Thursday, 30 April 2009

Thursday 30th April 2009

Dear all
Another busy, but satisfying, day for Phil attending to the demands and wishes of our customer. The customer had many visitors from a range of Network Rail contractors who were entertained to good effect in the First Open where the smell of freshly brewed coffee and the pleasant environment was greatly appreciated. Our facilities were new to a number of these guests and the opportunity to present our product was not lost.
In the Car Park the 60 one tonne weight bags were unloaded for reuse in two week's time and at the end of the day the machine and its three trailers were loaded up for despatch. Our team worked at restoring the Car Park to good order for the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend. Contractors constructed a trench for a pipe to be laid to enable services to be installed across the entrance to the Car Park. This will facilitate the move of the DCS cabin from Wash Green dock to an area adjacent to the Passenger Office. Not an ideal solution but one that will protect our income at a cost to us of some £1200.
The Works Train was recovered from Shottle presenting a fine site as probably our longest engineers train. The PW team then turned their attention to the single slip in Wirksworth Yard which showed signs of being wide to gauge as trains passed over it. Two tie bars have been fixed as temporary repairs pending resleepering.
The VCT returned to base exhibiting signs of exhaustion after an immensely successful day clearing all vegetation from the Shottle loop track bed. They had to transport the brash away from the area opposite the fuel tanks before they could burn it which added to the amount of work achieved.
DRE turned his attention away from the Ground Frame construction to repairs and strengthening of the flail head. Judging from the steel plate being used the end product should be indestructible - I think.
Much activity also as the Finance Manager brought our accounts up to date and undertook a little till training for Albert who has dealt with a range of visitors and calls in the Booking Hall.
Another amazingly productive day given the most unpleasant weather dealt to us.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Wed 29th April

Evenin' all,

The works train was not required today, so members of the Per way team
met at Shottle and got down to Boxing in the top ballast that was
dropped yesterday, some excess stone was moved around the site. It
really looks good down there now, a comment that was expressed by the
crew of the visiting machine that was on test. The firm had not been
down tne line for 12 months and were very impressed with the changes
made. They were demonstrating the new vehicle to a customer - more

Elsewhere, driver training on LJ Breeze and Hydra, continued work on
Tommy in the shed.

DRE had a delivery from Twiggs home delivery service bringing in bits
of material for the groundframe as well as work
was started on the refurbishment of the flail head.

Work will be at Wirksworth tomorrow.


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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tues 28th April

Evenin' all,

A large number of people on site with much to be pleased about.

The DST got the frames of No 3 back onto its wheels, after several
attempts. The rolling chassis was shunted into the shed, they also
managed (with the help of a crane) to rotate the boiler of the next
steam engine, and rotate the tanks for No3, ready for cleaning and
painting. A day of real achievment, seeing big chunks being put back

The Diesel group managed to rectify the fault on the clutch of LJ
Breeze, so that it readily goes backwards as well as forewards, not to
be outdone, Hydra now supports its/her nameplates. More success.

The Per way team (smaller than normal, achieved more success by
dropping and ploughing 40mm ballast on relaid track at Shottle, as well
as unloading material for the upcoming relay.

The VCT were active opposite Shottle platform as well as carrying out
some repairs to the stile at Willow Crossing.

In the Yard our visitor managed to load the bags of stone onto
trailers with their new machine, two members from the new purchasers
also attended and were also told about our own potential. The big test
of that machine takes place tomorrow and indeed for the rest of this
week as well as next!

Another client called in to have a quick test of another vehicle,
which worked well.

A start was made on work on the LMS coach
The Booking Hall had a few casual visitors, and the Mess room was
given its deep clean.

Tomorrow sees work at Shottle but with the test vehicle running
through the worksite.

Not a bad days work despite the odd downpour.


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Monday, 27 April 2009

Monday 27th April 2009

Dear all
Our first quiet day for many weeks where there was a gentle shuffling of paper work and firming up the planning for the next six weeks or so. In this more relaxed atmosphere a fault finding process lasting for most of the day resulted in the identification of the valve that seemed to be affecting LJ's ability to change direction. It is thought that a good clean will resolve matters. We welcomed Jonathan Webb of Railstaff to see LJ and experience Hydra on the Incline. Further work was achieved on BP be named "Tommy" after repainting.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Progress 26.4.2009

Dear all,
The lovely weather brought a number of visitors to the station with the booking hall, buffet car and bookshop all open. The trains today were operation to Ravenstore.
In the Weighbridge area DRE achieved further work on the Shottle ground frame. In the container next to the Weighbridge the EVRA Company Secretary continued working on the model railway.
The Passenger Services Manager had a moment with the paint brush and painted the tatty end of the training room.   He also erected some new signage on platforms 2 and 3.
Furth painting by other volunteers was carried out on the fence along the road leading into the yard.  
Meanwhile in the yard the Dream Steam Team continued work on their locos. The DMU chaps rearranged the units ready for the bank holiday services next weekend. They then went on a test run to Idridgehay and even found time to trim back some of the overgrowing foliage on the way down. Also in the yard a single member of the class 119 Appreciation Society cleared some more rust from the inside of that vehicle.
Further gardening work took place on the embankment in the car park.
It was good to see everyone enjoying the warm weather.
Many thanks to all.
John Ball Via John Stokes


Saturday, 25 April 2009

Progress 25.4.2009

Dear All,
It has been a busy day of many parts, some of them wetter than others.
We were pleased to welcome a large group from the Railway Touring and Correspondence Society  (RTCS) for a charter to Idridgehay. This took place at 09.30 before the main service started. They then had a tour of the Yard and a trip to Ravenstore.  While at Wirksworth they also found the time to visit the buffet car and the bookshop.  
While all this was going on D8001 swung into action and entertained a couple of guests on a Drive a Diesel day. The driver first got to learn the ropes in the Yard and then had a trip to Idridgehay on the spare 12.15 path where there is a crew break in the normal service.
Meanwhile time was found by other volunteers to tinker with our latest loco arrival LJ Breeze, the result of this is that new batteries have been fitted.
As mentioned previously the Idridgehay service ran and the buffet car, bookshop and booking hall were open and all had a good days trading.
Such a lot of activity and it all went very smoothly. It just goes to show what we can achieve if we put our minds to it.
Thanks to all involved.
John Stokes


Friday, 24 April 2009

Friday 24th April 2009

Dear all
The day started with the final touch down of L J Breeze on to EVR metals. This was somewhat of a miracle given the state of the haulier's equipment and the "on site" fork lift running out of gas. However, the donor Ruston was reloaded for onward transport to the great locomotive depot in the sky. LJ was berthed outside the former weighbridge and the batteries charged. After a while there was sufficient charge to start the locomotive so that an initial assessment could be made. The results so far are most encouraging apart from a reluctance to change direction! This problem will be cured and seems to be the product of non use for some time. The locomotive would seem to be a fine addition to our fleet.
A small deputation from the County's yellow line department appeared and announced they would keep an eye on the situation. I'll refrain from further comment.
As LJ was being discharged a pre-arranged delivery of sleepers and chairs arrived to ensure all materials are on hand for the Shottle relaying week causing minor congestion in the Car Park. Unfortunately during the sleeper unloading process Hylton's thumb became compressed resulting in first aid being given on site and a short visit to hospital. He manfully returned to duty with a fetching white sling and will be partaking of the necessary anaesthetic tonight.
Special mention promised for Chris Ralls and John Silvester who applied easing oil to the fishplates through Shottle station together with some of the difficult elastic spikes as advance preparation for the working week. They also witnessed the departure of the welding team which must mean all welds are now complete between Idridgehay and Shottle - another milestone.
More top coat was applied to the Model Railway container which now blends in with our other site structures.
Hydra had further progress with some niggling air leaks and was put through its paces again on the Incline and then on Gorsey Bank. A rare moment of playtime then occurred as we all experienced a loco drive including Julie Ball who thoroughly enjoyed her time and now has one up on John who missed the opportunity.
The Booking Hall welcomed visitors including two people that used to be on the test dmu trains, one of whom will be joining us as a volunteer and the other, who has a little far to travel, is a driver on the Puffing Billy Railway in Australia having moved out there some forty years ago.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Thursday 23rd April 2008

Dear all
Again I can report on action being taken on many fronts. Within the Maintenance Facility parts useful to the Foxfield Railway were stripped off the donor Ruston and door runners and doors fitted to Hydra. Further snagging on Hydra resulted in a more positive direction change leading to more testing on the Incline. A new air hose line was purchased to ensure both Hydra and Tommy can be charged where ever they are in the Maintenance complex.
Customers on test included Sperry Rail and Harsco involving the intensive use of the Gorsey Bank line. The bagging of 60 one tonne weights was concluded enabling the mini digger to spend some time lifting and sorting items amongst the pw/signalling stores area. The Logging Department were in production with a fresh load unloaded into their working area from the Works Train this morning.
The VCT and PWT spend time at Shottle, the VCT continuing their attack on the area opposite the station platform. The PWT aided by the Komatsu moved all the rails needed for the creating of Shottle South junction and the crossing timbers needed for this installation were discharged from the Sturgeon to site. The Komatsu returned to Wirksworth for repairs to the flail head as the hard work this machine is now undertaking has revealed certain weaknesses that will be corrected by DRE.
Vehicles were marshalled at Wirksworth to receive tomorrow's delivery of sleepers and chairs so that we have all the materials on site for the Shottle Working Week. The final welds for the Idridgehay to Shottle section are being dropped by the night shift with work planned to start at 0400 tomorrow morning!
Further progress was achieved on the Shottle North Ground Frame locking and I have visited Bombardier to sign the documents that handed over L J Breeze as a donation to the Railway. The Locomotive is expected at Wirksworth anytime now for unloading in the morning.
Another eventful day.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Wed 22nd April

Evenin' all,

On arrival this morning a strange sight greeted one. A maroon coach
was in the car park on a low loader. This coach will become one to form
the first train to Duffield next year. It is true that you need a lot
of imagination to see it in its finished state, but it is in a state at
the moment. It will remain here for a short time so that some initial
work can be carried out, it will then leave site for external body work
before returning for a final fix. The low loader took away a red
industrial loco which is going to Oswestry. The Towing loco was an 03
driven by the 70's duo with Will as Shunter.

In the car park, most of the 60 tons of ballast was shovelled into
bags ready for a customer for the next two weeks. That job will be
completed tomorrow.

The Per Way team collected more of the recently changed rotten
sleepers from Shottle, including sleepers laid at various places in the
4' of the relay site. They also managed to slue to main line so it is
now looking lovely and awaits the tamper in due course. The team also
collected logs from various locations for transporting back to the
logging dept.

Both Harsco as well as Sperry rail were on site testing, Harsco
bringing in half a dozen vehicles for final brake tests under load,
they were most satisfied.

The Booking Hall was open and several people including families paid a
visit. The garden opposite the Booking Hall was also having attention.

Generally , a busy day in brilliant warm sunshine.


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Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Tuesday 21st April 2009

Dear all
Phil has had to depart to give a talk to the Peak Rail Association at Chesterfield so you have got me again. We celebrate another day of much activity which featured two vehicles on test from the Netherlands to prepare them for service on Network Rail. One of the vehicles was limited to around 3 miles an hour in reverse which made the return from Duffield a lengthy affair and impacted on the Works Train which was recessed at Shottle during the progress of the tests between Shottle and Duffield.
Nonetheless, the PW team managed to gather some 80 scrap sleepers from the Shottle loop area and stack them south of Shottle where they can rot in peace. The VCT joined the Works Train today as a mysterious red button had disabled the Landrover, another learning experience, and created one large fire, completed fence repairs north of Shottle and applied a first coat to re-emphasise the position of the raised check rail.
Roy (73) and Les (78) managed to source steelwork that will form replacement door runners for Hydra and Will continued on his task of preparing the second Thomas Hill locomotive, the be called "Tommy", for repainting.
L47 departed at midday for Ruislip and Sperry Rail attended to do routine maintenance on SRS242 which has been residing with us for some time.
DRE continued to perfect the locking on the Shottle North Ground Frame including the modifications necessary to the Annetts lock. Some 60 tonnes of limestone was delivered to the Car Park which will be put into 1 tonne bags over the next two days to provide weights for a customer that will be with us for two weeks starting next Monday.
The Dream Steam Team  conducted the final preparations for next week's lift of the frames of No 3 onto its wheels. Spares were released to the Foxfield Railway from our donor Ruston prior to its departure from site. Mr and Mrs Craft tackled the task of strimming around the station area with some competition as to who achieved the best finish. The Logging Dept. were in production and undertook some trailer repairs.
The Booking Hall received a few customers and fielded the usual phone calls.
Another very productive day.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Monday 20th April 2009

Dear all
Another day of brisk activity with the Class 20 fired up to shunt Kimberly and Claire on to low loaders to speed their despatch to Oswestry. On conclusion of this exercise the mysteries of the process of topping up the coolant were solved making the loco ready for service tomorrow. Battery Locomotive L47 concluded its testing on the TBTC track and will be leaving us tomorrow.
Harsco were active on the Incline and door runners were sourced for Hydra. The Model Railway container had more top coat applied and is beginning to look in keeping with the rest of the buildings at Wirksworth. Two members of the VCT were on overtime to prepare the replacement accommodation crossing gate post and the Shottle station area received a further dose of weed killer.
Flailing took place south of Hazelwood with milepost 134 1/4 being reached - only just over a mile from our terminus at Duffield - very impressive!
The Booking Hall remained calm and it was pleasing to see our Trans Plant driver making a video purchase.
All in all a pleasant day to start this most busy of weeks.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Progress Report Sunday 19th April 2009

Dear all,

A wonderfully pleasant and sunny day prevailed from about 10.00 am and
the station gardens and planters fairly basked in the springtime warmth.
A gentle stream of passengers and visitors came to experience our happy
enterprise during the day, and the service to Ravenstor pottered
cheerily up and down. In between, the Booking Hall enjoyed a long and
leisurely day of stuffing, and by the close of play all the available
material for the upcoming mail out had been dealt with and now graces
the General Manager's Office.

Work proceeded of the continuing weed control of the bank opposite the
Booking Hall; Nottingham Castle was finally stripped off the grey brake
van after its Santa appearance and the van is now in the process of
receiving modest repairs and a repaint. The Narrow Gauge, though not
scheduled to operate today did so briefly by the efforts of Rod and Mary
and further happiness was spread among our smaller visitors. The class
119 appreciation society turned out to give that vehicle attention to
its underframes and further scraping and painting was duly achieved,
particularly to some of its exhaust parts.

All the best,
John Ball via Anton

Friday, 17 April 2009

Friday 17th April 2009

Dear all
Well, our assets have been well and truly sweated today!
The IMT set of to patrol the Shottle to Duffield section enabling Sperry Rail to use the Wirksworth to Idridgehay section. The RAIB held a training day involving exercises at Gorsey Bank, Wash Green crossover and on the Incline. Our first Drive a Diesel Day saw D8001 in service with journeys in the Yard, up the Incline forming part of the RAIB exercise and travelling to Shottle and back after Sperry Rail had finished their test work. In amongst all this was the arrival of Battery Locomotive L47 which was immediately pressed into service to assist RAIB with their Wash Green exercise.
Julie Ball was geared up to provide lunches for the RAIB team and the Drive a Diesel Day participant and guest. Hats off to all who made the day work and all visitors were fulsome in their praise for the service delivered.
In the Maintenance Facility their was further progress with the second Thomas Hill locomotive and the water tank of Ferrybridge No3.
A very satisfactory and profitable day.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Thursday 16th April 2009

Dear all
A bleak, cold and wet day that did little to raise the spirits. Nonetheless, steady progress was made on many fronts with DRE making a lot of noise as the locking for Shottle North Ground Frame comes slowly together. (Locking is the mechanical process by which the levers can only be operated in a predetermined order) The VCT initially recovered a gate post north of Idridgehay that had rotted at the base to use as a pattern for a replacement. They then moved onto fence repairs just north of Shottle and managed a three fire day with vegetation clearance in Shottle Yard and around the Shottle footpath crossing.
A lone PW team member cleared ballast away from the concrete sleeper ends at Shottle to allow for slewing of the track next week. The Komatsu was in action flailing between Shottle and south of Hazelwood tackling a particularly nasty section of blackthorn beyond Hazelwood road bridge.
A warm glow was created by events surrounding Hydra, the first product of Wirksworth Locomotive Works, as new brake blocks were fitted and the brake rigging freed. The loco had an oil change and fired up for initial trials.After a few runs up and down Road 2 the challenge of the Incline was taken on with very satisfactory results. Hydra reflects great credit to all involved who have turned a rather shabby engine into something we can be proud of and should make a considerable impact on our ability to complete the Duffield project on time. More trials are to come together with conversion from air start to electric start before we can finally commission the locomotive.
The Booking Hall fielded the usual phone calls and approached the end of the AGM mail out preparation.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Wed 15th April

Evenin' all,

Today was a day full of ups and downs.

We welcomed a party from Kimberley and its twin french town, it was a
chance to brush up on ones french. As you know french is the second
language of the per way team (une assiette de poisson [ a fishplate ],
Le pan jus [ grease bucket ] , le spanoir grande [ big spanner ] etc
etc.However the guests went on a train ride to Ravenstor and were not
seen again! Oo La-la, mon brave, et mon canard [me duck]. They went off
on a ramble and ended up at a local hostelery. The last time they came,
we gave them a walk around the recently cleared yard, and showed them
where we intended to create a railway to Ravenstor.

The Per way team worked at Shottle, jaque ing et paque ing le track
panels that were recentlyrelaid. They made a good job apart from not
having enough members to give the concrete section a shove in the right

In the shed, Roy and Les aided and abbetted by Will got down to
depainting No. 8 At close of play Hydra was again toed out of the shed
ready for more brake work tomorrow

A steady stream of visitors called into the shop, whilst the S&T side
continued playing with the groundframe, inserting odd bits of

Meanwhile, in bonnie Scotland, at just after 0400, two bonnie wee lads
set off for Wirksworth, arriving about 5 hours later for a vehicle
test. Their vehicle however, coming from other parts of the country did
not arrive until 1330. This Unimog then proceeded to try to haul 240
tons of train up the incline, then that dropped to 200 tons, followed
by 160 tons , having failed to get to Cemetery Lane bridge, we started
again with 100 tons and eventually managed to haul 120 tons up to
Ravenstor - much to the surprise of some locals - seeing a small lorry
towing the class 20 as well as the LMS brake and the Shark. Yes, life
certainly had its ups and downs! When ready to depart for its 1530 test
to Duffield, I naturally rang the per way team to inform them of our
departure, but found that they had all gone home - it being after 1700.
Eventually testing ceased at 1900 when the two wee laddies faced a long
drive back uo north. It should be added that we discovered one chap and
dog jogging along the track in the evening sunshine - he didnt know the
line was being used, he thought it was an abandoned line! What a Noilly

A bientot!

Phillipe - Get 50% off Norton Security 2009

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Tues 14th April

Evenin' all,

After the activities of the Easter weekend, which was up on last year,
it was back to normal today.

Hydra was pulled out of the shed, and its brake blocks were removed.
The wheels of No.3 were rolled out of the shed, and three of the
bearings were fitted. so the construction continues. A start was made
on stripping the paint on No 8 the next Thomas Ward loco.

The Flail continued working south from Shottle, and is now working
just north of Hazlewood, widening the clearance. The VCT were at
Shottle North clearing material and a large fire was achieved.

The Per way team, unloaded sleepers ready for the Shottle relay, as
well as Boxing in the ballast as well as stoning up around Shottle

The DRE (S&T) continued work on the 5 lever frame for Shottle North,
and the interlocking on the frame.

One of our regular visitors were in attendance and had a good day
evaluating equipment in the yard.

Tomorrow, there is no Works Train, from Wirksworth. The main task is
at Shottle where 4 relaid panels will be levelled and packed. Please
travel by road.

Phil - Save £25 off a case of wine today

Monday, 13 April 2009

Easter Monday Progress Report

Dear all,

Some work took place in the engineerium today, where the formerly blue
03 received further painting on its way to being a green 03. The class
119 had its wiring inspected and serious men in overalls pored over its
wiring diagrams, muttering about looms. M55006 had attention to its many
working parts. The class 108 had its strings adjusted, though possibly
not its elastic garters.

I hesitate to say that Easter Open Days continued apace, because this
morning got off to a groaningly slow start, but things picked up
sufficiently for yesterday's total to be nearly matched and in
consequence the outcome for the whole weekend was better by a short hair
than Easter last year; and, given the crunching of the credits, this is
nothing short of a minor miracle.

Many thanks to all concerned for their hard work and effort.

All the best,

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Easter Sunday 12th April 2009

Dear all
A pleasantly uneventful Easter Sunday with all the trains running to schedule and a range of visitors that demonstrated our growing appeal. We welcomed people from the East Lancs. and the Gloucester and Warwickshire railways together with the former head of British Rail's Research Department. However, the visitors that most enjoyed the day were the children that went Easter Egg hunting and we must record great thanks to Mary Birch for organising such a splendid addition to our activities.
The majority of today's volunteers were engaging in running the trains, providing catering, opening the EVRA shop and ensuring the Narrow Gauge met demand. The entire marketing department descended from the 57th floor to be with us and much progress was made on the redesign of the MTT web pages which I think will be to the considerable benefit of the venture.
Behind the scenes further work was achieved in the Class 119 and the next Thomas Hill locomotive had a small amount of preparation courtesy of the Youth Offending Service.
The till rang and a satisfactory amount was deposited in the State Banking Corporation. Special thanks today go to Elliot, a younger member of our team, who coped very efficiently in the Booking Hall and is indeed a future General Manager.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Progress Report Easter Saturday

Dear all,

A tolerably pleasant day for a Bank Holiday weekend, only a little rain.
The DMUs received some routine maintenance and the yard gates were
scraped in preparation for painting.

The main business of the day was, however, the Easter service and this
ran backwards and forwards to Idridgehay and Ravenstor all day, to the
increasement of the general public happiness. The ringing of the till
bell could be heard, yea, as far as the parlour of the Malt Shovel.
Double yesterday's income was achieved and toiled up to the premises of
one of the country's lesser bankrupt financial institutions.

Staff Cars to the Ballast Dock please tomorrow and Monday.

ATB, Anton

Friday, 10 April 2009

Good Friday

Evenin' all,

After the nice dry weather of the past week or so, it turned into
typical Bank Holiday weather, with drizzle, rain and leaden skies. Did
it dampen the spirits? Not a bit.

We had the official opening of the Narrow Gauge line, with the
speeches and banquet which always follows the opening of a new line. It
was good to see Dave Mee's daughter present, Dave did a lot of work on
the building of the line. During the afternoon it was open to the
public giving rides. Well done to all concerned in its construction.

The Idridgehay as well as the Ravenstor service were in full swing
with Iris running to Idridgehay. Even though loadings were fairly
light, I think that everyone enjoyed themselves, The Buffet was open
and the sale of toasted Hot Cross buns far out did the sale of

A respectable total was banked despite the wet weather

Down in the shed, the 70's duo of Roy and Les, applied more paint tgo
Hydra, whilst Hylton gave the Class 20 a bit of TLC and a dust over
with an oily rag!

Phil - What's your view on the Government's proposal to monitor your Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter communication?

Good Friday 10th April 2009 - Narrow Gauge Opening

Dear all
What a delight to attend the Railway with absolutely no responsibilities to just soak up the atmosphere of the opening of the Narrow Gauge Railway. Everyone involved in this venture should be very proud of their achievements as a splendid addition to the range of activities offered at Wirksworth. It was great that Dave Mee's daughter felt able to attend given his huge contribution to the venture and I know she was aware of the high regard we all had for Dave and that he is remembered very fondly.
I commend all to come and ride this new railway in Derbyshire and throw a coin, of some value, into the waterfall - your every wish will be granted.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Thursday 9th April 2009

Dear all
A more measured day after yesterday but, nonetheless, one with solid progress. The water pump caging has been repaired and the unit returned to the Works Train tool van. A lone dmu team member has been mopping out so that the trains are sparkling for tomorrow and there has been further electrical preparation for the DCS cabin move.
DRE and friends have been pre-assembling the Shottle North Ground Frame and most impressive it will look with the parts originating from the LNER and its suppliers with dates varying from the late 1930s to the early 1940s - indeed it is a five lever mini signal box.
Further ballast was delivered and the Works Train remarshalled for next week's endeavours. The IMT patrolled the Idridgehay and Ravenstor lines tightening up fishplate bolts as required demonstrating once again this vital part of running passenger trains safely. The road/rail fleet were moved from the Car Park to allow for Easter crowds and the VCT claimed exhaustion from their work north of Hazelwood and some temporary fence repairs north of Shottle.
Anton achieved attractive additions to the Training Room with "new" conference seating and a frieze around the room that complements the repainting achieved. This is a vital part of our commercial activities and first impressions do count. On the commercial front we have been inundated this week with new work for the next few weeks which will provide some challenges but a lot of money towards our goals.
We had a pleasant surprise with a visit from emda representatives and were able to explain a little more about our activities and how much they had helped us to continue to move forward.
Bombardier telephoned to announce the likely despatch date of L J Breeze will be St George's Day and that they have found a workshop manual that will be a great help in keeping the locomotive in good shape.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and many calls about our services over Easter.
Another very good day.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Wed 8th April

Evenin' all,

Another frantically busy day,with the Class 20 going to Shottle
delivering manpower to site, and then returning to collect a delivery
of stone. The Per way team collected used sleepers from around Shottle
North Junct and stacking them nearby. Some of the stone that was
dropped yesterday was fettled and the sleepers 'boxed in'. Another 40
tons were dropped on the CWR section north from Willow Crossing. A lot
more is required where we are light - hopefully we will not need to
move this too much by hand as a machine is planned to regulate it as
well as brush it.This is part of its crew training!

In the yard, a massive shunt involving half the stock meant that the
Dream Steam Team now have all of their bits and pieces, including the
next loco to be tackled, all in one place, on the old 'Tram Siding'.
The DRE (S&T) side sprang into action like a coiled spring and a lot of
material for various Ground Frames was delivered to the Weighbridge
workshop, where this pile of bits and pieces will emerge as bright
shining new control panel for Shottle.

A potential new guest was shown the site, and went away fairly
pleased. Two existing customers were also in full swing, to such an
extent, that any signaller at Wirksworth would have been in a right
spin. We became a new customer for another new business where a chap
has set up a business carrying out mobile repairs to Hydraulic pipes. A
new hose was created for the Komatsu - these things happen. As part of
our policy we always source assistance locally, where possible.

More painting and site tidying ready for the new season which starts
in two days time. The Booking Hall staff were also kept busy by
numerous phone enquiries (some of which were connected with passenger
enquiries).Numerous visitors came and saw and went.

The MTT side was also kept busy juggling spaces - we are potentially
fully occupied for a couple of weeks, this will provide loads more

There are still vacancies for the big push at Shottle from 11th to
15th May, we need many more bodies to relay 11 panels of track in one
week, right through Shottle Station - dont be shy, get involved now!

Phil - What's your view on the Government's proposal to monitor your Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twitter communication?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Tuesday 7th April 2009

Dear all
Well, what a day! It commenced with orchestrated departures from Wirksworth with the Komatsu 130 being first away to recess at Shottle awaiting the VCT's Landrover en route to their present clearance area north of Hazelwood to be followed at a respectful distance by the Works Train delivering a rather small team to the sleeper changing area. The Works Train loco then returned to Wirksworth to collect loaded Dogfish and the Shark to transport them to Shottle so that the track panels that have been re-laid between the foot crossing and Shottle sidings could be ballasted up and ploughed. The empties were then returned to the Wash Green dock for loading tomorrow morning after which the loco again returned to Shottle to gather the PW team.
The Komatsu was berthed at Shottle after successful flailing between the footpath south of Shottle and Travis Folly - progress was foiled by a burst hydraulic hose which I am assured is a fairly regular event. The VCT made further inroads to their area around the erosion sites and had a three fire day. The PW team which only consisted of three people achieved a commendable 10 sleepers changed.
Back at base we had short visits by Sperry Rail and Harsco and Roy (73) and Les (78) neared the end of the Hydra repainting project. Newly refurbished Drivers seats were fitted to Hydra with many thanks for Dorothy's efforts - very comfortable they look too. Painting and staining also featured around the station with the fencing, staff toilet and former Stafford Station bench all being tended to. First Aid boxes were checked and refilled as necessary and miscellaneous electrical supply components assembled for the upcoming relocation of the DCS cabin.
The steam team were out in force again with one connecting rod receiving paint, the water tank having rust removed and more paint applied, axle box bearings were bedded in and funnel bolts freed off. The chassis of the other loco for restoration (No 2216) was oiled up in preparation for its move to a new location tomorrow. I am also advised that Bob Gibbens is having a haircut tomorrow which I understand to be a noteworthy event.
In the Booking Hall the annual preparations to mail out the annual accounts were underway. Not the most exciting job but essential to the wellbeing of the Company.
Tomorrow promises to be an equally exhausting but pleasurable day.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Monday 6th April 2009

Dear all
There is no peace any more as move ever closer to being a 7 day a week railway. Our lead customer, Sperry Rail, were on site with their road/rail Landrover for fault checking before its conversion to a multi gauge vehicle.
The approaching Easter holiday, and our intention to be ready for the hoards of visitors expected, caused further paint to be applied to the Model Railway "room" and dual action on the fence painting front. The narrow gauge manrider received a few finishing touches and the Incline line was treated with weed killer.
Roy (73) and Les (78) continued to work on Hydra with the cab interior being attended to along with further cleaning of the lower parts. Both Iris and the Bubble Car had maintenance attention so they are fit and ready for the weekend. Phil and I had a brief look at the welding progress and there are, indeed, only three more to be achieved. When completed this will leave rails to be transposed between "Willow" crossing and Derby Road by contractor as the wear on the down (west) side rail in this section is near the limit. During this process the rails will be "naturally" stressed rendering the line between Idridgehay and Shottle virtually maintenance free.
The Booking Hall dealt with the usual calls and entertained a few visitors.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Progress 4.4.2009

Dear All,
It has been a warm and sunny day at Wirksworth today.
The main job of the day was an extreme mammoth shunt to reposition stock into the correct places in the yard.  This has now seen Thomas Hill no 8 placed inside the shed ready for painting.
Else where in the shed Roy and Less continued painting Hydra, which included work on the cab doors.
In other parts of our nine mile empire Carline Enterprises delivered stores to Duffield, and fettled several drains on the way back. They even found time to move some more brash at 49 steps.
Over lunch the staff commented how good the new microwave was at heating Macaroni and Cheese.
Today has also seen a Magistrate of Young Offenders on site and they helped with several tasks.  Some assisted Carline Enterprises, while back at HQ the others moved some Costly Railway Aggregate Piles.
The Booking Hall and EVRA shop also saw some visitors.
John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans


Friday, 3 April 2009

Friday 3rd April 2009

Dear all
Another very busy day for the enterprise with activity on the Idridgehay to Shottle section by a welding team. After today there should only be three welds to drop and this section will be completely welded up.
A further picnic table was stained and work started on the mammoth task of creosoting (with modern safe equivalent) all the wooden fences around Wirksworth station and the initial results look very good.
The IMT inspected Wirksworth to Idridgehay and Wirksworth to Ravenstor prior to the weekend's activities. It was a superb painting day with the completion of Hydra's first top coat by Roy (73) and Les (78) together with further preparation of the areas around the coupling rod and springs. The wheels that demonstrate "wheel tapping" were painted and the Komatsu 130 was touched up where rust was previously visible. The Shark's grey top coat was applied prior to the vehicle re-entering service next week.
Iris had her bodily fluids changed and new filters. A Dogfish was tended to for a difficult to open door and the Lowmac bent handbrake hanger rectified.
Opportunity was taken to familiarise the operating staff on site with the new arrangements at Wash Green Ground Frame and the Buffet Car was readied for the weekend.
A test vehicle arrived for activity on Monday and arrangements negotiated with a new customer that may have a first visit next week.
The Booking Hall received a number of visitors brought out by the warm sun.
Another good day.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Thursday 2nd April 2009

Dear all
Quite a mixed day today with the star turn being the VCT who achieved a new record with a splendid FIVE fires to dispose of the brash on their working area north of Hazelwood - amazing! The PW team had quite a frustrating day as the Class 20 misbehaved en route to the work site resulting in distant advice to "hit it with a hammer". This was successful and progress resumed but after eight sleepers were changed to team had to return to Wirksworth to conduct emergency repairs to the Pit Road point. It was good to see Pat Cooney returning to the PW team after a period of absence due to "falling off his horse" - he received a back to work interview and not much counselling.
We welcomed a customer for trials on the Incline and brake tests within the Yard. DRE completed the installation of a second Annetts Lock on the Wash Green Ground Frame and the new Gorsey Bank train staff was commissioned. (For those of you who are signalling experts - does any other heritage railway have a ground frame fitted with co-acting Annetts locks?)
Painting was the order of the day at Wirksworth with the Model Railway container being undercoated and the Cromford & High Peak Railway water carrier receiving attention to the top of the tank.
The Booking Hall had a staff of three today with displays being organised, the area around the garage tidied up and many visitors attending the station. At the end of the day there seemed to be a discussion about the number of Mars bars sold so some money must have gone in the till.
Onwards and upwards

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Late Breaking News 1st April 2009

Dear all
I was advised this morning, just before noon, of a terminal failure of Milford Tunnel that will determine the closure of the Midland Main Line north of Duffield. All express services will be routed via the Erewash Valley and regrettably the Matlock branch will be abandoned and parts used for road improvements to the A6. There is always an up side as the DfT have invited us to use the now redundant track bed for through services to Derby.
I hope to have more information for you as the details become clear but I don't think any sleepers will need changing between Duffield and Derby.

Wed 1st April

Evenin' all,

At 7.30 this morning two chaps paid us a visit, they had dropped
someone off at Birmingham airport and thought hey would call in for
breakfast..'what time do you start doing breakfast?'..

A machine in for teasting by a new customer who had the full
treatment. This meant that the Per way team, who had gone by class 20
to Shottle, had to drop men and tools off before setting back into the
north end of Shottle loop (another first). The team managed to grease
up 5 pairs of fishplates and change 21 sleepers, a healthy score baring
in mind the disruptions.

Back at base. The felt roof was fitted to the Model Railway unit and
more paint was applied. Rod and Mary continued fitting out and testing
the Narrow Gauge train ready for the Grand Opening at Easter. Hydra
continues to get attention to the paintwork, and is now looking quite
respectable. The Komatsu had its final logo attached and had a bit of a
rub down. Some gardening took place and the shop was open and had
several visitors.

More sleeper changing tomorrow and another new customer working on the

Phil - What's your view on the Government's proposal to monitor your Facebook, MySpace, Bebo and Twiiter communication?