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,