We've had a busy few weeks lately with lots going on.
We've had a strong focus on fundraising this year to allow the site to continue to develop. Our first 'proper' open day was held recently with everything open to the public. Attractions included a bouncy castle, miniature railway rides, pump trolley rides, forge demonstration and acsess to the TPO coaches.
Work has continued on the canopy both above and below. Our 'fiver for Ferry' scheme has continued to bring in much need funds to finish the final touches to the canopy.
Underneath the canopy, the gaps cut into the platform for the support columns have been bricked up in an attractive pattern and the rest of the bare areas have been paved. We have also added a much needed ramp so disabled visitors have easy access to our lovely station building.
The top of the canopy has been fibreglassed as well to make it fully waterproof. Some timber had to be replaced as it had absorbed a lot of water before we could fibreglass it and some timbers had swollen and warped out of shape. It is now done to a proffesional standard and passengers underneath should stay dry for many years to come.
There is still work to be done, including boarding the underside to hide the internal structure of the canopy and to add dagger boards all the way around to hide the structure and create an accurate looking representation of pinchbeck station which is where the canopy columns came from.
Finally our diesel gala with some very special guests went down well once again and attracted many visitors. We used this weekend to trial the sellling of hot and cold food. We now serve freshly made sandwhiches made to order all the time and have sausage rolls and homemade soup and cake on gala weekends.
Make sure you find time to come and say hello and see the progress we've made.
We have had an extremely busy and productive summer this year at Ferry Meadows.
Vegetation was cleared paralell to the main running line at the east end of the site to allow four track panels to be placed to create a headshunt. The work was asisted out by colas with one of their cranes who used the task as a training exercise for new operators. The machine was a great help and placed the heavy track panels in a matter of minutes. This headshunt requires fettling before it can be used which will be done over this winter.
The headshunt will allow shunting operations to happen within the Ferry Meadows yard without encroaching on the main line.
During this time a second siding was laid to form the second road in our planned carrige shed. Before this, donated tarmac planings from Bourges Boulevard in Peterborough were laid and rolled to form a level base for vehichle access. This meant when the lorries came to unload sleepers they could unload them in near to the track bed and when we were laying the track itself, machinery could access the track to assist. The sleepers were all kindly donated by Craig Owen and arrived by lorry on the 15th of July. The next week was spent levelling the ground and placing the sleepers with chains attached to an excavator.
Accurate levelling ensured the track was flat, however there is a slight gradient as the whole site is on a slope. This is not a problem as vehichles can be chocked to stop them rolling off down the line.
We had a series of open weekends this year on bank holidays. On these weekends we have the whole yard open for visitors to explore, pump trolley rides, minature railway rides and a track inspection vehicle you can operate. These events have proved popular and we hope to repeat them on a larger scale next year.
The most recent one was on the Tornado Bank Holiday weekend where new build 60163 'Tornado' visited along with 'N2' 1744 for a gala weekend. This was the fourth time tornado has visited and as usual drew large crowds.
Whilst work continued on the yard progress was made on the platform of Ferry Meadows. Two new holes were dug to hold two more supports which were placed at the end of August. Once the last column was in, work could start on the canopy roof. Steel kindly donated from A1 steel and timber from Andrews Building Supplies was made into a frame to support the roof and was placed on top of the columns and braketed to the station building wall.
More timber was used to make a basic roof which was then fibreglassed along with other timber roofs around the site. The canopy is a great asset to Ferry Meadows and now every station on the Nene Valley Railway has some form of shelter. The finer details are yet to be fitted including dagger boards which will give the canopy an authentic feel. We hope passengers will eventually not notice that the canopy isnt original.
A lot has been going on at Ferry Meadows in the last year.
The workshop has continued to be fitted out, including the fitting of three phase power and the ‘plumbing in’ of many of the machines in the workshop. A welding bench has been fabricated and the whole workshop is now used regularly.
The outside of this cabin has also been painted. We were quite aware that the cabins are quite visible from the trackside. As such a fence has been constructed around one side. This has the advantage to enclose the workspace we have from the track. In due course a lean to will be constructed to store vehicles in this section.
To improve access to the site we are in the process of constructing a barrow crossing. Work so far has included hard core, moving the plunger the loco crews use to operate the level crossing, installing gate posts and positioning rubber matting for the crossing. Next steps will involve laying the matting, more fencing and installing the gates.
The Class 325 cab in particular would not survive long exposed to the elements. With its height however, a roof was never going to be a straight forward task. Joel, ably assisted by others, therefore set to the task of fabricating some rather large sections to raise the height of the roof. These were craned into position, and he had to put his welding skills to the test, welding each end of the roof section together. The whole roof was completed with timber beams and roofing on top. In the fullness of time, the roof will be enclosed in and doors will be added to the front section.
Since the last report the miniature railway as seen significant use over the summer. Towards the end of the year we were donated an old bicycle repair shop that had been used for over a hundred years in a local village. This has been dismantled and reassembled, with some adaptations, at Ferry Meadows and will act as an ideal waiting room and ticket office for the miniature railway.
One of the key developments since the last update has been the laying of the first siding through what will eventually become the running shed. Whilst this sounds relatively simple, the amount of time and money spent on this has to be seen to be believed. The siding is now in place and, rather fittingly, the first vehicles to grace the new siding were the mark 1 TPO rake.
One of the key developments since Christmas however has been the fact that The Night Mail Group have taken over the running of Ferry Meadows Station. Since taking over we have filled the station with a lot of stock to sell in aid of The Night Mail Project. We have also kick started the Ferry Meadows Canopy appeal. For more details on Ferry Meadows Station, please click here.
Over the past year the Nene Valley Railway's Youth Group have been building a new 5 inch gauge miniature railway at Ferry Meadows Station.
We are hoping to have the railway open and hauling passengers on Easter Monday subject to completion of work on the line and site to a satisfactory standard.
Rides will start at approximately 10.30 and will cost 50p per person. Both youngsters and those young at heart are welcome to travel!
Also on site are the recently arrived huge American Alco diesel loco no. 801, and Royal Mail electric multiple unit cab. We also have a train from the mysterious London Underground Post Office Railway. All these will be available for inspection.
All monies raise will go towards The Night Mail Project and the Nene Valley Railway's historic coach fleet.
Please note, rides will be subject to completion of work on the line before Easter Monday and are also weather dependant. Please check The International Railway Preservation Society's Facebook page each day of the Easter bank holiday weekend for updates as to when the miniature railway will be open for rides. This can be found at https://www.facebook.com/irps.nvr
The Nene Valley Railway are running an extensive service over the whole Easter weekend and school holidays.
On Easter Monday there will also be an Easter Egg hunt and Miniature Traction Engine rides at Wansford.
For more information please see The Nene Valley Railway's Main Website