In marked contrast with last Saturday this working day proved as nice and sunny as one could wish for and certainly better than average for the end of autumn/start of winter.   Perhaps the weather was trying to make up for the past few weeks!  As such a baker’s dozen of volunteers turned out to maintain the Racecourse station – between last weekend’s busy Cheltenham November meeting and the beginning of the Christmas specials on 2 December.  I managed to count Paul L, Dave T, Steve, Maurice, John, Ben, Mary, Colin, Andy, Dick & Mike and I am indebted to Bob Stark for the first picture whilst I have incorporated much of his narrative in this ‘joint effort’.

Steve finished erecting the christmas lights on the Platform 1 building and tested them – and they all worked!  Bob dismantled the large entry gate catch which we had been advised had become too stiff for station staff to open. Using a very (very) large spanner, some brute force followed by cutting and filing out some of the steel support post, the catch was relocated and the lock is now once again finger tight; precision engineering at its best! Here’s the previously offending article now fettled:


The pair of them then removed into the relative warmth of the Ticket Office attic to lay in a new length of cable in support of Andy Bint’s re-wiring of the station PA system. This work was accompanied by some chiseling and muttered oaths resulting from the cramped confines of the working space.  Andy B has been left to finish the rewiring when he has finished at Winchcombe. Finally, Bob finished the morning by grinding out a potential trip hazard on the P1 ramp while Steve carried on in the attic placing more insulation above the Ticket Clerk’s office and relaying some of the floor boards to provide a level storage surface.

Elsewhere Mary, John, Maurice and Colin were doing more autumn gardening in order to shift much of the dead annual growth and prune back the perennials. And speaking of perennials our other Andy had the very tiresome task of removing as much as possible of the pine needle debris from the track bed – endless, mindless and generally thankless!!  Here he is with one of his smaller piles:IMG_20171125_120658 (2)

Likewise Dick, Mike and Paul’s work to clean the platforms and slopes went unrecorded but certainly not unappreciated.

At the top of the P1 bank Ben was busy improving the fence line (after bramble/nettle/hawthorn removal) and then tasked with extracting the line of disused concrete posts – another backbreaker of a job!  Sadly (or not) these don’t generally come out in one piece and despite our best efforts we won’t be recycling any of these 3 – only about another 20 to go!IMG_20171125_115901

This is Ben musing on how to get the rest of the post out – to which there is no simple solution.

Yours, looking forward to seeing Santa next week.