Mid December 2011 to Early January 2012
The last few weeks of 2011 were spent bringing the necessary permanent way materials into the railway and loading them up ready for movement to the tunnel site. The first batch of materials was unloaded at the site just before Christmas and the second batch which will be used within the tunnel itself is parked up at Bewdley.
The following list gives an indication of the quantities of material that have been brought in ready for the track replacement -
70 off 60 foot nominal length rails
910 off concrete sleepers
1820 off pads
3640 off rail clips
3640 off Insulators
Approximately 800 tons of clean ballast have also been brought in (this excludes any bottom ballast being brought in by the civil contractor).
A number of comments have been made concerning site security and the lack of reference to it `press releases and the like`. All I will say is that additional security measures have been put in place at site to safeguard plant, equipment and materials but for obvious reasons I am not prepared to give details and they will certainly not be described in press releases.
The first operation to take place on Tuesday 3rd January was for the Signals & Telecomms gang to move into the tunnel and begin stripping out the old signalling cables. This was successfully completed by about 2pm and the cable was then cut into manageable lengths. Before anybody asks it was then taken away by an SVR authorised scrap dealer for disposal. All of the old cable was off site by lunch time on the next day. Out of interest one of the shipments was actually stopped by the police after leaving site so that they could confirm the legitimacy of the load.
While this was happening additional site facilities and equipment were arriving at Bewdley and being loaded up onto rail vehicles for transfer to the tunnel. The Permanent Way 6 ton crane did the necessary loading and unloading during a very wet and windy few hours. The civil contractor also brought in his plant and machinery via the old Sugar Beet factory on the same day.
Wednesday 4th saw the work beginning in earnest. The full time Permanent Way gang, assisted by members of the Bewdley volunteer gang, began stripping the track fasteners and fishplates between the Bewdley up distant and the Kidderminster tunnel portal. All of these small items are now back at Bewdley where they will be sorted for reuse or scrapping. Removal of all of the old rail and sleepers was completed by the end of Tuesday 10th.