Despite the monsoon rain and flood warning from the Environment Agency that the River Ecclesbourne was about to burst it banks, and thanks to the skills of our drivers, we were able to run our advertised service yesterday. Many Muggles of assorted shapes and sizes braved the weather to visit the Wirksworth Wizarding Day. It was quite a spellbinding sight akin to a scene from one of Harry Potter's films as our visitors alighted in full costume at Wirksworth station. I believe the on train catering of chocolate frogs, jelly bat wings and other related confectionary was very popular and quickly sold out. We welcomed both Radio Derby and BBC East Midlands Today on the first Duffield departure and a feature on the event is planned for Monday's programme.
At Wirksworth station the display of owls proved very popular offering some great photo opportunities. A frequent incline steam service was also in operation and Richard conducted a number of yard tours to interested visitors. Congratulations to Rob Green who successfully completed his practical driving assessment on the class 73. The warmest, driest most popular place today was the museum and shop which seemed perpetually busy.
Other heritage railways in the Midlands had to cancel their services today due to the severe weather therefore its timely to mention the excellent drainage work our Permanent Way Team has been undertaking over the past few months. Without a doubt today's intensive timetable would not have been possible if it wasn't for the planned improvements the team has made to problem areas requiring better track drainage. To give you some idea of the impact the rain has had on the River Ecclesbourne, I have attached a video of the river in Wirksworth yard taken by Dave Williams in between testing of Henry Ellison.
Today's event was an unqualified success despite the weather and grateful thanks must go to the following groups of people who went that extra mile in often atrocious weather conditions to ensure we were able to deliver all advertise services and attractions:- Train Crews both steam and diesel, Crossing Gate Keepers, Shottle Signalmen, Station Staff, Catering Staff, Booking Hall Staff and those volunteers providing on train hospitality. A great team effort. (apologies if I have missed anyone)
All the best, Tom