3 Feb: Training of a different kind – brushing up our skills!

Now regular readers may have observed that I don’t know much about trains but when it comes to training I am closer to my professional comfort zone.  So no apologies for majoring on today’s activities which consisted of a brush-cutter training day for Dave T, Andy B, Steve and myself.  Meanwhile Ben kindly continued to clear brambles ‘for real’ whilst John was fettling the garden tools and conducting early season prep.

However, the 4 trainees assembled at 0930 for a safety brief and introductions from John our trainer.  And, without wanting to sound patronising, a very interesting and entertaining day it proved to be; the key being that the content was practical, pragmatic and professionally  delivered – but with due regard to the aged and (in other fields) experienced participants!  Here’s the man himself engaging the audience:

And like all great skills-based courses we went from (just enough) theory to demonstration and then practice.  Of course, all proper health and safety requirements were both discussed and then observed but with the realism required for the intermittent nature of our duties at the Racecourse Station.


There was a slight excess of dayglo orange on display!

After bit of practice and suitable explanation on such useful matters as fuel mixtures and how to sharpen the metal blade properly (as opposed to guessing or just not bothering – anyone else guilty?) we adjourned to the high bank behind Platform 2.

Some suitably wild patches of bramble and elder were reduced, and the result if not exactly bowling green standard is certainly much neater and more easily kept in check.  And of course it’s always useful to spend some time chatting to a professional in the business of keeping nature at bay – lots of ideas were thrown around.  The bottom line is we have a very considerable area of estate to maintain and much of it on steep slopes: never likely to be easy and inevitably labour intensive.  That said, the net result is that we are all better qualified to share some of the strimming/brush-cutting tasks which face us.

I should also report that the contractors hired to put the tarmac down on the splendid new path (thanks B&S) at the end of Platform 1 had been in action during the week – producing good results. Here it is just beyond the GWR notice:IMG_20180203_142253

Yours, still looking forward to a dry Saturday,


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