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 Having prepared the spiked railing panels and posts for the upside if the Northside Lane foot crossing we took all the items to site by Wickham Trolley to begin installation. We thought we would have a good number in the team on the day in order to give each other a bit of a breather in-between hole digging turns. From the experience of installing some spike fence panels and a kissing gate on this side of the track a couple of years ago, we thought the ground should be relatively easy to dig to the required depth, however this didn’t materialise as the ground was quite stubborn with old ballast and flints galore to impede the diggers. The fall in the ground level meant that the panels would need to be staggered in height slightly in relation to the posts but careful preparation, and a trial fit back at the workshop, proved useful in making things easier on site, and things went surprisingly straightforward. The ash taken to site previously was spread to help level to site and to give a less sticky surface for wet weather days. The day we did the job was thankfully dry and warm, with only the odd slight shower to help keep the chaps cool, very different from when the crossing boards were laid earlier in the year. Further railings and posts are now being worked on to complete a larger fence run on the downside area of the foot crossing.

In the workshop an original cast iron sign is being renovated to be fixed and welded to the fencing at the new crossing compound, just as a ‘heritage’ reminder to users not to trespass onto the Railway outside of the fencing. A further ‘spare’ sign for restricting unauthorised access to Railway areas was also made. We get requests for these at fairly short notice as replacements for old rotten ones, and it is useful to have one available to respond quickly as it takes a couple of weeks or so to put one together.

At Medstead more progress was made on the new serving counter for the West Country Buffet. The worktop was cut to length and width and a pine edging strip was machined to finish the sides. The top and cabinet structure will be fully erected in the workshop to make sure everything is correct before dismantling for transfer to the Alresford for installation later in the year. A wooden screen has been made to sit on top of the counter to mask the backs of the various serving machines, as there are a number of unsightly cables and pipes feeding them. A trial fit of the tray shelf was made in order to establish the correct height, both for customers and catering staff to see purchases for pricing at the till. All the necessary trunking and conduit is being sourced and collected together ready to be at hand for the various stages of the installation. A start date of October is envisaged to commence the job, which will take about two weeks to complete, if we can get a relatively continuous run at things.

Out along the line, a small team have ventured forth to do some repair work to a couple of bridge parapets- no photos of this though at this time. The same team have also just completed laying the paving path at Alresford to give a safer walking route for access to the Watercress Belle siding- nice to tick another job of the list. We also had a trip to Alton to install some non-slip surface to the signal box platform, from where the token exchanges are made. This will give a better footing for the signalman in damp conditions when the token exchanges are made with train crews as trains pass. We also went to see what had been done by Network Rail following the removal of the old footbridge at the station to size up what if anything we needed to do there. A very neat job has been made to complete the canopy area at that point, and it seems at the moment that we just need to do some minor electric supply work to the kiosk to finish things off. However, further work will be required at the station in due course to repair and decorate roof areas in other parts.

Bob Brooks

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