Happy New Year to you all. Once again we have plenty of news to report in this magazine. Last time, you may remember, I had reservations about the design of the restaurant block and the overall concourse roof at Kidderminster. The designs had been hush-hush which is absolutely guaranteed to create worries and apprehension, and a suspicion that "they" are up to some underhand dealings. The SVR management should have more sense! As it happened, when our Stationmaster Keith got a glimpse of the original design of the overall roof he was, shall I say, less than satisfied! Aided by his constructive criticism and helpful suggestion the design has been modified bit by bit to a far more satisfactory appearance, and one of which we should all be proud. It is such a shame that with a little more openness we could have gone straight to a good design, maybe something even better than we have now and without wasting time and money. There is an important lesson to be learnt here.
I have now seen the designs, and an artist's impression in the Worker's Newsletter which looks pretty good
Construction has just begun and this has caused some rapid reorganisation to occur. Due to lack of space elsewhere the old porter's shed on the right by the museum entrance has been dismantled to be replaced by a new kitchen block. This is to be built in blockwork and clad in shiplap boards to give the impression of a traditional GWR-type wooden building. I have not seen designs for this (surprise!) but I have seen the shiplap boards which look O.K. so let's keep our fingers crossed.
Behind the parcels platform the replacement porter's shed is pretty-well complete. It stands on a concrete base put in by contractors. The building itself was supplied by Buildings Bespoke, who advertise in Steam Railway among others. Keith insisted that it should have a corrugated iron roof rather than the proposed plastic composition variety and the end result is very good. The building is of modular construction which means that each section has a vertical board covering over the join. Otherwise the building looks remarkably like the Uffculme Building which is right next to it. The main difference is the use of stepped joints in the boards rather than shiplap.
Once the shell of the building was up Mark stepped in to put in all the electrics. This is his trade and like all electricians I've ever met, he wanted the very best and then some! As a result the building has more sockets than my house! It is equipped with a shower cubicle and toilet. The back door is access to a cubby hole for the guards to sign-on in.
This has not been a Friends project but some of the regular Friends workforce has been involved, together with Station Staff and other volunteers. The contractors left at an early stage and all the finishing work has been carried out by volunteers. The standard of work is absolutely first class and all those involved deserve congratulation. It is a shining example of the value of the volunteer. A small fortune has been saved by finishing the work this way, and dare I say it, work has been done to a higher standard and with greater attention to detail than it could be otherwise. All those who doubt the value or ability of S.V.R volunteers should take a look.
I can lavish all this praise because I have not been working on the new porter's shed myself. I cannot tear myself away from our new storage shed and have been working away there. The main work has been to lay a concrete floor with all hands to help when the concrete arrived midweek. Grateful thanks go to all involved. The new floor has enabled us to install the two lorries and two of the carts out of the elements once and for all.
Mick Yarker. January 2006