Covid – 19 update

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  2. Covid – 19 update

As you can imagine activity is pretty limited at the moment as part of our charm is that our public buildings, locos and vehicles are either original or in keeping with the old Middy and therefore quite small. Whilst the current social distancing regime is in place all of the aspects of our museum cannot be made safe without a stupendous amount of expenditure which would destroy the very atmosphere that makes our museum so good and so unique. It wouldn’t be the Middy by the time that suitable measures were in place. The only solution is therefore to “batten down the hatches and ride out the storm”. 

However, in some areas we continue to make progress.
Loco restoration: Work on our own locomotive Hudswell Clarke no.1604 continues steadily. Chassis, wheels, brake gear and motion are all in place and ready to roll. The boiler and firebox are being restored at Mervyn Mayes’ works at Yaxham and the firebox has just been approved by the inspector following repair. The aim is to have 1604 listed as the fourth Middy owned loco, therefore no.4 and the plates are already waiting for the unveiling ceremony (see attached illustration). No.4 should be in service by the end of next year and certainly in time for the 70th anniversary celebration of the closure of the Middy in July 2022.
Extension: Trackwork is at at a standstill at present but we are shortly to finish the new public access layout at Dovebrook so they can leave the platform and access the picnic area. This work entails making a new footbridge over the brook. We have recently taken delivery of the components and will complete the bridge building as soon as the virus lets us.
General repairs and maintenance: Younger members of the volunteer force are attending most Wednesdays and Saturdays to look after continuing work, in particular repairs to our coach no.13, which needed substantial  work to wood panelling and subsequent repainting. This is also proceeding well and we hope it will be finished by the end of June.
Work is also in hand to renovate and reconfigure our shop and tea room (already completed} and make repairs to the real ale bar, The Kitchener Arms. Most of the heavy work had been done before the crisis, although all has yet to be tested by the public. But we are confident that the changes will improve visitor facilities, particularly in terms of speed of service.
And we are refreshing and revising the web site, particularly adding a new Historical section.
Obviously as the museum is closed, we have lost most of our major streams of finance which is a serious matter. The Middy still has some reserves due to excellent and prudent financial management and some funds from a legacy. The situation isn’t serious yet but, we are, of course, open to contributions, particularly the two specific appeals in the Appeal page of this site – 1604 Restoration and. Middy Extension. Please help if you can.

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