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The Bluebell Railway's Extension:
Progress towards East Grinstead

Archive 2 (April - Dec 2001)

Extension Project archives: 2012 through to re-opening - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2006-7 - 2004-5 - 2003 - 2002 - April - Dec 2001 - Oct 2000 - Feb 2001 - April 2000


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31 December 2001 - Trackbed clearance of recently acquired land

Recent work by the team has concentrated on clearance of the recently acquired section of trackbed on the east side south of the dam (opposite Ash Lea Farm). Some trees have been felled but a good number which are unlikely to affect the running of the railway have been left. The trackbed is being scraped to improve the drainage as this is a particularly wet area. The drainage ditch which was dug some time ago along our border with Ash Lea Farm has been extended north across the width of the trackbed to drain the cleared area.

Work on the trackbed near Ash Lea Farm The majority of fencing has now been renewed. Few posts have required replacing but new wire has been installed. Additionally the fence that borders our land along Imberhorne Lane has been replaced. This was in poor condition having suffered from a constant buffeting from passing traffic.

Finally essential plant maintenance has been carried out. The rebuild of our 3-ton dumper is complete - this has taken a considerable amount of time and effort, however, it is now firing on all three cylinders - something that it hasn't managed to do for a long time!

The photograph (courtesy of Jeff Machin) shows recent work on the trackbed near Ash Lea Farm.

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12 October 2001 - More land acquired

We have made another land purchase on the extension from Kingscote to East Grinstead. It had previously been announced that we had obtained enough of the land in private ownership to reach East Grinstead. However, this did not include, in all places, both sides of the former double-track formation. The latest purchase means that we have a greater proportion with the full width of the formation, which will make construction and future maintenance much easier. Clearance and fencing of this section has commenced.

Alan and Nigel with Cherry Picker Back in August (when the sun shone) Alan Summerfield and Nigel Longdon, who qualified for use of chainsaws in January this year, undertook further training, this time working from an elevated platform (known as a cherry picker). Along the route of the trackbed there are several trees which did not need to be felled but that had branches which would have posed a risk to the line and rolling stock. A cherry picker was hired in and we removed the offending branches - an interesting experience.

More recently the Saturday team have been carrying out further clearance work on the east side south of Keepers (the dam).

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17 July 2001 - Work continues

Excavating new farm crossing This set of photos from Nigel Longdon were taken last week, and show recent progress, as well as work being done by the oldest member of the extension team, Ted Anderson, 71 years young. Apart from Saturdays, he runs the Wednesday gang and is one of the small team working on the new Horsted canopy. Ted has been involved in the extension since day one and rarely misses a Saturday (or Wednesday) except for holidays.

The first picture, left, shows Jim Turtle excavating a ramp for a new farm gate which has been installed. Eventually the ramp will be concreted.

Ted cutting back vegetation Picture two, right, shows Ted strimming an area which we cleared some months ago. Unfortunately the rate at which vegetation is growing is pretty rapid - must be something to do with the vast amount of rain we have had and the recent hot weather. It will be a challenge to keep this under control.

South from Hazelden The third picture, left, looks south from Hazelden Farm along the trackbed. Even here the ground is sprouting growth.

Recent work has included gathering up all the logs that have been cut in Keepers cutting and at Hazelden. We hope to get these removed soon.

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20 April 2001 - Clearance work nearly complete

Despite the weather we continue to make good progress in clearing the fence line, banks and embankments. On the west side fence line clearance is about 80% complete and about 50% has been re-fenced (post straightened/replaced and new wire installed), the fencing work being done by the Fencing Gang with some work being undertaken under supervision by the Saturday Gang. On the east side most of the fence line is now cleared, although, there is still some clearance to be done "trackside".

We are trying to get the above clearance work complete before the AGM. Along the fence line we will need to commission one farm gate which has been installed to avoid a staggered crossing over the track but still needs a concrete ramp built and decommission the old gate.

The slightly improved weather has resulted in the trackbed starting to dry out which makes transiting it a bit easier particularly whilst carrying all the tools we use.

We are pleased that several new volunteers have joined our regular Wednesday and Saturday working parties. There is always more than enough work so anyone keen to help should contact Ted Anderson (Wednesday Gang) on 01444-811865 or Nigel Longdon 020-8679-3732 (Saturday Gang). If you'd like to help the fencing gang, contact Geoff Snow (01932-231443). No skills are required just a will to see the extension complete as soon as possible.

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