17 Mar – Windy!!

There was little opportunity for taking pictures this Saturday – the phone (or camera) tended to be blown out of your hand.  Mary, gardener-in-chief this morning, was having grave difficulty watering the plants on the P1 slope as the water kept blowing everywhere but into the pots!20190316_093659

Also in attendance were Dave T, Dave G, Bob, Ben, Wiley and Steve – lots of missing volunteers!  It was, of course, the weekend after the Cheltenham Festival so some may have been resting after their exertions on crossing duty or whatever.  Others may not have fancied the mild mayhem which is required to get the Station straight for normal services to be resumed.

First, lots and lots of litter.  A couple of sweeps of the platforms and the embankments removed the majority but with that wind blowiing a new batch arrived soon after.

Second, track ‘debris’.  Normal rules of etiquette are sometimes disregarded by Festival train users – possibly because of the amounts of alcohol consumed!  So the track bed between platforms was littered with small ‘presents’ which will, I suppose gradually degrade through natural processes but in the meantime look rather unsightly even when covered with trak ballast.

Third, there were several items of infrastructure to put back into their normal places: benches, crowd barriers etc. Plus trying to make sure the portable loos didn’t blow over – a worrying thought!

After which ‘quiet introduction to the new season’ we could get on with the normal running of the Station.

Having found a £10 note last year (or was it £20?) I was on the hunt during the tidy up.  Sadly this was the only item of interest – found by the fence!20190316_091754

The suggestion that these actually belonged to one of the Daves was quickly dismissed and the true owner – if they still want them – should contact the Racecourse Station staff!


The above was, of course, taken earlier in the week.







12-14 Mar 19 – AT THE RACES!

Many thanks to colleagues Mary Harris and Ian Crowder for supplying a variety of pictures of this year’s Cheltenham Festival.   I will refrain from captioning since they seem to speak for themselves; suffice to say everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves in spite of the dodgy weather and didn’t the engines look splendid?IMG_1874IMG_1872DSC_5431DSC_5408DSC_5391DSC_5433IMG_1870DSC_5378DSC_5371

A gentle introduction to the 2019 season indeed.  Back to normal (clearing up!) tomorrow.


9 Mar – New Seasoning

There is always a sense of anticipation when the first train of the new season is due to arrive – if only to remind us what we have forgotten to do!  It was, seemingly, entirely glitch free and since Dave Griffin was in charge, we shouldn’t be surprised.  Ben was in the shop as well and Dave T was away at a P&O meeting so it was just us workers in charge of the asylum today!  I saw John, Bob, Mary, Steve, Andy B, Andy M, Maurice and Mike.  There was also a contingent from our friendly neighbourhood B&S gang plus, of course, the water tower crew.

Started off fairly inclement but brightened considerably by lunchtime so that it was quite pleasurable lying on the embankment whilst Bob did the work of fitting a new cover for one of our water points:unnamed[3]

Elsewhere, various tidying jobs were completed – both for our own services and ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.  I noticed that somewhere on the GWSR communications this week a person, who will remain anonymous, described this period as a gentle introduction to the new season.  Well, not at the Racecourse Station it isn’t, since the place is a hive of activity with buildings going up, vehicles charging around and horses imminent!

Having said the weather was fine it was a mite windy and Mary, who had been busy getting the weeding underway, was apparently  blown away before tea break, luckily only after I had taken a snap or two:

And after months of wandering at will on a trainless track, it was good to note that dayglow jackets were back in fashion:

Of course you cant afford to look to clean and tidy otherwise someone will assume you haven’t been working hard enough! (Andy M scores most point on this one!)


The heavy mob from B&S were busy filling in the cracks which had appeared in the slope down to Platform 1.  I say ‘cracks’ though sometimes I worry that these are long thin sink holes into which the whole station is slowly disappearing.  Or rabbit burrows – where the former inhabitants are making use of the materials poured in!?  The do seem to appear with some regularity and take a deal of filling.

Also good to see John’s early season efforts are ‘bearing fruit’ – looks like a bumper crop in the pipeline.


And finally (as someone used to say) here’s the first train of the day arriving backwards:




Shedding the Light – Lighting the Shed

Thanks to Bob and Andy B’s good offices there is now power in the line side ‘ut  on the end of platform 2


This means that crossing monitors will have somewhere to shelter from the wind and rain on race days for example, and importantly be able to avail themselves of the power source to provide lighting or other appropriately  rated devices.



Count Down to the 2019 Operating Season

Tim is on leave at the moment and Bob Stark kindly produced the following blog post:

Dear Bill,
A mixed bag of news. Quality rather than quantity was the message of the day with just Dave(G), Stephen, Dick, Mike, Maurice and Ros and I on parade.That said a lot was achieved.
Stephen “Billy Goated” Pl1 whilst Mike and Dick cleared the ramp.
Stephen also dug out the weeds between the Platform 2 edging stones and helped me put all the spare and old signs up in the attic for inside work another day.
Dave was setting up all the admin “stuff” for our opening next weekend and Maurice cleaned the lantern glasses on the ramp and platform 1.
Ros and I scrubbed the wall of the T Office nearest the telephone box then jet washed it all down – it now looks quite respectable!
I also managed to clean the glass on the tall lampost by the gate and cleaned the lens on various CCTV cameras around the site.
A useful morning’s work by “the few” and, on the surface, it seems we are all ready to go next weekend.

23 Feb – Welcome Visitors!

The day started with some bad news – our contractors had declined to take the skip away!  On the grounds that it was too full of stuff and that scattering razor wire across the roads of Gloucs might be unacceptable.  Fair enough really – so Steve and I set about repacking and the contrast is noticeable:



I think we should get an award for best packed skip of 2019!  Hopefully, however, this will be the last we see of the contents.

Anyway with that gloom lifted we progressed on to further renovations.  There was an absence of Daves today – not one to be seen anywhere – so we relied on Steve for direction, with helpful contributions from Mike, Terry, Maurice, Wiley, Ben, Bob and 2 x Andys.

Next weekend will be required to make the place ship shape for our first services of the season so today was almost the last opportunity to do some passenger-free work.  As such, here are the new outside ‘TO’ noticeboard painted by Dave G, installed by Bob and Steve plus the new window glass installed by Bob.

Thanks to Bob for the narrative and the pictures.  Doesn’t the glass reflect well!

One Andy (B) was busy installing power to the Hut –  which should provide welcome respite for the Racecourse Festival crossing monitors.


And meanwhile the other Andy (M) was assisting in the arches store renovation project:IMG_20190223_114258

Is that a halo I see before me? Saint Andy?

Another positive aspect of the day’s ‘ongoings’ was a very welcome visitor in Mick Best, seen here advising Terry and Maurice:IMG_20190223_114255

You’re looking good, Mick, we’ve missed you and we all hope to see you back in harness soon!

As you may have gathered the Spring-like weather had brought more than just the bulbs out and the Station is beginning to look good, even with (or perhaps especially because of) the wagons parked up:IMG_20190223_120947



Regards and someone else will have to write the blog next week as I’m on hols.



16 Feb – Still Skipping!

A fair morning and a fair morning’s work to be honest.  Luckily, last week’s stalwart team of volunteers (Steve, Dave G, Mike, John, Bob, Maurice & Terry) was reinforced by the youth element: Ben and Wiley and the young at heart (Dick and Andy B)!  This allowed us to continue with the weekly tasks of making the station tidy (only 3 weeks to first train), to keep up the bench refurbishment programme, to fix some ailing lights and to redouble our efforts on pre-bridge inspection clearance.

Here’s some samples of what we are wading through – do they come in the ‘might potentially have been useful’ category or the ‘objects of historic interest’ category?


Anyway, they’re now in the skip category! Along with lost of other stuff: including, amongst other things, miles of razor wire, lots of plastic fencing and dozens of shuttering boards.IMG_20190216_115819

The might still be useful category is still pretty large and one of our number said he could see a use for this old door:IMG_20190216_115837

Never let it be said that we don’t try to recycle, upcycle or generally preserve stuff!

Anyway, only one more entirely clear weekend before we start thinking about putting everything back on the platforms and really smartening the place up.

Spring is in the air…