SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: laying the railway (start of sequence)

taken 9 years ago, near to Bank, Hampshire, Great Britain

Warwickslade Cutting: laying the railway (start of sequence)
Warwickslade Cutting: laying the railway (start of sequence)
Warwickslade Cutting was a long, straight drainage ditch dug around 1850. In 2009, The Forestry Commission decided to fill it in and replace it by a more natural, meandering stream. The contractors were Alaska Environmental Contracting ( LinkExternal link ). It was necessary to bring in 10,000 tonnes of hoggin to fill in the cutting. That would have been 1,000 round trips for the Morooka MST-2200vd tracked dumper truck ( LinkExternal link ). Alaska decided as an experiment to design and build a light railway from this point, reached via a forest track, to the cutting. This photo shows the start of the railway track, the laying of which was a morning's work. It was being laid along a wide, grassy forest track.

The track consists of circular steel pipe of about 6mm wall thickness, welded to steel cross members which are in turn bolted to wooden sleepers. As can be seen from the righthand track in the photo, one side is fitted with a steel spike to engage with the next section. Thus, it fits together very much like a toy railway, using preassembled track sections which are either straight or of fixed curvature.

The purpose of the railway was to reduce the environmental impact of bringing so much material on site. The Morooka dumper truck has an engine of 250 HP whereas Alaska thought that they could shift the same 10 tonnes of gravel in a train powered by a Boxer 532DX mini-skid (the tracked vehicle seen on the righthand rails) which has a 32 HP engine. Thus the emissions savings would be substantial. There ought also to be less surface damage.

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Warwickslade Cutting
Warwickslade Cutting was a long, straight drainage ditch dug around 1850. In 2009, The Forestry Commission decided to fill it in and replace it by a more natural, meandering stream. The Forestry Commission was carrying out the works as part of its "Final 4000" programme - a joint effort with Natural England, The Environment Agency and the National Park Authority - which aims to restore the last 4,000 hectares of SSSI in the New Forest that are deemed to be in an unfavourable condition.

The reason for the works was that Warwickslade Lawn SSSI was "in an unfavourable declining condition because the artificially deepened cutting meant that there was no seasonal inundation of the grassland and woodland habitats" (FC restoration plan).

Surprisingly, much of the course of the original, pre-1850s, stream could still be seen on the ground. The aim of the works was to reinstate the original stream as closely as possible, whilst filling in the Cutting. It was necessary to bring in 10,000 tonnes of hoggin to fill in the cutting, plus some clay to make plugs to ensure that water followed the desired course.

The contractors were Alaska Environmental Contracting ( LinkExternal link ). They used 8, 13 and 18 tonne hydraulic excavators, 10 tonne rubber tracked dumper trucks and an innovative light railway.

Other related sequences of pictures:-
SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: a planned meander (start of sequence)
SU2606 : Warwickslade Cutting: original stream bed, Knightwood end (start of sequence)
SU2606 : Warwickslade Cutting: the new stream takes shape (start of sequence)
SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: original stream bed, Vinney Ridge part (start of sequence)
SU2606 : Warwickslade Cutting: filling it in, Knightwood end (start of sequence)
SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: filling it in, Vinney Ridge part (start of sequence)
SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: infilling of minor drain (start of sequence)
SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: laying the railway (start of sequence)
SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: running the railway (start of sequence)
SU2704 : Warwickslade Cutting: repositioned railway (start of sequence)
SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: refencing Poundhill Inclosure (start of sequence)
SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: flood plain (start of sequence)
SU2705 : Warwickslade Cutting: the end of the project
The above sequences have Previous/Next or Upstream/Downstream links that take you to a different place. They also have Earlier/Later links that take you to the same place at a different time.
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SU2705, 188 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 2 September, 2009   (more nearby)
Submitted
Wednesday, 2 September, 2009
Category
Railway   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 2705 0553 [10m precision]
WGS84: 50:50.9197N 1:37.0280W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 2701 0552
View Direction
East-northeast (about 67 degrees)
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