Fully booked

Remember back in early February, our 162 year old booking hall was being prepared for its annual repaint

Now with less than three weeks to reopening, it’s looking very smart

Great job – and a bright smart welcome to our passengers 🙂


Since the new refreshment and toilet rooms were completed, the signs have needed some attention as the weather has shown up the not-quite up to WW standard of the workmanship.

So during this closure, this and the Gentlemen signs have been taken down for some WW-level of TLC.

Letters unscrewed

Stripping down

Sign under repair, letters being cleaned

New gloss black for Gentlemen sign

Repair process underway

A smart booking

Some weeks ago the annual prep and repaint of our 162 year old booking hall got underway, with much sanding, plastering and undercoating.

The platform canopy valance also needed lots of fettling with glue and clamps to replace rotten teeth.

Now as we get nearer to reopening, it’s all looking very smart, and redecoration is nearly complete.

The lobby is looking much smarter – bright and welcoming.

The doors onto platform 1 have been repainted.

And the canopy valance had a complete repaint following the repairs.

Great work by our station and wailing wall teams who work together during closure combining skills and enthusiasm.

Shovelling and barrowing

infill on the London Transport jacks

15 cubic meters (two truck loads) of ready mixed concrete got delivered yesterday for the infill on the LT jacks, the new cast iron storage outside and infill at the north end of the pit on road 2 in the yard.

100 batches in this would have been very time consuming!

Preparation had been going on for some time by our WW seconded team who had measured, cut, fitted, and checked the relevant areas:

Then the weekly loco missive requested ‘Assistance with shovelling, spreading, barrowing, compacting etc will be needed please’. Some 20 turned out to shovel, spread, barrow and compact.

cast iron storage outside – concrete pad for brake blocks and fire bars – note the rail reuse with concrete sleepers for the retaining wall

new concrete steps and infill at the north end of the pit on road 2 in the yard

Pete resting after a LOT of concrete shovelling!

The Wailing Wall team involved have now returned to their normal work, with relief – after a job very well done.

Parking the rail

The Wailing Wall Construction Company has tackled many jobs in its time, big and small. One of the more strenuous tasks is digging holes, and this was needed last month in preparation for the new ANPR parking control system that goes live after tomorrow.

The signs have to be mounted at very precise points and heights – all laid down in the planning consent (needed because of us being in the conservation area). Reusing rail lengths makes for very sturdy and appropriate posts. In this case they were cut by the PWay team to 3 yards apiece, and we needed five of them, weighing in at about 270lbs each.

To meet the specification, holes had to be dug 2ft6in deep, to support the height of the signs, and in the positions where there was no existing structure to fix to.

post in hole, concrete ready
next post on rollers
once more with feeling…
final post concreted in place

Availability of the rail meant we had no time to paint it before installing, which would have been much easier. Fortunately the weather was kind and the black gloss was quickly applied.

Andy painting the sign 3 post
sign 5 on a painted post
sign 1 with payment machine against cleaning cupboard
signage and lower payment machine
sign 4 against the signal box

Relaying the footpath, part 1

On this day in 2012, relaying the brick footpath to the front of the station building had got this far…

so looking very smart

To reach this stage had taken many months of painstaking and cheerful effort which started the previous autumn. The cause was the risk to pedestrians from collision by vehicles as the path had sunken so far that the curb had become level with the driveway.

new and old levels of brick footpath

The remedy was to lift every single brick off the sand base and put aside carefully, then relay on a raised mortar base within new higher curbs also carefully mortared down. At regular intervals a protective post of cut-off rail was installed to ensure no vehicular intrusion.

More to come…

Opening the view

This vista from the Castle Walk dates back a while but does reveal the imposing position that the station was built on to create a prominent scene.

One of the facets of the restoration and redevelopment scheme was to open up the view again, and the work carried out by qualified volunteers back in 2015 has resulted in expansive views opened up from the front of the station across the high and low towns.

Since this clearance, the scene has changed a lot more – to be covered in a future post.

Annual booking

booking hall stripped for painting

Every winter closure brings our booking hall its annual date with sandpaper and paint brushes. The same team plan and carry out the process – Stephen, Ann, Chris – taking pride in making the first impression for our passengers the best possible one.

plaster damage

As the station dates back to 1862, it’s not surprising that weather has taken its toll on the stability of the internal plaster. Each year this gets patched very gently – too rough and more falls off – to give the smoothest surface for a fresh coat of buttermilk, chosen to be warm and bright, and dark chocolate gloss.

plaster damage by platform doors
repairs to damaged plaster
looking toward the main entrance doors facing the town
primer on the platform doors
patching and priming on the outer lobby window reveal
where it wasn’t painted last time, under the wonderful mounted map

It takes many weeks to complete the whole process – each layer of plaster, primer, topcoat, takes a long time to dry – and the team are only available on Saturdays, but gradually it all comes together.

getting smarter…
getting there…
lots of drying time now needed…

With the longer closure this year, a more thorough job has been possible. The ‘after’ pictures will look very smart!