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Sunday, 15 March 2020

Progress Sunday 15th March 2020

Dear all,

...and there we have it! The end of a fantastic two day DMU Gala with our large selection of railcars running alongside visiting unit W55034. Despite everything, the event was very well attended with early calculations showing around a 30% increase in visitors compared to the same event last year. It was great to see some very full trains! The event was carried out with the usual professional slick approach from all of our staff and we have received many nice comments online so thank you to all involved.


Friday, 13 March 2020

Progress Thursday 12th and Friday 13th March 2020

Dear all,

It is very much business as usual at the EVR, with two full days of Multiple Memories Gala preparations taking place which has included shunting and marshalling trains, preparation of displays, printing timetable handouts, prep in the cafe etc. The main thrust was to finish of the engine work on Iris the Railcar ahead of the event. The engine developed an issue at the New Year's services and has had the engine dropped off the vehicle for investigation. Happily all seems good and it was a nice sight to see three single car units coupled together as it went dusk.

Yesterday, the PW gang worked on the new siding at Wirksworth and the S&T continued with the Shottle signalling project. The LMSCA continued working on the Brake Third coach which now back on it's running gear and is in the process of having all of the bodyside lettering and crests applied - mostly painted!

We welcomed 08704 back from Leeds today following a successful tyre turning mission.


Monday, 9 March 2020

Progress Sunday 9th March 2020

Dear all,

A reasonable day on the trains for the time of year. We're only running weekends this month as it is early season still and the next operating weekend sees our Multiple Memories Railcar Gala with the first passenger outing for Class 121 W55034 on our line.

A plethora of engineers were down in the maintenance area, with the wiring being declared complete on the newly restored LMS BTO which is due to enter service soon. Photograph attached of the stunning restoration of the inside.

The Class 73 was awoken from it's winter slumber and checked over ahead of the Diesel Gala next month. The event is the only planned appearance of this locomotive this season as the team wish to continue with the restoration which began before it even arrived with us. The locomotive also suffers from a leaking fibreglass roof which needs to be corrected. The opportunity was taken to dig out and do a Fitness to Run examination on the box van which will be used to recreate typical DMU tail load traffic at next weekend's event.


Sunday, 8 March 2020

Progress Report Saturday 7th March 2020

Dear All,

It looks like spring has arrived at Derbyshire's favourite branch line with signs of plant life awakening along the valley. The bubble car provided today's traction and we enjoyed fairly good numbers of passengers throughout the service. Down the yard much activity was taking place to ensure our renown diesel units were being made ready for next weekend's gala. Important work too was taking place in the town hall where members of the Safety and Standards group met to map out driver competencies and identify ways of delivering a more standardised and integrated safety system to support the railway with its continued development. (photo attached) Thanks must go to our Compliance Offices Jacqueline Ferguson-Lee for the supply of delicious sandwiches and mini pork pies not to mention the 'Hobnobs' everyone's favourite dunking biscuit!

A team of fitters from the East Lancashire Railway were on sight making the final adjustments to the class fourteen and following the last scheduled train service undertook a successful proving run hauling a three car DMU set to Duffield. It was good to see this locomotive back in service.

Ron and his miniature railway team were busy extending the line towards Gorsey Bank. The line now has also been tidied up and will prove an even more popular attraction when the new season starts. Today's service was supported by the railway's museum, model railway, station cafe and booking hall staff. 

All the best, Tom

Friday, 6 March 2020

Progress Friday 6th March 2020

Dear all,

First thing, probably just after dawn had cracked, 08704 left for Leeds to visit the wheel lathe so that we can operate it at the Diesel Gala next month. It had certainly left by the time I arrived.

We hosted our first Drive a Diesel experience of the season today with participants first trying their hand on the DMU before taking the Class 31 for a spin after lunch. Thank you to Lewis and to Graham for hosting our guests.

The Maintenance Team dropped a defective vacuum cylinder off BSK 34625 ready to overhaul it as coach examinations ahead of the season continue.


Sunday, 1 March 2020

Progress Sunday 1st March 2020

Dear all,

1st March already! Doesn't seem 5 minutes since new year and here were are in theory entering spring... To be fair it was a sunny day but a tad chilly. The trains had modest passenger numbers but it is still early season. Thank you to the train crew and supporting activities.

The main thrust down the yard over the last three days in rain, sleet, snow, wind and all sorts has been the reconstruction of Class 14 D9537 which has had the rods off for new bushes and the exhausters out for overhaul. The rods were rehung yesterday and the exhausters installed. Installing the exhausters involves removing all sorts of parts, mainly from the cooling system, so these had to be put back together too. Happily today they managed to get the loco to awaken from the winter slumber. An exam will follow now ahead of a return to service at the Diesel Gala in April.


Friday, 28 February 2020

Progress Friday 28th February 2020

Dear all,

The Day of the Drowning today but, as the great Freddie once sang, the show must go on! The Maintenance Team took a raft of DMUs to be fuelled ahead of the Multiple Memories event and in the process coupled them together to test the Blue Square multiple working on W55034 which happily seems fault free. The Class 14 team were also wet through preparing the locomotive for the rods to be returned to the wheels.

Our tenants over in Centenary Works as it is now called, received a delivery in the form on a 19 ton 16 cylinder English Electric power unit. It came accompanied by a 220t crane! This is the original type of power unit that would have been in the 10000 locomotive which was languishing as a hospital generator. Apparently it is very low hours too.


Thursday, 27 February 2020

Progress Thursday 27th February 2020

Dear all,

It was another shunt day today. The Class 14 was positioned in the car park ready for the rods to be reinstalled over the next few days. They have been away for rebushing so the ride should improve. It also has a refurbished exhauster ready to be installed. Just behind, steam locomotive No.3 was also receiving attention with the boiler arriving back from the boiler people already! Positive signs.

W55034, which arrived yesterday, was placed on the maintenance pit for a Fitness to Run examination which was carried out. A test run later in the day followed which was useful as the unit hasn't done much work in two years. One or two niggles were discovered that can be ironed out before the gala. The run provided a useful opportunity to inspect the line following recent weather and also measure up some steps for Idridgehay platform to assist with passenger boarding there.

The line is in good shape to be fair. The PW team ditched around F8 south of Shottle today to relieve the drainage there which has been the area most likely to flood recently. Recent flailing is most evident too.

Further work continued in the new toilet block with the frame work for the interior door between the vestibule and the Gents being installed.


Wednesday, 26 February 2020

Progress Wednesday 26th February 2020

Dear all,

We woke up to snow today and strangely it was worse in Derby than in Wirksworth. Thankfully though it had disappeared by the time the haulage company arrived to deliver our Multiple Memories Gala visitor, Class 121 W55034 (or as it is still on TOPS should we say 121034?). I believe this DMU is the last remaining mainline registered first generation unit and is quite impressive. Retired from Chiltern Railways a few years ago, it now resides at Crewe. Not only does it have a beautiful paint job, it also features all of the required systems including GSM-R, OTMR, TPWS, CCTV, secondary door locking and a PA! The unit is planned to operate at the gala in a few weeks time but may be seen out and about on the line from time to time as it undertakes some work more aligned to MyTestTrack.

Elsewhere, the PW took a two-pronged attack. One part worked on the new siding in the yard at Wirksworth whilst the other did an exam on shunting locomotive Tom, with an oil/filter change taking place. The Maintenance Team repaired an engine stop fault on our "bubblecar" putting that back into service.

A further round of medicals took place too.


Monday, 24 February 2020

Progress Sunday 23rd February 2020

Dear all,

Lots of floods around on the roads today but thankfully the sun came out for most of the day. This led to a fairly steady stream of passengers all day, sometimes there can be a lot of passengers for the first train and very few for the others, but today was evenly spread. The line has thankfully fared rather well during the bad weather recently. Once again, many of our visitors enjoyed food in the Station Cafe.

Down the yard, the Class 31 received a B exam ahead of the season and Class 08 08605 had a fault rectified which was preventing it from taking power. This locomotive is fitted with the unusual remote control electronics which makes fault finding rather more difficult than a standard Class 08.


Thursday, 20 February 2020

Progress Thursday 20th February 2020

Dear all,

Well the elements continue to batter us but it didn't deter the passengers, we've had two days of really pleasing numbers on the train for the time of year despite the rain. In fact we even had a smidgeon of snow last thing to top it off.

The PW have been at Wirksworth this week with services running sorting things out for their upcoming projects. S&T have done two days this week with them doing their routine level crossing inspections and ground frame adjustments.

The Maintenance Team have finished off the final DMU exam which was E51505 and released that to traffic. They've also worked through some work arising on W51073 too. It'll be on to coaching stock next week.

Good progress has been made on the new toilet block at Wirksworth. The Gents now has proper cubicles. There are some finishing off jobs, like more boxing, bits in the urinals and also the board edging to do but its looking very nice (for a 'public' loo).



Saturday, 15 February 2020

Progress Saturday 15th February 2020

Dear all,

Well today was supposed to be the first day of the season but we had been proactive and taken the decision to postpone our Volunteering Event and suspend operations ahead of Storm Dennis which was incoming. It took a little while to arrive, with it being eerily calm first thing this morning, but sure enough the wind and rain was in full flow by mid-afternoon. Fortunately we didn't disappoint any members of the public as a combination of bad weather and what I hope is effective communication meant that nobody came to the railway expecting a ride. Social media and the website aside, we were actually part of the main news bulletin each hour on BBC Radio Derby today and we were even read out on BBC East Midlands Today during the 17:30 bulletin. Services are still suspended tomorrow but we plan on opening as scheduled on Tuesday. Volunteering Day has been rearranged for Saturday 18th April.

There were still a few volunteers on site though with work taking place on 08605 to find out why there is a power fault as well as Faraday. Lewis continued tiling in the new toilet block at Wirksworth, this time negotiating the area around the urinals. A further round of medicals for safety critical staff also took place.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Progress Thursday 13th February 2020

Dear all,

The PW gang did their last day under possession ahead of the season after relaying a section of track just outside of Wirksworth town. This is very good going and well done to all for maintaining a tight schedule.

Of course, services should be starting this weekend kicking off with our Volunteering Day but it has been decided that services will not operate this weekend in light of the atrocious weather forecast. We wouldn't want falling trees or flood water compromising safety. The Volunteering Event will be rescheduled. We fully intend to run on Tuesday as planned.

Work continued on the new toilets at Wirksworth with the boards being cut for the toilet cubicles.

The Maintenance Team began the exam on E51505 but were frustrated for several hours by a troublesome pump in the pit.

The S&T gang were down the line too progressing the Shottle project.


Sunday, 9 February 2020

Progress Saturday 8th February 2020

Dear all,

It was actually quite a nice day at Wirksworth for the most part, ahead of the wild and windy weather expected on Sunday. With just a week to go before the start of the 2020 season, today featured quite a bit of planning and also the undertaking of medicals for safety critical roles.

In preparation for the season, the Class 33 received an A exam on the maintenance pit and had a few minor lighting issues rectified. It also was seen to have a bodyside scrub up too.

Just behind, in the engineerium, the LMSCA were most delighted with their refurbished bolster for the Brake Third coach and James was seen beavering away at EVRAs SK which is having new steel welded into the crash pillars at the north end of the coach.

Lets hope that Sunday's weather isn't too wild and that the marquee survives ready to host Volunteering Day next Saturday!


Thursday, 6 February 2020

Progress Thursday 6th February 2020

Dear all,

A cold and sunny day today saw the PW team working at the relay site adjusting the alignment and cross levels of the newly laid track. It is looking good! Photo attached. With just over a week to go before services restart they are bang on schedule. This week they've had the luxury of the Class 33 working their trains too!

At Wirksworth, work has continued on examining the DMU fleet ahead of the gala next month.

Lewis has very kindly been tiling in the new toilet block as that nears completion. They look great! Unfortunately it looks like the toilet block completion will be more towards the start of next month due to various reasons in January but at least they are getting there.


Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Progress Wednesday 29th January 2020

Dear all,

As we fling our way towards the end of January, it is just over two weeks until the start of the season. The PW team are doing well with the relay project. The final panel is going back in with ballasting and alignment to be done in the final fortnight.

The electrician has been in today running cabling in the new toilets to take the hand dryers etc.

We also hosted a testing customer for a 1530 test.


Thursday, 23 January 2020

Progress Thursday 23rd January 2020

Dear all,

A damp and miserable day saw the PW team get a rare chance to trip back to Shottle to assist the S&T department with their preparations for laying the concrete base for the gantry signal which will be cited south side of the bridge on the approach to the loop. That'll be an exciting step forward when that goes up!

Down the yard, worked continued on the brake cylinder and running gear overhauls for the LMS BTO before it enters service and the Class 119 received an oil change.

The toilets are progressing well with both the cold and hot water systems all finished and working. We even have flushing urinals! This afternoon time was spent ordering up all the materials to construct the cubicles. I've learnt more about cubicle legs today than I have in my entire life!


Thursday, 16 January 2020

Progress Thursday 16th January 2020

Dear all,

A windy and wet day for the Pw team to be working hard on the relay just outside of Wirksworth. I believe they are on panel 3 of 4 now and are well on schedule. They have been doing an excellent job beavering away in a tight timescale.

Down the yard, one of the jobs arising with 55006 was to replace a badly worn final drive dog so the team were working away at that today.


Friday, 10 January 2020

Progress Friday 10th January 2020

Dear all,

The 10th January already! A rare day off for the PW team saw only a handful of people on site today. The 'chicken wire' was replaced on the foot crossing at Wirksworth in preparation for the new season and the exam on 55006 was finished off.

The lone ranger was continuing his quest inside the Derby Lightweight trailer car. I popped up there this morning to take a peek and it is looking excellent. The ceiling and wall panels are fixed in the rear saloon area and trimming is done. The rounded ceiling panel at the end must have been a challenge! You can now also see the unusual concertina door on the corridor end too. The toilet compartment is complete apart from the toilet seat.


Thursday, 9 January 2020

Progress Thursday 9th January 2020

Dear all,

The main thrust of the whole week really has been on the track relay project near DJW24 "Derby Road 1" bridge. The PW gang have really made excellent progress in basically a week of work with one track panel being completely renewed with new base, ballast, sleepers etc. They have now removed the second track panel and are in the process of doing it again. Its a major but vital project which keeps the railway running and their work often flies under the radar.

There aren't that many other people on site. The 'bubblecar' has had an under frame steam clean and some tidying up has been done around the new station building. The running gear checks and overhaul on the LMS BTO continues as we look forward to that entering service soon.


Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Progress Wednesday 1st January 2020

Dear all,

A cold but dry start to 2020 saw our Trains and Fizz mini event with reasonable loadings on the train for the time of year. This included DMU enthusiasts from Llangollen and Marehay. Apparently there was a solitary mince pie left at the end of the day which was quickly consumed by the driver.

One man was spotted working on the Derby Lightweight trailer car and another sorting some wood but nobody else was seen around.

There is around 6 weeks now until the season restarts on the 15th February for our Volunteering Event. If you're looking to join us that is a date for your diary. The hard work begins now with a programme of important track repairs beginning tomorrow as well as other season planning.