Saturday, 9 December 2017

Progress Report Saturday 9th December 2017

Dear All,

Today was our first day of Santa Experiences and we were extremely busy. Yesterday's snow helped to make our stations look very picturesque which I'm sure offered great photo opportunities for our visitors.The music in the Santa marquee together with our travelling musician and magician ensured our guests were entertained from the minute they entered Wirksworth station until the arrived back from their trip to the North Pole.  The volunteers who decorated our stations did a wonderful job especially the Christmas trees. The 'snowing' Christmas tree at Duffield station was a constant source of amusement to both young and old. Many thanks to everyone who participated in delivering a really first class Santa experience to all our guests. A special mention must go to our young team of fitters who were on hand to assist with departures and arrivals on platform one as well as ensuring passenger areas were cleared of snow. Just after the 12.30 North Pole departure Wirksworth station suffered a power cut due to a blown fuse in our main supply box. Ironically at one point we had three Western Power employees on site and the defective fuse was replaced in no time by our own electrical contractor.

The weather has been a constant source of worry and late afternoon following an update from the Met Office a decision was taken to postpone tomorrow's Santa experiences. Our visitors, staff and volunteers safety is our primary concern and with this in mind it was felt postponement was the only option bearing in mind the 8-15cm snow fall predicted in our area between 04.00-10.00 on Sunday. Leigh spent a busy time telephoning our pre-booked customers and re-arranging bookings for the three replacement services which have been scheduled. The Catering Staff tried out a new afternoon tea menu to a group of more than willing volunteers with very positive feedback. The Miniature Railway provided a steam hauled service this afternoon much to the delight of our younger visitors and the EVRA shop was open on platform one. 

This evening a special Carol service train will be journeying along the valley. This is a free train service for our local community to enjoy organised by Neil F.L. Thanks to the train crew and Ben for giving up their time on a cold, dark winter's evening to help ensure the success of this innovation.

Compliments of the Season,


Friday, 8 December 2017

Progress Friday 8th December 2017

Dear all,

It seems winter has arrived as we put the final preparations in place for the start of the Santa season tomorrow. A little covering of snow is welcome as it adds to the festive atmosphere but we are watching the forecast quite closely as the threat of more significant snowfall looms for Sunday.

Not too many on site today. Derek and Dan continued with the BSK(K) and Lee carried on with just the BSK. Theme here?

Ben looked a leak on the Santa train's toilet which was most useful.



Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Progress Tuesday 5th December 2017

Hi all

Today is the first Tuesday since the middle of February that we have not ran a Service train and it takes some time to adjust to the lack of hustle and bustle of passengers. This does allow the Pway to take the works train to site rather than loading trolleys
The steam team were cleaning the fire tubes on Barclay No3 and Cathryn was being prepared for new buffers. The North Yorkshire Moors reported that Barclay Henry Ellison was keeping the Santa trains warm and had been giving brake van rides
Railcar Met Camm 51188 was nearing completion of a B Exam  before going on its travels for a year to the North Norfolk Railway
The contractors have been tarmacing around the base for the new station and clearing site until we raise some more funds




Saturday, 2 December 2017

Progress Saturday 2nd December 2017


Not quite as cold as in recent days which was good because there was a flurry of activity around Wirksworth Station as we decorated for Santa. The Santa flag is now flying which means it must be Christmas.

There was a moment up at the main gate fixing the light above the EVR sign which has been out of action sometime. This now has a ambient light sensor on it so it becomes illuminated whenever it goes dark. The adjacent light above the gate had it's PIR repaired so that now works again.

In the shed, work continued on the preparation for repainting the Class 33. Those roof grills are most frustrating to sand!

Coach work and work on The Duke also took place.


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Progress Thursday 30th November 2017

Dear all,

A bitterly cold end to November which saw the start of preparations for this year's Santa Experience. The Commercial Department erected the marquee on the platform and fortunately they managed to complete it with the contractors not laying tarmac on the platform until lunch time. They had cut into the tarmac on the platform to put in some extra drainage due to a very high water table in the area. Tethering the marquee down for winter weather takes just as long as putting the thing up!

Down the yard, the Santa train was marshalled, tested and delivered to the platform for the elves to begin decorating. LJ Breeze also received some attention as it was misbehaving earlier this week.

The S&T team were in full swing down near the shed too.


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Progress Tuesday 28th November 2017

Hi all

Our three train Duffield service was handled by IRIS today and considering the bitterly cold weather we had good numbers for late November
Idridgehay crossing box was erected today, another new item to enhance the look of the Railway
Tuesday is the steam teams day of gathering  and Barclay No 3 was being prepared for a boiler inspection. Cathryn had cyclinder cladding fabricated, vacuum piping fitted and all copper work polished.
The contractors were on the final stages of filling in the holes on the platform after laying pipework for the new station building

All for now


Saturday, 25 November 2017

Progress Report Saturday 25th November

Dear All,

We enjoyed four season's weather this afternoon down at Derbyshire's favourite branch line. It snowed, rained, sleeted and occasionally the sun shone through but generally a cold and wet day. However we still enjoyed surprisingly good visitor numbers as we progress towards our Santa Train season. Unfortunately the 'Bubble Car' experienced a broken window in the guards van as it left Wirksworth Station and had to be taken out of service and replaced by Iris for the last two Duffield trips. The builders were in attendance today completing the laying of new electricity cables to the new build as were the LMSCA and DMU group working on their respective projects. Wirksworth Station lights also received some maintenance to ensure our visitors enjoy well lit platforms and walk ways in the winter darkness. This evening there is a photo charter excursion to Shottle Station involving the class 31 and a rake of goods wagons.

Thanks must go to Richard who was our third man. The weather was cold and miserable not to mention the difficulty wet steps cause third men when climbing up into Iris's guards van. Richard easily coped with these issues and still managed a yard tour together with playing host to our 'day with the driver' guest and family. Today's service was supported by our train crew, booking hall clerks and catering staff.

All the best, Tom