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North of the tip the extension gang have completed the removal of undergrowth from around, on and out of the sides of the bridge at the north end of the tip. This is one of the largest over-bridges on the line! The photos below from Dave Clarke show the "before" and the final "after" view.
The Mayor of East Grinstead laid a panel of track over the East Grinstead - Turners Hill road bridge at the end of October, as a symbol of our determination to reach East Grinstead. Cllr Beverly Heasman is seen here joining the track gang in their work. More photos available from Barry Coward.
During July and August the Northern Extension gang have continued to concentrate on clearance of the trackside between the viaduct and tip. Progress has slowed as we have approached the northern extremity of the tip as the banks become quite steep and the hot weather has not helped the volunteers either. The trackbed along this stretch has been sprayed with weedkiller in an attempt to slow the rapid growth which has resulted from the exceptionally warm weather.
The photos below from Dave Clarke show the "before" and "during work" views southwards towards the north end of the tip.
Apart from the clearance work some initial surveying work has been
performed on the viaduct to determine the most economic method of draining
rainwater from it. The evidence shows that the depth of fill increases
gradually towards the southern arches. Here the fill comprises a layer of
bitumen waterproofing, sand blinding, crushed brick, Brighton ballast
contaminated with water borne particles and finally ballast. The results of
the survey have not yet been completely analysed. The photo right shows the survey in progress.
In the meantime the Friends of Kingscote (FoK) have started tracklaying north from Kingscote. The following is their report on their activities:
We were given the task of preparing the trackbed and installing all the required infrastructure to enable track to be laid from Kingscote up to the south end of the tip.
FoK began work on 1/2/03 and so far we have: -
This work has been carried out by FoK volunteers with help from contractors working under our direction where heavy plant and earth moving equipment is essential. Overall we work under the instruction of Chris White the Civil Engineering and FoK Trustee and all costs are agreed with him.
As can be seen in the photo on the right from Nick Beck, the tracklaying has progressed further since Eddie Fairman wrote the above report.
These pictures show the progress that has been made around Hill Place Farm, between the tip and the viaduct.
On Saturday 5th April we commenced clearance of the banks surrounding the
cattle creep immediately south of the viaduct (see photographs). This will
enable a full survey of required remedial work to the brickwork to be
carried out. It is good to report that we have seen an increase in numbers
both from new volunteers and past Team members - we would welcome even more help if you are interested.
Meanwhile the Bluebell Railway Board has requested us to complete outstanding work north of the tip. This includes completion of remaining remedial work on the viaduct, repairs to a cattle creep and culvert, drainage work and lineside clearance of coppicing etc. that has grown since we last worked on this section. Once we have completed this work it will be ready for track to be laid.
If you would like to become involved in this work please contact Nigel Longdon - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following the completion of preparatory works north of Kingscote Station (the current terminus of the Bluebell Railway), some 320 yards of track will be laid during the next five weeks. These tracks will bring the Bluebell over the Turners Hill Road Bridge. Motorists are asked not to take their eyes off the road at this point! This will bring the Bluebell Railway closer to its objective of reaching East Grinstead.
However Imberhorne cutting which was used as a landfill site in the sixties and early seventies remains an obstruction. Consultants have been engaged to offer the railway advice on the tip which will have to be moved before rails reach East Grinstead. Nicholas Pryor, Bluebell's Funding Director said "Test bores have shown the tip is inert, nothing toxic. There is about 300,000 tons of hardcore and other waste and could cost between four to five million pounds to remove".
Bluebell's Chairman Roy Watts added "The good news is that the top 8 feet of the tip is clay capping that can by recycled."
The following is adapted from a Bluebell Railway press notice, and is included here for completeness:
Following the Rail Regulator's refusal on 20 December to give consent to Railtrack for this disposal to Sainsbury's of land at East Grinstead earmarked for the Bluebell Railway, a meeting has been called to bring together all the parties interested in the site (local authorities, Railtrack, J. Sainsbury, Bluebell Railway and South Central Trains), to discuss the way forward.
The Bluebell Railway had in the words of the Rail Regulator:
"a clear and feasible plan with statements as to how funding is to be secured" which would protect the future enlargement of the railway network.The Rail regulator also observed that "future growth of passenger capacity on the rail network would be reduced by frustrating the completion of the Bluebell Railway extension, particularly with regard to the creation of an improved multi-modal interchange system. "
It is interesting to note that the wider implications of joining the Bluebell Railway to the national network was spelt out in the Strategic Rail Authority's (SRA) objection to the proposed sale of land by Railtrack to J. Sainsbury. The SRA stated that it was aware that Bluebell Railway has a requirement for the land as it provides the only means of connecting its line to East Grinstead station and the connection would create a new passenger interchange there. The SRA further stated that whilst it recognised that it has no responsibility for the Bluebell Railway (being a heritage railway), the creation of a new interchange would bring benefits to the South Central franchise, through the increased traffic to and from London. The SRA's view was supported by submissions by train operators.
Clearly the Bluebell Railway has support from the Rail industry for its extension to East Grinstead.
Meanwhile the £175,000 contract to repair the parapet and outside walls of the
viaduct just to the south of East Grinstead has now been completed.
The next stage of work on the viaduct will be to undertake
repairs to the inner walls and the re-waterproofing of the deck, work which can be done in-house by volunteers.
The latest Extension Progress page is here.
Archive 10 (2011).
Archive 9 (2010).
Archive 8 (2009).
Archive 7 (2008).
Archive 6 (2006-7).
Archive 5 (2004-5).
Archive 4 (2003).
Archive 3 (2002).
Archive 2 (April - Dec 2001).
Archive 1 (Oct 2000 - Feb 2001).
An eariler report on progress (April 2000) from Extension Director Jim Turtle is in the News Archive.
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