Maintenance work and restoration projects continue along our section of trackbed at Snapper Halt throughout the month.
1. The first workday during August was on Saturday 8th August and was primarily more vegetation clearance and grass cutting in order to prepare Snapper Halt for a promotional event, details of which we will hopefully be able to be announce at our forthcoming Shareholders’ Meeting. Our regular cameraman was on site and managed to capture two other supporters who were at Snapper Halt helping to share the work load.
Chris Lane (pictured left above) removed a pile of spoil from the Platelayers’ Hut. Chris Jones (pictured right above) continued the important job of removing the invasive Ragwort vegetation he had started some days earlier. After around two hours he had completed the task and Snapper Halt was, at least for the time being, completely cleared of the dreaded weed. All that remained on-site was an impressive pile of Ragwort for disposal in accordance with the current regulations.
John Mack Smith visited the site to kindly deliver on loan his Bridge Number Plate shuttering. This will be used by us to mould and construct the several needed bridge number boards currently required by both the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway and Exmoor Associates.
Finally that day Rob and Andy went off to the Exmoor Steam Railway at Bratton Fleming to meet Trevor Stirland. Trevor had kindly found, cut to length two separate lengths of 20 pound rail for our use as replacement lintels above the fire place in the Platelayers’ Hut at Snapper Halt. It appears that when the hut was first built, sections of rail were used by the L&B contractor for this purpose, and it is our intention to replicate this method of construction when we rebuild the hut.
Please note that we are still seeking donations for at least three timber sleepers and a quantity of corrugated iron sheets for the Platelayers’ Hut Restoration Project which will see the building returned to its former build state. If you can help with these or any of the other items previously requested, please contact us.
2. On Sunday 16th August our workforce were again back on-site. The Southern Railway had replaced the original stone platform edging with concrete edging prior to closure in 1935. After closure, a tree eventually emerged out of the abandoned platform damaging the concrete edging in the process. Over the ensuing years the tree roots pushed the concrete material out of alignment effectively cracking the concrete to eventually leave a hole. After clearing away the surrounding rubble, the missing section of edging was clamped with wooden shuttering ready for a new infill of concrete.
5, 6 & 7. On Sunday 23rd August the passenger entrance to Snapper Halt took on a new appearance following the erection of a replacement Station Entrance Notice. The Notice was built to replicate the original signage that is shown inset within the above image that was ‘screen grabbed’ from a video taken during the 1930s.
The first two photos above, photos (5) and (6) depict the initial stages of construction which was undertaken off-site. Both are self-explanatory. The metal characters in the first image were also cast off-site by Rob Sadd. In total the structure took about 10 man-hours over a 4-week period to complete after which it was taken to Snapper Halt for erection.
8. The signage includes a copy of the last Railway Timetable and a notice stating the railway services are suspended until further notice.
9. A fortnight later the Snapper Halt platform also took on a new appearance more akin to a rural railway platform. For on Saturday 5th September. the new platform surface which had been delivered to the site some days previously, was moved from the hard standing area to the platform by Neil Thorne who once again had come to our aid using his own farm machinery.
10. The platform surface being laid is Quarry Dust Chippings that had been delivered to site some days earlier. As the material was dropped by Neil, it was levelled by Rob, Barry and Paul. This image shows the platform looking towards Barnstaple.
11. And here is the new view looking towards Bratton Fleming, Blackmoor, Woody Bay and Lynton. Readers should be aware that the new surface still requires compacting, which will be undertaken as soon as possible.
12. Our recent request for hard core proved worthwhile as approximately 20 tonnes of very stony soil was kindly donated and delivered to our site. This material will be used in the construction of the platform footpath between the platform and road above, and also as in-fill to increase the overall area of the hard standing.
13. Taking advantage of the appropriate machinery on site, the opportunity was seized to deposit some of the stone over the muddy surface at the top of the access track going down to the trackbed below. This went some way to preventing wheel slip on vehicles climbing up the gradient as well as making pedestrian access safer particularly on wet days.
We still need additional volunteers to help us maintain our procured trackbed for the Phase 3 extension of the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. If you would like to assist us, or should you require any further information, then please contact our Volunteer Coordinator by at email@example.com or telephone 07850 471651.
Finally a reminder that our next Shareholders’ Meeting will be held on Saturday 26th September at Goodleigh Village Hall. All interested non-shareholders and volunteers are also welcome to attend. Please see our previous news item for further information.
Photo credits: Rob Sadd