Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Tues 30th June

Evenin' all,

Another great day saw our team of boffins fitting the electric
starter motor to Hydra, an application of electricity started the loco.
Up until now the two locos were air started. Now some proper final
fixing will be carried out. Well done to those concerned.

The Per way team started 'Operation Hoover' and recovered a load of
scrap. The old derailment site north of Shottle, revealed a good source
of buried material, which was cut up. A trip to Duffield meant that
more material was recovered, some broken concrete bits were dropped off
near the erosion site to act as infill.

The VCT continued with works south of Hazlewood.

The Dream Steam Team took delivery of the newly fabricated smoke box
for No 3, hopefully this will be finally positioned tomorrow. Work also
continued with replacing other bits and pieces.

The Tommy team continued with the top coating of the other shunter and
very smart it looks.

The Flail was inuse up the Incline and made excellent progress, giving
the area a good trim.

Tomorrow sees the Works Train departing from Wirksworth at about 0915
and picking up at Shottle. It will be returning to Wirksworth in the
evening. Dont forget that the road is closed south of Wirksworth, by
using the train, we are offering a service! Tomorrow sees continued
line clearance recovering time expired material.

Phil


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_______________________________________________________

Monday, 29 June 2009

Monday 29th June 2009

Dear all
 
A great start to the week with a three customer day. The first customer attended to the trolley fleet with test weights that is semi-permanently based with us, the second involved a full "1530" test of the whole line with a fairly unusual vehicle, a ballast undercutter, and the third was the Trans Plant tamper receiving checks prior to testing starting tomorrow.
 
We had the pleasure of hosting Chris Milner, Deputy Editor of the Railway Magazine who was preparing a feature on mytesttrack. He was able to see what we do and are achieving by accompanying the 1530 test. He also had the opportunity of experiencing the canted track used as part of the test and meeting Mark Brooks, the guardian of all the Trans Plant vehicles that visit us. To round off his day he was introduced to L J Breeze, Hydra and the very nearly complete Tommy. Roy (73) and Les (78) have done a magnificent job on Tommy and Will is well into a makeover of Faraday which is now in Wirksworth Improved Engine Green.
 
Much wagon maintenance has been achieved with the Flatrol receiving its new pads, brakes adjusted and a good oil round. Redundant brake blocks have been recovered and a further four discovered in the back of a container. These have now been gathered for future use.
 
Today's IMT visited Idridgehay to remove debris from the crossing and spent the rest of the day tending to minor repairs in Wirksworth Yard.
 
The Booking Hall received a few visitors, dealt with the usual phone calls and hosted a staff training meeting 
 
A very good day in the Mediterranean sun
 
Martin

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Progress Sunday 28th June 2009

Dear all,

An interesting and very warm day of many parts. The Ravenstor service
bobbled up and down in its usual leisurely way with a modest passenger
compliment and visitors wallets were shaken in the booking hall, EVRA
shop and buffet car, though possibly not with quite the vigour that was
achieved yesterday. The booked Day with a Driver was not present due to
being stuck on the M6 and will be rescheduling.

The conscript and his close personal friend continued their appointed
work with the Wash Green gate and fence line and this is now looking
very well and is due for its topcoat next week. Work proceeded in the
Model Railway container and the model railway is running but with
further work to do before it is open to the public. Assorted weeding
took place on the booking hall embankment.

In and around the engineerium, the vacuum brake pipe has been removed
from the former EVRA incline and entertainment coach. The steam team
have been engaged upon Ferrybridge No 3. The class 119 appreciation
society (or those parts of it not currently in a jacuzzi in
Fuertaventura) have been clearing out one of our multitude of containers
while the rest have needle gunned its wheel parts and said wheel parts
have now been mainly painted black. The class 20 group have been working
on their locomotive and a little exterior yellow cosmetic work has taken
place on the class 31.

The newly re-formed weekend p-way and S&T team despatched themselves to
Shottle with LJ Breeze and carried out work on the recently installed
lever frame and its associated connections there.

Following yesterday's "Paint a Milepost" extravaganza, the Passenger and
Global Fence Painting Managers joined forces to address the state of the
south weighbridge as part of a programme arising from a recent lineside
inspection. This programme, known as Scheduled Complete Removal Of Tatty
Eyesores, involves dealing with a number of lineside items which require
either painting or cosmetic improvement so that passengers find our
lineside tidy. Related to this we are looking for a suitable door, 30
inch x 76 inch, if anyone has one cluttering up their lumber room.

Many thanks to all,
J Ball
Duty Manager
via Anton

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Progress Sat 27.6.2009

Dear All,
 
Today saw a misty start turning very humid later on. It has been an interesting day with some excellent progress in many areas.
 
The Idridgehay service was running today and was joined by a family for a day with a driver. They put their ticket to good use by riding up and down all day and even Sheba (the dog) enjoyed herself.  In the afternoon time was even found between trains to give our guests a quick blat up the incline.
 
While all this was going on down in the yard the DMU team painted the exhaust on the 117. They also started scraping some of the muck off the 117 engine block. Else where in the yard (about 8 foot away) the LMS carriage had its brake cylinders removed and these were taken away to be refurbished.  
 
We also had a Young Offender on site and he continued painting the weighbridge. Also on the painting front your esteemed Passenger Services Manager could be see down the line painting mile posts. This work also included painting other objects in the near vicinity.
 
An excellent day was also had on the sales front in the Booking Hall. Many passing "gricers" had their wallets severely shaken by the shop manager. The Buffet Car and the EVRA shop also did very well.
 
Another splendid day on the railway. 
 
Regards,
 
John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans
 

 

Friday, 26 June 2009

Friday 26th June 2009

Dear all
 
A very pleasant warm day that saw the IMT commandeered by Phil to explore and identify all the tasks to be achieved next week as part of "operation Hoover". This will provide a pause in our track renewal endeavours to recover all the materials between Wirksworth and Duffield that have been created by these renewals or discovered during the process. These include rotten sleepers, sections of old rail discarded as a result of derailments, sundry track fittings and logs. We never cease to be amazed at all the kit abandoned over the years that can be converted into cash to help our project move forward.
 
There was a great leap forward in the Maintenance Facility as "Tommy" receives his top coat. Roy (73) and Les (78) have done a wonderful job on this locomotive which should the nameplates applied next week. The first response to the appeal for tools arrived today in the form of a useful workshop vice.
 
A start was made on the improving the cosmetics of Faraday which will be eventually placed on the Museum line for permanent display recognising its great contribution to our project.
 
The Manager Fence Painting ably assisted by the Senior Manager made great progress in the sunshine. Their work makes such a difference to the overall appearance of the station but it is a job for life as the fencing gang keeps producing more of it with a few hundred yards yet to be erected at Duffield.
 
DRE conducted some re-engineering of a facing point stretcher bar to be installed at Shottle North - on this occasion Twiggs did not seem to be involved.
 
During the "operation Hoover" survey the Lowmac was loaded with logs for a customer who will collect from Wirksworth over the weekend.
 
The Mess Hall had a good clean and the Buffet Car was readied for the weekend. The Booking Hall received a number of visitors and fielded the usual phone calls.
 
Martin

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Thursday 25th June 2009

Dear all
 
A pleasantly busy day on many fronts. The VCT with a small but perfectly formed team of two tackled an area south of Shottle where overhanging branches were reported. This turned out to be a larger job than first thought and occupied the whole day with the production of a "generous" fire. A third member of the VCT, after haymaking, made a fist of tackling the vegetation growth around the narrow gauge, car park and station approach at Wirksworth with the flail. The flail also attacked some of the vegetation en route from Shottle to Wirksworth.
 
Today was a three customer day with Thermit Welding trialling a new method of treating rails that have suffered from wheel burns. Two examples adjacent to Platform 2 were dealt with and will be monitored to assess whether this is a solution that can be applied to the national network. Harsco brought a Landrover for speedometer calibration and used the Incline for this purpose and the first Trans Plant tamper arrived from the LH Group for testing next week (unfortunately not in tamping mode!).
 
The Permanent Way team of two joined forces with DRE and a mini digger to grade the area around Shottle North Ground Frame, dig holes for the benches to be installed and pull back the stone from around the exit catch point from Shottle siding. Crossing timbers that accommodated the hand point lever were recovered and replaced with "normal" sleepers in preparation for the pointwork to be operated from the Ground Frame. The digger was used to lift the many pieces of scrap rail around the Shottle site into the skip so their value may be realised in the near future.
 
Wirksworth saw the first of the blue paint applied to "Tommy" with half the locomotive completed in the first coat. Much activity surrounded the maintenance of our wagon fleet to ensure they are fit for purpose on the longer journeys they now undertake.
 
The Passenger Manager looked after the Booking Hall and managed a deal of painting in between customers and telephone calls - most of it went on the walls.
 
For those who wish to know the Trans Plant tamper is TMM733 and has a nameplate "Alan Jenkins". Alan died some ten years ago and was noted for his tender care of these machines,
 
Lastly, there is a general appeal for large spanners and sockets for the Maintenance Facility. The departure of the privately owned "workshop" container included all the tools within so we find ourselves needing to rebuild the workshop capability. Please look in your "shed" and see if there is anything you rarely use or cannot remember if you ever used it - your Railway needs you. The replacement "workshop" container is owned by us!
 
Martin
 
 

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Wed 24th June

Evenin all,

Now that the days are getting shorter, and Christmas is just around
the corner, attention has started on the Santa Brakevan in the yard.
Indeed we have already had bookings for the Santa Specials........

Meanwhile in the blazing heat of the noonday sun a gallant band of Per
way types unloaded 100 sleepers south from Travis Folly. For those not
familiar with this location, trains leave Shottle every Tuesday,
Wednesday and Thursday - bring strong boots, a Hi Vis vest and a packed
lunch! The team managed to change a further 12 sleepers, mnay of which
were hardwood which slows the job down considerably. 4 pairs of
fishplates were also tackled. The rail temperature being so high that
when the plates were removed the rails quickly expanded and difficulty
was experiences in fitting it back together.

In the arid wasteland of Shottle - where no hippos fly - the S&T team
started fitting and adjusting the locking mechanisms for the track and
pointwork. They have a digger to aid their work tomorrow.

A start was made on finding a suitable method of fixing the electric
starter motors on Hydra and Tommy. A shunt was carried out in the shed
area allowing more space therin.

Some artists have been busy painting the platform fencing at
Wirksworth, and further weed control took place. The expected RRV
failed to materialise, it was hoped to profile some ballast on the CWR,
but as they say near Castlton - we live in Hope. The Booking Office was
open, but they are experiencing trouble with the telephone bell - a new
junction box is required (or a chap with a small thingy to attach some
wires therein.

Tomorrow sees work at Wirksworth Yard by a guest as a training
exercise, whilst most work will be involved with S&T work at Shottle.

Early Warning...... Starting next Monday, the main road between
Wirksworth and Idridgehay will be closed from 0900 until 1700 each day
due to road works. Thinks! How will the bus get through.....is there an
opportunity to lay on a train service to replace the bus service....
That could be newsworthy.

Phil


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_______________________________________________________

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Tues 23rd June

Evenin' all,

A hot and humid day, saw the Per way team heading south. The
Infrastructure Maintenance team noted two particular areas south of
Hazlewood, which required urgent attention. These have now been sorted
and several sleepers have been added to the track. Some clamps were
also added to joints where bolts have sheared. This is in the area yet
to be restored, further south, a foot crossing was strengthned. The
chaps did well in the heat,

The DST, have progressed well the steam chest covers have been fitted
to N0.3 , the valve rods and spindles are now in position. The
handbrake and fittings have been added and more work was done on the
cylinder drain cocks. The cylinder covers have been cleaned and
painted.

The S&T dept delivered bits to Shottle North, and made a start on
building the frame for Duffield North.

Some weedkilling also took place in the car park and top end of the
yard. Some strimming again took place in the area of the childrens play
area.

Undercoating continued on Tommy in the shed, and yje Mess Room had a
big clean out. The Booking Hall had several visitors, but ran out of
Ice Cream.

The VCT were somewhat displaced by the Per Way team working in their
are, but managed to attack patches further south.

Tomorrow sees the Per way team joining the train at Shottle. Please
note that the road acces through the yard needs to be clear as a road
rail machine will be on tracking ther and working north of Shottle,

Phil


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_______________________________________________________

Another Brilliant Thank You!

We are in receipt of the following message of thanks from another of our Day with the Driver guests

---

Hi,
Thanks to everyone for an excellent day on Saturday.Janet and I enjoyed ourselves very much, the trains were wonderful, the food was great and everyone was so friendly.

Good luck with you efforts to get the line open to Duffield next year.

Best Wishes,
Tim Ault
---

Monday, 22 June 2009

Monday 22nd June 2009

Dear all
 
A delightful warm day making many activities more enjoyable than is normally the case. The Motive Power and Rolling Stock team was in evidence with Tommy's undercoat largely complete and our wagon fleet receiving much deserved attention. The Sturgeon now has a complete set of oil pads, its brakes adjusted and a full test on the air brake system. The vehicle can now be used in conjunction with L J Breeze's air brake system to provide additional braking for heavy loads of concrete sleepers that are intended for Duffield in the near future. The Lowmac has also a complete set of new pads and the brakes adjusted.
 
A 20ft container has been delivered to provide a base for the engineering materials used in the maintenance of our entire fleet and replace the one that recently departed for pastures new. It will benefit from the racking kindly donated by the National Tramway Museum as a result of alterations to their library. Ownership of the container by the Company will prevent further upheavals in the future.
 
On the commercial front Harsco put a further six vehicles through their paces on the Gorsey Bank line and there was a whole line test for one of our regular road/rail customers.
 
Mike Craft managed a strim of the embankment outside the garage despite suffering from a number of wasp stings incurred at home. The IMT conducted further inspection of the Shottle to Duffield section highlighting a further need for some emergency work to keep the line together until such time as the resleepering programme moves further south. Tomorrow will see this work undertaken before a return to the steady drive south from the Travis Folly area.
 
The Booking Hall received a number of visitors and dealt with the usual phone calls.
 
Martin

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Progress Sunday 21st June 2009

Dear all,

A pleasant and enjoyable day. The Ravenstor service bobbled up and down
happily and a party of bikers, the MZ owners club, came for casual
refreshments in the buffet car and hope to attend again on the third
Sunday of each month. We had a gentleman attend for his drive a DMU day,
coming from Ruislip depot where he normally works.

The wasps in the paint store were dealt with using the longest pole in
Christendom to demolish the nest and once it was safe to enter paint was
issued to the conscripts who have continued their endeavours around the
Wash Green gate and fence, and also around the weighbridge. The Model
Railway received some attention and will no doubt open in due course,
and the class 31 had a entirely satisfactory traction motor test.

An inspection was carried out at Idridgehay Station and all is in good
order, it was noted however that the mileposts between Gorsey Bank and
Idridgehay are looking rather tired. Should anyone wish to volunteer to
repaint them, please contact myself or Martin. At Duffield work has
recently been carried out to tidy the areas immediately north and south
of the A6 bridge by the removal of general detritus.

All the best,
A Long-Pole (Duty Manager)

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Progress 20.6.2009

Dear All,
 
Many activities were completed on a day that was damp at first but brightened up as it went on. 
 
The Idridgehay service was running today and it happily tootled up and down all day. On board the train crew were joined by an gentleman and his wife for a day with a driver. Later in the day our paying guests were also taken for a spin up the incline in LJ Breaze.
 
Else where on site the fence painting team were busy making the dust dock fence look pristine again. Meanwhile the assistant station master busied himself constructing the new pressure washer. Insert pipe A into receptor c turn 45 degrees clockwise etc etc.
 
There was also a flurry of activity in the yard today with the LMSCA sorting out the strange collection of parts that were lurking inside their coach. A lone member of the DMU gang carried on working on the 117, and de-rusted the exhaust system ready for painting.
 
The booking hall and buffet car were also open for business. The EVRA shop was open and the visitors had their wallets run dry by the staff's excellent sales skills.
 
Another rather pleasant day on the railway.
 
Regards,
 
John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans
 

P.S Staff should also be warned that the paint store has an infestation of wasps. Please avoid this container for the time being.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Friday 19th June 2009

Dear all
 
A delightful day where we were able to show ourselves off to the West Somerset Railway visitors given that we had a few hours to prepare this time. Most of today's team came together to take the guests to Idridgehay and Ravenstor in the 2 car Met-Cam, open the Buffet Car for mid journey refreshments, run the narrow gauge, organise cab rides in LJB and give them a behind the scenes tour of the Maintenance Facility. Both the tills in the Booking Hall and EVRA shop were rewarded for this effort. The were most gracious comments from the group concerning the condition of the rolling stock, stations, the warmth of the welcome and the general state of order around our enterprise.
 
Iris received routine maintenance and minor repairs and a start was made to clean off the motion of Tommy so that painting may continue. A request for further up-titling resulted in the creation of a new post of Fence Painting Manager and Deputy Manager - after this decision the "creosoting" of the station's fencing proceeded apace.
 
DRE made further progress with the materials required at Shottle North Ground Frame assuring that the jigsaw puzzle would begin to come together on site next week.
 
The IMT tackled a section of the line between Shottle and Duffield dealing with on the spot repairs and identifying an immediate problem area that will need corrective action next week ahead of the general push on resleepering.
 
The Booking Hall received our main visitors and a steady stream of other people who were made welcome.
 
Martin

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Thursday 18th June 2009

Dear all
 
Firstly I must mention a call received at midday yesterday that really showed what a small world we have become. The enquiry was about a picture shown on the website of a piece of track at Shottle and what was its purpose? After debate it transpired the section referred to was the "breather switch" at the end of the long welded section to facilitate rail expansion and contraction. The call came from Sam Burgess of the Zig Zag Railway which transpired not to be a badly configured track at a fellow heritage railway but from Sydney, Australia and the news that their members regularly tune into our website and watch progress with great interest. I sent them our fraternal greetings. Their site is www.zigzagrailway.com.au and is worth a look. It does make you think we should start twinning with overseas railways?
 
The second "small world" event happened today when a coach drew up, unannounced, outside the station with some 40 members of the West Somerset Railway on tour. A hasty welcome was mustered and both shops did rather well. So impressed with their surprise visit they are returning in the morning for a charter to Idridgehay and Ravenstor and this time we are well prepared!
 
Down to today's activities. The EVRA shop had a replacement lock fitted after a failure of the old one. LJB had further attention and is now declared fit for traffic again. It would appear that we have to keep rather a large amount of fuel in it to ensure its reliability. New axle box oil pads for the Sturgeon, Flatrol and Lowmac were soaked ready for application next week.
 
The Permanent Way Team of 4.5 people achieved another spectacular day with 22 changed and are now within two panels of Travis Folly. Phil has marked up the next quarter mile to milepost 135 3/4 that will required 117 changes to challenge the team over the next couple of weeks. The VCT continued their endeavours south of Hazelwood which included a huge fire well south of the pig farm necessitating dragging the material to be burnt away from the farm to avoid smoked bacon. Even further south the flail was in action to ease the future work of the VCT. This work came to a stand after the burst of an hydraulic hosepipe causing a call out of the "hose man".
 
DRE gathered a range of equipment from stores for refurbishment and assembly at Shottle next week. I have to record there wasn't a need to fund Twiggs today.
 
All in all, another good day.
 
Martin
 
 

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wed 17th June

Evenin' all,

Flaming June!

Again an early start with a lorry arriving at 0730 to remove a
container from site, as well as a customer arriving to test a vehicle
and trailers in the yard.

The S&T Dept travelled to Shottle and back to carry on with his work
in sorting and fitting bits and pieces to the Ground frame.

The Per way team changes more sleepers in the Postern Lodge area and
were able to start tidying where they had already been. Some fishplates
bolts refused to free themselves and faced the wrath of the disc
cutter.

Th fuel system on LJ Breeze was attended to and some sludge was
cleared,

Another customer arrived this afternoon to look for suitable locations
to trial some rail treatment, he found what he was looking for.

Most of the day it just rained!

Tomorrow sees teh VCT/Flail leaving from Shottle southwards. Please
return to Shottle with the vehicle after use as it is required there on
Friday.
The Per way will continue south of Shottle but with the whole works
train returning to Wirksworth.

Phil


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_______________________________________________________

A Big Thank You

We are in receipt of this kind message from our guests of last Saturday:

---

On Saturday 13th June we were at Wirksworth Station where Kev fulfilled his dream of driving a diesel locomotive as a surprise 50th Birthday gift from me.

Kev and Linda would like to say a huge "Thank You" to all the staff who were there on the day making our day a special and enjoyable experience. Kev enjoyed his experience as a driver and is hungry for more of the action!

Linda and the other guests were warmly welcomed and well looked after throughout the day (even when stranded for a short while when the "LJ Breeze" decided it wanted a rest that day!).

We would all like to take the opportunity to wish you all well with all your future plans and look forward to visiting again sometime in the future.

Once again a big thank you to you all.

Linda Bean and Kev Brewster.

---

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Tues 16th June Addendum

Just to add, a late report that the Dream Syeam Team held a quick
progress and situation report meting this morning. This was followed
by intense action later which resulted in the fitting of the brake
cylinder as well as the cylinder drain cocks, also more work was done
on fitting the motion. So once again, No.3 is taking shape

Phil


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_______________________________________________________

Tues 16th June

Evenin' all,

This morning saw the departure of the second class 03, for pastures
new. Tommy had the handrails rubbed down ready for painting.

The Per Way team managed to change 31 sleepers today, as well 5
fisplated joints were serviced, with new bolts and plenty of oil
applied. Again this is a very succesful total.

The VCT had a good day and are now by the smallholding at Hazlewood,
this meant that they had to be content with one large fire. The Flail
was working south of the VCT and collected some more scrap cable but
managed to make an inroad into the jungle of thorns.

Work continued on the LMS coach. A school charter went to Idridgehay,
some work was carried out on the Till in the shop although several
visitors were still addmitted to the site. It was also a day of general
maintenance following yesterday's storms. Much admin work as well as a
meeting with Council reps regarding work at Duffield.

Tomorrow sees more resleepering with the train already at Shottle,
although transport will be required for domestic supplies from
Wirksworth, if someone wishes to come up. There will be testing taking
place in Wirksworth yard.

Phil


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_______________________________________________________

Monday, 15 June 2009

Monday 15th June 2009

Dear all
 
It has been a wonderfully balmy day without the wild weather that has hit other parts of the Country, although there are rumbles of thunder as I write these notes. Phil and I took advantage of the sunshine to give the whole line another dose of vegetation treatment including a first run over the Gorsey Bank line. Particular attention has been paid on this occasion to all our footpath crossings to aid sightlines. We also took advantage of the newly cleared Duffield site which made turning the Multicar round a piece of cake - even for me! The newly graded surface has hardened off nicely.
 
The first of the 03s to depart left us for Lincolnshire with the second departing either later tonight or in the morning. Dmu maintenance and servicing took place after the Teddy Bear weekend and further work was achieved on the new fencing around the Model Railway container.
 
The Booking Hall had a quiet day allowing time for the inhabitant to have his siesta.
 
Martin
 
PS - I am very pleased to announce that two of our team have agreed to be up-titled - Mike Evans will take on the role of "Motive Power Superintendent" and will report to the Board on all matters affecting our rolling stock fleet, either owned or provided by third parties. Responding to Mike will be Graham Walker in the guise of "Rolling Stock Engineer" who will support Mike in all matters affecting the maintenance and repair of  our rolling stock. I am sure you will all give these two gentlemen your full support.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Progress Report Sunday 14th June 2009

Dear all,

A sweltering but satisfying day at least as successful as yesterday with
visitors to our Teddy Bears weekend. Much joy was spread amongst the
younger visitors and many teddies went home tired but happy.

Around the station various groups of volunteers and conscripts undertook
assorted tasks. The steam team fitted the main steam valves and rod to
Ferrybridge No 3 as well as the steam chest cover and the reversing
lever. Our own volunteers carried on the huge task of painting our
station fences with wood preservative and having completed the south end
of platform 2 yesterday proceeded with the north end of platform 1
today. One party of conscripts proceeded with work on the Wash Green
gate and fence line and another completed the north yard footgate (which
had mysteriously become magnolia and is now correctly brilliant white).
The conscripts then began the scheduled repaint of the weighbridge. The
narrow gauge engine received an expensive running repair and an indent
will shortly be made by the fitter for a grommet tightener.

Congratulations must go to Mr A Carline for winning the "name the bear"
competition, with the name "Churchill". Churchill of course being Miss
Arabella Churchill of Pinxton Hall, who was well known for her
prize-winning horses and her indulgence of purposeful stable-lads.

All the best,
Anton

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Progress Saturday 13th June 2009

Hi all,

There was a real sense of teamwork and togetherness today as we pulled together to sucessfully organise and run what turned out to be a very busy Teddy Bears day along with both a "Drive a Diesel" experience and a "Day with the Driver" experience - a logistical nightmare at the best of times! The Booking Hall, EVRA shop, Buffet Car and additional stalls all reported that they did excellent business.

Many families turned out to enjoy day one of the Teddy Bears weekend in the beautiful warm summer sunshine an many of them were seen to be around all day with the kids taking part in the various activities around the place. Alongside the services to Idridgehay and Ravenstor, there were stalls with fun and games for the kids, bear hunts and even a kind gentleman who was very good at making sausage dogs from balloons!

Today's "Drive a Diesel" guest had the experience brought for him as a 50th birthday surprise. The gentlemen had expressed his wish to drive a train previously but didn't realise he was going to fulfill his dream until he arrived at the station this morning, having been told that he was simply going for a family day out. After gaining a thorough understanding of 'heritage' using LJ Breeze this morning, he then progressed onto something much bigger (the Class 20). He soon mastered the basics of driving this and proceeded in a free slot to Idridgehay coupled to the Class 108 trailer car. The trailer car was needed as there were too many guests to ride in a brake van! After this he drove the consist to Ravenstor. At the end of the day, which he thoroughly enjoyed, he was kindly presented with a sign from the guard that simply said "I'm 50!". These signs were originally used to signal which DMU cars are 50 years old this year but a spare one was found and the sign seemed to be appropriate in this case too. Our "Day with the Driver" guest joined the train on these runs to watch. Many thanks to the additional crew for giving up their time to make this work so well.

In other news - the LMS coach had further work attended to throughout the day.

Off for a nice cold drink now after I have managed to get sunburn on my head again!

Cheers,

Mike Evans

Friday, 12 June 2009

Friday 12th June

Evenin' all,

Another busy day saw a B exam completed on the Mrt Cam, with bodily
fluids and filters being changed.

The IMT checked the Level Crossings, with special attention to
clearing the flangeways after the recent storms, thay also completed
the track walk from Callow Park to Wirksworth.

The VCT turned up and started work on the new strip of fence beside
the Model Railway shed.

S&T returned from Butterley with some point rodding, and stools in
readiness for Shottle North.

More preperations for the Teddy Bears Weekend.

Phil


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Thursday, 11 June 2009

Thursday 11th June 2009

Dear all
 
The really great news of the day is the completion of the Duffield "Muck Shift" a day earlier than planned. A record seven loads were moved and tipped today which meant that over the three days of train movements using our manually operated tipping wagon, the Mermaid, some 200 tonnes have been moved away from the Duffield site. You can begin to picture the future at Duffield now as our southern terminus and interchange.
The project reflects great credit on all who participated and Phil who pulled all the strands together to make the week work. L J Breeze has been used four days this week in connection with S&T work at Shottle and the muck shifting train to and from Duffield and has proved to be a very useful piece of kit racking up some 80 miles of travel.
 
The VCT turned their attentions to the "Up" side in the area of 40 steps to improve sight lines dealing with some tall trees that had started to overhang the line. The flail was put to good use on both the Up and Down sides north of Shottle to do battle with undergrowth encroaching on the kinematic envelope of our coaching stock. As will be inevitable over the next couple of years sundry track material dumped on the lineside is found during the flailing. Today's find was a short length of rail that did for 4 hammer heads on the flail.
 
Back at base we had our annual examination and certification of all the fire extinguishers on site and on board our vehicles with replacements being provided as necessary. Ferrybridge No3 received attention to its cab in preparation for repainting and Hydra was put through its paces to the satisfaction of all concerned. A lone S&T engineer sorted and cleared an area which will receive a selection of stores required for the Shottle North Ground Frame. These stores are being purchased from the Midland Railway Trust and will be gathered tomorrow.
 
The Booking Hall was unstaffed and Dorothy stepped into the breach at very short notice.
 
A most satisfactory day and I would commend those of you who can, see what has been achieved at Duffield - it will amaze you.
 
Martin 
 

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Wednesday 10th June 2009

Dear all
 
The impact of so many of our team enjoying themselves on holiday, surely January is a good month for leave?, was felt today with the spoil trains having a very thin crew and no sleeper changing achieved.
 
Nonetheless, under difficult circumstances, four loads were moved from Duffield to the erosion site north of Hazelwood and many thanks go to Vince Ware, Hylton and a part day from Gary Henshaw. The impact has to be seen to be believed demonstrating our intent to the good people of Duffield.
 
Back at base the 03s had some more attention and paint was applied to "Tommy". There was much activity in the EVRA shop as stock was prepared for an outbased sales effort this coming weekend. We entertained a small group from Alderwasley School with a charter to Idridgehay and return and uprights were installed for the "Tunnel" narrow gauge station as part of the plan to provide a shelter there.
 
We also received a deputation from the National Film & Television School as preparation for a day's filming with them in early July. At Shottle the staging took shape around the North Ground Frame.
 
There was good news in that Stuart, Roy and Les have cracked the direction changing problems with Hydra involving the expenditure of 4p on "O" rings. This is a great leap forward ( or reverse).
 
The Booking Hall benefited from our school party and dealt with the usual range of phone calls.
 
Congratulations to today's small team that kept the show on the road!
 
Martin
 
PS - We have been slightly saddened by the resignation from the Board of WyvernRail by Steve Lyne with immediate effect due to work commitments. Steve has decided to move the two 03s, which he has an interest in, to the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway on Monday next together with the container he had purchased from the Amber Valley Locomotive Group. The very good news is that Roy (73) and Les (78) will be remaining with us and are prepared to help with the maintenance of our Company owned fleet of Hydra, Tommy and L J Breeze. They have been reminded that there remains a platform to be constructed at Duffield.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Tues 9th June

Evenin' all,

What a fantastic day! Rapid progress on all fronts.

South to North firstly, Duffield saw much fro-ing and fro-ing, the
Spoil train removed 4 loads of crap up to the erosion site. Most of the
Duffield site has been defoliated with many tree stumps removed. Some
friends from Network Rail, who were in the area joined us, and rerouted
some electrical cabling and installed new troughing and a new UTX
(under track crossing). This will help with new supplies to the Relay
Room, the new camera system and station announcements. All time well
spent, we were able to offer some of our facilities to assist them.

The Per way team traveled by Bubble Car and are now changing sleepers
close to MP 136 (only 3 miles to Duffield. The team of 5 managed to
change 25 sleepers, which is a brilliant total and ranks as one of the
higher daily totals.

The S&T dept added the staging to Shottle North Ground Frame, a job
postponed from the weekend due to the horrendous weather.

The VCT and Flail, worked north from Shottle, towards Idridgehay,
achieving great results, and again opening up the view and clearing pre
cut material.

At Base, the DST started fitting the Stephenson Link Motion to No 3,
this is a tricky problem and many new words were learnt by some
members, work included fitting new as well as reconditioned parts. Work
was also carried out on the 03's as well as the LMS coach. The Booking
Hall was open for a few souls. The various Planters were tidied up and
refreshed and are looking splendid

Tomorrow sees the Spoil train leaving Shottle early. The Bubble car
will leave Wirksworth at about 0930 to travel to Shottle and again act
as a manrider for the relaying team.

Phil


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Monday, 8 June 2009

Monday 8th June 2009

Dear all
 
A brief return to relative peace on a Monday allowing time for a range of "housekeeping" jobs. However, at the southern end of the empire the first day of "operation muckshift" took place with the Duffield Station site being tackled by a JCB and the "muck" being piled up for movements off site that will take place over the next three days. Early pictures of these endeavours are already on the EVRA web site with thanks to the EVRA webmaster.
 
At Wirksworth planters were tended to and we said farewell to Battery Locomotive L48 which was loaded for despatch to Ruislip. Much dmu maintenance was accomplished and the team are beginning to feel that they are really getting on top of this vital contribution to our passenger carrying fleet.
 
We are now able to lock the cab doors on L J Breeze which gives comfort when it is outstationed as is planned this week. A little cosmetic work was achieved on LJB and tomorrow's train positioned for a quick getaway. LJB now proudly carries Ecclesbourne Valley Railway roundels on both cab sides and very nice it looks too.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and dealt with the usual phone calls.
 
Martin
 
PS The Bubble Car is on standby tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday to convey sleeper changers to site - we are not sure of numbers as so many of our team seem to be taking holidays!

Progress Report 7th June 2009

Dear all,

Again the weather is back to normal with heavy rain and thunder, so its back to
umbrella’s and jackets, its alright for the duckes?
But there has been some stalwarts on site in particular Mike Evans and his team carrying
out new fan belts to the Bubble Car and further scraping 
under the 117 ready for painting.
A team of volunteer's under the care of Mick Thomas transported LJ Breeze, the mermaid and a brakevan down to Shottle, transporting wood for the ground frame.
The young offenders tidied up the area around the talking tunnel.
The Day with the Driver having travelled from Birmingham went very well and they all enjoyed their experience with a nice meal.
The Ravenstor Service was lightly loaded with a few coming through the booking hall, buffet car and book shop.

Again thanks to all.


J.Ball
Duty Manager.

 

 

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Progress 6.6.2009

Dear All,
 
Today saw copious amounts of liquid sunshine, this caused several volunteers to be moist in parts.
 
We were joined by a Gentleman and his Wife (from Nottingham) for a day with a driver. They traveled on the Idridgehay service which was running today. Later they had a trip up the incline, and a ride on L J Breeze.
 
Meanwhile, in the shed work was carried out on the 117. The head on one of the engines was removed and it was found to be scored just enough to cause water to leak into one of the cylinders.  This will now be sent away to be machined to remove these imperfections. On the opposite side of the shed the 70's duo of Roy and Les carried on removing paint from Tommy.
Also in the yard more rust was removed from the 119 in the first class non smoking compartment.  
 
The Booking Hall and Buffet car were both open and managed to extract some monies from our visitors.
 
When all said and done some good progress was achieved despite the inclement weather.
 
Regards,
 
John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans.
 

 

Friday, 5 June 2009

Friday 5th June 2009

Dear all
 
A most successful day with a carefully choreographed tour for a party from the East Midlands Development Agency that illustrated where their money was being spent and the range of MTT customers that were occupying Wirksworth Yard. My thanks to all who ensured the manoeuvres were conducted seamlessly. Meanwhile we welcomed a second school party following on from yesterday's visit who enjoyed a journey to Idridgehay and swelled the coffers of the shop on return.
 
Hydra and L J Breeze were displayed along with L48 in Platform 1 and both of our locomotives benefited from the ministrations of Hylton to ensure they were presentable for the emda party, Sperry Rail had a further morning of trials with D8001 and SRS242 with the vehicle leaving us in the early afternoon for regauging.
 
In amongst this activity the Bubble Car received an oil change on both of its engines and a meter was installed as part of the ongoing process to pinpoint where our electricity is being consumed. This has become a very important job with the overall site costs likely to be over £13,000 this financial year.
 
The IMT turned their attention to the Yard and the Gorsey Bank line including the recovery of debris from the Hannages foot crossing and the south end of Platform 2. DRE fabricated back stays to be fitted to the Shottle North Ground Frame.
 
The Booking Hall did very well with the school visit and fielded the usual range of phone calls.
 
Martin
 
PS There will be a Sunday Permanent Way and S&T working party to Shottle on Sunday departing around 1030 from Wirksworth
 
 

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Thursday 4th June 2009

Dear all
 
A very pleasant two customer day. It was good to welcome a contingent of Tube Lines trainer/instructors who were familiarised with the TBTC test track and the operation of L48 using the new signalling system. D8001 and Sperry Rail SRS 242 continued their trials to ready the machine for service in Ireland. (I know the track gauge in Ireland is different but SRS242 has wheelsets that are interchangeable for metre, standard, Irish (5' 3") and Spanish (5' 6") use).
 
There was activity under the sheets as the LMS Third Open Coach received attention and we welcomed a most well behaved school party who enjoyed a charter to and from Idridgehay. After their journey they were given a shopping opportunity and the electronic till received some exercise. The Booking Hall also benefited from some white gloss paint this afternoon as part of a programme to refresh all our buildings and structures.
 
The VCT were supported by the PWT mustering combined team of 11 that continued to attack the area south of Hazelwood. It was a giant three fire day in an area of particularly dense growth leading to some spectacular effects on the clothing worn by the team. The work so far has opened up some very pleasant views of the valley in that area. Mileposts 135 and 134 3/4 received a coat of gloss leaving the black to be applied another day. The Komatsu 130 flailed from Hazelwood to the VCT worksite and by all accounts made a very significant impact on the dense blackthorn that make clearance very slow going without mechanical assistance.
 
Another very productive and busy day.
 
Martin
 
PS - I am very pleased to report that Mick Thomas has joined the Board of WyvernRail plc and has also accepted the post of S&T and Civil Engineering Manager. Mick, as you know, brings a wealth of experience to our Railway and is singularly the only person who can fabricate the apparatus we need to operate between Idridgehay and Duffield with passenger trains. His background will also enable us to ensure our structures, of which there are many, are safe in conjunction with the inspection regime we enjoy from Network Rail. We also hope that the special relationship he has with Twiggs will be closely controlled by his new responsibilities, to the Company's benefit!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Wed 3rd June

Evenin' all,

A much cooler day meant that the Per Way team were away at first light
(well, by 0915) They travelled by Bubble Car where 16 sleepers and
several pairs of fishplates were serviced. The team have now reached F7
footpath crossing.

Sperry Rail were here testing along with the Class 20. The vehicle on
test has been with us for several months, and is now departing for
foreign parts.

The Yard Crane was in use for the first time, and recovered some
material from behing the DST Emporium, more work will be required on
the crane but at least it is working.

The de-painting of Tommy is now just about complete. The exhaust for
LJ Breeze has been repaired by the DRE Exhaust and Funnel repairs
Division.

Phil

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Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Tues 2nd June

Evenin' all,

On what was possibly the hottest day of the year, members toiled in
the blazing sun, whilst silly hats was definately de rigeur!

The Dream Steam Team worked on No 3, they were fitting the Connecting
rods (or as one of their technical chaps said ....'those link bits
between the round things'....) More bits were needlew gunned and
cleaned ready for refitting.

The Diesel types were working on Tommy and an 03.

At Shottle, the S&T dept continued building up the base and
backfilling Shottle North Ground Frame. A fitter attended the Komatsu
and fitted a new ignition switch and carried out more testing to find
an intermittent fault - fingers crossed.

The Per way team had an unusual trip when the Bubble Car proppelled a
small works train to site. Around 130 sleepers were dropped in situ and
12 sleepers were changed as well as several pairs of fishplates were
stripped and greased.Some scrap was loaded and the works train left at
Shottle. It Was the day that Mike Evans, doyern of the DMU fleet,
joined up with 'a day with a track Rat. and had an enjoyable day,

The VCT operated south of Hazlewood again and had a two fire day day,
milepost 135 and 134 3/4 were painted at the same time.

Tomorrow sees the Bubble Car 'works train' leaving at 0915 due to
other trains and customers. Otherwise please report to Shottle.

Yesterday some plumbing work was carried out at Duffield, to make the
water supply better, the stop tap was located and now our water flows
onto our site (via a meter)

Phil

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Monday, 1 June 2009

Monday 1st June 2009

Dear all
 
The first day of a new month saw us bathed in warm sunshine allowing much activity on our locomotive fleet. The errant flexible exhaust coupling was released from L J Breeze and it is hoped that DRE can make some sense of it tomorrow. Hydra refused to change direction reliably and was subject to much attention although the fault remains for further investigation. The former 03084 received further ministrations but a lot of Roy (73) and Les's (78) day was taken up in trying to assist in the diagnosis of Hydra's problem.
 
The order of batting tomorrow will therefore be a little light shunting with D8001 and then a very short Works Train will be piloted by the Bubble Car which will return "light" at close of play.
 
L48 gleamed during its test day and, as a result of an early finish, provided some photo opportunities in the late afternoon. The Met-Cam had an outing to Idridgehay with a potential customer and progress was made with the wiring to enable the till to be downloaded of information remotely.
 
The Booking Hall received a number of visitors and the coffers were enhanced which is most unusual for a Monday.
 
Martin