Following the Grand Tidy Up in February, we decided to take the opportunity to do some groundworks around the site. We are certainly not short of shovels, nor of enthusiasm, but the nature of the work to be done would have taken several months of Sundays, so we enlisted the help of a mini-digger with a skilled operator for the day. Your generous donations at our Open Weekends and annual Membership Subscriptions make projects like this possible.
One important job was to level the top of the mine tip area following the removal of a large quantity of stone and the re-positioning of the two halves of the ex-Sharlston pit wheel. This will allow better access for HGVs and more space for our volunteers to park their cars on a Sunday. A hole was also dug in the centre of the steel ramps giving us the start of an inspection pit, although we will still need to do some work later to line the sides and bottom, as well as putting in some basic drainage. A future project will see a second track running down from the points outside the mine to the top of the tip which will pass across the pit.
As well as some general tidying up and levelling of the ground, the digger was also put to use in widening the gulley at the Southern end of the line. This area was previously used to hide a stockpile of rail (now recovered) and we intend to lay some rails into here in order to demonstrate our Eimco 12B rocker shovel on open days. The bank leading to the top of this area has been graded to allow visitors safe access to watch the Eimco in action.
Editor’s Note: This post was first written as a draft, but only published in December 2017. It has been backdated to the beginning of March, when the events described took place.