The Bluebell Railway had obtained all the land required to complete the extension from Kingscote station to East Grinstead. We own the site for our station in East Grinstead, and we own and have undertaken extensive renovation work on the viaduct (Photo: right). All the other permissions were already in place to extract the rubbish from the tip, and to complete the extension.
What was left to do?Standing in the way was an infilled railway cutting 500 metres in length and 10-12 metres deep, used as a domestic landfill site in the 1960s/70s.
Clearance of this cutting, and its associated costs, was the main obstacle before the steam-hauled trains of Britain's first standard gauge heritage railway could make their impressive entrance into the West Sussex market town over the imposing 10-arch Imberhorne Viaduct.
Bluebell Railway PLC's 2008 offer was aimed specifically to raise part of the construction costs to rebuild the railway line from Kingscote to East Grinstead, towards the total cost of the project, which was expected to be £5 million.
The site of the former rubbish tip had been secured, cleared of scrub, and temporary facilities and roadways installed. Over 10,000 tons of rubbish was removed during the course of a three-week test dig. This was all funded through the 2008 share issue, as were the purchase, insurance and indemnity payments required. Subsequently we launched our 50th Anniversary Appeal, which has raised the money to complete the removal of all the remaining rubbish needed to clear a path through the cutting for our trains, complete the earthworks, signalling, trackwork and facilities, and the extension opened on 23 March 2013.
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