Thursday, 31 July 2008

Thursday 31st July 2008

Dear all
Another day of unremitting activity. The combined VCT and PWT got away fairly early to head for Duffield to attack an area just south of the Duffield foot bridge on the Up (east) side and transport the brach to an area away from housing for burning. Four Grampus loads of brach were moved and all declared it a most successful day.
After their departure we welcomed a team from the 79th Squadron Royal Logistics Corp for a briefing on our activities and whether there were areas of mutual interest. This was a most productive visit and embraced Wirksworth Yard, the Incline and Duffield culminating in a lunch arranged by Dorothy and aided by Fred and Iris. Each working day will now start with 50 press ups.
A team achieved great things in the process of stripping out the surplus dmu centre car and the power supply to the remaining three car Gatwick Express set was set up. This has the effect of reducing the power needed when the passenger cars are in use for party catering and during the Santa period. Installation of tables in the Second Open coach commenced so that up to 80 people may be seated at tables in the first and second open carriages.
Felt was purchased and cut to size for the Waterfall halt - previously purchased felt seems to have disappeared or been misfiled.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and our Army visitors were tempted to purchase a few souvenirs. Stock taking was undertaken and the EVRA shop was restocked.
Another excellent day.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Wed 30th July

Evenin' all,

The surprise of the day was on the first train to Ravenstor, which had
5passengers going up the hill, but quite a crowd of walkers were
awaiting at Ravenstor for the downhill leg. The Bubble car was over
half full. The good loadings continued throughout the day, with one of
the highest mid week total ever.

An early start was made by the Per way team, who, with the aid of a
mini digger, recovered all the stone knocked down from Derby Road
bridge. The builder starts work on the rebuilding on Monday. After the
stone train, the gang swapped wagons, and emptied the remainder of the
28mm stone from the Grampus onto the Pit Road Point. After an early
lunch they went fishplate greasing, managing another 7 pairs. They are
now at the Idridgehay Up Distant.

The Steam Team had a delivery of a boiler and tubes this afternoon,
another one turned up at 1730. THese should keep them quiet for a
while with some retubing to do!



Fight the credit crunch; get paid to recycle -

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Tues 29th July

Evenin' all,

Another busy day saw the VCT continuing to open up the views south of
Idridgehay, they are now working at Hillcliffe Lane/Old Lane bridge, A
promised party of young assistants failed to materialise, so there is a
lot of follow-up clearance work to be carried out.

The Per way team completed another 13 pairs of fishplate stripping and
lubricating, they are now within sight of the gates at Idridgehay. Some
shunting was also required when they got back to base. The IMT also
completed the final phase of the detailed track walk, carryout out bolt
testing and tightening.

The Steam team had more of a sorting out session ready for the boilers
to return home tomorrow. They also managed to acquire some valuable
bits and pieces from the former bus depot, to add to their collection.

The Landrover had its rear nearside rail wheel reinstated after some
bearing trouble. A new unit has been fitted, and the vehicle is back on
the road again.

The old bus shed had a tidy up afte being in use as a temporary work
base by the Gas people who have been working in Wirksworth over the
last few months.

A few visitors braved the sunshine and violent storm in the afternoon


Fight the credit crunch; get paid to recycle -

Monday, 28 July 2008

Monday 28th July 2008

Dear all
A warm, leisurely day when dmus were repositioned for the week ahead and a tidy up of the Wash Green dock entrance took place. The Flatrol was returned to the Car Park for discharge of its load of logs and a number of vistors called in to bask in the sunshine.
A meeting took place with the Palnning Inspectorate concerned our long running debate with them and the local planning authority about the Portakabin on the Wash Green dock. From my perspective it was a draw but we await formal advice.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Wappentake Sunday 27th July 2008

Dear all
After complaining about the seeming never ending wintery weather today was a scorcher! Every thing ran smoothly to Ravenstor and Idridgehay although passenger loading were quite disappointing. However, it was good to welcome visitors from the Bluebell and Foxfield Railways.
There was a little light gardening on the bank opposite the Booking Hall and the Young Offenders did some ballast bashing on the narrow gauge line.
The Booking Hall, Buffet and EVRA shop did all they could to maximise our income and there was a small contribution for Car Parking. Anton was hand holding at the Stone Centre and whilst no records were beaten our normal weekend take was about doubled. I think the concept of the Wappentake has been proved and things can only get better!

Friday, 25 July 2008

Friday 25th July 2008

Dear all
The heat of the day slowed the pace of work but a great deal was still achieved. The major reorganisation of dmu spares continued with the bonus of many tins of paint were discovered and were distributed for future building, container and steel work improvements.
Margaret-Ann had a final check over and conducted some running in turns on the Incline with the pleasant conclusion that it can return to service. Fitters attention was necessary to our road/rail fleet. The Dumper had a flat battery through an electrical fault, the Multicar had a flat battery traced to the battery isolator switch being left on and the Landrover had a rail wheel removed for the replacement of a bearing. One of our MTT customers came up trumps and will supply two new bearings saving much head scratching.
Four windows were extracted from the redundant Gatwick Express vehicles as spares for the two remaining coaches and many other sundry spares were recovered such as window mechanisms with great thanks to Ian the Australian.
The IMT concentrated on the Gorsey Bank to Ken Rowland's section finding many fishplate bolts that needed tightening and it was a sad day with the M1 Gas Alliance moving off site.
The Buffet was readied for the weekend as was the Car Park and station approach and the Booking Hall had a run on ice creams.
Another good day.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Thursday 24th July 2008

Dear all
Quite a day in the welcome warmth. Electrical connections were removed from two working motor alternator sets to be retained as spares from the three Gatwick Express coaches to be disposed of so they can be recovered before departure.
Deep in the Maintenance Facility a team of four spent a full day preparing the Class 117 dmu car for paintwork improvements claiming that the insulated cladding kept them cool. Work continued on providing power to the steam locomotive stores and stone was levelled providing a good quality roadway to the storage area for the anticipated return of the two boilers sent away for assessment. In addition redundant sleepers were laid out on the newly levelled area for the boilers to sit on. The dangers of steam locomotive restoration was sadly demonstrated necessitating in the rescue of a pigeon whose feet had stuck in the warm tar on the storage facility roof.
The VCT team reported a 1.5 fire day making further inroads into the vegetation south of Idridgehay and Water Fall Halt again moved towards completion. Owing to staff shortages the only fishplate greasing took place on the narrow gauge as people seem to be taking a lot of time off for holidays.
There was a burst of activity in the Logging Dept. and the pointwork around the yard received a good oiling up.
The Barnsley Lane bridge site has received a large quantity of old paint tins, I suppose it makes a difference from fridges and microwaves!
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors and assistance was rendered to the Stone Centre in the preparations for the Wappentake.
All in all, a pleasant day.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Wed 23rd July

Evenin' all,

Sorry for being a bit late, but some after hours business needed to be
attended to.

Today saw some serious training on the class 20, with Hylton and
Richard B putting in 8 hours - still many to go but good progress being
made. They took the works train to site at linespeed, left it there and
then carried out much training . The Per way team carried out work in
the shed area whilst the two were getting started, this included the
packing and kangoing of the Pit road as it enters the shed. 20 tons of
stone arrived and was run out around the shed to form a better surface
and allow access to the steam dept workshop, - still much shovelling to
be carried out!
Once the team were away they managed 11 pairs of fishplates and are
now only half a mile from Idridgehay.

Not to be outdone, the narrow gauge team were also busy greasing
fishplates, and dropping ballast.

A steady trickle of visitors ran up the Incline in the Bubble car, and
availed themselves of Julie's Pantry for a refreshing cup of tea. More
preperations were made for this weekends big event, 'Wapentake',
including big tidy ups, when evening trains will run on the Incline

More paint was removed in the shed from one of the DMUs, with the
workers delighting in a bit of shade.

The damage to Derby Road bridge, and the further attention by passing
ne'er-do-wells, has cast a potential cloud on the start for the D2D, as
the costs for repair are 'up front', and are already estimated at well
over £10,000, this cost must be met by us, until the insurance matter
is resolved. Watch this space!



Fight the credit crunch; get paid to recycle -

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Tuesday 22nd July

Evenin' all,

Once again activity spread out along the line.

The VCT repaired a gate on an Accomodation Crossing as well as
continuing to clear south of Idridgehay.

The main Per Way team continued fishplate greasing, and are now by the
cattle creep by Jebbs Lane. At last they are out of the deep ballast
shoulders which has slowed progress of late, but 6.5 pairs of plated
sorted today with many seized bolts.

The IMT walked the Incline and Yard carrying out routine maintenance.

The replacing of brake blocks on one of the 03's was completed and
some gentle testing was carried out. The opportunity was taken to drop
some more stone on the Pit road going into the shed.Some troughing was
also installed at the front of the shed to carry an electrical supply
under the tracks.

The Steam Team spent the day moving stores and bits to their new
container and having a sort out, using the Multicar.

One of the DMU,s was inside the shed having a rub down pending the
application of some special paint - At last some undercover painting.

The narrow gauge team were running back and forth with their own
ballast train.

Some 20 bags of logs were delivered to the Stone Centre in preperation
for Wapentake this weekend.

The housekeeping team came and gave the Mess Room its clean and the
Booking hall had a steady trickle of visitors.

Nev has also passed out as a Faraday driver, so the drinks are on him,
well done.



Free games for all the family -

Monday, 21 July 2008

Monday 21st July 2008

Dear all
A very pleasant day at long last with both Margaret-Ann and the late Helen-Louise receiving much attention. Margaret-Ann's brake rigging is being reassembled and the needle gun was in action on Helen-Louise. It is hoped that an 03 will return to the Incline services on August Bank Holiday weekend.
The Water Fall terminus of the narrow gauge is beginning to take shape with the viewing area under construction today and within the bowels of the Maintenance Facility Class 117 dmu car was being prepared for painting.
Continued work on steam engine parts was in progress and the Bubble Car had a journey towards Idridgehay on tree lopping duties. The Yard and Car Park had a further burst of weedkiller so we look our best for the weekend ahead.
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors and fielded the usual phone calls - I have won a free Caribbean holiday!
PS - the first two of our products to be listed on buyagift are now live - worth a look on

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Press Release from - a Venture by WyvernRail plc

FOR IMMMEDIATE RELEASE – a venture by WyvernRail plc
Contact: Neil Ferguson-Lee
Tel. (01629) 822806

On Track for Export
Sperry Rail International and Partner for International Success

Wirksworth, 20th July 2008: and Sperry Rail International have announced a partnership programme to test a range of rail vehicles and other products equipped with Sperry’s rail flaw detection equipment at the test facility on the Duffield to Wirksworth branch near Derby.

The partnership has been established to provide Sperry with virtually unlimited access to the whole 9-mile line which incorporates a range of rail conditions and types, ranging from a mile of continuously-welded concrete-sleepered track, a variety of points and crossings through to a 1 in 30 incline.

“My’s facilities at Wirksworth give us a perfect combination of high availability at very short notice, a range of environments to support real-world testing and a ‘can-do’ attitude that means that we have minimal downtime when we are on site.” remarked Justin Stroud, Sperry Rail’s Production Manager at the announcement of the partnership.

Sperry Rail first used the at Wirksworth in 2004 and since then a variety of rail-mounted vehicles have visited the line, ranging from road/railers through towed test cars to a new trolley being tested for customers as close as Network Rail and MetroNet and as far away as Indian Railways.

As part of the new venture, have taken delivery of a ex-BR Class 20 locomotive to support Sperry’s test programme. “We are responding to our customer’s requirements and providing Sperry with an air-braked locomotive to provide a cost-effective and flexible solution to their testing requirements” commented Martin Miller,’s General Manager.

In addition to supporting Sperry Rail,’s current projects include providing a test site for the transmission-based train control (TBTC) system on behalf of Tube Lines, Halcrow and LH Group and continuing to provide facilities for companies undertaking certification testing for possession-only vehicles to standard RIS-1530-PLT.


Note to Editors:
A series of high-quality digital images are available to download at

These images include:
Ex-British Railways Class 20, D8001 at Wirksworth accompanying London Underground locomotive L18. D8801 has arrived at Wirksworth to support the railway’s testing activities under the banner, while L18 was present as part of Tube Lines’ test programme for the Transmission-Based train Control System on the Jubilee Line.
A Network Rail UTU5 Unimog, supplied by Sperry Rail Services on test at Wirksworth before entry into service on the Highland Lines.
Sperry Rail SRS240 multi-gauge test vehicle at Wirksworth.
Sperry Rail SRS220 Land Rover used for rail flaw detection with Metronet, on test at Wirksworth.

About is a venture by WyvernRail plc. WyvernRail is reopening the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway between Duffield and Wirksworth and, in a very short time, has transformed the line from a neglected wilderness to a clear route suitable for vehicle movements throughout its length. WyvernRail is locally owned and managed with an attitude to make things work. offers competitively-priced service that is available at short notice to railway engineering companies for testing and training. The company offers a single point of contact, including a dedicated rail industry hotline (0870 766 2098), and a range of facilities to suit requirements, whether they be at short notice or for the long term.

Full details can be obtained from

About Sperry Rail
Sperry Rail, the world's leading and largest rail flaw detection company, operates more than 200 test vehicles. They provide rail flaw detection services to enhance the safety and productivity of railroad operations worldwide.
Sperry use state-of-the-art proprietary ultrasonic, eddy current and electromagnetic systems and testing techniques to identify and classify rail flaws, as well as a unique data management system to provide decision support and optimise rail defect management.

Saturday 19th July 2008 Progress

Afternoon all,

Sunny spells and showers meant the Idridgehay Service only saw a trickle of passengers, who included a family of visitors from The Netherlands. They were very complimentary about the railway and the scenery. Faraday was on Platform one giving footplate rides too. After all of these activities that we have to offer the visitors have been entertained, they were able to have a relax in the buffet car, which I am told, now has sandwiches!

The Grampus started to receive a repaint from our single conscript and a start was made on preparing the roof on the 117 for painting. This is a very difficult job as all of the old BR paintwork has to be chipped off by hand! A start could have been made earlier, had a mystic fairy not visited sometime during Friday and dismantled the scaffold! This work couldn't be done without having a covered area for maintenance, as the British weather was typically awful.

Our Passenger Services Manager had a smile on his face having purchased a new mower. This was christened on the bank between the Incline line and the GatEx - but it nearly went horribly wrong when there was confusion over it not containing engine oil from factory. During the rainy intervals, bardic lamps were converted to use Duracell batteries so that they can light Ravenstor platform at next Saturday's Wapentake.

A pretty good day really,

Mike Evans

Friday, 18 July 2008

Friday 18th July 2008

Dear all
A gentle day with only a little rain. The IMT patrolled the section between Alton Manor and Ken Rowlands crossing replacing some 15 missing track spikes, identifying an upside-down fishplate and tightening many bolts. Again demonstrating that this is a "must do" task for our trains to run safely.
Down at the "depot" Margaret-Ann received further preparation of her refurbished brake gear and the late Helen-Louise received aggressive needle gunning at the nose end to remove rusting paintwork. On the narrow gauge a wagon was converted into a ballast carrier for ease of movement of the white stuff up and down the line.
The Buffet Car was readied for the weekend and the Booking Hall welcomed a small crop of visitors. At the end of the day there was the good news that the next battery locomotive is due on 13th August indicating that the programme is beginning to tighten up.
PS Last plug for Rand and the Band playing at the Malt Shovel tomorrow night starting at 2100hrs

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Thursday 17th July 2008

Dear all
Another summer's day - wet and dank designed for depressing the spirits (or encouraging consumption of them). However, the brave VCT and PW teams combined to benefit from warm fires and further clear the lineside south of Idridgehay. The teams also hung a new gate at accommodation crossing A6 vainly expecting heartfelt thanks from the farmer.
A wagon load of logs was gathered so that the burning of Saxons can be achieved during the Wapentake - I think that's the idea. A van load of refurbished parts was gathered from Butterley for fitting to Margaret-Ann and received further fettling by the 03 team. Further work on steam engine axle boxes continued as that project gently moved forward.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few very hardy visitors and fielded the usual phone calls including one from Ford enquiring about our company fleet - if only.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Wednesday 16th July 2008

Dear all
Another active day with the Works Train being taken to site, secured and Faraday returning to Wirksworth. Progress was desperately slow due to heavily seized bolts and only 4 and a half pairs achieved emphasising again the importance of this job. The Works train loco crew were then able to join two other drivers for training on the Class 20 ably conducted by two members of the Class Twenty Association. Great attention was again directed to the preparation of the loco for service and we are very grateful to Chris and Lester for their patience and good humour.
Work on the Water Fall narrow gauge platform continued as did the fettling of steam locomotive parts. Margaret-Ann received further attention to her brake rigging and the EVRA shop was in the process of sorting donated items for sale.
The Ravenstor service operated and visitors were welcomed in the Booking Hall and on the Buffet Car.
Important Notices: Rand and the Band are playing at the Malt Shovel on Saturday 19th July including their "Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Blues"
                            D8001 will feature on the Gorsey Bank passenger line giving footplate rides both days of the Wapentake Weekend at £5 a head

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Supplemental Tuesday 15th July 2008

Dear all
A dreadful omission! The steam team were very active (may be an exaggeration) sorting their bits out and preparing to consolidate stores in one place. Much debate was had about boiler repairs now all the quotes are in and the methodology to be applied. There was upbeat talk of the training requirements once the locomotive was restored!

Tuesday 15th July 2008

Dear all
A fine and pleasant day for a change with the usual hustle as teams scattered to their worksites. The first away were the VCT to an area south of Idridgehay where productivity was high resulting in it being a three bonfire day. The PW team followed and achieved greasing of 14 pairs of fishplates as Idridgehay looms ever nearer. It is recognised that this vital task is quite tedious but is reversing some thirty to forty years of neglect with many of the bolts seized up with rust requiring great efforts to free them up.
A great deal of dmu activity saw a rearrangement of their stores vans and a fuelling up of the fleet following another very generous donation of the valuable liquid. The narrow gauge platforms saw continued progress as that project draws to a conclusion and the Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors, two of which were drawn in by the gentle sound of the Class 20 that they heard from some distance away.
Through the good offices of the Class Twenty Association some initial training was given on the preparation and operation of the machine which was delivered in a measured and informative way to the satisfaction of the participants. The Gorsey Bank line was used as we have a six week break in testing on that line illustrating the usefulness having our three discreet operating sections. This afternoon an opportunity was taken to practise buffering up to a wagon with the "nose" end.
All in all, another very good day.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Monday 14th July 2008 Progress

An unusually busy Monday with L18 departing.

A special needs School enjoying the Day with a trip to Ravenstor and Lunch in the Gatex and promising to come again.

2 Car Met Cam received a Bogie Wash and 55006 was used to remove offending overhanging branches on line to Idridgehay.

The Narrow Gauge progressed and one of the 12t Vans received some more black paint.

Mike Evans.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Progress Report Sunday 13th July 2008

Dear all,

A day of reasonable business but in better weather than the prevailing
monsoon commonly known as the British Summer. The Ravenstor serviced
poddled up and down with modest passenger traffic albeit from a wider
range of origins than is usually the case, proof that the holiday season
is now upon us, and work continued on the narrow gauge where the track
is gradually being levelled and packed from the waterfall end.

A visit from the global IT department resulted in the bunty having to be
taken down because of its effect on the new hi-tech system when waving
in the wind. All tea-leafs and ne-er do wells are advised to wear
colourful bunty to attract the system's attention if planning to make
off with something from the yard. Anyone seeing morris men acting
suspiciously on our webcams should report them to the Great House of

Also on the constabulary front, a small number of conscripts were in
attendance and some of these were delegated to slap further paint on
Johnny the box van, however, as is often the case with slappers the
outcome didn't quite result in complete satisfaction and a further day
of toil will be offered next week.

Along the line a test train was run with Mr Steve Lyne as pilotman in
his capacity as Keanu Reeves' body double and a high level of
satisfaction was indeed achieved, though possibly not by Mr Reeves.

At Shottle, Miss Toselands' P-Way gang proceeded apace with the
clearance from Shottle platform of the International Guano Mountain and
much of the platform is now clear and looking surprisingly intact,
though we did possibly wake the neighbours at about 10.30.

Duffield Station was inspected.

All the best,

Saturday 12th July 2008

Afternoon all,

Due to a wet start this morning, passenger numbers have been no more than average but all of those who braved the heavy showers did get treated to both a ride on Iris and the noise of the Class 20 ticking over in the platform.

There was plenty of stripping going on in the GatEx by Anton and his crew of unlikely volunteers, with the end result quite pleasing! Although, all I could see was lights, bins, seats and leaflet holders as the result.

Those of you who have slightly more time on your hands, will have also noticed that the webcams are now uploading to the Internet again for all to enjoy.

Mike Evans

Friday, 11 July 2008

Friday 11th July 2008

Dear all
A gentle day with yet more rain! Restoration of the Shark continued in its quiet corner and steady progress is being made. There was much computer furtling and I am assured it is all coming together in a new improved form. Some test parts were recovered from L18 before its return to London and Roy(72) and Les (77) will be delighted with a further supply of donated paint to be converted into their improved engine green.
The Booking Hall received a few visitors in between the downpours and track patrols were conducted on the Ravenstor and Gorsey Bank lines. The Buffet Car was readied for the weekend and the Mess Hall had a good clean up.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Thursday 10th July 2008

Dear all
Another fairly miserable day with heavy rain at regular intervals but the VCT achieved their usual high productivity with trees felled at Shottle station platform, fence repairs to inhibit the Belgian Blues visiting the line and vegetation clearance at the regular site south of Idridgehay. The flail train attacked the Hazelwood area to good effect and these activities are now on hold for a while.
Dmus were positioned for the weekend and the opportunity was taken to formally test the 2 Car Met-Cam on the Incline allowing for the formal documentation to be completed to allow the train to carry passengers to Ravenstor if and when necessary.
The mystery of blue lines appearing at Ken Rowlands crossing was explained by a formal approach on behalf of Severn Trent Water for a new pipeline beneath the track there. A preliminary meeting is planned for tomorrow.
Narrow Gauge progress was also seen and the Booking Hall welcomed a few very hardy visitors.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Wednesday 9th July 2008

Dear all
A miserable old day with grey skies and heavy showers. Nonetheless, productivity was high with the flail train continuing its attack on the southern reaches of the line, opening up sight lines at crossings and beating back the worst of the overhanging foliage - the battle continues tomorrow. The PW team also did battle with some very rusty fishplate bolts and plates achieving a further nine pairs in far from ideal conditions.
Back at base the painting of "Helen-Louise" continued because it was undercover! and fishplate greasing was in evidence on the narrow gauge. Transfer of steam engine parts was undertaken now they have a new home. Early morning servicing of Faraday ensured its condition was good and had an on time departure with the flail train.
L18 ventured under Cemetery Lane bridge to permit D8001 to be shunted for display in Platform 1 and the two rest together there looking like little and large. Much computer furtling took place to upgrade the web cam system and, whilst continuing to record, they are off line to the web site temporarily. Today's Ravenstor service had a very good start with 28 passengers but this was a false dawn as only four more were seen the rest of the day!
The Booking Hall and Buffet Car welcomed our visitors but the phone was unusually quiet.
A curate's egg of a day.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Tuesday 8th July 2008

Dear all
Another momentous day! Late this afternoon a lorry swept into the station conveying D8001 to site. The locomotive will be resident for the foreseeable future, on loan from the Class Twenty Locomotive Association as part of the mytesttrack offer. It will be nestling under the web cams tomorrow in the company of L18 which has completed its series of tests and will leave us next Monday for Ruislip.
The real work consisted of further flailing between Idridgehay and Shottle that included improving the sight lines at the Willow Crossing footpath. It was then on to Duffield dealing with problems areas en route and particular attention was paid to the section between the Duffield footpath crossing and the station platform. The VCT returned to their work area south of Idridgehay making further significant inroads and dealing with bovine intervention. The PW team tackled 15 pairs of fishplates as Idridgehay gets ever nearer enjoying the delights of the Bubble Car to take them to and from the work site.
The Steam Team enjoyed the sheer luxury of the delivery of their very own spares container complete with racking meanwhile they continued with refitting parts to No3 - I am sure their heartfelt thanks will be illustrated at some time! A major shunt round was undertaken to make best use of the new covered accommodation and there was a general rationalisation of dmu spares. The former "Helen-Louise" was in receipt of more needle gunning as part of the transition from blue to green.
The station environment benefited from an incredible amount of strimming from the entrance through to the narrow gauge tunnel and the end product looks great.
The Booking Hall entertained a number of visitors and benefited from the number of people attending the testing of L18.
Quite a day

Monday, 7 July 2008

Monday 7th July 2008

Dear all
Today saw an experimental test of a mini digger with flail attachment loaded onto the Flatrol and propelled by Faraday. This half way house was being tried as, try as we might, we could not hire in a "proper" rail mounted flail. The results overall are quite successful with the Incline and part of the Gorsey Bank passenger line dealt with. Tomorrow will see the combination working south of Shottle where the vegetation is beginning to inhibit our test work.
Meanwhile, risks assessments were undertaken to see whether Iris could be safely worked on the Incline. I am pleased to say all the brake tests were passed with flying colours in rail conditions that replicated the worst possible case and Iris will work the Incline scheduled services this Wednesday. The Bubble Car was readied and positioned for its role this week as the support vehicle for the ongoing fishplate greasing whilst Faraday is hauling the flail.
There was mysterious, to me, furtling in the computer cabinet as a start to enhancing our web cam capability. The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors between showers and fielded the usual quota of useful and not so useful calls.
Tomorrow sees much action as L18 resumes testing, flailing, fishplate greasing, vegetation clearance, a mega shunt to put vehicles for maintenance in the nice covered maintenance facility and a new arrival.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Sunday 6th July 2008

What a day with endless showers hampering most activities.. Nonetheless, with the usual gritty determination and resolve that typifies the weekend team most of the intended jobs were moved forward. A planned shunt began to move vehicles that require immediate undercover attention with more to follow on Tues. This will enable much of the re-painting projects to take place.under the shelter of the newly roofed maintenance facility. A brief lull in the rain allowed the team to take accurate measurements so the remaining sheets for the ends to be ordered. The final day's hire of the teleporter allowed the removal of the spares and other palletised goodies from the access area in front of the shed to a more suitable area under the bridge arches. This area is now to be kept clear of general detritus to allow vehicle access to the shed. Meanwhile, elsewhere on the site, work began on the salvage of general fittings from the Gatwick stock before disposal of the selected vehicles. The Passenger Dept welcomed a few hardy souls on the Ravenstor service, most then fortified with hot teas from the Buffet and good trade was had by the EVRA shop. The weekend P-Way team departed at first light in convoy with a battalion of wheelbarrows to carry out more remedial works to the surface of Shottle platform and despite the appalling weather did achieve significant progress.Not a bad day considering the weather. Regards, Steve. 

Friday, 4 July 2008

Friday 4th July 2008

Dear all
A little less frenetic today which saw the completion of the roof and two side walls of the Maintenance Facility. Our thanks go to Alan and Gordon who have achieved a most splendid job. The IMT travelled the line to and from Duffield as part of their routine track patrol and there were bursts of weed treatment at Shottle and on the Incline.
Rod and Mary dealt with a specially manufactured pair of fishplates on the narrow gauge that joins the heavy section rail to the lighter section. Brian Ashley masterminded these bespoke parts. To the great joy of the PW team we have paid for 300 new fishplate bolts and 300 new elastic spikes and they should be delivered some time next week.
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors and the Buffet Car was readied for the weekend.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Thursday 3rd July 2008

Dear all
The range of activities seems to broaden daily and today saw a range of tasks undertaken that would have been undreamt of a couple of years ago.
At Wirksworth preparations were made to enable us to power up the Gatwick Express vehicles from the south end of the set. This will help us to provide air conditioning in the southern most two vehicles rather than the whole set with a consequent diminution of our electricity bill. The Maintenance Facility sheeting project proceeded apace leaving only 50% of the east side to be completed tomorrow - a truly wonderful job. Iris had a little maintenance and, with the help of our neighbours across the road, the Landrover's spare tyre was fitted in place of the flat that defeated us yesterday. The Housekeeping team descended and brought the Training Room and Mess Hall up to scratch. The Museum Coach had some enhancements to its security and L18 continued its testing programme. The Booking Hall had our Finance Manager as today's clerk and it is pleasing to record the first sale of evening Wapentake tickets.
The VCT visit the whole line remedying closing problems on the new Duffield footpath crossing gates and securely fencing the east side of the Hazelwood road bridge after the discovery of the east side arch being used for informal barbeques. The team also undertook sundry tree lopping en route to ease the passage of test vehicles.
The PW team continued their task of fishplate greasing heading ever closer to their goal of Idridgehay. Once this tedious job is completed we can really begin the Dash for Duffield and planning has continued today to deal with the quarter mile section from Shottle Yard points, through the platform to the site of the southern entry to the proposed Shottle loop. During the visit to plan this work there were encouraging noises from Peak Oil who plan to replace the platform side windows and restore and reglaze the canopy. It would seem that last Sunday's start on clearing the platform had sparked them into action!
Another good day.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Wed 2nd July

Evenin' all,

Due to a number of commitments today, work started early. The
contractors who are sheeting the shaed were hard at work before 0800 -
although the delivery of some more bits promissed for 0800 finally
arrived at 1555. However they completed more work on the side and more
securing of the roof. Another couple of days will see much of the main
work conpleted, this will allow a detailed shopping list of bits to be
drawn up - much of it specialised, pre cut sheets etc.

A customer for testing also turned up at about 0815, in order to keep
the chaps busy, the works train actually left Wirksworth at about 0900
taking some of the team to the Alton Manor -Barnsley Lane are for
fishplate greasing. The train then returned to base. Meanwhile the
lorry on test was carrying out the Incline test and then some testing
in the yard. Once the works train was berthed, the lorry went down the
line, where it was put through its paces. Upon its return mid
afternoon, the works train returned to site to recover the Per way
team. Some 17 more panels had their fishplates lubricated. The team are
now about 200 yards north of Barnsley Lane.

Meanwhile the Tube Lines testing continued and good progress was made.
The system being tried is cutting edge technology, and we are pleased
that things are now getting sorted out. The teams have been workinbg
hard for a long time to develop this system. It is a truly
international effort, so well done to them.

The Narrow Gauge team were also hard at work fettling their track,
both with ballast and trackwork itself.

The Passenger Services dept ran the Incline service after the testing
was completed and ran with reasonable numbers. In fact there were four
independent train movements, all fully protected in their own sections
at the same time, all on different lines at the same time - not a bad

Workmen at Duffield uncovered the high voltage cable that goes under
the track and will feed the new flats, they marked up the course of the
cable for us.



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Wapentake Information

Morning all,

Just to let you know that there is some information available regarding the Wapentake by clicking on the homepage banner. The majority of information is available on the Wapentake Official Website but we also have details of a special timetable for the weekend which includes shuttle services to the National Stone Centre (where most of the action is happening) from Wirksworth station that run well into the evening.


Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Tues 1st July

Evenin' all,

Another great day saw the completion of the roof for the new shed
facility at Wirksworth. A full day by Alan and Gordon, our contractors
saw a great rush of activity.

By chance we had a new MEWP (Rail mounted elevating platform) in for
test today, the roofing team cast envious eyes at it - as did the VCT
who want one as well.
Due to its slow speed, the vehicle off tracked when it had done the
Incline part of the teast and was conveyed by road to Shottle for that
part, and then by road to Duffield for the final part of the test, thus
making it the first time that all three RRAPs have been used to gain
initial access to track. Another vehicle for testing tomorrow.

The Per way team did several small 'Roun Toit' jobs in the yard before
going fishplate greasing, once the escorting Landrover returned. The
side white lines have finally been painted at the two Level Crossings.

MOre painting and sorting around the shed area with more paint going
on the containers, a conscript made a start on brushing down and
applying paint to the other recently arrived Box Van. The 0-4-0 also
recieved attention with more bits being returned to it.

The VCT busied themselves with fence repairs in the yard especially
around the back of the old Dust Dock and in the Kave area.

Tube Lines continue to be perplexed by the vaguries of thei new
computer systems, but report that there is light at the end of the
tunnel - after all they should know about tunnels, so progress is being

Tomorrow requires carefull timing with the works train going to site
early and dropping off men and materials, before returning to base to
allow the test vehicle to carry out its work. Once clear the works
train will return. For those late arivals, the foot access will be at
Barnsley Lane.



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