Monday, 31 December 2007

Supplemental New Year's Eve

Dear all
I have just heard that Radio Derby plan to broadcast their "day with the permanent way team" on Wednesday 2nd January at around 0715. The emphasis should be the benefit to health and longevity of volunteering on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway!
PS - thanks to Neil for giving them the idea

New Year's Eve 31st December 2007

Dear all
A gentle day usefully used to train on the road/rail lorry to enable permanent way work to be undertaken at the weekends from time to time. During the training a load of logs was recovered from the lineside and deposited at the logging dept.
Preparations were made for relocating the "fire exit" platform gate as part of the scheme to provide a combined shop and information centre by EVRA.
Claire and Sir Peter had an "oil round" and the Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors.
On this last day of 2007 may I wish everyone a very pleasant New Year with plenty of invigorating work to look forward to in 2008.
Kind regards

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Progress Report Saturday 29th December 2007

Hi Guys

First Saturday after Xmas and we still received some visitors. Activity mainly at shed area with trenches dug and cement filling holes!! Stuart was seen continuing his work on the Electricity transfer. Faraday received a new valve so it can start again.

Mike Evans

Friday, 28 December 2007

Friday 28th December 2007

Dear all
I start by saying I am working under some difficulty! My wife was given an iPod and docking station for Christmas and in the process of installing it on this computer, with several hours of "help" from Apple I seem to have lost all access to my files and Outlook Express - thus a different route for this message was necessary - will it work?
Here goes -
Firstly some notes from Thursday prepared by John Ball and sent from the Station computer that has equally been beset by Christmas blues:-
The Shunter Dept. continued with the installation of the remaining three signs for the Idridgehay project at Wirksworth. Recycled posts were wire brushed and painted.
Further sorting of stores was carried out in the 40ft container and various engines were barred over to prevent seizure. An additional stove has been acquired and renovated for mess van.
The narrow gauge gates had some attention and the Booking Hall welcomed some visitors. The clear up of the Gatwick Express was underway and the Christmas decorations taken down.
Now - onto today!
The Permanent Way team came out in force and were accompanied by Radio Derby's Luke Barrett for the whole day. He has now been fully briefed about sleeper changing and fishplate greasing and looked suitably tired and mucky after the day's endeavours which included a total of 23 changed. Nearly a record, we must have more media in attendance.
Nottingham Castle was berthed to enable tomorrow's Ravenstor service to operate normally and the Gatex cleaning continued to remove the mince pie remains. The Mess Hall had a good clean as well and work continued on the narrow gauge track bed.
Further hardy visitors were entertained in the Booking Hall.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Eve 24th December 2007

Dear all,
A pleasant day where the trading of the final Santa weekend was accounted for and all the cash on hand was banked! This has been our best Santa season ever and all concerned should feel very proud of their very hard work on behalf of the Railway. It is not so easy to transform from the overall objective of opening the Railway to putting on a show stopper where all the Santa experiences have been surpassed by a brilliant production. Very many thanks to all the people that made it all happen. You have to say it's a funny old world that would have intrigued, and won support from, the General Manager of the Midland Railway, Sir James Alport, truly an entrepreneur!
At base Santa was inflated and visitors were welcomed. A pleasant phone call was received from a magazine entitled "Rail Infrastructure" that closely follows our testing enterprise advising that they will featuring mtt next month.
May I wish all our great team the happiest of Christmases and suggest they truly relax before even more challenges next year. I never ceased to be amazed at what is achieved and whilst it is not often said, you are all appreciated!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Santa Saturday 22nd December 2007

Dear all
Another very successful Santa Day with capacity trains. The whole day ran like clockwork with great thanks to the thespians, the catering team, the Booking Hall team and the early attendee that powered up the Gatex stock at 0730 to warm it through. Only three more trains to go!
Les (77) and Steve (?) concreted in the remaining 3 posts at Wirksworth for the Idridgehay signalling signage disposing of yet another outstanding task for this project. At the Maintenance Facility the old blue container was finally stripped and the distribution boards reinstalled in the new container. The pit submersible pump was rewired to the relocated board and the supply to the area generally tidied up.
Amongst these activities were a steady flow of customers for logs.
All in all, a very good day.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Friday 21st December 2007

Dear all
A pleasant but cold day, again, when opportunity was given to two members of the VCT to experience the vagaries of the road/rail lorry with a view to it making access to work sites more manageable. Track inspections of the Ravenstor and Gorsey Bank passenger lines were undertaken and the logging dept made a brief appearance to satisfy demand.
A fault on the supply to the Gatwick Express was remedied so that the coaches can be warmed over the weekend for Santa train participants. The Buffet Car was also prepared for the weekend and the Booking Hall was kept very busy with a pleasant rush of late Santa bookings that have helped to fill the remaining places.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Thursday 20th December 2007

Dear all
Another major thrust on the Wirksworth - Idridgehay section with 9 sleepers changed and attention given to a "crippled" rail. This latter problem possibly caused by a substitute rail being less that perfect for a freight only branch or a by product of lack of fishplate greasing over the last 20 years or so frustrating the rail's ability to expand and contract properly. However, the attention given has much improved matters. The VCT had not one, not two but three fires in the 49 steps area (these steps have now been fully audited by VCT and do total 49).
Back at base shunting and materials preparation ensured a major attack on the Maintenance Facility can get off to a good start Saturday. Opportunity was also taken to move the chassis of "Wee Yorkie" to a more convenient position for further work and Claire was put on the pit road for further investigation of her hot box problem. A further push on the narrow gauge extension was made.
The Mess Hall benefited from the attentions of Fred, Iris and Dorothy and various goodies were provided for the workers. A pleasant flurry of late Santa bookings were dealt with in the Booking Hall making it all worth while!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Wed 19th Dec

Evenin all,

The promised early delivery of a machine, was delayed, so the works
train went to Barnsley Lane by 0915, to drop of manpower and tools plus
more sleepers. The train had to return to Wirksworth in time for the
machine to start its test. Once the machine had returned to base, the
workstrain then went out to site. As a result 19 sleepers were changed
which is a very good total. The team are now at 139.25.

More track was laid on the NG site, Further conversion of the former
Idridgehay toilet suite into its new guise as an oil store. Also
Nottingham Castle was spruced up ready for this coming weekend.

Severasl vistor, sales and bookings taken in the Booking Hall.

Tomorrow sees more sleeper changing, with the train due to leave by


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Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Tues 18th Dec

Evenin' all,

Both level crossings have had their red stop discs fitted, the council
have also added the white stop lines on the roads, Mind you, Rood Lane
at Idridgehay is a single tracked road, so both sides have got stop
lines only about 4' wide/long, b eing half the width of the road!

Per wayfielded a strong team and managed to change 15 sleepers in the
area around Barnsley Lane. More tomorrow.

The VCT returned to their favorite occupation, and have started
gathering winter fuel in the 49 steps area, two goof ires to dispose of
the brash.

The 70's duo of Roy and Les have completed the digging of a channel
for the soon to be re-routed electric cable. Plastic troughing has been
laid out. More bits are arriving tomorrow.

More work on the NG line as well as chopping of firewood.

Tomorrow sees some Testing, with the works train working around it,
the train should be ready to leave by 0930.


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Monday, 17 December 2007

Monday 17th Dec

Evenin' all,

A nice quiet day after the excitements of the weekend. Roy and Les
(the well known 70's duo) carried on digging trenches for the
electrical supply. Due to the permafrost, they resorted to using a mini
kango to aid their work.

Geof carried on splitting logs that we brought up on the works train
last week, he also had quite a few sales. He had to retire at lunchtime
as the logging dept had their Christmas 'do'.

Prepping work was done for sleeper changing in the Barnsley lane area.
a subtle hint of yellow was applied to sleepers to be brushed out of
the way!

A chap continued his walk along the line carrying on his bridges and
structures survey.

The Booking Hall had a plethora of calls for bookings for next weekend
- most people wanting the train that is fully booked.


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Sunday, 16 December 2007

Santa Sunday 16th December 2007

Dear all
The dramatic freeing of Santa from the clutches of the Sheriff of Nottingham was re-enacted to the delight of capacity crowds again today. Robin's aim was questioned by Friar Tuck, a comment that will end in tears before the season is concluded. The Gatwick Express was warm and lovely thanks to Mike Evans and an 0300 switch on!
The Theatrical Company grew in confidence and tweaked their performance as the day progressed - we should be very grateful to the cast who really have put EVR's Santa offering on the map. This isn't to forget the supporting team who prepared and served the mulled wine and mince pies. The tills happily jingled in the Buffet Car and Booking Hall making an impact on our continued progress.
All in all a splendid day against a freezing background. A great tribute to all concerned.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Sat 15th Dec

Evenin' all,

Unusual for me to be reporting on a Saturday.But as this was the first
day of the Santa Specials, they wanted someone reliable - instead, they
got me!

Very busy, with all trains 90% or higher capacity, Nottingham Castle
was positioned at crack of dawn (well about 10.00 hrs.) with the
Sheriff holding Santa in the dungeon. Fortunately train loads of people
were able to help Robin and the Merry Men rescue santa. To celebrate
the young helpers got their pressies and a trip to the Buffet Car. A
testing time for all concerned and much apreciated by the families who
attended. Tomorrow sees repeat performances.

Elsewhere more construction work in connection with the modifications
to the Pit area.

L53 finally got away after a couple of dummy runs. The Low loader was
blocked in for a while but magaged to slip away around lunchtime
between trains, the car park being filled with visitors.

A very enjoyable, if hard day, well done to all concerned.


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Friday, 14 December 2007

Friday 14th December 2007

Dear all
A cold, miserable day that didn't inhibit the final touches being made to prepare for the start of the Santa season tomorrow. The formula developed last year by EVRA has certainly caught the imagination and bookings continue to flood in resulting in pleasantly full trains on all services, although a few more can be squeezed in!
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and dealt with these last minute Santa requests.
L53 remains with us after a technical failure with today's transport. Early departure tomorrow is now forecast before the Santa crowds arrive but we shall see!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Thursday 13th December 2007

Dear all
A further 10 sleepers have been changed in the Barnsley Lane area in, what can only be described as, difficult conditions. The VCT completed Idridgehay fencing, burnt much pre-cut material south of the station and repaired the iron railings on bridge DJW 12 - the river bridge south of Idridgehay.
We had to change Claire over again for Sir Peter this afternoon with continued worries about an axle box running hot.
A representative of Wm Twiggs visited to measure the maintenance facility for its sheets, roof and one side, that are be funded by EVRA to the eternal gratitude of the engineers who presently work outside in all weathers.
At base there was continued preparation for Santa with stores being loaded onto the Buffet Car, bunting strung in the quadrangle and targets to Robin Hood prepared.
L53 had its final outing prior to despatch to Ruislip and will now leave us tomorrow morning. The Booking Hall welcomed visitors and took further Santa bookings. A lone permanent way man further extended the narrow gauge and the logging team continued their everlasting task.
Kind regards

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Wed 12th Dec

Evenin' all,

The Motive Power chaps spent some time moving the main fuel pump and
installing the new Oil Store alongside, as well as more work on moving
and disconnecting the electrical supply to the old container, ready for
forthcoming work to move electrons to a better site alongside the
Maintenance area.

Some 14 narrow gauge sleepers were laid on the NG line. and a couple
more rails ran out. Two soldiers arrived to protect Nottingham Castle
from Santa. I bet they get the point if a Bubble Car driver sees them
on Saturday (first day of Santa Specials - we are running Santa
specials on extra days this year, and some trains are fully booked, not
many places left on the others).

L53 carried out some more trials on their test site, this loco will be
returning to London in the morning.

The Per way team returned to the cattle creep just north of Jebbs
lane, dozens of barrow loads of best granite ballast were relocated to
that area, so that part has been completed, more sleepers were changed,
as far as MP 139 (near Barnsley Lane)

Some more logs were brought up for the firewood generation unit and
were offloaded by their work area.

Tomorrow sees the works train away for 0930, with more sleeper
changing and clearance work around 40 steps starting.


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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Tues 11th Dec

Evenin' all,

Tube lines were again present, in order to charge up L53 ready for
more testing tomorrow. It looks lonely now than Nikki has left it -
obviously wanted to get back 'darn sarth'.

The works train firstly went to Idridgehay with some materials for the
VCT (or as we call them the bondary and fencing team. They spent the
day at Idridgehay and have now completed all of the fencing/ gates by
the Level Crossing. No one can now gain access without the keys. They
were joined by Mick and Dereck who added the alignment wheels as well
as the bolts to the main gates. they also stripped the remaining red
lights for refurbishment, as well as the red spots - they were of the
old style, new ones will replace them.

The Per way team returned to the cattle creep by Jebbs Lane where the
remaining sleepers were changed, the new panel was levelled up,
although more top stone is required. This has been quite a tricky
operation as the panel is obviously fixed to the bridge deck in the
centre which cannot be moved, everything else has to move relative to

Back at base, electrical work continued with the new lights for
platform 2,2a and 3. As well as more disconnection work in the Pit
area. The wood chopping team have nearly emptied their supply and now
wish for mor logs. They also had a bonfire to dispose of remaining
combustable material.

A day of glorious sunshine but freezing weather, all the ballast was
frozen, and the rails had a 'rine' on them adding to the difficulties.

More track refurb tomorrow, train leaves at 0930, returns at dusk.


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Monday, 10 December 2007

Monday 10th December 2007

Dear all
The main event was the departure of Shoma Diesel L2 for Ruislip after a series of tests. L53 moved to the battery charging station ready for tomorrow. Nottingham Castle visited Ravenstor on a test run and now rests in Platform 3 with the "Bubble Car" that will operate our Santa trains starting this weekend.
Telephone communication was restored in the Mess Hall and Phil's lap top can talk to the www again. Many thanks to the technical experts.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and materials were assembled for tomorrow's work by the VCT.

Santa Specials 2007

You can still book for Santa Specials for this year. Please click on the Santa banner above the news section on our homepage for more information.


Friday, 7 December 2007

Friday 7th December 2007

Dear all
Friday, normally a quiet day, was rocked with activity! A steam loco boiler was lifted for despatch to Shirebrook for professional restoration and Helen-Louise operated some running in turns following reinstallation of its coupling rods after bearing work. The "Bubble Car" worked down the line for driver training and there was a major crisis when Santa broke his moorings. The work to restore the lighting to Platform 3 in time for Santa trains continued and materials were rearranged in the Maintenance Facility area.
Steve Lyne and David Newby came in specially to achieve a lot of shunting that provided for the boiler lift and position vehicles in the Wash Green Dock for stone deliveries. They then put everything back in their correct positions for tomorrow's service train and next week's works train. A lot of work in unpleasant weather conditions.
LH were on site for some fitting work on L2 and L53 and the Booking Hall welcomed visitors and continued to take Santa bookings.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Thursday 6th December 2007

Dear all
The weather held for us despite dire forecasts and the productivity was high! A special mention today for the magnificent VCT and Fencing Gang who completed Gorsey Bank crossing with the remaining wicket gate and made great strides at Idridgehay. The whole lot looks very professional and a great credit to the Railway. The work of this team can be seen throughout the line and brings a look of quality and thoughtfulness.
Back at base, Nottingham Castle reached the final stages of construction with the interior lights completing this wonderful creation. Battery Electric L53 moved into Platform 1 and the Shoma Diesel L2 "Nikki" joined it after some runs to make sure the vehicle was fit to return to London.
During the day Phil visited the dentist, lost the weight of a tooth and stoically returned to duty - what a trooper! Drama overtook the Works Train as Claire ran a hot bearing, limped back to Wirksworth and was replaced by Sir Peter. After supporting the VCT at Idridgehay and gathering the remaining sleepers left there the Permanent Way team returned to the cattle creep area at Jebbs Lane to prepare the way for more sleeper changing.
Electrical work continued on Platform 3 to ensure the lights are available for our Santa trains and preparation was made for tomorrow's shunting and acceptance of ballast.
The Booking Hall welcomed visitors and received more Santa and First Train bookings.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Wed 5th Dec

Evenin' all,

Passing showers, they said. Bah Humbug! Torrential downpours, i call

At Base, there was a dress rehearsal for Robin Hood and Co, part of
the Santa scenario, this was to see who wanted larger tights, I
suppose. The narrow gauge line was extended and some micro-ballast, re
psitioned. there has been a great upsurge on the NG line of late, and
progress is rapid.

The generator arrived to recharge L53, the Tube Lines loco. The driver
is here tomorrow to charge it and to move L53 and Nikki into the
Platform area.

David again paid attention to the station lighting and the telephone
system, he seems to be winning.

The Per way team were working in the Jebbs Lane area, there is one
panel of bullhead rail in the midst of 110lb F/B, some of this has the
chairs cast into and bolted into a concrete cattle creep, an unusual
construction which is similar to 'slabtrack'. 13 sleepers were renewed
around this underbridge, we are very height critical due to the centre
of the panel being fixed, A few more sleepers need to be changed
tomorrow, they would have been done today but due to the downpours, we
could not see what we were doing. Also routine clearance of the
recently dug drainage ditches, which had suffered from leaves in the
dyke. These were pulled out, and the flow improved.


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Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Tues 4th dec

Evenin' all,

The long expected second Tube Lines vehicle arrived this morning.
'Nikki' , L2 of their stocklist. It is a diesell loco and joins L53 the
battery loco for more testing. They are expected to be here for a week
or so.

The fault in the telephone system has been traced. We have had
intermittent faults for a while, with the station number going down
yesterday. David and Richard B, have been swarming around the place and
are renewing the cabling system. After a new piece of string was added
the Booking Hall is back in business. As a result many more bookings
for Santa trains - not many spaces left - book now to avoid
dissappointment! We have already exceeded last years bookings.

More w work carried out inside the Incline coach and material arrived
for cielling restoration for another vehicle.

The VCT team had a mass workin at Idridgehay, where some of the
fencework around the crossing has been completed. Photos of their
endevours are on the website. Mick and his playmate in the playpen,
were busy fabricating more bits for the Idridgehay gates, including a
torsioning bar to keep the gates hanging squarely. This has been

The Per way team, aided and abbetted by two members of the Loco group
set about sleeper replacement starting at the Idridgehay end. The team
reached Jebbs lane by close of daylight, and also dropped sleepers off
for the renewal of the panel of bullhead rail 'slab track' north of
Jebbs Lane tomorrow.

The Electricity Board were also working just north of Idridgehay
cutting down trees by their overhead lines (take down as many as you

An experiment with the trackside lighting on the platform means that
platform 2 will be illuminated for the late afternoon Santa trains.

The works train was restocked ready for an early start in the morning
We will be taking Claire with us. Departure by 0930 please,late
arrivals drive to Jebbs Lane.


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Monday, 3 December 2007

Monday 3rd December 2007

Dear all
The day started with the ceremonial inflation of Santa and ended with his deflation - a process we will enjoy through the festive season, ho! ho! ho! Right, enough of all that and today saw great attention to the dmu fleet including a valeting of the "Bubble Car". The Booking Hall received a few visitors but no phone calls as there appears to be a malfunction in the wiring to be, hopefully, rectified tomorrow. A further flurry of Santa bookings were received and this season has all the makings of the best ever.
Claire had her bits oiled and greased and we were pleased to welcome L53 back into the fold late in the day. L2, a Shoma Diesel locomotive, is set to be on the doorstep tomorrow morning. Both locomotives will be with us for 2 weeks or so before returning to London.

Sunday, 2 December 2007


Wirksworth, 2nd December, 2007: The public reopening of the railway from Wirksworth to Idridgehay on 8th March will form the kickoff for the most exciting year so far on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway – dubbed “Derbyshire’s Beautiful Branch Line”.

The first passenger train to Idridgehay will run at 12:00 on Saturday 8th March and promises to be an exciting start to the railway’s “Inter Village” services which mark the breakout from Wirksworth where trains have operated since 2004. The special service, named “The Ecclesbourne Express” will comprise of a six-coach diesel railcar service with standard and a limited number of first class seats, all with excellent views of this soon-to-be-reopened railway.

The reopening train will include possibly the most historic railcar running today. An original ‘Derby Lightweight’ single-car unit, numbered 79900, but better known as ‘Iris’ from its days as a testbed for British Railways, is slated for inclusion in the inaugural train. Regarded as ‘The Flying Scotsman’ of the railcar world, Iris will provide first class accommodation for a few lucky passengers.

“The excitement is building at both Wirksworth and Idridgehay” remarked Anton Shone, the railway’s Passenger Services Manager. “The Ecclesbourne Express promises to be a spectacular celebration of two years’ hard work since we opened the line as far as Ravenstor in 2005. This first train will allow us to show the very best of our volunteers’ magnificent endeavours and place a few lucky individuals in first place to experience what must be the railway reopening event of 2008”.

The March reopening event will be a spectacular weekend for enthusiasts and the public alike. Trains will operate between Wirksworth and Idridgehay, while shuttle services will run to both Ravenstor and Gorsey Bank, giving the public the opportunity to observe three passenger trains departing simultaneously from Wirksworth Station.
Throughout the rest of the year, the railway will offer an exciting and varied service of Idridgehay and Ravenstor services in addition to several special events. First class tickets on the inaugural train are available for £25 and second class for £20.

Full details of the opening service, including booking details for the Ecclesbourne Express, can be found at the railway’s website: Enquiries can also be made to Wirksworth Station, Station Road, Wirksworth DE4 4FB or by calling 01629 823076.


Note to Editors:
The following high-quality digital images are available to downloadt:
It depicts a passenger train between Wirksworth and Idridgehay on a test run in preparation for the new services.
Depicts a passenger trains running to the south of Wirksworth. The train on the right is running a Gorsey Bank ‘shuttle’ service which have been operated since 2004, while the train on the left is running between Wirksworth and Idridgehay.
Depicts a passenger train standing in the newly-refurbished platform at Idridgehay.
Is a close-up of the train, standing next to the genuine LMS-pattern nameboard at Idridgehay.
One of the railway’s vintage railcars at the delightful and unspoilt station at Idridgehay.

Progress: Sunday 2nd December

Dear all,Welcomed a number of visitors who travelled on the Ravenstor services, but not blessed with fine weather.

Christmas decorations have been put up in the booking ready for the santa specials,
Volunteer's have been few in number, but have been down checking line as far as Gorsey Bank.

The Sheriff of Nottingham continued the building work on Nottingham Castle and is now largly completed with turrets and stonework ready for the Santa Specials.

Further work has been carried out on the 31.

Thanks to all concerned.
Duty Manager.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Progress Report Saturday 1st December 2007

Dear all,

A fine turn out today of various volunteers undertaking quite a range of
jobs. Further progress was made on the narrow gauge; engineers attended
to the class 31; 03 084 had its side rods replaced after machining;
Claire was given her weekly treatment. The Sheriff of Nottingham
continued the building work on Nottingham Castle and the castle is now
largely complete with its turrets and artistic stonework. The conscript
completed work on the new Ravenstor bench and then began the raking of
the wideway next to the incline line, and has several weeks work to look
forward to in order to prepare it for grass seeding in the spring. A low
loader attended and removed a piece of on-track plant which had been
tested and we look forward to the arrival of a further item on Monday
morning. The passenger service bobbled backwards and forwards and
further bookings were received for Santa and the Idridgehay Opening
Train. The marketing department, recently back from Itchy Bunion,
Pennsylvania, visited the site for discussions about the opening train
and two timing runs were carried out with the bubble car to Idridgehay
to allow us to sort out the 2008 timetable. The fastest run was 19
minutes, the slowest 25, which allows for differences in the stopping
place of the guards vans, the rapidity of the guard opening the gates,
the large amount of traffic and discussions about how horses are
permitted to cross. A large self-erecting blow-up rubber Santa was
placed in the platform quad to celebrate the season of goodwill and Duty
Managers are asked to turn it on when coming on duty and turn it off at
the end of the day, so that the public can admire its very bigness. If
anyone wishes to see an inflatable Panda, I am reliably informed there
is an interesting one in Ripley. At Duffield the many staff of that fine
station had cleared a great amount of tat from the platforms and
surroundings and were assisted by a number of people who have removed
the old fencing materials. As darkness fell we left them in the process
of changing the timetable boards on the main line station so that
passengers could read them under the central lights, as opposed to not
being able to read them where they had been put in a place with no
lights. I expect a full report from my esteemed colleague there at any

All the best,

Friday, 30 November 2007

Friday 30th November 2007

Dear all
The main event of the day was the reception of a paying guest testing two vehicles. This involved loading 30 concrete sleepers at Wirksworth as a test load, they were discharged at Duffield for further use as test weights.
The Booking Hall took the first confirmed group booking for Idridgehay and welcomed a few visitors. There was also the first response to our mail shot this week for two first class seats on the first public train to Idridgehay.
The Buffet Car was prepared for the weekend and the Mess Hall had a good clean up.
All in all, a good day.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Thursday 29th November 2007

Dear all
A day of crossings. The gate post holes at Idridgehay were stoned and tarmaced so that the surface is flush with the road. During the process further tidying up work was undertaken and back at base various finishing pieces were worked on including the gate bolts for fitting next Tuesday.
At Gorsey Bank the VCT turned their attention to applying the last of the white undercoat to the gates in somewhat difficult conditions and the project is approaching completion with just the south side wicket gate to be fitted.
Opportunity was taken for further driver training on Claire and after travelling to and from Idridgehay a couple of times the Idridgehay toilet "building" was discharged at the Maintenance Facility for possible conversion into an oil store. A case of a recycling machine being recycled?
To complete the round up a further section of narrow gauge track was assembled and Nottingham Castle had its dungeon added - the mind boggles.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and dealt with the first phone calls as a result of yesterday's mail out - a good sign.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Wed 28th Nov

Evenin' all,

The works train left early with a good compliment of staff, carrying
the gates for Idridgehay Level Crossing. They were delivered, using
'Claire' in its debut role as works engine. The gates were
manhandledninto position and fitted perfectly (would you expect
otherwise?) Some further fitting out is required during the next few
days, but at least they are operational. Once again yellow plant was
first across. Before anyone asks, On Track Plant does constitute a

A new firm, to us, visited and carried out testing of a new trailer.
It had two trips up and down the line with final brake testing in the
yard in the dark - most exciting.

Elsewhere, more work on the interior of the Incline coach, the
'Sherrif' continued to build Nottingham Castle,aided and abbetted by
his Made Marian, asopposed to Maid Marian. The Booking hall had more
requests for Santa trips as well as a few visitors.


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Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Tues 27th Nov

Evenin' all,

Ah! The roar of the Grease paint and the smell of the crowd.

Two customers had paid for and loaded up with firewood by 0830.
meaning more to be chopped up this morning.

The VCT team were busy at Gorsey bank, adding one of the staff gates,
and prepping work for the other, as well as some fencing work. During
the afternoon a start was made on painting the Level Crossing gates
themselves, a lovely shade of white. This not only covered up work by
some local feckless ne'er-do-well, who decided to start painting the
gates for us, it also meant that when the per way team came back from
their toils, the paint was still wet, but hey ho, seeing as my hands
were covered in grease, I got my own back.

Per way continued their task of fish plate greasing, completing
another 12 panels, so we are now one joint short of 40 steps (or
however many there are), some ballast regulating was also achieved. We
were joined by one of the Loco engineerinng team who wanted some
excitement, and wanted to see what the track looked like from ground

More progress was made on the Narrow Gauge line with another couple of
panels being built up.

In Mick's play pen, Idridgehay gates saw more work and the fitting of
bits of hinges and things.

Admin wise, a further meeting regarding the TBTC testing, with another
loco coming next week (no. I dont know - watch this space, or come on
down to see it). The quote for repairs to Barnsley Lane bridge has been
recieved. The begging bowl will be passed out shortly! Next week's
paying quest is now coming early tomorrow morning.

Work tomorrow will require all hands to transport the gates from
Wirksworth to Idridgehay and to hang 'em. plus to collect the old
toilet block, and anti Tresspass guards - for dropping off at the first
accomodation crossing north of Idridgehay.


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Monday, 26 November 2007

Monday 25th November 2007

Dear all
The day has been quite productive with Phil and I trying to understand why the road/rail lorry has proved to be prone to derailment. With the experience gained from the many machines that visit us for testing we found that by lowering the tyre pressure the vehicle was able to negotiate all our point work and raised check rail to enable a whole line weed treatment programme. The only thing that defeated it was a diamond crossing at the north end of the Yard at Wirksworth where further research is necessary.
Back at base the Booking Hall fielded the phone calls inviting us to take a number of solutions to boost our profits but offering no hard cash.
Musing on the energy devoted to sourcing the mystery photo, I have to say (and it's your fault Vince Morris) that we have a very tall order to meet our desire to open the line to Idridgehay on Saturday 8th March - it will need all hands to the pump to achieve this - so please leave your keyboard alone and join us to achieve a physical result. If the physical is difficult please put your money in an envelope to help us ensure the next milestone is met.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Progress Report Saturday the 24th November 2007

Dear all,

A day of perishing parts which saw the engineers in attendance to the
routine maintenance of the 03s, the class 31 and Claire. Work proceeded
on the advancement of the narrow gauge in the morning, which also saw
the construction of a new bench for the top of the incline at Ravenstor,
using spare wood and assorted nuts and bolts. Holes were then dug for
the insertion of the bench and once the bench was carried manfully to
its appointed place, it was then dug in and the ground around it raised
(which was easier than cutting the legs down). Unlike the previous bench
this one is designed to last at least until Derby County win the
Premiership. The passenger service bobbled quietly along and a party
from the RCTS were given the Buckby Blue Badge Tour of the yard. Later
in the afternoon work was carried out to repair the viewpoint fence and
its bench, and after a long day of hammering, banging and tightening of
nuts, we declared ourselves well satisfied. In a final moment the
weighbridge was swept out, much to its surprise.

All the best,

Friday, 23 November 2007

Friday 23rd November 2007

Dear all
A quiet and very cold day concentrated on completion the preparation of the share holder mail shot. The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and the Buffet Car was prepared for the weekend openings.
Opportunity was taken for a round up of outstanding jobs that need to be undertaken for the Idridgehay opening - as ever it's going to be a close run thing! Customer requests were tended to and a little progress was made towards the acquisition reliable on track transport.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Thursday 22nd November 2007

Dear all
Much activity and back breaking work around Gorsey Bank level crossing with the wall retained for the wicket gate on the Wirksworth side, post holes filled and tarmaced, trespass guards recovered for reuse elsewhere and the drain catchpit cleared allowing a good flow of water. The Up side safe walking route was completed and a start made on the Down side until the stone ran out. This was all achieved but a combination of the VCT and Permanent Way team.
Back a base the narrow gauge extended a little more, the bank above the narrow gauge had further strimming and is looking very neat, and the logging dept. were in action. The janitorial team gave the Mess Hall a good going over and envelopes were stuffed for an upcoming mailing to shareholders.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few hardy visitors and a piece of equipment was delivered for testing a week on Wednesday. The caps for the Idridgehay gate posts were fabricated and all but completed.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Wed 21st Nov

Evenin' all,

The main activity saw the Per way team back on the blackstuff, once
again another quarter of a mile of track had all of its fishplates
taken off and fully greased up. The team have reached the end of the
houses at Bournbrook Ave. They also managed to correct a defective
joint that occurred last week. The rail temperature had dropped quickly
and the gap had opened up meaning that the fishplate could not be
fitted properly. The temperature had risen enough today to sort the
problem out. Remember that many of these plates may not have been off
for decades, many are 'rusted' in place by the old grease. Once they
have all been freed off, then special oil can be used in future.
Believe me it is a very hard and dirty task.

More driver training on Claire with several drivers having conversion
courses including some shunting maneuvers.

More attention paid to the Level Crossing gates, this time the new
hinges for the Idridgehay gates have been tried, some refurbishment
work was carried out on the gates themselves.

A team of builders were given a detailed tour of the bridges at
Barnsley lane, where the overbridge requires serious work to the
stonework at road level, a plan was also drawn up to clear the trees
that have fallen into the river and are forming a dam against the
arches of the bridge. Naturally the responsibility lies with the local
council to keep the watercourse clear at this point, but they are not
willing to carry out the work.

'Nottingham Castle' continues to be built, it is now almost
recognisable. Rod and Mary are having a whale of a time doing the work!
Internal work was also carried out on the green Incline coach. A few
more sleepers were laid on the Narrow Gauge line and more bags of
firewood were stacked.

Tomorrow sees the filling in of the holes around Gorsey Bank where the
Level Crossing gates posts were installed, as well as gathering up the
Anti Trespass guards.


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Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Tues 20th Nov

Evenin' all,

The story of two level crossings. Firstly, Gorsey Bank had its metal
grills fitted and now awaits its final painting, and the fitting of the
red circles. At Idridgehay, the posts for that level crossing were
transported to site and fitted.

Completion of the droppiong of bottom stone for the Narrow Gauge line,
as well as rough levelling.

More removal of scrap Buffer stops and bits, a general tidying of

'Nottingham Castle' continues to take shape, ready for Santa to visit
in a few weeks time, bookings are coming in thick and fast.

Despite the heavy rain in the afternoon, the Per way team had a tidy
up session of the tool van.

Tomorrow sees a return to fishplate greasing - weather permitting.


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Monday, 19 November 2007

Monday 19th Nov

Evenin' all,

A few hardy souls braved the weather to keep things ticking over.

Another few loads of stone arrived for the Narrow Gauge line, and this
was transported to its new site. A load of pre cut scrap was
transported to its temp. home in a skip ready for onward transmission.

Also today saw the departure of the three Permaquip vehicles. These
performed yeoman service during the early days and were a regular
feature of our 'fly pasts' in the days of yore! They have now gone to
the Aln Valley Railway in Northumberland.

A visitor appeared from Chasewater, who was getting close up and
personal with the blue 0-6-0, they have an identical machine, and was
wanting to check what went where.

No other visitors, but several more bookings for Santa.

Tomorrow sees the gate posts for Idridgehay Level Crossing being
transported to site, plus more fishplate greasing.


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Progress at Duffield: October and November 2007

Sat 20th Oct (Afternoon) Watered plants on mainline,collected leaves from around office and put back on stand large water container that had blown off in gales.

Sat 27th Oct (Afternoon) Picked up litter between tunnel and bridge, removed firewood off the Down Slow Platform and delivered, inspected work done to curved track last Thursday.

Sun 28th Oct (Afternoon) Dropped off three dustbins for leaf collection around office area.

Wed 31st Oct (Evening) Cleared worst of leaves up from around office, took down and emptied office hanging basket, removed dead plants from around Gerrainiums(Which will 'Winter') in office planters, then rang Head Gardener Mrs.'D' about mainline plants.

Sat 3rd Nov (Afternoon) Took down hanging baskets at mainline platforms, moved all the rest of the firewood on large pallets from the Down Slow platform to Platform 3, awaiting member coming to collect it. Mowed the platform lawn for the last time this year,collected one large builders bag full of leaves up from around office and surrounding area, took the grass cuttings and leaves off site to be recycled.

Sun 4th Nov (Afternoon) Looking at job of changing notices in display boards at mainline, to see what special spanners would be required. Put rail trolley away and locked it up and then inspected suitable place to ask Local Council to fit Litter bin on top of A6 bridge.

Wed 7th Nov (Evening) Changed 'Friends of The Valley Line'notices in display cabinets at mainline car park and platforms 1&2.

Fri 9th Nov (Evening) Moved rail trolley down to office area to save daylight time tomorrow, inspected line fom buffer stop to just North of tunnel, checking to see if manhole chambers on that section of line had got pallets on them to protect them,removing litter from beneath and adjacent A6 bridge.

Sat 10th (Afternoon) Did some tiding up around office area,took small pallets down near buffer stop out of public view(Awaiting Phil Tarry to collect them for Shottle yard),took some sugar stone from office compound by rail trolley and placed it in signal box hole,collected more leaves up from around office area and visiting member collected all his wood from off platform 3. Duty Manager came down from Wirksworth and inspected the station site (complete) and was taken round to be shown future work planned.

Sun 11th Nov (Afternoon) Did some 'Extreme' tidying up( Getting Down on Bended Knees) around office, getting up all leaves off an area of plastic membrane to have stone layed on it. Then all the small stone ballast we had in bags brought down from Wirksworth was laid onto the area just cleaned. Also a start was made on the 'Discrete' access gate being inserted into the 'Post and Rail' fence from the car park to the foot bridge (This gate will be for Staff use only, for the time being).

Sun 18th Nov (Afternoon) Today saw quite a large number of names in our book for Duffield (7),our three usual members of staff were all busy and we were joined for the first of several weeks by two local lads doing some community work/service for their Duke of Edinburgh's award. Later a member staff's father turned up and gave a hand, before taking his son home and just as we were leaving, our usual Wirksworth member called in on his way home from HQ. Most of the tall standing weeds were removed from platform 3 and a start was made on removing new sapling growth off 'The Down Slow' platform. The last half tonne of sugar stone in bags (previously surfacing 'Rodney's Rock Garden)was taken down by rail trolley and placed in the signal box hole. All the large pallets, that the wood was on, were taken down and stacked by the smaller ones. Ten plus small tree stumps were prized up out of the track in the platform 3 area, leaving only two that could not be got out and more tiding/ putting things back in their usual place was done around the office.

Rodney Thorne

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Progress Report Sunday 18th November

Dear all,

Not been a very plesent day, rain and more rain turning to snow.

The passenger service ran, with more passenger's to Ravenstor than Saturday with the buffet car open.

The charter for George Watson private party carried on from Wirksworth -Gorsey bank as required and Ravenstor on the service train, with the party saying how much progress that has been made.Further work on the 31.

Thanks to all
Duty Manager J.Ball.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Progress Report Saturday 17th November 2007

Dear all,

Today saw the completion of Shunt of the Month, in which many items of
rolling stock were moved to create a little working space in the yard
and also to get Nottingham Castle out in preparation for its starring
role during the Santa weekends. For those of you who might suspect we
have got something no one else has heard of from the GWR, I have to
point out that it will shortly be a very crenellated brakevan.

Work continued on the narrow gauge with a new drain being put in north
of Cemetery Lane Bridge and the trackbed being prepared with ballast at
the waterfall end. In terms of priority tasks we completed the
preparation of the necessary holes for signs near the weighbridge and
opposite the dust dock, but have not dealt with the movement of scrap
today, as the conscript was particularly small, probably having his
collar felt for some minor misdemeanor such as insulting a policeman in
ladies lingerie. However, he did tidy up the area outside the
weighbridge. The passenger service ran, the buffet was open, some minor
repairs were carried out around the station and Duffield was inspected.

All the best,

Friday, 16 November 2007

Friday 16th November 2007

Dear all
A day for forward planning and review of immediate business opportunities that, I am happy to say, show encouraging signs. The Maintenance Facility tidy up and scrap drive continued energetically with the rotting blue container now empty except for its role as an electrical distribution centre. After this problem is resolved it can be cut up and disposed of.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and fielded the usual phone calls. 
The weekend's duty managers are briefed with priority activities, so please ask before commencing any task.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Thursday 15th November 2007

Dear all

Well, what a day! There was a concentration of activity in the Maintenance Facility area where the mega tidy up continued with the rusting blue container nearly emptied yielding a mix of scrap, valuable tools and Permaquip parts. (This container will be scrapped in due course) These items were filed respectively in the skip, in the new container and added to the vehicles for departure. The VCT undertook fencing work between the containers and the Incline to ensure the unsuspecting did not suddenly appear in front of an Incline train. We also welcomed a new recruit to the VCT after 44 years tending to the greens at Duffield golf course - a very pleasant addition complete with chain saw certificate.

Tripping hazards at the Cemetery Lane bridge where either scrapped or essential permanent way parts released for storage. Much work also continued on the steam locos and a start was made with driver training on Claire.

A major shunting exercise took place all day to try and achieve a more sensible berthing of stock at the north end of the Yard and release the three Permaquip vehicles to the Car Park ready for their departure to the Aln Valley Railway. Darkness descended suspending the exercise for more work another day.

The Incline dmu coach received further attention and the Booking Hall received a charter party for a Wirksworth to Ravenstor round trip at lunch time.



Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Wednesday 14th October 2007

Dear all
Phil is rushing to the Lodge Meeting, otherwise known as the Permanent Way Institute, so I will summarise the day. A start was made with the Works Train visiting the base of the Incline to unload concrete toughing and a location box recovered from Idridgehay. These will be used in connection with the power supply to the Maintenance Facility.
In the station yard much activity surrounded the steam locomotives ready to have their boilers lifted off and Nottingham Castle was under construction - quite a tall order for Rod but after the shelter on Platforms 2 and 3 should be easy!
The Maintenance Facility also had its water supply reorganised by Roy(71) and Les(77) to make it more useable and out of the way of the scrap metal skip lorry.
The Permanent Way team completed the Wirksworth-Idridgehay signage with the erection of the Gorsey Bank Up Distant and replacement of a Stop, Look and Listen sign on the Hannages. We are just left with three signs to erect at Wirksworth to complete the re-signalling part of the Idridgehay project. After this endeavour a whole quarter mile of fishplates were removed, greased and replaced, only another 13 quarter mile sections to be tackled. They worked on into darkness as the last pair of fishplates released the pent up energy of the rails contracting in the fast falling temperature, we have to wait for warmer weather to correctly replace them.
A start was made on further dmu driver training utilising the Gorsey Bank passenger line during a hiatus in Tube Lines testing and further progress was made with the refurbishment of the Incline dmu car. One member, who whilst waiting for his wife to deliver the spare car keys, commenced post hole digging for one of the three Wirksworth Yard signs. As this was the second occasion, his wife was making her way slowly to Wirksworth to enable him to dig deeper.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Tues 13th Nov

Evenin' all,

The VCT team carried on working in the Idridgehay area, disposing of
pre-chopped material, whilst the per way team were involved in more
signage work south of Shottle as well as moving a warning sign 1 meter
closer to the track just north of Idridgehay. They also recovered the
recently uplifted concrete troughing as well as a S&T Loc box from
Idridgehay. These have been brought to Wirksworth where they will be
reused in connection with electrical work in the yard. Other members of
the team carried out some boxing in of the ballast near Gorsey Bank as
well as a light bit of stoning up in the Pit area.

A team spent the day on the steam locos, preparing for their boilers
to be removed shortly. Very few visitors attended, as it was rather
cold and damp at times.

Tomorrow sees the works train being emptied of reclaimed material, the
installation of the Gorsey bank Up fixed distant, and equipping the
train for some sleeper replacement therapy.

Information has come to hand that a white transit sized vehicle is
'doing the rounds' nicking scrap. It must be remembered that scrap
prices are high at the moment and it is in our interests to be ever
vigilant to feckless ne'er do wells who have already visited other
railways in the area. Please remember to lock gates and report anything


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Monday, 12 November 2007

Mon 12th Nov

Evenin' all,

A nice quiet Monday saw a few visitors in the Booking Hall, one
visitor forming a queue at 0915 - requiring a book of stamps! A few
visitors to have a look around.

A track patrol between Shottle and Postern Lodge knocking in the
spikes and checking fishplates - all part of the routine maintenance.
Some tidying up of the GLV, and ajoining coaches following last weeks

Tomorrow sees the workstrain out early to erect the Gorsey Bank Up
fixed Distant, change a few signs, and collect material from Idridgehay
The train must be ready to depart at 0930


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Sunday, 11 November 2007

PRESS RELEASE: Senior Power Builds a Railway: Seventh Anniversary Celebrations Herald Reopening Date For Line

Wirksworth, 8th November 2007: Volunteers on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway have celebrated seven years of continuous progress on reopening the line by holding a birthday celebration and fixing a date for the reopening of the line.

On 8th November 2000, seven volunteers began to clear undergrowth in the then abandoned railway yard in Wirksworth. This came after another seven years of behind-the-scenes negotiations by WyvernRail Limited (now a plc) to arrange access to the line, raise finance and gain official permission to revive the railway for passenger trains. On Thursday, the same seven volunteers were joined by 50 more in cutting a birthday cake to celebrate astounding progress this decade and to announce some special news.

On 7th March next year, the first train in 60 years will take passengers from Wirksworth to Idridgehay. When this happens, it will represent the culmination of thousands of hours of hard work by a team of volunteers whose average age is in the 60s. This dedicated team have demonstrated that retirement from the nine-to-five can herald a new career restoring one of the most promising community lines in the United Kingdom.

One example of how our volunteers have excelled can be found with Roy and Les Smethurst of Ripley. Both in their 70s, the brothers joined the railway’s volunteers in 2004, bringing with them two beautifully-restored shunting locomotives. Roy and Les have been involved in numerous construction projects along the railway but their crowning glory must be the new platform at Wirksworth Station which they built from scratch. Beginning in March 2007, the platform was completed in October ready for the new Idridgehay service.

“Roy and Les represent the very best in our volunteers bringing our railway to life” remarked Gavin Kenning, the railway’s director responsible for volunteer liaison. “Our new platform at Wirksworth shows how dedicated volunteers can not only work miracles by turning derelict land into a lively commercial venture but illustrates how age and experience brings incalculable value to our venture” he added.

It is a testimony to the sheer determination of the railway’s volunteers that so many volunteers has stayed with the railway since the earliest days. The picture of volunteers back in 2000 shows seven people, all of whom remain active volunteers in 2007.

Tickets for the first train on March 7th go on sale in early December.


Image shows the pioneer volunteers on November 8th 2000. From left to right, they are: Vince Ware, Ian Shaw, John Gratton, Mike Craft, Martin Miller, Joe Ruddock, Phil Tarry.

Images show contrasting views of the line between Wirksworth and Idridgehay in 1999 and 2007. These illustrate the extent of the challenge facing the railway’s volunteers and the quality of the work that they have produced.

Images show similar views at Wirksworth in 1998 and 2007. From the dereliction of the late 1990s there has emerged a thriving business for both passenger services and railway testing under the banner, seen here providing facilities for London Underground’s fleet of engineering vehicles.

Image shows a passenger train at Idridgehay; the beautifully-restored country station which will see passenger services return next March.

Image shows septuagenarian brothers Roy and Les Smethurst on the platform that they built at Wirksworth in 2007.

Sunday 11th November 2007

As to be expected with the time of year, the short days give a sense of urgency to all our outdoor activities. The site was alive with activity particularly in the loco department where work was being done on the Class 31, while over the pit our newly arrived hire loco underwent routine maintenance , oil change and brake block change - before being released for driver training next week. Additional painting to 03084 was carried out between the spells of overcast weather. The newly re-metalled side rods are now back on site and are scheduled for re-fitting in the coming week. The Cadet team gave Claire a wipe down with an oily rag which transformed her appearance no end. The Passenger Dept plodded up and down the incline and entertained several visitors who were plied with tea and coffee and then sold toys and sleepers and tickets for the Santa specials.Last but not least, the Sunday P-Way team took advantage of a brief possession to do some final adjustments to the newly erected Gorsey Bank crossing gates.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Friday 9th November 2007

Dear all
A peaceful day today after the excesses of yesterday. 03 locomotive parts were delivered after being worked on at the Midland Railway Centre. A track inspection was made between Idridgehay and Shottle and the Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Thursday 8th November 2007

Dear all
The morning was spent on further work at Gorsey Bank to remedy the geophysical effects on the length of the crossing gates. They have now been cryogenically shrunk to the right size. Our new arrival "Claire" had a two man clean up and M51188 (part of the two car Met-Cam dmu) had its west side windows scraped and cleaned.
The seventh anniversary of first day of work on site at Wirksworth, 8th November 2000, was celebrated by over 50 working members by a mystery excursion followed by lunch. The train was the two car Met-Cam set following a creatively planned route and lunch on board the Gatwick Express was a splendid affair. It's not often we pause to relax but all concerned enjoyed themselves. Great thanks are due to Dorothy who masterminded and prepared the magnificent buffet and all who helped cater to the masses. It was also a delight to welcome Lorna Bentley and I hope she will join us more frequently in the future.
Kind regards

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Wed 7th Nov

Evenin' all,

Another huge step forward today saw the arrival of a 'new' loco It is,
I am told, a Hudswell Clarke diesel Hydraulic 250 hp 0 - 4 - 0 called
'Clare'. Built 1970 (ex works). It spent much of its life at the Avenue
Coking plant near Chesterfield. This loco is on hire to us. 'Faraday'
aka 'Sir Peter and Lady Hilton', has born the brunt of the renewals
work for several years, and is ready for some serious servicing. The
idea is that Clare will take up the role played by Faraday, when
drivers are trained up. It is expected to be a real boon for works
trains. Clare will reach Duffield in about half of he time taken

A new stores container arrived for the Maintenance area, existing
containers were moved around so as to create a better working area.
Much Per-way and S&T material was moved to Shottle yard.

The Per way team again went to Duffield, and managed to change 3
sleepers and install more Gauge Tie Bars to reinforce the 15 chain
radius curve. The work involved is quite time consuming,as radius, cant
and linespeed are taken into account when calculating the width of

Work continued on the fitting of Gorsey Bank Level Crossing gates,
where, due to the coefficient of linear expansion, plus the rotation of
the earth x the effects of global warming and the approach of the next
ice age,The Southern gate is fitting a treat, the northern one is being
worked on and should be working properly by tomorrow evening. Full
fitting out continues.

In the yard, Pat was strimming in the area of the children's Play
area, whilst the firewood dept attacked their work with attitude as
well as a chain saw.

The Booking office also had some more enquiries re Santa specials,
which are selling out fast - book early for the limited seats
available, to avoid disappointment.

Tomorrow sees the workstrain out about 0930 with more lifting work
(manual) at Gorsey Bank.


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Gate Hanging photographs online now!

The photographs of the new level crossing gates being hung at Gorsey Bank are now online. You can view these on our Fotopic gallery for Progess, accessible via the Multimedia section at the top.


Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Tues 6th Nov

Evenin' all,

Well, at long last, a good old fashioned hanging in Gorsey Bank. The
new gates for Gorsey Bank level crossing were transported to site today
and were hung in position. There still required a bit of work o make
them fit snuggly, some white paint, locks to be fitted, grills to be
added,etc. etc. But the fact remains that after an absence of many
years Gorsey Banks has gates back. Whilst we were at it, the fencing
team (AKA the VCT) fitted some palisade fencing panels across the 'rat-
run' leading to the play area. For a long time this has been a thorn in
our side.

We also responded to a call from a local farmer, whose cattle appeared
to like trains and who had found a way onto the track. The application
of some fencing wire has closed a number of cattle creep points.

A number of people came to examine the steam tank engines as part of
their survey, before further work is carried out.

More logs sawn up and sold, stocks replenished.

Tomorrow sees the works train in Duffield carrying out further track
improvements as well as some minor adjustments to Gorsey Bank crossing


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Monday, 5 November 2007

Monday 5th November 2007

Dear all
In someway a sad day as L53 left the site to return to the LH Group for further work after its testing cycle. There would now seem to be a hiatus before any further vehicles are received, probably into the New Year.
We did welcome an old friend to the Railway in the shape of Permaclipper 51639 that had languished with us for many years before being purchased by Balfour Beatty for refurbishment. The machine travelled the whole line in connection with its certification for use on the national network. It's a funny old world.
Confirmation was received that the machine to move the Gorsey Bank gates into position will arrive tomorrow so there will be more photo opportunities.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Progress Report Sunday 4th Nov 2007

Dear all,

A day of many parts. Some gardening was done. Some work on the narrow
gauge was also done and the Lister was started and poddled up and down
the newly laid section of track with the tram, looking rather like a
mouse herding an elephant. The passenger service also poddled, as did
the till. A small clerks conference was held, risks were assessed and
various forms filled. The batteries were charged on the class 31 and its
interior decoration continued. The newly hung car park gates were
adjusted and the signs moved to go with them. The yard shunt signal had
a disc replacement and is now again in pristine condition. The Duffield
Station volunteers and their new hi-vis hats visited Wirksworth and were
displayed to the admiration, some might have said incredulity, of all

The entire and utter weekend permanent way gang first went down to Alton
Manor to remove mud from a selection of sleeper tops before a luncheon
of sweet and sour chicken. After luncheon, the entire and utter
permanent way gang went up to Ravenstor to fix the broken gate. Having
fixed the gate, the gang then recovered a bench from the far end of the
incline with the assistance of the train crew and brought it back for a
plank to be replaced. The gang then purchased himself a can of diet coke
and returned to Ravenstor with the keying hammer and walked the entire
Ravenstor Line by way of routine maintenance. The rest of us were quite

All the best, Anton

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Progress Report Saturday 3rd November 2007

Hi All

About 25 bodies came to see us. Several families walked to the Stone Centre.55006 had a full day on the Incline with both heaters working early AM but were soon switched off being quite a mild day.

Both ground frames had a good oiling. A massive sort out of P-way materials has taken place today and the re-usable components are now awaiting onward transmission to central P-way stores.

The area near water crane was cleared by Steve and his merry band and Richard and Vince reasssembled the works train for Mon AM. All in all a very productive

Mike Evans (via Tim Moore)

Friday, 2 November 2007

Fri 2nd Nov

Evenin' all,

The green 03 has been over the Pit and has hd a routine servicing and
cleaning, the blue 03 has had its roof wire brushed, cleaned down and
treated as well as undercoated, as part of its refurb. The Shunter
group also managed to find a few minutes to fabricate a heavy duty
steel cover for the Interceptor tank. The Interceptor tank has now been
commissioned and is substantially complete.

The Narrow gauge team have been busy laying track, using their new
junior per way trolley, They have also managed to hang the replacement
gates at the end of the car park. Please remember that the gate by the
Kave cabin, now opens outwards.

A smattering of visitors and enquiries regarding the opening services.

pp Steve

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Thursday, 1 November 2007

Thursday 1st November 2007

Dear all
I have to report exhaustion! Many of you will know how enthusiastic I am about walking but, today, I have managed the walk from Wirksworth to Idridgehay without the Air Ambulance being called out. You may say why? I was in the company of the Railway Inspector  together with Phil and Mick Thomas as we had the first pass at the inspection of the line. It is fair to say that there are a number of tasks still to be achieved and also fair to say that we were complemented on the amount of progress we had made in the last three years. A very useful and productive day.
Meanwhile, life continued with T53 visiting the pit and then undertaking some test runs prior to its departure for greener pastures on Monday. There was a whorl of activity to extract the two crossing gates for Idridgehay and present them to Mick Thomas for preparation for their new role.
Down at the Maintenance Facility the first use of the interceptor pit proved to be successful and maintenance of our dmu fleet continued.
Much activity was in evidence on the narrow gauge extension and the electrical department have indulged a passion for grey paint.
The Booking Hall welcomed visitors on this special day. Special thanks are due to Dorothy who prepared the catering for the HMRI visit - we remain paranoid about presentation which has paid dividends with regulatory bodies and customers. Today was no exception.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Progress Report Wednesday 31st October 2007

Evenin' all,

Lots of activity again in the warm autumn sunshine, Running North to
South, the activity was more or less as follows:-

Roy and Les rendered the intercepter tank and started making the cover
for it; more green paint was applied to the Incline coach,

The narrow gauge team seemed to have Plant zooming around with
sleepers, rails and stone going in all directions.

More work was carried out on the new Trap Point protecting the main
line through platform 2.

Some members of the per way team continued to regulate the ballast
between Wash Green and the Hannages Footcrossing, the result is most
pleasing. Other members gave the pointwork a touch of lubrication, a
dirty job, but one that is done every few months. Hylton took stock of
requirements for the big attack on Fishplate greasing and bolting up.
This task will involve many hands over the next few months.

Paint was also applied to the Idridgehay Gate posts as well as the
home for the Power station.

At Idridgehay, the concrete for the crossing gates was delivered and
is now going off with the bolts for the gate posts cast in place.

We welcomed a new customer, who brought a special trolley for testing,
they also invited representatives from London Fire service, Network
Rail, CTRL, London Ambulance to see the emergency vehicle in action.
No photos are being published at this time, but the vehicle with six
burly chaps standing up ran to Duffield and back - such was the speed
and battery life, we also proved that the lighting was working
properly! Representatives from Derbyshire Fire and Rescue were also in
attendance. I firmly believe that further new business will result.

A busy day all round


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Special Events 2008 now online!

As the official website of the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, we are proud to bring you the new 2008 Special Events information first!

Usually, we wouldn't make such a fuss over the events calendar, but this coming year contains arguably the most important event in our short history - the opening of the line between Wirksworth and Idridgehay. This is the start of the big break out of the Wirksworth area.

Whilst full details of this event will be released in due course, the dates are pencilled in there for you to browse! As it is likely to be busy that weekend, travel on the train must be pre-booked and details of how to pre-book your journey will be released shortly.

To view the events for 2008, please use the "Ticketing and Trains" link at the top, followed by "Events 2008".



Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Tues 30th Oct

Evenin' all,

Once again, multi tasking was the order of the day. Some sleepers were
taken up to the site of the Intercepter drain, by the Maintenance

Per way split into two teams, one made a start sorting out the ballast
dropped by Wash Green yesterday, whilst the other half was at
Idridgehay completeing the form work ready for the concrete for the
crossing gates.

The VCT were busy near Gorsey Bank, working in the Up Cess, clearing
the brambles etc., away from the new sign etc as well as clearing the
Up walkway.

In the Car park much was achieved on the Narrow Gauge line with much
ballasting, cutting of sleepers and people wandering about with lengths
of rail under their arm!. Opposite them the Logging department prepared
more bags of firewood.

Two machines were on site for Testing, they were Unimog based water
bowsers, which also doubled up as towing vehicles when the situation

The Pasenger Dept had a stocktaking day and also had several visitors.

Tomorrow sees another company testing their vehicle, they are bringing
several people to 'give it the once over'. More ballast fettling on the
Hannages, as well as concreting .

One unusual request came this afternoon, from the local constabulary
- some tables previouly stolen from the Town Hall were located in the
Hannages Brook, the best way to recover them was to convey them back to
base by rail, where they were collected by the Council.


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Monday, 29 October 2007

Monday 29th October 2007

Dear all
Again, a day of great activity with the late running of today's customer giving us the opportunity to put some ballast down on the Wash Green to Gorsey Bank section and then dribble what was left along the stretch opposite Bournebrook Avenue. Whilst the standard gauge was being ballasted a team were also ballasting the narrow gauge with an assortment of equipment including a mini digger, dumper and fearsome wacker plate.
Roy(71) and Les(77) together with Chris (21?) made steady progress with the interceptor pit and we welcomed a visitor from the Aln Valley Railway who may purchase our redundant Permaquip fleet. Further preparation of the Idridgehay gate posts was undertaken.
The Booking Hall was kept busy with our visitors and the usual phone calls.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Progress Report Saturday 27th October 2007

Dear all,

A pleasantly busy day on a selection of fronts. The engineering dept
proceeded with the rectification of Sir Peter's injector pump and also
dealt with cleaning of the fuel filter system and on the class 31 the
air side of the radiators also continued to receive their bicentennial

Adjacent to the shed road the blockwork was completed on the new
interceptor pit as far as ground level and is now ready for the
re-inforcing concrete to arrive next week. Please do not pump out the
pit until the interceptor is finished.

A multitude of volunteers were seen to be at work around the children's
area, where the ramp has been stoned and also around the narrow gauge,
where ballast was being applied to the section of track in hand. The
ramped part of retaining wall of the Baileycroft dock has also been
cleared to show it off as a feature.

A steady day's business was done by the Ravenstor Line and the traincrew
also attended to the cleaning of the Trailer Car, an attractive task
which can be continued tomorrow, the luggage racks are always a nice
place to start.

If weather permits (the forecast is bad, however) the sleeper tops can
be cleared of mud around mileposts 139 and 140.

All the best, Anton