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The Bluebell Railway's Extension:
Progress towards East Grinstead

Archive 3 (2002)

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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17 December 2002 - Winter Weather!

Looking North from Hazelden Now that the weather has deteriorated we have had to suspend the use of mechanical plant to avoid damaging the trackbed and on safety grounds. Unless there is a significant period of dry weather we will be unable to restart this work until the spring.

The opportunity is now being taken to tidy up the banks and embankments. Using a combination of strimmers and hand tools, vegetation that has grown up during the past two years is being cut back and burnt. This kind of work is particularly suitable for anyone who is steady on their feet and doesn't mind working in the (sometimes very) fresh air.

Work commenced near the cattle creep near Hazelden Farm and will continue north towards Imberhorne tip. If we complete that before the weather improves then a start will be made working south from Hazelden. The picture was taken looking north towards the tip before work started.

Just a short note regarding the previous news "First pass clearing Foster's Tip". This has been interpreted by some of the national railway press as indicating that we are half way through clearing Imberhorne tip. Unfortunately these are two entirely separate tips, and Imberhorne tip will be a much bigger undertaking!

14 October 2002 - First pass clearing Foster's Tip

Fosters tip first-pass complete We have completed the first "pass" removing the waste dumped in the cutting by Ash Lea Farm. Progress has been restricted by the availability of plant to cart the excavated material away. We have now commenced a second "pass" to remove further material and we have located the base of the original bank in this area. There is still a considerable volume of material to remove. For many weeks the weather on Saturdays has been favourable for our work, however, we will not be able to continue once the real winter rains set in.

The photograph shows that we are beginning to see something approaching the original width of trackbed.

Hill Place Viaduct Work is also now being undertaken by contractors on the refurbishment of Hill Place viaduct on the outskirts of East Grinstead. This photo by Jon Bowers shows progress in clearing the vegetation which was damaging the brickwork, and repairs to the parapet, including the relacement of original blue capping bricks. It must be emphasised that there is absolutely no access to the Viaduct as it is a working site.

28 August 2002 - Clearance at Ash Lea Farm

North of the dam (which is no more) debris that had been scraped from the formation and piled to the side has been removed. This work is not yet complete but the bulk of the sludge that had been in the water behind the dam has now been removed.

Fosters tip clearance In recent weeks we have commenced excavating the waste that had been dumped on the trackbed on the land that was purchased from Ash Lea Farm. This will take some time as it comprises a mixture of soil, scrap metal and general farm waste. Hopefully the weather will continue to remain favourable as heavy rain will cause the formation to become soft and deteriorate under the weight of the JCB and dumpers. When it becomes too wet we shall stop this type of work until it is suitable to use the plant again.

The picture on the left was taken on Saturday 24th August and is looking north between Ash Lea Farm and Mr. Steer's land. The current work can be seen on the left. Once the first "pass" is complete a second pass will be made to reinstate the alignment of the original cutting. The current rate of progress is about ten meters per day so there is still a considerable amount to do.

19 August 2002 - Work starts on the Viaduct

Clearing the scrub and vegetation around the bases of the arches under Imberhorne viaduct has been undertaken in preparation for the start of major restoration work, which commenced on 19th August. We have worked closely with the local authorities with this work and Chris White, the extension gang and Friends of Kingscote members have mail dropped our neighbours to tell them of the impending work and giving them a "hotline" number to contact if there are queries or problems.

The good news is that the large majority of callers were very supportive of Bluebell and welcomed its arrival. Several neighbours asked if we could leave a screen of trees which we have accommodated but have left a "corridor" by the base of the viaduct and ensured the clearance is as environmentally friendly as possible. Fencing has been re-instated in accordance with the requirements of the HSE.

We would like to remind everyone that the viaduct is now a construction site and access will not be permissible under any circumstances unless approved and under escort.

15 May 2002 - Further drainage and clearance

Dam clearance Lack of news does not mean that nothing has been happening during the last few months. We have been tidying the trackbed and banks that have already been cleared. We have also installed a drain across the width of the trackbed south of Mr Steer's land to link with the drainage ditch that flows along the boundary of Ash Lea Farm. This has enabled the land purchased from Mr Steer to be scraped down to the original trackbed and the water here now drains along the east side. On 11th May work finally started on the removal of the dam across the width of the trackbed at Keepers. This will take some time but will allow the drainage north of the dam to be improved.

Dam clearance The photographs taken last Saturday (courtesy of Nigel Longdon) show the removal of the dam which formerly retained a large pond on the trackbed at Keepers.

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