What a boost to our endeavours! Generous Southwold Co-op customers made considerable charitable donations in-store over recent months, so much so that the Trust has been presented with a whopping £1198.95 towards our funds. Trust volunteer (and ex-Town Crier) John Barber is seen here accepting the cheque, and our heartiest thanks go to Co-op customers for their generosity and to ex-Chairman James Hewett for his drive and enthusiasm in setting up this link with the townsfolk in the first place! With so many ongoing jobs under way at Blyth Road and Wenhaston it must sometimes appear to Blog followers that progress is slow. Considering that we have only been at the Blyth Road site since April, the overall transformation thus far has been truly astounding, and current progress may not be dramatic but is consistently moving forward thanks to our hardworking team of volunteers.

Regular Blog readers will be familiar with the work done by John Barber and his team on fencing, construction and restoration projects. Wrapping up the work on these projects for this month John & Bob ‘model’ both the BVLR revêtement and one of the roof trusses salvaged from the GER carriage at Wenhaston. The truss is in excellent condition for its age and has been salvaged along with sufficient remaining woodwork to create one working door, along with much usable metalwork. Hopefully these components will be incorporated into the design of future carriage stock for the railway in due course.

‘Gladys’ having an icy paddle!

Decisions have yet to be completed regarding the proposed mini lake, but some ground water has settled into the excavation, making ‘Gladys’ – the flamingo – look quite settled in! In fact the ‘scrape’ contained ice this week, so perhaps Gladys practised her triple salchows when we were’nt looking? It wasn’t too cold on site as we were joined by troup leaders Clive and Luke from the 1st Southwold Scouts and got rid of all the debris and dead nettles amassed over recent weeks by means of a massive bonfire. We needed to make the site more more appealing for the Open Day (10:00 to 16:00 on New Year’s Eve) as we have recently had numerous imported lorry loads of quality topsoil delivered – courtesy of Duncan’s Builders. At present this blocks off safe access to much of the site (we are always most careful in Health & Safety matters) but will eventually be spread around within the BVLR track perimeter to create a suitable landscape for developing the ‘mini Minsmere’ planned by chairman John Bennett.

The team also worked like Trojans tidying up the engine shed in readiness for the Open Day. Having driven MELLS and Wagon 41 out into the winter sunshine to give us space to work, John H and Toby supervised the laying of extra floor panels between the tracks at the rear of the shed. This will greatly improve the working area while also ensuring we have sufficient space for the volunteer team Christmas social gathering on Thursday 21st December. With the wagon and MELLS safely bedded down for the winter you can see just how much has been achieved since we took up residence in April. If you haven’t yet searched further afield, you can find plenty more picture on Facebook via our own Southwold Railway page, plus the ‘Friends of 3′ Gauge Peckett Loco SCALDWELL‘ site and that of the Southwold Railway – Wenhaston Heritage Centre – all well worth visiting.

A giant cheque as winter draws in