Sunday, 18 August 2019

Progress Report Saturday 17th August 2019

Dear All,

Today was our class 33 day running day with resident 'Swordfish' and visiting locomotive from the Churnet Valley 'Sophie' undertaking the honours. We played host to a reasonable number of visitors. At Wirksworth station work continues at a pace in the new museum which is nearing completion. Some excitement today in the station car park when an unexpected delivery of a rail vehicle for testing next week required some shuffling of cars to facilitate a clear path to the yard car park.

Todays service was supported by the miniature railway, station cafe, Association shop, Idridgehay crossing keeper and booking hall staff together with the operational team ensured our visitors were well looked after and the trains ran to schedule. I have attached a photo of platform one at Wirksworth station which I have tried to capture the excellent work of our volunteer gardeners.

All the best,


Friday, 16 August 2019

Progress Friday 16th August 2019

Dear all,

A miserable day with monsoon rains but it didn't deter the visitors with a very good day recorded on the till, coming for a ride behind 78018 in the dry. Even the sheep provided the visitors with some amusement too!

Down the yard, the guys continued looking in to the issues with 33103 with a view to trying to get it back in service for this weekend's Class 33 Running Weekend. Happily a problem with the engine governor was rectified and the locomotive released join classmate 33102 tomorrow.

The LMS BTO coach in the shed has had the lino laid today as well as the bodyside primed. This really will be an excellent coach when it is completed.


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Progress Thursday 15th August 2019

Dear all,

Finally a reasonably sunny day (after it soaked us about 9 o'clock). The service today was the Class 119 and 101 coupled to it. It was a busier day than Tuesday with a noticeable number of grandparent/grandchild combinations.

Down the yard, the Mark 1 SO which had a vacuum cylinder changed the other day had everything connected up, tested and returned to the rake ready for tomorrow and the weekend. A good job done!

The Derby Lightweight trailer car which is up in the air was prepared for the correct bogies to be connected, this of course included shunting them out from the very end of Cemetary Lane.

Investigations into the issues experienced with 33103 at the weekend began but so far no joy.


Sunday, 11 August 2019

Progress Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August 2019

Dear all,

Our Summer Diesel Gala saw weather more common in Autumn but it didn't deter the enthusiasts from enjoying our selection of locomotives on offer, including visiting Class 33 33102 "Sophie". The event ran very well but unfortunately home fleet 33 33103 "Swordfish" developed a fault late yesterday and couldn't operate today. Attached is a photograph of the two 33s operating together when they could. Thank you to everyone who took part in another successful event, it takes a lot of hard work and effort from all involved.

The Derby Lightweight trailer car, which is now up in the sky, had a handbrake warning buzzer fitted and a start was made on overhauling a vacuum cylinder for it.


Friday, 9 August 2019

Progress Friday 9th August 2019

Dear all,

Not a bad day after the heavy rain cleared this morning until near the end of the day where a torrential downpour with thunderstorm decided to wet everyone! Issues raising steam this morning delayed the start for 78018 so elctro-diesel 73210 did the first train, which in turn enabled a power fault with the latter to be discovered ahead of the gala tomorrow. This was fortunately able to be rectified later in the day. A few last minute jobs were done in visitor 33102 "Sophie" so she is all good to go for the weekend too. The Class 08 "G.R.Walker" was cleaned ready for service on Sunday and some final positioning was also done.


Thursday, 8 August 2019

Progress Thursday 8th August 2019

Dear all,

Calm before the storm today with the DMU service. We hosted a couple of groups, one of which had walked the whole of the Ecclesbourne Way, setting off from Duffield around 08:00 this morning. Tomorrow features the only day of steam this week with it being the Diesel Gala on Saturday.

Speaking of which, those who have been watching Channel Webcam these last few days will have noticed 33102 "Sophie" being delivered from the Churnet Valley mid-afternoon on Tuesday ready for the gala this weekend. The event will reunite "Sophie" with classmate 33103 "Swordfish". Yesterday there were further movements as the LNER Gresley coach which has been restored on site by contractor returned home to Yorkshire but the work doesn't stop as another LNER coach arrived for him to do the same treatment to today.

Alot of gala prep has taken place over the last few days including fuelling, positioning of vehicles and most importantly marshalling two rakes of coaches as per the steam gala earlier in the year.

Volunteers were hard at work in the new building as this draws ever closer to completion and John continued painting inside the new toilet block.

78018 was warmed and prepared for service tomorrow.


Sunday, 4 August 2019

Progress Report Sunday 4th August 2019

Dear all,

As I pulled up at Cromford lights this morning in the land rover, once the vibration had stop and the smoke cleared I could see it was 19 degrees outside and was looking forward to a pleasant day on the railway, maybe that thought jinxed the mornings activity. On arrival I was greeting by the dream steam team who informed me the 78018 had been failed because of a fault with one of the axles on the tender.

A two car DMU was despatched to platform two in readiness to manage passenger services but a short while later news came from up the yard that a fix has been completed and the steam engine was indeed declared fit for services. The two car was returned to the yard and whilst leaving a little late the coaching stock left pulled by steam much to the obvious delight of our passengers. The weather remained overcast with occasional brief showers but very warm and humid and my particular admiration is extended to the steam engine crew who were on site early this morning to prep the loco, fixed the issue with the tender and then worked in the heat of the foot plate for the rest of the day, we ensure water was supplied to the loco and crew at regular intervals. In the engineerium work continued on the interior of the Derby Lightweight as this project continues to progress well.

It was mentioned to me by one of today's guests that 78018 features in this video shot in 1955 when she was stuck in a snow drift on Bleith Gill, I don't think today was the day to shoot show drift on the shottle loop !

My thanks also to the catering staff both on train and off, passenger services on and off train, shop and booking halls for all their efforts today in difficult conditions and in dealing with the different challenges during the day.

I leave you with pictures of 78018 on final approach to platform one and two


Pete Watts
Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Operations

Friday, 2 August 2019

Progress Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd August 2019

Dear all,

Two reasonable days on the trains with loadings good yesterday for a DMU day and very respectable loadings for the steam service today. An article in the Country Images magazine from a reporter who experienced our afternoon tea first hand has also meant an upturn in bookings in this area too.

Down the yard, work to repair air leaks in pipes under the cab floor on 31601 seem to have been successful so far in time for the weekend and Tuesday.

Work also continued inside the Derby Lightweight trailer car and on TSO 4440.