Saturday 4th November 2017

Dear Bill,
    Despite a dire first look outside the house this morning with rain teeming down, by the time we opened the gates of the station it was dry and we were blessed with by a great turnout of enthusiastic volunteers – twelve this morning.
    The main tasks of the morning were to install the new wiring in our underground ducts for our station Public Address system, erect the Christmas lighting on Platform 1 and the access ramp, finish rehanging the Larchlap fencing on the newly painted railings by the station entrance and to burn all the remaining cuttings from the trees removed from our fenceline at the back of the Platform 1 embankment. The goodly turn out enabled us to form teams to tackle all these tasks and as you will see below great progress was made.
    First on site this morning was Tim and by the time I managed to visit him he was already fire raising with kindling and some pretty damp twigs after the overnight rain. Despite my derogatory comments along the lines of “when will it reach V1 (ie take off speed) Tim soon had a useful “burn” going assisted by Ben.IMG_0063
    At that point I left Tim and Ben, but when Colin arrived I directed him in their direction to assist with the cutting up of all the trimmings that Tim had amassed over the last couple of weeks. They had a most successful morning and as can be seen from the next image below at the end of play there was only a pile of ash to show where a few hours before there had been mountains of branches. Great job Team Tim and thanks for the “after image”!
    Andy arrived with James and advised me he would be multi-tasking this morning, both supervising the installation of the Christmas lights and directing the many tasks that had to be completed to finish the rewiring of our station Public Address system. James picked up help along the way and by the morning he, Tony and Andy(s) had completed the erection of our “heritage” Christmas lights on the ramp and at the back of Platform 1. Sadly daylight images of low wattage coloured light bulbs do not do justice to their efforts, but once again we shall have a colourful entrance for our Santa visitors to enjoy in the weeks to come.
    The next task in this report concludes (well almost concludes) the long running refurbishment of the wrought iron “Spear” fencing adjacent to our station entrance. In my last report I reported on the loneliness of the long distant painter (Dave G). This morning Dave and Maurice finished rehanging the Larchlap fencing panels on the newly painted railings.

There is just the moving back of our signage storage bins against the fencing to do and it will be “task complete” Our thanks to everyone who has contributed to this long running task especially Roger who has had a period of ill health and not therefore seen the finished product.

    Meanwhile, multi-tasking Andy Bint was directing the support work of Stephen and I on the running in of new cables to support our Public Address system. For many years our “old” system had performed well, but perhaps due to old age, or climate change, it suddenly started throwing up faults and became very unreliable. Some of us volunteers know this feeling!
    The tasks this morning involved drawing 100ms of new cable through the underground duct from the Platform 1 building to the inspection chamber at the bottom of the ramp and drawing the cable from the inspection chamber in the image below through several small ducts up into the attic of the Ticket Office where it will be connected to our new Public Address amplifier.
    The first “all hands on deck” task was to draw the new cable through an already crowded 100m underground duct and remove the old cable. As you can see from the image below my task of ensuring the cables and draw cords moved smoothly into the duct was considerably less physically challenging than theirs of coercing the new cable to come to them. In my army communications days I would have used a small winch for this task, but two able bodies made an excellent substitute for technology!
With the cable successfully drawn into the duct, Stephen and I then set about rerouting the “ends” starting with the Platform 1 building. Here the cable was rerouted through our ducts and channelling into the attic where Andy could be heard worming his way between the low A frame beams pulling the cable through to the amplifier junction box. Having spent many hours in this uncomfortable environment in the past I can feel your pain Andy, but no sympathy!
    Leaving this end of the task in Andy’s hands Stephen and I set about drawing the new cable from an inspection pit near our entrance gate up and into the Ticket Office. With this accomplished we recovered some of the old Public Address system wiring within the Ticket office and rerouted it to a point where it can be joined to the new cable. This apparently simple task demanded that all our special events “props” be moved, tongue and groove chipboard flooring lifted and new holes drilled in the attic beams to permit the passage of the cables. A task for another day is to tidy the attic and put all the props back into their old locations. That was a task too far for us today – perhaps next week on a rainy day ?
     All in all a very successful morning’s work and my thanks to everyone, especially those who paused for a moment to let me take images of them smiling.