My first report since returning to site after the lockdown period and it was quite a busy day in it's own little way!
There was activity on the station as we prepare to welcome back our first visitors since March in a couple of weeks time. Safety signage has been put up, areas tidied and social distancing markers have been sprayed onto the platform. I must admit I wasn't too sure about painting the platform surface but it is a necessary process to allow us to reopen. To be fair, it doesn't look too bad and it is done in marker paint that naturally erases over the period of a few months. We'll see if it needs redoing at some point!
The new toilet block had a clearout of various left over materials from the build job and these will be ready for opening following a deep clean. They'll welcome their first customers on the 25th when we open. Work has now moved on to converting the former ladies toilet in the back of the MD's office to a staff toilet and shower room. The interior has been totally stripped and the internal brick wall which formed the toilet cubicle has been demolished. The bricks were recycled and used to brick up a window aperture that had some wooden board over it. The internal walls have now had battens installed ready to take the modern wet-room panelling that is being used rather than tiles. Opportunity is being taken to get the electrics inside this cavity space too. The exterior of the building is being blasted back to brick, having had several layers of paint applied over the years. I believe it was originally painted not long after we started due to graffiti it sustained whilst the line was mothballed in the 90s but this process has removed all that and we now have nice brick. It looks much better and is more in keeping with the new building behind. Only once this conversion project is complete will attention be turned to removing the former gents portacabin.
The station gardeners were in beautifying the station approach ready for our guests. They were seen to be mowing the new lawn laid in the winter.
Down the yard, examinations on the coaching stock continued ahead of opening day and the D9537 Locomotive Group were in completing snagging tasks that had cropped up following the winter work and examination. They were most pleased to be back at the railway, with the prospect of a Wirksworth Special Kebab the only thing that kept them going through lockdown! Apparently kebabs in Bury aren't the same.
It is great to see on social media the progress on the Derby Lightweight trailer car in recent weeks. The first class carpet looks excellent, overshoes at the ready! Speaking of social media, there has also been photographs of the steps being installed on to Shottle Signalbox (most handy for gaining access I suppose) which look great and the announcement of the visit of mainline-certified Pannier 9466 for the 2021 season yesterday was viewed by nearly 10,000 people and received many nice comments from supporters.