Restoration of The Level & Four Roads Crossing Lodges
For the first time in nearly 35 years the Supporters' Association undertook a return to volunteer presence on the railway in February 2013 when working parties attended The Level to complete a restoration of the crossing lodge and surrounding area. This project came about following much negotiation by the Island Area Group and was intended as the first of several similar projects to protect and improve the integral parts of the railway's infrastructure which have been neglected in recent times, notably owing to the automation of level crossings in 2000-2002.
Work was undertaken prior to the commencement of the railway's main season during February 2013 when working parties assembled on site to make a start on clearing undergrowth, prepare, undercoat and repaint the building, window frames, doors, etc., and tend to the picket fencing and platform bench. The distinctive dual language running in board was also removed for repainting in traditional Railway Company style, reappearing in a green and cream scheme in readiness for the start of the season the following month. Some of the ancillary parts of the automated barriers were also spruced up and the completed building fitted with a plaque denoting the restoration that had been undertaken.
Following the success and popularity of the work carried out to The Level earlier in the year, further volunteer working parties attended the site at Four Roads just beyond Port St. Mary, during June 2013 to refurbish the former crossing lodge and its environs. In the time since the crossing was automated in 2001 the building had deteriorated in appearance, although remaining structurally sound, and was becoming something of an eyesore to passers by on a busy main road. A similar project to that carried out at The Level the previous months was undertaken, with strimming of undergrowth, preparing and painting of timber fascias, window frames and doors, and the reinstatement of a small flower bed to the side of the lodge. A nameboard was also fabricated and erected to the side of the lodge as it was felt that although this was not a stoppng place, traditionally each of the level crossings had nameboards.
Upon completion some floral displays were added and these will be tended to by locally-based members of the Supporters' Association during the summer months, adding a welcome splash of colour to the site for passing train travellers and motorists alike.
With the operation of the railway being undertaken by the goverment the Supporters' Association firmly believe that projects of this nature form a perfect basis for a role within the railway for the group and we always welcome volunteers willing to assist or provide us with suggestions for further such projects along the lineside. The next project to be tackled would be the more ambitious timber crossing lodge at Mill Road south west of Castletown Station.