It is usual to look back at the previous year during the New Year. 2009 certainly saw a good few improvements on the S.V.R as a whole and Kidderminster hasn't missed out. The Friends have been active as usual, working on the Scammell and the Thornycroft, so that we have reached a stage where the Scammell tractor unit is all but complete, and the Thornycroft needs only its back and some more work on the cab to finish it.
Our main priority is in and around the station itself, of course, and in this respect we completed the gates onto the new Restaurant Car Bay Platform but all other work is 'in progress' with two gas lamps and their posts completed, but the third and final top to finish, and the fencing very close to the halfway mark. We are delighted to record our thanks to the officers of the Coalyard Miniature Railway for another generous donation to this project. Their donation was towards the cost of the concrete for fixing the fence panels into the ground. We have found ourselves using rather more concrete than we expected because the ground at the back of the retaining wall was recently built up with any spoil that came to hand and has not consolidated very well, so there is a need for a good strong footing for the panels or they will rock about or end up all over the place with the passage of time. The fence is also a benefit to the Miniature Railway in that it looks good and removes a fall hazard. There could be a nasty accident if someone fell over the retaining wall onto the platform below.
Finally the double gates on the path were requested by Nick Ralls, the General Manager, and are another job 'in progress'. During the next few months the priority will be to get the outstanding jobs complete before progressing our next big intended job, the re-erection of the Bridgnorth GWR bus garage alongside our storage shed.
In order to put the new replica gate together we have had to clear out some room to work safely in the Uffculme Building. The facilities in the building are good; there is reasonable lighting, a stove (which has been invaluable during the long cold winter) and a three phase electricity supply essential for our welding set and our drilling machine. There are also two very strong work benches complete with vices – all we need for most of our jobs. The trouble was that there were also two filing cabinets and a big kitchen table and the bad layout meant that one bench could not be sensibly used and the cabinets made the gangway a squeeze where working was dangerous. So out went a filing cabinet and the table. With one bench repositioned we now have some room to work in safety. The next job was to make a skirt to go where the stove's chimney penetrates the roof causing rainwater to pour into the building, flooding the floor whenever it rains. (This is a job which really needed finishing, and about time too!) A skirt was rolled up so as to be a fairly close fit to the stove pipe and then welded into a patch piece of corrugated iron sheeting. The finished assembly was bedded to the outside of the roofing sheets with sealant and bolted down well, then painted to match the roof. We now have a dry workshop!
Although the Uffculme Building was designed, financed, built and mostly equipped by the Friends, it is a general workshop as intended, but it needs to be sorted, tidied and looked after. Above all it must not be used as a dumping ground. There is further tidying to do such as removing all the timber and other materials stored on the roof beams which cut out light from the strip lights mounted above. The roof and upper walls are painted white inside and could do with a fresh coat as the paint is peeling and very sooty from the fire, making the workshop dark. We are going to do all that in the fullness of time.
We also live in hope that we may attract an additional volunteer or two to come and help us with some of our projects... Please form an orderly queue.