Volunteering work at Swanage Railway

This isn't really a fiction-style book but rather as a documentation or 'log book' on what I've been doing at the Railway

Cover photo: http://www.steamrailwaylines.co.uk/swanage_railway.jpg


1. Day 1 9/1/16

Once I arrived at Swanage station, I saw the rest of the volunteers. Because I'm not 16 yet, I had to join the Swanage sygnets group. I recognised someone from school who had been volunteering here for a long time and a friend of a friend I met at Poole station.

After I stood there for a while, and signed the check-in list, we all got into a Class 121 and travelled up the line. Once we set off, I was asked about my background; Have I been here before? What school I go to etc. I noticed that the train used a bell/signalling system and was told more about it and what each signal meant i.e. 1 buzz means stop or 2 buzzes means go if the signals ahead allow.

Me and the rest of one group were dropped off at Corfe Castle station which may be my favourite part of the route besides from Swanage station. Once we were there we walked along the track-side into a restored 1930's wagon which was, in a nutshell, the sygnets' base of operations. I was informed about how that once I become an older volunteer, since I want to drive engines when I'm older, I would have to start by cleaning the engines, moving up to being a fireman on locomotives and finally achieving the role of being a driver.

The first task I had to do was coating some bits of metal with an anti-rusting glue-like substance which starts of white but turns blue as it sets. I was doing this because the railway is currently in progress of restoring an old diesel shunting locomotive which we call "May".

After lunch, we swapped jobs so instead of painting stuff at Corfe, we were took up on the class 121 up to Norden where we then walked to where a class 33 was coupled to a brake van with a nice warm woodburner. We travelled up the developing line and shovelled mud from one side of the track to another until it started raining and we all retreated into the brake van and the diesel locomotive. We then travelled back down the line to where some trees were cut down which needed to be loaded onto the brake van. It was a bit of a steep hill we needed to pull the logs up but we got the job done eventually. After we all went back further and collected more logs we travelled down the line to where the logs needed dropping off, passing our previous work sites along the way.

After all that was done we travelled back down to Norden and waited for the class 121, the final service of the day, to pick us up and take us to Swanage. I had my head out the window for the entire journey, watching the world fly by at 25mph seeing various trains and coaching stock along the way. Once we got to Swanage at around 5-6 in the evening the day was over but it definitely was a good one and I can't wait to go again on the 13th of February.

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