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.


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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.



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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