Due to the adverse weather last week, work on the Air Vent at Blaengwynfi was held up but started in earnest 0n Monday, 26th March. A temporary road from the main road to the Air Vent has been put in place to get the machinery up to the site.
On Tuesday 27th March, work begun clearing the Top Soil from the Cap of Concrete that covers the Air Vent. The work may take up to 3 weeks. Then in late April the Detailed Examination takes place carried out by Balfour Beatty.
Above :- Tony Moon, Project Secretary talks to BBC's Matthew Murray. A 360 Digger gets to work on the Top Soil.
After 3 years of searching for the original drain from inside the Rhondda Tunnel, we are now confident we have finally found it. This was down a little stroke of luck whilst Jim Mackey was out taking Photographs for the Magazine 'Tunnel Vision in which he is editor. Jim bumped in to an elderly gentleman who is native to Blaencwm and explained to him what he was looking for! The Gentleman said, "Well that's easy, I'll show you"!
They walked along, reminiscing the past when the elderly gentleman stopped and said, "There, under the water, can you see it"? And there it was. A great day for the Project thanks to this gentleman.
On Monday 19/3/18 Hammonds of Aberdare were scheduled to begin work on behalf of Highways England on the air vent at Blaengwynfi. However it has been delayed by 1 week as equipment that they require could not be delivered on time because of the recent snow. They are expecting to start on Monday 26th. March. The work consists of the removal of the concrete cap and replacing it with a steel door system which will help get tools and machinery into the tunnel for the detailed examination at the end of April.
The work is expected to take about 4 weeks. When the Cap is removed, it will be the first time light of day has entered the Tunnel for nearly 40 years. "This is a major step forward for us here at the RTS said the Chairman Steve Mackey. When Hammonds of Aberdare finish their work, The Society members who hold Confined Space Training will enter through the new entry point at Blaengwynfi to level off the heap of rubble below the air vent.
This rubble is the remains of the air vent chimney stack that was visible back in the 'days of the working Tunnel'. The rubble needs to be levelled off to create a sturdy landing ground for Balfour Beatty.
Once that task is complete, then Balfour Beatty engineers enter and begin the long and crucial task of the detailed examination. this work is scheduled to last for over one week. Keep up to date by visiting us here on our Website, and our Facebook Page and of course Twitter. Don't forget to leave a comment on our progress, we value your thoughts and input.
RTS Trustees and Technical Team
Starting on Monday 19th. March, you can expect to see a lot of activity going on around the sealed air shaft at Blaengwynfi. Hammonds-ECS are expecting to start removing the concrete cap that has sealed the air shaft for the past 50 odd years and replace it with a hatch. Then towards the end of April, Balfour Beatty engineers will enter the tunnel via the air shaft to carry out their detailed examination. We are also expecting to be able to drill a large hole in the wall that blocks the approx. 100 metres of tunnel between the air shaft and the portal to examine its condition as it has been completely undisturbed all those years. We shall be updating this page on progress.