6th June 2005
first day of spoil extraction from the cutting to the south of
Imberhorne Lane bridge. At Kingscote Station, Ivatt Class 2MT No. 41312
prepares to propel the first of the many engineer's trains to Imberhorne
Lane for the purpose of removing excavated spoil.
Class 2MT No. 41312 at Imberhorne Lane after propelling the train up
the extension. Other steam locomotives that were regularly rostered for
this duty included LBSCR class E4 No. 32473, LSWR class B4 No. 96
"Normandy", and SECR class O1 No. 65. During the late summer of 2006,
the duty was transferred to a hired-in class 08 diesel locomotive No.
D3023. Most trains were formed using a mixture of 'grampus' and 'turbot'
very first bucket of excavated spoil is loaded. This scene was to
become a regular twice daily weekday occurrence over the next 18 months.
The spoil was taken to two sites at Horsted Keynes. Initially it was
used to extend the high embankment at the end of the Ardingly Siding,
then the remaining spoil was dumped in an area known as the 'triangle'
in-between where the Sheffield Park and Ardingly lines diverge.
15th June 2005
16th July 2005
race was on to reach the prized objective. Within a month a trackbed
marker had been dug towards the bridge, exposing the top of the southern
portal to daylight for the first time for over 30 years. A survey
revealed that the bridge was still sound and had not suffered any damage
after being effectively buried for so many years.|
A closer view showing the top of the newly exposed southern portal of Imberhorne Lane bridge.
21st September 2005
| ||Mud, mud, glorious mud! Another day and another spoil train routinely waits for yet more excavated spoil to be loaded.|
ever increasing exposed bridge as seen from the top of the embankment.
By this time it was estimated that about two-thirds of the spoil had
been removed from the cutting.|
the same position at the top of the embankment, looking this time
looking south towards Kingscote. Normally it would take 30 to 40 minutes
to load a train with spoil.|
the busy summer period, many visitors coming to the Bluebell Railway
were surprised and inquisitive about the twice daily spoil trains
passing through Kingscote and Horsted Keynes stations. This picture
depicts a laden spoil train arriving into the Kingscote loop platform
where it would have been held until the adjacent passenger train had
departed and cleared the block section. Passenger trains were always
22nd December 2005
view looking south over the parapet of Imberhorne Lane bridge down onto
a deserted work site on a cold winter's morning shortly before
25th March 2006
the weekend so normal spoil excavation activity had been temporarily
interrupted for a couple of days. As a result of the regular weekday
trains the unwanted spoil at Imberhorne Lane was gradually diminishing.|
view from within the work site looking towards Imberhorne Lane bridge.
Working on site that day was one of the Bluebell's volunteer lineside
clearance gangs whom had been requested to dispose of some dug out
vegetation that was littering the site.
19th April 2006
| ||View from the top of the embankment looking down towards the exposed southern portal. |
lull in spoil train operations facilitated the lifting of the four most
northerly track panels and relaying them onto a new bed of ballast. One
week after the date of this photograph, two additional 60 foot track
panels were laid directly onto the muddy unballasted trackbed thereby
taking the railhead another 120 feet closer to East Grinstead. The photo
shows the PW work in progress. Note how the built-up loading dock has
already been relocated to the bridge side of the site access ramp in
readiness for the extended track.
9th May 2006
towards Imberhorne Lane bridge showing the new track panels laid the
previous month. Spoil excavation had at this time been temporarily
suspended as the new extended embankment at the end of the Ardingly
Siding had been completed, but the railway was still awaiting the
necessary approvals to commence dumping spoil into the 'triangle' at
29th August 2006
this date, approval had been received permitting the relandcscaping of
the Horsted Keynes 'triangle'. As part of the preparatory activities in
readiness to re-start spoil excavation the following month, SECR class
O1 No. 65 propels an engineer's train through Kingscote destined for the
northern extension returning the digger back to Imberhorne Lane.
28th September 2006
from the Brake Van towards Imberhorne Lane bridge as yet another train
is loaded with spoil. The project was back on track and being actively
progressed. However spoil trains were still being regularly worked by
steam locomotives, and on that day SECR class O1 No. 65 had been
rostered for that duty.|
3rd October 2006
08 diesel locomotive No. D3023 which had been hired in from Peak Rail
some months previously specifically to work engineering trains on the
northern extension, was finally making regular journeys to Imberhorne
7th November 2006
from the Brake Van of the now rapidly changing scene towards Imberhorne
Lane bridge. Compared to September's photograph, there was a
considerable difference to both embankments and also the spoil height
above the trackbed had been lowered. For the first time it was possible
to visualise the completed excavation.|
5th December 2006
towards Imberhorne Lane bridge from within the water logged work site
the morning after another night of heavy rain. There had already been on
previous days a couple of spoil slippages due to the heavy rainfall.|
almost emptied cutting seen from above the parapet of Imberhorne Lane
bridge reveals the surface of the original trackbed for the first time.
That day should have been the last spoil train working needed to remove
the excavated spoil from the south side of the bridge. However due to
the time lost in having to clear up as a result of the recent heavy
rains, there was still enough outstanding spoil to justify running at
least one further spoil train.|
12th December 2006
| ||The completely emptied cutting as seen from the western side of Imberhorne Lane bridge.|
alternative view of the now empty cutting from above the parapet of
Imberhorne Lane bridge. Between June 2005 and December 2006 spoil trains
operated on 240 days. It is estimated that in excess of 32,000 tons of
spoil was finally removed from the cutting south of Imberhorne Lane
Bridge and taken by train to Horsted Keynes.|