The major project over this closed season was the relaying of track work between the mine adit culvert and the point at the entrance to Mines Yard Station. There were two short lengths of rail that have been causing some concern and it was felt these should be replaced.
This involved the removal of the track, sleepers and the old ballast with the aid of a small digger (kindly loaned by ACE Hire) and the volunteers. The spent ballast was transported to the permanent way yard which has aided in leveling out this area. The sleepers and track were re-laid with some new rail and the sleepers levelled by packing, a job that involves a lot of hard effort.
The opportunity was taken to improve the crossing point where a footpath traverses the line just before the point. Check rails were installed and the line ballasted to enable a level crossing for pedestrians.
Another project was the refurbishment of the foot bridge across the railways mine adit which was discovered to be in need of repair. The bridge was taken down and the parts transported to the Valley Gardens end of the line where the timber was cleaned and two coats of preservative applied. One of the supporting timbers was beginning to rot but it was decided to replace it in a year or twos time. The coated parts were then taken back to the site and reassembled. The beams were covered with a polythene membrane to try and prevent water ingress from above. Deck netting was then placed over the walk boards to act as an anti slip device. A selection of photographs is in the gallery to show this work being carried out.
A project which was started last season involved the arrival of one of the redundant carriage bodies from Groudle Glen Railway. This has been mounted on concrete blocks in the Valley Gardens station area and is now in the process of being made secure and dry by panelling in the windows on one side. This will then be used for information boards and a waiting area for the public in inclement weather.
A length of rail in the tunnel had been causing problems as it was a reused rail and the profile was incorrect, i.e. it had been installed round the wrong way. When a rail is new, the profile is symmetrical. With use the upper edge on the inside becomes worn down so giving an uneven symmetry. This rail was installed with the worn edge on the outside which did not match the rails it was connected too. This rail was removed and turned so as to give a more even ride.