Thursday, 31 January 2008

Supplemental Thursday 31st January 2008

Dear all
I have omitted to mention the VCT who were making great strides near the Idridgehay Up Distant with nice warm fires. It was pleasing to record that they all stood to attention as the Officers Special passed - very impressive! Their efforts on the lineside were very favourably commented on by the Inspectors and certainly greatly helped today's review of progress.

Thursday 31st January 2008

Dear all
The main event today was the visit of two Railway Inspectors to assess our progress, both written and practical, towards the completion of the Wirksworth - Idridgehay section. They confirmed there were no barriers to our proposed opening date of 7th March subject to certain tasks being completed by us. We believe these can be achieved in time and we are now going firm on the reopening.
This has been quite a day and my thanks go to the team that made the visit positive including the excellent catering that always helps the atmosphere for discussion. The three key areas for completion are sleeper changing, around 180, locking at Wash Green Ground Frame and modifications and enlargement of the Idridgehay detraining platform.
Whilst we were engaged with the Inspectors, a team jacked and packed the pit road of the Maintenance Facility and the new Information Centre and Shop had an electrical supply connected.
The Booking Hall welcomed some visitors and looked after base while we were down the line.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Wed 30th jan

Evenin' all,

Another 'Roun tuit' sort of day, Firstly the per-way team laid the
remaining sleepers fromour stock - never mind if you missed them there
are more arriving on Friday. Scrap rotters were collected up and moved
to a stockpile, more logs were brought back to base. All part of
tidying up!

The level crossing lights are all in position, they still need to be
connected, but at least theu look completed now.

More routine servicing on the two car Met cam as well as equipment

The new Information suite saw much activity with minor alterations and
the start of fitting out.. Bags of spoil from the platform area were
taken to the shed area.

A hopper full of stone was dropped on the Pit road within the shed so
that the levels can be sorted tomorrow - a little light jacking and

Plenty of Admin work with Auditors going through things, plus other
bits of routine admin work.

Barnsley lane bridge is nearing completeion.

Generally a busy day with loads of action.


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Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Roun Tuit Tuesday

Evenin' all,

A day when many jobs were tackled.

Firstly the VCT were conveyed down south, some to have a final burn at
49 steos, others to A4/A5 just north of Idridgehay. The Anti Trespass
guards were fitted to A5 and various clearance taskd were achieved as
well as some fence repairs and upgrades.

A start was made on fixing the red lights to the gates at Gorsey Bank
and Idridgehay.

Two loads of stone were delivered for use in the Shed area. Talking of
the shed, Steve was busy making more brackets for the steelwork as well
as helping make brackets for the two car Met cam to hold fire
supressant apparatus.

The loos had some clearance work carried out and the new gate to
platfrm 1 was fixed. Some cleaning and clearing of the Museum coach
started. as well as some initial work on the new Information suite. The
logging dept got into full swing tackling the mountain of logs that
arrived over the last few days strangely they havent asked for more

The S&T dept carried on building a bench and fitted rodding for the
Facing Point Lock at Wash Green. The trap point north of Platform 2 was
brought into use, the trap point south of Wash Green bridge was clipped
out of use pending its plain lining.

A huge amount of paperwork was sorted in connection with the

Only a small team but a great deal of work achieved meaning that many
jobs have been crossed off the 'To Do' list
Tomorrow sees some more sleeper laying - train to depart by 0930 and
return by 1500. The two car will then go to Idridgehay to try out the
first part of the 'Umbrella' platform. Some stone will also be dropped
in the Shed area.


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Monday, 28 January 2008

Monday 28th January 2008

Dear all
A fine sunny day at last that had the added excitement of an introduction to drain rodding, a satisfying experience but not a regular role for me! Nonetheless, Phil and I got two flows going one of which seems to have eliminated the flow of water onto a field at Alton Manor. We then carried on to Idridgehay and Duffield giving an opportunity to see progress on the Barnsley Lane bridge, observe Rod and Mary at work on the Idridgehay detraining ramp and speak to Derbyshire County Council who were working on the non slip surface for our Duffield footbridge.
We were pleased to see the progress made by Anthony Carline's new Saturday and Sunday permanent way teams, still small in number, but making great progress with clearing the sleepers of excess ballast - a very important task towards the Idridgehay reopening. If you can join him it would speed the process up - 0930 at Wirksworth each day.
The, to be, redundant "Commencement of Staff Section" sign was removed from the Hannages and the foot crossing sign on the down side turned to face the right way! A further burst of shunting took place for up coming work on the pit road and welding of the fire extinguisher fittings on the 2 Car Met-Cam.
The Maintenance  Facility saw further work on its steelwork and Margaret-Ann was prepared for service. The new Information and Shop suite was delivered to site and the lorry's hiab was used to moved the Lister to the north end of the narrow gauge tram. A bonus is that the Lister driver no longer has a view of the wall, nice though it is, and sits facing the yard.
The Booking Hall entertained a few visitors and fended off the usual phone calls.
A very pleasant and productive day.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Progress Report Saturday 26th January 2008

Dear all,

A bright sunny day which saw the dept of engineering undertaking
electrical work and progressing maintenance on the class 31 and on the
03s. Class 03 D2158 being also in receipt of a great deal of polishing.

The weekend PW staff took themselves to Idridgehay and cleared the
sleeper tops of the newly laid ballast on an entire quarter mile section
between Idridgehay Station and occupation crossing A4, while
entertaining the local dogs.

The Booking Hall received a surprising number of visitors for a winter
Saturday and further bookings for the Idridgehay opening trains were taken.

Around Wirksworth yard, ballasting of the narrow gauge continued and the
Lister was run up for testing purposes. The nursery path outer boundary
gate was brought back to the station to be repaired and once this was
completed it was re-hung and an entirely new device fitted to prevent it
being lifted from its hinge pins by idle passers-by. Work continued on
the wideway involving those not despatched to assist the PW gang and the
end nearest platform 3 received special attention, so it is now neat and
presentable to the public viewing it from the platform.

Staff were in attendance at Duffield and carried out such various and
weighty tasks as they are often remarked for, in the pages of this
august journal.

All the best,

Friday, 25 January 2008

Friday 25th January 2008

Dear all
A mixed day of progress that commenced with unloading yet another wagon of logs at the logging dept. This was followed by much shunting to put our new arrival "Jana" over the pit for the weekend and to reassemble the Works Train for a journey to fit 3 sets of lift plates on the newly installed rails near Barnsley Lane. These enable rails of different wear to be fishplated together to give a smooth ride. After service Claire was put on the pit with Jana.
Roy (72) and Les (77) beavered away at the new cable duct route and shovelled much material from the site of the new Information Office and Shop so that the tarmac can be laid once the building is in place.
Down at Idridgehay Rod and Mary applied paint to the new boarding ramp and the Buffet Car was prepared for its Sunday opening. The Booking Hall received visitors and another first train booking.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Thursday 24th January 2008

Dear all
The start of the day saw a wagon load of logs discharged for the logging department and the first instalment of the Idridgehay detraining platform loaded to the Flatrol. The Works Train then departed with the VCT and Permanent Way teams. The VCT, their numbers enhanced by a team from the Probation Service, were taken to 49 steps and achieved a final clear and burn declaring that job well and truly done! The PW team continued to Idridgehay to unload the platform so that assembly could take place (note that this is part of the eventual construction) and spent the rest of the day gathering previously replaced sleepers to an assembly point near Barnsley Lane. On the final run back a further wagon load of logs was gathered for discharge at Wirksworth tomorrow morning.
The group from Anthony Gell school had further experience of working on Wee Yorkie and progress was made with the narrow gauge line. The area that was underneath the former Information Room was levelled and surplus material bagged ready for transport to the Maintenance Facility area.
The Booking Hall received a few visitors and fielded the usual phone calls. All in all a very good day and it didn't rain!
PS - Commencing this weekend a permanent way working party will leave Wirksworth at around 0930 Saturdays and Sundays to concentrate on the Wirksworth - Idridgehay section to assist meeting the target date of 7th March. The team will be lead by Anthony Carline and he will welcome anyone who would like to join him. There remains rather a lot to do in the next 5 weeks!

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Wed 23rd Jan

Evenin' all,

Hylton was late due to him having to collect his Bus Pass - I am given
o understand that he will be late again tomorrow, as he may be feeling
'delicate'. As a result we did the bancing and drilling today. The Per
way team managed to change and drill two rails down the line near
Barnsley |Lane. This also involved lifting an Accomodation Crossing,
and then replacing it. At lunchtime another train arrived bringing a
birthday cake, which was promptly attacked with the disc cutter (!)
vary nice cake , thanks again to Dorothey.

The gang repairing the bridge, have removed all of the trees in the
Ecclesbourne that were blocking the river bridge.They have also dug
some drainage ditches to help drainage of the Barnsley Lane area.

Back a Wirksworth, the new loco was offloaded at first light. It will
be transferred to the Pit area later in the week.All I can say is that
it is an 0-6-0 diesel shunter of 400 HP. The hole for the new gate by
the platform was created ready for the new Information suite which
arrives next Monday. Also a start was made laying the troughing for the
new power supplies to the Buffet Car and other Yard facilities.

Work continued on the Narrow Gauge line and more firewood was chopped
(Fortunately another load was brought up this evening to augment their

Tomorrow sees the start of Operation Spring clean, when logs, sleepers
and otherwise dropped, chopped or pulled material is collected from
lineside and moved to tidier locations for onward transmission. You
must remember that these notes do little to reflect the amazing work of
our teams, the VCT have creaded hundreds of trees, cleared and tidied
many hedges and repaired many fences. The Per way team have changed
some 300 sleepers in the past couple of months, we are therefore
havinfg a tidying up day when many bonfires will be lit (hopefully) to
converst some of the branches etc to potash, Train leaves as soon as
the log train is offloaded i.e. about 0930


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Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Tues 22nd Jan

Evenin' all,

As the crew complained of the cold temperature this morning, it was
felt that a little light shovelling would warm the joints, so the Per
way team shovelled about 10 tons of 1" to dust off the Grampus, thus
creating the safe cess walkway to the north of Idridgehay. We also
dropped top stone from Idridgehay as far as the south end of the Racing
straight. It was also ploughed. All sleepers now want cleaning off.

The gang repairing Barnsley lane decided to go wadingand used a
machine to drag fallen trees from the river that had trapped themselves
against the bridge.

More fittings were added to the Facing Point Lock at Wash Green, and
fine adjustments were made.

The shed area saw another burst of activity with more brackets being
prepared ready to fix the remaining steelwork to the frame.

Outside the office, pipes were delivered as well as concete troughing
reday for installing more power cables, water etc for the Buffet car.
The existing stockpile of logs were cut up meaning that the woodcutters
require more.

Paul's VCT were in operation at 49 steps, they have now finnished tree
felling there and as we returned, a blazing bonfire was being stoked,
plenty more burning there.

Tomorrow sees more rails replaced south of Barnsley Lane - hopefully.
Works train leaves by 0930. Hylton will be late as he will be queueing
for his Bus Pass.


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Monday, 21 January 2008

Monday 21st January 2008

Dear all
After a week in a sunny, if cold, Poland it was a culture shock to enjoy the weather that last week's teams battled through. Nonetheless, the Bubble Car received attention to a defective door and the Booking Hall received an encouraging number of calls about the Idridgehay opening specials.
Phil and I took the opportunity to travel the Wirksworth - Idridgehay section to review the outstanding jobs that need to be completed before March 8th. The impact of the new Sunday permanent way team has helped push the project forward but, as most of you know, there is still much to be done! Water flows continue to be very heavy but the work achieved to improve the drainage last week was certainly paying dividends and minimising damage to the track formation.
There is a full week ahead of us where we seem to have to cope with a person who will become very old on Wednesday and seems to be winding down whilst spending even more time in the pub. I am sure we all wish Hylton a happy 60th and remind him that next week will be catch up time!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Progress Report Saturday 19th January 2008

Dear all,

A day in which we were most satisfied with the magnificence of our
endeavours, for they were very varied. Volunteers were spread far and
wide and a magistrate of conscripts achieved several entire and complete
tasks. Shunting took place to prepare a ballast train for next week,
attention was given to the narrow gauge, the Gat Ex was maintained, a
unique new heating system was prepared in the division of engineers and
the pit pump unclogged. Please do not removed the bricks from said pump
as they have some vital, complicated and difficult to understand
function. I have to say the area of the Temporary Storage Facility is
looking more like a Motive Power Depot every day that passes,
notwithstanding it has neither roof nor walls, but will have in a very
soon moment. Various visitors were received in the Booking Hall and a
meeting was had with senior representatives of the Parish Council of the
metropolis of Idridgehay in which a number of issues were considered for
the opening including the colour of the tape and where to put the tea
van: for this railway runs on tea, as any fule knos.

The fence was repaired at the viewpoint and strengthened with additional
timberwork for the discouragement of the feckless. A trench was dug
along platform 1 for the laying of cabling to the GLV and to platform 2.
The spare crossing panels were moved from store to the lower ramp for
use on the north station footcrossing. The whole wideway adjacent to the
incline line was levelled and will shortly receive a top dressing to
enable it to be seeded with grass for the spring. A large pile of cr**,
sorry, Valuable Railway Aggregate was moved from where it was
obstructing the line 2/3 walking route and the Valuable Railway
Aggregate relocated to under Cemetary Lane Bridge where it is needed to
fill a wet hole. The stone recovered from levelling the wideway and any
other random stone knocking around the yard also needs to be transmitted
to this location. Repair work was carried out on the north end of
platform 3 which had become disgruntled by poor packing and this is now
back in order. I regret we did not have time to fix the Nursery School
path boundary gate which has detached itself from its hinges, but I am
sure this task will be addressed by greater powers shortly.

Duffield Station was inspected and found to be in order.

All the best,

Friday, 18 January 2008

Friday 18th Jan

Evenin' all,

A nice quiet day, a day to play catchup on a million and one things.

The Digger driver has completed his allotted tasks and has done a very
good job. More rain tested his ditch digging and we shall see what the
effect is once it stops raining. I wonder if the hose pipe ban is still

With driver training on the Bubble car taking place, Rod and I were
able to meet up with the Bubble Car at Idridgehay, to check clearances
for the Umbrella platform (An umbrella covers something for a short
time). The design has been altered slightly to gain better clearance.

Various visitors to the site including two members from another
railway who can get a perway gang here to assist with any new works.
They were given the full tour and were much impressed by our layout and
the cleanliness of the site.

More internal carriage repairs to the Incline coach, once the fitter
had found it hiding in its new location.


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Thursday, 17 January 2008

Thurs 17th Jan

Evenin' all,

Another day where activity was largely governed by the elements. The
Ditching digger completed the Up ditchbetween mp 139.5 to 139.25. The
nachie was later transferred by rail to 140.75 wher landscaping and
shoulder building started to take place.

Meanwhile, our hired digger should have been working on the NG,
dropping ballast. Due to the weather that was put on hold, and our
digger, with steve on board went by rail to just south of Gorsey Bank
where work started on clearing the Up and Down Cess. Excess material
will be used to create a 'bund' against neighbours encroaching any

The per way team, when not zoomong about delivering machines dropped
the VCT and their Brakevan at 49 steps wher more vegetation was
cleared, A little light tidying up and brash burning is now required.
\the \Team also changed 5 more sleepers and cleared another 3 ready for

Two young students visited the steam restoration area today to get
close up and dirty with two steam locos. This is part of a local
project, the youths showed some interest in the project, and will be
coming on a regular basis.

Roy and Les, who were warm and snug in their container, continued
sorting and storing.

The rain once again was the villain of the day, with Thunderstorms at
lunchtime and torrential downpours. During the afternoon, the Passenger
Services dept had one of their regular meetings.


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Wed 16th Jan

Evenin' all,

An early start to take the digger driver by rail to the north end of
Idridgehay cutting. The landscaping of the spoil heaps having been
completed, we took the digger and driver north to the next area of
action at the bottom end of the 'racing straight'. The machine was
offloaded and was soon hard at work digging ditches. The train returned
to Wirksworth, picked up more staff, trollies etc and ran down to
Willow Crossing, a length of rail was cut and transported back up to mp
139.5. A defective rail was removed and the replacement installed and
fixed. The opportunity was also taken to aid the flood relief by
diverting surface flood water into the new ditch. The water level on
the track was lowered by these actions.

At Wirksworth, Steve and the 70's duo carried out more machine work
around the shed area, levelling spoil adding hardcore etc a drain was
extended to help cope with future flooding.

A start was made on the new staff entrance/emergency exit to the
platform 1. This gate is being moved in rediness for the new
Information Suite that will be arriving shortly. Work was also ongoing
on the new 'Umbrella' platform for Idridgehay. I was asked what was
meant by an 'Umbrella' platform, As many people know, Idridgehay is a
low platform, it always has been. When it was open in a previous life,
step boxes were used to get on or off trains. A temporary wooden
structure will be placed on top of the platform, and will be large
enough to detrain guests, it includes ramps and will be a sturdy
structure. It will mean that initially passengers will detrain via the
guards department doors.

Some further driver training took place with the Bubble Car

Tomorrow sees another 0800 start for a hardy few with more track work
and the VCT being dropped at 49 steps.


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Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Monday 14th - Tues 15th jan

Evenin' all,

Sorry, unable to send a Prog-rep last night due to computer problems,
but basically the old Tram Siding was re allignd and a start made on
packing it. Also the roadway around the shed was rough levelled.
At Idridgehay a contractor started digging the ditch on the Down Side.
Very few visitors.

Today saw our contractor swimming out to his digger in the torrential
rain. A paying guest arrived at 0800. The trip down the line was
exciting. The track was flooded in several places, with rails buried
and underwater . The river had burst its banks and our own drains could
hardly cope. The works train did not leave the yard. and the gangs who
braved the elements found jobs to do either inside sorting stuff or
carrying out further work on the Tram siding.

After lunch the second paying guest turned up. The rain had stopped by
now, and conditions had improved. The VCT ventured to Idridgehay
cutting and began clearance work there. The Ditching digger driver,
having finished the ditch started on levelling the spoil piles from the
Level Crossing work in October.

The Contractors at Barnsley lane left their vans and started working
again. The Per way team carried out work in the Yard. Steve had to turn
the heater down in his digger, but was able to continue work around the
shed, and adding hatdcore to the roadway

A very soggy day, tomorrow sees the works train away at 0800 to
deliver the digger driver to site, and move his machine at some stage.
Also a rail needs transporting - hope its drier!


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Friday, 11 January 2008

Friday 11th January 2008

Dear all
A thoroughly foul day preventing any activity of moment with the exception of surplus narrow gauge rail being gathered up for selling on. The Flatrol was partially emptied of logs and that was basically that!
Indoors we welcomed a journalist from Reflections magazine who is preparing a piece on the Idridgehay reopening who turned out to be a Friend of Dronfield Station and thus a fellow travelller! A useful exchange took place in the afternoon with the National Probation Service for the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales area that may result in work parties for the Railway starting in February.
The Booking Hall fielded the usual phone calls and the Mess Hall had a good clean.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Thursday 10th January 2008

Dear all
An early start was made when the former Information Room was loaded onto a lorry for transport to Duffield. By 1100hrs the Station Master at Duffield had new accommodation lifted into place and this will be a considerable improvement on the rather ancient former Derbyshire County Council hut. Thanks to Rodney and Jaime for preparing the site and ensuring the lorry could get to into position.
The Works Train departed with the third new recruit as a result of the Radio Derby appeal, deposited the VCT at 49 steps and continued on to today's resleepering area. 10 sleepers were changed by the team despite being storm lashed during the day and the VCT need one more day to bottom out their clearance work at 49 steps. The Works Train returned with logs destined for the Newby Logging Company and placed on the Car Park siding for intermodal transfer.
Wee Yorkie received further attention as did the narrow gauge. Work started on the creation of the Idridgehay detraining device and special mention should be made of Mary Birch who had an unexpected bath as the tarpaulin caved in with the weight of rainwater. The joys of preservation!
Mick Thomas seems to have too much time on his hands but his estimate of future earnings seems a little low to me! The Barnsley Lane bridge repairs continued to move forward although builder "Tony" added salt to his tea this morning provoking a reaction that speeded him on his way.
There was peace and quiet in Mission Control enabling another review and planning of the outstanding jobs to be undertaken on the Idridgehay section - the list is shortening!
The Booking Hall entertained some visitors and made a sale or two.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Wed 9th Jan

Evenin' all,

Mixed weather with snw showers and freezing first thing, a beautiful
bright sunny morning, heavy rain early afternoon, followed by bright
sunshine on the way back.

The Loco maintenance chaps completed the demolition of an old
container in the Maintenance area, this now has paved the way for major
work to the shed starting next week. The Tram siding will be emptied
and shortened to create a roadway around the shed, and allow access for
more work on final fixing of steelwork and the start of cladding. So
major activity there in the next few weeks.

More panels came for the Narrow Gauge line, these came from Cardiff,
and were off loaded in the carpark where they are being carried into
position. The carefull reduction of Nottingham Castle started.

Passenger Services followed the example of the Project Manager office
and started a major clearout of 'useful bits and pieces' some were re
allocated. In the P.M.'s office, the telecommunications dept were
working at full stretch. Phase one of the operation was completed. This
means better comunication via the web as well as rewiring of some
telephones. Phase two starts shortly, once the Visitor Centre is moved

The Per way team, uplifted the temp footcrossing at the northern end
of Wirksworth station. The sleepers have been re-allocated. Once down
the line a further 17 sleepers were chaqnged. Many more were marked
up by caterory ready for changing as part of an ongoing rolling
programme. The team were joined by two new boys (!) Geof and Mark, who
have a few hours on their hands and decided to get a few aching
muscels. Mark was a postie at Idridgehay. On the way back a load of
logs were brought back for the firewood dept (they told us that they
were running low - not now though tee hee!)

Work continues at Barnsley Lane bridge, with more stone returning to
its rightfull place, and actually being fixed to something.

Tomorrow sees more sleeper changing as well as work being carried out
by the VCT at 49 Steps Train leaves at 0915 prompt.

Once again Hylton will come in on Friday if we can get a works team

There, I told Vince that I wouldn't mention the fact that he failed to
get a bonfire going (the first time in his life)


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Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Tues 8th Jan

Evenin' all,

A blustery day with heavy squalls, saw som initial shunting to get the
Shark Brake van positioned at the North end of the works train. This
was 'slipped' at 49 steps to provide shelter for the VCT lads who
were working in that area. The works train continued to MP 139.75 where
more sleepers were changed and others dropped off ready for changing.
The Per way team also had to carry out some remedial flood prevention
as swollen rivulets entered our site from adjoining fields. The VCT
were collected on the way home. They have nearly completed the de-
forestation in the 49 steps area.

Another team sorted out all the required bits for the Facing Point
Lock and associated rodding and connections for the 'new improved' Wash
Green Junction. Please do not tidy things up in the area! Major work
continues there next week.

A great deal more activity took place on the telecommunications front.
I acted as a refugee, searching for a few square inches to rest my
aching bones - preferably with a phone. The old Visitor centre was
disconnected from its electrical suppy, all is now ready for its move
on Thursday. Much of the former displays have now been moved to the
Buffet Car on Platform 2A. The Training room was made ready for
operation again.

Much background admin, with discussions with DCC to chase up the
completion of the painting of road markings etc at both Gorsey Bank and
Idridgehay Level Crossings. Also talks held with the ORR as well as
HMRI regarding Inspections and re-opening in a couple of months time

Some Log splitting, but activities were curtailled by the weather.

Works train leaves by 0930.tomorrow.


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Monday, 7 January 2008

Monday 7th January 2008

Dear all
What a grim, miserable day driving us to indoor activities! The time is approaching when the 4 cctv cameras will be back in action with a great deal of behind the scenes work achieved involving remodelling of Phil's Office. Today was a "put back" day with paint being touched up and notice boards being reaffixed. The Office has certainly benefited and there has been a certain "Tardis" effect in that it looks larger inside than out!
The Booking Hall fielded the usual phone calls and work continued on Barnsley Lane bridge.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Progress Report Sunday 6th January 2008

Dear all,

A bright crisp winter's day saw us attending to a number of tasks on the
get-a-round-tuit list. The heating/air con in the Gatex FO carriage was
dealt with. The last bag of tarmac was warmed all day in the mess room
and then used to fill two especially irritating potholes in Station
Road. Santa was inflated, rubbed down, disinflated, carried into the
mess room, re-inflated, dried out, let down and put back in his box for
another 11 months. The rest of the Christmas decs were also taken down,
dried and returned to the elves. An excellent Christmas was had, twice
the number compared to last year and a tribute to all concerned, thank you.

The bubble car, as cosy as a teapot, throbbed up and down the incline
during the afternoon while a catholic assortment of passengers took
their pleasure in it, some having a second ride. While at Ravenstor the
train crew changed the timetable posters. The timetable, by the way,
from now until the 2nd March inclusive is a Sunday service from
Wirksworth to Ravenstor, departing Wirksworth 12.50; 13.50; 14.50 and
15.50 and return in the usual manner.

At Duffield, work began yesterday and continued today to prepare for the
replacement of the Station Office. The compound fencing was taken down
and the area around the Station Office cleared as the staff of Duffield
prepared for their evacuation, which will take place later in the week.

At present the Information Room at Wirksworth is out of service awaiting
a replacement due in the next few days. In order to continue to provide
the standard which our visitors expect of us, a temporary display and
information have been put in the brown guards van (lamp room). Will
Booking Hall staff please note that the guards van is to be opened daily
in lieu of the Information Room until further notice and at the same
time the talking tunnel turned on (and turned off and van locked every
night). The cleaning schedule for the guards van is the same as for the
Information Room and Booking Hall staff should have a look at the daily
checklist to see if it needs to be swept out or addressed with the
feather duster.

All the best, Anton

Saturday, 5 January 2008

Saturday 5th January 2008

A pleasant day after the cold damp days of this week were sufficient to entice a few hardy soles down to the Station and keep the project rolling.
On the narrow gauge , a small team were working off any seasonal excesses and stoning up the recently laid track as well as preparing the demounting platform for Idridghay. After the construction of Nottingham Castle for the Santa events this should be a walk in the park for Rod!!
Much activity was evident in the shed area with the continued dismantling of the original pit storage container which , although severely corroded and leaky, put up a commendable fight until time was called when the oxygen supply finally ran out. In keeping with our re-cycling policy all the bits were carefully filed in the skip marked China. The electrical team were hard at work rewiring all the infrastructure in order that the cable runs can be backfilled- we now know where all the new cable runs are!!
Following the spring cleaning of the Project Managers office and the laying of the Company axminster a small team were espied in carpet slippers installing what looks to the untrained eye as an MFI gentleman's single wardrobe- perhaps Phil is going to come to work in a suit? Whatever it is it made all the cameras work again so well done.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Supplemental Friday 4th January 2008

Dear all
Bridge news! In addition to the continuing work on the Barnsley Lane bridge a report has been received from the southern end of the enterprise to say that Network Rail's engineers have been busy renewing the decking of the Duffield footbridge, north of the Tunnel, and on completion the County Council will apply a non slip surface. We are again extremely grateful to Network Rail for their generous approach to funding and managing this work on our behalf.
The Network Rail bridges team at York have been unfailingly helpful and supportive and have been assured of a warm welcome when they have chance to visit us. They supply annual bridge and structure examination reports that are invaluable to our ambitions in an area where we have no in house expertise.

Supplemental Friday 4th January 2008

Dear all
Bridge news! In addition to the continuing work on the Barnsley Lane bridge a report has been received from the southern end of the enterprise to say that Network Rail's engineers have been busy renewing the decking of the Duffield footbridge, north of the Tunnel, and on completion the County Council will apply a non slip surface. We are again extremely grateful to Network Rail for their generous approach to funding and managing this work on our behalf.
The Network Rail bridges team at York have been unfailingly helpful and supportive and have been assured of a warm welcome when they have chance to visit us. They supply annual bridge and structure examination reports that are invaluable to our ambitions in an area where we have no in house expertise.

Friday 4th January 2008

Dear all
A dank, foggy day with the permanent way team working overtime to deliver two rails to a site near Barnsley Lane to remedy a problem incurred whilst the line was dormant in the 90s. Permission was given to a farmer to cut the rails at his accommodation crossing to facilitate machinery movements between fields, we suspect this was in order to avoid repairs to the crossing timbers. On the initial clearance of the line this "gap" was bridged by insertion of two 10ft rails. This has to be remedied before passenger trains can operate as the rail joints are unacceptably close together. Thus the two new rails at a cost of £640!
This process involved loading the rails by forklift at Wirksworth onto the Sturgeon ( a special vehicle being capable of transporting 60ft rails ) and taken to site. After discharge of the two rails the Sturgeon was berthed at Shottle bringing an unexpected bonus of finding a small store of elastic track spikes which we thought we were running out of.
Back at base, the badly corroded blue container was partially cut up for scrap and the "new" oil store commissioned. Much tidying up of the Maintenance Facility site was achieved.
We were pleased to welcome the East Midlands Trains Depot Manager from Etches Park, Derby to explore areas of mutual interest. Two applications for shares were received including a regular supporter from Canada.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and I had a pleasant call of thanks from Network Rail to whom we lent the driving windscreens of the Museum GLV over the Christmas break. NR have 4 of these vehicles for de-icing of the 3rd rail in the south and our help enabled them to enter service as the temperature dropped below zero. Our reward is awaited!

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Thursday 3rd January 2008

Dear all
A bitterly cold day with a small but perfectly formed permanent way team who achieved a further 7 sleepers in unenviable conditions. The VCT attacked the 49 steps area again with two chain saws on the go and benefited from a warm fire as a result of their endeavours.
Dave Mee (73 today) used his birthday to continue track laying on the narrow gauge and there was a final clearance of the Information Room and removal of the access ramp.
Work started on Barnsley Lane bridge with stonework transported for safe storage on the former dust dock. The east side of the bridge will have to be partially rebuilt necessitating some weight being removed before the the "stitching and grouting" can take place.
My Test Track HQ, Phil's Office, has been gutted ready for the computer boffins to move in to install a base for all the technical equipment that drives the webcams, internet and phone system. To celebrate Phil purchased and fitted a new carpet which is a tasteful shade of cream. I suggest that anyone entering the sanctum wears surgical overshoes - or else!
The Booking Hall welcomed a few hardy visitors and the Mess Hall received a tidy up.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

New Year Publicity

You may be interested to learn that an MP3 file, containing three excerpts from this morning’s breakfast show on BBC Radio Derby can be found here: while we have already hit the newspapers:

This is smashing coverage for us and I am extremely grateful to Friday’s team, especially the microphone-friendly Hylton Holt, for looking after BBC Radio Derby’s ace reporter Luke Barrett for the whole day.

We’re planning to install a makeup department at Wirksworth for any future commitments!
Kind regards,


Neil Ferguson-Lee
WyvernRail plc

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Tues 1st Jan

Evenin' all, Happy New Year and all that,

A few hardy souls were on hand to cater to the hoards who turned up.
Most trains ran as ECS, although a number of passengers availed
themselves of our facilities. The Buffet car was open and took a few
bob! Othewise it was a case of clerical work- changing calenders, and
ensuring that the works train is ready for tomorrow.

Preperation work also started on the disconnections to the Information
Centre, the building will be moving to Duffield shortly, allowing a
newer larger version to be installed on Platform 1. The opportunity
will then be taken to upgrade some of the electrical installation.


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