15 Jun – Drained!

I suppose it’s one of the joys of working as a volunteer at the Racecourse Station that you never quite know who or what will turn up.  I popped in for a morning’s stumpery today and was – via email – diverted onto finding a leak.  And I couldn’t – find it that is!

There appears to be a slight seepage down the bank behind the ticket office at the Station.  Only a dribble really but enough to set the alarm bells ringing – not least because it hasn’t rained much for some weeks and the sight of a muddy patch suggests all is not well somewhere farther up the slope.  So I was dispatched with spade in hand to dig around.  The guidance (form Bob) was helpful but slightly vague: ‘……..the foul water pipe emerges from the building here and enter the compound there (about 25 yards away), so the pipe must lie somewhere between, but could be up to 4 feet down!’.  Thanks!

So, off with the chamber lid – screws all rusted up naturally!IMG_20180615_101903

And naturally the pipe emerges at quite a different angle;  probably a bend a bit further on said the guru, before departing!  Anyway, I pressed on with the one slight benefit being that theses slopes aren’t comprised of the hard intractable  native clay which one finds just below topsoil elsewhere – in fact they are quite easy to dig for a couple of feet down. So I dug and then I dug some more………………………………………………………and then carried on digging.IMG_20180615_115151

Eventually, I unearthed (or at least revealed) several pipes – criss-crossing the slope somewhat but basically heading downwards (unsurprisingly!).  All the soil was damp, some slightly wet.  Hmm – where was the leak?  So feeling full of initiative I worked my way up from the seepage only to find a large tree in the way –  drat it!

So I resigned temporarily and went to watch a train: Foremarke Hall to be precise:IMG_20180615_113510

On a ‘Footplate Experience’ run.  And as usual all the customers were bright and cheerful:

I laboured on and produced more holes (test pits as they are known on ‘Time Team’), which may or may not fill with water overnight.  Looks rather like there’s been a badgers’ all nighter and they haven’t cleared up.  I bet readers just can’t wait to hear what was leaking!  I promise to let you know if we ever find out.

However, in conclusion I note, not for the first time, that there is more to running a railway than meets the eye.  Some serve by escorting happy passengers on joyous steam journeys; some by hard labour of digging holes and clearing out foul water pipes!



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