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Recovery of the railway at Gerrards Cross,
July, 2005

Less than 24 hours after the collapse, specialist equipment began to arrive on site.  The first to arrive were two excavators with exceptionally long jibs.  They began working on Saturday morning 2 July 2005.
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The first task at around 10.30 was to create a suitable platform for itself.  The machine on the other side of the collapsed tunnel, right in the picture, was doing the same thing.

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Photography was getting difficult on Saturday afternoon because the best vantage points were blocked by police tape.  By 14:30, work was beginning.  These large machine were handled in an amazingly accurate and gentle manner.  Here the northern one is very gently scraping a small amount of material from the top of the eastern remnants of the tunnel.

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Taking just a few inches from the surface very slowly.

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A small layer is being nudged from right to left, away from the precipice.  This effort seemed to be a rehearsal for the trickier task of clearing the western remnant for at this stage the machines stopped, leaving spoil on this part of the tunnel and moving off to prepare their workspace for the next task.
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It is now Sunday morning at about 9 am.  The spoil over the western section has been removed.  Neighbours report that work continued until about 10 pm Saturday and started again at 8 am, Sunday.  Another machine brought in on Saturday is lifting the spoil removed by the the long-arm ones into 8 wheelers for disposal (not in sight at this moment).  There is an immense amount of spoil to be removed and there is no spare space on site so it is being taken away - not traffic the GX residents welcome particularly after the long conveyor belts spared them this traffic when it was on the way into the site.
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By 4 pm the excavators had removed most of the soft material from the top of the fallen tunnel segments.  It was at this point that a friend spotted me and invited me into the garden behind the hedge at the top of the picture.
We are now looking at the site from the south side for the first time.  The clearing work stops to allow all sorts of people in hi-viz jacket to crawl about the remains, measuring, photographing, discussing.  Most if not all the segments on the south side seem still to be in one piece whereas the northern ones are all broken..
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Some of the segments on the south side still seem to be attached to each other by the stitching beam.
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Looking into the maw of the eastern remnant with broken segments from the northern side.

The northern segments seem to have broken at the same place on each.  Whilst not a weakness in normal circumstances, perhaps the lifting points gave way under extreme stress.  The next-to-last picture in 'collapse.html' shows the lifting points in the edges of the segments, used for lifting on and off transport.
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The other lifting points are used for positioning the segments as above left.  The other small pictire shows one of the lifting points on one of the tunnel portal sections, much smaller and lighter than  the tunnel segments, but on this one the concrete is chipped away giving a good view of the device.
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Finally, the experts take a close look.

You can go to the 'Collapse' page here.

Version 1
July 4, 2005
Constrained to 1024 width December 2014, no other changes.