This spring the volunteers of the 'Friends of Chelfham Station' group have progressed well in the early restoration stages within the station building. The L & B R's second station hosts regular work parties and is also open for Trust members and other visitors every Sunday from 11am. Over the Gala weekend in May many people turned up to view the restoration and a small but worthy sum of donations towards materials was gratefully received.
The restoration plans still include the eventual removal (subject to a planning application) of the extension over the platform Before then work must focus on adapting, securing and restoring the original two rooms within the building. Before Easter the chimney had been professionally removed and it was soon time to take down the chimney breast and fireplace which had been constructed over the original doorway to the waiting room.
Chelfham Station is open for viewing the restoration progress and trackbed/woodland walks every Sunday from 11am
1. Doorway revealed! Dave Drayson chips away the remaining stone hearth area after the fireplace was taken down earlier.
2. A new wooden sill replaced the original one which had been cut through when the chimney was made. Later new stone and blockwork has restored this area above the doorway.
3. Theres always much discussion about the restoration progress. Dave Evans, John Edmonds, John Mack-Smith and John O'Dell consult about the work needed to fill this void.
4. The new brick arch above the doorway is admired by the Gala weekend visitors including a rare photo of our L&B webmaster Martyn de Young.
5. Outside the general tidying of the site often includes a bonfire. Frank Daff manages one near the viaduct.
6. Chelfham Station from the path with the porch door now removed.
7. Dave Evans and visiting member volunteer Martin Steel enjoy a bonfire on the trackbed.
8. This bonfire was to clear some branches cut down over the winter helping to reveal the view along the cleared trackbed. Visitors to Chelfham each Sunday can enjoy walks along the trackbed sections as well as the higher path through the woodlands.
9. Back to the restoration. This is a view of the just installed new window fitting nicely in the space between the original doorways. Jim Price expertly constructed and installed this frame in the style of the other existing windows at Chelfham.
10. Jim also made a new window frame to fit in the area between the two doors to what was the Ticket Office and the Waiting Room on the original building. Pictures taken when the railway was open clearly show the style of window frame that was here.
11. Another station view as Jim Price and John O'Dell work on fitting the window and the stonework outside.
12. This porch area will be used as a cloakroom toilet plus wash basin for volunteers and visitors. Dave Evans has moved the internal door frame flush to the waiting room wall to provide some more space in this small room.
13. Jim Price and 'his' window after installing the glass in the frame.
14. Jim was assisted by Martin Williams as they secured the window and glass in place.
15. Just enough room for parking today with the full turnout of volunteers.
16. Lunch and tea breaks are often held outside enjoying the spring sunshine.
17. Next job for John Edmonds is to fix a mould in order to cast a new concrete window sill on the porch.
18. Ron Eddey paints red oxide primer onto some restored signalling lamp brackets.
19. Nigel, Ron, Frank, and Dave relax during their lunch break.
Words and pictures by Nigel Thompson