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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.:
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.
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.
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 (October 2000 - February 2001).
An eariler report on progress (April 2000) from Jim Turtle is in the News Archive.
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