The South Devon Railway Enthusiasts' site

SOUTH DEVON RAILWAY suffers a Landslip at 4miles 45chains
Update: 08 January 2014 Update: 09 January 2014 Finished! : 10 February 2014
Various shots of the recent landslip
Photographs © J.Brodribb 2013

With Great Britain suffering storms over the Christmas period the South Devon Railway has unfortunately had to cancel its Mince Pie Trains due to a landslip between Buckfastleigh and Staverton; a distance of 4 miles 45 chains from Totnes.

The area is now restricted to authorised personnel as its stability is assessed and a suitable scheme is developed for the repair.

SDR Trust Chairman Alan Taylor comments: “The landslip is around 40 yards long, but in a very inaccessible place which is going to make the repairs difficult because it will take some time to clear the debris and then re-instate the track. ”

“We can only apologise to all of those who came to the railway after Christmas and were disappointed to miss their trip out, but we’d like all of our friends and supporters to come back and see us in February for our two Winter Gala weekends during half-term.”

“We’ve also been heartened by the many offers of help and support we’ve had from local people and our supporters, local MP Mel Stride, and a number of other heritage railways, including promises of labour and plant machinery.”

“With the majority of the repair costs being thankfully borne by our insurers, we decided that it would be inappropriate to launch a formal public appeal to help us pay for some of these unexpected and unplanned repairs, but we will have a major appeal later in the year for our big planned improvements at Buckfastleigh.”

“Any donations can be sent to the railway at Buckfastleigh Station marked ‘Landslip Appeal’ with cheques made payable to the South Devon Railway. ”

The Gift Aid Form for UK taxpayers will be of even greater advantage to the railway as we can recover the tax paid from such donations. You can also make a donation and obtain further information by calling us on 01364 644370.

Updates will also be posted on the websites, Twitter and Facebook and there will be a recorded message on 01364 644370

Update: 08th January 2014

SDR Manager John Haslam today said;
“The tree–felling contractor is on site and work to remove the trees and timber debris will begin this afternoon.”
“Two more trees are at great risk of falling, so they have to be taken down too.”

Other work will include lifting six lengths of rails and concrete sleepers in order to remove ballast which has been contaminated with soil and mud and assessing the damage caused to the track by the “sheer force” of the water.

“We’re putting additional drainage under the track and will have to stabilise the cutting above the site.”

“It’s a very restricted site and all the materials are having to be brought in by train.”

“The logistics complicate things... but we’re very confident we’ll be up and running by 15 February.”

The majority of the repair costs will be covered by insurance, although the SDR will have to pay about £15,000 for the policy excess and other work not covered.

Update: 09th January 2014

Work starts on clearing the landslip
Photographs © SDRT 2013

Now that the insurers have given us the go-ahead, a team from local contractor Kevin Thulborn have started work on site. Kevin’s business is based in the former Staverton Joinery premises adjacent to our station so his plant was loaded onto the engineers train assembled in the yard at Staverton for transport to the site. Three to four of his staff are clearing the fallen trees and also felling the others that are considered a future danger. Larger branches are being cut into lengths and loaded onto the Lowmac and Rectank wagons by both his staff and our own team. Smaller branches will be disposed of via a chipper that will be placed on the leading wagon. The wood chippings will be collected in the adjacent Grampus wagon and later sold or used as required in gardens on the SDR.

Update: 10th February 2014

BR Class“04” D2246 hauls the engineer’s train from Buckfastleigh
Clean sleepers ready for relaying – and now ready for balasting
Removing the balance of the slip Newly relaid section of track
Track ballasted and gabions in place – looking “Down” ... and now looking “Up” the line
After the tamper has passed through All done and ready for February Galas
Photographs © SDRT 2013

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