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The Bluebell Railway's Extension:
Latest Progress towards East Grinstead

Archive 6 (2006 & 2007)

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

See also a trackbed tour from Kingscote to East Grinstead, the Interactive map of progress on the East Grinstead Extension, showing the extent of track laying, and photos showing the progress being made, and Lineside News.

Latest News page

Mid-August 2007

Planning Permission Granted

Chris White reports:
The Bluebell Railway is delighted to have received planning permission for its new station at East Grinstead. This marks another successful step in the legal and technical process necessary to extend the railway from Kingscote into East Grinstead and achieve the long terms aims of both the Bluebell Railway and the town of East Grinstead. The next step is to finalise the station design and get the building work underway as soon as possible so the station is ready for the first trains to arrive. In the meantime watch for developments at the station site; things should start to happen later this year.

Mid-July 2007

Final Contract Exchanged

Contracts were exchanged on the tip puchase on Thursday 12 July, so we now have the final green light for the fund raising to push through to East Grinstead. More details of the purchase and future plans are described in Chris White's article in the recently published summer edition of the Bluebell News magazine.

Cattle Creep - east side - 7 July 2007 - Nigel Longdon

Work in progress

Nigel Longdon has sent the following photos and report on physical progress on the extension:

Since the last update our repointing of the coping stones and replacement of wasted bricks in the parapet walls on the viaduct has been completed. There is still some work to be undertaken in the vicinity of the palisade fencing at each end of the viaduct but this will require support from a contractor to temporarily remove the fencing panels. Even then further work will be required on the external facing brickwork.

Our attention has now turned to the cattle creep just south of the viaduct. Recent work has concentrated on removal of the tree stumps that have damaged the wing walls. So far this work has been completed on the west side and is now under way on the east (see photo right).

The roots don't give up without a fight! The method adopted is to dig out as much surrounding earth as necessary, then scrape remaining earth from the roots using a pointing trowel after which the roots are cut with loppers, handsaw or chainsaw, depending on their size. Substantial roots remaining in the ground are then treated with a root killer. Some of the stumps have a considerable network of roots so the job is taking a long time.

Cattle Creep - west side - 7 July 2007 - Nigel Longdon Trackbed cleared with the flail - 7 July 2007 - Nigel Longdon

A start has also been made on the remediable work to the head walls on the cattle creep. Eventually we will need scaffolding, however, some work can be undertaken without it, as in the photo above.

As seen in the other photo above, the trackbed and adjacent trackside has recently been flailed which has made this part of the extension look quite smart. Hopefully this will not need to be done too often before we are able to lay track.

4th July 2007

STOP PRESS: Contract ready for exchange

On Friday 29th June the Bluebell Railway finally signed the contract to purchase the Imberhorne Lane waste tip and cutting. This is the final key dependency needed to enable us to go ahead with the share issue and fund raising necessary to complete the extension to East Grinstead. As noted below, we will not take ownership until we have raised a significant proportion of the funds required and are ready to commence excavation of the tip.

June 2007

East Grinstead... Here we come

From Tim Baker:

Imberhorne Cutting.
Chris White announced at the Society AGM that the Bluebell Railway are about to sign the agreement with West Sussex County Council for the cutting and rubbish tip at Imberhorne Lane, just south of East Grinstead. For the first time ever, we will have the all the land required to complete the extension from Kingscote station to East Grinstead. The agreement allows us to commence the fundraising, including the preparation for a share issue this year.

We have two years to complete the purchase after signing the contract. During this time ownership remains with West Sussex County Council. We will have access under a license to carry out some essential tasks, but do not need to take ownership until we have raised enough money that we can start actual clearance work.

East Grinstead Station
A planning application has now been submitted to Mid Sussex District Council for the new Bluebell Railway station at East Grinstead. The plan is for a seven coach platform with a run round loop, booking office and station facilities. Our station will be between the current Network Rail station and the viaduct. Long term provision for a connection with the Network Rail system will also be provided.

We are currently looking at various ways to raise the 4.5 million pounds required to complete the project. Options include a share issue this year, possible use of the Bluebell Trust, involvement of fundraising specialist and our own in house network.

What can you do to help?
We need everyone to actively explain and sell the Bluebell extension to our customers, neighbours, supporters and enthusiasts. If anyone expresses an interest in purchasing shares, please ask them to complete a special form which will shortly be available at all booking offices, shops and refreshment facilities.

In addition, we are keen to set up and run road shows in local towns and communities. If you would like to be involved, please contact Tim Baker. It is hoped the group can get together and start work on this part of the extension on the evening of Thursday 14th June. You can contact Tim via the railway (e-mail) or leave your name and contact details with the Customer Service Team at Sheffield Park on 01825 720800.

Viaduct on Extension route - March 2007 - Derek Hayward Looking south from East Grinstead station - April 2007 - Derek Hayward

Photos of the route of the extension between Kingscote and East Grinstead are available thanks to Derek Hayward, including that on the left above, showing the Viaduct, and on the right, our future station site at East Grinstead. The majority of pictures were taken from private land with permission.

May 2007

The re-pointing of the viaduct parapet walls is complete, although the coping stones on top of a couple of walls still need to be re-pointed. All wasted bricks have been cut out and the process of replacing them is about 70% complete. This work is expected to be complete within the next week or so, weather permitting. David Chappell's photos are used to illustrate this report.

Viaduct progress Viaduct progress

Once the work on the parapet walls is complete we plan to turn our attention to the cattle creep and culvert south of the viaduct. The former requires rebuilding of the head walls and remedial work to the wing walls damaged by tree roots (as seen in the photos below) whilst the latter requires either remedial work to the headwall on the east side or complete replacement - yet to be decided.

Both these tasks will require scaffolding and Nigel Longdon would be pleased to hear from any scaffolding company sympathetic to the Railway's goals who could assist us in these tasks. Meanwhile the vegetation is being kept under control and we're pleased to report that there is a nice area of bluebells on this section this year. If you can assist us in any way please contact Nigel Longdon by e-mail.

Cattle Creep - wing wall Cattle Creep - wing wall

December 2006

Cutting clear south of Imberhorne Lane Bridge

Imberhorne Cutting looking south - 12 Dec 2006 - Chris Dadson


A new web page from Chris Dadson provides a comprehensive report on the last 18 months work clearing the cutting south of Imberhorne Lane Bridge, which is now complete.


August 2006

Continued Progress on the Viaduct

Progress on the viaduct


Photo right from Nigel Longdon

We're making steady progress with re-pointing the internal faces of the viaduct walls, and have now reached the halfway point, with the west wall completed. As of the end of August the team started working back along the east wall. Nigel Longdon is pleased to say that we have managed to attract a couple of new volunteers, however, as always we would welcome more support, especially from anyone experienced in the building trade. We still have to return to cut out and replace the wasted bricks on the west wall.

The picture shows the north end that is now complete.

Spoil extraction re-starts

O1 loco takes works train North


Photo left from Chris Dadson

On 29th August, the O1 locomotive took the digger back to the work-site at Imberhorne Lane bridge, ready for spoil extraction to re-start from the cutting south of the bridge. It is expected that the spoil trains will be mainly hauled by the hired-in 08 shunter, but could be steam-hauled on days when the diesel is rostered on other shunting work.

More of Chris Dadson's photos taken that day are available here.


11 July 2006

We now own the site for our station at East Grinstead!

The Bluebell Railway is now the proud owner of the site for our new northern terminus at East Grinstead. We have therefore completed two out of the three key dependencies - the third, which is still being patiently negotiated, is agreement with West Sussex County Council on the terms of acquisition of Imberhorne Cutting.

The first key dependency, completed last year, was to have all the paperwork in order to enable us to excavate and dispose of the waste contained in Imberhorne Cutting. All three dependencies have to be met before we can launch the share issue to begin to raise the funds to remove the waste from the cutting.

A full update will appear in the next Bluebell News magazine, but in the meantime, the following are the salient points of the outcome of the lengthy negotiations with Network Rail, etc.:

  • We now own 3000 sq.m of land, a long and narrow plot to the south of the existing station down platform.
  • There is space for a single-sided, 7-coach length, platform with run-round loop.
  • Ultimately there will be a connection to Network Rail from the south end of their existing siding.
  • There is little space for anything elaborate in the way of a station building.
  • The purchase price is £1 plus legal fees (this price was agreed at the time we took over responsibility for maintenance of the viaduct). There is a time limit within which we must commence construction, or the land will revert back to Network Rail ownership at the same price.
  • There is no space to provide car parking for our passengers; use of adjacent public car parks is the only option at present.
  • Notices describing the project and other Bluebell Railway information will be displayed on the site.
The next step is to agree the fencing and access gate provisions with Network Rail and Sainsbury's, following which work can be undertaken to make the site secure. Please be aware that at present the site is adjacent to live third rail, so access is very restricted until fencing is in place to separate our land from Network Rail property. Please do not attempt to enter the site!
Progress on the viaduct



Photo right from Nigel Longdon:

We have now re-pointed about 35% of the brickwork that will face the track. Seven main walls, out of a total twenty, have been pointed, however, the task of cutting out and replacing many wasted bricks remains to be done. Progress has been hindered by the recent wet weather and the reliance on one experienced builder and a novice, although the Saturday Team is doing the preparation by removing loose mortar and vegetation. We would welcome any additional help, experienced or not, and work on selected days mid-week as well as Saturdays. Please contact Nigel Longdon if you are interested.


January 2006

Text and photos from Nigel Longdon.

Graffiti on the viaduct Graffiti removal from the viaduct

Graffiti-free viaduct



On Wednesday 18th January Graffiti Removal Limited with support from East Grinstead Town Council removed the graffiti from Hill Place viaduct. The process used employs proprietary chemicals that are non-toxic, environmentally friendly and are neutralised by the water used to wash the treated surface. The task was completed in about six hours.

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