Monday, 31 March 2008


Further details can be found here:

Wirksworth, 1st April 2008: With detailed planning underway for the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway’s ‘Dash to Duffield’; an exciting plan to reopen the last five miles of the line by October 2010, the railway’s management has today announced an even more exciting plan to revive a Victorian scheme to tunnel under Cromford Hill and extend the Ecclesbourne Valley line to Rowsley.

All systems are go here at Wirksworth to start work immediately on boring a 1,503-yard tunnel to take the line under Bolehill, followed by building a 280 yard-long viaduct near Cromford. The new line will then follow the west bank of the River Derwent, before burrowing under the Heights of Abraham in another 500-yard tunnel, followed another two tunnels before forming a junction with Peak Rail at Rowsley.

“Following the superb efforts of our volunteer team to reopen the line to Idridgehay, and the chance discovery on eBAY of a spare tunnel boring machine from the Channel Tunnel project, it just seemed the right thing to do.” Remarked Martin Miller (104), the railway’s General Manager. “We plan to open the line by October 2012, which will be the 20th anniversary of the formation of WyvernRail, the community-owned and managed company behind the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway” he added.

The 1986-vintage tunnel boring machine was purchased on eBAY by a consortium of the line’s volunteers, following a series of detailed planning sessions in several of Wirksworth’s hostelries during March. It has been repainted in the railway’s corporate colours and refurbished with several new features, including a microwave oven, deep fat fryer, compass and an A to Z guide of the Derbyshire Dales.

Construction will commence on Tuesday, 1st April and could take several hours to complete. In the meantime, the railway’s Head of Marketing, Neil Ferguson-Lee (24) will be undertaking a series of briefings along the route of the line, including the Via Gellia, Winster and, if the Tunnel Boring Machine’s navigation system fails, Carsington Water.

John Snell is 97.