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Work in Progress: 30th March


Roadworks TriangleMixed weather today.

Dorset based Graham Bendell has at last managed to get back to Woody Bay. Within 5 minutes of arriving he was asked to prepare the report for the day. So here it is.

As I approached Blackmoor Gate on the A399, the heavens opened, but by the time I arrived at Woody Bay Station it had stopped. From then on (about 10.15am) the weather improved and by mid afternoon there was a hint of sun about.

The early rain didn’t put customers off and a steady stream of visitors arrived through the day.

1. ISAAC and carriages 16, 7 and 11 formed the service train.

2. Nigel Thompson, on the other side of the lens today, refreshing the boards giving information on all the locomotives.

3. meanwhile ISAAC is being serviced ready for the 11.30 departure. Driver today was Graham Varney and Andy Foster was the fireman.

4. & 5. Carriage No.17 was in the paintshop having the final application of varnish (which was finished by the end of the day). In addition, a running board was painted with non-slip paint. Jim Pounds (left) and Barry Cann (right) approaching the end of the varnishing.

6. The “blue” first class compartment of carriage No.17 was given a thorough vacuum by your photographer. Dust and sawdust seemed to get everywhere.

7. Dave Evans modified and refitted the side panels to PILTON which is being readied for a repaint.

8. Dave Bloomfield “doing nothing at all” (his words, not mine!). Actually, he was helping Dave Evans with the side panels for PILTON.

9. Resident Engineer John Uphill made and fitted a new handle for a gauge glass tap on AXE. The old one having broken.

10. The better afternoon weather saw Nigel Spencer (right) and Terry Marsterson wielding paintbrushes. A two man operation ensures that rusty areas, once cleaned, can be covered immediately.

11. Today's Guard Bob Ayres takes a breather between trains.

12. ISAAC, at Killington Lane about to be coupled up to the train, watched by several passengers.

13. The 15.15 departure from Killington Lane about to scale the 1 in 50 incline back to Woody Bay Station. The steepness of the route can be clearly seen.

14. The "Fishplate Greasing Gang" wave at the passing train. Graham Rust (nearest the camera) contributed the following 4 photographs and captions

15. Five of the Six members of the Thursday Gang continue with the fishplate greasing, despite the slightly damp conditions.

16. The weather improves. Note the trolley used to transport the equipment when the train isn't on the line.

17. With the train operating today, all equipment and personnel need to be clear of the line before it passes. Graham the driver checks on proceedings.

18. Dave, Ali, Dave, Roger and Malcolm (with me Graham taking the photo) continue the work after lunch. Just look at that glorious North Devon countryside!

19. Arriving back at Woody Bay, the rarely photographed end of the headshunt retaining wall reveals the skill of the drystone-waller.

Elsewhere, Don Newnam and Trevor Buck degreased the components of a lever frame ready for painting.

We learned today of the passing of fellow volunteer and Thursday regular Martin Williams. We all well remember Martin’s hilarious anecdotes and he will be sadly missed. Our condolences to his family at this sad time.

Words and photos by Graham Bendell except 15 - 18 by Graham Rust.

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