9 Nov – Pine Nuts!

We love pine trees here at Cheltenham Racecourse Station. Absolutely love them and, in fact, we are thinking of starting a Cheltenham Pine Tree Appreciation Society (The Cheltappers). This is because they provide us with so much activity – all year around. Pine tree worship is only a blog away.

Today for example, when we could have been inside doing a bit of calm decorating or rearranging the model train display, we were out on the track bed raking and sweeping oily clumps of pine needles into dumpy bags! Just for fun.


Pine piles – rather like religious icons but less tidy


Pine bales – a jolly good alternative to straw bales for the self-builder?

Next week, if it wasn’t for the Race Meeting, we might very well have been doing the same thing. And do you know what? It doesn’t seem to make a blind bit of difference how many you remove there are always more to come. Talk about leaves on the line!


And here’s the Cheltapper-in chief with the traditional gear on!

Seriously though, considering the forecast, there was a good turnout with Dave G, Dave T, Steve, Bob, Ben, Andy B and Mike on pine parade. Andy and Bob were, I think, busy prepping the Christmas lights, Dave G on ticket office related duties and Steve maintaining stuff. Which left Mike sweeping the pine straw down the steps to the platform and self, Ben and Dave T on track bed cleansing.


Here’s a bit we’ve ‘done’ and a bit we haven’t. Spot the difference.

We concentrated on the ‘four foots’ not the ‘six foot’.  For the uninitiated – like me until I had it explained this morning – that’s the gaps between each set of rails, rather than the gap between the up and down lines. And as for the trackside itself: right down on our priority list but we’ll get there.

Still with all that oil and pine sap it should make a decent fire when we get round to it. And when it stops raining for a day or two – if it ever does.  If you see or hear about  dense smog descending on Southam you’ll know we’ve decided to have a pine bonfire.

Ben did ask the question as to what would happen to all this debris if we had the odd full-sized, top speed, mainline monster whizzing through the station at 100mph? A good thought, and worth seeing if we can hire one for the day perhaps.  I dare say there would be so many other consequences the disease would be worse than the cure, what with ORR and all. Never mind we can dream, or invent a specialist pine hoover? (The Dyson Pine Vac – only £249.95  and an essential Christmas gift for the volunteer who has lost the will to live got every other tool imaginable.)

By the time I left (early) the cold, the persistent drizzle had returned and I fear my colleagues might quite reasonably have decided that a couple of hours outside was quite enough.  There’ll be plenty left to do on Monday, and next week. and the week after…..

Still, musn’t repine,


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