Saturday, 31 July 2010

Progress Saturday 31st July 2010

Dear all
 
Well, what a day! The first of our five days of steam got off to a roaring start with the crowds flocking in. Bellerophon looked after 4 round trips to Idridgehay and No3 managed 10 round trips to Ravenstor. These journeys were interspersed by dmu outings and the whole day worked extremely well with many smiling faces. The miniature and narrow gauge railways also achieved good loads and added to the general air of activity. Many complementary remarks were overheard and I think we can declare the mix a winner.
 
Stalls from the LMSCA and Patriot Society together with the EVRA shop added to the atmosphere. The Buffet Car learnt from the volume of business last weekend and adjusted their systems to produce a slicker response to customers.
 
Special thanks go to all involved in operating the trains including all the folk from Foxfield who crewed the two steam engines. Those who kept the car park flowing deserve a special mention for dealing with this unglamorous but essential task as do the team who managed Wash Green crossover. The Saloon proved most popular and was ably stewarded by our birthday boy, Mike Craft with Yvonne standing in for the last round trip. Journeying down the line with a glass of Bucks Fizz gave a foretaste of things to come.
 
A most enjoyable and satisfactory day.
 
Martin

Friday, 30 July 2010

Progress Friday 30th July 2010

Dear all
 
Thehighlight of the day for me was the test undertaken by Bellerophon and the train from Wirksworth to Idridgehay in preparation for the next two week's activities. The journey to Idridgehay was marked by tests to ensure our consist did what I predicted it would do and markers were made to aid the correct stopping places. These were all conducted successfully and the return run to Wirksworth was conducted in fine style replicating a passenger experience that must have occurred over 60 years ago.
 
Prior to this event the IMT had been in action to ensure our two passenger lines were in good shape and there was much shunting to ensure everything was in the right order for the weekend. Bellerophon was coaled in a fashion by the Komatsu as we get to grips with these new forms of traction and Iris had a wire replaced that enabled an easier starting process. The Yard had a further burst of weedkiller and it looks as though we will have to treat the whole line again very soon.
 
It was good to welcome our friends from the Steeple Grange Light Railway who collected their sleepers from site and we will enjoy a trip on their extension.
 
Martin
 
 

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Progress Thursday 29th July 2010

Dear all
 
Another day of great activity with the added general hysteria as the first steam weekend approaches. VCT completed their tasks at Wirksworth by replacing the Wash Green gate with fencing following the departure of the Portakabin. They also completed fencing that will prevent someone at the Maintenance Facility inadvertently straying onto the Incline line.
 
The Ravenstor service ran with a reasonable number of passengers in the early part of the day but pickings were slim in the afternoon. The Buffet Car, EVRA Shop and Booking Hall supported this part of today's plot.
 
There were several hours of shunting to place Bellerophon in the Maintenance Facility after being coaled up in the Car Park, put the Shell/BP tank and LMS Brakevan together for a fill of water and join the SK with the Saloon to form the basis of the Idridgehay steam consist. The Saloon was watered so the toilet is operational and the champagne glasses can be washed - I say champagne in the loosest sense!
 
The maintenance team addressed some problems on the Met-Cam set and declared themselves satisfied with the result. The Duffield Tunnel project approached conclusion with all rails clipped up, some packing of the resultant track and fishplates applied with the exception of one joint which has been temporarily clamped pending the arrival of lift plates. Track side lighting was employed in the Tunnel to facilitate the work. This enabled the Works Train and Komatsu to journey to Wirksworth during the afternoon. The scrap track materials loaded onto the Sturgeon were deposited at Shottle and a Grampus collected for Monday's photo charter. 
 
Duffield platform enjoyed further attention with the complete removal of all troughing and the placing of further coping stones. A start was also made on installing the redundant crossing timbers at the back of the platform to hold back infill that has to be applied to gain the right height.
 
As we were winding down a fuel delivery arrived necessitating the Komatsu to be fired up again to move coal that obstructed the route to the storage tank.
 
Quite a day.
 
Martin
 
 
 

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Progress Wednesday 28th July 2010

Dear all
 
A day of two parts with the northernmost team trying to earn some money and the southernmost team refurbishing the Railway. The scheduled Ravenstor service operated supported by the Booking Hall and Buffet Car which has made a very small dent in the funds needed to complete our project.
 
The Shell BP tank is looking very smart for its role as the water carrier for the weekend ahead. At Duffield there was significant progress in the tunnel with the trackbed dug out to the right depth, concrete sleepers installed and the replacement rails installed. A start has been made to clip the rails up and great credit reflects on everyone involved in yet another new and unusual project for the Permanent Way Team.
All the redundant troughing has been removed from Duffield platform and a start made on preparations for the timbers that will form the edging at the back.
 
As I write Bellerophon has arrived at Wirksworth, some five hours later than planned, and arrangements will be made tomorrow to coal and water the machine ready for trials on Friday.
 
Martin

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Progress Tuesday 27th July 2010

Dear all
 
A host of activities has brightened up our day ranging from a mystery mal function of the Buffet Car till that was traced to a lorry blocking the signal between it and the server. Many thanks to Chris Ralls who has put measures in place to minimise interruptions in future. It is a priority that the tills fulfil their purpose over the next two weekends!
 
We were privileged to welcome the VCT to Wirksworth who tackled a number of necessary jobs including the boundary fence between the former Lining & Hoses base and ourselves, further fencing between the Maintenance Facility area and the Incline line and some good neighbours work on behalf of our Head of Security opposite the Booking Hall.
 
A tear was in the eye as the Portakabin was removed from Wash Green by the largest crane to visit the area. This set up in front of the former Linings & Hoses premises and lifted the Portakabin from rail level to a waiting lorry parked on the bridge, quite a sight.
 
The Dream Steam Team worked away on Ferrybridge No3 to prepare for the weekend's activities and the LMSCA were out in force to continue work on their Third Open. They also have made further progress with their prototype seat which will be on display over the weekend.
 
The first of the summer weekday services to Ravenstor carried a satisfactory number of passengers and the Buffet Car provided refreshments in addition to some training for part time staff who will be needed over the next two weekends. Lynette was in evidence tending the station garden and the EVRA shop opened for our visitors.
 
The electrically operated air horns on the Saloon were coaxed into life and will certainly announce the presence of the train when necessary.
 
Down at Duffield the first day of the tunnel relay saw the first part of the plot completed with the badly wasted rails removed together with their sleepers and associated metal work. The scrap rails were cit into 10ft panels for removal and I am told the area resembled Hades with flying sparks from the disc cutter. A small fire resulted from the tinder dry debris ably dealt with by a strategically placed fire extinguisher. Vince the Elder toiled at the removal of troughing from Duffield platform achieving a very creditable 20 sections.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed our visitors and there was much continued preparation for the weekend including improving the Saloon interior and maximising the seating within. To add to our joy a tour operator has announced we will receive two coach loads on enthusiasts next Sunday. Lesley the Lister had a complete clutch strip down and rebuild after setting new records for the narrow gauge last weekend.
 
Quite a day including another welter of BuyaGift bookings taking us to the end of November.
 
Martin

Monday, 26 July 2010

Progress Monday 26th July 2010

Dear all
 
Still feeling a little shell shocked after the amazing results of the weekend. It is fair to say there was doubt about whether a classic bus weekend would work for us but the doubters' have been trounced by results that illustrate it was our best weekend ever! I reminds you never to close your mind to new ideas. I echo the plaudits of the Duty Managers involved and have received many emails today congratulating us on a great show. I hope it will be an annual fixture and we will see a return of the bus team next year.
 
Today saw further work to finish to the Shell/BP tank ready for its role this coming weekend and we received a further load of sleepers to gladden the heart of the Permanent Way Team. Tony Watt has been continuing his lone quest to refurbish fishplate bolts which has quite a positive effect on our finances with new ones costing in excess of £2 each.
 
LJB has been transferred to Duffield for its role in the Duffield Tunnel relay and a niggling fault on the Buffet Car till has been addressed.
 
The Booking Hall received a number of visitors who haven't been as parsimonious as usual.
 
Martin

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Progress Sunday the 24th July 2010

Dear all,

I speak to you now from the parlour of the Whore and Trumpet (A
Marston's House), where the exhausted undermanagement is soaking its
feet in linseed oil, asafoetida and gunpowder.

An astonishing and hugely successful event was witnessed this weekend,
the best we have ever had, with an amazing combination of buses, steam
engine, railcars and washing up (the Izzie and Natalie show). Grateful
and extensive thanks to all concerned in any way with this event, which
is the best we have ever had and is a credit to all concerned, not least
the bus organiser Geoff Clark.

The interesting mix of the railcar service to Idridgehay, classic buses
there and back and a steam service to Ravenstor proved an absolute
winner and gave us much valuable experience for next week's steam
service too.

I commend everyone involved.

All the best,
Anton

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Supplemental Progress Saturday 24th July 2010

Dear all
 
Had a thought! I am not really that old - the years between 1965 and 2010 are 45. I was on that train in 1965 and am the same age as that very young fireman!
 
Martin

Progress Saturday 24th July 2010

Dear all
 
I write on behalf of Graham Walker who was today's Master of Ceremonies. It was day one of the Classic Bus Gala and we were favoured by great weather. The Car Park team kept on top of things extremely well ensuring the free bus service could operate smoothly to Idridgehay and all the visiting cars and buses were parked without problem. The Met-Cams operated the Idridgehay service unimpeded by sheep that had thankfully been moved into another field. Iris started the Idridgehay service until steam was raised on No3 and at 1120 the first commercial steam service to leave Wirksworth since November 1965 departed for Ravenstor.
 
No3 was undoubtedly the star of the show attracting many photographers and amazing the children as it effortlessly dealt with the Incline. During the pauses whilst it took on more water, yet more coal and rested during the crew lunches Iris returned to carry on the service.
 
Platform 1 was lined with stalls and, under a canopy, real ale was available. On Platform 2 the Buffet Car did a roaring trade with many taking advantage of the outside tables and chairs. The whole station had a true air of a gala weekend. The classis buses were parked outside the Museum and had a wealth of items on their stalls, again adding to the atmosphere as did the Aunty Wainwright look to the EVRA shop.
 
The Booking Hall was kept busy as kept pace with the visitors. A pleasant photo opportunity was provided as it was learnt that one of the classic bus stall holders was the fireman of that last commercial steam train in 1965 and briefly took up the shovel on No3 some 55 years on.
 
Working away from the limelight were the LMSCA team who cleansed the interior of the Upholsterers Machine Shop (Mike Evans former support vehicle), installed the sowing machine and moved the material ready for seat trimming to begin.
 
On behalf of Graham, may I express my gratitude to all who participated in making the day work so well with much good humour.
 
Martin

Friday, 23 July 2010

Progress, Friday 23rd July

Evenin' all,

A day of preparation for this weekend's big Transport weekend.

IMT carried out temporary repairs to an accommodation crossing north of Idridgehay, as well as carrying out emergency repairs to fencing on the Racing straight . There had been numerous reports over the last week of sheep baaing the way' although Hylton reckoned that one cheeky ewe kept looking at him with a sheepish grin on her face!

The DMU team were out in strength ensuring that trains were assembled, and prepped ready for the services. The Inspection saloon had more TLC to the interior and the window openings.

Much tidying up and emptying of the car park ready for the anticipated hoards.

At Duffield, the main line platform as well as our estate was weed treated to try to keep on top of growth.

This weekend is the first of three busy weekends, with many classic coaches and buses coming to the railway for a big event. Steam will also be present. Next weekend and the following ones are our first big steam events, when an historic steam loco makes its first visit here and big crowds are expected.

Phil


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Progress Thursday 22nd July 2010

Dear all
 
The PWT and Works Train had a varied day starting with the movement of the loaded ballast hoppers to Shottle and the Sturgeon to Duffield. At Shottle various "smalls" were loaded for the Tunnel relay and at Duffield the Sturgeon was emptied of its load of time expired crossing timbers that will edge the rear of the new platform and the rails for the relay. The small stock of concrete sleepers at Duffield was loaded to the Sturgeon for movement to the Tunnel. Everything was shunted into the right order for next week's work and LJB returned light engine to Wirksworth.
 
The "Passenger Trains Stop Here" sign was moved to a position north of the Hannages foot crossing on the Gorsey Bank line as a result of the MyTestTrack installations south of the crossing. Further sorting and scrapping of the contents found in the brake compartment of the Mark1 BSK. Within the brake compartment there is a cage that was used for the security of parcels carried on the train. The sliding doors to the cage were rescued from yesterday's excavations.
 
VCT completed their work on footpath F3 with the gates fitted and the "Ecclesbourne solution" applied to improve sighting for train and pedestrian. Two chain saws were in action to open up the vistas in the area of the crossing and one substantial fire dealt with the resultant brash. Peter carried on his one man improvement programme for the interior of the Saloon to great effect.
 
A indication of the new times was the arrival of 14 tonnes of Russian coal which has overflowed from our 1 tonne bunker! There are armed guards in position to ensure this highly expensive commodity does not find itself anywhere but in the firebox - every lump is micro chipped.
 
The Booking Hall had another day of many visitors with no disposable income.
 
Martin

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Wednesday, 21st July 2010

Evenin' all,

A day of loading materials for next week's blockade at Duffied Tunnel.

20 concrete sleepers were loaded, 4 rails retrieved from the Incline store, and a host of old crossing timbers were all loaded onto the Sturgeon. Three wagons of stone were also delivered (eventually). Tony tapped and dyed preused fishplate bolts and created a supply for next week.

The team had a good day, with the work being completed by mid afternoon. This allowed for train prepping and the Komatsu being taken to Duffield.

Elsewhere, work started on clearing out another coach, (Was it the BSK?) which may be required fairly soon for service. Further shunting was carried out to start getting things ready for this weekend's special event with a host of vintage buses turning up, along with a service steam train.

Tomorrow will be a long day, the works train will have to leave by 0915. It will be split at Shottle, more materials will be loaded at Shottle. The train will then travel to Duffield, where some more
shunting will be required. The entire train will be unloaded, with rail drops north and south of the tunnel. The old crossing timbers will be laid out along the rear of the platform, and 28 concrete sleepers will be loaded. At the end of that, LJB will return to Wirksworth Light Engine.

Phil .



Monday, 19 July 2010

Progress Monday 19th July 2010

Dear all
 
A gentle sort of day with behind the scenes preparation for the major relaying job in Duffield Tunnel next week identifying the detail and the materials required. There was activity at Wirksworth to repair a fuel leak that had developed on Iris and the movement of vehicles to provide for the future unholsters workshop.
 
We welcomed a customer to plan for a combined test and customer reception. This will involve loading several more ballast bags which we will undertake at Shottle to keep our Car Park free at Wirksworth.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors with short arms and deep pockets.
 
There was activity at Duffield on Saturday to fill the concrete blocks and prepare for further coping stones to be put in place tomorrow.
 
Martin

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Progress Sunday the 18th July 2010

Dear all,

A rather damp start which cleared later. The passenger service carried
on steadily, though sheep on the line were again an intrusive problem
for every train south of Callow Park, despite the best efforts of the
train crew and Sheep Wrangler Woodhouse. The Day with a Driver had come
up from Kent, had a jolly time and inspected a number of our quality
vehicles including LJ Breeze.

In the engineerium the DMU team's regular scrubbers were at it again,
with a couple of welcome new faces, and the floor of the middle
compartment of the Met Cam centre car is coming along a treat; in
passing the forklift battery was charged. The steam team proceeded with
work on Henry Ellison and a great deal of banging could be heard down
the yard.

Around the station a trench in the Clochemerle area was tarmacked. For
those of you who don't have short term memory loss... Er...Um... Oh yes,
those of you who don't have short term memory loss, will recall that
last year the conscripts were detailed to paint the three Dogfish. This
was rather a long running saga, every heritage railway usually has three
dogfish (a wagon for carrying and dropping ballast) and they are
universally scrubby. This is because they are a complicated wagon and
consequently a cow to paint. However, the conscripts persevered and
today the final paint was applied to these wagons as well as their
decals, copied from the originals photographed before the painting
began. We can't really say this is an expert job, Michaelangelo never
having painted a Dogfish, but the end result is at least presentable.
The usual unofficial naming issue was considered but as no-one could
immediately think of a threesome apart from in their DVD collection, the
prize will have to go to Mr Stokes for Hughie, Dewie and Lewie.

All the best,
Anton

Friday, 16 July 2010

Progress Friday 16th July 2010

Dear all
 
The whole day has been occupied by a shunting operation that has seen most of the Wirksworth stock moved into new positions. Tommy has been placed in the Maintenance Facility to be ready for major surgery and 50599 has joined it on the adjacent track for repainting into rail blue. Our rather sad BSK has been transferred to the Museum Siding so that work can start on its restoration. This involved a full day of stock movement and the team involved are to be congratulated for the effort involved.
 
Our first attempt at decking started as the area around our new temporary loos was made presentable. The Shell/BP tank was flushed out in preparation for its role as a source of water for the steam gala weekends. At the end of this exercise it was put under cover so that the paintwork can be completed.
 
We were host to the Rail Accident and Investigation Branch on a training day at Duffield who, collectively, identified a few deficiencies in the installation at Duffield South. This will involve DRE and his ingenuity to resolve!
 
For those of you on the operational distribution list we recognise Leigh Gration's first day as Duty Manager tomorrow in place of Mike Evans previously scheduled. Leigh represents a step change in the age of Duty Managers and underlines our desire to pass the baton to the next generation. Please give him your full support.
 
Martin

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Progress Thursday 15th July 2010

Dear all
 
The PWT had a peripatetic day journeying from Duffield to Wirksworth accomplishing a large number of tasks en route and gathering up quite a sizeable train. The Lowmac and Flatrol were loaded with logs and on arrival at Shottle the Sturgeon was shunted into position to load Steeple Grange sized sleepers pre-cut by their members. To this consist was added the 3 Dogfish ballast hoppers for loading at Wirksworth next week in connection with the Duffield relaying tunnel project. On arrival at Wirksworth logs were taken to the Car Park and one load donated to the Logging Department. The Sturgeon was emptied of the SGLR sleepers and berthed with the empty Dogfish. It is quite rewarding to think the sleepers we are discarding, that are believed to have been cascaded from the Matlock to Miller's Dale track recovery in the 60s, are to be used, in part!, for the extension of the SGLR. Recycling at its best.  
 
Much work was done on Hydra to try and cure its direction finding problems but it is feared that with its many other problems it may have to be despatched to a better place as the likely repair bill is deemed to be astronomic and beyond our resources.
 
The VCT were able to access footpath F3 and commence work on the stiles there as requested by the County's footpaths officer. Clearance of the vegetation in this area resulted in one large fire.
 
DRE reported the achievement of a further 106 concrete blocks applied to Duffield platform preparing the way for more placement of coping stones next week. There were strange goings on surrounding the terminus of the miniature railway that seem to prepare for nice covered accommodation for my motorcycle or their very own beer tent.
 
Martin
 
 

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Progress Wednesday 14th July 2010

Dear all,
 
The Crafts went on a wasp hunt at Idridgehay where a colony have taken to one of the suitcases on the platform. However, they were beaten back and intend to return when the wasps are sleeping! Lynette enjoyed a few hours gardening at Wirksworth in heavy rain, there's dedication. Taking advantage in a lull of domestic activity Mike Billings managed to flail between Idridgehay and Jebbs Lane give both sides a good cut.
 
Anton has spruced up the Duffield signage and refixed them to the fence and former Vodaphone cabin. The PWT have had a general clear up day and removed all lineside debris between Duffield and Milepost 134 moving the gash sleepers to the dump and 20 garden quality sleepers to Duffield for sale. Three and a half panels have had their fishplates greased and Relate met again in the Training Room.
 
The Booking Hall received a few visitors and fielded the usual mix of phone calls. A potential Booking Hall recruit was given a tour of the site and a brief introduction to his future duties.
 
Suggestions were given to BuyaGift to see whether we can start marking steam locomotive opportunities to the wider world.
 
Martin

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Progress Tuesday 13th July 2010

Dear all
 
A dank and miserable day that has returned us to a typical British summer. Nonetheless, our endeavour soldiered on with the VCT supervising further remodelling of their base at Hazelwood with the aid of the Komatsu. They also burnt brash north of the Shottle North ground frame.
 
The PWT used up the last of their sleepers with a further 25 planted and turned their attention to the many gash sleepers along the line taking two loads to the dump where they can continue to rot in peace. Some 30 "garden quality" sleepers were loaded for transport to Wirksworth for use with the Henry Ellison project. This requires the chassis to be lifted off its wheels to check the bearings. The Sturgeon was shipped to Shottle for loading with part sleepers for the Steeple Grange Light Railway. They have been able to salvage their sized sleepers from parts of ours and we are happy to help that project move forward.
 
At Duffield a further 50 ft of platform wall has been concreted ready to receive concrete blocks but we fear the weather forecast for the rest of this week will prevent further progress in the immediate.
 
Back at base the Training Room was hired again by Relate for a meeting and the DST has been snagging on Ferrybridge No3. They were also roped in to complete the move of the second portaloo into place for the up coming gala weekends. The Stanier Third Open interior fitting out continues apace and the first seating bay has been designed and the materials sourced. I think this vehicle will be quite stunning when completed and be the star of the Duffield opening train.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors and numerous housekeeping jobs were achieved. Lastly, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Leigh Gration to the select team of Duty Managers. His knowledge of the Booking Hall procedures and the foibles of dmu fleet are most useful. I am sure you will give him your support.
 
Martin

Monday, 12 July 2010

Progress Monday 12th July 2010

Dear all
 
Winter has returned to the Ecclesbourne Valley but there was warmth in our welcome for today's three participants for a Group Drive a Diesel Day. They were very ably hosted by Lewis and Vince who needed to take an unusual approach as D8001 is out of commission as are Hydra and Tommy at the moment! Nonetheless, a most enjoyable day was constructed by driving to Duffield and collecting L J Breeze with the objective of collecting the Lowmac and Flatrol from Wirksworth. On arrival at Wirksworth LJB was fuelled and during lunch building materials arrived for loading and transport to Duffield. After lunch the participants has an opportunity to drive the Bubble Car on the Gorsey Bank line before returning LJB and the loaded train to Duffield. All declared themselves delighted with the day and more new friends have been made.
 
In a joint effort between the LMSCA and Railcar Enterprises work started on the transformation of the RE support vehicle into a base for the new trimming and upholstery workshop. As the vehicle is rated for 100mph I assume this will result in high speed settees.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed today's guests and stayed open until an unprecedented 1730 to provide a base for the ladies patiently waiting for their diesel driving partners. A little cash changed hands as suitable mementoes were purchased.
 
Martin
 
PS - I have had very pleasant comments from Prof. Felix Schmid who lead the Turkish student weekend. Under gangmaster Davison they changed some 71 sleepers and with Leigh's guidance good progress was made with freeing the salt laden brake rigging on the recently arrived Met-Cam centre car. Every one of our team who participated in this adventure reflected great credit on our organisation and I thank them very much for doing so with such great enthusiasm. It is difficult to know whether there will be long term benefits from this and the Korean visit but I sense there will be. It certainly gives a warm glow that our Railway will remain in the minds of all our visitors for a long time to come. Special mention should also be made of Jeff and his team who delivered on the dietary requirements for the packed lunches and kept going until nearly midnight on Saturday to ensure everyone was fed together with the inevitable clean up.
 
 

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Progress Sunday the 11th of July 2010

Dear all,

Another warm and delightful day. At Duffield the platform grew some more
under the careful hands of MT Enterprises (yards and paths quoted for).
Our Turkish guests proceeded with sleeper work at Hazelwood and with
underframe cleaning, scraping and rust removal on the Met Cam Centre Car
at Wirksworth, having sampled the famous Wirksworth Kofta Meatballs last
night (shortly to be featured on Freeview: "Dining in strange houses"
which shows just after "World's Most Amazing Police Teabreaks").

The passenger service had another excellent day. Around the yard, the
Duty Conscript moved several scrap sleepers to the fire and re-filed
some decent ones. The steam engine received work to its brake handle, a
day's work to be precise. At the north end of platform 1, the newly
opened multi-million pound clochemerle facility was launched and will
shortly be promoted by the Marketing Department as "Tarry Gardens, Home
of the Portaloo".

In the engineerium, a large number of greasy engineers poked, prodded
and assessed the black locomotive, better known by its popular but
slightly long name as: "Martin Bromley, Master of the Universe". After
this ritual poking, "routine maintenance" as it is called in engineering
circles, the locomotive was duly started and promptly evacuated the
entire contents of a wet and greasy funnel all over the shirt of the
nearby Rev Lidgett, who had the misfortune to be downwind at the time,
and to whom all invoices for dry cleaning should now be addressed.

All the best,
Anton

Friday, 9 July 2010

Progress Friday 9th July 2010

Dear all
 
Continuing our world wide theme, I have just concluded the welcome and safety briefing for the Turkish students and their tutors ready for the weekend's adventures. They seem a most pleasant bunch and are representative of both sexes! Jeff was on hand to explain the catering arrangements and that the halal lunches would have a red spot on the carrier bag - another first for our enterprise.
 
During the day Lewis and Jamie entertained a Drive a Diesel Day guest who showed great proficiency and clearly enjoyed his time with us. The IMT tended to the area between Gorsey Bank and Ravenstor, oiling points and replacing keys where necessary.
 
The electrics in the Third Open received attention and the maintenance team wrestled with the starting problems on Tommy to be faced with water in No1 cylinder which will not be an easy, or inexpensive, task to remedy. Just when we thought we had got on top of our shunter fleet.
 
The Met-Cam centre car had its ceiling completed and there was much action in the Booking Hall to complete a mail out.
 
The Duffield platform project moved on by a further 12 coping stones and we now have around 90ft of correct height platform.
 
Phil departed for a well earned holiday in his Devon residence and I am sure will appreciate telephone silence from our end.
 
Martin

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Progress Thursday 8th July 2010

Dear all
 
A day to lift the spirits with so much activity that this will be something of a novel.
 
The day commenced with the arrival of a test customer with a reworked drain cleaning machine originally built in the Czech Republic and visited us some six years ago in the ownership of Balfour Beatty. Its new owners were pleased that it passed today's test and can be pressing into service on the national network. Slotted seamlessly into the test was a charter on behalf of Camelot Coaches to Idridgehay followed by a de luxe meal on the Gatwick Express. Timing slightly threw the catering team but with Anton pitching in the customers declared themselves very pleased with their time with us. The fee plus shop sales probably put this visit at the top of the league for a Thursday.
 
At Duffield some 14 coping stones were position on top of the concrete blocks giving us the first 40 feet of proper height platform. Continued work on the Shell/BP tanker completed the undercoating and attention was paid to the wiring of the warning horns on the Inspection Saloon. The engineering team also ensured that Hydra can travel in both directions ready for tomorrow's Drive a Diesel Day.
 
VCT attacked the brash at Derby Road 3 (Old Lane) bridge left from the major tree felling there. A two fire day was reported together with some tidying up north of Shottle. The Permanent Way Team achieved a total of 28 sleepers changed together with 6 pairs of fishplates greased. There seemed to be a leakage of InTraining recruits that will be addressed tomorrow as only two of the eight scheduled to be with us made it to the afternoon.
 
LMSCA took delivery of moquette for the Third Open seats together with more timber.
 
The highlight of the day for me was the arrival of a delegation of five from the Korean Railroad Research Institute who took time out from a seminar in Sheffield to look at our test facilities. They were a delight to host and an extremely interesting exchange of views was achieved. They clearly recognised we were not a high speed test centre but had developed a niche market over the last few years. With the exception of one of the visitors they had taken time out of a short visit to the UK to examine what we offered. Our reputation for excellence in what we do had obviously crossed the world and we should all take great credit for this. I suspect the visit was not speculative and will yield interesting opportunities in the future.
 
So an accommodation of a test customer, a most pleasant coach group and overseas visitors were all accommodated today together with all the behind the scenes work represents our enterprise at its best and I that everyone involved in all these elements.
 
The world wide theme continues tomorrow and the weekend ahead with the arrival of 24 tutors and students from the MSc course in Railway Engineering at Birmingham University. The bulk of the team come from the Turkish National Railways together with another visitor from the Korean National Railways. I just remind myself 10 years ago we were a derelict forgotten branch line and now we are able to welcome guests from all over the globe. Not bad eh!
 
Martin

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Progress, Wednesday 7th July

Evening all,

A productive day at the southern end of the empire.

The Platform rebuilding dept, started uploading type 1 at Duffield, they removed cables which were in troughing in the platform, with one cable being rerouted to the Relay room, whilst another to the NR platforms will be buried - NR and their agents have been contacted but show little interest in assisting, these cables should have been removed in March. The long dead TC cables have been removed, the signal at the south end of the platform has been removed to a safer place. A start was made on lifting out the troughing and storing it ready for its new position at the rear of the platform.Hopefully a start will be made on installing the first coping stone tomorrow. The Dumper truck is back from the dead and is zooming around again.

The Per way team carried on sleeper changing and managed 27, another team continued fishplate greasing and have now reached Bluebell Wood South.

Some minor repairs to the yard shunters, according to Will.

We welcomed a new volunteer in the Booking Hall today, Nico Van Wyk (a laugh, a joke , a platform ticket and a tooth extraction).

Tomorrow is a very busy day, all personnel or team leaders to ring Martin and have phones available at all times, We have a coach charter, a 1530 whole line test, a team of Korean S&T engineers visiting, in addition to our own activities. The works train to recess onto the platform line at Duffield as the 1530 test vehicle may turn around on the Loop.

Phil



Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Progress, Tuesday 6th July

Evenin' all,

A day of end to end running transferring supplies. The Works train ran to Shottle to collect more sleepers dropped there yesterday, these then ran south and were all unloaded around mp 134. Whilst the per way team had been waiting, they had dug out many more sleepers and managed to lay 30 this afternoon and have now reached 134. This means that there is now less than one mile left to be resleepered. The next batch of rotters was also marked up ready to be changed, this takes us to 134 1/4, from where we can see Hazlewood, and the finish line.

The Works train then returned the empty flat wagons to Wirksworth and returned with the Rudd loaded with 16 tons of Type 1, to be used on Duffield platform, this train then went to Duffield. On the platform front, the team pointed up the existing platform and carried out repairs where required. There is now 100' of platform wall to be made ready tomorrow for the first batch of coping stones to be laid.

The VCT, between travelling to allow other trains to pass, continued work at F5, and also burnt some precut brash and had a tidy around Old Lane Bridge, south of Idridgehay. The flail was in use and made two passes between Gorsey Bank and Derby Road bridge, trimming the new growth.

The DST continued with stripping down Henry Ellison, the second steam loco. They also cleaned No 3 and carried out work on the Lubricator. They also had a sort out of bits at the rear of the shed.

The Carriage team continued on the work of restoring the Third Open, with more panelling and interior side planking being added.

The Passenger services dept were in full swing and a steady trickle of visitors kept them awake.

Phil



Monday, 5 July 2010

Progress Monday 5th July 2010

Dear all
 
A day where the planned activities seemed to attract a form of lethargy that did not spoil the day but caused a lot of waiting about! Not included was today's Group Drive a Diesel Day where the two participants that made it enjoyed themselves immensely but we had one very late cancellation for family reasons and one delayed in Libya.
 
Sleepers arrived late morning and were loaded to the Lowmac and Sturgeon with 20 concrete put to ground for future use in Duffield Tunnel. Equally a planned fuel delivery arrived just in time before part of its delivery to be put into the Class 20 would have involved chasing it down the line. The 1030 scheduled relocation and servicing of our portable toilets took place after 1700 hrs. Against this sloth, an order placed for fence materials with Lester Lowe arrived almost before the phone was put down - there's service (or hunger).
 
We welcomed Jack from Queen Elizabeth Grammar School at Ashbourne for a week's work experience and contractors finished off their work at Derby Road 3 ( or Old Lane) bridge funded by Network Rail.
 
The Group Drive a Diesel Day spent the morning on Hydra until it showed a reluctance to change direction then moved their attentions to D8001. The group then tripped the Lowmac and Flatrol, loaded with sleepers, to Shottle and an empty Rudd ( a steel sided open wagon) was returned to Wirksworth and placed in the Wash Green dock to await a stone delivery tomorrow morning for use on the Duffield platform project.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and Catering was in action to feed our guests.
 
Martin

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Progress Report Sunday 4th July 2010

Evening all

A lovely sunny day for the most part. Today's activities included
platform rebuilding down at Duffield with just under 30ft completed by
MT Cement and Engine Driving Limited. Work continued in the vicinity of
Shottle where the spacings of 12 lengths of rail were adjusted and
further technical work on the track was excellently accomplished between
milepost 136 1/4 and 136 1/2.

Back in Wirksworth our 2 duty conscripts set about clearing the car park
embankment, painted the middle yard gate, also the steps to the museum
brakevan and finally marked out some more of the car park, and following
consultation of The List, platform 1 edge was pressure washed.

Stokes Enterprises completed the work on the shed container roof and
took the day with a driver on Hydra, who was most entertained by the
dipstick. The passenger service had a steady day as well.

In the engineerium cleaning continued on No3 as did further work on the
lubricator. The little mentioned (in these annals) slightly bigger
brother of Brian Harrison, Henry Ellison, whose stripping has begun,
advanced further with the removal of the front buffers. Henry is now
front bufferless (as well as boilerless, cabless and tankless).

The LMSCA also did some stripping of their own with the removal of old
varnish off some of the woodwork in their TSO, a vehicle which is
progressing well.

In station work, the approach road was cleansed of loose grit at the
south end and more of this will be removed section by section as time
permits to restore a firm surface for the better grip of passing
horseless bicycles, particularly the blue ones. A poster board was
erected at Duffield to display our good work across the line to the
Network Rail platforms and our Railway name boards and the down slow
running-in board were also replaced as well as an un-announced
inspection by the Passenger Manager who did some research into toilets
(as usual).

All the best,
Anton

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Progress Saturday 3rd July 2010

Evening all,

Another beautiful day which seemed to bring in the passing public. Passenger services were reasonably loaded and many people were just idly curious as to what lies behind the booking hall. Todays Day with a Driver guest was already familiar with Driver Allsop so he really enjoyed his day.


Down the yard, the maintenance and restoration team split into two. One half looked at wagon axle box oil levels and then did some maintenance work on the saloon - mainly topping up the distilled water on the batteries so that they can keep their charge better and then investigating the wiring for the horn compressors. The other half of the team spent the day working in the Met-Camm Centre Car. A large portion of missing Formica was replaced and all necessary trims and ducting returned to their rightful positions. The end result is very pleasing and one would never know that it had never been there. More cleaning of the aforementioned ducting also took place.


A day of very good progress,


Mike Evans via Leigh


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Friday, 2 July 2010

Progress Friday 2nd July 2010

Dear all
 
Another day of great activity with vehicle maintenance featuring. Dmus were fuelled for the weekend and Tommy's defective starter motor taken to a specialist repair depot. Routine axle box checks and oil top ups made to some of our wagon fleet not fitted with roller bearings. Hydra was made ready for next week's Drive a Diesel Days.
 
At Duffield a further 30ft of wall was concreted ready to accept breeze blocks next week. Platform man will be in residence on Sunday as will the Permanent Way Team and all assistance will be gratefully received.
 
A lone representative of the LMSCA continued with electrical work on the Third Open and the IMT checked the line between MP 139 1/4 and 141.
 
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and a welcome group booking was taken for October.
 
Another satisfactory and productive day.
 
Martin

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Progress Thursday 1st July

Dear all
 
We have now entered the second half of 2010 and the enterprise saw a frenzy of activity! At Duffield the platform is beginning to take on shape at the south end with a further 60 breeze blocks laid that will support the coping stones. Further north 20 sleepers were changed in the area of Milepost 134 exhausting supplies until next week. More old sleepers were dug out ready and 8 pairs of fishplates were greased up. Even further north the VCT cleared the area around footpath F5, the river bridge above Hazelwood, opening up the vistas and completing the installation of a new wicket gate with its approach fencing.
 
Wirksworth too saw activity with Jamie Henry being passed out as a shunter driver on Hydra. This was in addition to his Booking Hall duties and taking a further 8 portraits for the PTS cards. JHT and Matt deserve a special mention for again cleaning No 3 together with emptying the smoke box and ash pan, coaled up and fixed covers on the bunkers to stop coal filling the cab. The LMSCA collected an industrial sewing machine and cutting table ready for the seat trimmers. They will, of course, be able to effect repairs to your settee and arm chairs - just call in and surprise them.
 
The great all line flail task reached Gorsey Bank with the Up line being dealt with from Wash Green and a little down side attention beyond the buffer stop. The area around the Hannages footpath crossing received extra special attention to open up the sight lines. A tribute to the Komatsu and Mick and Mike who operate it to such good effect.
 
All in all, another good day.
 
Martin