29 Dec – New Year Old Hut

There was a noticeable absence of volunteers this Saturday morning – despite quite reasonable weather.  Too much Christmas spirit or mince pies?  However, Dave G was Station Master, whilst others were busy with family commitments or seeking winter sun.  So it remained for just Steve, Ben, Mike, Andy M and myself to hold the fort.

There was good news to report down at thee hut end of Platform 2 – see below.20181229_123951


One side at least it is free from paint! Only the roof, the door and 2 other sides to go now!  Seriously though this has been real labour of love especially in recent weeks by Terry and today by Andy M (thanks for the photos).  Fingers crossed there will be a new coat of paint to refresh the appearance sometime in 2019!  Bill will be pleased.

Elsewhere, Steve was busy on the eternal round of maintenance, wheel fixing etc whilst Ben and I embarked on a new (or at least a new old) task.   We may be required to do some modest clearance at the very top of the Platform 1 embankment between the cleared area and our storage containers.  As such we decided to do some tidying and straightening!  Sadly (but not unusually) I forgot the before photos but here is the after:IMG_20181229_120239

Much improved – believe it or not!  And the results were: one dumpy bag of scrap wire:IMG_20181229_120245

One dumpy bag of general waste:IMG_20181229_120249

A much tidier work site and a general sense of satisfaction!  Anyway, we should now be able to see the wood for the trees if we are required to do any pruning back.

And by next Saturday another season will have drawn to a close.  Stand by for some bonfires!



8 Dec – Racecourse Christmas Spirits!

The Christmas spirits increase slowly week by week and so, it seems, does volunteer attendance at the Racecourse Station.  A full passenger load was apparent but the efficiencies of the ticket office staff and their elvish assistants in the car park seemed to make everything run smoothly.  And so it was on the tack with engines breezing in an out on a regular basis.  I noted that Dave G was head honcho on the Station Master front with a good quota of helpers elsewhere on the platform, in the shop and as always in the ticket office itself.  Customer satisfaction was assured or, if not it wasn’t for want of trying!  Well done all.

Meanwhile, lower down the food chain – so to speak – I spotted Dave T, Maurice, Colin, Bob, Steve, Dick, Ben, Andy and Mike – plus a small gang of visitors who, I think, were greasing the signal equipment and otherwise maintaining matters.

I did spot another ‘intruder’ on the far bank behind Platform 2:IMG_20181208_113908

Looks to me like an ent with an arm aloft – waving farewell to the 0940 perhaps!

Anyway, you might rightly  assume from the foreground that Ben and I were shifting  what our transatlantic cousins refer to as ‘pine straw’.  And here is the man himself filling the 430th dumpy bag of the season (or that’s what it feels like).  I dare say this afternoon’s gales will soon replace what we have cleared with another carpet.

As they say on the railway: ‘if a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing 3 times’.

Steve was, not unusually,  fixing things but this week I claim a world premier:IMG_20181208_112042

He’s reading the instructions first!  Before trying to put together what I believe is a salt spreader – for the imminent (?) icy weather.

I took a rare trip into the ticket office – normally full but with all the web-purchased tickets slightly less frantic than usual – where there was excellent festive atmosphere.


Guess who’s behind the screen? No, it’s not Santa!

And here’s an action shot of our leader Dave T working hard on his piles again.

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Don’t know why he’s so cheerful – bah humbug!

Only 4 trillion pine needles to Christmas.







1 Dec – Soggy Santa!

I couldn’t blame the majority of volunteers this morning for not turning up – it certainly was wet, wet and more wet.  However, a glimmer of brightness emerged by lunchtime and if we aged individuals were put off by the climate,  then the customers – young or old – were certainly not!IMG_20181201_120105

It could, of course, be that having bought your ticket, and wound up the children or grandchildren, you had little choice but to come along!  But, putting cynicism to one side, there was a great crowd in this morning to see the first Santa Specials and they seemed in great spirits.

Naturally, the engines were at the forefront in promoting the festive atmosphere and I think I spotted a dayglo elf in the car park too!

And look what was peeping up from the new hedge line on the Platform 1 embankment:IMG_20181201_104529

Not exactly Christmassy but a welcome sight in any case.

Most of our (Dave G, Bob, Steve, Ben and self) activities were aimed at preparing the  Station for the Specials and, given recent weather, there was plenty for the Billy Goat to get his teeth into.  Sadly some morsels proved a little too much and he had a slight bout of indigestion!  Luckily Steve was on hand to administer the mechanical equivalent of the appropriate tablets:IMG_20181201_102315

And lastly, if our workaday kit is a bit muddy and battered, I was struck by the comparison with the beautiful condition of the rolling stock:IMG_20181201_092703

A great credit to those behind the scenes who do so much to make the GWSR an impressive organisation.

More from the Winter Wonderland next week…..