Sunday, 31 May 2009

Progress Sunday 31st May 2009

Dear all,

A gloriousy hot and sunny day for a Sunday saw many vistors visiting the railway through the booking hall, and in the book shop.With many having refesments in the Buffet Car with Julie rushed of her feet, having also a "Drive a Diesel Day"and the "Day with the Driver"with 14 guests to provide lunch for which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.

New bulbs have been fitted in the museum coach, in the childrens playground the tables had some TLC.

The "Drive a Diesel Day" guest was able to learn about the Class 20 and had a go in driving this engine, also the guest "Day with the Driver had the opportunity to spend the day in prepartion and look how the "Bubble Car" is driven up the incline to Ravenstor.Many thanks to the crew who attended in regard to the Class20 and enabled this to run smoothly.

Conscipts continued painting the gates in the yard etc.

Down in the yard the team continued work on the Class 119 taking advantage of the warm weather in regarding painting outside.In the shed a stalwart continued with the 117 roof painting.

Many thanks to all

John Ball / Duty Manager.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Progress Saturday 30th May 2009

Evening all,
A gloriously hot and sunny day saw the vistors turn up in their hoardes for a trip to Idridgehay, many of them being held to ransom by the Booking Hall and Buffet to buy something before they were allowed to leave site.
Today saw a "Drive a Diesel" day in operation which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. After mastering the basic driving techniques by doing some light shunting with LJ Breeze, today's guest was then able to learn about and drive something much bigger, such as the Class 20, after lunch. Many thanks to the extra train crew who attended today to enable this to run so smoothly.
Down in the yard, a team continued work on the Class 119 major restoration project. The opportunity was taken to do some underframe preparation and painting in the beautiful weather. In the shed, a lone stalwart decided to continue with the 117 roof painting - a task which was mostly undertaken last summer but was never completed due to the unit being needed for service.
Let's hope for another brilliant day tomorrow.
Mike Evans via Leigh

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Progress Working Party Duffield 2

Dear all,

In suddenly astonishing hot weather, the following tasks were achieved
at Duffield:

A banner was hung on the down slow platform fence offering the lucky
people of Duffield the opportunity to buy shares in our delightful
railway. The Marketing Dept is possibly no longer wondering where the
Dash to Duffield banner went
The Chapel Street poster case was painted
The main line planters were watered
A third (and long stored) main line running-in board was hung at the
south end of the down slow platform
The last spoil was removed from the down slow platform and used for the
final fill and landscaping of the signal box hole
Further spoil was scraped from assorted piles and used to fill an empty
hole which Carline's Drains and Catch Pits Ltd had previously discovered
near the former signal box hole.

This completes the routine maintenance and holding work at Duffield in
the absence of the Station Supervisor, who is due to return next week.
Some pictures of the Duffield work will shortly be transmitted to his
honour the EVRA webmaster.

Due to the severe financial stress which today's afternoon tea has
placed on the P-way Dept Surgical Support and other Special Lingerie
account (no pictures please), Duffield Station Office has been re-issued
with a small Calor stove, a kettle and the makings for light refreshments.

All the best,

Friday, 29 May 2009

Friday 29th May 2009

Dear all
A wonderfully busy day in the warm sunshine. Allelys, the haulier, surprised us with an early arrival to collect Class 121 Driving Trailer which has been sold to the East Lancashire Railway by Railcar Enterprises. A little accelerated shunting delivered the vehicle to the Car Park in double quick time. Meanwhile Harsco had two small machines to test and used the Gorsey Bank line for this. After this activity L48 Battery Locomotive arrived from the LH Group for testing and training next week. This machine is immaculate having just gone through "works" and will present some super photo opportunities next week.
The dmu fleet had a lot of attention with two car Met-Cam set being swept and mopped out for special duties next Monday and there was good news for the Class 117 51360 on which it was thought an engine change would be necessary but on inspection was found only to require a new head gasket. The Class 119 had a bogie paint job and a new recruit was introduced to the team who turned out to be a cabinet maker.
The new signage was erected on the Gorsey Bank line which regularises the situation and work continued on the former 03084 and Tommy. Some problems encountered with L J Breeze were researched and the problem discovered as a split flexible exhaust connection which would seem to be a modest task to remedy.
The deluxe Landrover was used for a whole line tour to simulate our normal test process for the benefit of our director normally based on the 54th floor. By sheer coincidence our arrival at Duffield took in the passage of Tornado and a support coach en route to Bescot. What a fine sight and a cheery wave from the train crew - one day! On return from Duffield a coffee stop was made at Rupert Brennan Brown's headquarters and most welcome it was.
The Booking Hall team had to depart at mid-day and Patrick Lidgett came to the rescue for the afternoon - diet ice creams were selling well. I do have to report that Dales Rail Engineering achieved absolutely nothing but managed to pass Twiggs without stopping which must have caused much disappointment in Matlock and a lowering of their share price.
All in all, a very pleasant and productive day.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Thursday 28th May 2009

Dear all
At last, a warm sunny day to gladden the heart. It was good to see the station gardens being attended to at Wirksworth and progress was made with new signage to be applied to the Gorsey Bank line. For those of you involved in operations this means the STOP board will move south to its original position. A new sign "Passenger Trains Stop Here" denoting the limit of passenger operations before the specially canted track installed for testing purposes will be placed where the STOP board is presently located to create a more rational approach to vehicles on test.
To lift the spirits of the Permanent Way team a further 250 sleepers has been delivered to Wirksworth and loaded onto the Flatrol and Lowmac. This was not without incident as the delivery vehicle's timber grab had difficulties making the transfer process fairly lengthy. A lone volunteer needle gunned and wire brushed the upturned water tank from Ferrybridge No3 moving this project forward. Further preparation of Tommy was undertaken with the end to this phase being in sight.
The PWT completed the jacking and packing of the Shottle relay and cakes were laid on for Neil's last day with us. He certainly made quite a contribution to the PWT during his time as part of the team. Also at Shottle DRE completed the assembly of the Shottle South Ground Frame from its component parts. Lots more to do but very visible signs of progress.
The Komatsu 130 completed a pass from Hazelwood to Duffield but sustained an electrical fault on its return - the expert will return on Monday. The VCT continued their attack south of Hazelwood and had a splendid three fire day. They also managed the completion of the repainting of Mile Post 134 1/2 and these track side markers do really benefit from the treatment.
L J Breeze brought the works vehicles back from Shottle including the Sturgeon which is required for maintenance including new axle box pads.
A visit to Duffield illustrated the good work being achieved by Anton in lifting the area. The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway signs opposite the main line platforms and the neat, seeded area at the north end of the former down slow platform make a significant contribution to demonstrating our serious intentions there.
I visited Derby Magistrates Court to pay our fine in person thus closing this ridiculous matter down.
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors brought out by the warm weather and fielded the usual phone calls.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Wed 27th May

Evenin' all,

After getting sunburn yesterday, we were like drowned rats today -
drowned track rats, of course.

The Flail was taken down to Shottle at first lightish, and some
trimming was carried out at Barnsley Lane foot crossing as well as some
other spots. Upon arrival it had its large bucket fitted ready for the
S&T side to backfill the footings for Shottle north box, the frame
uprights were bolted into place. The Works train eventually arrived,
the first job was to drop a further 32 tons of 28mm packing stone, this
was followed by some serious Jacking 'n' packinf through Shottle
station as well as from Shottle South pointwork northwards just leaving
about a 30 yard gap to complete tomorrow. Everyone was very wet by

Back at Wirksworth, More work was carried out to the brakes of N03,
with Rod squeezing under some plastic sheeting to offer some protection
from the weather. The Diesel maintenance team have nearly completed the
rust and paint removal from Tommy, and repainting will soom commence.
Stuart carried out further servicing work on the Coles Crane, whilst
the Booking Hall staff had a restful day cleaning the Gatex after the
weekend, and had a handfull of visitors.

Tomorrow sees the works train leaving Wirksworth i.e LJ Breeze and a
brakevan as manrider, with a heavy train returning in the afternoon.
More snagging and packing at Shottle

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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Tues 26th May

Evenin' all,

Back to normal today in dry but windy conditions.

In the Shed, LJ Breeze had a service and a thorough check over. The
loco did some shunting in the yard to test her out before he,she or it
takes over the works train tomorrow.

The Dream Steam Team continued working on No 3 with work being
concentrated on the Brakes and rigging, with more cleaning and painting.
a start was made on hanging them as well, The LMS coach has been
sheeted to help keep the weather out as work continued.

At Shottle, the S&T dept fixed the base of the frame for Shottle North
frame, with much drilling and fixing. Meanwhile the Per Way team jacked
and packed the main line at Shottle, and have reach halfway along the

The VCT continued clearance work south of Hazlewood and again found
more useful scrap chucked down the banksides.

Tomorrow sees work at Shottle, the works train will be making a one
way journey there in the morning. with the stone.


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Monday, 25 May 2009

Progress Report Bank Holiday Monday 25/5/09

Dear all,

By some small miracle, the weather held all day until about 5.30 when,
eventually, the heavens opened. The yard was weedkilled and Ferrybridge
No3 received further work on its brake parts. At Duffield the planters
and floral displays were attended to. At Ravenstor some weeding of
invasive growth in and around the trackside took place.

In terms of passenger traffic we again had a better day than yesterday
and received much positive feedback about the railway, about our
progress and about the loveliness of the Ecclesbourne Valley in general.
Today was the main day of Wirksworth Carnival and a jolly time was had
in the sunshine by many visitors to the railway and the town.

I am most grateful to everyone who has helped during this weekend, which
has been a satisfying success and a tribute to all concerned.

Sudden sickness has apparently overtaken the Booking Hall clerk
tomorrow, if anyone is available to cover do let me know on 07881 710337.

All the best,

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Progress Sunday 24 May 2009

Dear all,

A wonderfully warm and sunny day, which brought out a spate of
managerial hats, in the initial absence of sun cream to apply to, er,
various bald parts. Work was undertaken on the brakes and strange pins
of Ferrybridge No 3 and the conscripts carried on with painting our
choice selection of gates. A gentleman from Swansea attended for his day
with a driver.

In many respects the passenger traffic was most interesting in so far as
we did better today than yesterday, and this is unusual because
Saturdays are often busier than Sundays. It was also curious that the
day was busier than the corresponding Bank Holiday Sunday last year,
indeed a number of people were waiting on the sneck at opening time and
the Extra Ladies were very nearly taken by surprise.

All the best,
Mike Evans via Anton

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Progress Saturday 23rd May 2009

Evening all,
A beautiful bright and sunny day saw many visitors exchanging their notes for rides to Idridgehay and Ravenstor for the first day of a three-day event weekend in conjunction with the Wirksworth Carnival. After a slow start this morning, it was pleasing to see so many people in the afternoon, with many of them passing excellent comments about how tidy and clean the place was, as well as how beautiful the views are along the line. Many of them only pausing for a moment to enjoy a nice cup of tea and one of our new tortilla wraps. These seem to be selling very well! The narrow gauge operated in the car park for people to enjoy too.
Today's "Day with the Driver" was given the full treatment, including rides on both lines as well as a tour of the yard and a cab ride in LJ Breeze. He was even given an extra rare treat in that two of our DMU vehicles were coupled together to form a set, so he was able to see how to connect together vacuum and control air pipes along with electrical jumper cables. With all this excitement, him and his guest were given the full works in the buffet car.
In other goings on, work continued on 03084 which is now looking beautiful in a nice shade of green with full wasp stripes.
Many thanks to all involved,
Mike Evans via Leigh

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Friday, 22 May 2009

Friday 22nd May 2009

Dear all
At last we have been able to achieve a whole line weed treatment process giving particular problem areas a treble dose. The weather was not ideal with intermittent showers but there should be some positive results.
Back at base there was continued activity with Tommy and the former 03084 and we now seem very close to sourcing the necessary electric starter motors for our two Thomas Hill locomotives. There was much activity on the dmu front as they were prepared for the Bank Holiday weekend and we are also indebted to the dmu team for another extremely generous donation of fuel.
Dales Rail Engineering seemed to have cleared the shelves of Twiggs of Matlock with a variety of items that will assist the new ground frame at Shottle North and provide the Permanent Way Team with extra resources to increase their productivity - more drill bits.
At the far north of our site sleepers were replaced on the Cemetery Lane headshunt and, I am guessing by the forensic evidence, that there was much oiling of slide chairs.
Preparations were made for the weekend in the Buffet Car and the Booking Hall did what it does well. During the weed treatment process Phil and I were greeted at Duffield by Anton who refreshed us for the return journey.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Thursday 21st May 2009

Dear all
A funny old day with sunshine and showers and the first for some time without any customer activity. This lull has given an opportunity to put L J Breeze through its paces with the transport of the Flatrol conveying a lone crossing timber required to complete Shottle South and two short girders that will be part of the base of Shottle North Ground Frame, The Permanent Way team completed securing all track through Shottle Station and, using LJB, dropped 32 tonnes of 28mm ballast through the section to provide for packing and lining. 16 tonnes of 40mm ballast was dropped north of "Willow Crossing" on the long welded section and then ploughed. LJB then returned with the all the vehicles, a load of around 200 tonnes, with no problem other than a fall of soot as carbon from the engine was cleansed that noticeably reduced the previously smoky exhaust.
The Komatsu 130 received the ministrations of an expert and had a thorough going over with the expert pronouncing that we had acquired very good machine. The repaired flail was refitted and tested with satisfactory results. We now have a very good contact with a thorough practical knowledge of this machine.
The VCT concentrated on the area between 134 1/4 and 134 1/2 mileposts and achieved two large fires. It should also be mentioned that they had previously dealt with the vegetation that had grown up alongside the former riding school at Hazelwood and the improvement is very noticeable.
My day had a new experience in representing the Company at Derby Magistrates Court and appearing before a District Judge following a summons from Derbyshire Dales District Council for breach of an enforcement notice to move the DCS cabin. I was able to state my case for mitigation illustrated by before and after photos together with the article in the Ecclesbourne Express. The lawyer acting for DDDC had, typically, no papers to refer to and the end result was a fine of £480 but costs were denied to DDDC. It has to be said again that absolutely no assistance with this problem has been received from Town and District Councillors who profess support for our project. The memory of this debacle will be long.
Meanwhile, the Booking Hall entertained a number of visitors who sadly seemed to have no funds.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Wed 20th May

Evenin' all,

A much smaller than expected turnout of Per way chaps continued
fettling and snagging the newly laid track. Some pf the screws going
into the hardwood crossing timbers, were fighting all the way. 14
baseplates need to be drilled and spiked tomorrow before stone is

Some survey and clearance work was crried out at Duffield to make it
ready for work there in three weeks time.

Harsco put a number of vehicles through final acceptance trials with
NR, all were successful,

This afternoon saw a Charter Train conveying some senior citizens down
to Idridgehay and back for tea 'n' pee. The trip was well recieved.

This morning we welcomed a senior HMRI, who toured the line down to
Duffield. He was most impressed with the work carried out since his
last visit. He was most impressed with the drainage work on the 'Racing
Straight' and was very pleased with th stndard of the track renewals
at Shottle. He was very complimentary. We sought his advice and
guidance regarding the S&T side at Shottle and at Duffield. Some
interesting developments were pointed out, especially the removal of
the need for a refuge under the platform. This will make life easier.

To keep you informed, we will be continuing with spot resleepering,
and need to be at Hazlewood by September, to be with a chance of
completing the renewals by this time next year. There then remains a
lot of work at Duffield with the laying of the Loop, a new mainline,
and the platform work.

The VCT need towork to the same timescale with clearance work
completed within 12 months, leaving time for boundary work, ditching

The Inspector will pay another visit in a few months time to check on

Tomorrow sees LJ departing Wirksworth after breakfast but conveying
the footing girders for Shottle North GF, as well as an 11' replacement
crossing timber, Once the track is finally completed 36 tons of 28mm
stone will be dropped, and the entire works train returned to

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Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Tues19th May

Evenin' all,

Not so much May, more like April with heavy showers and bright

The Per way team were kept busy at Shottle fixing and fettling the
track laid last week. Another day should see all the tweeking sorted
out ready for some stone to be dropped on Thursday. It was reported
that there was a slight technical hitch inasmuch as someone else ws
fetching the milk and water for the tea.

The VCT continued clearance work south of Hazlewood, and reported only
one fire - but it was a big one. The team are taking the opportunity of
collecting scrap, and loose wire as they go.At close of play their
landrover was returned to the Shottle base.

Both teams were disturbed in their endevours by the convoy of vehicles
on test, these included two big 'lorries' as well as the smallest road
rail digger that I have seen This was its first time ever on track and
we had to do an awfull lot of tests on it On the CWR it reached speeds
of 17 mph! Full use was made of the RRAP and Siding at Duffield. These
vehicles were the first to traverse the new track at Shottle, and all
passed the platform test. This proves the good work carried out last

Back at base, the diesel team were busy on Tomm, getting more paint
and rust removed, whilst the Dream Steam Team were at the other end of
the shed restoring No 3.

Martin recieved some visitors and potential new revenue earing
streams, whilst Fred and Iris cleaned the Mess Room. The Booking hall
was open but quiet due to the weather.

Tomorrow sees the Per Way team at Shottle, again no loco as final
screwing and fixing takes place. The white landrover will be making a
full line tour in the morning.


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Monday, 18 May 2009

Saturday, Sunday & Monday 16th - 18th May 2009

Dear all
A few words about the weekend as technical difficulties seem to have stifled the Saturday and Sunday reports. Saturday was the day of the Company AGM and a small display of Hydra, the Komatsu 130 and the "de luxe" Landrover together with boring of No 3's cylinders was available at Platform 1. L J Breeze was also available for cab rides on the Incline prior to the start of the AGM.
We welcomed another "Day with a Driver" with his guests who enjoyed his time with us as did the Sunday "Day with a Driver" participant. These are selling extremely well and filling the diary through the year and are proving to be a growing source of income. Julie feeds them as part of the deal and deserves our thanks for this.
Sunday saw Ferrybridge No3 shunted to the north end of the "tram siding" and various other positioning moves utilising LJB as the shunt loco.
The AGM passed off without incident and Neil's annual presentation was received with acclamation as did Paul Rayner's video compressing the Shottle Working Week into 8 minutes. George Watson retired as a Director at the end of the meeting due to the ever increasing burdens of ill health. Members who were keeping the show on the road during the AGM had a special mention of thanks.
Today continued with dreadful weather but illustrated how we had moved on by the provision of covered accommodation to enable work to continue on our vehicles. Both Tommy and the Class 03 saw significant progress on their preparation to enter service.
Again, against all odds, the DCS cabin moved from Wash Green Dock to the Car Park and with the great help of one of our volunteers was re-energised at its new site with BT dealing with their Broadband connection and the water supply was satisfactorily hooked up.
We entertained a customer visit to the Wirksworth site and in the south the Craft team repaired the chicken wire on footpath F5 which is just north of Hazelwood station.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few hardy non spending visitors and dealt with the usual quota of phone calls.
PS - The Travis Folly renovation has been put back a couple of weeks to give breathing space to enable us to resleeper down to there before digging the crossing up which now seems a more logical way to attack this task.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

New Article on Website

A new article by Howard Sprenger on the architecture of the stations on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway has been added to the website. The direct link is:

Kind regards,

Neil Ferguson-Lee

Facebook Import

Hi all,
With any luck, this message will mysteriously find its way from the main Blogger feed all the way to Facebook - similar to what Neil did with Twitter! If you haven't signed up to our Facebook or Twitter feeds yet, make sure you take a look!

Windows Live Messenger just got better. Find out more!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Testing for Twitter

With any luck, this post to the railway's blog will find its way through to Twitter. If so, it will be just another extra way of learning about how our railway is developing!

Our twitter ID is wyvernrail if you wish to follow us.

Kind regards,


Friday, 15 May 2009

Shottle supplement - Day 5

Evenin' all,

They said that it couldn't be done, they said we could not do it
within the time. Sorry, but we have,
The final bits of track were laid in torrential rain, it was plated
up, alittle further light slewing here and thers, but at last the track
is complete and available - all right, at 5mph for light vehicles, but
the line is open. The levelling and packing will take place next week,
but thw whole main line between Shottle north and Shottle south has now
been relaid, the main line pointwork installed at the south end. The
spoil has been run out to form the trackbed of the passing loop (not to
be installed this year)

This has been a mamoth task this wek, and I wish to place on record my
thanks to all who have helped. Todays luncheon was supplied by Pat
Lidgett, and consisted of homemade soup and rolls. It was very welcome
to the drowned rats who filed into the Shottle Mess room. Some members
have been there each day of the week, two actually had annual leave
from work to spend out on track - now that is dedication.

Neil turned up for a team photo - I bet that i'm not on that one
either - I'm camera shy.

Next week, it is more back to normal.


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Friday 15th May 2009

Dear all
At the north end of our adventure we goodbye to the Ballast Regulator as it departed to earn its keep in the eastern counties. The "Bubble Car" performed workmen's duties to Shottle and during its absence opportunity was taken to place Hydra on display at Platform 1 and LJB into Platform 3 for cab ride opportunities tomorrow morning. Later the Komatsu 130 returned from Shottle and added to the vehicle line up at Platform 1. Cylinder boring continued on Ferrybridge No3 and the work will run on to tomorrow.
The morning was also occupied by discussions with Network Rail about the management and inspection of our many structures. We have had a great deal of help from NR in this area and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.
At the Maintenance Facility Iris received attention to an oil leak and further preparation was undertaken on 03084.
A request for a customer for 40 one tonne weights next Tuesday was dealt with and it would appear that our ballast will be undertaking another journey -for a price.
The Booking Hall dealt with a few visitors and the quality of today's phone calls was pleasantly productive.
The Shottle Supplement will follow and I would like to add my thanks to all who participated in this mammoth push forward.

Website Updates

Morning all,
Maybe a bit late because of other events and going on, but timetable information, fares and carnival goings-on can now be viewed on the website.
The Marketing Department have also been 'hard' at work and have been investigating new avenues to be recognised. As a result, the railway now has official channels on two extremely popular social networking sites - Facebook and Twitter. For those of you who use these, you will know that Facebook is a good tool to advertise events and goings-on for free, whilst Twtter offers the ability to publish impromptu thoughts. At least, if nothing else, the railway is up with the times! Links to these two 'channels' can be found on the websites homepage as well.

Surfing the web just got more rewarding. Download the New Internet Explorer 8

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Shottle supplement - day 4

Evenin' all,

Quite a good turnout today, in both senses. A strong Per way presence
with a little help meant that the first task was to layout the crossing
timbers for Shottle South, a few anxious moments when the ironwork was
craned into place, with the Komatsu working at maximum reach for the
heaviest bits, but all was achieved safely. The last full panel was
built up.

Lunch arrived in the nick of time, a sumptuous buffet provided to say
thank you to our many helpers this week. It was delivered by a Balfour
leveling Ballast Regulator, and was accompanied by some of the other
customers using our Testing facilities - it also showed the
professionals, what goes on behind the scenes.

After lunch, a start was made screwing down the pointwork, slewing the
track to its correct alignment, and continued spiking of the plain
line. This just leaves 2 x 30' closure rails to be installed, and more
spiking and screwing, also a little packing. We have vehicles for
testing next week

The mini digger has started leveling out the uplifted spoil and making
a solid base for the loop.

Off now for a bit of a nap!


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Thursday 14th May 2009

Dear all
Peace descended on the north of our empire with only two customers to worry about. Our Road/Rail customer unloaded his trailers of one tonne ballast bag weights and has kindly donated the contents to us for reuse on the Railway. Strangely enough this represents 60 tonnes of 40mm limestone ballast that we use in our Dash to Duffield - it's a funny old world. The customers machines and trailers left site this afternoon and thanks were expressed for the service we had delivered.
The Ballast Regulator ventured in the direction of Shottle and was allocated two areas to test the operators skills. The end product was not quite as exciting and neat as we had hoped and has not moved us forward terribly far. Nonetheless, we will be amply rewarded for providing the test facility. The Ballast Regulator returned to Wirksworth at lunchtime to act as a Restaurant Car for the gallant band of workers at Shottle and was probably another first in railway annals.
In the deep south the VCT initially tackled the area around Hazelwood Station bridge and moved on to Milepost 134 1/2 to continue their herculean efforts amongst the blackthorn with a remarkable three fire day. Hardware was discovered in the undergrowth yielding 15 rail chairs from relaying in the distant past.
At Wirksworth work continued on the boring out of the cylinders of Ferrybridge No3 which has been necessary as they were discovered to be more oval than round. Roy (73) and Les (77) declared themselves to be on the last lap of preparing the former 03084 for its new paintwork on the cab end.
The Booking Hall received some visitors and the usual quantity of irritating phone calls. More from my Shottle colleague to follow.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Shottle supplement - day 3

Evenin' all,

Fewer than expected members on site today, partially due to activities
at the northern end of the line. Despite the reduced numbers, the
already installed track ws spiked at 1 in 4 sleepers. Two further
panels were laid.

The dig has been completed right through the job with hundreds of tons
of spoil transferred to the formation of the Loop, after lunch, the
digger moved to Shottle North and dug out the base for the frame, as
well as clearing out the Up Siding Cess, as far as the RRAP. Tomorrow
Barry will start levelling off the spoil and compacting it.

After lunch, the crossing timbers for Shottle south were laid out in
order, (this also required the help of the spiking team, as a 14'
Jarrah hardwood timber needs 8 men to lift it).! The Komatsu was again
able to do much of the lifting work The rail ends leading to the
southern end of the pointwork.were squared off as there was a quite
large overlap.

Around Mid afternoon, a curious site - Anton, resplebdent in his
catering togs, paid us a visit nd delivered some left overs from the
various visitors. Very nice, that was at the end of a hard day.
(Incidently Neil may have lost his role as 'shiny shoes'.

Tomorrow sees the setting out of the rails for Shottle South, and the
fitting of the closure rails, then it all needs screwing and nailing
down, but WE NEED BODIES. some of the team have done all three days now
and we need more helpThe track has to be operational for the passage of
light vehicles by the day after tomorrow.

Dont forget, when going directly to Shottle, please sign in t Peak
Oil, as well as signing in our Signing on sheet. For those travelling
on the 0900 ish from Wirksworth please also sign in at Shottle but not
at Peak Oil, we need to keep a record of hours worked.


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Wednesday 13th May 2009

Dear all
Another barnstorming day with the 2 Car Met-Cam forming the workers train to Shottle at 0915 and quickly returning to form the first of today's many passenger charter trains. The Ballast Regulator received a further batch of personnel for familiarisation with the vehicle and had its movements weaved in with other activities. The machine entered the Maintenance Facility for further signage to be applied and undertook some proving runs on the Incline ending the day by returning to Platform 1.
A road/rail vehicle and three loaded trailers was also on test requiring some time on the Incline and then conducting a long series of brake tests on Road 2. The chassis of Ferrybridge No3 was shunted from the Maintenance Facility to Road 1 outside the Weighbridge so that work could start on machining  the pistons and became the first steam locomotive, or part thereof, to move on site for some time.
At 1030 a large school party arrived and after a train ride to Idridgehay had their lunch on the Gatwick Express. This was followed by rides on the narrow gauge and two further charters to Ravenstor. As the children were ending their day with us a group from Belper Heritage Court arrived and were entertained for lunch in the First Open to be followed by charters to Idridgehay and Ravenstor. You may gather that all these movements to satisfy the charter parties and the wishes of our commercial customers exercised the grey cells and I am most grateful for the assistance of the train crews together with Hylton Holt and Mike Evans who ably ensured this complex plan worked seamlessly. Special mention should also be made of Julie and Anton who organised a splendid lunch much appreciated by the Belper group in amongst the demands of the school group that had occupied the coaches either side of them.
Rod and Mary ensured the narrow gauge rides worked well and their was even time to pass another narrow gauge driver out in the form of Andrew Ball.
Outside all this "commercial" activity was further work on the station garden and much needle gunning and painting of the 03 formerly known as 03084. Sperry Rail were also in evidence conducting maintenance of SRS242 in the Car Park.
Head of customer reception in the Booking Hall ensured tickets were issued, cheques collected and telephones answered.
All in all, another great day with more news to follow in today's Shottle Supplement

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Shottle supplement - day 2

Evenin' all,

Day 2 of the 5 day blockade at Shottle, saw the digger starting at
0800, followed very closely by members of our team. Today saw mainly
Per way staff, along with some members that we had not seen for a
while. Another superb turnout meant that a further 7 panels were relaid
today, this is in addition to the stripping out and 2 panels put in
yesterday. The panels are now back in through Shottle platform and
through the bridge. The pinning down team are about halfway along the
platform. A further 2 panels were dug ready fot tomorrow leaving only
another couple of panels and then the pointwork can start to go in.

Lunch was provided by Will, who kept us supplied with bacon butties.
Tom0rrows catering is a special chip run, order and money in first
thing - order form is in Shottle Mess Room.

After the relay through the platform, I put the laser onto the survey
points done before the old track was removed, most of the new layout is
within 2mm - not bad.

At close of play, one of our customers nipped down to Shottle and
borrowed a switch from our Komatsu to replace a defective switch on
their machine - ours is still operational though.

Lets hope for another good day tomorrow, as ther remains much to be
done, dont forget meet at Shottle from 0800 or travel in the two car
(Guards compartment) departing Wirksworth just after 0900.


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Tuesday 12th May 2009

Dear all
Well what a day with four customers on site - I believe yet another record has been set!
The Ballast Regulator was used for employee familiarisation and initially run up and down the Gorsey Bank line whilst we gathered ourselves this morning. Our road/rail customer requested the removal of the Flatrol from the Car Park and the "Bubble Car" undertook this work before forming the 0915 Workmans Special to Shottle. After the arrival at Shottle of the "Bubble Car" the section between Wirksworth and "Willow Crossing" (between Idridgehay and Shottle) was made available to the Regulator so that its various attachment could be tested and there is now visible evidence of its stone moving and shaping along Bournebrook Avenue and on the long welded section.
After the Regulator departed the Gorsey Bank line our third customer moved from testing on the Incline to the newly canted area at Gorsey Bank under the watchful eye of Network Rail. Our fourth customer, fortunately, only needed to run up the Sperry machine in the Car Park for routine maintenance.
Whilst all this excitment was in progress the Steam Team, somewhat smaller than usual, continued with their fettling work and the embankment alongside the former Ennis garage received a trim. Work progressed on the former 03084 and the newly located Maintenance Facility toilet was serviced. Yet more fuel was delivered and the Fred/Iris/Dorothy team gave the Mess Hall a good do and ensured the Training Room was fit for our many visitors.
A the end of the day preparations were made for an exchange of dmus to deal with tomorrow's charter activity. The VCT were in action in the deep south beyond the blockade and declared they had made more solid progress. A Shottle Supplement will follow from my learned colleague.
The Booking Hall received many visitors and telephone calls.
Much more tomorrow. It all does emphasise how much we have developed and progressed since that first day just over eight years ago.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Monday 11th May 2009

Dear all
A two parter today with a separate report from Operation Shottle. A huge Works Train departed for Shottle at 0840 to be followed by a 0915 "Bubble Car" workers train, There was much shunting after the 50th Birthday celebrations to restore the dmu fleet to their normal configurations and prepare for the welter of charter business on Wednesday. Within the Maintenance Facility the locomotive formally known as "03084" received a lot of needle gun attention to its southern buffer beam and the portable toilet has been relocated and assumed an upright position.
The automatic watering system received a great deal of attention and the hanging baskets were hung with great credit to Pat Craft and her supporting cast Mike. The Booking Hall dealt with the customary phone calls but few, if any visitors. Further work was conducted to mobilise the fork lift truck and try and bottom LJB's reluctance to change direction. 
The main feature "up north" was the arrival of a very large machine from the LH Group on behalf of Balfour Beatty which initially visited the Pit and then conducted trials on the Gorsey Bank line. If you look on the webcams it is now sitting at Platform 1

Shottle Supplement Day 1

Evenin' all,

Whilst Martin is doing the main prog-rep tonight, I have decided to
report on day 1 of rapid transformation at Shottle.

As you know, and are possibly sick of me reminding you, this week we
are undertaking a full relay through Shottle station.

Day 1 saw all rails of the 13 panels stripped out and all sleepers out
by lunchtime. The digger was beavering away in 'the hole' . After lunch
new sleepers were added and 2 panels of rails put back, using the
Komatsu. By the close of play one panel had been fixed down.So this
morning we had a production line with one team taking out the rails,
behind was another team removing sleepers, then the digger team
removing spoil. In the afternoon, the digger was in the lead, followed
by the sleeper relay team, followed by the rerailing team, followed by
the drilling and fixing team. Absolutely marvellous!

After the appeal for help, we welcomed a new volunteer, one who had
been away for a couple of years, and another who made his first
appearance only a couple of weeks ago. We also welcomed members from
the Passenger Services Dept, the Vegetation Clearance Team, Loco
maintenace team as well as a good turn out from Per Way.

For the numerists amongst you, we are relaying 13 panels of track
which equates to 780' of track or to put it another way - 26 tons of
rail, 260 wooden sleepers to replace, 580 baseplates to remove and
relay, 1560 elastic spiked to extract and replace, 26 pairs of
fishplates etc etc. that is why we need your help - most of the team
are in their 60's, one was well into his 70's. Not bad! Dont forget it
all has to be back in, including the Shottle South point by close of
play on Friday.

Tomorrow sees more of the same, with an even bigger team. The works
train will leave Wirksworth at 0915 prompt, work on site starts at 0800
at Shottle

A brilliant start, in brilliant weather.


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Sunday, 10 May 2009

Progress Sunday 10th May

Dear all,

A pleasant day of varied activity surrounding the 50th birthday of our
Railcars. Modest passenger numbers were entertained to the various
units, including the presence of the "in progress" W51073 in platform 1
for viewing, which many people found interesting and which received the
most attention to window cleaning it has probably had in the last 50
years. A gathering took place in the buffet car at 1.45 for the birthday
speech and cake cutting and the units were duly toasted and wished Happy
Birthday by the public with best sparkling wine and by the staff with
best Del Monte fruit juice. A group photo opportunity was then had with
the Railcars displaying the headboards "The Idridgehay Limited" and
"Happy Day Express".

We were also visited by the leader of a party who attended last week to
compliment us on our work then, and to make a donation which was
gratefully received. A meeting was held to discuss further improvements
to road signage and we look forward to this being productive in due course.

A raft of other work took place around the railway which included
further preparatory work on the ground frame for Shottle North Junction;
the main bearing lubrication system was addressed on Ferrybridge No 3;
The north yard footgate painting was completed, the middle yard gate was
progressed and the Wash Green Gate was prepared; Gardening took place on
the embankment opposite the Booking Hall; Fence woodstaining took place
on the platform 1 south end ramp; The Buffet car's new tables were
assembled and brought into use. A day with a driver took place most
successfully. The Marketing Dept kindly recovered some two-wheeled scrap
metal which had been fecklessly left at the Hannages footcrossing, but
found that although it could be ridden, it couldn't be stopped.

All the best,

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Progress Saturday 9th May

Dear all,

Quite a pleasant sunny day where a reasonable amount of passenger
business was done on the Idridgehay line. The Passenger Dept was,
however, largely heads down in the stocktake and have counted everything
which could be counted and dusted many things that couldn't. Some
gardening has taken place on the platform 1 border with vast bags of
weedery being transported to the wheelie bin. The platform 1 north end
fence has received a coat of best quality wood preservative. In addition
much strimming has taken place around our various embankments. In the
engineerium, Lyne Enterprises was engaged in the further investigation
of the electrical starting mechanism for Hydra. In preparation for
tomorrow's event, signs have been put up "I am 50" "Vehicle under
restoration" "Hangover in progress" and our selection of choice 50 year
old railcars have been cleaned, polished, vacuumed, and fluffed up to a
level of perfection hardly to be credited.

See you all tomorrow,
Mike Evans via Anton.

Friday, 8 May 2009

Friday 8th May 2009

Dear all
A day of preparation both for the 50th Birthday celebrations on Sunday and the upcoming Shottle Working Week. Two ballast hoppers, dogfish, were filled with stone at Wash Green dock and during the afternoon the Works Train for Monday was formed up ready for a prompt departure that morning. Much cleaning and final touches were achieved with the blue dmu fleet and some faults attended to on the "Bubble Car". LJB and Hydra were run up and placed on display at Platform 1. Tommy was shunted from one road to another in the Maintenance Facility so that the remaining paint removal could be achieved more easily and an opportunity was taken to give a trial run to the newly green 03. The water tank from Ferrybridge No3, having been inverted last week, received further needle gunning and application of "red lead".
The IMT undertook a track patrol from Idridgehay to Wirksworth and replaced a broken chair at the south end of Platform 2. The Buffet Car was prepared for the weekend's activities and the Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors who kept their hands firmly in their pockets.
Another pleasantly productive day.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Thursday 7th May 2009

Dear all
A very interesting and quite eventful day with some lessons learnt. The PW team met at Shottle where the vast majority of the rails were lifted out of the section to be re-laid and a number of the sleepers, or what remains of them, were cleared out of the way ready for the minidigger to start work on Monday. The Komatsu was involved in lifting the rails but has a strange malfunction in its travel speed which would have resulted in a very long journey from Wirksworth to Shottle. To resolve this we used L J Breeze to tow it and the learning process involved which way round the machine should be towed and after initial experimentation the right way was found. Following the Breeze and Komatsu combination was the Road/Rail Dumper driven ably by the Reverend Patrick Lidgett.
The use of LJB was its first run of any distance and it performed faultlessly demonstrating it is a really useful addition to our fleet. On return to Wirksworth further work was done to improve its change of direction mechanism.
Servicing of the automatic watering system for this seasons hanging baskets was achieved and the previously blue Class 03 received its first coat of green paint. The interior of the cab has been repainted and checkerplate applied to the cab entrances. The new power supply installed for the DCS cabin move was connected to the Passenger Office and Training Room with the necessary checking and testing. The water supply was also installed and blanked off ready for the cabin move.
Harsco were engaged in testing on the Incline during the morning and will be back with us next week. The VCT were active south of Hazelwood and had a two fire day declaring satisfaction with their efforts. In the course of their work they found a catch pit near footpath F4 with damaged/rotten covering that will need some attention before too long.
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors on this warm sunny day and the till occasionally whirred into use. 
A most pleasant and productive day.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Wed 6th May

Evenin' all,

Today saw most of the activity at Shottle, where half of the section
to be relaid was unspiked, and de plated. This is in prereration for
the big job next week, some rails were also freed. It was the intention
to take the Dumper and Komatsu to site, but technical problems
scuppered that idea, they will be delivered tomorrow.

Further painting and maintenance work was carried out on an 03 to get
it ready for service, some machining of parts was also carried out.
Check of First Aid boxes was also undertaken.

Tomorrow sees the VCT start work at Hazlewood, whilst Per way will be
at Shottle.


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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Tuesday 5th May

Evenin' all,

The Dream Steam Team continued with the rebuild of N0. 3 in the shed,
the Axle box lubricators were added, the Connecting rods and Coupling
rods were made ready to be lifted on, and the brake hangers were
fitted, there was also more painting. Having seen the progress, it is
starting to look a little more like a steam engine.

The electrical team fed a new cable across to the Training Room area
ready for a temporary visitor, a water pipe was also treaded through.

The Per Way team headed for Shottle where some preliminery work was
undertaken ready to start panelling out for the relay, Many spikes and
fishplate bolts were removed. They also collected the remaining logs
from the station site. The Dumper and Komatsu were replenished ready
for their work. The Flail head has now been handed to the Hydraulic
fitter who is refurbishing some of the pipes.

A prospective new customer was given a whole line tour and had the
full sales pitch.

The VCT repaired a gate post and rehung a gate near to Jebbs Lane,
before progressing to Shottle.

The shed bound 03 has some paint applied to it, whilst more work was
carried out on 'Tommy' Some light shunting also occured to act bas a
training excercise for Hydra and LJ Breeze.

The Booking Hall dealt with a few visitors. Whilst Geoff had a bit of
a tidy up at the north end of the yard.

Tomorrow sees work at Shottle, as well as the transportation of


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Monday, 4 May 2009

Mon 4th May

Evenin' all,

A damp squip of a day, damp and overcast. Even the heaters were on on
the service trains. Loadings were light. Another 'day with a driver'
which was very successful - one of his guests happened to be an off
duty HMRI,(!), so you never know who is on the platform. The Narrow
Gauge was also in operation, with a few passengers.

The final figures are expected in due coarse - a phone call to another
railway close by also showed that heir loading were very light as well.

Much favourable comment concerned the exhibits on platform 1 where the
public could view Hydra, LJ Breeze and the Komatsu.


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Sunday, 3 May 2009

Progress Sunday 3rd May

Dear all,

A pleasant warm and largely sunny day saw us pottering backwards and
forwards to Ravenstor and Idridgehay with the Open Day service and a
jolly time was had by all: the shop, buffet and Narrow Gauge being open,
as they will be tomorrow, for those of you who have not yet experienced
6 brake horse power to Waterfall.. A magistrate of conscripts was
delegated to the painting of gates and good progress was made. The DRE
exhausted himself on the repair of the flail head and had to be consoled
with a pot noodle.

The Extra Ladies are on standby for tomorrow, and staff parking will be
on the Ballast Dock, thank you kindly.

All the best,

Saturday, 2 May 2009


Dear all,
Today was the first day of the three day May bank holiday Event weekend.
There have been various goings on, in a day that saw both the Ravenstor and Idridghay lines open to passengers.
We also welcomed two parties of people, one on a guided walk and the other for a train ride and luncheon in the Gatex.
Else where some permanent way work was achieved, this being of the oo gauge kind inside the model railway container.
While all this was going on the rear of the Gents were given a good seeing to with some fresh paint. This helped eliminate some earlier dribbling in that area. Some potholes in the car park were also looked into and then filled with fresh tarmac.
Meanwhile down the yard in the engineering department many tasks were carried out on the 03s, and the DMUs that were not on service today had their vital fluids toped up.
The Booking hall, Bookshop and Buffet all had a good days trading.
All in all an exhausting but worth while day, well done to all.  
John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans


Friday, 1 May 2009

Fri 1st May

Evenin' all,

A day, busy with preperation for this weekend.With trains being
prepared and shunted, and exhibits moved onto Platform 1 road.

The flail head continued with its rebuild and more stengthening was
built in. some hammers were replaced.

Weedkiller was applied at Wirksworth, Gorsey Banl LC, Ideridgehay LC
and through the station, at Hazlewood Access point and Duffield
platform and yard.

The Infrastucture Maintenance Team dug out four sleepers at Wash Green
that had started 'pumping' these were repacked, they also started
routine maintenance on the Racing Straight, now that the water table
has dropped, and the formation is drying out, some repacking is
required at sleeper ends. A patro;l of the Incline also took place.

The fence between the Booking Hall, and the old Dust dock was treated
to some creosote (or the mamby pamby stuff that calls itself creosote
these days)

The Booking Hall was kept busy with incoming supplies and visitors.


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