Sunday, 9 December 2018

Progress Sunday 9th December 2018

Dear all,

A much better day weather wise today saw another swathe of happy families riding on the train and seeing Santa. The warm festive punch is going down a treat!

Down the yard, vacuum bits were in order for 55006 had a valve rebuilt. The Class 108 had the corridor end needle gunned as part of the refurbishment there and Faraday had further progress too.

Leigh

Progress Report Saturday 8th December 2018

Dear All,

Today saw the start of our Santa Specials. The weather was not kind with heavy rain showers at times but this did little to dampen the enjoyment of our guests who all seemed to have been delighted with this year's Santa offering. Down the yard the maintenance facility was busy with work continuing or Faraday, Derby Lightweight and the Duke. In the evening a packed 4 car DMU departed from Wirksworth to Duffield for the annual Carol Service. Pete Watts will be posting photos of the event on our Facebook site.

Today's Santa Specials were supported by the EVRA shop, Miniature Railway and Station Cafe. Thanks to all the volunteers and paid staff who's hard work helped make today a great success.

All the best, Tom

Friday, 7 December 2018

Progress Friday 7th December 2018

Dear all,

Quite a good day with final preparations for Santa taking place around the station and on the train. Clerk Chuck was doing some admin work to do with the closed season till upgrades which was most useful.

Down the yard, work to find out why 55006 had suddenly stopped created vacuum from No.2 engine was successful. It turned out not to be the exhauster in the end but more dirt in the system preventing it from working efficiently.

Speaking of exhausters, a new one was fitted today to 50170 following on from yesterday.

Thanks to Jack for assisting with the surprise departure of the test vehicle at the last minute too.

Leigh

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Progress Thursday 6th December 2018

Dear all,

A day in which further prep for the weekend took place with the Santa train receiving a thorough body side wash. 50170, which will feature later in the period, had a defective vacuum exhauster removed and a replacement prepared for fitting.

Further testing took place to Shottle for a customer using 31601.

Down at F4 near Hazelwood, the PW gang were changing sleepers in the cutting, with concretes being the choice here.

Leigh

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Progress Saturday 1st December 2018

Dear all,

It officially became Christmas inside Wirksworth Booking Office today with the tree going up!

In the engineerium, Faraday was having a new cab front which has been fabricated welded in to position. The original was quite rotten! Also, the Class 108 which has had rear end corrosion repairs to the framework was receiving further patch welding to the areas where the exhausts bolt on to the back of the body.

The 8F group were working on The Duke but I'm sure Tim will fill you in more on this.

A quiet day generally as it is a weekend off before Santa trains start.

Leigh

Friday, 30 November 2018

Progress Friday 30th November 2018

Dear all,

As November draws to a close we were in full Santa prep mode with two teams tackling the decorating. Firstly the decorations were taken to Duffield by DMU early this morning which was the first DMU to venture out of Wirksworth for a month. It doubled as a test run for 51505 which is returning to service for this Santa season.

The team at Wirksworth finished decorating the train and also decorated the outdoor Christmas tree which looks great.

Down the yard, further exam work continued on 50170 ready for when that is called upon later in the month.

A test customer went out on the track this afternoon before it went dark.

Leigh

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Progress Wednesday 28th November 2018

Dear all,

A dark, damp and windy day saw a small team assemble at Wirksworth to decorate the Santa train. This was mostly achieved and looks good. The outdoor tree was put up but wasn't decorated due to the weather.

The big news of the day was EVRA's SK going on short term loan to the Foxfield Railway to help with the Santa trains in December. The fitment of the steam heat recently not only proved useful for us but will hopefully suit their needs too!

I would imagine that the PW team got suitably wet down the line today too in their sleeper changing quest.

Leigh

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Progress Report Saturday 24th November 2018

The penultimate Shottle Steam Special service today continued to see a steady growth in visitor number with a large group of walkers turning up to join the first service. The Wirksworth booking hall was kept busy with Santa bookings throughout the day. The 15.00 train was turned into 'Hogwarts' as a large birthday party with a wizards theme enjoyed a trip along the valley. 

At Wirksworth station work continued on the new station building and in the training room Neil F-L continued to update volunteer records. John Rhead was also in attendance assessing Guard's continuing competence and Ron could also be found working on the miniature railway extension.

Today's service was supported by the EVRA shop and Station Cafe.

A most enjoyable day.

All the best, Tom


Thursday, 22 November 2018

Progress Thursday 22nd November 2018

Dear all,

A cold and miserable day today where further work to ready the Santa train took place. A team also put up another light on the station to illuminate the proposed exit route for Santa. They then proceeded to put one up on the Maintenance Facility as well.

The team looking after the construction of the new Station Building were in full flow with the rest of the wooden frames going and a contractor making a good start on the brickwork.

Leigh

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Progress Report Saturday 17th November 2018

Dear All,

It is the third weekend of our Shottle steam specials which are growing in popularity with today's three trains having good loadings throughout the day. The 13:00 train welcomed a party of friends and relatives of John Blackmore who said their final farewell's to John by traveling on the footplate and placing his ashes in the firebox of Henry Ellison between Shottle and Idridgehay. Thanks to Chris and Pete for facilitating John's wish and a link of the event can be found here.https://youtu.be/IMUozhqy-fE

Helen Hills our Catering Manager put on a marvellous spread for our volunteers as we enjoyed our annual volunteer's buffet in the station cafe. It great to welcome Anne Walker back at the railway and she took the opportunity to see first hand our 08 shunter 'G. R. Walker' on display at platform one. Wyvernrail plc's MD Mike Evans was in attendance and thanked all the volunteers on behalf of the Board of Directors for their hard work and dedication. In relation to restoration work Tim will brief you later on progress with the Duke and Ron continued to lay ballast in preparation for the extension of the miniature railway.

Today's service was supported by the EVRA shop, Station Cafe and Booking Hall staff.

All the best, Tom



Thursday, 15 November 2018

Progress Thursday 15th November 2018

Dear all,

In a day where the Santa bookings were flowing well, the Maintenance Team were changing a failed buffer on the Class 101 centre car so that it is fit for service when the day arrives and the Santa season begins. Further work continued on the Derby Lightweight DMU and also EVRA's TSO to make it watertight.

The PW gang are now making full use of the Shottle to Duffield blockade by spot resleepering with concretes in difficult areas which require more time than other areas.

Quite a big story of the day is the first part of the new station building at Wirksworth began to rise from the ground today as the first frames for the walls were fitted. There is still a fair way to go but it was nice to see. I didn't manage to get a photo after they had vacated because of bad light but maybe tomorrow.

Leigh

Monday, 12 November 2018

Progress Sunday 11th November 2018

Dear all,

The railway fell silent for two minutes at 11:00 to remember our veterans, with the scheduled departure held until 11:05. It was quite a busy train for the time of year with plenty of people enjoying the Shottle Specials operated by steam loco Henry Ellison and Class 08 G.R. Walker. We hosted the gun carriage when it wasn't involved in the Remembrance Day parade in the town.

Down in the shed welding repairs continued on the back end of Class 108 53599 with new crash pillars being introduced.

Another team installed a couple of new LED floodlights in the car park near the Mess Room and Conference Room which will certainly help during the Christmas period.

Leigh

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Progress Thursday 8th November 2018

Dear all,

Quite an interesting day for a winter Thursday with two charters operating alongside each other meaning the line was in two-train mode. One was for a rail college who enjoyed a ride on the DMU and the other for a local school who had Swordfish and coaching stock. Both trains passed each other twice in the day as both groups did two returns.

Down the yard, work continued on the body work of Faraday and also the corridor end repairs of the Class 108. Construction of the new station building continued too.

Leigh

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Progress Sunday 4th November 2018

Dear all,

A busier day then yesterday on our Shottle Specials despite it being a damp drizzly day. The top and tail Henry Ellison/Class 14 combination worked well. There is something quite atmospheric about steam heat, especially in the damp weather.

It was fairly quiet down the yard although a day was had on the restoration of Faraday, with bodywork still the aim of the game.

Leigh

Progress Report Saturday 3rd November 2018

A first for our railway today with a mixed traction hauled service. Due to planned,  essential track maintenance taking place on the line between Duffield and Shottle today we embarked on our November steam hauled service to Shottle. Today's train consisted of three steam heated mark one coaches with  'Henry Ellison'  and D9537 Class 14 'Eric' toping and tailing. This configuration proved a wonderful photo opportunity for our visitors today. It was also pleasing to see 08 'G.R. Walker' in operation too shunting the stock onto platform two so Henry Ellison could couple up early to provide warm coaches for our visitors. Steam and Diesel in perfect harmony!

Down the yard the DMU team continued their work on 53599 and the 8F group held their annual meeting in the town. Today's service was supported by the Wirksworth booking hall staff, EVRA shop, Miniature Railway and Station Cafe. 

A good start to November.

All the best, Tom





Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Progress Wednesday 31st October 2018

Dear all,

An exciting day as October draws to a close. We performed a test run ahead of our Shottle Specials which start this weekend and operate every weekend in November. They are formed of steam locomotive Henry Ellison on one end and a diesel locomotive (either Class 14 or 08) on the other with three Mark 1s sandwiched in the middle. Today's test run brought about another first for our railway as it was the first steam heated train to operate on our line! Of course, the first steam heat passenger train will be Saturday morning.

This morning a water tanker was tripped to Shottle as a backup water supply for the month should it be needed.

A testing customer did some work on the incline and the PW team worked on drainage around The Hannages area too.

Leigh

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Progress Sunday 28th October 2018

Dear all,

That's it now! The clocks have changed and we're heading into the winter! Today was the last regular Sunday service of the season to Duffield, with services in November running between Wirksworth and Shottle only using a top and tail steam/diesel combination. It wasn't too bad today with the chilly but sunny weather bringing in a steady number. In addition, a walk of the town organised by the newly reopened Wirksworth Heritage Centre added some interest. The Station Café had a reasonable day with a small group coming in for afternoon tea.

Down the yard, the Maintenance Facility was shunted to allow repairs to take place to the corridor end on Class 108 53599 and also to change the vehicle on the pit for maintenance. Work continued on TSO 4440 too.

Leigh

Progress Report Saturday 27th October 2018

Dear All,

A cold, artic chill blew along the valley today together with a few snowflakes. Not surprisingly it was a quiet day passenger wise. As there was no report from yesterday I should mention that over 250 people attended Markeaton Crematorium, Derby to bid farewell to our friend and colleague Graham Walker. Befittingly an EVR Guard of Honour assembled at the entrance to the crematorium to meet the funeral cortege. 

Down the yard a suitably excited Tim Oakes took a delivery of various railway related materials from Tunsted Quarry. No doubt Tim will provide more details in due course. The LMSCA and DMU Restoration Team were duly engaged in their respective projects with the final preparations  being put into place for the November Steam to Shottle specials.

Today's service was supported by the Booking Hall staff, EVRA shop and Station Cafe.

Finally, I have attached my favourite photograph of Graham who even managed to raise a chuckle from HRH. 

All the best, Tom


Thursday, 25 October 2018

Progress Thursday 25th October 2018

Dear all,

A fairly steady back-end Thursday today on the trains, with Iris handling the services. 

Down the yard, much fettling of the Mark 1 stock took place as final preparations on the steam heating systems took place ahead of next week. A small team set about the DMU and shunting fleet with a hydrometer to measure coolant temperature strength in anticipation of colder weather arriving soon.

DMU 51505 has had a lot of work done to it and exam work continue on that car ahead of it returning to traffic soon after a long period of absence. The toilet compartment has been rebuilt, the roof sealed, a door repaired and various other interior jobs, alongside exam work and adjustment of the suspension.

The team were hard at work this morning continuing with wooden framework for the new station building.

Leigh

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Progress Saturday 20th October 2018

Dear all,

Firstly apologies for not writing anything last night but I was exhausted when I got home! Not to worry though, it was a great day. Wirksworth's first ever Wizarding Day and wow was it busy! I don't think anybody expected the idea to be as successful as it was with literally thousands of people visiting the town to take part in all of the activities around, including potion making, broomstick making, Quidditch etc. 

We hosted our own Wizarding Specials with the first train an earlier than normal departure off Duffield with around 130 people all dressed up in various wizard and witch costumes. The following departure from Duffield was equally as well loaded and it just went like that really for the rest of the day. Everybody was very complementary of the experience, especially the authentic trolley selling sweets. The normal Blue Timetable had been converted into loco-hauled with the Class 73 doing the honours with 5 Mark 1 coaches.

The Catering Dept has an extremely bumper day with extended hours and queues all day.

The afternoon saw the EVRA AGM at the Red Lion. I think it came to the surprise of some people that they struggled to even get to the railway with the traffic in the town and even when they did, the car park was rammed full.

Leigh

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Progress Thursday 18th October 2018

Dear all,

A reasonably quiet day on the railway. The Maintenance Team worked away on preparing 55006 for returning to service, working on an injector pump today.

The Class 33 was tripped to Shottle to fetch a flat wagon to load up some S&T equipment for use down the line.

Some members of the team attended John Blackmore's funeral service in the town. There is a nice tribute to Graham Walker in Heritage Railway Magazine which is dropping through doors this week.

Leigh

Monday, 15 October 2018

Progress Report Sunday 14th October 2018


Hi all,
 
A calmer day in comparison to the day previous with fewer obstacles to encounter, although we were blessed with heavy rain for most of the day! Nevertheless the lure of the Wirksworth Model Rail Exhibition enticed the punters some of whom travelled on the train and enjoyed the warmth and delights of the Station Cafe.
 
Owing to the weather all tasks down the yard were being undertaken in the cover of the maintenance facility with Team TSO sanding the East bodyside and applying a protective undercoat and John applying further coats of paint to the underframe and fuel tank of Faraday.
 
A relatively steady day given the conditions and I would like to thank everyone for their efforts, particularly Pete Watts who turned in to cover the Third Man turn at very short notice!
 
All the Best
 
Joe
_._,_._,_


Saturday, 13 October 2018

Progress Saturday 13th October 2018

Dear all,

A strange sort of day for the first day of the Model Railway Exhibition Weekend which is back in the calendar again after a year off last year. It was very mild, shirt sleeve temperature, but very windy as well.

I'm not sure how busy the exhibition was but judging by our car park it must have been reasonable.

All was going well for most of the day, with the Station Café being busy and the incline hosting two one hour driving tasters. However, the 15:05 ex-DD ran in to trouble when it discovered a large tree blocking the line near 49 Steps. It hadn't been there on the up journey and now the train was stuck on the south side of the blockage. It was time to bring our training in to action! Quick organisation and some phone calls meant we were able to scramble another DMU from Wirksworth and move the passengers from one side of the blockage to the other to get them back. Fortunately, Mick and Mick were available at short notice to come in from home with their chainsaws to remove the tree. It was one of the largest I have seen over the line!

Thankfully all this was cleared up in time for a very successful Jazz and Chips evening special with around 125 passengers enjoying the trip.

Leigh

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Progress Thursday 11th October 2018

Dear all,

Fairly quiet around the railway today with most of the activity coming from the PWay team. They are digging the drains and ditches out in the 49 Steps area to help dry the track formation out before they tackle the sleepers.

The Maintenance Team were working on the exam part of 55006 as it hopefully nears service once again.

Leigh

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Progress Report Saturday 6th October 2018

Dear All,

We were greeted this morning with some mindless vandalism on platform 3 with broken glass scattered over the platform together with discarded alcohol cans and there was also evidence of an unsuccessful attempt to gain access to 50170. Todays early morning weather was cold and miserable which did have an impact upon visitor numbers for the first Duffield service but as the weather improved we enjoyed much better passenger numbers.

Down the yard the LMSCA gathered for their Annual General Meeting and work continued on the Duke of which Tim will enlighten us in a separate update. Todays service was supported by the EVRA shop, Booking office staff and Wirksworth Station Cafe and a mention must go to the train crew who coped admirably with wet leaves and slippy rails.

All the best, Tom

Friday, 5 October 2018

Progress Thursday and Friday 4th and 5th October 2018

Dear all,

Quieter now the mid week service has slowed but it does enable other works to take place. For example, yesterday saw the mini digger levelling and grading the ground for the Wirksworth Miniature Railway extension which will be excellent when it is completed.

Work continued on changing an unloader valve on DMU 50253 which completes this vehicle's exam. Work also continued on the Derby Lightweight DMU and TSO 4440 around the shed. Class 101 E51505 is also in the works with attention the toilet compartment having a makeover.

Leigh

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Supplementary Report Saturday 29th September 2018

Dear All,

This evening our volunteers met at Wirksworth station to unveil the new name for our '08'. In recognition of the excellent service Graham Walker has given the railway, the volunteers decided to purchase name plates for the loco as a testament to Graham's dedicated mentoring to our younger members. Graham's passion for teaching has ensured they have acquired a range of knowledge and skills that have proven valuable assets to the development of our railway. Both Leigh and Mike gave befitting testaments to Graham's contributions to the EVR with his kindness, humour and friendliness being identified as enduring qualities. A large crowd gather on platform one to witness the unveiling by Graham's sons before enjoying a ride hauled by class 08 'G. R. Walker' to Duffield for fish and chips or Graham's favourite Thursday lunch, a roll, potato fritters (and sometimes a few chips).

Sadly Graham was too ill to attend the evening as he is very poorly battling cancer in Derby Royal. Our love and thoughts are with Graham, Anne and their family during this very sad time.

Tom Tait
Commercial Director





Progress Report Saturday 29th September 2018

Dear All,

Today started with two footplate experiences which both participants and their guests enjoyed. The Wirksworth-Duffield service was hauled by '73210' Selhurst and we enjoyed steady loadings throughout the day. Down at Duffield a representative from Network Rail could be found surveying excessive vegetation near the main line and it was nice to welcome Anton back to the EVR. Down the yard the LMSCA and the Duke's restoration team were in attendance. Today's service was supported by the miniature railway, EVRA shop, station cafe and booking hall staff.

All the best, Tom



Thursday, 27 September 2018

Progress Thursday 27th September 2018

Dear all,

The final regular Thursday of the season and a warm one it was too. It was a reasonable day on the trains visitor wise too.

It was fairly quiet down the yard but it seemed to take most of the day to shift the coal delivery out of the roadway. Some further work was undertaken on Class 101 50253 with the brakes being adjusted and lubricated.

Leigh

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Progress Sunday 23rd September 2018

Dear all,

A most pleasant day in the valley and with the previously forecast storm not arriving, it meant that Derbyshire Day could be enjoyed by all. Each train was well loaded and especially the last one which had a coach party on as well as the university students who were travelling back to Duffield. The students have been working all weekend on track work in Wirksworth Yard. We featured quite well on BBC Radio Derby as a result of today which is most pleasing.

Down the yard further progress was made on Faraday with more welding taking place as well as underframe painting.

Leigh

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Progress Report Saturday 22nd September 2018

Dear All,

Today started with another footplate experience on the incline. Class 33 'Swordfish' made a welcomed return to traction on the Wirksworth to Duffield service. Also making a welcome return was South East Trains driver Jacob Sparkes who was a regular volunteer driver at our railway some years ago before moving to London. A big thanks goes to Will Plant who multi-tasked and undertook the roles of both second and third man on the train.

Down the yard our visiting students from the University of Birmingham started their track laying experience which reminded me of that old saying, "you can't make an omelette without cracking eggs…" . The DMU fitters worked on the 08 before completing some shunting in readiness for tomorrow. Both the LMSCA and Duke Support Group were in attendance.

As you will know tomorrow is Derbyshire Day and we have some 300 pre-booked visitors descending upon the railway not to mention a pre-booked coach party. The weather forecast is much improved so it promises to be a busy day. If you have a few hours to spare to help, it will be great to see you.

Supporting today's service were the EVRA shop,  Station Cafe, miniature railway and booking hall staff.

All the best, Tom


Friday, 21 September 2018

Progress Friday 21st September 2018

Dear all,

Quite a bit of activity for a back end Friday. Firstly, we hosted a Bronze Drive a Diesel Day which was quite eventful, adding to the fun for the participants. We had swapped round the loco part of the experience to the morning allowing the DMU in the afternoon to collect the University of Birmingham students from Duffield at the end of the experience. However, as per yesterday, the 33 headed off into the rainforest to find another fallen tree at Idridgehay Station. Whilst awaiting assistance, the experience worked between Idridgehay and Gorsey Bank.

Thank you to Mike Billings and Mick Kingsley who quickly came in from home with their equipment in hand to deal with the problem. Sensibly they decided to hitch a ride on the DMU to Duffield afterwards and it was a good job they had because there was yet another tree blocking the line near Derby Road 3 bridge! The experience eventually reached Duffield around 15:00, not long before the arrival of the students.

Today's team of Lewis and Richard, as well as the lads who assisted with a shuntlette at the end of the day, must have had some patients as there were monsoon rains soaking everyone thrown into the mix.

In amongst all this, we also hosted a test customer on the incline who probably got equally as wet.

Leigh

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Progress Thursday 20th September 2018

Dear all,

A busy start this morning as a heads up by a volunteer last night lead us to believe there was a tree down over the track because of the wind. We weren't sure what we were going to find so we bravely set off early morning to find quite a large tree down near Bridge 21. Three of us started tackling it with the loppers and saws we had but it soon became apparent that mechanical assistance would be more useful and therefore we headed back to Wirksworth and dispatched the Komatsu instead. Fortunately it was all cleared before the 11:15 train departed and the rest of the line was clear.

It wasn't a bad day considering the horrendous weather although it wouldn't break any records.

After shunting a test vehicle on to the car park for departure, the Maintenance Team set about continuing an exam on one of the DMUs which will form the Santa set when the time comes.

A deputation from Burton came to remedy an oil leak on 33103 which will hopefully mean it can operate it's final passenger duty of the season this coming Saturday.

The PW gang got quite wet today as they did some final preparations for the point work they're going to do at the weekend.

Leigh

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Progress Report Saturday 16th September 2018

Dear All,

Today we enjoyed moderate visitor numbers as the colder, overcast weather together with the Derby Station re-modelling works seemed to impact negatively upon our numbers with visitors joining the railway at Duffield Station somewhat less than we could normally expect.The day started with Pete and Chris hosting a footplate experience ably assisted by Richard who, following the experience, conducted a number of yard tours. Today's locomotive 30161 developed a brake fault and was substituted with the 3-car DMU for the first Duffield service but thanks to Joe Marsden et al, the quick fix fitters worked their magic and the fault was rectified and the class 31 conducted the remaining Duffield services.

Ian Bowley & John H-Thomson travelled on the train seeking donations towards the Wirksworth Station project and had a most successful day raising just over £100.00 together with signing up some regular subscribers. Incidentally, some workmen turned up today and started lots of measuring and drilling on the building foundations so I assume phase two has started on the construction of the building but have no further information at present.

Work on the miniature railway extension continued today in between passenger trips and down the yard the LMSCA and Duke's restoration teams continued working on their respective projects. It was all quiet on the DMU front as many of the maintenance team were enjoying a 'boys jolly' at the Severn Valley Railway.

Today's service was supported by the EVRA shop, miniature railway, station cafe and booking hall staff. Thanks also to the train crew who, despite the initial traction problems ran to the timetable.

All the best, Tom

Friday, 14 September 2018

Progress Friday 14th September 2018

Dear all,

A quiet day generally around the railway today. The Engineering Dept worked on a fuel supply issue on one of 50253's engines which it seems they may have sorted and the toilet pipework and tank refurbishment on Class 101 E51505 continued.

No.3 was steamed with a warming fire ready for the weekend. Passenger service on the incline have finished now, save for the 13th and 14th October Model Railway Exhibition Weekend, however driver experiences are continuing.

The Commercial Dept were in full flow booking in diesel driver experiences, children's birthday parties etc. I did a telephone interview this afternoon with BBC Radio Derby to talk about BBC Derbyshire Day which we are taking part in on Sunday 23rd September. Whilst I can't reveal how many tickets were on offer, we can just say that the ticket allocation we provided them with has nearly all gone at the time of writing which is very quick indeed as they only became available this morning!

Cheers,

Leigh

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Progress Thursday 13th September 2018

Dear all,

A reasonable day today for a back-end Thursday with plenty of people using intermediate stations too. 

There was plenty of activity in the yard as the Komatsu the faulty alternator removed for repair and further preparation work took place for the installation of the new point in the yard next weekend. 

First thing the DMU formations were altered slightly to reinsert the centre car in preparation for Derbyshire Day on the 23rd. The coaching stock was shuffled around to remove the two coaches primarily used for dining as on train catering has finished now for this season. The spare SK was added to the rake as there are a further three scheduled loco hauled days remaining this season.

At the end of the day, we waved goodbye to the black Ruston shunter 11520 which was one of the first locomotives on site but has been out of service some while. It has moved on to the Heritage Shunters Trust.

Leigh

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Progress Report Saturday 8th September 2018

Dear All,

Day one of Wirksworth Festival and true to form it was a cold, wet day. The day started with a footplate experience on the incline followed by the first Duffield service hauled by 33103 which developed an oil leak problem and was replaced for the later services by 31601. The 12:15 service carried a large coach party from Cheshire  who enjoyed a trip from Wirksworth to Duffield. The train was then joined by a party of ex RAF service men and women for a ploughman's lunch as part of a regular re-union. Down the yard at Wirksworth the LMSCA held an emergency meeting in the training room and work continued on 68012 the 'Duke'.

This evening a loco-hauled 'Cider with Rosie' charter was scheduled for 19:00.

All the best, Tom





Friday, 7 September 2018

Progress Friday 7th September 2018

Dear all,

All the bustle of operating on Fridays has now passed and it was a much more sedate day on the railway today. Now that public services have stopped on Fridays, we are back to the Driver Experience season and today we had a Bronze Drive a Diesel Experience who enjoyed the 101 two car set this morning followed by a Class 31 this afternoon. They enjoyed lunch in the cafe inbetween.

Down the yard, Henry Ellison was steam tested ready for tomorrow and the Maintenance Facility was shunted to allow work to continue on the projects contained therein. Some work was done on the lawn at Duffield now the weather has cooled down.

Leigh

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Progress Thursday 6th September 2018

Dear all,

The main summer season is over now but trains are still running Tuesdays and Thursdays in September along with weekends. Today was an average sort of day with an array of walkers and the like enjoying a day on the railway.

The yard at Wirksworth was fairly hectic as the SO was returned to the rake of coaches and testing took place on the incline. The PW were in full swing preparing for the installation of a new point in the coming weeks which will eventually offer us some additional siding space.

Leigh

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Progress Report Saturday 1st September 2018

Despite the number of major tourist events taking place today in Derbyshire the railway enjoyed good visitor numbers. The day started early with Pete and Andy hosting a footplate experience on the incline before providing a scheduled service. In between services Richard conducted a number of yard tours.

Our second steam locomotive service was provided by the miniature railway team who have clocked up an estimated 84 miles of passenger traffic this year so far. The team were kept busy today with a string of both young and not so young passengers.

The Duffield service was class 31 hauled with a number of enthusiasts taking advantage of our all day rover ticket. This afternoon our catering team provided an afternoon tea service to a pre booked party.

This evening we ran our ever popular Jazz and Fish & Chips special service to Duffield.

A most satisfactory day.

All the best, Tom

Friday, 31 August 2018

Progress Thursday 30th August

Dear all,

A sunny day which saw the two car DMU in operation. It was pleasantly loaded for most of the day, further boosted by a coach party from Scotland who enjoyed a ride preceded by afternoon tea in the Station Cafe.

A test customer made use of the incline all day and the PWay were up at Wirksworth sorting out materials for the new turnout in the yard which is to be laid shortly.

It is nearing the end of August which means Santa is now on sale at www.e-v-r.com/santa

Leigh

Monday, 27 August 2018

Progress Monday 27th August 2018

Dear all,

I think the least said about yesterday the better. Whilst commercially it wasn't too bad in the circumstances, we were all cold, wet and fed up by the end of the day after enduring continuous heavy rain for hour after hour and the odd power cut as well for good measure.

Back to today though and it was much better, even though it teased us with some early drizzle. It was pretty busy today with the Class 73 running alongside the Jinty, which was on it's final day with us. I can't believe the summer season has literally passed in a flash. Scary really! Today was operationally good and there was a nice atmosphere at Wirksworth as people enjoyed the entertainment. The incline seemed quite popular too.

Leigh

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Progress Saturday 25th August 2018

Dear all,

Our 1950's mixed traction bank holiday weekend got off to something of flying start as a mainly sunny and pleasantly warm Saturday attracted good numbers of guests to our many different attractions. Locomotives 47406 and 31601 both provided services on the mainline and Henry Ellison catered for trips up the Incline. The Jinty is operating its last weekend with us and has indeed provided a lovely sight as it travels long the valley during the summer season. The miniature railway was running to the delight of our younger guests and the catering department and bookshop all had a steady stream of visitors.. A display of 1950's memorabilia attracted allot of interest on platform one, the jazz band proved popular as always and several of our guest entered into the spirit of the event arriving in period dress. At the top of the yard the sounds of distance shunting could be heard as a move around in the Engineerium was completed

Later in the day things took something of a sinister turn as we set sail at 7pm for a murder mystery tour. The initial stages of the story were set out on the platform at Wirksworth, then the team of actors travelled the train with clues and morsels of information as we journeyed south. The crime took place at Shottle, not previously noted as the crime capital of the Ecclesbourne valley, as one of the actors was found slumped against the guards van door. We continued to Duffield where over a 100 budding crime busters contemplated the relative merits of the case over a bag of chips after which each of the actors allowed some questions to ensure the correct guilty party was brought to justice . As people left the platform after having the plot fully uncovered their smiling faces and warm words of thanks confirmed a great evening was had by all. During the afternoon I spoke to a couple who had travelled from London for a weekend in Derbyshire the highlight of which was their murder mystery excursion with us, they do indeed seem to be very popular.

My thanks to everyone involved in another successful day many of whom are never seen by our visitors such as the train crews, Shottle signalmen, crossing keepers etc. The 1950's event and mixed traction are in operation for the rest of the bank holiday weekend.

I leave you with pictures of our main line locomotives looking pristine in the sunshine and scene of the crime at Shottle, don't have nightmares !

Regards

P

Friday, 24 August 2018

Progress Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th August 2018

Dear all,

There must be a bank holiday weekend coming up, it is raining! Yesterday's DMU service ran well with the addition of a coach party enjoying a ride and afternoon tea in the Station Cafe too. It was quite a strange day with the first and last trains being busy but the middle one being very quiet. It was happily busy enough though for a DMU day with the 3 car handling the service. The coaching stock was rearranged in the meantime to prepare for the weekend, which actually takes a lot longer than you would imagine.

Today was the final Friday steam service of the season and I am actually quite sad. They have been very busy indeed! Today was the busiest of the four days which surprised us slightly being the day before a Bank Holiday Weekend and the fact it was also raining on and off! The Jinty seemed to run well too. It has 3 more days to do with us and then it will be off back home to the GCR. 

Down the yard today, work continued on stripping down the rear of Class 108 53599 which is undergoing metalwork repairs to the body end and corridor connection.

Leigh

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Progress Saturday 18th August 2018

Dear all,

Today followed on from the end of the Diesel Gala last weekend, with a running weekend for a particular locomotive. This was based on the success of the same idea as last year where there was a running weekend for the visiting Class 26. This year there wasn't a visiting locomotive for the event because there were plenty of locomotives making their debut anyway. One of these locomotives was Class 31 31601, which had been resurrected after being withdrawn from the main line last year. It therefore seemed appropriate to run this locomotive for the enthusiasts for an additional weekend. Happily it was a busy day with plenty of enthusiasts visiting.

It wasn't just enthusiasts though, there were quite a few happy families as well as two prebooked parties for on train Afternoon Tea. In addition there was a coach party from Warwickshire to top it off. The incline steam also added an extra area of interest for visitors, along with the miniature railway.

In the engineerium, work continued on The Duke and also on the Bubble Car vacuum fault. TSO 4440 received further bodywork welding.

Trains continued into the evening. We were asked by the enthusiast community if we would be able to run an additional train with 08605 because there was a clashing event in Belgium last Saturday when it operated for the first time. We obliged not really knowing who would come. Happily it wasn't too quiet as can be seen in the photo!

Leigh

Friday, 17 August 2018

Progress Friday 17th August 2018

Dear all,

The third Friday of steam haulage on the Duffield line went off without a hitch and was once again happily busy, boosted further still with a coach party on the last train. They also enjoyed an afternoon tea in the café. The timekeeping was also aided by Arran who sat at Gorsey Bank doing the crossword all day.

Down the yard, tidying of the stores was in order as well as investigating a phantom fault from yesterday on the 3 car DMU.

This evening saw an unusual one... A DMU charter for 46 passengers on a single to Ravenstor! We aim to please.

Leigh

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Progress Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th August 2018

Dear all,

Our busiest event of the season this weekend being the Diesel Gala. The weekend even surpassed the same event last year, which was also the busiest of last year. It was by far the most operationally complicated event we had put on and even though we only managed 5 locomotives in the end, it was still a great success. The double heading Class 08s to Duffield may be a little strange but was certainly enjoyed by our visitors, as were 31601 and 73210 which were making their debuts with us this weekend.

My thanks go to everybody involved in helping to put on the event. Many hours of effort go in to such an event both on the day and also in the preparation of the locomotive beforehand.

Leigh

Friday, 10 August 2018

Progress Friday 10th August 2018

Dear all,

Our second Friday steam day and it was even busier last week. 116 happy passengers enjoyed the first train this morning and even the new wheelchair space was occupied. The locomotive was driven today by Bob Gibbens who has decided to retire from driving. Bob first started driving steam locomotives the same year England won the World Cup! 52 years later and he has bowed out having also been visiting Poland to drive there regularly for 20 years! I'm sure he won't be a stranger as he works to get Cathryn back in service.

Down the yard it was a case of "if it starts, move it" with alot of shunting, fettling, polishing etc to prepare for the Diesel Gala tomorrow!

Leigh

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Progress Thursday 9th August 2018

Dear all,

It is really difficult to predict the loadings at the moment but I am pleased to say it was really good today. It was boosted by three pre-booked parties but there were plenty of other happy people too, supported by the buffet and Miniature Railway.

There was much gala preparation going on in the yard, with the entire rake of Mark 1 coaches being completely shuffled round into a new order. It doesn't sound much but it takes all day! This was partly to facilitate the introduction of BSK 35006 which is looking most pleasant. It has had a conversion to create a nice wheelchair friendly area with a comfortable Mark 1 cushioned seat for family members too.

Also for the gala, the final locomotive of the line up, 31206 was confirmed which takes it up to the anticipated six locomotives. The biggest and most complicated event we have undertaken!

The Jinty was being warmed through as I left, ready for service tomorrow.

Leigh

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Progress Report Saturday 4th August 2018

Dear All,

The glorious weather continued today down at Derbyshire's favourite branch line. We had a disappointing start this morning with '47406' failing again and it won't be available for tomorrow's service either. This had a knock on effect too for the Ravenstor service as pit access was restricted for a while resulting in a late start on the incline. That said class 33 'Swordfish' undertook the Duffield-Wirksworth service and the incline steam service proved popular throughout the day. Down the yard much preparatory work was taking place to ensure our diesel fleet looks at its best for next week's gala.

Our catering team played host to a number of afternoon tea guests and the Ecclesbourne Way continues to grow in popularity with a large number of walkers enjoying a walk before a return journey by train. We had a cattle ingress near Hazlewood which did delay the 13:20 service to Duffield but a quick response from the farmer together with the sterling efforts from the train crew meant this had a minimal impact upon our timetable by the end of today's service.

Today's service was supported by the EVRA shop, miniature railway and Booking Hall staff.

All the best, Tom




Friday, 3 August 2018

Progress Friday 3rd August 2018

Dear all,

It is certainly somewhat of an experiment operating Fridays in August, something which we haven't attempted before. Today, at least, I am happy to report that the experiment was very successful with many happy passengers visiting for a ride through the valley. Fingers crossed the other Fridays are as busy as this one!

Down the yard, the Derby Lightweight had further work done to the bogie frames ready in preparation for them to be fitted. The diesel team were working on the rods on 08704 ahead of the Diesel Gala next weekend too.

Leigh

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Progress Thursday 2nd August 2018

Dear all,

Another pleasantly sunny and warm day which saw activity at Shottle with infill ballast arriving for the base of the Shottle signal box, formerly at Oddingley. Work is progressing on the box which will allow us to run a better and more regular train service going forward.

In the Maintenance Facility, work continued on reskinning TSO 4440 which has recently had most of the south end's structure renewed. The Jinty was prepared for service tomorrow over the other side of the yard. It is somewhat of an experiment to run these Fridays with steam during August so we'll see how they go.

The services started slowly but turned out to be reasonable by the end of the day, boosted by a coach party as well. Today's driver was Rev Patrick Lidgett who has driven his last rostered turn today, deciding to hang up his handle and spoon having built up 3800 hours of driving over 14 years. Patrick was amongst the first small group of DMU drivers on our railway, gaining a ticket back in 2004 when we had a solitary 'bubblecar' and just a twig of a passenger service from Wirksworth Station to Gorsey Bank Crossing. He has certainly seen the railway grow and has filled in many mid-week turns over the years. I would like to thank him for all of his efforts and hopefully he won't be a stranger! 

Leigh

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Progress Saturday 28th July 2018

Dear all,

The final Saturday of July actually saw rain - shock, horror. Not to worry though, passenger numbers were still encouraging and it was nice to see the Jinty back out on the trains. No doubt they were pleased it was cooler too!

Down the yard, work continued on the Class 73 with the windows being put back in. TSO 4440 had welding work now it has been put into the Maintenance Facility. The LMSCA were also working in the TO and the team furthered The Duke in the shed. I'm sure Tim will fill you in more on this.

This evening saw a private Wedding Anniversary DMU charter for a couple from Wirksworth and 60 of their guests. It featured fish and chips at Duffield and the sun finally came out for this!

Leigh

Friday, 27 July 2018

Progress Friday 27th July 2018

Dear all,

Another scorching hot day again in Wirksworth which started with a passing thunderstorm but soon turned out sunny again. It was an average Friday on the trains boosted by a coach party on the last train who also enjoyed tea and sandwiches upon their return.

A vacuum fault which had developed on the three car DMU was rectified quickly ready for a charter tomorrow evening.

The Jinty was warmed through ready for it to return to service tomorrow after missing last weekend.

At the end of the day, the Derby Lightweight trailer car was shunted out of the shed sporting a fresh new blue livery. There is still quite a long way to go with the restoration of both cars both mechanically and internally but it has really brightened it up in the meantime.

Leigh

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Progress Thursday 26th July 2018

Dear all,

I fairly average day on the trains today but not surprising given the heat. It topped 33 degrees at Wirksworth Station this afternoon.

Nevertheless some groups continued despite the heat. It was good to hear that Henry Ellison passed it's internal boiler test and should hopefully, pending a steam test, be back in service after a while out of action.

The S&T department were down at Shottle with further work taking place on Oddingley box. The bottom timbers are being cut out as they are rotten and need replacing.

Leigh

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Progress Saturday 21st July 2018

Dear all,

Another lovely summers day which featured the WyvernRail AGM. Unfortunately, visitors weren't able to sample steam services though due to a problem with the locomotive whilst it was being prepared in the morning, which meant that 31206 did the honours. People still seemed to enjoy their trip but hopefully the Jinty will be repaired soon.

Down the yard, there was quite alot happening on the loco fleet as the Diesel Gala approaches. The Class 73 received more fettling including proper testing of the exhausters and also testing of the multiple working with the Class 33, which does work! It was great to see them as a pair moving up and down and it was quite amusing to talk through the loudaphone to the other loco.

Class 08 605 was receiving routing maintenance of the rods and axle boxes including new pads and general lubrication. This enabled a loaded test run to be carried out in the evening which was successful.

31 601 had further work too, including work to the entry step boards.

Leigh

Friday, 20 July 2018

Progress Friday 20th July 2018

Dear all,

Not quite as busy as yesterday but that has been following the recent Friday pattern. It was boosted by a small party this morning who also enjoyed afternoon tea in the Station Café after their journey.

Down the yard, a lighting issue on the 3 car set was rectified and also work on the EVRA BSK continued as this coach grows closer to service.

Leigh

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Progress Tuesday 17th July 2018

Dear all,

A reasonable day on the trains with 33103 "Swordfish" at the helm, fresh back from a trip to Lancashire. An at-capacity tea train boosted things too.

Down the yard, fitters constructed a new work bench. Maintenance work was carried out on the steam fleet ready for the weekend too. Theres always a hive of activity on a Tuesday.

The afternoon shift arrived to look at this pesky power fault with the Class 73 which is preventing it from driving under its own power. Having had the air frame rebuilt and the cab put back together hopefully it won't be too long before it can run. Hopefully for the August gala! Attached is a photo of the cab desk which looks wonderful.

Leigh

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Progress Saturday 14th July 2018

Dear all,

Back to the glorious sunny and warm weather for day 1 of our Classic Transport Weekend where an assortment of classic road vehicles congregate at Wirksworth Station. There were classic trains too in the form of both our 1958 Class 101 DMU and the 1926 Jinty with 1950s Mark 1 coaches. All was smooth and went well with lots of happy people, including a coach party from Wales.

Down the yard, the Class 73 had work to reconstruct the air frame and the red 08 (605) was having an underneath traction motor exam.

These events take a lot of staff to put on so thank you to all of those who helped. Antiques in the Streets alongside our event tomorrow for anybody that is interested!

Leigh

Friday, 13 July 2018

Progress Friday 13th July 2018

Dear all,

Before the services began running today 31206 tripped a tank wagon to Duffield in preparation for this weekend's special event. They were back in plenty of time for services to begin. It wasn't quite as busy as yesterday but with a special event looming, it isn't surprising.

The Maintenance Team then turned their attention to the 3 car DMU ready for tomorrow.

Later in the day, the Class 33 'expert' arrived to trace a fault which developed last weekend whilst the locomotive was away on holiday to ensure it is good for service on Tuesday.

Leigh

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Progress Thursday 12th July 2018

Dear all,

A hive of activity around the place with plenty of activity in the MyTestTrack department. Firstly a line clearance machine was on test on the Ravenstor incline and the people testing the Blackpool tram were in attendance too. In between all of this the Class 73 was repositioned for work to continue this weekend.

The train service was reasonable today with many people enjoying Iris. It is, of course, not as busy as the weekend but it was still well worth doing.

Down the line, the S&T department were working on the refurbishment of the former Oddingley box, cutting out the bottom 3" of rotten timbers ready for replacement.

Leigh

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Progress Sunday 8th July 2018

Dear all,

An average steam day today with Iris covering the Ravenstor line due to a problem with No3 this morning. Pre-booked guests enjoyed a lovely Ploughman's Lunch on board the train with Pimms and lemonade. Everybody seemed to enjoy their meal in the dining car.

Down the yard, work continued on the Derby Lightweight running gear and the recently arrived Ferryvan was cleaned out so that it is ready for use. The Steam Team worked on No3 after the problem this morning and hopefully it is sorted pending a steam test in the week.

Leigh

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Progress Saturday 7th July 2018

Dear all,

Another lovely summery day in the valley with steam running on both lines. We didn't have high hopes for today with half of the country watching a certain football match but happily it was reasonable. A party of 4 had prebooked for tea on the train which doubled after some other visitors saw it all laid out as the train pulled in.

I'm sure theres some news from the other end of the yard as well but as I was on the desk all day, I didn't see what was going on!

Leigh

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Progress Thursday 5th July 2018

Dear all,

A reasonable midweek DMU service ran today. There were also certainly plenty of phone calls and other enquiries to help things along their way too.

We welcomed two vehicles today and of course, they had to arrive together. One is the return of the Blackpool tram for further testing and another is a ferryvan wagon seemingly rescued from Peterborough and will be most useful for storage. That is once they've unloaded it as the absence of a ramp means it isn't likely to be down until the weekend.

The 108 had further work done on the throttles and also an investigation into work needing to take place on the corridor connection.

Leigh

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Progress Sunday 1st July 2018

Dear all,

A boiling hot day in the valley for our Annual Classic Bus and Coach Rally. We had two trains running today, both a DMU and the Jinty passing each other. We had many happy passengers who also enjoyed rides on some of the vintage buses too. It was busy generally inbetween dealing with two totally unrelated stray dogs during the day!

Down the yard, work continued on TSO 4440 and the Class 73 had further painting and work done on the air frame. Work on the vacuum and other systems continued on 08605 too.

Leigh

Progress Report Saturday 30th June 2018

Dear All,

I had an interesting discussion about this heatwave recently and its impact upon visitor numbers. Do people really want to sit in hot, stuffy railway compartments with no air conditioning rather than be out in the sun, topping up their tans or enjoying a dip in a pool? That said we enjoyed reasonable visitor numbers today who could enjoy a trip down the beautiful valley under cloudless blue skies. Passenger numbers were bolstered by two pre-booked parties who were ably looked after by our catering team. As I have mentioned before, we must acknowledge the dedication and hard work of our operational team in such hot weather. It is unbearabley hot on the footplate on days like today and our catering team kept both steam crews suitably hydrated together with our on train team who ensured the passengers too had a ready supply of refreshments.

My thanks to today's visiting crew from the GCR who ensured the Duffield service ran to time and to Richard and the crew on 'Brian Harrison' who ran numerous trips to Ravenstor in conjunction with Richard's yard tours. Today's service was supported by the EVRA shop, miniature railway and booking office staff.

All the best, Tom

Tom

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Progress Thursday 28th June 2018

Dear all,

Another lovely hot day saw our Thursday DMU service have reasonable loadings, complimented by a coach party who had a ride and afternoon tea in the Station café.

A big shunt was going on in the yard to position vehicles for the forthcoming weeks but it was a slow process in the heat!

Leigh

Monday, 25 June 2018

Progress Sunday 25th June 2018

Dear all,

Understandably not quite as busy as Saturday given a certain excellent football match gripping the nation but we still did well in the sunshine. The highlight of today was a group who visited for on train tea by heritage bus and a beauty it was too!

Down the yard, work continued on TSO 4440 and also on the Derby Lightweight project in the shed. Outside the Class 73 had it's air frame painted inside to allow the tanks and valves to be reinstalled.

Leigh

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Progress Report Saturday 23rd June 2018



Dear All,

The Ecclesbourne Valley basked in glorious sunshine today and our visitors were out in force. Firstly a group of heritage railway enthusiasts arrived from Bristol. With notebooks and pens to the ready they departed on a very comprehensive yard tour facilitated by Richard. I believe every item of rolling stock/ motive power was suitably photographed and catalogued before they enjoyed a trip to Ravenstor then Shottle for some further stock identification and recording. The second service of the day required our catering team to provide some ad hoc afternoon teas as visitors had seen the carriage laid out ready for a booked service which had stimulated their appetites. Thanks to Helen for organising this at very short notice.

Shortly after departure of the 13.20 Duffield service, a coach party from Essex pulled into the car park. This was scheduled to arrive for the 15.15 return service to Duffield but the driver felt his passengers would enjoy a longer visit to our railway. So a coach load of 40+ descended on the station cafe for refreshments. The team were already busy serving customers and preparing sandwiches for the last train service of a party from Rotary who were joining the train for afternoon tea so one can imagine the challenge the catering team faced. Thankfully, they rose to that challenge and were able to cater for the unexpected rush. My grateful thanks to the catering team who were very busy throughout the day and a special mention to our youngest volunteer, Kyle Tait who prepared and laid the compartment tables for the afternoon tea service. We achieved consistency high passenger numbers on all trains today and it was great to see the stations so busy.

Down the yard over running maintenance on 'Brian Harrison' meant 'Iris' undertook the Ravenstor service. It is hoped that we will be back to steam on the incline for Sunday. There was much banging and clattering coming from the maintenance facility and I will leave it to Tim Oakes to brief you on progress. Between passenger trips on the miniature railway Ron could be found preparing the ground for the next extension to the line and I'm sure he would appreciate any help anyone can offer with this project.

Today's service was supported by the booking office staff, EVRA shop, catering team and miniature railway. 

A most enjoyable and commercially rewarding day.

All the best, Tom










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Friday, 22 June 2018

Progress Thursday 21st and Friday 22nd June 2018

Dear all,

Thursday saw the continuation of our mid-week DMU service. Passenger numbers were average for a Thursday being slightly down on last week but up on the week before. 

Today we hosted a Bronze Drive a Diesel experience for four lucky participants who firstly sampled the delights of Iris followed by the Class 33 after lunch. This is the last booked working for the 33 before it heads off to the East Lancs' Diesel Gala as a special guest on 6th - 8th July.

There has been quite a bit of activity down the yard. The Derby Lightweight has been receiving roof repairs and all of the windows have been cleaned and resealed to ensure water tightness. If these basics are done correctly the interior should last for a very long time without water damage.

Yesterday, Class 31 601 received attention to the braking system to adjust it to the correct settings and the underframe painting continued. All of the missing components from when it arrived have now been returned to the locomotive and it drove a few test runs up the 1 in 27 incline yesterday without issue. Looking promising for our gala in August!

Similarly for the gala in August, 08605 received some further routine maintenance today in the form of checking and correctly lubricating the axle box pads. This work should enable a test run soon to make sure there are no hot boxes on longer distances.

Yesterday, the S&T guys were down at Shottle doing further preparatory work on the base for the signal box.

Leigh

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Progress Sunday 17th June 2018

Dear all,

A most satisfactory day in the valley. The steam hauled service on the Duffield line proved to be popular all day but also there was a real buzz around Wirksworth Station as the classic car club believed to be bringing ten vehicles actually turned out to be bringing ten lots of ten vehicles on rotation. Most of the vehicle owners went to the café which did cause mild shock but everybody was most complementary. The train service was further boosted by another party too.

The Maintenance Team in the yard were having an English Electric fest as 31206 finally had the governor issues resolved which had been causing a lack of top end power. Next door 31601 had further electric work undertaken after the fitment of a replacement battery charge diode. The underframe components on the same loco were also being painted to spruce up exterior appearance. Meanwhile, over the other side of the yard work was progressing very well on 73210. Both vacuum exhausters which have never ran in preservation were successfully ran up and tested. The air frame area was also cleaned up and painted ready for the components to be put back.

In the Engineerium, further work on the windows of the Derby Lightweight trailer saw the conclusion of this part of the project pending moving over to the other side of the shed. Work was also progressing on BSK 35006 and TSO 4440.

Leigh

Friday, 15 June 2018

Progress Friday 15th June 2018

Dear all,

A day of multitasking today as we hosted a Silver Drive a Diesel Experience and a private DMU charter weaved in between. The experience participant enjoyed Iris all to hisself (and the instructor and guard of course) this morning, before arriving back at Wirksworth for lunch. Whilst he was having lunch, a separate crew set off to Duffield in Iris to pick up a private party. After lunch, the experience participant enjoyed 31206. Whilst he was out and about on the line the charter people enjoyed lunch in the café before taking a long tour round the yard and sheds and a ride to Ravenstor. When the experience finished at around 16:00, the charter went back to Duffield on Iris to go home. Followed that?

Down the yard, the Class 108 exam continued with oil changes being the aim of the game. Jon also sanded down the maroon on the south end of the platform shelter to give that a lick of paint. That end is always in the sun and it had started to flake off.

Leigh

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Progress Thursday 14th June 2018

Dear all,

A reasonable day on the trains today. The service was handled by Iris but it was well loaded most of the day. This is good for an out-of-holiday Thursday. It was helped by a group on the middle train who seemed to be very jovial. They enjoyed a meal in the café afterwards too.

Down the yard work continued on the examination of the Class 108 and also the renewal of guards van paneling. Previous water ingress had gradually damaged the panels.

The S&T dept had a day of gathering materials for constructing the base for the signalbox at Shottle. This will enable the former Oddingley box to be relocated to where we need it to be. These were gathered on a wagon ready for taking to site next week.

A duo spent the whole day with the fire extinguisher supplier doing the annual recertification. This is a bigger job than it sounds!

Leigh

Friday, 8 June 2018

Progress Friday 8th June 2018

Dear all,

A peaceful day in the valley. In the Maintenance Facility, the Derby Lightweight trailer car was having the sliding lights refurbished and further finishing touches were being put on BSK 35006.

This afternoon recently arrived 08605 was run up and down the car park road. The condition isn't as good as 08704 but routine maintenance should improve this.

In to the evening and fault finding continued on the electrical issues with 31601. The fault was traced enough to temporarily isolate it, allowing the engine to be started for the first time in preservation. Strangely no drama for a 31.

Leigh

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Progress Thursday 7th June 2018


Dear all,

Another pleasant sunny day with the first of our summer Thursdays. It was a steady day comparable to the same day last year but those who travelled said that they had a thoroughly enjoyable time. 

Down the yard, the C examination on 53599 got under way with investigations into why No1 engine is making a strange ticking sound. Work also started on replacing some rotten wooden panelling in the Guard's compartment, caused by previous water ingress.

The Jinty, which was repaired by the home railway's maintenance team on Tuesday, had a steam test today and should be good for service at the weekend following last Sunday's issues which prevented it from operating.

As I write we are taking delivery of a second 08 shunter, which has arrived courtesy of Rivieria Trains who have brought it for kind-of warm storage. It is numbered 08605 and was collected this morning from DB Cargo at Wigan. The locomotive is fitted with the equipment for remote control, although regrettably the controller isn't with it so we won't be playing with that just yet!

I have had a rare day at Duffield today and I thought I would share a few photographs of the station. It really is a credit to the volunteers who work at Duffield as the station is beautifully well kept. 

Leigh

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Sunday, 3 June 2018

Progress Report Sunday 3rd June 2018

Dear all,

Another day in glorious sunshine with good passengers numbers throughout but one that started off with a morning of many parts, parts drawn together by the common factor that they were all leaking! 

First news came from up the yard that the Jinty has developed a "water feature" where water shouldn't be and it had been failed. My thanks go to the DST who acted very quickly to arrange for alternative traction and crew to cover their services, more of that later. Shortly after this No3 hearing of the news that the Jinty was getting the day off decided that sounded a rather fine idea and promptly started also leaking water, today was clearly not a day for the RO to buy a lottery ticket! 

Iris was rudely awoken from her day off and put on duties on the incline and my thanks go to Graham, Joe and Pete who set sail in 33103 Swordfish with Chris, Howard and Pat as on train crew exactly on time for the first service. In view of all the above a remarkable effort, I might also add one of the guys was working on their birthday. Also my thanks go to Eric and Steve who crewed the inclined service for the rest of the day. Plans are already well advanced to return both steam locomotives to the former glory in the very near future.

Down the yard work was starting on the painting of Tim's brake van and in the engineerium work was finishing on the latest carriage which is going to look truly resplendent when it is revealed to the world in the near future. A coach party arrived in the morning to travel on the mainline service and a party travelled to Wirksworth later in the day to sample our food in the Pullman buffet which also had a busy day.

The bookshop reported a good takings and Duffield was also busy with as our passenger took advantage of the range of items on sale at our southern terminus. 

It was quite noticeable as the mainly services arrived at Wirksworth, the stream of smiles and thanks as people left us, we clearly continue to do many things very right.

As I sit here with my feet in a tray of tepid TVO I look back on a day of many challenges but one where we closed proceedings providing all promised services and sending away many happy customers. My thanks to everyone involved in todays successes. 

I leave you with a picture of Swordfish on final approach to Platform  2 in the glorious sunshine.

All the best

P

Progress Report Saturday 2nd June 2018

Dear All,

We enjoyed another successful steam Saturday down at Derbyshire's favourite branch line with the 'Jinty' on the Duffield to Wirksworth Line and 'No 3' on the incline. Down the yard there was much joy from Joe Marsden who successfully resolved a long standing vacuum problem with the 'bubble car'. Final preparations also continued on the 'BSK' which look great following its period of re-furbishment and is scheduled to return to traffic on Tuesday for the first cream team train.

Richard conducted his ever popular yard tours which are not only enjoyable and enlightening for our visitors but voluntary contributions make it another income stream for the railway. John Rhead held a loco hauled stock preparation briefing for interested guards before today's first Duffield service. Please spare a thought for our footplate crews on both steam services who worked extremely hard in uncomfortably high temperatures today. Thanks go to our catering team who ensured there was a steady stream of bacon rolls, bottled water and ice lollies available to keep our crews hydrated and their energy levels up. The catering team also played host to a small party on the train which everyone seemed to enjoy.

Today's service was supported by the EVRA shop and miniature railway and my thanks to all our volunteers who gave up their time to ensure our visitors could enjoy a day at our railway and delight at the beautiful Ecclesbourne Valley in bloom. The carpet of  forget-me-nots along the 'racing straight' looks stunning.

All the best, Tom

Progress Report Saturday 2nd June 2018

Dear All,

We enjoyed another successful steam Saturday down at Derbyshire's favourite branch line with the 'Jinty' on the Duffield to Wirksworth Line and 'No 3' on the incline. Down the yard there was much joy from Joe Marsden who successfully resolved a long standing vacuum problem with the 'bubble car'. Final preparations also continued on the 'BSK' which look great following its period of re-furbishment and is scheduled to return to traffic on Tuesday for the first cream team train.

Richard conducted his ever popular yard tours which are not only enjoyable and enlightening for our visitors but voluntary contributions make it another income stream for the railway. John Rhead held a loco hauled stock preparation briefing for interested guards before today's first Duffield service. Please spare a thought for our footplate crews on both steam services who worked extremely hard in uncomfortably high temperatures today. Thanks go to our catering team who ensured there was a steady stream of bacon rolls, bottled water and ice lollies available to keep our crews hydrated and their energy levels up. The catering team also played host to a small party on the train which everyone seemed to enjoy.

Today's service was supported by the EVRA shop and miniature railway and my thanks to all our volunteers who gave up their time to ensure our visitors could enjoy a day at our railway and delight at the beautiful Ecclesbourne Valley in bloom. The carpet of forget-me-nots along the 'racing straight' looks stunning.

All the best, Tom

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Progress Thursday 31st May 2018

Dear all,

As May draws to a close we had another nice warm day. Passenger numbers were reasonable for a midweek service. Trains are running again tomorrow too with it being half term.

Down the yard, the Mk2 TSO had a fitness to run examination ahead of the season and BSK 35006 had the final door hung as we get closer to this coach entering service too. The BSK(K) fresh gleaming from the works was tidied and readied to enter service this coming Tuesday.

Work continued on trying to get 31601 running but with some sort of earth fault manifesting itself late in the day, it hadn't been run up as I left.

Leigh

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Progress Sunday 27th May 2018

Dear all,

Another warm and sunny day which saw steam in the valley once again. Passenger numbers were on a very good par with yesterday, if not a twinge higher! The Catering Department were busy once again, putting on an Afternoon Tea for 31 guests and the Miniature Railway reported another good day. Even the crew on the incline reported that they had done a good number of trips.

More of the same tomorrow hopefully!

Leigh

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Progress Report Saturday 26th May 2018

Dear All,

Steam was the name of the game today with steam traction staring on the Wirksworth to Duffield line, Ravenstor line and miniature railway. The uncharacteristic warm and sunny bank holiday weather ensured we had many visitors. Our first service was a 09:30 trip to Ravenstor with a local scout pack. Unfortunately our visiting Jinty had a leaking washout plug and was deemed not fit to run. Rob fired up the 08 and shunted the stock into platform two and then started to prepare the Class 33 to haul the first Duffield service. Thankfully when the Jinty's boiler pressure was sufficiently low the offending plug was tightened and the Jinty was good to go. This had resulted in a 15-20  minute delay in departure from Duffield and the crew were unable to make up any time and the subsequent Duffield services ran late.

Tat Wirksworth the Station Cafe played host to a party of guests as did the on train Buffett which swelled our numbers and we had very good loadings on all steam services  throughout the day. The miniature railway had its busiest day of the year carrying some seventy passengers! Down the yard work continued on the Duke and the BSK and Richard was gainfully employed taking visitors on his popular yard tours.The Ravenstor service was in demand too with footplate and brake van rides. Interestingly we welcomed Chris Richardson as footplate crew on the incline service. Chris is an experienced fireman and driver previously at Peak Rail and teamed up with Mike Ball on the footplate. Chris taught Mike to drive when Mike was a volunteer 'over the hill'. My thanks to everyone who gave up their bank holiday Saturday to ensure our visitors had an enjoyable day.

All the best, Tom