Members of the Colonel Stephens Society (an organisation set up to record, observe and promote light railways around the UK) visited North Devon over the weekend of 16/17th May. After following the route of the Torrington-Halwill Junction Railway on the Saturday, some members enjoyed a social evening of skittles with the L&BR volunteers.
On Sunday 17th, they explored the L&BR. First calling at Snapper to see the excellent work undertaken by the Exmoor Associates volunteers in clearing the trackbed and restoring the original waiting shelter.
Next was Chelfham. With their coach parked under the viaduct, the CSS members wandered up to view the station.
For more pictures of the visit, see the CSS Website
3. Nigel Thompson then gave a short talk to explain the original features, and of the progress so far in restoring the station building at Chelfham.
4. The CSS were so impressed with all the restoration work that a cheque was presented by Chairman Les Darbyshire to Nigel Thompson to help fund the two new external doors required to complete the restoration of the station building. This is the first time that the CSS have contributed funds to this project, and the L&BR was not even one of Colonel Stephens' Light Railways.
On behalf of the Chelfham Station Restoration Group, Nigel said "A big thank you for the very kind donation. This money will really help us to quickly progress more restoration work as well as funding the doors currently on order".
Later the CSS members enjoyed their visit to Woody Bay and a ride on part of the original L&BR
5. The 1898 signal cabin restoration has progressed this week with the fixing of a corrugated tin roof.
Anthony Barnes and carpenter Steve Woolgrove - both local L&B members - not only sponsored but also over the past few weeks have carried out the work of restoring the Chelfham Signal Cabin.
Not only the Chelfham Station Group but also the L&BR organisation as a whole, thank them for their contribution, support and enterprise on this singular heritage project.
Restoration work at Chelfham continues most Wednesdays and every Sunday. Any offers of help are most welcome. Please contact Nigel Thompson for more details.
Words and pictures by Nigel Thompson apart from photos 3, Frank Daff, and 4, Bruce Hunt.