A pleasant if not sunny morning greeted us at the Racecourse Station; autumn might be in the air but dry, warmish weather remains. As such there was still some watering to do and garden maintenance, though the pace of growth is slowing noticeably. We had another attempt at maintaining the Platform 1 embankment in a ‘useable’ condition – ie enough flat, grassy space for the workers to make their way down with a wheelbarrow. This picture below might not look much but it represents the outcome of much felling, clearance, strimming and even mowing – as well as the planting of new hedge. All of which was described in numerous previous blogs. Today was mainly hay making which should give the compost heap (or the bonfire) a good boost later on.
Anyway, the passengers continue to arrive in reasonable numbers – this was the lunchtime DMU departure with a small group interrogating the train staff about return trips, time at Broadway etc etc. All in a day’s work and very friendly. Which, I think, is a feature of life on the GWSR: people are interested in what we do (and why), enjoy the experience and they do ask questions. It is rare (though not unknown!) that people get irate – perhaps its the calming effect of the slower pace and attractive surroundings – maybe the NHS should prescribe steam train therapy?
And there’s more good news. Andy, after a very long stint and much help from others, has declared the hut paint scraping task complete! It now remains for our painting guru (Dave G) to declare his intentions as to the re-painting (primer, undercoat, top coat etc) and we can have an even more attractive, GWR original, hut at the end of Platform 2. Indeed, it could be the combined P2 ticket office, waiting room, shop, toilets and Station Master’s Office. I was, along with others, more than slightly sceptical, that the horizontal heap of rusting junk we picked up from a rail yard would ever be brought back to useful life. It is a tribute to Bill Britton’s vision and determination – as well as Andy’s abrasive efforts – that we have got this far. This is such an impressive milestone that it deserves 2 views:
For the close observer the lowest 6-9 inches may appear very rusty (and it is!) but there is a second strip of corrugating plate inside the original which is bolted in place. Hopefully therefore, the hut won’t deteriorate any time soon – personnally I think we are good for another 100 years – and it certainly wont blow away!!
In addition to Andy’s efforts much other good work was taking place by Dave T, Mary, Steve, Maurice, Mike and ‘new’ (to us) volunteer John – enjoying a tea break. Also present was ‘old’ volunteer Terry – just visiting for the morning and not dressed for work!
Others are away on holiday but back soon – I hope – for the autumn maintenance programme!