Saturday, 28 February 2009

Progress Saturday 28th February 2009

Evening all,

Better late than never - a frantic day but very enjoyable at the same time, with the last day of February bringing much activity and smiling faces.

Today's Diesel Event saw large numbers of enthusiasts and families alike come to our patch to sample the Class 20 as well as our DMUs. The stock used on services was varied throughout the day which gave the public a reason to stay all day, with several visitors requesting a special consist on the last train of the day. We were glad to accomodate. Most trains had between 40 and 50 people on which was extremely pleasing to see. At one point, the Brake Van rides were so full, visitors had to take a seat at the station and wait for the next one!

Most of the visitors ventured into the buffet cars and it is noted that sandwiches are sold out. Another item, this time from the Booking Hall, also noted as "flying off the shelves" is the own-branded mugs with images of our stock printed on them. I believe a good day was also had in the EVRA shop.

Down the yard, Faraday received fitters attention and is now available to run again on Monday. It has received a new set of brake blocks as well as grease where it matters.

The reason for the late report is the "Fish and Chip" charter. Although not quite as busy as some would have hoped, the train made a few trips in the dark between Wirksworth and Idridgehay and everybody had a wonderful time. Everybody was very complementary of how well the evening had been organised and ran - even if some of them couldn't walk in a straight line after visiting the onboard bar!

We have it all to do again tomorrow and if it is as busy tomorrow as it was today then the weekend will have been extremely worth it indeed.

Mike Evans

Friday, 27 February 2009

Friday 27th February 2009

Dear all
Activity on all fronts today as a very strong team put the trains together for the weekend's gala. The various combinations were checked over, fuelled, last minute faults rectified and cleaned ensuring that a really good show will be achieved. The other very necessary behind the scenes tasks were also in hand with road side signage. Buffet Car preparation and stocking, pricing sheets and train heating all being done.
The IMT checked all our passenger carrying lines to do all possible to ensure there are no surprises for the train crews. The preparation of Hydra for service continued apace with the needle gun working overtime and the first application of some undercoat. The Maintenance Facility sheets returned and were successfully unloaded and a builder attended to prepare a quotation for repairing the rock fall that had occurred over the "Big Hole" tunnel entrance.
The first small steps were taken by Dales Rail Engineering towards the safety systems required for the Dash to Duffield involving the manufacture of Annetts Locks and Keys. The station garden received a small makeover and the Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors.
All very satisfying on a mild spring like day

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Thursday 26th February 2009

Dear all
Another day of very solid progress with the new flail really beginning to make a very significant contribution to the lineside presentation. Phil and Mike Billings turned their attention to the area either side of 40 steps where the vegetation growth was beginning to affect the sight lines. The results of their endeavours are very impressive and one can only wonder what impact this machine will make over the next twelve months - prizes will be won!
The permanent way team concentrated on collecting "spare" rails lying between Idridgehay and Shottle, a long winded process, and achieved three more leaving a further three to be gathered at a later date. The pw team also loaded logs for a customer and placed them in Shottle siding for collection.
Further attention was given to the narrow gauge manrider and the Logging Dept. were in full production with demand showing no signs of waning. New brake blocks were delivered for Faraday representing further investment in this stalwart. More sheets arrived for the shed and departed again as we had no fork lift driver on site to unload them. They will return at a more convenient time.
The Booking Hall received a number of visitors and the till was enlivened by their presence.
Another very good day.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Wed 25th Feb

Evenin' all,

Another early start with a vehicle for testing and the the Testees and
Testers on site by 0800, (They had to be in Carlisle by the end of
today) The editor of Rail magazine wanted to witness the event for an
article, unfortunately he was delayed by a failed train!. However he
joined us at Duffiled for the return trip. He was also given the full

Meanwhile the Per way team fettled the cant, created yesterday before
proceeding to the Racing Straight wher stone was dropped on the Up
shoulder, some cross-drain pipes were also installed. A little light
ploughing ensued. A shade more stone will be required to complete the

In the Maintenance area, work continued on Hydra with needle gunning
of the paintwork, freeing off and removal of various bits, doors etc.
Some anti rust paint was applied to pre derusted areas.

The Narrow Gauge manrider continued to attract more paint..

Tomorrow will see the Per way team reporting to Wirksworth.


Fancy a job? -

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Tues 24th Feb

Evenin' all,

First of all, we now have toilet facilities at Shottle as well as by
the Naintenance shed. They are basic but better than we had until now!

The Per way team have made alterations to the south end of the Gorsey
Bank line, by moving the 'STOP' board forward and lifting the last five
panels to install a 150mm cant, which is part of the Test facilities.
This involved dropping a lot of stone folled by gentle jacking and
packing. The result is pleasing.

Two members of the VCT attended Shottle and had a good bonfire and
cleaning session.

The Dream Steam Team went out for a jolly to Matlock, to review work
on the Boiler of N0 3, and drew up the Methodology Statement after
discussions with the Boiler Inspector, they then returned to site and
continued work on N0 3.

More Training on the Class 20. The Logging dept word hard on stocks
and also had a bonfire. The EVRA Shop had a restock after a busy
weekend with the sales stall. The Booking Hall had a handfull of
visitors and preparred itself for the flood of visitors this weekend.

Tomorrow sees the Per Way Team signing on at Wirksworth.


Fancy a job? -

Monday, 23 February 2009

Monday 23rd February 2009

Dear all
A most pleasant and Spring like day with more progress on many fronts. Use of the new flail was introduced to Mick Kingsley and after some basic maintenance a trial site was attacked north of Cemetery Lane to good effect and Mondays see destined to be "flail day". Our apprentice continued his endeavours with Thomas Hill No 6 to be known as "Hydra" and he now has quite a good workspace within the Maintenance Facility. An order has been placed today for the remaining materials necessary to complete this structure all bar the doors at the south end.
The narrow gauge manrider had paint applied and ballast was delivered to the Dogfish placed in Wash Green dock yesterday. Richard Buckby kindly came in to move the loaded Dogfish out and replace them with a further Dogfish to be loaded tomorrow. (Dogfish - is the name applied to a ballast hopper wagon that can discharge stone out of either side or the centre depending on which doors are selected)
SRS240 was loaded for despatch to Sweden and there was another flurry of "buyagift" enquiries.
A shed load of cakes was delivered for the upcoming weekend emphasizing that the operating season is about to begin again.
Another good day.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Progress Sunday 22nd February 2009

Evening all,

A day of many parts which saw us welcoming a number of visitors through the Booking Hall.

First thing, a few volunteers ventured to Duffield to continue drainage work whilst at the back of shed the Steam Team progressed with their locomotives.

The majority of volunteers were from the DMU Team and progress continued with rust chipping inside the 119. The 117 also had some long outstanding minor jobs attended to and the staff pie warmer was found to be in good working order ready for the Fish and Chip Special (which by the way still has some spaces left - so don't miss out!). We don't want the train crew's food going cold whilst everybody else is enjoying theirs! The Carriage and Wagon Superintendant also went round oiling up shackles and linkages on all of the DMU's to make them easier to use. He didn't quite finish this job and in the end, found himself about 3/4 of the way up Iris.

Whilst this was going on, a rather large shunt took place to put 2 Dogfish wagons into the ballast dock ready for a delivery of stone during the week. Our "new" loco was also put properly into the shed so that Apprentice Fry could also continue working on it (without the DMU Team's steps).

The Buffet Car has had a clear out and clean down ready for next weekends Gala and the onslaught of public.

Our Stationmaster has painted some of the Tube Wagon. The idea, I believe, was only for him to start doing this and then go on to other jobs whilst the conscript took over, but as no conscript turned up today he decided to carry on. Towards dark, he decided to repair the broken fence at North End viewpoint that had earlier been reported by Wirksworth's ASM.

So much activity, so little time!

John Ball

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Progress Saturday 21st February 2009

Evening all,

With the Gala only one week away it was again all hands on deck to make sure as much as possible is ready.

The main thrust of the day was to wash and then pressure-wash both Iris and the bubble car and these are now as clean as can be expected. This complements the floors that were cleaned yesterday.

This all takes time, leaving little time for much else. The Met-Camms did have their floors swept out and the conscript of the day continued rust scraping inside the 119 - strangely, he was very enthusiastic and we may have a done a good turn if he decides to come back and volunteer in the future!

The destination box for the 117 that has been refurbished had a coat of paint so that everybody knows where it is going next week.

The Booking Hall was open and had a fair number pass through today with the weather being positively spring-like. Hopefully it will be warm tomorrow too!


Mike Evans

Friday, 20 February 2009

Friday 20th February 2009

Dear all
Quite a busy Friday with the IMT patrolling parts of the Wirksworth to Idridgehay section. Day two for our "apprentice" with satisfactory signs of progress on the recent arrival. A few hours of help to clear loose paintwork on the locomotive was achieved by a young offender and his supervisor.
DMU fettling for the Homefleet Gala continued and Sperry Rail were readying their machine for departure on Monday.
The Booking Hall had quite a steady flow of visitors and Idridgehay was treated to a new timetable poster and the installation of some battery powered lights.
The Flail was off tracked to facilitate a major refiling of rolling stock on Sunday.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Thursday 19th February 2009

Dear all
Many congratulations to the permanent way team this week who have completed two panels of main line at Shottle on concrete sleepers, another first for our enterprise. The VCT attacked an area south of Shottle around the combined accommodation crossing and footpath at A3/F8 and achieved their customary high productivity.
Wirksworth was also a hive of activity with the second Thomas Hill locomotive arriving from BP Landarcy. Work commenced in earnest on No6 which arrived yesterday as a project for our "new" apprentice, Will Fry, who has been given one month to prepare and paint the locomotive before it enters service. Harsco Track Technologies conducted more tests on the Gorsey Bank line to their satisfaction and the Logging Department were in full production. The narrow gauge manrider alterations continued and the bulb horn audible warning device fitted on the south end was tested.
The Booking Hall received a few visitors and dealt with the usual level of helpful phone calls and the interiors of the dmus were receiving a deep clean for their staring roles in the Home Fleet Gala. Anton put the finishing touches to the new paintwork on the Mermaid and also administered a little more gloss to the Booking Hall.
Finally, a thank you to Mrs Atwell for a packet of black velvet - I remain a little confused as to its final destination but such are the mysteries of carriage restoration.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Wed 18th Feb

Evenin' all,

A very long and tiring day saw much activity at two main locations. At
Wirksworth, the Boiler and tubes of N0 3 went away for some
refurbishment, which is another positive sign that the rebuild is
getting to the construction stage rather than the dismantling part.
More work was also carried out on the Narrow gauge line, getting it
ready for its opening.
A new arrival was 'Hydra', our own 0-6-0 Thomas Hill loco with an 8
Cyl Rolls Royce engine ex BP Landarcy works. After unloading it ran
across the yard to the shed under its own power. It will now have a
full inspection and repaint into the Company colours. This loco is a
heavy duty loco for the Works Train.
Sperry Rail were also here calibrating and testing one of their
machines. Several visitors also attended and the Booking Hall Staff was
kept on their toes.
The annual visit by the Auditors also occured, when things are looked
at in fine detail. All appears to be fine.

The other main centre of activity was at Shottle.Where a good turnout
of Per Way types had a pre 0800 start by completing the dig for two
panels of Main Line renewals. Whilst another gang completed the panel
of track for the Loop, started yesterday. Some of the uplifted spoil
from the dig was used to start packing the worst parts of the Loop,
using the Road Rail Dumper and the mini digger.After lunch two panels
of concrete sleepers wer laid out and the rails replaced, most of the
clipping up was also achieved. THis was the first time that we have
relaid main line track with concrete sleeperd track - it saves time
with not having to attach baseplates, but it is much harder to slew the
track. Final clipping up, plating up and rough leveling will take place

A day of real solid progress on many activities.


What's on TV tonight? -

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Tues 17th Feb

Evenin' all,

A plwasant day with the the team nearly stripping off!

The Per way team unloaded some logs for the logging dept, as they had
started to grow on the wagon and then headed to Shottle. They collected
fisplated from the recently welded joints on the way.

Two panels on the main line were stripped out ready for resleepering
with concretes tomorrow. More sleepers were laid out on the Loop and a
further rail popped into place.

An inspection of welding work was also carried out by the welds

The VCT continued clearance work south of Shottle, and had a good

The Steam team, prepared the boiler of No3 which departs for off site
work starting tomorrow. Whilst the Booking Hall team had several
visitors seeing as it is Half Term.

All per way staff to Shottle tomorrow foa a nice early start 0800 for
machine work.


What's on TV tonight? -

Monday, 16 February 2009

Monday 16th February 2009

Dear all
A pleasant, mild sunny day allowing Faraday to have a wipe over and the concrete sleeper lifting beam to have further cosmetic attention. Phil and I were able to view the results of the welding team's endeavours between Idridgehay and Shottle and we are going to have a most satisfactory section of track enhanced by all the efforts of the VCT. Shottle was visited as well and we mused on whether the track could be lowered a little through the platform to aid eventual detraining there and further thought will be given to this. Peak Oil are in the process of renovating and re-glazing the canopy following their work on the doors and windows.
The Booking Hall fielded the usual phone calls and received a small influx of visitors. The project to assemble all the necessary elements for the Dash to Duffield continued to good effect.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Progress Report Sunday 15th February

Dear all,

Quite a warm and tolerably dry day by recent standards, which led to
further progress painting the Mermaid, this only needs to have a moment
in the shed for us to complete it, as it is not drying out sufficiently
for us to finish painting the east side. Further engineering progress
continued on Ferrybridge no3 with the steam team working on the further
re-instatement of the wasting in the boiler barrel and the firebox wrapper.

The Booking Hall had no peace at all today with an unending stream of
visitors including a walking party who arrived by coach, had a picnic on
the platform and then despatched themselves to Carsington for the
waters. In between demands for coffee and jigsaws Mr Duty Manager Ball
checked the volunteers files and a number of you will be receiving
requests for further top secret information.

New disabled signs were put up and the disabled parking spaces which
these denote will be marked out as soon as the weather permits. The
station foot crossing received attention with other new signs being
bedded in and the crossing being repacked so that gentlemen and ladies
in stilettos can pass over it without impediment.

On the subject of laydees (cough, cough), Mr Mike Evans would like a
black velvet dress. It says here this is for his Saturday night job (oh,
I'm sorry, I'll read that again), this is not for his Saturday night
job. Apparently the internal door reveals in the class 119 were fitted
with velvet strips which prevent the doors slamming. In the case of the
first class section of the 119, the original internal upholstery scheme
is black, so we're looking for some black (or dark) velvet. In other
work on this project, the second compartment was cleared of its valuable
railway artefacts (mainly seats) and some of these were transmitted via
the wonderment of shunting to the DMU container and the rest were
stacked in the third compartment.

All the best,
Anton, on behalf of John Ball.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Progress Saturday 14th February 2009

Evening all,

Today was very much a day for preparing and making sure we are as ready as we can be for the gala that is looming.

A large team turned out and were able to wash both sides of 4 DMU's so that they look sparkling for the event. The insides were done by a conscript last week. Meanwhile two people continued scraping the rust from the roofing inside the 119. Everybody was rejoicing at the fact that it was 4 degrees rather than -4 degrees as it was last week. We hear it is going to be even warmer tomorrow!

The booking hall was open all day and quite a few people passed through - with sales being reported as excellent for today. A phone call was received from the Marketing Fuhrer to say he was at Duffield and that he was hoping there might be a train but the train staff had been withdrawn due to welding work between Idridgehay and Shottle. We believe that this work was progressed but only due to a volunteer seeing two ghostly figures in orange vests trackside whilst he was driving in this morning!

All in all, not a bad day considering activity was all focussed in one area. A nightmare of a job in this weather but vital nevertheless.

Mike Evans

Friday, 13 February 2009

Friday 13th February 2009

Dear all
Quite an active day for a Friday with the early arrival of a welding team to attend the Idridgehay Shottle section. They had a successful day and will be returning tomorrow to push this project forward and have been given the green light to complete the job.
D8001+SRS240 had a good day with the customer declaring themselves very pleased with the results. The Class 108 received more new batteries and has now been completely re-equipped and the Mess Hall had a deep clean ready for the weekend. The IMT patrolled the Ravenstor and Gorsey Bank lines incorporating a check of the ground frames and facing point locks. Further flailing was achieved with the new machine concentrating on the Wash Green to Gorsey Bank area. This was followed by a tightening up of hoses as a slight leak of hydraulic fluid was noticed.
Faraday received some cosmetic attention and the newly acquired concrete sleeper lifting beam had a clean and its first coat of paint.
Quite a pleasantly busy day but how could I have omitted the sterling efforts of the VCT yesterday - they are so quiet and unassuming!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Thursday 12th February 2009

Dear all
Another great day of progress with the permanent way team striding forward at Shottle with a further two rails screwed down in the ever growing loop and a further two collected and moved into position. The Class 20 was working again with the Sperry Rail vehicle SRS240 giving the chance of driver training so that more of our team our familiar with the machine.
The narrow gauge man rider received more attention to meet the requirements of HMRI and the Logging Department was in full production. The Works Train returned to Wirksworth with further supplies for the Logging Department as the inclement weather continues the high demand for their product.
The Booking Hall coordinated phone calls and conducted debate with a supplier for an increasing range of shop goods. Two more "BuyaGift" days were booked indicating that these products are continuing to sell well.
Phil and I went on tour to discuss future requirements with a track component supplier at Worksop with particular emphasis on some of the future signalling elements such as facing point locks, ground frames, rodding etc. A most satisfactory conclusion was reached where all foreseeable needs can be met. We then travelled on to the depths of Sheffield to purchase a replacement rail disc cutter, after the terminal failure of our present machine, and place an impact wrench in for repair.
All in all, another very good day.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Wed 11th Feb

Evenin' all,
The Narrow Gauge tean seemed to have spent much of the day cutting
things up, In fact they were making alterations to the passenger
carrying vehicle as recommended by HMRI, the vehicle now looks much

The Per way team assembled more track by laying out two panels of
sleepers, installing one rail and starting on the second rail. they
also roughly lined up the previous panel of the Loop.

A whole line test was carried out by a guest and a few minor problems
were ironed out - which is why we are here. The test was sucessful.

Very few visitors spent very little money in the Booking Hall, and the
Logging Department have now run out of logs.


Save money with Tiscali Money's tips -

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Tues 10th Feb

Evenin' all,

A bright sunny day saw work groups spread far and wide.

The Dream Steam Team mustered a good team and attacked the Regulator
on No 3 as well as the Clack valve. Some serious grinding of welds and
more Spring cleaning. Various components are starting to get back into
some sort of order.

The Woodcutting dept chopped and split more logs, and al;so had a
bonfire of assorted rubbish. The Booking Hall played host to a small
number of visitors.

Two teams of Sperry Rail staff were on site, and were testing two
seperate vevicles on different sections of track.

The Per way team operated in the Shottle area and recovered three 60'
rails. These were laid out on the Loop ready fgor building up the next
panel of tgrack.

South of Shottle the VCT carried on clearing the line and soon had a
good blaze going.

Back in the office, a lot of hard work also took place.

Tomorrow, Per way team to report to Shottle. There is a whole line
testing on so the train must be in the siding until permission is given
once the line is clear. Please remember to sign in at Peak Oil and also
to get all cars beyond the yellow barrier. The whole of Peak Oil's yard
is required to turn some of their big tankers around. They do get irate
if a car is parked on the wrong side of the gate.


Save money with Tiscali Money's tips -

Monday, 9 February 2009

Monday 9th February 2009

Dear all
A day of concentration on our lead customer, Sperry Rail International, requiring the preparation of D8001 for four days work running with SRS240 as it is being prepared for service in Sweden. However, the weather conspired against the arrival of SRS240 and it only landed around 1600 hrs. However, this gave us plenty of time to warm D8001 through and be ready for start of play tomorrow. The Works Train was berthed on Road 3 and the Car Park siding de-iced for SRS240.
The Booking Hall received no visitors but had the usual selection of useful and not so useful phone calls. The plan, weather permitting, tomorrow is for the Works Train to head for Shottle incorporating the VCT as the Landrover is temporarily out of action whilst a new ignition key is sourced. The Sperry combination will then operate between Wirksworth and Idridgehay.
Just a note concerning the up coming Fish and Chip special on Saturday 28th February. The train departs Wirksworth at 19.00 hrs and there will be a bar on board for an inclusive fare of £12 with the food being supplied from the excellent "chippy" at Cromford. Tickets available from the Booking Hall with a closing date of Wednesday 25th February.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Progress Report Sunday 8th February 2009

Dear all,

A fine, clear and cold day with snow beginning to fall as we left. The
main thrust of the day was in the engineerium where a happy band of
volunteers succeeded in keeping themselves warm by continuing activities
such as stripping, sanding and varnishing in the class 119. Also in the
engineerium, or rather outside it, the steam team occupied themselves
with rebuilding wasted parts of the firebox and boiler of Ferrybridge
number 3.

The booking hall dealt with a number of hardy visitors and watched
various locals skating their dogs in our car park. The Duty Manager
having discovered that the car park was like an ice rink by being face
down on it within 30 seconds of stepping out of the Passenger Dept's
horseless carriage. After some swearing a modest amount of our limited
supply of salt was spread outside the booking hall and the duty
conscript and his close personal friend were delegated to the snow
clearance of the north end of platforms 1 and 2 and the foot crossing,
and these areas have also been salted.

Carline's Drains and Rods despatched themselves to Duffield in the
Landrover (which needs a new key) and spent the day digging out two
catch pits north of Duffield Tunnel which probably haven't been touched
for the best part of 40 years. The drains around the tunnel are now
emptying into Lake Duffield, a new water feature north of the Station

For the greater general betterment of our chilly volunteers the duff
heater was replaced in the Mess Room and a breakdown in the webcam
service was noted. A survey by YouGov suggested the breakdown was due to
knife crime in Kazakhstan and will cost £30billion to fix.

All the best,

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Progress Saturday 7th February 2009

Evening all,
Very few volunteers were on site today due to the snow still lingering, but a quiet day always allows plenty to be done without distraction.
First thing this morning grit salt was scattered on the car park as nobody had bothered earlier in the week and it had become more like somewhere you would skate than somewhere you would drive. With the general public regularly walking through it was decided to thaw it a little.
The majority of the 'action' was on the 119 major restoration project, with all sorts of things going on - including chipping, screwing and stripping. I think staining was in there somewhere as well!
Other than that, the Booking Hall was open and one or two visitors had a trudge round and took some snowy photographs. The First Aid boxes were also checked and found to be still there.
Mike Evans

Friday, 6 February 2009

Friday 5th February 2009

Dear all
A fairly quiet day again with much pen pushing and debate with potential suppliers. The Booking Hall took the usual range of telephone calls and the Class 119 received further attentiion.
Let's hope next week will allow us to resume full productivity!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Thurs 5th Feb


Once again snow was the order of the day. The Buxton shift took over
from the Lancastrian shift, but our guest postponed his visit until
next Wednesday - I suppose it is difficult to do brake tests with one
inch of snow on the rail head.

Due to the weather, everyone else had a duvet day, which resulted in
much admin work getting done.


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Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Wed 4th Feb

Evenin' all,

Today saw a late departure of the works train, owing to it having to
run down the Gorsey Bank line to clear the line of snow for a customer.
The train then left via Wash Green Crossover, which was snow blocked.

However the team got away and spent avery good day at Shottle North,
cutting rail, drilling, resleepering the Trap Point etc. The cold day
was brightened significantly with excellent news of a funding coup.
(And you thought that Martin and I just hid out of the way for the last
few months).

The Disc cutter has had to go for repairs as it once again siezed up -
Someone keeps trying to run it and the bances on petrol instead of 2
stroke mix, another few hundred quid wasted.

Tomorrow sees the Works train away first by 0915 followed by the VCT
Landrover, both to get off track at Shottle so that a Testing vehicle
can pass.

Another milestone of a day!


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Very Good News!!

Dear all
I am exceptionally pleased to announce that the East Midlands Development Agency has awarded a grant of £208,000, yes £208,000, to the Company to complete the refurbishment of the line to Duffield and I quote from the award document:-
"This funding is to enable WyvernRail plc to purchase materials to complete the refurbishment of the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway on the 5 mile section of the line between Idridgehay and Duffield in Derbyshire. This will allow the whole Ecclesbourne Valley railway line between Wirksworth and Duffield to be used as a fully operational test track facility by WyvernRail plc and third party organisations, to test new more environmentally friendly rail technologies."
This, of course, means that we can press on without continually worrying about where the money is coming from for rails, sleepers, ballast and machine hire fees for ditching and tamping. It also means that we can purchase the various bits of signalling equipment such as facing point locks and ground frames necessary before the line opens to passengers. It also makes it much more possible to raise the funds for a new platform at Duffield and achieve our planned opening date of September 2010.
So raise a glass, as I am doing, to a further major step forward and recognition that we are a centre of excellence for rail vehicle testing.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Tuesday 3rd Feb

Evenin' all,

Despite yesterday's snow, a hardy band turned up at site this morning.

Steve Turner (HMRI) visited the Narrow Gauge line for his inspection.
The line passed for public usage, with only a couple of minor actions
to be completed. So, well done to the Narrow Gauge team - another
feature completed.

The Dream Steam Team huddled together down the yard, longing for the
day that the boiler, that they are working on would be warm.

In the Booking Hall, the lull meant that paint brushes could be
wielded on the inside of the shop ready for the coming season.

The Flatrol was recovered from the car park and returned to the Works
Train so that more logs can be collected.

One of our customers turned up after lunch, they had a look at the
snow covered track and decided to come back tomorrow.

Once again a great deal of Admin and forward planning work.

Tomorrow, the Works Train will depart from Wirksworth at 0930 where
work will be carried out at Shottle - weather permitting.


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Monday, 2 February 2009

Monday 2nd February 2009

Dear all
For the first time ever there is nothing to report! Today's planned "Drive a Diesel Day" was frustrated by the weather as was the planned departure of Battery Locomotive L45. I am sure the remainder of the week will compensate for this severe lack of productivity.

Monday 2nd February 2009

Dear all
I think it's the first time in our short history that weather conditions have defeated any activity at all, so I can report nothing other than valiant efforts to attend our site. A presence was achieved, albeit briefly, and we all look out at the weather that envelopes Derbyshire. Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Progress Sunday 1st February 2009

Dear all,

Mostly a pleasant sunny day if rather cold. In the general area of
engineering, the class 119 appreciation society carried out a range of
tasks including the stripping and cleaning of window frames, as well as
sanding, and rust removal from the ceiling of the second compartment of
that vehicle. The batteries were changed in trailer car 56224 and the
conscript designated to clean the 117 /108 set discovered that the
process of managerial checking includes the words "do it again". The
shark wagon has had its axle boxes attended to by the Carriage and Wagon

In other work, the remaining conscript moved a large amount of scrap
wood to the fire area and a number of smaller items to a skip which
seems to have appeared outside the Training Room. Further shelving was
put up in the Booking Hall and the cable trunking repaired. A tidy
around of the dust dock ramp took place and various unique donations
were filed in their correct places. The two spare wheelie bins are now
behind the Passenger Office and the salt is behind the cleaning shed.

At Duffield the entire compound area has had its brash removed right
into the south corner by the main line and the trench by the cabin has
been closed down as the sought for drain was not identified. On the
other hand another blocked catch pit has been found at the south end of
the platform and is in the course of being dug out. The weekend drainage
gang reports river scouring at Hazelwood, this has occurred before but
causes me in Duty Manager's capacity to impose a 5 mph TSR south of
Shottle pending inspection by greater powers than myself.

The weather at Wirksworth deteriorated somewhat towards the end of the
day and by 16.30 was sufficiently poor that if such conditions spread to
London the media may have to report some real news for once, instead of
making it up and then pretending to be surprised by it.

All the best,