10 Nov 18 – The Advent of Advent?!

The weather was nothing special on Saturday and the blog slightly delayed – due to one thing and another!  Anyway, a fair turnout of volunteers were scuttling around trying to make the place look respectable for the train services running next weekend (supporting a race meeting I believe).  And, given the current weather conditions, failure to keep the place at least reasonably tidy would mean that we would have to work doubly hard ahead of Santa Specials.  Here’s some of this weekend’s challenges:

Before:IMG_20181110_090247

After:IMG_20181110_101255Not perfect but respectable!

Elsewhere, the usual activities were ongoing and – one of those seasonal sights: Andy B and his box of bulbs. Gardening Andy?IMG_20181110_112944

No, not that sort, this sort:IMG_20181110_112955IMG_20181110_113002

Meanwhile there were mixed emotions in the tea break: pensive on this side…IMG_20181110_110733

and expansive on the other:IMG_20181110_110724

Hopefully, your normal blogmeister will be back in top condition by next weekend: best wishes to Bill.

Regards,

Tim

 

3 Nov – Still Pining!

It always seems to come as a sense of relief when the first train-free weekend of the close season occurs (even though Nov is really only a short break).  It’s a rather ungrateful sentiment of course, since we rely entirely on the interest and income from passengers for the railway to exist.  However, there no denying that we have an easier time for maintaining things when there’s no trains and few people!

Anyway, it was another decent crowd of volunteers and I spotted Steve, Dave T, Mary, Dave G, Bob, Bill, Wiley, Ben and Maurice.  There could have been others lurking about in the undergrowth with our local water tower team doing their thing plus a track walker inspecting his way from the Racecourse Station up the line (and cycling back).

I will, unapologetically, focus on the pine straw team (self, Ben and Wiley) who continued the apparently mammoth job of raking down the Platform 2 embankment.  As blog reader will be aware some trees have been removed but I can say I has made little difference as yet to the amount of debris!!IMG_20181103_090418

We are, I gather, replanting trees on a one for one basis! Oh good!

The method, such as it is, involves raking down the debris onto the track side, packing into Dumpy Bags and loading onto our rail trolley to move them up or down the line to the fire sites.IMG_20181103_101705

IMG_20181103_101735

Which is quite good fun until you meet an inconvenient set of points!  Anyway here’s the start of what will be a much, much bigger bonfire.

Also on the task list was a quick dig out of the steps beneath the arches under the Evesham Road bridge – which have a tendency to become part of the earthworks.IMG_20181103_090413

Elsewhere, the shed team report that water and power are now available – so that’ll be regular home from home for those doing crossing duty at the next race meeting.Picture1

More internal tidying up to do yet however, and the paint job is some way from completion, though I am impressed by the amount of bare metal now showing.Picture3

Very authentic and we are looking forward to the re-painting task (you have to have done at least 3 morning’s scraping to qualify).

Best wishes,

Tim

27 Oct – Short and Sweet!

Just a short blog this week as I wasn’t at the Racecourse Station for very long.  It was, however, jolly busy both with train passengers and the fact that there was a race meeting (in the afternoon).  By the time I left (1100) I had spotted Ben, Wiley, Dave T, Dave G, Steve, Mary, Maurice and Colin.  Sadly I did have chance to record what they were all up to – but more of the same probably sums it up!

That said things were slightly different on this the final weekend of the ‘main season’.  First of all winter arrived with a biting nor’ easter to combine with the noticeable chill in the air.  Frost on Platform 1 was the first task of the day, though the Ticket Office looked very fine in the low winter sun:IMG_20181027_082800

After that a short stint of Billy Goating served to clear the P1 slope and platform of the accumulated leaves.

Elsewhere, the Forth Bridge might no longer need painting all the time but CRCS’s pine debris still needs raking.  I took a hand with Wiley and Ben to get some more of the endlessly tiresome task in hand:IMG_20181027_100158

IMG_20181027_100201

Of course the precipitous nature of the Platform 2 embankment adds to the fun and it isn’t unusual to see a volunteer rolling down some of the slopes.  Luckily no-one has reached the track bed as yet – so Health & Safety can sleep easy! (Only joking.) Removing the debris piles will wait until we have passenger free weekends.

And that, as they say, is all I had time for this fine day.

Regards and hoping to generate a longer diatribe next week!

Tim

 

ADDENDUM

Just a minor oversight in Tim’s report – He missed the two brass monkeys refurbishing the hut on platform 2. Andy removed a goodly amount of the old paint and I fitted the original shelf that came with the Hut. Electric next and a little more fettling – oh joy!

Bill

20 Oct – Food and Drink!

An excellent turn out of volunteers this morning to meet the ravening hordes heading for the Food and Drink Festival at Toddington.  Just joking of course as it was, once again, delightful to see so many passengers filling the services on one of our last weekends of the ‘summer’ season.  And it still felt very like summer with warm sunshine once the autumnal mists had burned off.IMG_20181020_081936

It was also a busy day at Cheltenham Racecourse itself with major events taking place and packed car parks.  We were treated to a glorious sight of hot air balloon flying on, presumably, a near perfect day for it:IMG_20181020_093920and later….IMG_20181020_093928

Back at the workface I saw: Bill, Ben and Terry (shed men); Mike, Wylie, Mary, Ros and Colin (much general tidying and garden maintenance); Paul (a big shift with the billy-goat across the platforms); Dave T (raking down the debris) an Steve with a roving ‘fixit’ remit.  Meanwhile Bob  and I did some cable connecting along Platform 2’s subterranean tunnels so that the hut will now have power.

Here’s some of the action:

Meanwhile I spotted a splendid new timepiece in the staff office – shortly to adorn the Station no doubt.

IMG_20181020_112032

……..and presumably to assist in making sure we run on time!  Here’s a couple of snaps of the today’s services:IMG_20181020_124144

(Never mind the trains – doesn’t that embankment look grand!)

IMG_20181020_124140

IMG_20181020_114715

Long may they continue (the weather and the GWSR obviously)!

Kind regards,

Tim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn is Definitely Here!

With the regular Bloggers out of circulation  Dave T and Bob stepped up to the plate and to give there perspective on the mornings activities. There is some duplication but the report is no worse for that!

 

From Dave Tomlin:

Hi Bill

A little report for the blog – sorry, no pics again.

DaveG, DaveT, Mary, Steve, Maurice and Bob in attendance today and Ben was in the shop. The early gloom gave way to sunshine and warm temperatures but the wind was strong and gusty all morning. Steve, Mary and Maurice tackled the inevitable tree debris with billy goat or broom and barrow whilst DaveG preferred indoor work painting the worker’s room. Bob did some work on the frontage of the ticket office and then searched for mares tails on and picked litter off the track bed. Another huge pile of pine needles and other debris to try and burn on Monday – we covered it all with spare bulk bags to try and keep it dry until then.

DaveT assisted Steve to re-erect the Heras fencing around the picnic area where the new paling fence will soon be installed. Some panels had blown down across the signalman’s path, forcing him to find an alternative route to collect the train staff (platform 2 path and then across the track!). The other had blown down preventing usage of the disabled access. Additional bracing panels were fixed between the two fences and all left sturdy and secure.

A very pleasant surprise at tea break was a visit from our mate Mick Best. His daughter is on a visit from Australia and drove Mick over to share a cuppa, have a chat, and view progress on several projects.

DaveT

 

From Bob Stark:

Dear Bill,
    A short summary of activity at the Racecourse Staion this morning which started wet and windy and ended in bright sunshine. Sometimes the forecasters get it spot on and today was one of these days. By 10am the team of stalwarts, Dave and Mary, Dave (G), Stephen, and Maurice were already hard at work undoing the unwelcome effects of storm Callum and getting the station working areas ready for our passengers. The first train out at 11am was again well filled – good news for our finance Director and for the infrastructure of the railway which is benefitting from the revenues resulting from the “Broadway Effect”
    Dave (G) was continuing his long and often interrupted task of repainting the mess room.
IMG_0579
    In between he also found time to prime the first section of the exterior cladding that I managed to rub down between passengers entering the Ticket Office. Just two more to go on this section then we start the next three damaged sections! Volunteer painters and decorators please get in touch.
IMG_0574
        At tea time we were delighted to welcome back Mick Best and his Daughter over from Oz for a short social visit. I advised Mick of the task list we have for him and he responded favourably, albeit with more treatment planned he sadly will not be able to join the working team for a while yet.
    Down on the platforms the little “ut” on Platform 2 was today quiet and not enjoying the usual crowd of restorers/admirers. I was pleased to note that the administration of the last spraying of the invasive Mares Tail has been successful, but suspect we have a way to go before we can call victory. I walked back up the trackbed adjacent to Platform 1 removing Ragwort plants from between the sleepers. It was interesting to note that there were very few in the area between the tracks, or on the Platform 2 trackbed. I wonder – does this indicate that the carriage sets are bringing the seeds into the station?
    On Platfrom 1 Dave(T) was cutting back some of the overhanging branches of the tree adjacent to the end of Platform 1 that has been stopping the gate opening. With this warm and unseasonal (for October) weather everything is still growing quickly, so plenty of tasks on the estate for coming days.
Bob

Billy No Mates!

The majority of the Cheltenham volunteers  sensibly had a day off,  with the weather being so foul! I found myself ploughing a lone furrow  fettling the hut on Platform 2. Dave G was in attendance on Station Master duties and Dave Tomlin was having a sort out of the  Friends of Racecourse  Station shop stock.

It was the first day of the Autumn Diesel weekend  and there was a reasonable flow of enthusiasts heading northwards.

I captured 45149 on its way out, with stormy skies prevailing over Cleeve Hill.

IMG_0728

and conversely 37215 on its way in, which was topped and tailed with D6948.

IMG_0732

Sorry for the brief report but you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear!

 

Bill

C & M Wednesday Activity

Jim Hitchen kindly sent me the report below:

Not a very inspiring report today.  I went with Jim M and Phil to CRC where we delivered the posts for the new fence.  The new fence panels were delivered today courtesy of Peter Kenealy but are to be painted at Winchcombe before being taken to CRC.  We then started to dig out the gate posts where the wheel chair access is to Platform 1.  Not an easy task as there is about 2ft of very solid concrete around the posts.  Anyway we got one out completely and about half the concrete from the second one before we ran out of time and indeed energy.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Jim & Phil on the first hole
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The first hole with the post removed
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Phil on the second hole
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
 P & O all wired up for sound recording.  According to one of the footplate crew the sound recordings will be used by a well known model railway manufacturer to provide sound on their locos.  See the 3 mikes on the roof!!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Finally taken at Tyseley on Sunday to show 45596 Bahamas which has now been outshopped following it’s overhaul.
Regards
Jim H.