we were reinforced by 5 more of our workforce with Mike on the brush (and making tea), supported by Ian and John.


Chris and Dave (T) were also out and about on various tasks on the estate, but sadly my shot of Chris’s work on the top of the embankment failed to transfer to this medium and my temporary employment on painting tasks resulted in no further images.
The morning sunshine let me finally finish the detail work on the front panels of the Ticket office and for good measure the replacement sole plate woodwork installed by Westbury Homes for us nearly 20 years ago was given a treatment of preservative before the new cladding and end caps were installed. My thanks to Dave and Ian Anderson from C & G Cladding for their free gift of these materials.
PS. The wire mesh cage on our Platform 2 flower bed is working well. As at 1600 hours today the score was Rabbits Nil, the cage “Won”.

Saturday 28th October 2017 – and then there were two!

Circumstances conspired to absent many of the CRS Volunteers today, including all of our routine bloggers! This meant  that the remaining ones were landed with twice the work!

See below

However, normal service will resume next week, when I hope we can give you  a post with some extras!




Hello Bill

Not much to say about Saturday really, see below


Then there were Two

A quiet day for volunteers with Colin Willats and myself. Colin carried on with gardening tasks and I tackled the brambles on the Platform 2 embankment with the strimmer. The weather was sunny and pleasant as we watched the carpark filling up with race goers whilst drinking our tea. We were impressed by the costumes worn by some of the passengers for the Spooky Special trains including spider hats and several witches hats.


Many thanks


Monday, 23rd October 2017

Dear Bill,
    A short report on the Monday team activities at CRC Station. I counted nine bodies at work this afternoon, mostly involved with gardening and pine needle clearance activities. No images of the latter since I am sure that our BLOG followers are becoming tired of images of our Billy Goat clearing the platforms. Today his handler was Alan, who judging by the noises emanating from said machine was adopting a gentle touch on the regulator with frequent “cut-offs” to give some respite to the new half engine. I wondered “does one have to run in a “half engine”?”  or is this nicety reserved only for “whole engines”? Answers please (with donations) to the Cheltenham Department.
     Elsewhere around the Platform 1 estate Mary, Mike, and Colin were removing weeds from the garden beds and planting some new colour into the spaces thus created. Following up behind these activities Dave Tomlin  was feeding the obligatory bonfire with the results of the pine needle collection and weeding.
    Ros was weeding and dead heading in the Platform 2 garden beds and following an excursion to a half price sale of plants this morning was adding some new colour to this area of the estate. We have had considerable problems with hungry bunnies on Platform 2 and many young plants have succumbed to their sharp teeth and keen appetites. We know from bitter experience that they love Sunflowers and are even partial to the odd lavendar bush, or six. This afternoon “Plan B” was activated and some of our unused weldmesh fencing acquired in the early days of the station restoration, was fashioned into a cage. This is  not to keep Peter Rabbit in, but to keep him out. The result is shown below, we now wait and see how resourceful our little furry neighbours are. If successful more of the fencing currently in storage may have to be fashioned into new cages.
    Dave Griffin (bless him) read my plea in an earlier blog entry and completed the top coating of the lower sections of the repaired Ticket Office facia panels. Being a perfectionist Dave was not entirely happy with the result given the damp weather, but I think that it looks super. – Thank you Dave. I will replace the white ground level skirting with new cladding in the next week.


    Now there is the little matter of the other bit of facia on the right hand side of the worker’s room door to do before Christmas!
    Me thinks some TLC sooner rather than later is in order here also.
    Finally the project stores required to create a new service chamber for the water supply on the top of the Platform 1 embankment are now in the worker’s room ready to be buried in place of the old fittings – any volunteers for this task?
    One of our number, Mick Best has sadly been taken ill whilst with family in Australia and we know that Mick is following our Blog reports from afar. Mick we all send our good wishes and hope that you have a comfortable journey back to the UK next month.
Tim was on site this morning carrying out some further hacking and chopping of self seeded trees and brambles :
I am busy this afternoon so popped in for a couple of hours this morning with the intention of having a fire.  However, it was damp and windless, with what breeze there was blowing road-wards so I chickened out.  Instead I began the tedious task of dismantling the large pile of cuttings for future burning.  It may not look any tidier yet but I have done about half of the heap and, instead of whole trees, we now have separate piles of branches/logs and manageable bits of brash – see attached

Slim Pickings……

There were 8 of us on parade today at CRS and much of the  efforts  were going into cleaning up the platforms of pine needle debris. With storm Brian blowing a gale it seemed a thankless task!


Above – Andy  leading the charge…..

Whilst the clear up was in progress, the gardeners were doing there best to keep the weeds at bay and tend to the snipping and clipping to keep the gardens looking colourful before the frost finally comes to see off the flowers.


Above – a  less than flattering shot of Ros in action on the platform 2 borders. Sorry Ros….

I wandered down to review progress on the renovation of the pathway to the crossing at the northern end of Platform 1. Building Services have made excellent  progress and it would appear that it just needs surfacing to make it a job well done.



From Bob…..

    Having just seen OPHELIA depart north to Russia last week, today we had the pleasure of enjoying tropical storm Brian and the piles of pine needles that “he” and his aunt Ophelia have deposited on the station. This morning it was therefore many hands to the brooms, rakes and refurbished Billy Goat to collect the generous deposits of leaves and pine needles left on our platforms and trackbed by the high winds these storms have brought to us.
Above – Stephen
Above  – Maurice
A certain leader of the free world may not believe in climate change, I beg to differ – something is causing all these unusual storms.
We had a reasonable turnout this morning with Mike, Colin, Stephen, Andy, Maurice and Ros all involved in different ways with the cosmetic clear up before the first passengers for the Food and Drinks Fayre at Toddington arrived. The car park at our station was filled to overflowing this morning so we can assume that we have contributed to another successful special event on our railway.
    Elsewhere Mary and Ros were at work weeding and de-needling the flower beds on the Platform 1 ramp and on Platform 2. It may be windy, but it remains warm enough to encourage new growth both with the weeds and with the flowering plants that continue to provide some colour.
    POD 2 (our Paint and Painting materials storage unit) refurbishment was completed this morning, the last task being to resolve why the extractor fan units were not working. This has not been a problem in the cooler months, but we have concerns that during a long hot and sunny summer (Well we can hope!) there will be a need to keep this storage area cool in order that our costly paints are not spoilt. In the event (but only after taking the control unit apart first ) it turned out to be a simple mechanical problem that was quickly resolved by resiting some newly installed racking.
    Clearance of the worker’s room continues and here also an end is in sight. I say “an end” since other people’s treasures keep arriving on our few flat surfaces and “the end” continues to elude me!
    Following on from the clearance activities, my day inevitably concluded with a trip to the recycling centre in Town with a car full of unwanted “stuff”. I was fortunate that a brief shower of rain had just preceeded my arrival and the car park was nearly empty. This facilitated an unusually quick visit, not a normal occurrence for a Saturday afternoon.
    My thanks to Dave Griffin for continuing to follow up on my repairs to the front of the Ticket Office by applying top coat gloss white to the rebuilt area. If I find enough other tasks to do (and the weather calms down) he may just also finish the 3 panels in stone colour for me ? – Thank you Dave.

Monday – Red Sun Day!

Dear Bill,
    A short report covering the small Monday Gang activity at our station yesterday and the follow on today.
    Despite its high priority with Autumn rapidly showing its teeth, yesterday was not for painting railings – or anything! With the outer edge of tropical storm (once a Hurricane) Ophelia swirling around our station yesterday any painting would have been well peppered with pine needles and flying dust. It was however acceptable for gardening and Mary, refreshed after a holiday in Brittany, was catching up on the flower pots and beds adjacent to Platform 1.
    Up on the embankment Ian having swept some of the rapidly falling pine needles moved on to watering the Hawthorn slips that we have planted along our fence line.
As these youngsters continue to grow, further down the embankment Tim was redressing the balance of nature cutting down and burning some of their big brothers and sisters who have invaded from the fenceline onto the embankment. The pile of “cuttings” continues to grow, albeit the bonfires Tim has been feeding are just about keeping abreast of his clearance activity.
    Having been banned from painting the repaired panels on the front of the building,  which I found resplendant in 2 tone undercoat courtesy of Dave Griffin whilst I was away, I restarted the smoke alarm replacement task in the Ticket Office begun a couple of months ago. This did not go quite according to plan last night and I had to return today (Tuesday) to finish the task. My thanks to Andy Bint for turning out last night to debug the power supply issue I had encountered.
    Today our station was very busy with members (and their friends)  “cashing in” their shareholder tickets which run out at the end of this month, a couple of school WW2 visits accompanied by the “spy” who was duly arrested and send back to Winchcombe again and a coach tour – all good business.
Bob (with Images courtesy of Tim)

Saturday 14th October 2017 – An Ugly Duckling comes calling…..

Class 20 D8137 was on duty today –  I suppose somebody loves it….


Anyway,  a brief nosegay of activities at CRCS today.

Building Services continue to beaver away on the pathways to the crossing by the signal box. The wall on Platform 2 was finished on Wednesday and work started  in earnest today  on the pathway from Platform 1,

Apologies for the jaunty angle on the  wall photo – I was concentrating on it, rather than the overall panorama (hire a new photographer I hear you cry!)

Back on the car park boundary line Tim and Ben were doing battle with the brambles. A horrid task at the best of times but always worth a pose…..


More tidying up was in progress with the return of the Billy Goat. Here Stephen gently puts it though its paces on Platform 1. It was  revitalised with a new half motor, the old one having expired. We will have to stop using it for Formula 1….


Stephen having completed Billy Goat duties, moved onto the cutting with  the brush cutter.  Stephen emerged at the top just as I was driving home along the Evesham Road!


A good mornings work by anyone’s standards!

As ever, there was other work taking place across the site but not all captured by my lens. Next time chaps.



A Monday Morning Special….

A report from Bob Stark:-


Dear Bill,
    A few lines and a couple of images on the “goings on” at our station yesterday. It never ceases to amze me how many people travel considerable distances to travel on our trains on closed days. On monday I went up to the station early to continue the building repairs whilst the station was supposedly quiet, but the first prospective passenger arrived at 9.30am and were very disappointed that we were not operating – the frequently asked question is why? On responding that we are all volunteers operating the railway my FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) is “did you not look on our website before travelling” in virtually all cases it is NO, some of them even having a copy of our timetable in their hands. Nuff said. A lovely couple of gentlement stopped my “play” for nearly an hour having travelled from the north of England and wanted to know all about our Railway and will be returning next year to travel to Broadway. They made a donation to our work, so thank you gentlemen.
    Now to other matters. I resprayed the last survivors of the Mares Tail weed on both sides of the track by the signal box and tackled the new growth of the prickly dandelions on the Platfrom 2 embankment. I suspect that we will be treating this area for some years to come given the amount of seeding and soil movment that has taken place in this area, When the Monday gang arrived after lunch, many hands were employed sweeping the pine needles from ramp and area around the booking hall in the absence of Billy Goat. Charles and Ros were working in the gardens on respective sides of the track – no pictures today I’m afraid.
    Up in the “jungle” areas of Platform 1 Tim was continuing his assault on the years of invasive growth of blackthorn and hawthorn bushes, burning as he goes as can be seen in the image below. On Saturday, Tim and Terry collected 3 full bags of litter from the cleared hedgeline, the result of many years of access denied. Clearly it is not just the Oceans that are suffering from non-degradable plastic


    In the background of this image a steel galvanised pipe can be seen rising from the ground. This formed part of the original GWR early 1900s system of providing water for the two toilet blocks that once stood on our platforms. A small diesel pumping  engine was located down by the stream that passes through our embankment to the north of the station and river water was pumped up this pipe to a small header tank that fed the toilets. Many years later a 3/4 inch copper pipe was laid from the water supply on the Evesham Road to replace the stream supply and we reused this copper pipe to provide the “new” supply for the station building on Platform 1 when we needed a water supply for the Ticket Office building. The challenge was locating all the buried stop cocks along the 300m route of this pipe and making sure that they were in the “on” position – the one that was not took several weeks to locate.
    The image below shows the measure of Tim’s challenge – and his success!
    After tackling a few other small jobs around the site I finally got back to the front of the station building restoration, this time  caulking all the  new joints. With a measure of luck we will perhaps get some undercoat on the refurbished woodwork this week.
    Finally Dave and Roger continued the work on refurbishing the spear fencing railings in front of our storage bins and a couple of the wooden fencing sections were rehung on the completed fence panels.
And a comment from one of the hardworking Monday  Carriage Cleaners:-

Hi Bill,

It made me smile to see Bob’s comment about prospective passengers turning up on Mondays expecting trains.  When we are carriage cleaning at Toddington on Mondays we have exactly the same problem!  And in our case they have passed FOUR “Closed” signs to get to the platform (the side gate to the platform is open to allow access for business visitors).  Several with American accents assure us they have come all this way just to be able to ride our railway on a Monday!!  With the internet today it is not difficult to check opening times, but still they come!





The first message of the day is to our colleague and friend Mick Best – who is in Australia – and it is from all the gang at the Racecourse Station: our ‘Best Wishes’ (apologies for the usual weak pun), ‘Get Well Soon’ and we look forward to hearing your version of ‘The Crystal Chandelier’ (again)!

In addition to those above (Tim, Maurice, Terry, Colin, Bill & Steve) also present this morning we had Bob & Ros, Dave G (as Station Master) and Ben (in the Shop).  It was Diesel Gala Day so the trains were whizzing in and out with alarming regularity.   The weather has been pretty inclement recently which means – at this time of year at CRCS – leaves and pine needles all over the place.  Missing from our list of helpers above was Billy, who’s off sick for the moment and acting the goat elsewhere.  So it was like old times with all hands required to sweep the platforms clean of debris,  whilst avoiding dumping it onto the line (causes trackside fires):

Elsewhere, Terry and I were into further clearance at the top of the Platform 1 bank – where having removed the live vegetation we are left with the dead stuff and, irritatingly, accumulated rubbish: heaps of polystyrene cups, plastic bags etc.  My suspicion falls on nearby stall holders during the Cheltenham Festival who may ‘accidentally’ have left their waste behind. Grrrr – not how we want to spend our Saturday monrings! Anyway, it’s all looking much tidier and, like all these tasks, will be so much easier now we can keep on top of it.

Bob and Ros had in mind their usual tasks, beautifying Platform 2, but I managed to catch them both before they escaped:

I was actually trying to capture the train really:

So here is another view of Freightliner 1995 plus the increasingly impressive ‘entrance’ to Platform 2 – courtesy of Pete and the gang from Building Services.

And finally, another diesel snap plus a shot of Colin doing his David Attenborough impression in the forest around the Klargester pit.

So with that, and a general feeling that another railway season is drawing to a close………’s goodbye from me and it’s goodbye from them.



Meanwhile, rightly concerned that I might fail to represent the work carried out properly, Bob has written his own inject:

As promised a couple of images from the work ongoing this morning at the station for the blog.


Above Ros is planting spring bulbs on the embankment above Platform 2 (the ground is like concrete, hence the post hole digger).Capture2

The second image is how far I have managed to proceed with the repair to the lower front panels of the Ticket Office – between digging holes for bulbs that is. The damaged wood has been treated and hardend. A new sloping surface has been created with fibreglass to ensure that the water runs off the bottom rail and does not collect in the joint with the panelling as before. Another few hours of preparation, filling and priming will be required before we can apply a weatherproof topcoat. My thanks to John Leeson for manufacturing new corner pieces for me on planed timber kindly donated by Messrs Bence and Sons and to Dave Griffin for making a special journey to get me a new tin of primer when he had many other tasks to do yesterday preparing for the Diesel Gala.



Wednesday 4th October 2017 – Hadrian’s Wall?

Not quite Hadrian’s Wall but looking impressive, the Building Services Department continued with the Platform 2 retaining wall. These photos were supplied by BS member Jim Hitchen and a more detailed report will be found on the Building Services Blog.

Building Services

In the course of work, an Elliotts lorry turned up to remove the pile of surplus ballast at the end of Platform 1, destine for platform filling at Broadway. What will Tim and Ben do now for exercise?