Ebor Lane Cutting

Ebor Lane cutting has given the Worth Valley branch problems throughout the history of the line. Even before it was built, the original construction drawings show that the cutting slope had to be made shallower than intended. And the problems continue to this day.


Having been a problem from the outset, the LMS had difficulty in the area in the 1930’s and did a lot work north of the bridge and north of Mytholmes Tunnel, all part of the same hill.

Having taken over the branch in the 1960s, one of our early works trains operated by the KWVRPS in April, 1966 had to be diverted from its original purpose when it was unable to get further north than Ebor Lane because of a landslip across the line. Those early volunteers had to shovel the clay into the wagon by hand in the pouring rain.

After re-opening in 1968, the clay got closer and closer to the carriage running boards until the Railway was forced into action in 1997/8, when the current concrete sleeper toe wall was built and strengthening rails were laid under the track to connect with vertical concrete slabs in the east side cess, so that the weight of the cutting on the east side was helping to resist the weight of that of the west side. Thankfully this time mechanical help was on hand.

What work has been done?

However time has taken its toll on those works and the need came for a more drastic resolution to the problem of land above the Railway encroaching more and more onto the railway, the toe wall leaning ominously towards the line. One thing agreed by all the experts was that it was on the point of failure. Already one of the upright rail stanchions in the retaining wall had been broken by the weight behind it.

The proposals were that 7 trenches at right angles to the line would be dug, 19m long x up to 8m deep x 1.2m wide. This means that there is as much of the tranches on the neighbouring farmer’s side of the boundary wall as there is on the Railway’s. 3,000 tons of silty material were excavated and taken away and replaced by 3,000 tons of 75 – 150mm size sandstone fill. The fill has had to be put into the trench almost immediately to prevent it collapsing. The sandstone fill will provide friction to slow the slip and provide strength.

After this work was completed, drains were constructed along the topside boundary of the trenches and in the field above to try to divert as much water as possible away from the site. The Railway is grateful to our neighbouring farmer, Steve Jackson, for his co-operation in these works, which affect him a lot!

So effective is the work undertaken that our passengers will have seen very little with topsoil spread over the work and grass seed spread over the area.

What next?

However that is not the end of the story, and now we face a 3 week closure in September as the next phase of the work is carried out in September.