Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Testing times at Wirksworth

Dear all
 
I would like to add a little to Phil's report of today's activities that represent another magnificent first for our enterprise. As we near our eighth anniversary of arriving on site the range of tasks achieved today are without parallel and deserve a little more flesh!
 
Battery Locomotive L19 of the Trans Plant fleet had nearly completed its test session on the TBTC test track but needed a brief session over the pit. The TBTC test track is the first passenger line we refurbished and constructed into the bogs of Gorsey Bank and the pit was constructed by us on the site of one of the pit roads of the Midland Railway shed. To be able to conduct L19 from one to the other was a proud moment that the customer would not appreciate but delivered on our package of promises to them to secure the work.
 
LH Group, one of our earliest customers, who involved us in the Defence Logistics Locomotives, many road/rail vehicles and are our partner in the Tube Lines project, brought an access platform for testing that initially went to Duffield via brake tests at Shottle. On return from Duffield the Works Train hurried off to the Idridgehay - Shottle section followed after a while by D8001 and Sperry's SRS242 Rail Flaw Detection Unit being readied for service in Barcelona spending the afternoon shuttling between Gorsey Bank and Idridgehay.

The LH vehicle then transferred to the Incline for conclusion of its brake tests whilst Sperry's UTU5, a self propelled Rail Flaw Detection Unit, had arrived from Derby for more shakedown tests for Network Rail. UTU5 "on tracked" in the Car Park and moved over to the Incline connection to await completion of the LH vehicle tests. An exchange took place and UTU5 moved onto the Incline and the LH vehicle finalised its tests on the Yard pointwork.
 
UTU5 remained on the Incline for the rest of the day and will be in action again tomorrow. LH were content and their vehicle returned to the Car Park for return to Barton under Needwood. L19 completed its day and moved to the Car Park for shipment to Ruislip, D8001+STS242 ended their day and moved to the pit road for stabling and the Works Train returned to base and parked up on Road 2 for a prompt start tomorrow.
 
This detail was prompted by a message received today suggesting that mytesttrack was perceived to be all consuming in our world and that, perhaps, the Passenger operations were a poor, undervalued relation and not what volunteers wished to be involved in or what they had volunteered for.
 
My response is that the MTT work is the bread and butter of our business and the only way we will achieve our goals. We are talking significant major investment in reopening the line to Duffield and presently MTT is the primary source of funding for this. Unfortunately, the passenger business is not growing at a pace that will sustain us and there are too many empty or lightly loaded trains requiring a much tougher approach to 2009. The Passenger business will grow but I suspect somewhat more slowly than we would have hoped for but with more emphasis on charters and inclusive packages.
 
For the time being it is a stark economic fact that without MTT our enterprise would be no more and all the endeavours of the past eight years will have been in vain.
 
Personally, I enjoy the sheer variety of vehicles that pass through our portals, the delivery of good customer service and the strength of the many contacts that benefit the Railway. To think that we have created these great opportunities from the wilderness that was the Wirksworth branch reflects tremendous credit on everyone involved.
 
Martin
 

Tues 30th Sept

Evenin' all,

What a day!

A total of 4 vehicles on test plus the works train meant constant
shuffelling of trains and vehicles. All were accomodated in different
parts of our network and all were 'locked in' One of the vehicles was a
scissor jack platform, three gallant chaps rode on this vehicle braving
the elements - I went in the landrover - more sensible. A short time
ago, they were in the warm whilst I was getting soaked - such is
progress.

The Per way team did some work in the yard before zooming of tp the
Idridgehay - Shottle section where they cut out two more joints before
adding new closure rails. There are still plenty left and a list has
been issued of the gaps that want attending to.

The VCT attended to vegetation at Ken Rowlands crossing before
creating more logs at Jebbs Lane bridge.

The dream steam team, were busy burning rivets and knocking them out
of a boiler as well as repairing bits of regulator and other technical
stuff. I was told that one member was filing down the flange clearance.
This is probably a good move, so I nodded sagely and wandered off.
Apparently the regulator is like an accelerator, and the brake cylinder
is the same as a car but a bit bigger, when I enquired about the size
of the clutch, they went for a cup of tea!

Yesterday and today have been extreemly busy with testing, but it
brings the money in. There is more testing of rails tomorrow, but some
good news. I rang the welders to see what time they would be at
Idridgehay, they are not coming tomorrow but will be with us on
Thursday and Friday - so a normal start for the works gang.

A few , very few souls turned up to see what was happening. and Julie
got the odd quid out of them.

Phil


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Monday, 29 September 2008

Monday 29th September 2008

Dear all
 
A testing day at Wirksworth with L19 on the TBTC test line and D8001+SRS242 working between Gorsey Bank and Idridgehay. All seems to have gone well and both customers expressed satisfaction with their day.
 
In the far distance of the Yard the dmu team were taking the good buffers off the maroon trailer car for disposal with a break to run today's guest from UK Trade & Development down and up the Incline. The guest also enjoyed a trip to Duffield and back in the Landrover after the Sperry day was completed. We had invited our guest, who specialises in promoting the rail industry in the East Midlands to the World, with a view to making mytesttrack more visible. A most useful discussion took place at the end of the tour and I think some useful leads will follow.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors on a day of sunshine and showers.
 
Martin
 
PS Tomorrow is quite a complex day for us with four separate testing activities planned. A prompt departure of the Works Train is essential if we are to achieve any pw work amongst this unprecedented test work.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Progress Report Sunday 28th Sept

Dear all,

A modest day compared to yesterday, rather foggy to start with but
better later and with a varied group of very complimentary passengers.
At Wirksworth most work took place in the IT department's closet and
several people later came out of it. Some repairs were carried out on
the Booking Hall and the frontage was swept of a large amount of loose tat.

Miss Toseland's P-Way gang set off bright and early in their little
yellow landrover and spent the day at Duffield identifying a range of
blockages in the drain runs south of the A6 bridge. All the known pits
requiring attention were dug out along with a section of troughing by
the Station Office to enable the Duffield staff to mow the area there to
a standard never before achieved, following yesterdays surprise strimming.

All the best,
Anton

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Progress Report Saturday 27th Sept

Dear all,

I am requested to transmit to you today's report from Mr Steve Lyne,
Duty Manager at the Ecclescake Valley Railway:

A warm and pleasant day brought out the passengers and a steady trade
was had once the till had been prised open after it was found to be
having an obstreperous moment. A number of passengers availed themselves
of the buffet car service and the EVRA shoppe.

The Carriage and Wagon Superintendent assisted by the Amber Valley
Locomotive Group stripped the axle boxes of the LMS brake van and box
vans Fanny and Johnny and these were cleaned and oiled and the verandah
and steps of the LMS brake van were creosoted.

The duty conscript washed LUL19 in the platform and it is now shiny on
one side at least. The windows on Iris were also cleaned. Gardening was
undertaken on the booking hall embankment and the south end of the dust
dock embankment was seeded after last weeks soiling exercise.

The Passenger Dept Stores were cleaned out and the wheelie bin is now
full. Further painting took place on the soon-to-be-green 03 before the
entire and utter engineering staff were called to repair the Passenger
Dept's horseless carriage which had disgraced itself in the car park. In
other departmental news the Global Marketing Dept walked a rather butch
dog through the yard and the Finance Dept's recent deposit was finally
cleared by the system and is on its way to Idridgehay.

Staff at Duffield were found to be strimming the west side of the
station compound, to the considerable surprise of many residents of
Duffield.

Cheers, Steve
via Anton.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Friday 26th September 2008

Dear all
 
A most pleasant and productive day dominated by our largest customer. UTU5, a self propelled vehicle, operated on the Idridgehay to Duffield section and D8001 with SRS242 operated on the Wirksworth to Idridgehay section. Both vehicles are from Sperry Rail with UTU5 destined for Network Rail and SRS242 destined for a stint in Barcelona. We must be one of the few heritage railways that has been so comprehensively tested for rail flaws! - none detected so far. During the test process Hylton Holt passed out as a Class 20 driver after some 30 hours training - many congratulations!
 
The IMT of one checked the Gorsey Bank line, Yard pointwork and Ravenstor line, keying up as necessary and replacing a pandrol clip. Repairs continued to the Talking Tunnel and the Buffet Car was readied for the weekend.
 
The Logging Dept. made a sale and prepared for much cutting to meet demand next week.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors brought out but a warm, sunny afternoon. 
 
Martin

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Thursday 25th September 2008

Dear all
 
Another extremely busy day revolving around Sperry Rail and their needs for today and next week. Today saw vehicle UTU5, a self propelled rail flaw detection unit, being tested on the Incline and STS242, an unpowered rail flaw detection unit being readied for tests tomorrow with the Class 20. Also for Sperry Rail, 6 six metre lengths of flat bottomed rail have been prepared for collection so that can have known flaws machined into them for eventual insertion into the Idridgehay - Shottle long welded section.
 
Collection of the first of Richard Meakin's three wagons for transfer to Ruddington took place with the remaining two scheduled to depart tomorrow. Rod and Mary have refurbished the derailer and signage on Road 1 culminating with a nice new coat of yellow paint. A small, but very active, permanent way team started the day with a brisk shunt of stock to put vehicles on the pit road for C&W attention this weekend, move the Class 20 and return the operational freight vehicles to Road 3. They then turned their attention to drainage on the Hannages and rounded the day off with the collection of another wagon load of logs pre-ordered by a customer.
 
The Pillar Drill was wired up ready to be connected to the site's power supply. The VCT descended on Jebbs Lane again to create yet more logs, a two chain saw day, light a good fire and paint some metalwork to good effect.
 
A conversation with the Duffield developer produced two very pleasant results in that after the new fence line has been completed on the former Down Slow platform he will grade and tarmac our footpath between the footbridge and Platform 3 together with providing a water supply to our territory at the footbridge.
 
Finally, it was good to see Pat Craft back in action again restocking the EVRA shop and instructing Mike on the tasks to be achieved.
 
A very good and hectic day.
 
Martin

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Wed 24th Sept

Evenin' all,

The carpark at Wirksworth semmed like a cross between Piccadilly
Circus and Clapham Junction.No sooner had our vehicle on test left the
car park than L19 arrived on a low loader. This was scarcely berthed in
Platform 1 and the lorry re-connected than the Test vehicle returned
and had to for a queue to get in - two low loaders to remove its bits
and pieces. As they were doing that a wagon load of logs were deliverd
and off loaded. As soon as that had been completed then three wagons
were shunted onto the car park for collection. Meanwhile at the other
end of the carpark, technicians were swarming over the Sperry vehicle.

The Per way train was away seemingly at first light. The team dug
around and removed some concrete sleepers ready for the welders next
week. They then shunted at Shottle and once locked in the Test vehicle
was able to dash to Duffield. The Per way team managed to change a
couple of sleepers in and around the pointwork at Shottle. Upon return
they collected logs.
Quite a busy day for the Passenger dept. Visitors were also given the
chance to see the comings and goings. One young lad had his photo taken
in the cab of the RRV in the platform- - his grandparents were most
impressed.

The logging dept had a mass chopping and cutting session.

A very busy and worthwhile day. The next few days will be a little
busy with more whole line testing .

Phil


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Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Tues 23rd Sept

Evenin' all,

First tonight the steam dream team cleaned and undercoated the bunker
from No 3, also continued de-rivetting the boiler and cleaned up the
valvegear to strt to get that ready for relocation in the future. The
new boiler tubes were oiled to assist in their longevity.

A firm, new to us, arrived with their Road Rail Vehicle plus three
trailers, these were loaded ready for its 1530 test tomorrow.

The class 20 recieved attention to its fuel gauge and was subsequently
given some fuel, before going on a test run.

The Per way team went to Idridgehay and cut out two bad joints,
replacing them with two closure rails. The IMT walked the section from
Derby Rd 2 to Wirksworth, checking the fishplate bolts which had become
slightly loose (we never had this problem when they were all rusted
solid).

A representative frome Thermit Welding accompanied us on a site visit.
I am pleased to report that work will start next week on welding up the
CWR section. They can tackle about 4 welds per shift, so our teams can
get ahead of them to make track upgrades. He was complimentary about
the work carried out last week with all the re-railing.

The VCT worked south of Willow Crossing and managed to fight a way
into the Blackthorn to clear an area for the digger driver to work on
the drainage in that area. Work was also carried out to the metalwork
at Jebbs Lane Bridge.

Dave Newby fixed a replacement window to my office, so I can now see
out. The old one was full of nicotine!

The wood cutters were in attendance preparring firewood for thee
expected masses.

*****Due to testing work tomorrow, the works train will have to leave
Wirksworth by 0915 and recess at Shottle*****

Phil


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Monday, 22 September 2008

Mon 22nd Sept

Evenin' all,

Tis the Equinox today, however, it was a bit cold and damp for
celebrating - but its downhill from her with the days getting shorter.

A day to travel. So I went to Sheffield and retrieved our two impact
wrenches that have just been serviced. We now have three fully
operational ones. All have clean handles, and members of the per way
team will only wear white cotton gloves when using them (Apparently
there was more grease on the handles than there was in the gearbox!)

Some rail cutting was also carried out. The Booking Hall was
surprisingly busy for a Monday with quite a few visitors.

Tomorrow is a bit of a mish-mash with 4 potential worksites between
Idridgehay and Shottle. Machine digging north from Shottle. The VCT
working between Willow Crossing and the Badger's retreat. Per way will
be removing track defects, sout of Idridgehay, and a Welding officer
will be carrying out a site visit for welding to be carried out.

Phil


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Friday, 19 September 2008

Friday 19th September 2008

Dear all
 
The day started with a warm welcome to a group from the Rail Accident & Investigation Branch who had a training day with us conducting exercises at the Wash Green crossover and at Gorsey Bank level crossing. Lunch was provided in the First Open coach with many thanks to Julie who looked after their every need. The Gatex catering operation is really coming into its own now with very satisfactory results for the enterprise.
 
The IMT were rather hijacked to fetch the Sturgeon from Shottle to Wirksworth conveying two rails that were later discharged for cutting ready for the calibrated rail project. A start was made on preparing the required 6 metre sections. They did manage to check a section from Platform 2 through to the Hannages confirming the pattern of loose fishplate bolts and correcting them.
 
Within the Maintenance Facility dmu painting progressed to ensure all our fleet are presented to the same high standard. The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors brought out by the warm sunshine.
 
All in all, another good day.
 
Martin

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Thursday 18th September 2008

Dear all
 
A wonderful day with a warm sun, great productivity and some fine guests.
 
The day started with the Lowmac being discharged of logs for the Logging Dept followed by the PW Team journeying to the Idridgehay - Shottle section to profile the new rail closure with the older rail to prevent flange damage. On the return journey logs were loaded and shunted into the Car Park ready for customer collection.
 
The VCT installed a new pillar drill into the Weighbridge that will assist in the many demands put onto this team. After completing this task they headed to the Jebbs Lane area for some tree felling and bridge railing painting.
 
At Shottle ditching commenced following flailing achieved earlier in the week. This activity while effective was curtailed by the JCB sustaining a puncture but it will continue next week.
 
Electrical work was undertaken in Phil's Office and preparations made for his new window. At the north end of the Yard steam locomotive part painting quietly continued as did the refurbishing of the Shark.
 
The delight of the day was to welcome "The Oldies of the Wirksworth Branch", a group of former employees of Derby Carriage and Wagon Works together with their wives who tested the first generation of diesel multiple units on our line in the late 50's, 60's and early 70's. They were much impressed with their reacquaintance with the branch and ended the day with the genuine Derbyshire Cream Tea very ably served and prepared by Anton and Julie. Their journey to Ravenstor and Idridgehay was on former test car Iris and they had much advice and guidance for the driver and guard.
 
A little down side of the day was the news that Jean Mee died yesterday and we send our condolences to the family so soon after loosing their father, Dave.
 
Martin

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Wed 17th Sept

Evenin' all,

People were knocking at the door at 0730, The Sperry vehicle had
arrived for more tow testing in due course. Clementine was waiting to
be loaded and taken back to he smoke.

The Per way team had a nice early start and managed to complete the re-
railing excercise south of Idridgehay, they also managed to cut out a
bad joint and insert a new closure rail. Again a good production line
was working, with one team cutting the old rail into 60' lengths, then
the relaying team rolling the old rails out and inserting the new
ones, they were properly padded and clipped. This has been a major
task, and everyone has had a really hard couple of days. Thanks must go
to Dave Newby, who turned out on a rare day off to fit a new belt to
the Disc Cutter which shredded itself yesterday. He managed to fit it
and deliver the cutter to Idridgehay. In the interim we were using the
old reciprocating saw which we have not used for several years.

Elsewhere, the 03 had more paint applied to turn it from blue to
green, and some shunting was carried out in the yard, including the
return of the hopper waggons after routine brake and lubrication checks
at the weekend.

A small number of passengers ventured up the Incline.

Phil


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Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Tues 16th Sept

Evenin all,

A good turnout of per way lads ensured that 360' of rail was replaced
south of Idridgehay on the Up leg. This involved disc cutting the
existing CWR which is badly side cut and replacing with new (er) 113A
rails. The joints have been plated for the time being but may be welded
up in the not too distant future. The new rails are fully padded and
have their new nylons fitted - a pucker job. This work will continue
tomorrow. Some logs were collected o the return trip.

The VCT planted two posts at Wirksworth station entrance ready for new
signage. They then went to the Jebbs Lane area for more clearance work
as well as some painting of the metal safety rails on some
underbridges.

The Steam Team have been needle gunning the tank and started on the
boiler of No 3 .

The Passenger Services dept have hired a carpet cleaner to attack some
of the grubby areas - it does not appear to be working properly as my
carpet is still dirty!

Martin was very busy with business enquiries. What with 'Clementine '
departing for London and the next loco now booked in, as well as some
more Testing work coming, things are looking quite busy again.

Once again, a good turnout is needed for tomorrow to see if we can get
these other rails changed -the train leaves at 0930.

Phil


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Monday, 15 September 2008

Monday 15th September 2008

Dear all,
 
Today's Dash to Duffield activity employed "Phil the Flail" with his tractor to thrash the vegetation along the southern section of the welded rail from Willow Crossing to Shottle Yard. This has been accomplished so that we can actually see what work needs to be done on the drainage system and that the mini digger driver planned for later in the week can see where it is going.
 
Associated with the Idridgehay to Shottle section we have agreed a strategy with Sperry Rail for the introduction of calibrated rails into the "main line". These are rails with known faults machined into them to assist with the calibration of rail flaw detection vehicles. These calibrated rails are used extensively on mainland Europe on running lines but this will be first for the UK. A by-product these discussions should be that around 50% of the Idridgehay - Shottle section will be welded up again, some 28 welds,  to a high standard on the back of this agreement.
 
In the light of recent commercial successes Phil has visited Sheffield on your behalf to purchase a brand new impact wrench, a Bance, illustrating our further magnanimous support for the permanent way team! At the same time opportunity was taken to deliver two failed Bances for assessment and repair if financially worth while.
 
A number of visitors were welcomed to the Booking Hall, but why do they arrive in bulk just as the keys are being turned in the locks at the end of day?
 
Martin
 
PS - A Pat Craft update - Pat is making very good progress in the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary and, effectively, learning to walk again. She has been given an indication that a return to home is likely twards the end of the week.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Progress Sunday 14th September

Dear all,

First a note about yesterday evening's very pleasant charter and buffet
party, attended by a number of friends and relations of a well-known
local family as well as members of the Board; who duly were returned
safe home in the usual selection of wheelbarrows.

Today proved equally pleasant and a steady day's passenger business was
done in quite delightful weather. A coach party was received from Kent,
staying in Sheffield and having visited Chatsworth and Carsington, made
us their one and only railway, to our considerable satisfaction and theirs.

Thanks to all concerned.

John Ball Duty Manager via Anton

Friday, 12 September 2008

Friday 12th September 2008

Dear all
 
Another dank and dismal day where maintenance was the main theme. Our fleet of three Dogfish (ballast hopper wagons) were serviced to be fit for the Dash to Duffield and the Class 20 had attention to its fuel system and lights. The IMT attempted some drainage work on the "racing straight" without much success but did track walk from Barnsley Lane to Derby Road 2 bridge finding a number of loose fishplate bolts and loose or missing elastic track spikes. This again demonstrates how important this mundane job is to keep the line fit for traffic.
 
The Buffet was readied for the weekend and the Booking Hall received a few very hardy visitors.
 
Martin

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Thursday 11th September 2008

Dear all
 
A day of steady, determined progress with a thorough valeting of the works train tool van. To me it seems something of a Tardis with the sheer amount of material discharged and refiled ready to meet the challenges of the weeks ahead. A separate exercise at Shottle with man and machine, together with a delivery of 16 tonnes of stone, has created a de luxe road/rail access point so that our road/rail vehicles can be more easily turned there. Man and machine also took the top vegetation off the north end track bed of the proposed Shottle loop and there is a feeling that we are really getting going to Duffield.
 
The VCT attended to the EMC test site on the Hannages for the intended tests with a Schoma Diesel and also took the opportunity to improve the sight lines for the foot crossing and Up Distant Signal. After these endeavours they continued to 40 Steps to make a further impact there.
 
A noteworthy event at Wirksworth Station was the fitting of an extended stench pipe to the toilet block to prevent unpleasant smells reaching the EVRA shop. Further progress on the timberwork of the Shark was made with this vehicle nearly ready for fresh paint.
 
We also had the opportunity to entertain a new customer for MTT. A full briefing and physical inspection of our facilities lead to a range of new earning projects being flagged up and we believe that this will inject further energy into our MTT products.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and achieved a station area tidy.
 
A satisfying day.
 
Martin

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Wed 10th Sept

Evenin all,

Well the big bang came and went, we did our bit and fired up Farraday
using the molecule accelerator, and sped down the track with great
bursting of energy.
However, having come through the black hole, the per way team were
very busy at Shottle, where stone was dropped at the start of the
siding, to create a new RRAP - more stone will be dropped tomorrow. The
curved closure rail into the siding was replaced, and is a perfect fit.
Numerous KT clips were replaced in the pointwork. Many plates were
taken off and lubricated, several replacement holes were drilled in
rail ends.
A scene of recent flooding was dug out and a new channel dug. This
should resolve the situation until a digger is brought in.

Back at base, more restoration work was carried out on the Shark brake
van. A few passengers ventured up the Incline . The vehicle from
Boris's town continued Testing.

Basically a lovely sunny day - or was that the glow of oblivion , and
are we now in a parallel universe?

Phil


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Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Tues 9th Sept

Evenin' all,

Yet another wet day. When is summer this year?

The Steam team got the tank for No 3 onto the Pit Road and managed to
flush it out as well as give it a good scrub and descale.

The Per way team collected various short lengths of rail from the
Bogie siding, these were taken to the CWR south of Idridgehay where we
will start rerailling next week (hopefully). The short pieces of 5 or 6
meters will be used to replace the bad joints, and will be used as
closure lengths and will be plated up. They also recovered another
wagon of logs on the return Journey.

The VCT were busy at Duffield where a large tree had come down between
the Tunnel and the A6 Bridge - this was chopped into smaller bits, they
also did some cutting back at Holloway road crossing.

The IMT walked the Incline, before checking the drains on the 'Racing
Straight'.

Everyone got wet and muddy today, time for a hot bath.

Phil


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Monday, 8 September 2008

Monday 8th September 2008

Dear all
 
A hard and long day's testing to satisfy our customers. On track one we had Schoma diesel L10 Clementine with the first day of TBTC testing for London's Underground and on track two we had D8001 and the Sperry Rail Flaw Detection Vehicle being readied for its role on the Paris Metro. At the end of the day London helped Paris out with L10 shunting the Sperry vehicle to the Car Park siding for loading. The European vision at work in Wirksworth!
 
Meanwhile, the mundane but important job of revising the plumbing in the Buffet Car continued and, within the Maintenance Facility, dmu painting was undertaken.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and the marquee has left for a new hire.
 
The latest news on Pat Craft is that a minor stroke has been confirmed that has affected her left leg but the hospital has stabilised matters and physiotherapy commenced. Her strimmer has been confiscated.
 
Martin

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Progress Report Sunday 7th Sept 2008

Dear all,

A day in which balmy summer weather prevailed for, oh, almost four
hours, and which gave our drains a brief respite before the heavens
opened again about 3.00pm. As yesterday, the car park was happily full
and we had a better day in terms of passengers and in the buffet car
than yesterday; as ever with Wirksworth Festival it brings to us many
people who would not ordinarily have found the railway. Our own cadets
performed manfully in the car park and work was also carried out by Rod
and the duty conscript on the narrow gauge, which is now looking very
well. Mr Lyne reported on the excellent beer and popular entertainment
to be had at the Royal Oak after the train service, especially on Mardi
Gras nights. Duffield station was inspected and work was being
undertaken by the staff of that station on some curiously large weeding.

All the best,
Anton

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Sat 6th Sept 2008 Progress

Evening all,

Well, what a washout! Heavy rain that had been falling yesterday and all day today made the track formation just passable in places - so if it rains again tonight, check tomorrow first thing!

In terms of visitors, the car park was rammed full all day with visitors to the Wirksworth Festival but unfortunately only a few hardy souls ventured through our door and on to the train. Just shows the value of manning the car park at this event.

A "Day with the Driver" was held with great success. The gentleman, who is a Boeing 747 pilot by trade, was fascinated by the heritage technology that we have on display and was very complementary.

Down the yard, progress continued on the 03 in its transition from blue to green and the Class 20 group were performing bits of maintenance in the comfort of the shed.

Hopefully a better day tomorrow, not least weather-wise...

Mike via Leigh

Friday, 5 September 2008

Friday 5th September 2008

Dear all
 
If I seem obsessed by the weather you will have to forgive me. But, it rained non stop today and it was not just a gentle wet but a continuous downpour. During which we attended to our major customer, Sperry Rail International, in a thoroughly professional way to prepare their vehicle from its time in Ireland to its new role on the Paris Metro.
 
The track patrol team had a good review of the Idridgehay to Duffield section and the effect of pouring water at every point where our century old drains were not up to the job illustrating the sheer amount of work we have to achieve. There was a lone dmu maintenance person dealing with vehicle in the Maintenance Facility but even that structure began to leak.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed some paying visitors from Sperry Rail and the Buffet was prepared for the weekend.
 
Lastly, but not least, we had news that Pat Craft had probably suffered a small stroke and is in the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary for tests and assessment. I am sure you will all join me in wishing her a speedy recovery and restoration to full activity.
 
The new steel gate manufactured by the VCT at the head of the station approach at Wirksworth is operational today. All Duty Managers now have a key, so if you arrive bright and early seek out the day Duty Manager to gain admission to the site.
 
Regards
 
Martin

Comprehensive Fare Guide Published

Good Evening all,

I have uploaded a table that comprehensively lists all fares that we have at the EVR as a guide. This can be found under the "Trains, tickets and Timetable" section of the website.

Cheers,

Leigh

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Thursday 4th September 2008

Dear all
 
Significant progress in the preparations for the Dash to Duffield with some 70 sleepers being discharged from the Lowmac at Shottle and a return load of logs delivered to the Car Park siding at Wirksworth. There then followed assembly of materials for the rerailing exercise on the Idridgehay to Shottle section.
 
The awful weather pushed the VCT to a new adventure to sort the old weighbridge into some semblance of order and releasing material for recycling. The tidy bug also overtook the narrow gauge team who had a rearrangement of the EVRA stores container. Progress to rewire the Buffet Car to equip the vehicle for the necessary apparatus to achieve more in house catering was made with the project planned and materials ordered.
 
Towards the end of the day a "final" shunt was undertaken to maximise the use of space released by yesterday's transfer of the trams to a new location. Also at the end of day we welcomed L10 "Clementine" to the site and its safe berthing into Platform 1 ready for tests over the next two weeks.
 
The Booking Hall received a few very hardy visitors and a young lady visited to enquire the progress of her "envelope" delivered some days ago to collect materials for a collage to be created for the Festival - does anyone out there know anything about this?
 
In spite of the dreadful day's weather, achievements abounded.
 
Martin

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Wed 3rd Sept

Evenin' all,

Another early start with some visitors from Berlin testing two rather
large machines. They came specially from Germany on Monday night for
their test this afternoon, they leave from Harwich at about 2100
tonight. As the machines were two Flash Butt welders, I dared to
suggest that they may need to demonstrate it and by a chance we have
many rails ready to weld - we may get something.

The Per way team filled in the Bogie siding with high class load
bearing mud, and then manage to move the two long stay trams up there
thus releasing more space.

More training took part with the class 20. Also the Shark is now
looking more like a solid vehicle after the rotten wood was replaced,
it is now getting painted - between the showers.

Tomorrow sees some sleepers being dropped ready for more D2D work.

Phil


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Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Tues 2nd Sept

Evenin' all,

A hectic day with much shunting and sorting in the yard, putting
things away following the weekend, and a start made on preparing for
next weekends activities.

The VCT Have been continued work on the main gate to the station, and
the new steel gate is now operational, this restricts out of hours
visits.

The Per way team had a busy day and dropped 720' of flat bottom rail,
ready for re-railing south of Idridgehay. This was a big task. Re-
railing will be starting next Tuesday, when full padding and fitting of
nylons will take place.

The Steam team again continued sorting bits and pieces and are
getting ready for more construction work.

Tomorrow sees a vehicle on test, so the team will be levelling the
bogie siding and putting vehicles onto it.

A new door has been fitted to the Stationmasters Office. Keys are
again restricted.

Phil


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Monday, 1 September 2008

Monday 1st September 2008

Dear all
 
A day of tranquillity after the excitements of the weekend and it rained again! The Booking Hall welcomed a few hardy visitors and much bureaucracy was attended to. The weekend's results were assessed with a quite satisfactory result and many thanks to everyone who participated in delivering this experimental venture.
 
Martin