Work Party Report 25th February 2012

Well, the great day dawned - our first post planning permission work party on the track bed.  The task was to install some temporary drainage to clear standing water so that subsequent clearance work using machinery does not excessively churn up sections of the track bed.  The course of the tramway is cut into the hillside for much of Phase 1 and the original drainage system of open channels has, of course, long since ceased to function.  The water comes from a number of springs on the side of the hill above the track bed. Our task was to dig, by hand, channels parallel to the track bed to intercept this water and a couple of other, rather deeper, channels across the track bed to divert it downhill.

It all sounds easy but a couple of volunteers were soon in up to their knees in the mud. However were retrieved and perseverance for several hours yielded results. At close of play about 30 metres of interception channel had been dug and water was flowing freely away from the track bed.  The images give some idea of the amount of material moved.

The attendance of eleven volunteers was very encouraging and the organisation of the event was smooth.  The local press were in attendance to record the event and fortunately they all avoided any mishaps in the mud.

One of the aims of the next few work parties is to refine their organisation such that we are capable to dealing with the more stringent demands of the later construction phase of the work. This includes both documentation and welfare facilities.  We are well advanced on the former and considerable progress has been made on the latter. It was no hardship for this work party to eat lunch sitting on the bank in glorious sunshine looking out over the river and Pontfaen Bridge.  For subsequent events more conventional facilities will be available – watch this space!

The next work party takes place on 17th March and will feature more drainage and some site investigation (i.e. digging more holes).  New volunteers will be made most welcome. Contact Ian Davies ( 07929 260962 or 01691 777985). I can tell you it is worth coming just to try Shelly’s cakes!