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.