Sainsbury’s store celebrates 150 years in the business this year and have allowed their Colleagues to make suggestions about how to celebrate. Local Midsomer Norton Colleagues decided they would like to make a difference in the community and have volunteered for a gardening project at the Heritage Railway. The events at the station on Silver Street are becoming a family institution but it is entirely run by volunteers so they need all the help they can get.
The gardens team at the Somerset and Dorset Heritage Railway have been extending the front border gradually and the Sainsbury’s volunteers are going to fill up with soil and compost to the end and then plant with bee friendly and drought resistant plants.
Store manager Wendy Langridge said
When we had authorisation to be able to Volunteer at the Station we were all really excited. We came up for a coffee and a chat about the project and our keen volunteers have already made very good progress. We are coming up on Mondays when the garden team are there thanks to Sainsbury’s donating our time there.
Gail Coleshill from the Gardens Team was very impressed by their first day of work. She said
“I couldn’t believe how much they did on the first day. I was wondering if I had given them something too difficult with a lot of earth moving – but the Sainsbury’s volunteers attacked it with gusto."
Visitors can come up and see the gardens work progressing at the next event at the station on the weekend of July 13th and 14th when trains are running or August 10th and 11th which includes a family fun day. Diesel pulled on the Saturday and steam hauled on the Sunday. Everything else at the station will be open too.
Photo shows Left to Right – Liz Symes, Store Manager – Wendy Langridge, Karen Benger, Jan Jewell, Sara Tomlinson, Paul Baker (At Back)
The first of the two new running in boards was installed on the Up Platform. One of our volunteers Colin Clarke has made a fantastic job of making the new frame for the sign at his home. The UV proof sign itself was made by local company Arien Designs. It is made of an aluminium composite and not enamel as the originals. This should last for many years. A second running in board will be erected on the Down platform next to the station building.
There has been a concerted effort over the past few months by a number of our volunteers led by Alan Humphries to complete the restoration of Type 27A Wickham trolley B40W. The team have been sourcing and overhauling numerous parts to get this vehicle operational again since its withdrawal from British Rail decades ago.
These motorised trolleys were used by permanent way gangs from 1948 onwards o travel over the sections of railway line that they were responsible for maintaining and inspecting. A number were used over the S&D and Midsomer Norton even had a small shed just north of the now demolished road bridge over Silver Street where a Wickham Trolley numbered B11W was kept between duties.
It’s recommissioning started with a number of short distance runs within the limits of the station yard, on Monday 17th June. It was then driven along the full length of the running line where operational tests were conducted including brake testing. This is essential before the vehicle is put into regular use by the railway.
Photographed at the end of the line near the infill, the photo shows a very proud Alan Humphries (right) and Maz Glanville stood alongside the trolley, whilst on the left is Will George and Jonathan Griffin inside the trolley and along for the ride.
As part of the on-going work by the Trust to replace a number of the station signs, new 'Running in' boards have been purchased for each of the platforms to replace rotten ones. Wooden frames are being made to surround the name boards, these have been made to a very high standard by one of our working members Colin Clarke. The name boards have been manufactured from aluminium composite with UV protected printing so they will last for many years.
Two of our members Barry Bradford and Graham Copeman conduct a trial fit of the board within the first frame. This frame will now be painted BR Southern Region green. They will look superb once erected on the station platforms.
As part of the Trust's longer term plan to return the Midsomer Norton station buildings back to their 1950s appearance, the first of several replica signs has been erected over the entrance door to the station building. The work now taking place to tidy up and enhance the station building and surrounding areas has already had a good start with replacement green shutters for the station building. The new signage which will include numerous information signs is aimed at visitors to make it easier for them to find the facilities around the site.