Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Website Updates and Kirtley

Evening all and Happy New Year,

Firstly, for those of you who read Phil's report and thought it not possible, there is a full resolution photograph of Kirtley conquering the summit at

In other news, a page has been created with various bits and bobs regarding the Home Fleet Gala and there is also a new version of the stock list available for you to download.


Wed 31st Dec 2008

Evenin' all for the last time this year,

The Spring cleaning of the yard continued, with the Per way team
collecting assorted sleepers from around the yard, some went for
regrading, whilst reusable ones were transported to Shottle. More scrap
was recovered.
Please remember that the Museum line must now remain clear from Rod's
Cabim northwards to the 3 way point.

The Shunter team resumed work on Kirtley, changing the batteries and
working on some plumbing. Kirtley ended with a run up the Incline and
behaved well.Buffers were also taken off the donor loco for exchange
with the bad ones on Faraday.

Some light shunting of the DMU stock was also undertaken.

This has been a year of great expansion for our railway, next year
promises to be even more so. All our different teams have worked well
and have achieved a great deal. The next 20 months should see us
opening to Duffield, so there remains a great deal to do. Many thanks
to all concerned who have helped with this project.

Have a happy New Year and I shall expect everyone back to normal next


50% off the best games of 2008 -

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Tues 30th Dec

Evenin' all,

A day of much endevour, with many members turning up to work off the
excesses of the Yuletide spirit,

A hyper mega shunt of the yard meant that some vehicles were exchanged
on the Museum line, with the Shark transferred to the paint shop,
whilst the Ogre's castle was put on the Museum line. Loco 11520 was
also promoted to the vistors area.

The Gleaming steaming team turned out en masse and enjoyed themselves
working to free the foundation ring whilst others were needle gunning
the tank. Routine servicing and clearing of D2158 following its work at
Duffield recently. Routine servicing also took place on Faraday and
antifreeze was placed in the radiator of Kirtley.

The VCT gang went down the line to carry out some emergency fence
repairs south of
Shottle, some replacement stiles are also required. They then returned
to the Old Lane area, where they managed three fires and recovered some
further scrap chairs.

Several visitors came for a look around, and some logs were sold by
the logging Dept., who were also here mob handed creating more bags of
logs to sell.

David Statham has now been discharged from hospital following his
recent heart attack and is now at home - now the boring bit starts,
believe me! Hoping for a speedy recovery.

Once again some serious admin work to meet deadlines for the end of
the year.

Tomorrow sees more crealance in the Yard at Wirksworth.


50% off the best games of 2008 -

Monday, 29 December 2008

Monday 29th December 2008

Dear all
A lone brave soul joined us today and conducted maintenance of the cross drain and catch pit on the Hannages. Phil and I remained in clerical mode doing much good work! The phone remained quiet but there were a few very hardy visitors looking round the site.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Progress Report Sunday 28th December 2008

Dear all,

I have been asked to convey the following report on behalf of Mr John
Ball, Duty Manager:

A dry if rather cold day with a modest number of passengers using the
Ravenstor service, but at least into double figures.

The conscript and his close personal friend completed the primer
undercoating of the Briefly Green Container and this is now ready to
accept its gloss coat of magnolia and burgundy, unfortunately we don't
have any gloss magnolia or burgundy at the moment, but in any case it is
rather too cold for gloss to dry effectively.

In the department of engineering, major work continued on D2158 in the
general area of its parts. Also in the department of engineering a
wide-ranging movement of valuable railway artefacts took place to enable
the generator which was formerly in Iris (when it was a test car) to be
mounted in the engineers container, in order to provide power to weld
DMUs and save us having to transport said DMUs to another nearby
heritage railway famous for its Much Bigger Shed and proximity to the
Butterley Pie and Tart Shoppe.

In the division of Lavatorial Infrastructure, now under the supervision
of Mr I C Todger, some cosmetic work has been taking place to ensure
that the Staff can be used more comfortably as Emergency Ladies in the
future, and a whole £7.99 has been spent on a new mirror. If the paint
is not dry in the morning please do not sit on the seat.

All the best,

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Progress Saturday 27th December 2008

Evening all,

In a day where the volunteer count nearly matched the midday temperature, moderate progress was still made.

This morning, the team concentrated on doing a few more jobs on the 119 restoration project. Every little bit of progress helps! Down at the station, our stationmaster kept one eye on the booking hall and the other on todays single conscript who has made a pretty decent job of undercoating the 'new' model railway container.

This afternoon saw a private birthday charter train to Idridgehay followed by a very late lunch in the buffet car laid on by external caterers. I think they had a good time even though it was very cold!

Long live warmer weather...

Mike Evans

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Xmas Eve Progress 2008

Hey all,

As there wasn't a progress report sitting in my inbox when I got home, I thought I would update you on what had been happening. I didn't want anyone thinking that just because it is Christmas Eve that nothing had been done!

This morning, the logging department were in action and the booking hall was also open for business. The usual Wednesday clean up and empty the bins task was performed. A few other administrative duties were also performed by the clerical department.

Down the yard, two members put in a full day on the Class 119 restoration project with a lot being achieved in a day. It is surprising what can be done in a day when there is nothing else to interrupt.

Have a Merry Christmas - and don't drink too much!


Christmas Eve Wednesday 24th December 2008

Dear all
Thanks to Leigh for today's notes and I would like to wish all of you a great Christmas - you deserve it! Wirksworth Station and our line will be closed for the next couple of days but if any of you are out and about near any part of the line please just have a look to make sure we are secure and have no unwelcome visitors.
Onwards to 2009

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Tues 23rd Dec

Evenin' all,

A day of little activity. However the Dream Steam Team were here mob
handed (nearly), they needle gunned, removed studs, worked on cylinder
covers , and generally had a jolly time, and finished all of the minced

The woodcutters were here and chopped wood, some logs were recovered
from north of Cemetery Lane. The Passenger Services dept were busy with
phone calls, as well as some visitors.

A lot of end of year reports were carried out in the Admin centre, as
well as future planning.

Next Tuesday, we require train crew as a big shunt is required in the
yard, to move the Shark and numerous other vehicles for customer

As far as progress is concerned, I have been looking back over the
notes of late. In December last year we were struggling with fishplate
bolts at Gorsey Bank, when the rail temperature dropped sharply and we
had a devil of a job to reconnect the main line. That was part of the
fishplate greasing. Since then we have completed and had inspected the
line to Idridgehay, which is now open for passenger running, making us
the longest heritage line in Derbyshire.
A Narrow gauge line has been completed and now awaits signing off. The
Gatex got into its stride as a Buffet and has also been transformed and
will be dealing with the public seriously next season. The VCT have
worked miracles on clearing lineside growth and have opened up the
views. Locos and DMUs have been worked on under cover and have managed
to keep the trains rolling.

This has been a fantastic year and next year will be even more so,
with new equipment and opportunities in all departments. After all, who
knows what the future holds. I know that the whole team have worked in
a great fashion and will surely rise to the challenges yet to come.

May I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Christmas, and hope to
see you next week.


50% off the best games of 2008 -

Monday, 22 December 2008

Monday 22nd December 2008

Dear all
A day of measured calm after the hectic weekend. The dmu fleet were filed in the correct order for a charter on Saturday and the last service trains of the year on Sunday. Space was created at the north end of the "Museum" siding to illustrate to our new customer, Harsco Track Technologies, the area that they will occupy on a semi permanent basis. We also journeyed with Harsco to Gorsey Bank were we plan to create a section of heavily canted track for test purposes.
Today's young offenders were concentrated on clearing Platform 1 of moss that has sprung up around the bases of the buildings and the Logging Department were in production to meet Christmas demand. The proceeds of a legacy in the form of a large model railway were united with a container donated by Belper Model Railway Club and installed by the Weighbridge. I am promised that the container will be painted in house colours in the very near future and we hope that this will be a further facility to encourage a longer stay by our visitors.
Contractors were employed by EVRA to conduct tree surgery north of the Cemetery Lane bridge where the Inspector was concerned about the possibility of falling branches onto the narrow gauge.
Yet more stock was absorbed by the EVRA shop. I think it is really a Tardis, and the Booking Hall fielded a number of the usual phone calls.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Santa Special Sunday 21st December 2008

Dear all
Well, this year's Santa season drew to a close after a weekend of full trains and universally happy passengers. A really large vote of thanks is due to the team that makes it all happen from present selection and purchase, processing the bookings and despatching the tickets, producing the booking form, assembling the drinks and mince pies, mulling the wine, entertaining the children both at the Ogre's Castle and on board the Gatwick Express, preparing the "set", serving the visitors, cleaning up between trains and at the end of the day and delivering a world class product. Today's passengers took the time to specially mention the admiration they felt for all the team and there is no doubt the Railway benefits significantly from the goodwill the whole project produces.
Further thanks are also due to Mike Evans and the dmu team who were on hand like the fourth emergency service to ensure the trains behaved faultlessly also managing to continue restoration of the Class 117.
Visitors were welcomed in the Booking Hall and attracted to last minute stocking fillers and the EVRA shop reported a satisfactory trading day.
Another day that fills you with pride in what is achieved on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Fri 19th Dec

Evenin' all,

Let there be light!

Anton has been busy fixing new ornamental lights on the outside of the
Admin block and the foot crossing between the platforms. They have been
wired in for the short term and are operational. The ones on the foot
crossing are switched on in the Weighbridge. The ones on the Admin
suite are on a timer from Martin's office. Well done.

The IMT carried out track inspection which included checking
fishplates between Idridgehay and Barnsley Lane, several bolts were
tightened up, the cross drain on the Racing Straight had to be rodded
again but yielded to pressure. This will have more machine attention
W/c 12th Jan. The team then carried out a track walk on the Incline so
that it is ready for the intensive workload over this coming weekend.
Nearly all Santa trains are fully loaded this weekend with some people
booking today. We have got a waiting list!

A minor check was carried out on our new Landrover, and it was given a
good wash to get it up to our standard. This vehicle has come to us
from Harsco Track Technologies, who have been using us for testing work
in the past. I am delighted to say that a new contract for testing has
been agreed between us, on a similar basis to Sperry Rail. This is
excellent news and provides them with testing and storage facilities
and gives us a good income for further work. Harsco were testing
yesterday and are very pleased with the improvements made since their
last visit. They were very complimentary on the clearance work done and
pleased to see that our yellow landrover uses their rail gear (we have
had spares for that vehicle from them). Another cause for celebration.

Certainly the hard work of members carrying out track upgrades as well
as the huge amount of clearance work achieved, is paying dividends and
as we saw on Wednesday the potential for passenger traffic heading
south suddenly appears much brighter.The fact that a two car set went
to Duffield on the 'Workers special' shows what can be done, and what
needs to be done. With the first steam hauled passenger train from
Wirksworth to Duffield booked for October 2010, there remains a great
deal to do, but with the aquisitions made this week and further income
sources coming in, the prospects seem very good indeed. A big well done
to all concerned, it is a great team effort which allows us to look
forward with greater confidence.


50% off the best games of 2008 -

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Thursday 18th December 2008

Dear all
A satisfying, if somewhat long, day with early and late shift customers. The first customer brought a new road/rail lorry varient and also delivered a new addition to our fleet in the form of a further road/rail Landrover. This had its first outing on our line accompanying the second customer with a road/rail electrification support vehicle whose test ran on into darkness. On site to talk with both customers was Network Rail's road/rail vehicle supremo who was pleased to be updated on our endeavours along the line. Opportunity was taken to discuss new business opportuinities that may see another "Sperry" like arrangement - a quotation has been prepared!
In amongst today's testing the VCT accomplished a final clear up at Jebbs Lane and then moved on to the Old Lane area. A neighbour waited on them with teas and coffees, apolgising for the lack of biscuits "as the grandchildren had consumed them all". I must call round and discourage these interuptions to productivity.
Down at Duffield there was further brush bashing by our lone representative there and two more attractive lamps were positioned on the Wirksworth Office for future wiring up. A special mention for Pat Craft who restored the Gatwick Express after yesterday's event finding a great deal of food ground into the carpets - I must cut down on the portions in future. In between vacuuming Pat also managed sales from the EVRA shop to sundry visitors who seemed particularly interested in the large collection of bus orientated books that have been recently donated.
Patrick Keef returned with a new axle and wheels for the narrow gauge manrider and supervised the tests of the air braking system between the car and Lesley the Lister. All tests were satisfactory and we are nearly ready for the final signoff by HMRI.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Wed 17th Dec

Evenin' all,

Today saw the slightly delayed 8th anniversarry special and Christmas
'do' for the working members. Iris and the Bubble car ran around the
yard and Incline before setting off to make a non stop run to Duffield
- at least it was planned as a nonstop run, but we found some sheep the way just south of Shottle. We ran non stop from Duffield
back to Wirksworth where a sumptious feast awaited us (it says here).
It was the first time that we used outside caterers for this event and
it was a little less in quantity than one might have hoped.

Certainly it was a chance for those who work in the Booking Hall, or
who work back at Wirksworth to have a whole line trip - one forgets
that some members have not been down the line before. The changes that
have taken place are truly awesome (dont you hate that expression). A
great thank you to everyone who has helped out throughout the years.
Also thanks to the team who helped with the catering, it was a scratch
team who achieved very good results - thannk you

Sperry Rail were also here today carrying out some driver training
with their Unimog, they also had a run down the line.

Found Property - A Whistle has been found in the yard, attached to it
is keyring from another preserved railway. If it is yours and you can
name the railway, the whistle is in the office.

Tomorrow sees not one but two companies coming for whole line testing,
there is little opportunity for trackside work.


50% off the best games of 2008 -

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

The Great Machine Day - Tuesday 16th December 2008

Dear all
An intrepid team ventured to Bracknell today to view three road/rail Komatsu machines and see whether one of them would be suitable for the task of flailing the whole line. Having satisfied themselves that a machine would be worth the considerable investment the deal was done! We are now the proud owners of a piece of equipment that should transform the lives of the VCT, is also capable of lifting up to five tonnes and will arrive with a variety of other useful attachments. This has all been possible by a group of donors with one particularly large contribution and great thanks are due to these people. We have paid a substantial deposit and will pay the balance on delivery to Wirksworth in the new year - we have truly moved up a league.
Less dramatic events back at base but useful tasks were achieved. The Steam Team removed 20 studs out of the dome and four from the manifold fastening. 10 wash out plugs were retapped and attention given to the gauge glass stand and fire door boiler fitting. The Buffet Car was prepared for a large party tomorrow and a start was made on fitting some attractive light fittings discovered by Anton. These are in keeping with the station "image" and a great deal less expensive than the Midland Railway reproductions that have moved out our reach economically.
The VCT and PW team joined together to have a final clear up between Jebbs Lane and Barnsley Lane. Fencing repairs were completed and each team had their own fire with the PW team claiming victory for the amount of brash consumed. Logs were gathered and delivered to the car park to satisfy a lively demand for this product. The PW team also gave the cross drains on the "racing straight" another good rodding with satisfactory results although a more radical solution will be needed in 2009.
The Booking Hall maintained a presence and further sales of Santa means that we are approaching 100% capacity this weekend.
Another very good day.

Monday, 15 December 2008

Monday 15th December 2008

Dear all
A pleasant and profitable day where we welcomed a new customer to our test facility. The sun was shinning and the customer had a successful day in Wirksworth Yard, on the Incline and at Shottle, expressing great satisfaction with the professionalism of our organisation. We said goodbye to L44 Battery Locomotive as it departed for Ruislip and many thanks to Richard who was dragged from decorating the Buckby Christmas tree to move L44 to the car park.
Faraday received a service and new glass was offered to the driving compartment of the Museum GLV.
The Booking Hall dealt with a few visitors and continued enquires for our remaining Santa trains.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Santa Sunday 14th December 2008

Dear all
A very satisfying and exhausting day as the Santa Special programme got into its stride. Everyone on site played their part which included the preparation of the train for service, the positioning of a second train alongside Platform 2 to aid the safety of passengers and then the trains were disposed at the end of the day. Visitors were welcomed and checked in at the Booking Hall, guided either to the train or the Buffet Car if they arrived early and then boarded for departure to Ravenstor. After seeing Santa and meeting the cast of star performers the cue for mulled wine was given to Wirksworth and the train gently returned. The mulled wine, mince pies and fruit juice was served at seat in the Gatwick Express coaches and on the departure of each set of guests the train was readied to receive the next party. At the end of the day the train was vacuumed throughout and all glasses washed up so that all is neat and tidy for next weekend. I mention all this as it does seem to fall on the same faces to deliver this most excellent and much praised product each year and we all should applaud their endeavours and perhaps give them a little more help!
In addition to the Santa activities the EVRA shop had a good trading day and the train preparation and disposal team filled their day with more restoration work on the Class 117 dmu car. The Youth Offending Team took the opportunity to achieve a little more ballast fettling on the narrow gauge line. A special mention for Steve who fitted the much needed door closer on the Gents toilet and John who repaired the closer on the Mess Hall.
The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway at its best.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Sat 13th Dec

Evenin' all,

I know what you are thinking......Whats he doing here again. Well
today was the first day of this years Santa Specials. We ram three
trains from Platform 3 up to Ravenstor where Santa was with Jack and
the Beanstalk (Oh no he wasnt.. oh yes he was) The customers saw the
Giant (Fe, Fi Foh For, I am the Giant of Ravenstor), and also saw
Henrietta and the golden egg. The trains were driven by Jack, etc. etc.
After visiting Santa the guests returned to Wirksworth for Mince pies,
etc. It is a good tried and tested formula which works very well
indeed. Congratulations to everyone involved It was day when everyone
mucked in together - even the Duty Manager was waiting on and doing the
washing up. Everyone enjoyed the event and much favourable comment was
made.The rain fell nearly all day, just stopping when the last train
arrived back at Wirksworth. The Buffet Car and Gatex were fully in use,
and everthing worked perfectly, Passengers were pleased that the DMU
was heated!

Another team carried on with the restoration pof the 117with attention
being paid to the windows and their surrounds.


Discounted hotel bookings -

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Thursday 11th December 2008

Dear all
A bitterly cold day that saw us welcome Battery Electric Locomotive L44 and say goodbye to dmu Class 177 Trailer Composite Lavatory which has gone to kick start the economy. The VCT headed for and area halfway between Jebbs Lane and Barnsley Lane proudly announcing that they had achieved 2 and one half fires - the only people on site to remain warm. The PW team venured to Duffield for the last time for a while and completed the installation of a working point lever and the two short rails that maximise the length of the siding for the time being.
A further burst pipe in the Buffet Car was repaired and the hired in dehumidifier ran all day and then was off-hired. Heat has been left on so that all will be well for the first of the Santa days this Saturday.
The Booking Hall had quite a busy day and the platforms were gritted as the surface was trecherous.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Wed 10th Dec

Evenin all,

Another cold and crisp day with activity mainly centered at Duffield.
Once again the Per way team split into two. One team completed the
jacking and packing of the turnout, then the whole new layout was
packed with the 'Kango' hammers. The turnout is now reasonably secure.
The other team dropped stone in the siding line and then ran out some
more sleepers and also installed the next two short rails. Tomorrow
sees the end of work at Duffield for the moment. We now have a short
operational siding.

Back at base, the checking of the First Aid boxes was completed, and
the burst pipe in the Buffet car was sorted out. The carpets were dried
and the heating left on to further aid drying out prior to the weekend.

The Firewood dept were again in full swing to catch up with orders.

The Booking Hall team dealt with some more enquiries regarding Santa
Bookings - not much time left.

Tomorrow sees some light shunting in the yard before going to
Duffield. Duffield arrival time expected to be 11.00.


Discounted hotel bookings -

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Tues 9th Dec

Evenin' all,

A cold and crisp day with brilliant winter sunshine. Just the day for
some light exercise. So the Per way team set off for sunny Duffield,
all the junction and lifting plates were sorted on the new pointwork
and most of the turnout has been jacked and packed - no one cold after
that! The rest will be completed tomorrow. Rodders put in an
appearance, but when offered a shovel so that he could help, he claimed
that he didn't know which end to sit on and beat a hasty retreat.

The VCT continued work near to Jebbs Lane, where a big area has been
opened up and a new fence errected, they had a two fire day - probibly
cold! More logs were produced, these were collected by the returning
works train . So another customer will have a warm Christmas. Our own
logging and Firewood dept chopped some more firewood for those who want
hand crafted logs

Back at base, Santa's little Grotto has been completed and outshopped.
It is ready for the massed hoards that will arrive this weekend. The
inside is a closely guarded secret but Rod and Mary have done a really
good job in converting the Brake Van into a Giants castle Fe-Fi-Fo Fum

The Dream Steam team lept warn using the boiler of No 3,, they have
turned it onto it side and have extracted the Foundation Ring - sounds

As the Booking Hall was unmanned, until Pat Lidgett turned up, there
was a flurry of last minute bookings for Santa, which Martin had to
deal with, Martin was glad when he had some back up to take over the

Dave N, found a burst pipe in the new Buffet Car following the cold
weather and started bailing out the vehicl ready for the weekend -
Remember to leave the heating on in the Buffet Car whilst this cold
weather keeps up.

Fred and Iris gave the Mess Room a good sort out. There was another
very generous contribution to the RRV fundwhich means that a visit will
be paid next week to hopefully bring the purchase of the machine to a
satisfactory conclussion.

Tomorrow sees further work at Duffield, works train leaves at 0930 and
arrives at Duffield around 1030 ish. Tomorrow and Thursday will see the
conpletion of the installation of the point, and hopefully its
commissioning as well as a short siding being made available.


33% off Norton Security from Tiscali -

Monday, 8 December 2008

Monday 8th December 2008

Dear all
A bleak, damp and grey day sapping most enthusiasm for outdoor work. Nonetheless, one brave soul tended to the dmu fleet and readied the redundant Class 117 trailer car for its final journey. Sperry Rail attended so we could move their vehicle to facilitate the release of Santa's elegant new home for his occupation this weekend.
A lot of form filling took place to see whether we might access a little financial help towards the "Dash to Duffield" and the Booking Hall was occupied with a few phone calls.
PS - we now begin the countdown to a further performance by Rand and the Band in the Malt Shovel this coming Saturday

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Progress Sunday 7th December 2008

Evening everybody,

Today was the day when thoughts began to pop into your mind whilst you are on the drive to Wirksworth, with the car's thermometre reading -5 degrees, about whether or not the trains would start or indeed whether there would be any public to travel on it.

First thing, with ice everywhere, a small team set off the young offender, his minder and his minder's trainee cleaning the old grime off the formica inside the 119. There were reasonable results with this although there is still alot to do. Other conscripts arrived soon after and began to fettle the narrow gauge ballast. With all six conscripts sorted out and working, it enabled the team to get on with other jobs.

At the back of the shed, the Dream Steam Team continued with their boiler whilst at the front, a small team began to prepare the DMUs for Santa Specials. Just before lunch, the crunch time came and it was time to attempt to start the service train. Everybody knew that this would be hit and miss but with ice on the windows, inside and out, 55006 gradually bubbled into life very slowly and received a cheer afterwards. Diesels do not like the cold! It was worth it though as there were quite a few people milling around in the winter sunshine. The booking hall and EVRA shop relieved people of some money as they passed.

After lunch, work continued on the Santa train. As there is a minor issue with an engine on 51188 the decision was taken to couple the 117 power car on the front of the two Met-Camms creating a three car for the Santa Specials but also giving the train a little bit more insurance against the weather next weekend. Whilst underneath the train, opportunity was taken to oil various bits and pieces as well. This consist was then taken on a test run to Ravenstor creating quite a stir in the windows of the houses that grace the incline. I don't think they had ever seen three car passenger stock in their neck of the woods!

Elsewhere, Rod began to apply the finishing touches to the castle for next weekend but couldn't resist a play with the new narrow gauge toy that had arrived earlier in the week.

It was such a fun day (bring on Summer),

Mike Evans

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Progress Report Saturday 6th December

Dear all,

A sunny winters day which saw the Wirksworth Christmas Extravaganza
bring us two passengers and the Egyptian Tourist Bureau three more,
consequently the on-demand service to Ravenstor chugged bravely up the
hill, but only briefly.

Engineering work proceeded apace however, and a compressor was replaced
on D2158 and this locomotive is now operational. In the class 31 the AV
board was exchanged. The class 119 Appreciation Society appears to have
gone shopping but a small contingent proceeded with a large amount of
screwing (technically, unscrewing) and the ceiling panels are now off
ready for further work.

Around the station, the quad was decorated for Christmas and the full
panoply of of coloured lights was turned on causing a brown-out in
Gorsey Bank. A set of PW lights has also been put up to illuminate the
crossing, please note these have been carefully adjusted not to shine in
people's eyes. Further work was done on the gents door, which has now
received a door stop, though not yet the promised closer. Please note
this door sticks a little at the moment. Will station staff please note
we have used all the salt, however there is some sand in the weighbridge
in the event of icing, and doubtless a road bin can be raided in an
emergency, while we await deliveries.

Duffield Station was inspected and the staff there were found to have
been undertaking further work on the fencing.

All the best,

Friday, 5 December 2008

Friday 5th December 2008

Dear all
A day of gentle progress with Santa's grotto approaching completion and the decoration of the station at Wirksworth beginning to come together. We have a bonsai Christmas tree, these are hard times, but I am sure it will be tastefully decorated in time for start of business tomorrow! Meanwhile, Anton has been applying the corporate image for Wirksworth and generally ensuring we have a "Santa" feel for the Town's launch into the "feel good" for Christmas.
Track inspection has checked the Idridgehay to Shottle section for loose clamps prior to welding and unearthed some lift fishplates necessary for the Duffield installation. For the EVRA narrow gauge project a "manrider" was delivered from Alan Keef - this looks a little bit like secure transport to a penitentiary but I am sure will be modified to be warm and cuddly

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Thursday 4th December 2008

Dear all
After a slushy start the snows gradually cleared enabling the PW team to return to Duffield and secure the first two rails of the loop and clip them up. The VCT followed to the Jebbs Lane area where a further 50 yards of fencing were secured following the great escape of cattle at the weekend. This was a very wet process as they were working in snow and water that was knee high. Their visit to the area also yielded more logs and the creation of the customary fire for the brash.
Back at base a replacement PIR light was fitted to the south end of the Training Room and the Logging Dept had a day of housekeeping following the completion of the Shark renovation. The new gents toilet door received a coat of gloss on the interior side and it is declared they are open again in time for the Santa season to the relief of all intending visitors.
Pat and Mike returned from an excursion to London proudly bearing a Runners Up Certificate from the National Railway Heritage Awards - The London Underground Accessibility Award - for Idridgehay Station. Not bad when they were up against multi million pound projects at Durham and Hull!
There was a lot of white collar work as the likely costs and timescales were reviewed for the Idridgehay to Duffield section taking into account the experiences of the last couple of months. It was decided that after a tidy up at Duffield over the next two weeks we would concentrate on the "Hustle to Hazelwood" and you will all be pleased to know that the next six months are now mapped out!
We also welcomed two kind donors who were responding to Mick Kingsley's appeal and provided funds to ensure the road/rail flail will be ours with just a little more input.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Wed 3rd Dec

Evenin' all,

Another day with a hard frost but a clear crisp sort of day,
absolutely right for some gentle exercise.

The Per way team headed south and collected a wagon load of logs and
made them ready for a customer to collect. The team then continued to
Duffield where they split into two teams. One team replaced some track
material inside the tunnel, including three new sleepers, baseplates
and spikes, and packed the joint. The other team plated up the first
panel of the siding and started clipping down, a lot more work before
it can be run on though. An early finish was assured as we had to pick
up the empty wagon and reload with logs, unfortunately the load had not
been collected. Possibly just as well as we have almost run out of
logs, certainly not another wagon full

Back at base, the Shark got further attention to the rain strips and
other fixtures, whilst Stuart continued with the wiring up of the
various power tools etc in the maintenance area.

Martin was busy being creative. Also Pat L stepped in to the Booking
Office at short notice to recieve more enquiries and bookings for

Tomorrow we will meet at Wirksworth - subject to weather conditions.


33% off Norton Security from Tiscali -

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Tues 2nd Dec

Evenin' all,

A cold and snowy day, but a day when several 'roun-tuit' jobs were
carried out.
The VCT headed south to repair a length of fence near Mp 139, where
cattle had been wandering, new posts were inserted and fencing material
was added. work will conclude on Thursday, but the beasts are secure.

The Per way team had a sort out of the tool van as well as the Brake
van following intense activity, some restocking was also carried out.

Faraday had repairs carried out to the fuel coupler and was released
for service after lunch. The Per way team carried out some shunting
before venturing down south to collect a wagon full of logs, which were
duly unloaded for the woodcutters dept. More to be collected tomorrow
for an increasing list of customers.

The Dream Steam Team were busy at their end of the yard where
sandboxes were readied and painted as well as more boiler/firebox
works. The Shark had work done to the roof and is now almost ready for

Down at Duffield, some clearing up took place in the environs of the
cabin and more fence panels were added to the boundaries in various

The Gents toilets at Wirksworth had some more TLC applied after the
new door was fitted last week.

Tomorrow sees the works train departing by 0930, collecting more logs
and detatching the waggon en route for some further work at Duffield -
sorry I dont know that arrival time.


Savings and Debt Help from the experts -

Monday, 1 December 2008

Monday 1st December 2008

Dear all
After last week's excitements there was a small pause for breath today. However, despite it being bitterly cold the dmu team completed the base preparation of the Class 117 roof and used the Bubble Car to shunt the Works Train into Platform 1 so that the contents of the Tool Van can be rearranged tomorrow ready for the next part of the plot.
Faraday was serviced and awaits Steve's ministrations before returning to service and a few last minute jobs were achieved on the Shark. Templates were made for the new windows to be fitted into the driving cab of the Museum Coach and the Booking Hall was kept fairly busy with a few sales and Santa enquiries.
The usual first of the month invoicing flurry was somewhat warming and it was good to take a booking from a new MTT customer.
Where is this global warming?

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Progress Sunday 30th November 2008

Evening all,

Its been quite a productive day where yet again the temperature barely got above freezing all day.

First thing this morning the decision was taken to venture to Duffield to collect the works train that had been stabled there during the week. Unusually, DMUs would provide the motive power for this task. After the bubble car and 117 power car had been connected together to run in multiple they ventured down the line. Once the consist had passed Hazelwood it was a stop/start affair as all of the trees and bushes that were going to hit the train were cut off. There is still alot of work to do! The train finally arrived at Duffield station three and a half hours after leaving Wirksworth and coupled up to the four goods wagons. Incidentally, this is believed to be the first DMU on our line to visit Duffield Station since a Cadet Special in December 2006 and it is also the first DMU consist over the fresh new pointwork laid this week! The units then pulled back the wagons at line speed as if they weren't even there. Such a strange consist forced people into taking random photographs from bridges as the train passed. Just for the record, DMUs are still not allowed south of Idridgehay without specific permission from the DMU Manager.

Back at base, Rod started early putting some finishing touches to the castle ready for Santa and the Christmas decorations were hung inside the Booking Hall. Iris ran the service today and there were loadings on each run, with some of the passengers splashing their cash in the EVRA shop.

A large Dream Steam Team were also in action down the yard making various bits glow and a team of two conscripts fettled the Narrow Gauge.

All in all, not bad,

John Ball

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Progress Report Saturday 29th November 2008

Evening everybody,

In a day where the only train movements were Carline Drains & Co in the Land Rover, much was done under the blanket of fog which didn't lift all day!

Down at the shed, some of the Class 119 team were busy applying Anti-Corrosive Green slop to the steelwork that had been prepared in previous weeks. This paint stops the rust from reforming. EVERYTHING was painted including the walls, ceiling and floor (some by accident). Meanwhile, on the other side of the shed the acid etching paint was applied to the roof of the 117. It is probably too cold for this to be effective but only time will tell.

The younger offender and his minder performed more stripping in the 117 centre car shell.

Those of you who have had nothing better to do will have noticed on the webcam a strange fortune tellers tent that had been erected in front of the Gents toilets. Unfortunately, Mystic Meg was nowhere to be seen though, as the construction was merely to aid the drying of gloss on the toilet door. Inside, our esteemed Station Master painted away to the warmth of a fan heater. There was much interest from visiting public, who availed themselves to yet more Santa bookings and stock from the EVRA shop.


Mike Evans

Friday, 28 November 2008

Operation "Gateway to the Peak" Day Five Friday 28th November 2008

Dear all
The culmination of a fantastic week with the addition of more ballast to the new pointwork and further progress on the Duffield loop track bed. A further Mermaid load of "muck" was moved off site and the first rails dragged and lifted into position to form the first panel of track for the loop. A fine lunch, with no expense spared, was obtained from the Duffield chippy and our visitors were presented with a goody bag before setting off back to base with their ears ringing with thanks for a job very well done. I think, Howard, it can be said without fear of contradiction that we witnessed the first train ever in Derbyshire driven by a Ghanaian Private with the name Emanuel.
Margaret-Ann and the Works Train had a very cautious journey to Duffield and back in the unrelenting freezing fog. On return to Wirksworth this evening she unfortunately expired with a compressor fault.
Great thanks are due to Phil for all the forward planning and management of the project as well as all the volunteers that turned out during the week, worked long hours and supported this first joint effort with the armed forces. We certainly had the pleasure of meeting and working with a very fine bunch of men. 
Back at base the IMT checked the Ravenstor and Gorsey Bank lines together with the Wirksworth to Gorsey Bank section of the "Main" line. Many artefacts were gathered to act as "props" for a production of "The Ghost Train" to be performed at the Darley Abbey Village Hall.
The Booking Hall received visitors and phone calls - surveys, mobile phones, energy supplies etc. etc. and an opportunity was take to give the Mess Hall a "do".
A fine end to a very, very successful week.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Operation "Gateway to the Peak" Day Four Thursday 27th November 2008

Dear all
Another quite amazing day with the new Duffield point being completed with the final closure rail. Some jacking and packing made the installation safe to run over at low speed and the first train duly passed over it so that we could begin to load "muck" into the Mermaid side tipping wagon and two loads were transported northwards. The loop track bed from the pointwork to the north end of the existing platform has been graded to accept future construction. The train operations with the Mermaid had a dual purpose to not only provide from some material to be moved off site but also to enable the Army personnel to have some experience of driving and guarding. We firmly believe that we have achieved the first ever Ghurkha driven train in Derbyshire! Happily this unique experience was captured by the Derby Evening Telegraph and should be published after the team have returned to base.
The VCT journeyed to an area some 200 yards north of Jebbs Lane where there had been reports of fencing defects allowing cattle to stray onto the line. The fencing was examined and found to be in good order but opportunity was taken to achieve more culling resulting in a very large fire.
Back at base we entertained Sperry Rail who gave SRS242 a run up and check over and the dmu manager emerged after a day working on the Class 119 project. Rod & Mary were in a creative mood to devise a beanstalk theme for the Met-Cam set - they looked very pleased with themselves!
The long running Shark refurbishment drew to a close so that we can offer the vehicle to the C&W dept. in the near future for a check of its running components. Some gardening was progressed and yet more stock was sorted for the EVRA shop.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and fielded yet more annoying phone calls.
Another exceptional day.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Operation "Gateway to the Peak" Day Three Wednesday 26th November 2008

Dear all
Margaret-Ann successfully powered the Works Train to and from Duffield without incident enabling the mini digger to participate in today's spectacular progress. The point work has been fully assembled and the installation only requires one section of "closure" rail to be cut and installed tomorrow, together with a little ballast, before low speed movements can pass over it. In addition to the Army there was a record turnout of volunteers and pressed men to achieve a massive amount of work and the project remains well on Phil's tight schedule. I am reminded by the Station Supervisor at Duffield that he keeps the messing facilities up to scratch and disposes of the inevitable debris after luncheon has been taken. His efforts do not pass unnoticed! 
Tomorrow sees the last full day of Army presence and, after the pointwork is made safe, we hope to enable them to experience the removal of "muck" from the site and operate our side tipping wagon together with some train operating.
A visiting Network Rail representative was conducting their annual survey of embankments at Duffield and Wirksworth. This together with the annual structure survey is a most helpful and generous process that is a great help to us.
At base there was further activity with the Shark renovation and the Booking Hall was kept busy with a variety of visitors and enquiries. The Finance Manager worked his magic with the figures, visited the bank and brought our accounts up to date.
Another great day.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Operation "Gateway to the Peak" Day Two Tuesday 25th November 2008

Dear all
Again, the main event of the day was the continued endeavour at Duffield which saw the "plain" line rails removed and the component parts of the point laid out with the first section fishplated up. The Army contingent arrived punctually to be joined by a large number of volunteers followed on by the Works Train conveying the mini digger that had left Wirksworth at 0830. Our visitors were introduced to surveying, cat scanning and the use of an impact wrench expressing that these were firsts for most of them. It is clear that the plan devised by Phil has been just what they were looking for and bodes well for future activities.
Faraday unfortunately disgraced himself on the return journey by failing at the south end of Bournebrook Avenue leading to a rescue, already in the contingency plan!, by Margaret-Ann but causing a rather late return to Wirksworth. Margaret-Ann will be the Works Train engine tomorrow to ensure we can keep the project on schedule.
Elsewhere the VCT returned to the Jebbs Lane area and reported two fires, one large and one very large, bringing their joint achievement to four as I had failed miserably to mention their tremendous efforts last Thursday.
The Logging Dept. was in full production almost exhausting their supplies and wanting more! Housekeeping took place at Wirksworth with Fred, Iris and Dorothy dealing with the Mess Hall and Training Room and David tending to an errant Mess Room door catch. Pat Craft was seen gardening (amazing so soon after her stroke) and receiving a great deal of stock for the EVRA shop. The Steam Team doggedly pursued their efforts with No 3 and completion does not seem that far away - they will be wanting a bag of coal next. The new Gents Toilet door and frame received a coat of primer but, owing to an unfortunate incident, most of the tarmac around the door also has been primed.
The Booking Hall welcomed some visitors and dealt with the usual phone calls including the quickening interest in Santa. Another first was the inaugural customer for the de luxe BuyaGift "Drive a Diesel" day who has booked a date in early February.
Another most satisfactory day.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Operation "Gateway to the Peak" Day One Monday 24th November 2008

Dear all
It was a delight to welcome some significant muscle from the Army today who have been tasked with a significant week of work at Duffield. After the customary welcome and briefing at Wirksworth this morning they journeyed to Duffield to commence the task of laying in the northern pointwork for the eventual run round loop. With volunteer help through the week we should have made a considerable impact including the installation of the pointwork, shortening the "main" line to the south end of the present platform, added a couple of panels to the north end of the loop and shipped off site a significant amount of material that has accumulated there over the years. Today saw a long engineers train leaving Wirksworth at 0830 to deliver a section of train that will reside at Duffield for the week and a north section that will transport the mini digger to and from site each day. Additional movements were undertaken to collect the Sturgeon from Wirksworth with a section of track needed to complete the pointwork and Faraday has covered some 50 miles throughout the day.
The mini digger has prepared the trackbed for the loop and planned headshunt through the Tunnel and the rails to be removed to accommodate the point have been "de-fishplated" and a start made on removing the elastic spike from the chairs. Many thanks are due to the team that manned the Works Train for a long day and got the week off to a flying start.
Back at base two dead cells were changed in the Met-Cam 2 Car set and after some proving runs the solution seems to have resolved the unit's starting problem. Roy (72) and Les (77) have fitted a new frame and door to the Gents Toilets so this facility can be made available for the upcoming Santa season and, again, we are grateful for their efforts in sub zero temperatures.
The Booking Hall received a surprising number of hardy visitors and fielded an inordinate number of telephone calls with a catalogue of amazingly tempting offers.
To repeat, a really great start to what promises to be a most exciting week.
PS - we have left rolling stock at Duffield for the first time and advised the Police of their existence. However, if any members are passing by at unsocial hours, a check on their wellbeing would be helpful.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Progress Report Sunday 23rd November 2008

Dear all,

A slight chill in the air saw the day start with the ritual clearing and
salting of the platform, which, typically, finished just in time for the
sun to come out. The first despatch of the day saw Carline's Drains and
Rods off to Alton Mill bridge in search of a blocked drain and although
this was found it proved intractable to the heroic manpower available
and the team therefore proceeded to Duffield where they were able to
make very encouraging progress identifying and clearing another catch
pit and cross drain north of the tunnel. The Duffield staff themselves
were busy preparing the station accommodation for tomorrow's sudden rush.

Back at Wirksworth, a long list of routine tasks was attended to
including further litter removal from many parts of the site; the
recovery of blue fencing from the former picnic area; the repair of
signs both at the dust dock and at the north end of platform 3; the
clearance of two bins from the garage area; the fitting of new blinds in
the Booking Hall and the repair of the staff toilet window.

In engineering, the class 119 Appreciation Society (Conscripts Branch)
completed the rust removal on the panelling at the south end of the unit
begun yesterday; railcar 51188 had its door handles repaired; and
battery charging was undertaken on the class 20 prior to a short test run.

All the best,

Friday, 21 November 2008

Friday 21st November 2008

Dear all
A scene of mayhem today with a derailment on the Incline, gauge spread, run through at Wash Green crossover and a car struck by a runaway at Gorsey Bank taking the crossing gates with it. Luckily we had 12 Rail Accident & Investigation Branch Inspectors on hand to deal with these events. Happily these were scenarios for their training day and all is well! Many thanks go to Dorothy who provided the food for their lunch and Fred & Iris for setting out the Buffet Car and organising the presentation of an excellent repast.
Whilst chaos reigned the Works Train transported the mini digger to site and then returned to conduct much shunting to form the train for start of work next Monday. As the day progressed much preparation for next week took place with the acquisition of fuel for the hand tools, loading of the rail drill, fetching a hired in catscan and the provision of domestic supplies.
The dmu team were out in force to move the painting of the 117 roof towards conclusion and dealing with water ingress into the south end cab of Iris.
The Booking Hall kept busy with visitors and phone calls and the Station Supervisor at Duffield had a good day readying the accommodation for next week's invasion.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Thursday 20th November 2008

Dear all
Another most pleasant and productive day with, as has become quite normal, activities on many fronts. The penultimate day of the Wirksworth navigation saw the entire length of the ditch cut between Mileposts 140 and 139 with the water now flowing most satisfactorily leaving tomorrow for a tidy up process. The PW team concentrated on this section changing two rotten sleepers that were "found" by the mini digger and digging trenches between sleepers for four new cross drains that will contribute to keeping the whole stretch of trackbed dry. Some cleaning of mud and debris from the sleepers was undertaken but there is much more to be done before we drop some nice clean ballast.
Sperry Rail UTU 5 returned for more tests on the Gorsey Bank and Incline lines. This was accompanied by a useful discussion as to our relationship into the future as the first 12 month contract is drawing to a close giving confidence that we remain their preferred destination. Repairs to the Shark bodywork are drawing to a conclusion with a view to the vehicle being made available for C&W inspection next weekend prior to entering the Maintenance Facility for painting.
The end is also in sight for the major upgrading of the Buffet Car electrics and final preparations made for the Rail Accident & Investigation Branch training day tomorrow. Two sandboxes from No3 were cleaned and painted to a very high standard.
I need to record great thanks to Network Rail and their contractor for the river bridge strengthening at Whatstandwell that has lead to the donation of a significant amount of track materials to our project. These were uplifted today and transported to Shottle and will aid the proposals for Duffield to be initiated next week.
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors and fielded the usual phone calls
All in all, another very satisfactory day.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Wed 19th Nov

Evenin' all,

The mini digger has now reached the Sough at Callow Park. Steve
reckons that he has shifted 2.500 tons of vegetation, felled tree
trunks, slurry and mud from the 'Racing Straight' over the last 10 days
- not bad!

The works train continued to Shottle to pick up the rest of the
troops. The last 'bad joint was cut out and new closure rail added. The
run from Idridgehay to Shottle is now much better and awaits the next
visit of the welders. Other members of the team travelled the section
gathereing odd offcuts of rail and the unusable bits which will go into
store until the price goes back up again. After lunch, a start was made
on the north end of Shottle loop. Several sleepers on the main line
were moved and many base plates were positioned. We ran out of time to
put the firstv rail in, but it is not far off.

Back at Wirksworth, Stuart carried on fitting the electrics to the
workshop area. Roy and Les (the famous 70's double act measured up the
toilet door to the Gents, and will no doubt return with a newly
fabricated door and frame in due course. Both Santa's Grotto and the
Shark Brake Van continued to get some refurbishment, whilst the Buffet
Car was readied fo some guests on Fridqay.

Generally speaking a very busy and productive day.

Tomorrow sees the works train delivering the digger at 0830 before
returning to Wirksworth. to pick up members who will be working with
the digger to remove tree stumps etc.
Shottle access will be closed tomorrow.


Do you value your identity? -


Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Tues 18th Nov

Evenin' all,

After a damp start, it turned into a lovely day. The digger was
again delivered to site by 0900, and magaged to clear another 50 yards
or so of drainage, before the works train went to Shottle. Two 60'
rails were dragged into position by the Shottle North Trap point,
before we set off for a site north of Willow Crossing. Two further bad
joints were removed and a rail was turned. This leaves one more bad
joint between Idridgehay and Shottle. A new culvert was also located
and an attempt made to free the water. More work to continue. The Disc
Cutter was returned to us after repair -someone had been running it on
neat petrol!! Mixed 2 stroke fuel is in the green can.

The VCT repaired a stile on the Hannages before continuing with their
clearance work between Jebbs Lane and Barnsley Lane.

Back at Wirksworth, the Steam Team continued with boiler work on No 3.
they were removing the sling stays. More work continued on the Buffet
Car refurbishment, with new lighting and fittings being added. The
logging department were in full swing and will be requiring more stock
shortly. The Booking Hall remained fairly quiet, but remained open
until the works train got back so that they could make some money. The
EVRA Bookshop had a restocking session after several recent sales

Tomorrow sees another early start, with the works train leaving
Wirksworth by 0830. It will continue to Shottle arriving by 0930. It
will then return towards Idridgehay repairing the last bad joint, and
collecting bits and pieces, hopefully a start will be made on Shottle
Loop (or as we call it a Siding)


Get away from it all. Bargain breaks from Tiscali -

Monday, 17 November 2008

Monday 17th Nov

Evenin' all,

What a soggy, mizzly day, but are we down-hearted? Well, perhaps a
tad. The ditching train was away at first light once again working
north fromAlton Manor towards Callow Park. The rains will be flushing
the water away, anyway.
Some shunting was carried out in the Shed, with various coached being
shunted to allow painting and maintenance to be carried out.

Much paperwork and planning being finalised for the Duffield project
starting next week

Some further repair work to the Shark, which should be back in use
shortly, John in the Booking Hall had a very quiet day, apart from
people wanting to sell us things!

Tomorrow again sees an 0830 departure from Wirksworth picking up staff
at Shottle North at about 0930.


Get away from it all. Bargain breaks from Tiscali -

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Progress Sunday 16th November 2008

Evening all,

There was a plethora of volunteers on site today performing all sorts of wonderful tasks across the whole empire!

The Passenger Department were out in force today, not only carrying reasonable loads of passengers to Ravenstor, but also carrying out other station maintenance tasks. Our new Deputy Stationmaster took the opportunity to walk the whole site at Wirksworth litter picking whilst his 'boss' hid in the stores tidying them up! Other small jobs were also completed including fixing the First Open trolley locks and repairing the gate verge. A timer has also been added to the Station Overview webcam, so there is no need to interfere with that camera any more.

Bright and early this morning, some paint was added to the drivers desk of the 117 and the Class 20 Locomotive Society were seen charging their batteries before throbbing off down the line behind Carline Drains and Co for some driver training. At the rear of the shed the Dream Steam Team were in force once again and were making very good progress.

Whilst the paint in the 117 was drying, the opportunity was taken to carry out another task from the endless list of jobs to do on the 119. It was pulled down into the platform and with the aid of a pressure washer, a body wash was completed and the moss was blasted off. At the same time, the washing equipment was used to give the GLV a clean down externally too.

Some more adjustments were made to the Giants castle ready for Santa and down at Duffield, some carpentry was done inside the cabin.

John Ball

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Progress Report 15.11.08

Dear All,

A small but perfectly formed team of volunteers showed up on this rather damp November day, with most of the activity happening down the yard.

The first meeting of the Class 119 Appreciation Society was held and lots of old drawings, photos and mechanical parts were studied. Mr Billing brought with him a large pad to create a task list and this is filling up with great rapidity! A start was made on the Class119 restoration and luggage racks were removed. The first class compartment was also cleaned out so that the real work can begin next week.

Meanwhile, we were visited by a group from the Lancashire Locomotive Society, they took many photographs and "griced" all of our rolling stock.

The booking hall and the EVRA shop fielded the usual enquires.

All in all a useful and productive day.


John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Friday 14th November 2008

Dear all
A surprisingly pleasant end to the great ditching week with the endeavour reaching the south side of the Derby Road bridge. Again progress was quite slow due to the number of tree roots to be removed that had previously blocked the route of the ditch and the end of the "first cut" is in sight for early next week.
The IMT checked the Ravenstor and Gorsey Bank lines together with a portion of the "main line" between Wirksworth and the Hannages. It is pleasing to record that this regular maintenance process is demonstrating that problems are progressively dealt with and eliminated. The Works Train conveyed the mini digger to and from site taking a well earned rest for most of the day.
Ian the Australian investigated ingress of water through the roof ventilators of the Incline dmu coach and found faulty seals are causing the problem. Two solutions have been proposed to the dmu manager and a decision is awaited as to which one should be applied.
More loading of stock was undertaken for the final model railway exhibition of the year in Burton on Trent taking place this weekend and the Buffet Car was readied for service on Sunday. Sperry completed their verification of the line between Hazelwood and Duffield revealing no unexpected faults.
The Booking Hall received a few visitors and responded to Santa enquiries. Planning continued for the weeks ahead leading up to Christmas.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Thursday 13th November 2008

Dear all
A dreary, dank day that saw the works train departing at the crack of dawn again to drop off Steve and the mini digger on the "racing straight" and continue on to Shottle and Duffield. PW materials were loaded at Shottle and dropped at Duffield ready for the Army project the week after next. This included 30 sleepers and pipes for the drainage channel through the tunnel. The pipes were laid and covered in stone so that the mini digger will have a suitable spot to detrain. Opportunity was taken to rod the whole run from the north of the Tunnel to the outfall into the holding tank within the new development. This was possible because of the sterling work put in by Anthony Carline and his weekend team and represents a considerable saving on what we thought would be a wholesale renewal of the Duffield drainage system.
In order to achieve these tasks a quite weighty train was assembled yesterday that placed a heavy demand on Faraday. With the convenience of a siding at Shottle the return load was lightened there for the return to Wirksworth. Progress on the Wirksworth navigation was somewhat slower today due to the number of tree stumps to be wrestled out to free the ditch up but each day sees the sodden track bed gradually drying out which is a most satisfactory result.
The VCT ventured to an area north of Jebbs Lane and introduced a new recruit into their ways. The new recruit enjoyed her day and vowed to return next week! The Sperry team worked south of milepost 139 verifying previously obtained data and it is pleasing that they found no problem areas.
The dmu team were out in force and, as a result of a generous donation, were able to fill the tanks of all their vehicles and continue with routine maintenance. The Shark project continued and induction of the newly appointed Assistant Station Master was completed. Many congratulations to David Woodhouse for taking on this important task.
Another very good day.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Wed 12th Nov

Evenin' all,

Another early start saw the works train leaving Wirksworth at 0830,
with Steve and the Digger being delivered to the Alton Manor and Callow
Park Navigation by about 8.55. The train then continued to Shottle
where a large number of volunteers were waiting. Three bad joints were
cut out and new closure rails added. It would have been more but there
were problems with the Disc Cutter ( which has now been sent for a
service). Meanwhile the old and trusty reciprocating saw was fetched
out of retirement . Other rails were laid out for continuing work next
week. The Wednesday Luncheon club had two sittings so that work could
continue. We had to leave site early to collect Steve from the swamp.

Sperry Rail were on site very early, they had results from their tests
from an earlier visit and had to check the results It is remarkable
what faults may lurk which the eye cannot see, and this is excellent
training for them. They will be returning tomorrow to continue proving
their data.

Grotto branch of the Dream Steam Team continued work on the boiler of
No 3. More electrical work was carried out in the Buffet Car, things
are now really taking shape. Wiring of recently acquired machine tools
also continued to help in the maintenance of our equipment. Work also
continued on Santa's Grotto and further maintenance to the Shark
Ballast plough.

Today saw the arrival of a 12 ton servicing crane, this is for use in
the yard and will assist in numerous projects It has come from Etches

Fred, Iris, Dorothy and Howard all were involved on the domestic
front, not only servicing the Mess Room , but in carrying out winter
planting in the planters at Base.

Tomorrow sees another 0830 departure from Wirksworh, in order to
partake of the solar lighting. We will be giving Steve a hand at Alton
Manor before loading up with materials from Shottle to transport to
Duffield, where some prepping work will take place

Download Movies Now -


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Tues 11th Nov

Evenin' all,

The Works train was away by 0830 with the Digger actually starting
work on the Racing Straight drains by 0900'. By the time the machine
was picked up another 100 m had been cleared and a new ditch dug.

The Per way team joined the train at Shottle and spent some tinme
recovering material, repositioning the concrete sleepers that had to be
moved fror the welders. Another bad joint was cut out, and another lake
was disposed of by clearing out a drin. The two minute silence was

The VCT stopped by the Digger to render any assistance before
continuing to the area between Jebbs Lane and Barnsley lane for more

A boiler Inspector dropped in on the Dream Steam Team, and was very
satisfied with the work carried out thus far on N0 3.The front
Tubeplate has been removed, whilst more boiler descaling was carried
out. Once again Spring Cleaning took place.

L5 completed its EMC test, and has now departed.

Further work was carried out in the Buffet Car to improve the
electrical fixtures and fittings. David N has been plodding away on
this task for several weeks. It is rather difficult as the Buffet Car
has to be open for business at weekends. The Booking Hall dealt with
its visitor and once again had several enquiries for the Sant Specials
as well as the usual people not selling things but merely carrying out
a survey!.

An abridged mention from our collegue at Duffield says that a little
more strimming was carried out. I thought that I would omit the bits
about it being a warm sunny day, whilst the birds were merrily
twittering in the trees etc......

Dont forget, that tomorrow, the Works Train will be leaving Wirksworth
by 0830 and will be at Shottle by about 0930 - members to join at
Shottle after signing in at Peak Oil - there are still vacancies for
drivers and guards for the next two weeks. Leaving Wirksworth by 0830.


Download Movies Now -


Monday, 10 November 2008

Monday 10th November 2008

Dear all
Today saw the start of the great drainage project to tackle long standing problems between mileposts 140 and 139. A frustratingly late start was endured due to the late delivery of the minidigger from A Plant after having treble checked with them last week that they could arrive early this morning. Nonetheless, a start was made at the south end of the project with the objective of clearing the top layer of vegetation on the Up (east) side and some 150 yards was achieved. The drainage and vegetation clearance work undertaken in this area last week has paid off and the track bed is beginning to dry out aiding today's efforts.
Schoma Diesel L5 "Sophie" was subject to Electro Magnetic Compatibility tests on the TBTC test track and we said farewell to Battery Electric locomotive L21 as it returned south to Ruislip. Thermit Welding worked on the Idridgehay - Shottle section and a further 4 welds were "dropped" bringing the total to 16.
Man of Kent Bob continued to progress the rust treatment of the water tank for No 3 and the Booking Hall welcomed a visitor.
Not a bad Monday.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Sunday 9th November 2008

Dear all
A dismal, wet winter's day that dampened the body but not the spirit! The Drain Team set sail for Duffield and met up with the Station Master there to accomplish more work that lead to the discovery of yet another catch pit by the tunnel wall on the west side. At base, further progress was made with the Class 117 dmu and Kentish Bob carried on the project of needle gunning the water tank from No3.
Preparation for Santa continued although progress was slow in the bad weather. The EVRA shop achieved a few sales as did the Booking Hall and it was good to see Albert Hill getting to grips with the till as part of his training. Further refinement of the Medical Questionnaire was undertaken and Albert will be writing to Operating staff in the near future. It was a pleasure to welcome David Williams from the Bachmann Collectors Club ably hosted by JHT. The Ravenstor service carried rather a lot of fresh air but just about broke even.
Our computer experts have been challenged to provide graphics on the web site to illustrate the results of share sales for the Dash to Duffield and the amount of capital to be still raised - some interesting and amusing ideas emerged - I am sure they will rise to the challenge!
PS - a reminder that we have three weeks intense activity on the "racing straight" and at Duffield requiring the works train to operate every day Monday to Friday for that period - all hands are required!

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Progress Saturday 8th November 2008

Evening ladies and gentlemen,

First of all, a big "sorry" to all those who await the report - we wanted to wait until the evening services for the National Stone Centre Fireworks Extravaganza had finished!

Early this morning, a small but perfectly formed team assembled on site. Most of the activity was to be down the shed. The internal refresh of the 117 power car continued, with a second coat of white being applied to the cab ceiling and a first coat of grey was added to the walls. A second coat will be added tomorrow. This was a useful exercise because we discovered that cadets can also paint!

In the meantime, way up yonder (well across the other side of the shed), further stripping occured in the 117 centre car. The last few remaining seat frames and doors were removed and placed into store. The vehicle is now ready to leave.

Work stopped short today to enable preparation for the evening shuttle services up to the Stone Centre for their fireworks party. As dusk fell the crew prepared the unit and got the heaters roasting the interior. A test run was then done and our excited new "Lamp Man" laid out a full compliment of headlamps and bardic lamps to light Ravenstor station and the exit path.

The evening then went smoothly. I am told that the Stone Centre sold 2000 tickets for tonights show and a fair few of them decided the best way to get there was by train. We had far more than the Wapentake evening services! In fact, we took more back that we took there - probably because people weren't quite expecting the monsoon that was about to follow! Running a service in the dark is a difficult and daunting task (especially in monsoon conditions), but everybody coped admirably and enjoyment was had by all.

A long but excellent day,

Mike Evans

Friday, 7 November 2008

Fri 7th Nov

Evenin' all,

This morning saw the completeion of overnight work at Duffield bridge,
where our periodic supervision was required

The DMU team turned out in force, with new batteries being fitted to
Iris, whilst work was carried out on the engines of 57188. More
needlegunning to the roof of 117, and continued stripping of the old
centre car.

The IMT carried out an inspection to Duffield, and were able to
dispose of several small trees that were encroaching, aqs well as
rambling roses and thorns that were scatching the vehicles. They also
readied the recently relaid track south of Idridgehay ready for 3 teams
of welders on Monday. The Booking hall was manned and were able to
welcome a few visitors and spread the word.

The rails for Sperry Rail were collected and taken away to have
'faults' machined into them.

A firm arrived to weigh Sophie the Schoma, it would appear that she
has put on weight recently. I suggested that it was the fresh
Derbyshire air after being stuck in tunnels for so long.

The works train was also readied for its major work next week, it is
on the Car Park awaiting loading at 0800 on Monday. The train will be
leaving Wirksworth by 0830 each day and will go to Shottle after
dropping the digger off, so apart from Monday, per way staff should
report to Shottle - dont forget to sign in/out at Peak Oil. The VCT can
book on at Wirksworth as normal.

Sunday work gang at Duffield using the Landrover.


Download Movies Now -


Thursday, 6 November 2008

Thursday 6th November 2008

Dear all
Another stonking and industrious day with a concentration on the "racing straight" between Milepost 140 and 139. This problem section has been subject to flooding for many years and whilst we effected some remedial work prior to the Idridgehay opening we have decided to undertake a major blitz over the next two weeks. To prepare for this work the VCT have cleared the area around the major outfall toward the end of the straight so that the mini digger will be able to see the area of work more clearly. Half way along the section there is a drain that disappears under a field towards the river and after a great deal of effort this was freed off and the water level dropped quickly. After all this effort the PW team collected logs which were delivered to Shottle sidings for collection, another first!, and short rails were delivered to the Idridgehay - Shottle section for where the remaining gaps are too large to be bridged by welding. A considerable success for the PW team was to discharge the Mermaid that had the contents of the main cross yard drainage project sitting in it for many months. The vehicle is an integral part of the Duffield Army project and there is considerable relief that it is now available for service again.
On the subject of welding, Thermit Welding visited the site to plan their work for next week. 12 welds have already been achieved and they plan to field three teams next Monday to move the job forwards. We may then have to have a pause to save up for further work.
At Duffield work has concentrated on the Office/Mess Room so that it will be up to standard for our joint project with the Army in three weeks time. Any failure in this area will result in the Duffield team undertaking an as yet undetermined number of press-ups.
Back at base Battery Locomotive L21 continued its test programme and Sperry attended their SRS242 vehicle. The Buffet Car electrics project continued and the Shark renovation moved forward.
Tonight sees the line closed at Duffield in order that Scott Wilson can undertake a bridge inspection of the A6 road bridge for which we are providing safety management. Santa bookings continue to be received with the likelihood that this will be the best year ever.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Wed 5th Nov

Evenin' all,

A mizzly day with mist and drizzle. The Works train left promptly and
proceeded south of Shottle. The remaining rails as well as the
transition rail were changed in the Up rail. Some concrete sleepers
were moved so the whole section as far as Old Lane Bridge is now ready
to be welded. Some spare closure lengths were also loaded ready for the
remaining joints between Old Lane and Shottle. This rail changing has
been a big job.

The RAIB were on site today, training with some new kit. Theye were
again practicing for a derailment survey on the Wash Green Crossover.

The chance was taken to visit the Racing Straight to carry out some
prepping work for next weeks drainage work.Santa's little grotto
buildersw were also on site getting ready for Christmas.

The Booking Hall staff wre kept fairly busy with visitors as well as
trying to sell valuable stock to our guests

Tomorrow sees the Works train going south after dropping off a load of
logs for the Logging dept.
The VCT have been tasked with clearing some small trees at the bottom
of the Racing Straight as part of the drainage work.



33% off Norton Security Only From Tiscali -


Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Tuesday 4th November 2008

Dear all
A very dank and miserable day where the elements were battled with and our superhuman efforts prevailed! Two customers were active with L5 "Spohie" being put through her paces on the TBTC test track and a rather large road/rail machine visiting the whole line on test. A pleasant European slant with a British customer, French engineers and a Dutch registered vehicle.
With all this revenue earning activity the PW team were confined to the Yard and changed two sleepers under Cemetery Lane bridge and fitted a needed lift plate at the base of the Incline. The VCT travelled by road to the Jebbs Lane area, no clothing sighted today, and opened more new vistas.
The Logging Dept. made more product for sale and the EVRA shop continued to sort stock. The quest to improve the electrics in the Buffet Car continued and Fred & Iris gave the Mess Hall their usual standard of high clean.
No 3, formerly known as Wee Yorkie, had the largest group on site and encompassed preparing the springs for refitting, needle gunning and painting the tank together with mysterious, to me, boiler work.
The Booking Hall was able to sell some goods to the variety of customer representatives on site.
All in all, another very good day.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Monday 3rd November 2008

Dear all
A day for quiet contemplation and the production of a healthy start of month crop of invoices. The dmu fleet received a little light maintenance and Ravenstor was also in receipt in further repairs and renovation. The unsold stock from the model railway exhibitions was returned to base after successful sales at both venues.
On my departure tonight the late turn staff were awaiting L5 Schoma Diesel from LH at Barton-under-Needwood and a Road/Rail vehicle for test tomorrow from Scunthorpe. - another busy day awaits.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and fielded the usual phone calls.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Additional Event Added in 2009

Just a quick note to let you know that the Timetable of Events for 2009 has been updated to include an additional event that has been scheduled.

We are lucky enough to have been chosen to host the 14th Annual Railcar Association DMU Convention on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th October 2009. More details will be made available closer to the time. 

We should be proud to host such a prestigious event, following on from previous conventions that have been held at railways such as the Severn Valley Railway, the Llangollen Railway and this year at the Colne Valley Railway & East Anglian Railway Museum (to name but a few!).



Progress Saturday 1st November 2008

Evening everybody,

For saying it is the 1st November today and dark nights coming quickly, plenty was achieved today by a small but well formed team.

After a much depleted Carline Drains and Co. had departed for southern climates, work began down in the yard. The Maintenance Team were out in force with various things being accomplished, including filling Faraday with anti-freeze to ensure the works trains can keep throbbing. Also on this note, Kirtley was drained of water. In between this excitement, the remaining engine bay covers from D2084 were painted.

On the pit road, maintenance continued on the 117 power car. A start was made on painting in the cab after weeks of sanding down and preparation. Along with this, a start was also made on replacing some of the bits that had gone missing over the years - the finishing touch was screwing a new nob onto the horn. Down below, the younger offender and his minder continued to scrape the bogies ready for painting.

Also, a few more bits and bobs were removed from the 117 centre car as it enters its final days...

Mike Evans, via Leigh