The summer period is probably the best for progress on our various projects because the long evenings and better weather allow work to continue unhindered outdoors. We noticed that the window frames of the extension to the storage shed were beginning to get a bit tatty, so I gave them a quick repaint. They are actually original G.W.R signal box windows retro-fitted with sills and as such are already probably about a hundred years old and still showing no signs of rot. No point in tempting providence, though. By contrast my house is only 45 years old and its second set of windows are already well past their sell-by date. Which just goes to show that modern wood and plastics are no match for the materials and workmanship of the Victorian age.
The storage shed windows are fitted with strong internal steel bars. It is a shame that we need to do this, especially in view of the fact that there is little inside for the scrap metal thieves, (indeed we have more metal outside the shed than in), but there have been a worrying amount of thefts from the railway just lately including two lots of lead from Kidderminster station roof. It is particularly disheartening to hear that about twenty locomotive springs were stolen from Bridgnorth, worth a couple of hundred pounds as scrap but costing tens of thousands to replace. This kind of theft is a serious blow to the railway and difficult to guard against. On the main line services are frequently being disrupted by metal thieves stealing signal power cable! In Holland this actually caused a collision - thankfully without loss of life.
Behind the station bookshop, the Friends, aided by Peter Smith, are to begin a small project to build a low retaining wall from paving slabs and backfilled with earth. The paving that peters out here is also to be extended to tidy up the area and provide a decent surface where previously strewn rubbish had been. This will also help give safe access around the back of the bookshop and keep the H & S people happy. We don't want trips and falls on our patch!
This is just one of many tidying-up jobs begun on the station in the last few weeks.
The Big Clean Up
Our Stationmaster has asked the Friends and the Station Staff to tidy up the lesser-seen parts of the station which over the years have become a depository for valuable artefacts as well as total rubbish. The first requirement is to sort it into three groups - things that are wanted, scrap metal for reclaim, and rubbish. The Friends have tried to be on hand while this sorting has taken place as we are probably in the best position to make the decision. We are again indebted to Peter Smith, a recent new volunteer on the station, who has been a great help to us.. He has a clear vision of what 'tidy' means and is always keen to give a hand getting the place looking good. The retaining wall and slabs mentioned in the editorial were his idea.
As a result all the cobble stones (and these are valuable) have been moved to the storage compound and stacked into pallet boxes. So have all the remaining bricks from the car park wall project, and all metal items have been either put into the scrap skip or into the storage shed as appropriate. Most wooden items were found to be too rotten for further use, but a very nice vee-board was unearthed which had been destined for the entry to the King and Castle from the concourse. This was spruced up with a fresh coat of paint and in now fitted in its rightful place!