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Clearance of the tunnel collapse site at Gerrards Cross
July 2005

This page follows earlier pages which you can reach from a link at the bottom of this one.
These pictures follow some of the activities over the period July 4 to July 10, 2005.
Many segments had already been removed by July 4, which gives a better view of the remaining ones.  These are on the north side at the western end of the gap.
Some still remain at the eastern end as well.
By July 5 the gap is almost clear of segments but still has a thick layer of fill material.  This can hardly be beneficial to the drainage properties of the track ballast beneath!
Some segments were broken up in situ and the reinforcing steel burned through but by July 7 they were being handled in a work area between the hole and the site entrance.  The crane here is lifting pieces, all carefully numbered with spray paint, on to a low loader.
Transport on site is by whatever means can cope with the weights involved.  Stretching the boom forward to place this chunk on the ground almost had the machine tipped on its nose.  The skill of the many operators on the site has been most impressive.  The man in the white hat in this and the previous picture is cutting reinforcing steel.
Back to the remaining tunnel segments.  The first three to the west of the gap have been numbered, and.....
the stitching beam has been destroyed.
Now it is the turn of the eastern end to receive the stitching beam destruction treatment.  At the eastern side of the gap, four segments have been numbered.  The implication of the numbering and the stitch beam destruction is that these segments are due to be removed.  Once they have been separated from their opposing segments, they should be quite easy to remove.
By late afternoon on 7 July,  the fill material is not very deep and the rails have appeared, but by early morning on the 8th....
all the fill has gone, the rails have been cut (note length of rail each side of the far line which were ready to replace the old rails) and all the rails, sleepers and most of the ballast has been removed from the gap.
The cable duct has been mangled and possibly will have to be replaced, although it seems that controls to signals beyond this point have not been affected.
This is a rare sight on a major construction (or destruction) site these days!  About a dozen men wielding shiny new shovels were working to clear the remaining fill material from between the rails.

Sleepers, some complete, some broken up, and cut pieces of rail were loaded into one of the big 6x6 dump trucks.
The tranquil scene on Sunday July 10.  The collapse site has been cleared, all the machinery (except three lighting towers) has gone, there are no bright jackets and hard hats, and there is a high fence separating the collapse site from the remainder of the construction site.  The citizens of Gerrards Cross have had a peaceful night and look like having a peaceful Sunday.

Version 3, July 10, 2005
Constrained to 1024 pixels December 2014.  No other changes.

You can go to the 'Collapse' page here.