Sunday, 21 May 2017

Progress Sunday 21st May 2017

Dear all,

The calm before the storm perhaps, with steam starting next week. Today gave the steam team an opportunity to shunt the Jinty to a water supply and fill the relevant parts.

The DMU team were sparkling up the outside of Iris ready for its departure to Llangollen. The throttle motors were also adjusted and set up.

The trains weren't overly busy but that is to be expected given a big weekend last weekend and a big one next weekend.

Leigh

Progress Saturday 20th May 2017

Dear All,

Unfortunately, the weather today varied from glorious sunshine earlier in the morning to very heavy rain during much of the day which impacted negatively upon our visitor numbers. The two-car DMU Wirksworth to Duffield service performed faultlessly during the heavy showers and a special mention goes to Howard and his trainee third man who had the unenviable role of operating the crossing gates in such wet conditions.

Down the yard there were various grinding and grunting noises coming from the maintenance shed and I expect Tim Oakes will post an update on the Duke team's progress later. The DMU fitters carried out a B exam on Iris including the fitting of new vacuum bags before her trip to the Llangollen Railway DMU Gala. The Class 31 and 33 had engine oil levels checked and topped up as necessary. On platform one the LMSCA were busy preparing the BSK in readiness for it re-entering traffic next week. Between showers the Commercial Team were gainfully employed too erecting the marquee for use over the next few weeks. They also welcomed Andy a new trainee booking hall clerk. Richard could be found conducting a number of yard tours and there was a steam service to Ravenstor today that proved popular despite the weather.

Today's train services were supported by the EVRA shop, model railway and Pullman Buffet.

All the best

Tom

Friday, 19 May 2017

Progress Friday 19th May 2017

Dear all,

It has been rather a hectic week around the railway which has, in part, contributed to the lack of progress updates on here. Last Friday we had rather a nightmare move of the visiting Class 153 with the lorry breaking down firstly on the A52 causing havoc in Derby City Centre and then again a few hundred yards from the railway in Wirksworth town centre. Our staff were on duty until gone midnight to ensure the unit could be unloaded and shunted ready for the naming ceremony the following morning. I know it was 01:40 when I got to bed!

The Multiple Memories Gala was a huge success. The railway was very busy on the Saturday with enthusiasts and members of the public coming to enjoy our large collection of heritage diesel railcars as well as the novelty value of the visitor. The naming ceremony was brilliant and I attach some photographs of the event. It was certainly strange seeing the unit on the other side of the fence to normal at Duffield. Our thanks go to East Midlands Trains for their support of the event - we thought it perhaps a bit cheeky asking for the unit knowing full well their fleet constraints so were very surprised when they agreed. Staff then continued to work late on Saturday evening where there was a fish and chip special train so both of these evenings contributed to a lack of report.

Another late finish at the end of the gala on Sunday as we loaded up and waved goodbye to the visitor which was scurried back to Derby rather quickly as they were desperate for it to be working the Derby - Crewe service first thing Monday morning.

Things settled down on Tuesday into a normal pattern with the steam teams working away down the yard as well as Lee on the CK coach. Our star guest for the summer season, 47406 Jinty arrived around 18:00 on Tuesday having made the trip from Peterborough Nene Valley Railway. The locomotive enters service at the Bank Holiday Weekend 27th May and then continues operating every weekend (all being well) until 6th August. At this point we have our visiting Class 26 diesel locomotive take over for two weekends (one of which is the Diesel Locomotive Weekend) before the Jinty bows out at the 1950s August Bank Holiday Weekend.

Wednesday was fairly quiet around the site which enabled the maintenance team to construct the coach rake for the season and bring them down to the station for cleaning.

Yesterday saw the diesel fitters turn their attention to Iris. The vehicle developed an issue during the gala weekend where one of the engines would cut out regularly. It seems this was caused by a loose connection in the fuel lines so it must have been drawing air in. The vehicle is withdrawn now anyway for an exam prior to it popping over to our friends at the Llangollen Railway in Wales for their DMU Gala on 3rd/4th June. 

Everybody has got quite wet over the last few days with the continuous rain and today was just the same. The station team looked at a wobbly step on the Gents toilet which was a good job done. More importantly though, we hosted one of the RAIB training days where they simulate potential incidents for training purposes. 

It is the final chance to ride on a heritage diesel railcar on a weekend this weekend until 9th September! This is probably the longest this railway has been since we started operating without some sort of DMU service on a weekend. They'll be running Thursdays from 1st June until 28th September and Fridays in July until 11th August. Main line diesel locomotives do the honours from 30th May until 19th September.

Cheers,

Leigh

Photos: 

-1 - Old meets 'new' - 61 year old Iris with 1950s passengers meets 30 year old Class 153 with modern passengers at Shottle

-2 - Unveiling - Mr Mike Stanier, grandson of Sir William Stanier, unveils the name

-3 - Wrong side of the fence - Class 153's at Duffield on both sides of the fence

-4 - Team Photo - Team EVR with Team EMT at Duffield

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Progress Thursday 11th May 2017

Dear all,

A beautiful sunny day in the Gem of the Peak and fairly busy for one where there's no passenger trains. We hosted a Bronze Drive a Diesel Day today with the 'bubble' doing the honour to Duffield this morning and the Class 31 going between Wirksworth and Shottle this afternoon. It is very unusual for us to have two consecutive days of driver experiences! But, a mild flutter of the heart was felt when a coach turned up late this afternoon. Naturally, one would worry that the booking system had gone wrong but fortunately they have just popped in on the off chance on the way to somewhere else and weren't expecting a train ride. Needless to say it kept the Booking Office fridge and ice cream freezer busy.

There was a frenzy of activity down the yard in preparation for the DMU Gala this weekend. Iris had the fuel supply problem discovered on Tuesday afternoon remedied which ensures that vehicle is healthy for the weekend and both Iris and the 'bubble' had their fibreglass domes hand washed to get the green off this afternoon. Some more units were fuelled to and positioned ready for the event.

One of the coaches had some buckeye repairs carried to ready that for the forthcoming locomotive hauled trains.

Down the line, a small PW team continued their seemingly never ending quest to grease fishplates.

Leigh

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Progress Sunday 7th May 2017

Dear all,

A gorgeously sunny day here with better passenger numbers than yesterday, further boosted by a party from Lowestoft. They enjoyed afternoon tea in the Pullman followed by a ride through the valley.

Down the yard, DMU car 51505 received attention to the draw gear and also to a small oil leak on one of the engines in preparation for the gala next weekend. Meanwhile, a small team continued with the restoration of the Derby Lightweight with a focus on underframe components.

The Class 31 had a power fault fixed which turned out to be a dicky control air switch so that should be good for the upcoming driver experiences later this week.

Leigh

Friday, 5 May 2017

Progress Friday 5th May 2017

Dear all,

A beautiful sunny day, perfect for a Drive a Diesel Railcar Day. The 4 participants really enjoyed Graham and Richard's hospitality.

We waved goodbye to the Blackpool tram once again as it returned to Derby for further work.

Some digging work took place in the yard to lay new water pipe and cable for the Maintenance Facility Extension.

Leigh

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Progress Thursday 4th May 2017

Dear all,

Can't believe nobody used the phrase "May the 4th be with you" today!

Anyway, down the yard the team replaced a split coolant pipe on the shunter "Tom" and the blue two car DMU had a bodyside wash. Dan was in the shed working on the BSK readying that for service in a few weeks time and Lee was next door doing the same with the CK.

The PW team were down the line continuing with their never ending programme of repairs and renewals.

Leigh