July 22, 2000

Started off the day foggy and drizzly, back to more normal weather for Northern England and it remained cloudy throughout the day with the sun coming out only once or twice. It is still a bit warmer that last month though.

Well, the mine gremlins didn't match up the track during the night but the pocket zone is opening up. Byron worked there the whole day and has fluorite showing across the entire face and on both sides of the tunnel. Two very nice stalactites came out and both were 7 1/2 inches in length and only were only an inch or so in diameter. Cal and Kerith and their 2 nieces arrived at the pub the same time we did and Cal was quit impressed with them.

It appears that we are now entering into the main part of the "flat". I say appears, I can't see into the rock, but now I have 2 points to line up on and take a bearing on the trend of the "flat" in this particular spot and more fluorite seams are starting to show up on the face. It will be interesting when we have a cross section of the entire "flat".

Dave and I finished installing the new switch and it looks good, very professional. Mick and Lindsey will be impressed since they had said that ready made switches are the one thing you just can't find anymore. A ready made switch would have meant that we would have to reconfigure our tunnel to match the switch. This switch, made by Dave, matches our tunnel so in the long run was much better. We also now have a much more gentle curve coming into our new drift and have eliminated that problem. After finishing the track into our tunnel we ran the mucker over the switch to see how it would work. There are some problems with the mucker going over the switch because the switch is on 2 diverging curves and the wheels of the mucker are wider and thicker than those of the ore car. Since the wheels are stiff, don't turn as the machine is turning, they have a tendency to ride over the guide rails and jump the track. One has to be very careful when driving the mucker into the tunnels. The ore car, however, goes around the switch and curve with little effort and it will be the one piece of equipment that will go over that part of the track the most often. We decided not to burn off some of the guide rails to accommodate the mucker and will just have to careful when traversing it.

Matching the last rail was not as bad as it could have been. All we did was dig out beneath the rail and sleepers on that one side, put some weight on it, brought it down to the right level and bolted it together. Then we filled in all the holes we had dug and we were finished. It took the entire day to finish the job so in total it took one and a half days to install the switch. I can't recall if I said that it took Dave a week to make the switch.

We are working tomorrow, Sunday, to make as much headway as we can, time is running short. It won't be long before we start packing specimens in a cargo container for shipment back to the states. And that means you'll have an extra report this week.

Till then, Cheers, Jim

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