Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Tuesday 31st March 2009

Dear all
Another day of frenetic activity. We welcomed another new recruit to the Steam Team - the loco will soon be to too small to accommodate them all. DRE completed a new staff for the Wirksworth to Gorsey Bank line complete with Annetts Key - a real work of art that has the patina of age built in. The gang of three completed the undercoating of Hydra including the interior of the cab and this will lead to a little of the top coat being applied tomorrow.
More paint was also applied to the Shark and felt for the Model Railway container's roof was cut to size. Some heavy (I was told if I said "light" again I would be invited to participate) gardening was achieved opposite the station buildings and domestic chores saw order restored to the Mess Hall. The Logging Dept were in production and scaffolding erected for the Tunnel stonework repairs.
The VCT declared themselves satisfied with progress north of Hazelwood and achieved a two fire day. The PW team replaced 16 sleepers and oiled 5 pairs of fishplates on their way to Travis Folly again enjoying Class 20 haulage.
The end of the day saw the arrival of one component of tomorrow's test equipment arriving and during the day the Komatsu received MyTestTrack branding to very good effect.
Emergency cover for the Booking Hall arrived in his black taxi and reported satisfactory trading.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Monday 30th March 2009

Dear all
The pace quickens with On Track Plant maintenance dealing with the Komatsu and road/rail dumper and a member of the VCT turning and sharpening flail heads. Much dmu movement took place to take care of a most generous donation of 1000 litres of fuel so that the Easter running is now taken care of.
The Model Railway container received its first treatment of undercoat and further fettling of the narrow gauge train was undertaken.
In the bowels of the Maintenance Facility a team of three completed the undercoating of Hydra and the Shark is gradually being repainted into its grey livery.
A detailed review of our insurance provisions took place with the broker to minimise our exposure to the unforeseen and the Booking Hall dealt with the usual phone calls.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Progress Sunday the 29th of March

Dear all,

After complaining about the seeming never ending lousy weather, today
was find and sunny - notwithstanding an early light covering of snow.
The Ravenstor service ran smoothly with passengers on every train and
the buffet car and shop had a productive day. The day with a driver went
well and all our guests enjoyed themselves with lunch provided.

A small selection of conscripts were delegated to attend to the second
compartment of the 119 which is now less rusty; other work in the 119
included having its underparts scraped and continuing work on the
engines. Also in engineering, the steam team proceeded with bedding in
the axles box brasses for Ferrybridge No3.

Following on from yesterday's rubbish clearance of the Hannages, more
rubbish was removed from around the Museum line. Various painting jobs
were attended to including the barge boards on the Shunters Cabin; the
Ladies floor; the Ladies outer toilet door; the Gents door weather
boarding; the Mess Room exterior skirtings; the Training Room door jambs
and the south west corner of the Shunters Cabin.

Many thanks to all
John Ball Duty Manager via Anton

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Progress Saturday 28th March 2009

Evening all,
A strange sort of day with warm sunshine interspersed with heavy hail showers! Nevertheless, it didn't stop progress all over the empire. I wonder if progress will start OK tomorrow with the clocks altering tonight!

Today the Passenger Department were out in force making alterations to the shelving inside the Booking Hall as well as picking litter from the Hannages right to Gorsey Bank in conjunction with Tidy Up Wirksworth Day. In the meantime todays conscript made good use of spare stone from the ballast dock.

Down the yard, the Cemetary Lane up siding retaining wall was landscaped and some grass seed sewed.Also in that vicinity, two volunteers had driver and guards training on the Narrow Gauge line in preparation for the Easter opening. I'm told the route learning part was the most difficult part of the whole training course.

Towards the shed there was people everywhere. Inside, loud noises could be heard from a needle gun as work continued on Hydra whilst outside, work continued apace on the Class 119 project. Engine No.2 now has full power to the starter motor. The cause of voltage loss previously discovered was due to corrosion inside the Battery Isolation Switch. This is hardly suprising with it having stood since 1992! Needless to say that it was easily rectified.

Carline Drains and Co had a break from drainage and instead attended to some brash that has been loitering for a while near 49 steps.

A good day in the end,

Mike Evans

Friday, 27 March 2009

Supplementary Friday 27th March 2009

Dear all
A correction! I mean't David Statham not Stafford - must be on auto pilot as David Stafford was an old colleague mine. Grateful thanks to spotter Dorothy.

Friday 27th March 2009

Dear all
A mixed day of sunshine, showers and hail that didn't make the recovery of the road/rail dumper from Shottle a very enjoyable experience. The Komatsu 130 was also brought back from Shottle flailing as it progressed north. This process involved some five hours of flailing and travelling further enhancing the lineside. The Bubble Car took the dumper and flail drivers to Shottle and returned to Wirksworth only to be called out to the dumper which had come to a stop near the Barnsley Lane bridge. With the help of DRE the machine was restarted and continued its journey.
It was hoped to use Faraday for the transport to Shottle but he too had a moment and would not start! Meanwhile, Sperry Rail were on site with some new battery powered trolleys and declared themselves to be satisfied after several journeys on the Gorsey Bank line. Hydra progressed apace with Roy (73), Les (78), Will (16) and Aaron (15) with the declaration that there remained only four hours of work before it is ready for a top coat. Aaron has been with us for a week's work experience and has proved to be a real asset and I hope he will return as a volunteer.
The Class 119 received further attention and the Buffet Car was readied for Sunday's trading. The Booking Office coped with visitors and the usual calls.
Late this afternoon a call was received from Bombardier to announce we were to be the recipient of locomotive "L J Breeze". This is a large Sentinel Rolls Royce 0-6-0 shunter built in 1969 and had worked at their Wakefield plant before being transferred to Derby. I hope it will make a superb works train engine and has the bonus of being fitted with air train brakes.
Another call was received from David Stafford who has been advised that he will need a double heart bypass. I am sure we all wish him well and a successful operation.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Thursday 26th March 2009

Dear all
Most of the action today took place in the deep south. The Permanent Way Team completed the reinstatement of two panels north of Shottle platform and then deposited sleepers for spot resleepering between Shottle and Travis Folly. Logs were gathered up and transported back to Wirksworth together with the rest of the Works Train. They have been somewhat spoilt this week with the Class 20 providing the power allowing for a less leisurely return to base at the end of the day.
The VCT continued their endeavours north of Hazelwood revealing further erosion close to the track bed. This will be dealt with by more concrete sleepers being used as piling to prevent the situation worsening.
With the great help of Banner Rail, formal training was undertaken on the Komatsu 130 and I am pleased to report that five students now have the appropriate piece of paper. This session, coupled with the records of hours worked on the machine, is comforting to ensure we use this kit safely and within its capabilities.
To deal with the relocation of a tenant at Wirksworth we need to provide power and water from one side of the car park to the other. This will allow a new use for the poles that held the level crossing lights to provide a steel channel for these services to withstand the heavy traffic that delivers vehicles to and from the Railway. These were transported from storage at Shottle to the welding area at Wirksworth.
Back at base there was some work in progress with the Model Railway container receiving further preparation for repainting and the Training Room interior received its first coat of magnolia as part of a plan to refresh the building for our MTT customers. Within the Maintenance Facility the Shark had further attention to its paintwork and a little light gardening was achieved opposite the station buildings.
A future customer delivered 60 builders bags that will be filled with ballast to act as weights. These are stored on the Dust Dock and should not be moved!
After a sleepy week in the Booking Hall the phone never stopped today with some of the calls being productive.
A very good day.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Wed 25th March

Evenin' all,

Work continued on Hydra with more removal of old paint/rust and the
application of new primer and paint. The end of the paint job is in
sight, I am informed. This is good work by the 70's duo and the

On the adjacent road in the shed, Rod continued with the re roofing of
the Shark and general tidying up after major body work over the last
few months.

Contractors from Tarmac have ben engaged by them to repair the recent
rockfall above the tunnel mouth next to the nrrow gauge station in the
carpark - work starts next week.

The big project was again at Shottle, wherean 0800 start meant that
most of the dig was completed by the time that the works train arrived,
which works out very well. Two panels were stripped yesterday. With the
strong winds and blustery showers, we had trouble with the lasers, but
struggled on. the team were able to report all sleepers in by mid
morning, and by the end of the day all rails had been laid out and one
panel had been spiked down. The uplifted spoil was dumpered towards the
platform and has been levelled off to creat more base for the loop -
nothing is wasted.Tomorrow will see this section of the relay completed
- if we have a good turnout.

Talking of a good turnout, I am toying with the idea of completing the
relay through Shottle station as far as Shottle south junction in one
hit. 13 panels out, dug, and rebuilt within a week. This is a real
challenge and will take place after Easter. It will mean having works
teams for every day. There is a logistics problem but we shall overcome.
- one day.This is likely to be in early May.

The Shop was fairly busy today, possibly people hanging around since

Tomorrow sees the VCT picking up their vehicle at Shottle, and working
around the Erosion site near Hazlewood, a digger working south from
Shottle towards A3/F8, the Per way team nailing down another panel as
well as changing some fishplates in the Loop.Exciting times!


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Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Tues 24th Mar

Evenin' all,

Once again work took place at three seperate areas on site. In the
Maintenance shed, Roy, Les Steve and Will had a hard day chipping and
painting Hydra. Rod worked on the roof of the Shark, whilst the Dream
Steam Team worked on the tank of No 3 as well as the bearings.

At Shottle, the Per way team dismantled two panels of track ready for
fesleepering tomorrow.

At the erosion site near Hazlewood, the VCT made a big start in
clearing the river bank ready for work to start on re-instating the
river bank, this included two bonfires.

The Booking Hall was not covered again, until Pat L wandered in after
lunch and he was volunteered to cover it.

A guest was using the facilities today to perfect their machines for
moving rails

Tomorrow sees work at Shottle from 0800, the train bringing staff
leaves wirksworth at 0930.


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Monday, 23 March 2009

Monday 23rd March 2009

Dear all
A pleasantly productive day with activities on many fronts. Work continued on the refurbishment of Hydra with an additional pair of hands in the form of Aaron who is with us on work placement. The planned preventative maintenance moved forward on our plant fleet with the Komatsu 130, Coles crane and Multicar road/rail lorry receiving attention.
The Class 119 dmu car had further work to restore the vehicle to service and hands were laid on Faraday with satisfactory results giving this stalwart a nearly new lease of life.
The flail enjoyed two shifts of use and initially gave Ken Rowlands crossing a short back and sides. The machine then ventured to the "erosion" site north of Hazelwood and dealt with some 200 yards of lineside on both the Up and Down sides. This will greatly help the VCT as they begin to tackle this stretch tomorrow.
The Booking Hall welcomed visitors and fielded the usual phone calls one of which was quite useful!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Progress Sunday 22 march 2009

Dear all,

A day of many parts, some of them chilly, but the morning had been sunny
and Carline Enterprises washed two yellow road-rail vehicles before
giving Ravenstor some necessary attention. The Booking Hall dealt with a
modest number of passengers and half the Heanor football team visited
the buffet car, but Passenger Services was mainly occupied with stuffing
the pre-Easter promotional mail out. Work also took place to repair the
door frame of the Training Room.

The Global Marketing Department and its wobbly dog attended to provide
staff and other interested parties with information on the new
Share-Save scheme, a link to which can doubtless be found below this
valuable email.

In the engineerium, the Steam Team proceeded with Ferrybridge Number 3
and the Class 119 Appreciation Society turned their attention to the
exhaust parts of that vehicle, as well as being assisted with work on
the window frames. The Class 20 had its internal-external checklists
checked and its staff certified.

Duffield Station received attention to the main entrance and this is now
wonderous tidy to the considerable amazement of all concerned, for which
there will doubtless be a short report shortly. Or possibly a long
report shortly.

All the best,

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Progress Report 21.3.2009

Dear All,
Today saw a bright and sunny day at Wirksworth and there was not a cloud to be seen anywhere in the Sky.
A small but perfectly formed group of volunteers were on site today and they achieved a verity of tasks.  
Down the yard Roy and Les continued work on the new shunting loco Hydra. Further preparation work was also carried out on the O3 to get it ready for painting.
Also down the yard work progressed on the 119 restoration project. The pipe work in the cab was cleaned up and then painted with kill rust. The underneath of the 119 was also given a going over with a scraper to get the muck and rust off.
While all this was going on some shunting took place to rearrange the stock in and around the shed area. A few DMU stores were also relocated while there was the opportunity to do so.
Later in the afternoon time was taken to go down the Idridgehay line and cut back some offending tree branches that were overhanging the line.
Meanwhile the Gorsy Bank line saw some use with the testing of a new vehicle by Sperry Rail.
The Booking hall and EVRA shop entertained some customers. The Mess Room and Booking Hall were also swept and moped out.
Not a bad days work when all said and done.
John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans


Friday, 20 March 2009

Friday 20th March 2009

Dear all
Friday is normally a day for quiet contemplation with a review of progress to date and a planning session for the upcoming week. No quiet today! A large load of materials arrived comprising 200 timber sleepers which were placed on the two waiting wagons in the Car Park and a complete set of hardwood crossing timbers that were delivered to Shottle and loaded on the Sturgeon with an eventual destination of Shottle South loop pointwork. The sleepers had arrived just in time as we had used the last ones in stock earlier in the week.
DRE found the makings of the Shottle North Ground Frame under a tarpaulin in Wirksworth Yard which has saved sourcing this necessary asset from elsewhere. I never cease to wonder at what has been "donated" over the years and remains largely unrecorded.
Faraday, despite being somewhat poorly, managed to shunt the Class 20 and put the Shark within the Maintenance Facility for painting over the next couple of weeks. Roy (73) and Les (78) made spectacular progress with Hydra and the end is in sight of the preparation period. The final result is going to be most acceptable and the covered Maintenance is really coming into its own.
Further exterior preparation work was undertaken with the Model Railway container and the picnic tables of Platforms 1 and 2 had a makeover.
The IMT concentrated their effort on Wirksworth Yard including replacement of missing keys and oiling of the pointwork. Harsco brought some new equipment for testing next week and removed some of the equipment used yesterday.
The Booking Hall received a number of visitors and the takings were satisfactory.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Thursday 19th March 2009

Dear all
Another sun filled day with a high level of activity. We entertained Harsco Track Technologies, Network Rail and the Rail Standards and Safety Board for tests conducted on the Incline and provided lunch for them in the Gatwick Express.
More maintenance was conducted on the Gents toilet, essential but not the most welcome job for a hard pressed volunteer. However, this volunteer also enjoyed the completion of painting the concrete sleeper lifting beam and some further preparation of Hydra's cab - surely a most varied day.
The Model Railway container received some attention for repainting and Lesley the Lister also was being sparkled for the grand opening, The Logging Dept. were in full production to meet continuing demand.
There were also highlights for the Permanent Way team as they completed the ballasting of the "racing straight" together with boxing up afterwards so that the sleepers are all exposed. The balance of the stone was dropped on the Shottle loop track panels so that they can be packed and levelled. Further south the VCT completed their task at accommodation crossing A3 between Shottle and Hazelwood with what was described as a mega fire together with a sub fire. Milepost 136 1/4 received black paint completing the trio repainted in this section.
Our resident Town Crier presided over the Booking Hall receiving visitors through the day who were particularly entertained by the return of the Works Train on Platform 2 and the Road/Rail Landrover on Platform 1.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Wed 18th March

Evenin all,

The Per way team set off for Shottle stopping on the way to do a final
fix of the cross drains on the Racing Straight, as well as pick up
various plates and clamps released by the welding team. At Shottle two
rails were dragged clear of the temporary crossing, some more sleepers
were changed. whilst others were prepped. The 'Dunbancin' arms at
Shottle recieved further attention and a new lock has been fitted.

The Narroe Gauge line saw Driver Training and Route learning.

The outstanding thing of the day was one of our guests bringing a
trolley for testing. This vehicle had a raised working area and was
pushed gingerly onto the canted track. It went right onto the 150mm
section and stayed upright, but had the appearance of the Pisa Tower
Builders earlier work. This was witnessed by the Network Rail Vehicle
Acceptance Body who were most impressed. The test also showed some
areas where minor modifications are needed to the vehicle, but the test
was most successful. More testing on the Incline tomorrow by other

Tomorrow sees more stone being dropped on the Racing Straight and at


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Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Tues 17th March

Evenin' all,

Another big day with activity spread out over a wide area.

The DST painted their wheels in the shed, as well as visiting the
boiler for No 3. where more work is progressing at a rapid pace.

Hydra had more old paint removed whilst the 70's duo applied fresh
paint, some red oxide one one side and grey undercoat to the previously
painted areas.

The Logging dept were working and also had a bonfire

The class 20 took the works train to Shottle where the Komatsu loaded
some rails onto the Sturgeon and returned with them to Wirksworth where
they were offloaded in the 4' of road 2 ready to act as test rails for
a customer.

Indeed the Per way team were split into 3 teams, with one team re-
measuring and confirming the canted track at Gorsey Bank which will be
used for testing very shortly. Another team managed to change 6
sleepers south of Shottle. whilst the third team moved rails. This was
the first time that the Komatsu has been used in a crane mode, for
loading and unloading a rail at at time, it worked well and was changed
back to flailing mode at the end of the day.

The VCT are now working south of A3, and reported a 3 fire day.

DRE (S&T Branch) continued sorting and cleaning bits and pieces for
the new interlocking and pointwork at Shottle and Duffield.

Dave N reports that the leak in the Gents has been repaired, he
informs me that the way to cure a leak is not to slap several coats of
paint over it!

The Mess room had its weekly deep clean.

Tomorrow sees work at Shottle, but the works train will depart from


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Monday, 16 March 2009

Monday 16th March 2009

Dear all
A glorious Spring day setting the scene for a pleasant trip down the line to examine the latest work by the welders. There remain 10 welds to be achieved before the insertion of Sperry's calibrated rails which will add another eight but the end is well and truly in sight. We also seem well on the way to Travis Folly and the next delivery of sleepers should provide enough material to reach this objective although a further supply will be needed to deal with the Shottle platform section. We have also ordered today the crossing timbers necessary for the pointwork at Shottle South and Duffield South that total 340 feet of appropriate wood!
Back at base we experienced the first day of a new system of maintenance for our "on track plant" fleet. This process will initially carried out on Mondays until all the vehicles are checked over and generally made fit for purpose. The two Landrovers were dealt with today with new oils, filters and brake pads together with a thorough greasing of road and rail gear. This is not an inexpensive process but should ensure as far as is possible that we have no availability problems and preserve the investment we have made in these most useful machines.
Work continued on Hydra ably supported by Roy (73) and Les (78) who applied primer on both Hydra and 03084 with a promise they would return to do more tomorrow. The Komatsu had a once over in readiness for activity tomorrow to load and move rails from Shottle to Wirksworth tomorrow.
The Booking Hall welcome a number of visitors brought out by the sun and fielded the usual phone calls.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Progress Sunday 15th March 2009

Good evening all,

Altogether a long but very productive day aided with some beautiful spring-like weather.

Excellent passengers numbers were seen onboard the Ravenstor service, probably due to the weather. We also held another "Day with the Driver" experience today and this was a great success. The gentleman and his guests enjoyed a full day at the railway complemented with lunch in the buffet car. They enjoyed it so much that they assured us that they would be back sometime shortly.

Down the yard, more work continued on the Class 119 restoration project. This project really seems to be motoring along at the moment, with the installation of part of the ceiling yesterday and major progress on under-side components today. The team was rather hoping to have No.2 engine running by the end of today but a minor snag with a fitting caused things to slow down a bit and in the end, the light was lost. It is more than likely that this engine will be running next week.

Today's conscript did well to fill in some of the deep pot holes in the station car park.

Wirksworth's Stationmaster attempted to fix a leak on one of the toilets but admitted temporary defeat. I'm sure he will be back for round two. He then took advantage of the good weather and finished painting the wagon that had been started a few weeks ago.

Thanks to all concerned,

John Ball

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Progress Saturday 14th March 2009

Afternoon all,

A splendid day with many members of the public coming to peruse our enterprise and have their pockets shaken by the Booking Hall and EVRA shop at the same time.

To be honest, pretty much all of the progress today was on the 119 restoration project, with ten people working on the vehicle. A milestone was reached with help from a professional. The First Class Smoking compartment now has a ceiling. Of course this will need further attention to make it look nice but its in and up. Underneath, various people began the mammouth task of reconnecting some of the components together that will enable the vehicle to move under it's own power once again. Still a long way off yet, but a promising start.

Mike Evans

Friday, 13 March 2009

Friday 13th March

Evenin' all,

The welders were let into Shottle site at 0800 and had a long push to
the scene of their work near Willow Crossing. They managed 4 welds for
the day, they will be back tomorrow and will be accessing at

The 0800 arrival of the Shottle Office suite was delayed by vehicle
defect by the delivery staff but finally arrived at around 12.00
allowing some time for a bit of routine work at Shottle site. The
toilet block was resited to create maximum parking.

One of our guests turned up for some on track experience, arriving at

The IMT patrolled Gorsey Bank and thge Ravenstor Branch, and also
greased up the Wash Green crossover.

Some further work was carried out on the 119 coach

Passenger services dept restained the timbers around the garden on the
Concourse on Platform 1 and welcomed a few visitors.


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Thursday, 12 March 2009

Thursday 12th March 2009

Dear all
A most pleasant Spring like day that saw the completion of the sheeting work on the Maintenance Facility and very good it looks to! The VCT are making sterling progress as they move south of Shottle and were working in the area of accommodation crossing A3 which is a combined crossing with footpath F8 roughly midway between Shottle and Travis Folly. Special mention for Alan Taylor who has been applying paint to 3 mileposts 136 3/4, 136 1/2 and 136 1/4. A joint operation between the VCT and PWT rerailed the Landrover and enabled its return to Wirksworth at the end of the day. The PWT changed a further 12 sleepers and greased four pairs of fishplates as the momentum gathers on the push south.
L46 was loaded this evening for departure to Ruislip after its short stay with us.
It was good to welcome Richard Evison on his first encounter with the PWT and Albert Hill on his first solo Booking Hall turn.
A visit from our Finance Manager brought our books up to date - quite a lengthy process now that we continue to grow. He also undertook a grand meter reading as we attempt to get on top of our exceptionally high electricity bills.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Wednesday 11th March 2009

Dear all
Faraday and the Works Train set sail for Shottle followed by the Komatsu 130 heading to the "racing straight". The Permanent Way team changed a further 12 sleepers south of Shottle and greased four panels worth of fishplates. Hylton and John Alsop thought they would try their magic on the errant Class 20 and much to everyone's delight the machine redeemed itself and returned to Wirksworth double heading with Faraday and the Work Train. The PW team also gathered a wagon load of logs and delivered them to the Car Park for the Logging Dept. The Komatsu continued to improve the banks and ditches around Mile Post 140 but the operator had a troublesome moment when the ignition key sheared bringing the job to a stand. However, David Newby's tweezers resolved matters and magically two half keys restored ignition and the day's work continued.
The Maintenance Facility benefited from the attentions of the sheeting team and tomorrow should see an end to this further step forward leaving only the main doors and back door to be resolved to secure the working area. Hydra's cab enjoyed further work and the machining of new door runners continued. Roy (73) and Les (78) have kindly agreed to apply the top coat to Hydra when the exterior preparation is complete.
Battery Locomotive L46 was satisfactorily tested during the day and will be leaving us for Ruislip tomorrow. Dales Rail Engineering (DRE) spent the day in the S&T stores freeing off various items for the installations at Shottle and Duffield. Driver training on the narrow gauge was undertaken as the grand opening draws ever nearer.
The Booking Hall enjoyed several visitors and a welter of phone calls.
Meanwhile, Phil has been pressing the flesh at Railtex in London on behalf of mytesttrack.com and gleaning information on forward orders for us. A long day for him that started around 0500 today and will end around 0100 tomorrow.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Tues 10th March

Evenin' all,

We start with the Dream Steam Team today, they have spent the day re-
uniting the springs onto the frame of No 3. This is another achievment
as re building is now in full swing. Next door, Hydra continues to be
needle gunned and shows good signs of progress.

Work on the shed continues with most of the front being completed
above the doors, once again extra bits were obtained.

The Class 20 took the Works train to Shottle where another 14 sleepers
were changed. Whilst there the 20 was refuelled (the first at a remote
location). After that the 20 disgraced itself! Faraday was summoned and
was able to retrieve the works train.

The VCT continued clearance work just south of the Per way team and
were mob handed on site.

The S&T dept were working flat out in Hatch's Hut sorting out much of
the bits required for Shottle and Duffield.

Of the visitors, one failed to appear due to problems back at their
base, they will be coming tomorrow. The next Battery loco No. L 46,
has just arrived and will be brought round to Platform 1.

The new office suite for Shottle is en route and will land later this
week. The Booking Hall was manned up and had a few visitors to have a
look around.

Due to a very fluid situation, members should report to Wirksworth


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Monday, 9 March 2009

Monday 9th March 2009

Dear all
Another very busy day with much activity. A machine required for testing later in the week was delivered and "on-tracked". Work moved forward on Hydra with undercoat being applied to areas previously needle gunned and wire brushed. Our "apprentice" continued to remove paint and this project is visibly moving forward.
Very good news for users of the Maintenance Facility was that the rear cladding has been nearly completed and attention will turn tomorrow to the front of the building. Some of the necessary bits and pieces were missing so Twiggs were called out to try and resolve matters while we still have the sheeting team on site.
Phil and I had tow sets of very interesting visitors. The first set were from the Fishing Club that owns the land between the Railway and River Ecclesbourne between Shottle and Hazelwood. This area is threatened in four places by erosion, one of which we had to deal with quickly as the trackbed was in danger. Happily, a combined way forward has been agreed to our mutual benefit. The second set of visitors were researching the testing, trials and training on a machine under refurbishment. If we have been successful in winning this business there will be some very useful work undertaken on the Idridgehay to Shottle section and they will pay us to do it!
It was good to see Roy (73) and Les (78) back with us after a prolonged period of illness. They have taken the doors of Margaret-Ann away for painting in the warmth of their garage.
The Booking Office coped with visitors and phone calls.
Another most satisfactory day.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Progress Sunday 8th March 2009

Good evening,

The first day of the new timetable today with pleasing passenger loadings despite the weather - in fact, the first train of the day had exremely pleasing numbers onboard!

Activity has been on several fronts during the day with a limited number of volunteers on site.

1) The Booking Hall received plenty of visitors throughout the day who were very complementary about the station and the work that has been carried out.

2) The Class 119 team were in action down the yard. They have cleaned up the fuel filler pipes and caps as well as prepared a saloon for receiving its ceiling panels.

3) The buffet car was open for teas, coffees and light refreshments.

4) The Stationmaster has performed various jobs around the area, including fitting another light into the Ladies, mending a step and moving a table from down the yard. The owner of said table only had his back turned for one minute during a snow shower, came out of the cabin and found it was gone!

5) Work was undertaken on the Narrow Gauge in preparation for the opening.

6) Carline Drains and Co travelled to Duffield in the lorry after the Land Rover disgraced itself this morning and they managed another day of lovely drainage work.

7) At the back of the shed, the Dream Steam Team were hard at work on their shiny wheelsets that have just returned.

Many thanks to all,

John Ball

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Progress Report 7.3.2009

Dear All,
It has been a interesting and varied day with many tasks being completed.
We were happy to welcome Mr. and Mrs. Gibson winners of the EVRA Raffle, for a drive a diesel day. After helping to prepare the Locomotive (03 D2158) they were first shown the ropes with some practice runs in the yard. They then had a go at buffering up to the LMS brake van, and the Guard attempted to light a fire in the stove. Once the brake van was coupled on they then drove up the line to Idridgehay and Ravenstore. Afterwards both the guests and train crew enjoyed a meal cooked by the EVRA secretary himself.
Else where in the yard Faraday had fitters attention, after it's excitement in the week. The only thing that could be found wrong with it was a lack of fuel in the tank! We are also pleased to announce that our carriage and wagon superintendent has now passed out on this locomotive proving himself to be quite a wiz at the controls.
The class 119 was shunted over the pit and an initial inspection was carried out to see what work was need underneath to get it running again. Meanwhile inside the 119 preparations were made for the new ceiling panels to be put up next weekend, and light fittings and insulation was installed. A young offender and his minder joined the team inside and did some rust scraping.  The team also erected a new work mate, and it was decided that if the BBC ever bring back the generation game this should be one of the challenges!
Today also saw further work on the narrow gauge Man Rider with a second top coat of paint being applied. The narrow gauge team also had a driver training session in the afternoon.   
The booking hall and EVRA shop also welcomed some visitors and managed to extract some of their hard earned cash.
All in all quite a good day really.
John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans


Friday, 6 March 2009

Friday 6th March 2009

Dear all
Another stonking day and yet another first for the Railway. All the efforts to re-plumb and renew the electrics to and within the Buffet Car over the last few months were supplemented by the fitting of a special floor covering behind the counter and installation of a new fire extinguisher and blanket today. There then followed a visit from the Environmental Health Officer who issued the necessary certificate, there and then, to allow a variety of food preparation to be done in house freeing us of the need to buy ready made items such as sandwiches with their attendant high risk of waste. Very well done to all concerned and who is for the first bacon cob?
D8001 ventured to Shottle to rescue Faraday and the works train including a wagon of logs. On arrival at Wirksworth the logs were shunted to the car park for collection and the LMS brakevan released for its duties tomorrow.
Work continued on the preparation of Hydra for service and the Class 119 dmu received further attention. The IMT patrolled the Incline after much of their day was absorbed by the Faraday rescue and the Buffet Car was readied for Sunday.
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors brought out by the bright sunshine and fielded the usual phone calls. Much liaison took place to prepare for next week when we have Tube Lines, Sperry Rail, Harsco and Network Rail with us for all or part of the week.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Thursday 5th March 2009

Dear all
A very pleasant, if cool, day with work continuing on the cab of "Hydra". The remaining "loose" rails in the Idridgehay to Shottle section were transported to Shottle and a wagon of logs was loaded. The VCT worked south of Shottle as they battle towards Duffield. The Komatsu had some tlc after the sterling work achieved yesterday.
Unfortunately Faraday disgraced himself at the end of the day and will have to be rescued from Shottle tomorrow. A great deal of paper was processed as we continue to plan for the next eighteen months and organise the more immediate needs of our commercial customers.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Wed 4th March

Evenin' all,

Another one of those - what - a - day reports.

The main Per way team were busy at Shottle, a panel of track for the
Loop was drilled and attachec, some work carried out on Jack 'n' pack
of the Loop to make it more suitable to run a stone Hopper on, After
lunch the team made a start on the re-sleepering south from Shottle
South Junction. They managed a very respectful 13 sleepers in the
afternoon. .

The Komatsu was busy on the Racing Straight,m all the big tree root
balls were uplifted and relocated so that nature can take its course
with them. The Down side between the bottom Cross Drain as far as Derby
Road 2 bridge ,was graded which will make it easier to flail.

Back at base, needle guning of Hydra continued and a start made on
machining some bits and pieces for the loco. The Narrow Gauge train was
again attacked with the paint brushes by Rod and Mary. More logs were
prepared for selling. and the Booking Hall had a few vistors whilst the
Buffet Car had further attention before the new flooring arrives later
in the week.

Just a note that Shottle will have no road access tomorrow. VCT and
Per way will have to travel by rail. This is due to work on the
services in the area.


Fancy a job? - http://www.tiscali.co.uk/jobs/

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Tues 3rd Mar

Evenin' all,

Today should have been a training day for the Flail operators, apart
from the fact that the trainer again failed to attend!, So the VCT part
of the trainees went to Shottle south and continued with clearance
work. Some maintenance work was carried out on the Komatsu.

There was a large shunt in Wirksworth yard to park things up after the
weekend event. The Per way team then went to Shottle and ran out 30
sleepers south of Shottle ready for relaying work.

The Steam Team took delivery of the new wheels for N0 3, these were on-
tracked and rolled into the shed, where a gang set to work cleaning
them ready for painting, some of the motion also arrived back on site
. Work on the boiler continued off site - so things are starting to
take shape again.

Some sorting out in the S&T stores took place to find out what we have
got and to draw up a shopping list. Several mechanical Facing Point
Locks are required, numerous lengths of rodding etc.( If anyone has any
in their lofts or garages.., donations would be accepted!

Some further painting of the Narrow Gauge rolling stock also took
place as did some work by the logging department. A little light
gardening took place opposite the Booking Hall. The Booking Hall staff
had a chance to take stock after the weekend.

By Lunch time the rains started coming down and continued all

Tomorrow sees per way work at Shottle, with spot resleepering being
the order of the day - tools on trolleys please. No works loco.


Fancy a job? - http://www.tiscali.co.uk/jobs/

Monday, 2 March 2009

Monday 2nd March 2009

Dear all
Peace has returned after all the excitements of the Home Fleet Gala weekend and the significant rewards rest in the bank. May I thank everyone involved in the preparation and delivery of what has been one of our most successful events. What a delight to trains and platforms full of people drinking in the atmosphere and sampling the wares in the Buffet, Booking Hall and EVRA Shop. A great show using our own resources and it was pleasing to welcome visitors from other heritage railways including the Severn Valley, Chasewater and Foxfield. We should be very proud!
32 tonnes of limestone ballast was received so we can put some white stuff on the re-laid panels at Shottle and complete the "racing straight". We were pleased to receive a new manager from the LH Group who is now responsible for delivering the Tube Lines vehicle modifications and has one or two other opportunities for us. He was treated to a tour of the facilities at Wirksworth and a ride on Iris to Shottle.
The Booking Hall had a very quiet day although it gave John time to do further work on his memoirs.