Late 2015 the President happened to suggest to Martyn Redfearn that “we should build a new tunnel to get away from the shared tunnel”. That sparked discussion about possible routes and what would be feasible.
First week in December I drew up a route under the toilets which turned left between the two tunnels. Ultimately, after considerable discussion the committee gave the green light for an exploratory dig under the toilets.
The initial plans targeted a completion date of April 2018, mainly due to finance and the expected workload.
The first work included clearing the undergrowth down the Dell completed in the first half of 2016.
Around mid year Keith Kitson kindly offered to kick start the project with a donation. That allowed us to start digging under the toilets.
By early July we had a proper hole and building commenced.
Around this time a commitment to building a tunnel that avoided the L&Y 7 ¼” tunnel was accepted
Early August we had the first half of the ‘Ladies tunnel’ blocked up and our digger broke through to other side, so there light at the end of the tunnel.
By the second week in September we had the ‘Ladies Toilet Tunnel’ substantially complete
End of September the cut and cover tunnel was laid out with rope and appropriate distance measured off fixed objects
Straight after the last open day the big dig started, at this stage it was planned to only open half the length
Our first of a number of setbacks with landslips started to cause issues, the water leak was probably one of the causes of slips.
Early Nov change of plan digger in again to widen the cutting and also go through the full length
Shuttering went straight away, however, the slips still happened so every time we came back on site some resigning was required
15 November twenty-one cubic metres or around 54 tonnes of concrete was laid as the foundations for the cut and cover tunnel
The fails were still a problem but now we had the foundations we had something to wedge the plywood against which at least meant the falls stayed off the work area
23 November the first of an awful lot of deliveries arrived and building commenced with the Chairman lay the first block.
2 December and the outer wall reached its intended height for short stretch near the toilets
Work was also progressing to protect the tree at the rear of the clubhouse
7 December saw the outer wall complete as far as solid blocks level and progress on the inner wall.
21 December saw the arrival of the first hollow blocks and lots more concrete for the retaining wall foundations
Friday before Christmas, yes I got an extra day out of the builders, saw the last solid block of the cut and cover tunnel, again by our long suffering Chairman.
The Kitson Tunnel became the official name between Christmas and the new year. And the last push of 2016 got ⅔ of the outer wall and ⅓ of the inner wall topped out
Started off on the 1st with a small team back filling
3 January saw more progress on tunnel walls and the sorting of the collapsed boundary wall, note it was in that state before we started
4 January and the chairman laid the final block
The next few days were hectic with the concrete screed going down in the morning and the beams going on top in the afternoon
The following week we topped out with 6” of concrete on top of the beams
25 Jan became whattunnelday, as the road scalpings went down across the entrance and most of that huge pile had been moved
1 Feb and the foundations for the retaining walls on the approach to the tunnel were complete and the car park retaining wall was built in one day. In addition more blocks were added to the Dell portal extension and the track centre line and levels were put it from the double trees to the loop point.
6 Feb final retaining wall completed and trackbed machine leveled.