Saturday, 31 December 2016

Progress Report Saturday 31st December 2016

Dear All,

Today was our last scheduled service of 2016. We experienced fairly good passenger numbers on a cold and drab winter's day. Thanks to the train crew and booking hall staff for ensuring our visitors experienced a warm welcome. Two passengers went out of their way today to tell me how friendly they felt our railway was with enthusiastic volunteers and apologised for not visiting us sooner! 

In households north of the border, it is customary at hogmanay to reflect upon the passing year and look forward to the new one. Keeping with tradition together  with a glass of 12 year aged Royal Lochnagar Single Malt at my side, I beg your indulgence as I consider our progress in 2016 and highlight what 2017 holds for our railway:-

This year we:-

  • Opened two new booking offices
  • Had a very successful diesel gala with a visiting class twenty locomotive
  • acquired a signal box
  • ran a number of high quality evening dining and afternoon tea trains that showcased the talents and dedication of our catering team
  • laid the foundations of the maintenance facility extension
  • tarmaced the car park  
  • Commenced constructing a second Shottle platform on the down line
  • Completed our busiest Santa experience to date
  • Achieved a third successive Trip Advisor 'Centre of Excellence' Award
  • Won a Heritage Railway Award in the Small Group section
  • Successfully awarded a Transport and Works Act (1992) Order which ensures the future of our railway
  • Awarded a £75,000 grant from the Department of Transport to develop our DMU Visitor Centre of Excellence
  • Won an Aviva Community Award enabling work to be completed on the permanent way bubble car.

There may be other achievements I have forgotten to mention and I apologise if I have but I am nearing the bottom of my first glass!

Sadly we lost three valued members of our volunteer team this year: Rod Birch, John Evans and John Gratton and our thoughts are with their family and friends at this difficult time of year.

This next year has many exciting events scheduled including:-

  • The new year heralds an even more exciting time with the arrival of a steam locomotive in the summer to under the weekend Wirksworth to Duffield services. Later in the year we should see both Cathryn and The Duke entering traffic ensuring steam traction sits alongside diesel hauled and DMU train services in the future.
  • 2017 sees us enter a year of celebration with a range of Wirksworth 150 anniversary events. News of these will be circulated in the coming weeks.
  • This year we will have multiple visiting locomotives and special events to attract even more visitors to our railway to enjoy the atmosphere and vistas that makes the railway so special.
  • There will be some upheaval to contend with too as we re-configure the Wirksworth yard but the end product will be worth the disruption!

With such a busy schedule for 2017 being prepared it will see even more demands made of our already stretched volunteer base. If you know of any relative or friends that could spare a few hours to support the railway in any volunteering capacity, please invite them along to our Volunteer day scheduled for the 18th February 2017.

Finally, it is my pleasure to propose this toast, "Here's to a bright New Year and a fond farewell to the old; here's to the things that are yet to come, and to the memories that we hold". Wishing you a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Tom Tait
Commercial Director
Ecclesbourne Valley Railway


       


Friday, 30 December 2016

Progress Friday 30th December 2016

Dear all,

Another misty and murky day. Down the yard, work on the battery boxes of the Derby Lightweight started and Faraday had some filling done on the cab.

Down at the station, some tidying and sweeping took place. The pallets were removed from the marquee and taken back down the yard. Brandon washed the rear of the EVRA shop and the side of the Info Room with a bucket and sponge as it was going green over time.

Leigh

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Progress Thursday 29th December 2016

Dear all,

An icy cold and foggy day in Wirksworth, but when the fog did lift it was a beautiful crisp wintery day.

Today, the external contractor who had done such a fantastic job of decorating our refreshment area for Santa rolled up and removed all of the decorations for safe storage until next year. The Booking Office dealt with some New Year's enquiries and also had a bit of a tidy up.

Tidying was the theme down the yard too as all sorts of stuff was moved and cleaned up.

Faraday had the donkey engine removed from the engine bay for further attention as attempts to get it running in situ have failed.

Leigh

Friday, 23 December 2016

Progress Friday 23rd December 2016

Dear all,

The penultimate day of our Santa Experience trains and another great day was had by all. The band were moved inside the marquee today due to Barbara's best efforts to blow everyone over. The small gazebo was taken down before it was blown down but all is well.

My thanks go to all who helped once again.

Leigh

Santa's Jazz Band

Dear all
 
A long version of the excellent jazz musicians that have enlivened the Santa experience:-
 
 
The photo may apply to the Santa team after they complete their endevours tomorrow!
 
Martin

Santa on the Jazz

Dear all
 
A fine sunny day, if somewhat chilly, saw Santa entertaining more happy children. The addition of a three piece "jazz" band during the welcome process works very well and some of their repertoire is heard here:
 
 
Martin

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Progress Tuesday 20th December 2016

Hi all

We ran our three Santa Specials today and this will continue all week until Christmas Eve when only two will run and by this time our volunteers in all departments will have earned a well deserved Xmas rest
The Steam team were cleaning the tubes on Barclay N0 3 and giving it a general clean. Cathryn's gauge glasses were removed and more work continued on drilling the impossible holes in the frames for the vacuum brakes 
The DMU team spent time early in the morning sorting out the failure of the railcar housing Santa's Grotto which didn't want to start. What a disaster !! A fuse in the regulator needed replacing and all is well. Met Camm 51188 received a new set of injectors

All for now

Mike



 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Bear Hunt

Dear all
 
The local hunting community have been given the go ahead to eliminate a bear that has been worrying Santa will the bear survive?
 
A video taken at Spondon where the 4F excursion commenced its journey before visiting the Riply, Wirksworth and Worthington branches in the distant past!:-
 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Duffield in the sun

Dear all
 
Had to go to Duffield today to take some measurements in the tunnel for a test customer visiting in late January and took the opportunity to record the second Santa train of the day passing by. Duffield Station was looking quite delightful in the winter sun and is a credit to all concerned.
 
 
Martin

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Progress Thursday 15th December 2016

Dear all,

Today the PW team tripped the works train all the way to the southern tropics of Duffield to drop off some materials for a little winter improvement there. Of course, with the speed of Breeze and also collecting and sorting materials on the way meant that this took all day.

Down the yard, the examination on Met-Camm 51188 turned to the fuel injectors which are being changed. Work began inside the recently arrived kitchen car. The bar has been removed to return the coach to the original as-built configuration of 24 first class seats and a kitchen. It will now be classified as an RF and not an RBK. This configuration will be much more useful to us too.

Leigh

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Progress Tuesday 13th December 2016

Hi all

Another dark and miserable day but they never seem to deter our volunteers from continuing the daily tasks to keep the Railway running
Tuesdays seem to attract the most number of volunteers of any day of the week and it is so easy to miss people off the progress report who work quietly in the background like Fred and Iris who give our mess room a deep clean and Nick Smith who washes all the dirty pots from the previous day and fills the biscuits jars and then continues refurbishing the LMS coach
The Pway team once again split into two groups, one at Shottle building the second platform and the rest at Wirksworth ballasting track work
Although it must have been very dark in the Maintenance facility the steam fettled the spring hanger assemblies, removed the main brake shaft to attend to the seized bearing and began aligning the super structure to correct angles
The booking Office continued receiving more Santa bookings with calls coming in saying how pleased they were with the weekend Santa Train experience
The DMU duo continued with the examination on railcar 51188
Our previous Project and Pway Manager Phil Tarry visited, who's new project is building a new heritage railway in Torrington Devon 

All for now

Mike

  
 
 

John Gratton

Dear all
 
Very sad news about John, one of the Railway's unsung heros.
 
Found a couple of photos from the archives. One shows John and Mike Craft in late 2000 making a start on clearing the area that was to become the Car Park at Wirksworth. The second shows some of the volunteers that decended on Ravenstor to celebrate its completion. Alas it shows two others no longer with us, Dave Mee and Ian Shaw.
 
Martin

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Christmas gift

We have received an attractive flower arrangement from Mr Norman Boulton, addressed to the railway's staff
Mr Boulton has been a strong supporter of the railway and was particularly associated with the new booking hall at Duffield, which he opened in October    

The display has been at both Duffield and Wirksworth, and for anyone who has not been able to see it photos are attached

I have taken the liberty of writing to Mr Bolton on our behalf and have also enclosed a Christmas card

Eric Boultbee     

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Progress Saturday 10th December 2016

Dear all,

The first day of the 2016 Santa season passed with many happy smiling faces. We were expecting a learning curve today which wasn't needed as the new Refreshment Area was really popular with both the visitors and the staff. The revised Catering for this year was a breeze in comparison to previous years! The live band was an extra nice touch which people loved. Everything ran smoothly both on the station and the train. The presents were well liked and we had many happy smiling faces at the end of each and every train. Well done to everyone who took part and more of the same tomorrow. 

Further bookings were taken for next weekend which is nearly full so get in there while you still can at www.e-v-r.com/santa . The week leading up to Christmas still has spaces too.

Down the yard, the "old" forklift had new flashing lights and a new seat belt fitted.

Leigh

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Progress Thursday 8th December 2016

Dear all,

A day which started off wet and miserable turned out not too bad in the end. It's mild for the time of year too!

The Booking Office was in full flow with Santa bookings whilst the maintenance duo fuelled the train and watered the toilet.

The PW team were doing some trip working today to move materials around and a special mention goes to Rod Wilkes who tirelessly did the ground frames and crossing gates, for what seemed like several hundred times! 

Leigh

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Fwd: Progress Tuesday December 6th 2016




-----Original Message-----
From: mrailcar <mrailcar@aol.com>
To: wirksworths.railway <wirksworths.railway@yahoogropups.com>
Sent: Tue, 6 Dec 2016 18:18
Subject: Progress Tuesday December 6th 2016

Hi all

The highlight of the day was the fitting out of our new marquee on platform 1 into Santa's welcoming area were the public will receive their drink and mince pie. I would like to call it a winter wonderland but I will leave it to you to decide its name !!
The Steam Team once again battled the bitterly cold weather working on cold steel. The main brake shaft was tested and was found to be seized so being a longer job was left for another day. The fitted bolt holes to the steam brake cyclinder were being reamed out by Stuart and more work was done on the Polish oil lubricator. The spectacle glasses were sent out for glass fitting. The Xmas lunch stopped further play !!
The PWay team continued the clearance of reduntant material in Wirksworth yard and adding mor parts to Shottle platform
Chris and John are constructing a metal cabinet to enable Western Power to bring Electricity to Duffield Station
The DMU team continued with an exam on railcar 51188

All for now

Mike    

Progress Tuesday December 6th 2016

Hi all

The highlight of the day was the fitting out of our new marquee on platform 1 into Santa's welcoming area were the public will receive their drink and mince pie. I would like to call it a winter wonderland but I will leave it to you to decide its name !!
The Steam Team once again battled the bitterly cold weather working on cold steel. The main brake shaft was tested and was found to be seized so being a longer job was left for another day. The fitted bolt holes to the steam brake cyclinder were being reamed out by Stuart and more work was done on the Polish oil lubricator. The spectacle glasses were sent out for glass fitting. The Xmas lunch stopped further play !!
The PWay team continued the clearance of reduntant material in Wirksworth yard and adding mor parts to Shottle platform
Chris and John are constructing a metal cabinet to enable Western Power to bring Electricity to Duffield Station
The DMU team continued with an exam on railcar 51188

All for now

Mike    

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Progress Sunday 4th December 2016

Dear all,

A rare Sunday with no services provided us with an opportunity to host a silver Drive a Diesel Experience where the gentlemen and his six guests had the railway to themselves today, firstly trying his hand on the 2 car DMU and then the 33 this afternoon. A special mention goes to Oliver who was up before the birds this morning fixing the 33 which failed with an air problem yesterday. It took about 5 hours to rectify but it meant that the locomotive could be enjoyed by our guest today.

Another team attacked the lighting situation on the platform at Wirksworth, installing additional timed lights outside the managerium for when our caravanning MD is burning the midnight oil in the office as well as by the Gents door, which had become a dark spot with the erection of the marquee. The Platform 2 lights were then converted to timed operation which is far more convenient and new ground height lights were installed up the platform ramp. They look great!

Leigh

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Progress Saturday 3rd December 2016

Dear all,

A large team turned out at Duffield today to transform the place into the "North Pole" for the Santa train next weekend. Many thanks to all of those people. The Christmas tree delivery train was delayed this morning due to the unexpected failure of the 33, which will hopefully be repaired tomorrow morning. Breeze took the train instead and all was good. The Cooke's and Nick finished decorating the train at Wirksworth too. The Catering Dept were also in Christmas mode and also came across an unexpected party of cyclists who were desperate for bacon butties!

Leigh

Friday, 2 December 2016

Progress Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd December 2016

Dear all,

Thursday saw the PW working at Shottle on the construction of the new second platform there whilst there was much activity at Wirksworth. The first Christmas decorations of the season were put up on the train, on the station and also in the Booking Office at Wirksworth. Some more decorations are needed on the train at Wirksworth and there is a party meeting at Duffield on Sunday to put theirs up.

We welcomed a MyTestTrack customer who were testing a road/rail cherry picker and work continued on the B Exam of Met-Cam 51188. 

Last thing yesterday afternoon, Reid Freight arrived to stay over night as they were collecting D7629 this morning. After a 65 point turn between the station and the garage they were the right way round for loading. They loaded the locomotive and took it back to Ruddington this morning as it's year-long loan had finished. We've really enjoyed having the locomotive which has been a star performer this season and really looked at home here.

Today there was some DMU driver training out on the line but very little else took place. It's a winter thing!

Leigh

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Dear all
 
On the first day of December Wirksworth's tree was erected and decoration commenced of Santa's train and the Station. The second picture shows a scene that will hopefully be consigned to history with the upcomimg Maintenance Facility developments due for completion in the first quarter of next year.
 
The video is one taken when we were visited by a Trackwork Tamper showing it in action:-
 
 
Martin

The Genie is Out

Dear all
 
Two days profitable test work ably hosted by Mike and Rob with today's activity being viewed by some old friends from Network Rail.
 
 
Martin