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2012 News

Substantial progress continued to be made but weather problems with torrential downpours resulted in many works being delayed.

The end of February thankfully saw a change in the weather and again we reached for our paintbrushes. Our goal was to finish off the windows and the fascias soffits etc so that the scaffolding could be removed from around the building. After a lot of hard work the scaffolding was finally removed in the first week of May 2012.

From this point on volunteers worked on several projects simultaneously. Having replaced the newly glazed upper windows it was discovered that the majority were without sliders. John Penfold, Dave Ives and Dennis Cooke set about obtaining parts and constructing new wheeled sliders, to the original pattern which Richard Medlock installed into the base of the window themselves.

June saw the start of the cleaning of the internal ceiling. Badly stained from years of exposure to nicotine, from smoking, and then added too with soot from the fire, the internal roof needed to be stripped and washed. We used various tools to remove the heat cracked paintwork and sugar soaped and wire-brushed the remainder. .

In June 2012 the decision was also taken to clad and insulate the internal walls below the upper windows and that the cladding as with all the upper floor woodwork would be finished in gloss white.

The relatively good weather from May onwards helped us to make a start with some of the ground works. The first thing volunteers undertook was to dig out a large hole to the north of the site in which to place a soak away. At the same time the original French drains were enlarged and the downpipes from the guttering installed.

However the ‘good’ weather didn’t hold forever and on the 11 June 2012, with the third day of almost continuous rain the floodwater from the surrounding playing fields again entered the signal box flowing over the lower door sill. The heavy rain also highlighted that there were significant gaps in the cladding on both the north and western elevations of the signal box. Despite all our work on the French drains and installing the over flow, the amount of flood water simply overwhelmed us and the water entered the building yet again.

The end of July saw the work on cleaning the internal ceiling go ‘on-hold’ in order to take advantage of another break in the weather allowing us to work outside. Cladding on the building, especially the north and western elevations were cleaned and re-sealed and in some cases re-painted. We borrowed a mini-digger from Dick Fromant, the same one we used to dig the soak away, and construction of the banking (berm) on the playing fields side of the signal box was started. Concrete fence posts were set in concrete to provide anchoring for thick planking to hold back the earth. With the recent floods still in our minds the berm was extended to the south of the building to provide protection to the doorway at that end of the building. The banking was finished at either end utilizing some of the dozen sleepers provided by Network Rail.

September saw Richard Medlock raise the threshold of the lower door in an effort to prevent further flooding whilst work resumed on painting the now clean internal ceiling.

With the end of 2012 we saw the completion of much of the outstanding work. The painting of the outside of the building was completed, although some windows still remain on the list of things to do. Internally the upper floor is nearing completion with the exception of some remedial paintwork, fitting of window blinds and laying of the flooring which we eagerly await. The planking for the upper floor which is to be made from the baulk timbers which originally supported the lever frame will bring both colour and richness to the room. It will be more authentic than the current modern chipboard flooring. The fact that we are re-using timber which was an original part of the signal box is especially significant and pleasing to all those involved.

The onset of yet more bad, wet weather, towards the end of the year, resulted in further delays in erecting the external balcony and stairs. Delayed by many months, in the design and planning stages, this part of the project was halted as it started the newly dug foundations holes simply filled up with water as they were being dug. The heavy rains again brought the threat of flooding but thanks to the raised doorstep the water was kept at bay although the building was surrounded by a moat.


Posted by admin, 13 Aug 2015
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