First there was ... FLOODLINES
then there was ... MUDLINES
and now we bring you ...
Why underground lines?
Because the major engineering work being carried out this winter is through the tunnel between Kidderminster and Bewdley.
The drainage through the tunnel has been deteriorating for many years but it has now reached the point where it has failed. This has resulted in the ballast becoming badly contaminated with silt that has been washed down from the surrounding cutting walls and carried down from the top of the bank. The condition of the rail and sleepers has also reached the point at which it is necessary to carry out renewals to ensure that we can continue to operate trains throughout 2012 and beyond.
During the summer a specification for the work was produced and issued to several contractors who were invited to bid for the work. Tenders were submitted and once these had been evaluated a contractor was selected. The contractor chosen to carry out the work being Walsh Construction Ltd based in Worcestershire.
The main works start on 3rd January with a continuous engineering possession (7 days per week) until 10th February. This will be followed with a period of Monday to Friday possessions between 20th February and 16th March to enable the works to be completed in time for the Spring Steam Gala 2012.
However the amount of work to be carried out within the allotted time scale is significant and to minimise the likelihood of overruns some preliminary work has been approved by the SVR Board. This preliminary work began on 31st October with Monday to Friday possessions until 2nd December. The preliminary work has been planned to eliminate any risk to the vital SVR Santa and Festive season trains.
Fortunately the condition of the tunnel itself is good and comparatively little work need to be carried out on the tunnel lining. However work to rectify damage to some of the tunnel refuges and general repointing of both portals will occur.
The preliminary work will entail digging a new soakaway alongside the track near to the Bewdley down distant signal. A new drain will also be provided from this soakaway to the Bewdley tunnel portal.