Friday, 31 July 2009

Friday 31st July 2009

Dear all
A very busy Friday with activities on many fronts. The noisy duo arrived again to complete modifications to the Information Room and EVRA Shop shelter but, blissfully, completed the work be lunchtime. At the crack of dawn a fresh supply of sleepers arrived together with 7 20ft long crossing timbers and a crossing nose representing an eye watering total of £5000. These were loaded to wagons in the Car Park and tripped to Shottle this afternoon. The Works Train and all this new material is berthed at Shottle ready for a prompt start next Tuesday.
The IMT patrolled Barnsley Lane to Ken Rowlands crossing and the Komatsu had its flail reattached. This enabled a little light trimming north of Gorsey Bank and between Idridgehay and Shottle. The machine is now berthed at Shottle together with the Landrover to be ready for work Tuesday.
DRE were engaged in refurbishing and modifying a further seven stools required for Shottle North Junction and more paint was applied to parts of Ferrybridge No3. Our First Aid boxes had their monthly check and replenishment and there was a deal of weeding around the station.
The 2 Car Met-Cam had a deep, deep clean with particular attention paid to the interiors of the windows. Anton was seen with paint brush in hand and the Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors.
The big news is that we actually had a day free of rain - oh joy!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

REMINDER: Timetable Alteration Sunday 2nd August 2009

Just a reminder of a timetable alteration due to the Idridgehay line being under Engineers Posession on Sunday 2nd August. To view the details of this timetable alteration, please go to the main Timetable page on the website.


Thursday 30th July 2009 Supplementary

Dear all
Patrick Lidgett and John Snell attended Albert Hill's funeral at Chesterfield on our behalf. The service was well attended with many attending from the National Tramway Museum where Albert spent many years volunteering. He will certainly missed by us.

Thursday 30th July 2009

Dear all
At risk of overdoing the credits you have to take your hats off to the Permanent Way Team yet again. Not only have they used the new Hilti track packing device to stabilise the track through the Postern Lodge crossing but have achieved an amazing 18 sleeper changes in their spare time. This achievement has been with a lower than average profile as we benefit from the school holidays but the addition of our Finance Manager who was released from his abacus. The Works Train returned to Wirksworth with the vehicles needed tomorrow to load further pw supplies and the necessary vehicles shunted into the Car Park siding.
The Komatsu also returned to Wirksworth as part of the plot for tomorrow and DRE completed the installation of some more benches at Shottle North Junction. To permit our oldest working volunteer to continue his efforts at Idridgehay the fence line was strimmed and this was followed by a strimming attack on the embankment to the former Dust Dock.
The VCT were in distant parts south of Hazelwood with two fires achieved and the production of more logs for selling on. At the end of their day the Landrover was returned to Shottle ready for next week's tasks.
Further sparkling up of the 2 Car Met-Cam with a very splendid buffer beam created at the north end. In the Training Room a team received a food hygiene course and a customer conducted trials at the Shottle raised check rail.
The Booking Hall successfully dealt with a number of visitors and the usual phone calls in a day of very indifferent weather.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Wednesday 29th July 2009

Dear all
We thought it couldn't get worse but it has! A dreadful day that would have sent the most hardy home but the Permanent Way Team really stuck it out to complete the Postern Lodge project. The scene there now is of the track laid and clipped up to the concrete sleepers, packed to preserve the cant through the site and stone dropped to build up the crossing so it is fit for purpose. A truly remarkable achievement and thanks are due to all involved with the planning, assembly of materials and the physical work associated with the project. Tomorrow sees the work to tidy the site of redundant materials and recover the Komatsu and Works Train back to Wirksworth ready for the next delivery of sleepers on Friday.
Back at base there was little incentive to try and do anything productive but the S&T project inched forward after another reviving visit to Twiggs. The 2 Car Met-Cam set was given an internal clean and the "machine shop" was in action to produce S&T bits on the lathe.
We welcomed a visitor from the Tanfield Railway who wanted to crawl all over Cathryn to see whether it had retained special features fitted when built. Apparently it does and a technical explanation will be given when I can understand it - this may take some time.
The Booking Hall entertained no-one and precious few telephone calls.
The PW team should assemble at Shottle tomorrow and the Work Train will return to Wirksworth towards the end of the day. The VCT Landrover is outstationed at Hazelwood and will return to Shottle at the end of the day.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Tuesday 28th July 2009

Dear all
The main thrust of the day was to commence the physical work of stripping out two panels of track through the Postern Lodge Farm accommodation crossing (Travis Folly). In a combined operation between a hired in mini digger, our own Komatsu and a sizable permanent way team, the rails were de-spiked and lifted out, the old sleepers and fill for the crossing removed, the track bed graded and concrete sleepers laid ready to accept the rails tomorrow. This was a most spectacular start to this project and bodes well for completion with minimum disruption for the farmer. To aid today's achievement the Works Train left at 0830 but was slightly delayed en route by a stray cow. Her name was taken and she willingly returned to the field from which she had escaped claiming that trains never run this early.
DRE  tended to the mysteries of the Shottle North Ground Frame and then returned to Wirksworth to continue manufacturing the various items needed for this job. The VCT made a smart getaway from Shottle ahead of the Works Train to continue their work south of Hazelwood and manufactured more logs opening up further views on the west side of the line. Three large fires consumed the brash and the team declared themselves content with their efforts.
The Dream Steam Team made further steady progress with Ferrybridge No3 with the production of working drain cocks, sand boxes fixed on and the back of the cab bolted down together with the coal bunker. A lone member dealt with the area below the viewing area clearing a great deal of vegetation so that there is actually a view. There was much technical energy expended on Tommy revealing that there is some more required to cure a leaking seal.
The shelter for the Information Room and EVRA shop was completed, again somewhat noisily, and the end result should stop the rain blowing in. Tomorrow would seem to be a good test judging by the forecast!
Our unsung heroes that ensure our housekeeping is of a high standard addressed the Mess Hall, Training Room and descaling of our various water boilers and kettles.
The Booking Hall received a few visitors and tended to the usual phone calls. The enterprise continues into the evening with a charter of Iris to Idridgehay for a group hosted by Vince Morris and Ian Cotter.

Duffield Report

Dear all,

I am in receipt of the following report from my esteemed colleague the
Station Supervisor at Duffield:

ATB, Anton


As this was the first time back on site for the 'Station Supremeo' since
June 16th, having been working down South at Maidenhead at a friend's
pad. Only a very quick inspection was undertaken after dropping a couple
of items off and it was noticed how fast the unwanted greenery had
started to grow again.

Two and a half hours was spent this evening inspecting all parts of all
four platforms at Duffield and spraying weed killer to all of Platform 3
and most of our part of the 'Down Slow' platform.

Both members of staff met up and spent a very long 10 hour day doing a
number of tasks. After a 'Fish and Chip' banquet lunch was devoured in
the dining room washed down by copious amounts of orange squash a trip
up to HQ ensued to go and collect the mower and a tin of crimson paint.

Back on home turf at the main line end of our site, while the apprentice
was watering all the flowers, the Senior Management was doing the very
first cut of the new lawn on the Northern end of the 'Down Slow'
platform. It now looks like part of 'Centre Court' at Wimbledon. (The
goat feeding part of Centre Court - ed)

Back at Chapel Street after a litter pick and track inspection was done
from the new speed limit signs approx 20m North of the tunnel right up
to the buffer stop. The next job was to mow and collect all the 'Mare's
Tail' weed we have got in the vicinity of the cabin and other weeds
along the now gentle bank opposite the platform up to the pile of roots,
then give the 'Mare's Tail' a nice drink of weed killer straight after,
hoping that the d*mn stuff will eventually disappear. The site managers
car with trailer behind was then driven down the new landscaped area
opposite platform 3 and all the grass on platform's 3 lawn was cut,
bagged up and taken off site for recycling later.


After a few menial tasks in the cabin were done, due to the rain. The
mower was taken back up to HQ, where it was established that the Sunday
P Way team had been to Chapel Street earlier measuring up point crossing

All the Best-------------Rodders

Monday, 27 July 2009

Monday 27th July 2009

Dear all
A profitably busy day today with a customer being put through their paces under the eagle eye of Network Rail whose team included a representative of SNCF on secondment. Amongst the many tests included off tracking on the special canted track section. This was declared most successful and is another first for us.
The Information Room and EVRA shop canopy moved forward with the uprights erected. This was quite a loud process outside my office door with the noise mainly emanating from the participants.
The IMT patrolled the Ravenstor line and attempted some repairs in Wirksworth Yard. This was unsuccessful due to the condition of the crossing timbers and surgery is called for in the not too distant future.
The phone was pleasantly busy with mtt enquiries and BuyaGift bookings for Day with a Driver and Drive a Diesel Days.
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors as the impact of the school holiday period is felt and bodes quite well for our weekday running days in August.
PS - The Works Train will be at Shottle at 0900 to ensure the Postern Lodge project gets underway on time. The VCT need to be away then to get down to Hazelwood and they will be followed by the Komatsu and Works Train to the relay site. All hands are required at Shottle to make this further adventure a success and not disturb the farm crossing any longer than necessary.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Progress Report Sunday 26th July

Dear all,

A day of periodic dampness. The full summer season timetable was in
operation for the first time today and business was happily steady with
visitors from as far away as Edinburgh and Norfolk. A day with a driver
proceeded cheerfully on both lines. All public parts of our empire were
open including the narrow gauge.

The weekend p-way team were in attendance and began by measuring and
sorting the crossing timbers by the south weighbridge before despatching
themselves to Duffield for further calculations, allegedly involving the
changing rooms of the Duffield Girls Boarding School, though the
Duffield Station Supervisor merely reported that his lock had been furtled.

A new guard has been passed out as well as a new driver, and a new cadet
inducted. Mr Fergy-Lee has received his guard's epaulettes to go with
the existing Global Marketing Dept official codpiece.

A magistrate of conscripts were allocated the task of moving ballast
from the car park and tidying up in general. In the process some of this
ballast found its way, by the miracle of wheelbarrows, to the shed where
a rather large gap by the track is being filled. Also in the shed, or
near it, the intensive cleaning of the Met Cams continued, with the
emphasis today being on buffer beams.

All the best,

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Progress Report Saturday 25th July

Dear all,

A gloriously sunny day which brought out a steady stream of passengers
for the Idridgehay service and kept the Booking Hall, EVRA shoppe and
even the narrow gauge occupied today.

In the engineerium the principal activity was the total cleansing of the
Met cam set, that mainly involved the senior staff in being up to their
elbows in the toilet, which has been restored to working order after
having been "guard flushable" since the frost got the pipes. The guard
flushable mechanism involving, chiefly, a bucket.

The swine flu pandemic strangely not having reached our volunteers, due
either to (a) soaking one's underpants in creosote, or (b) not reading
the newspapers any more, a number of other tasks were achieved. These
included a great deal of painting, vis: The completion of the black
frilly bits on the Wash Green gates; the final completion of the
weighbridge, as indicated by the ceremonial fitting of its door sign,
and work at Idridgehay by the Demon Welsh Painting Division on the
crossing gates. In addition the pair of JCB weights "donated" some time
ago, which have migrated around the yard several times, were recently
found a final home by Mr Tarry and have, of course, therefore been
painted. Finally, our esteemed staff at Duffield, now returned from
commanding the fleet at Maidenhead, have commenced weedkilling, grass
cutting and possibly wheelbarrow repairing today.

Many thanks to all,
Mike Evans,
via Anton

Friday, 24 July 2009

Friday 24th July 2009

Dear all
Another day where the weather conspired against us with torrential rain and hailstones. Nonetheless, much was achieved with most of the stone in the car park loaded into the waiting two Dogfish after which the Works Train conveying concrete sleepers travelled in convoy to Travis Folly. The sleepers were successfully unloaded there and the existing track geometry marked up, there is a 30mm cant through the crossing, so that the first components of the relay next week are now in place. The Works Train returned to Wirksworth and the Komatsu berthed at Shottle. Once more the Komatsu has demonstrated its usefulness to the Railway.
The team of locomotive specialists tackled Tommy today giving him an oil change together with new fuel and oil filters. The electric starter wiring was largely completed, the connecting rods greased up and some trial runs achieved. It looks as though the locomotive may be able to enter service soon after a little more work. A good job done by all concerned.
11520's cosmetic restoration moved forward now that the loco in under cover.
The Booking Hall was opened in two shifts and a little money taken this afternoon with the Clerk in Charge able to restore the paintwork in the Gents after the departure of two vending machines as there seemed little demand for their products.
It is with great regret I have to announce the death of Albert Hill earlier this week. In his short time with our enterprise he had made his mark as part of the Booking Hall team. Albert's funeral is arranged for 1110 at Chesterfield Crematorium on Thursday 30th July.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Thurs 23rd July

Kala Mera sas,

After spending a fortnight on a nice remote Greek Island, with no
railway within a hundred miles, it was back to the grind today. 282
emails waiting to be attended to.

However, a big shunt occured to refresh the Museum line and rearrange
stock in the yartd. It was also a time to say a fond farewell to the
two Trams that have been lurking here for many years.

Concrete sleepers were loaded onto two flat wagons ready for taking to
Postern Lodge. A sttart was also made of rearranging bags of ballast
that were in the Car Park. Many of the bags had broken and stone had
been spilling out over the last couple of months.

In the Maintenance dept work continued on the fitting of the electric
starter to Tommy.

The VCT continued working from Hazlewood towards Duffield and achieved
a 4 fire day, with much precut material disposed of.

The Booking Hall was kept fairly busy with a steady stream of
visitors, most of whom had very deep pockets!

Just a reminder that the relay at Postern Lodge (Travis Folly) starts
on Monday with the main work being on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
next week.


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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Wednesday 22nd July 2009

Dear all
Another dull, dismal and wet day with a surprising amount of endeavour mainly surrounding the permanent way team. The Works Train set sail from Shottle to conduct emergency repairs just south of Hazelwood. Whilst the condition of the track is poor south of the sleeper changing railhead it still has to cope with test vehicles and our works trains. During a recent track inspection a particularly bad area was identified and 12 sleepers were changed there today in a salubrious spot adjacent to a pig farm. The team then returned to the railhead and dug out some 45 sleepers ready for changing the week after next.
The Works Train then returned to Wirksworth with a load of light scrap and a selection of S & T materials which were placed into store. The Lowmac was then shunted into the Car Park for tomorrow's activities and the loaded Dogfish collected from the Wash Green dock so that the Incline was clear for tonight's charter. The light scrap skip was moved so that tomorrow's major shunt can take place.
Tommy received more attention and research as the electric starter wiring continued and the size of an obscure large securing nut determined.
Preparations were made for a visit from the Sheffield Transport Study Group who will be sampling Idridgehay, Ravenstor and the narrow gauge this evening. It looks as though the sun may shine on them!
The Booking Hall received a few visitors and had the occasional useful phone call.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Tuesday 21st July 2009

Dear all
A  very wet and miserable day that for lesser mortals would have meant a day at home in the warmth. However, our stalwarts rose to many challenges at risk of pneumonia. Much progress at Shottle with the completion of the installation of a buffer stop on the siding and the laying of another panel of track at the north end of the proposed loop.
The VCT wondered whether they could be productive in the awful weather but bravely set sail for footpath F4 south of Hazelwood and effected repairs to a very dilapidated wooden bridge that forms part of the footpath as it crosses the drainage ditch. Vegetation was cut back and a large fire ignited - they are indeed miracle workers.
A thank you also to Mick Kingsley who manicured the racing straight between mileposts 140 and 139 with the Komatsu and eventually returned to Wirksworth as the last man home.
The Dream Steam Team declared themselves satisfied with today's progress which included the completion locomotives motion equipment and the production of a pair of operating drain cocks.
The Station's gardens received attention and sheets were prepared for a forthcoming shelter over the doorways to the Information Centre and EVRA Shop.
A stone delivery was made to the Wash Green Dock and loaded into a Dogfish as part of the plot for next week's push at Travis Folly.
It is of note that the average age at Shottle was considerably lowered today with three volunteers under the age of eighteen taking part in track laying - another first perhaps?
The Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors and dealt with the usual range of phone calls
So, hats off to all who stuck it out today.
PS - had a call from the Great Central Railway today - they must read the eGroup!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Monday 20th July 2009

Dear all
Much endeavour in and around the Maintenance Facility today with a team of four applying the final coat of paint to the Class 117 roof and then moving on to smarten up one of the two support coaches. DB977383 (former BSK 34698) has a fine coat of maroon and looks much improved. They have threatened to give its partner similar treatment next week making the view from the narrow gauge much more acceptable!
11520's cosmetic restoration also moved forward as will was assisted by Ben who is on work experience with us for a week - he will be introduced to the joys of sleeper changing tomorrow.
The IMT had a productive day tightening fishplate bolts over a mile and a half section of the Wirksworth to Idridgehay section. The Information Room received a repaint to its floor.
We entertained a Drive a Diesel Day client together with his three guests with a little light shunting to move vehicles into position in connection with materials assembly for next week's Postern Lodge relay. This enabled him to sample L J Breeze before being introduced to the Class 20. After lunch D8001 and the LMS Brakevan undertook a round trip to Idridgehay and sampled the Ravenstor line. This was, again, a most successful exercise and great thanks are due to Hylton, Vince Morris and Julie for making it all work so well.
Today's Booking Hall clerk had to concentrate on the corporate welcome and did so with aplomb. The usual range of phone calls were fielded including a useful mytesttrack booking.
All in all, a most pleasant day.
PS - I generally reckon we are quite good at communications and responding to enquiries and you may be interested that an email sent to Network Rail's test track address shown on their press release sent five days ago has had no response as yet and attempts to contact the Great Central Railway's testing supremo by telephone over the last five days have also met with a blank. It makes me think mytesttrack has quite a future before it!

Timetable Alteration

Just to let you know of a public service timetable alteration. To view the alteration please visit the Timetable page on the site.


Sunday, 19 July 2009

Progress Sunday 19th July 2009

Evening all,
You wouldn't have really noticed it was July if you were looking at the weather today. Admitedley there were one or two brighter spells but they were intermingled with torrential downpours. Still, it doesn't stop our relentless team slaving away in flooded marshes.
The passenger service did reasonably well today with visitors also using the buffet car and EVRA shop. Also riding today was another "Day with the Driver" experience and our guest today seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself. He was treated to the usual, including lunch and a special trip to Idridgehay before lunch which was also opened up as an additional public service train which proved to be popular.
At first light (well about midday) the relatively new Sunday P-Way Gang departed for the Chateaux Shottle with and extension task in mind. Progress was apparently good dispite the weather.
The Dream Steam Team worked away all day down at the back of the shed whilst at the front of the shed the Class 119 team continued their work on this unit which has been slightly lacking in recent weeks due to holidays, event days and the like. Today, both engines were painted up in the dazzling metallic blue paint and the wheelsets received a coat of black underframe slop after being needle gunned. Whilst this was drying there was even time to paint an air filter, so that is now ready to be fitted to an engine. Both exhausts had some grease applied to the joints so that they can be removed next week for welding. Just a day can make such a difference to progress.
All in all a very good day,
John Ball via Leigh

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Saturday, 18 July 2009

Report Sat 18.7.2009

Dear all,
It has been a mixed bag of weather today. Some areas being damp at differing times to others.
The Idridgehay service happily bubbled along today and it was joined by a day with a driver plus guests.
 We were also pleased to entertain another Gentleman and guests for a Grice, sorry Drive a Diesel day. A few practice runs were completed to Gorsy Bank and back, with the LMS brake van in tow. After proving himself a most capable Class 20 driver the brake van was swapped for the 108 DMU trailer car. This was then used with the  Class 20 for a surprise birthday charter for yet another Gentleman. This ran to Idridgehay in the free lunchtime path and conveyed 33 guests.   After driving the charter train the Drive a Diesel guests then had a trip to Ravenstor powered by LJ Breaze.
It doesn't sound like much but all this took quite some organizing and took up the entire day.
We are also thankful for the sterling efforts of the Buffet Car staff who managed to sell everything! I think they could have sold the counter too had it not been screwed down!
The Booking hall and EVRA shop were also open and had an excellent days trading. I am sure both the Passenger Services Manger and our esteemed General Manger are going to be most pleased with to days takings.
All in all an excellent days work.
John Stokes an behalf of Mike Evans

Friday, 17 July 2009

Friday 17th July 2009

Dear all
Not an entirely jolly day as it was discovered that water was leaking past the cylinder liners on Hydra which will require a detailed examination to see what can be done to remedy the problem and at what cost. On the up side L J Breeze has had an oil change which seems to have enhance the power and speed delivered. It has been a long, wet day for our engineers.
The IMT has had a varied day firstly shunting logs to the Car Park and then loading permanent way materials required at Shottle for the siding extension. These were later delivered to Shottle and eight sleepers were taken from Shottle to Duffield for a customer. This process gave an opportunity for a track inspection and a further look at a problem area south of Hazelwood. As a result Wednesday's team will be diverted to conduct emergency sleeper changing at this location. Tuesday's team will concentrate on adding a further panel of track to Shottle loop so that, after ballasting, we can relocate the crane there.
The IMT completed their day by using waste oil from LJB on the pointwork at Wirksworth until the rain finally defeated this process.
The Booking Hall managed a half day today and the Buffet Car was prepared for the weekend.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Thursday 16th July 2009

Dear all
A further day of earnest endeavour with the VCT heading for the deep south to be followed by the Works Train from Shottle. The VCT had an agricultural day encountering both sheep and cattle in their journeys. Taking all this in their stride a further 100 yards of clearance was achieved on the down (west) side of the line south of Hazelwood resulting in three large fires to burn the brash. They also managed to block off a "rat run" that has been evident north of Duffield with a little hedgelaying aided by material dumped in the area some time ago from the Duffield station clearance. The Permanent Way Team managed a further 10 sleeper changes and recovered a wagon load of logs.
DRE were in evidence at Shottle and have cleared the trackbed for an extension of the Shottle siding to the portals of the Mess Room located there. A buffer stop will be installed to ensure rolling stock is not parked within the building in a moment of inattention.
Further scrap has been revealed during the Shottle clear up and after the pleasant results from the last skip (£563) further energy will be put into realising our assets. This "free" money helps move the overall project forward and we still have to find circa £50k for the Duffield platform.
Good progress is being made by the lone fishing club member at the erosion sites and it has been amazing what one man and a shovel can achieve.
A charter to Ravenstor was run for Wirksworth Primary School this morning as part of their end of term events. On arrival at Ravenstor they marched off to the Stone Centre to return on foot via Black Rocks and the High Peak trail.
The cosmetic restoration of 11520 moved forward until the rains came.
Unfortunately the Booking Hall was unmanned today but we coped!
PS - I have been trying to get in touch with Martin Bromley for some time without success - he is the owner of several items of our rolling stock - does anyone know of his whereabouts?
PPS - Spoke to Albert Hill's wife today and he is still being assessed after his stroke - I have passed on our good wishes again

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Wednesday 15th July 2009

Dear all
The British weather conspired against us again today but continued remarkable progress was made in spite of the downpours. The Permanent Way team inched ever closer to Duffield with 17 sleepers changed approaching MP135 3/4 and DRE used the Komatsu 130 to sort a great deal of pointwork stacked at Shottle to establish just what material we have on hand that can be used at Duffield. It is all now separated and the next part of the plot is to pair up the useful pieces and identify the bits with no further life in them. Most of this pointwork has been recovered over the last few years as we remodelled Wirksworth and removed the sidings on the Incline. This has served us well as to date we have not needed to purchase any of these quite expensive items but Duffield will certainly require at least one purchase to be made if the geometry is to permit Tornado to run round!
Back at base there was a mix of activities that involved Tommy having its pulley and new belts fitted. We still have a problem in tightening up a very large bolt on the crank shaft and I ask again for you to search your stores and garages for a thin walled socket of a size that is of the order of 2". Further research was undertaken into the oil contamination on Hydra and further investigation into this problem is scheduled for Friday.
Vince Morris was with us somewhat disabled by a sporting injury, he should know better, and engaged many of our visitors with tales of our endeavour. One couple enquired about our responsiveness to a Wickham Trolley rally. The answer was yes of course but the conversation turned to their home which was an old station. With a forensic approach we narrowed this down to Roden Mill or Fencote - try Googling - and it transpired they had attended the auction of Idridgehay which was derelict at the time. It's a funny old world.
The Logging Department have been concentrating on improving the internal security of their cabin for their selection of electric tools. The Booking Hall welcomed our visitors and the Buffet and Mess Hall received a make over.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Tuesday 14th July 2009

Dear all
The day started with the Works Train visiting the Car Park to load materials that will be eventually used at Duffield in conjunction with the headshunt pointwork. The consist then departed for Shottle and, after detaching some vehicles there, proceeded to the sleeper changing site south of Travis Folly. A splendid 24 sleepers were changed and fishplates were greased with the "railhead" now beyond the site of the high pressure gas main. DRE continued the benching work at Shottle North and the flail had a couple of hours working in the area of Postern Lodge as part of the preparation for the relay there the week after next.
The VCT tended to the down side stile at Willow Crossing and had a satisfactory clearance and burn of the surrounding area.
Back at base the Dream Steam Team fitted the piston slide rods to Ferrybridge No3 and work progressed on the sand boxes and ejector valves. The cosmetic restoration of 11520 moved forward and I was able to file some excellent wagon maintenance records prepared by Graham showing the good work done to this fleet over the last few months.
The Booking Hall was manned by the senior staff member today who encompassed road sweeping on the station approach and a pressure wash in front of the Booking Hall. I must say the new pressure washer is excellent and had to test it on my bike which had become quite dirty in yesterday's inclement weather!  Fred and Iris gave the Mess Hall a good clean and replenished the biscuit barrel.
Many visitors were received on what has been quite a pleasant day and were parted from a modest amount of cash.
A thorough investigation has commenced to establish the whereabouts of the Training Room vacuum cleaner and why it has been replaced by an inferior model. This is a most serious matter and when the culprit has been found he or she will be handed over to Dorothy for a very severe punishment.
To end on a sad note, we have been advised that Albert Hill suffered a bad stroke yesterday and is now residing in the Royal Hospital, Chesterfield. I have passed on all our good wishes to him via his wife.
PS The Works Train will start and finish at Shottle tomorrow

Monday, 13 July 2009

Monday 13th July 2009

Dear all
A pleasant day until the heavens opened this afternoon without a lot of warning. Nonetheless, with thanks to Graham, Neville and Tony, our departures went smoothly with the LMS coach first away on its journey to Shildon for exterior restoration and L49 followed this later in the day en route for Ruislip. These movements barely raise an eyebrow, a far cry from our first arrivals which brought out the Town.
The IMT together with a young offender and supervisor concentrated on an area between MP140 and MP139 to clear all stone and some mud off the sleepers. This effort together with earlier weeding and flailing has made this stretch as neat and tidy as we can get it for reasons that will be revealed in a couple of weeks or so.
The IMT then patrolled the Ravenstor and Gorsey Bank lines with no major defects being found. At the Maintenance Facility an investigation took place into the oil filters required by Tommy and Hydra. Routine maintenance of Hydra revealed an annoying oil leak and the prospect of contamination of the oil. This problem will have further attention towards the end of the week.
Recovery of the weekend roadside signs took place and at the end of the day the Works Train was assembled on Road 2 for a quick getaway in the morning. A gentle start was made on the cosmetic restoration of 11520 with the collection of some sandpaper from Stones. This project will gain pace through the week.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and a seemingly unending stream of telephone calls - none of which added to our financial wellbeing.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Progress Report Sunday 12th July 2009

Dear all,

A very happy day was had by all at the railway today. No cases of Swine
Fever we found to be affecting local journalists, and no MPs were found
to be claiming for 376 returns to Ravenstor. We were rather busier than
yesterday and the public pottered around the railway cheerfully, as well
as visiting the hanging gardens of Wasser for the Open Gardens weekend,
a success by all accounts, though we were initially taken by surprise,
for which the Passenger Manager has been duly whipped to within an inch
of his life. In between the whipping we dealt with a Day with a Driver
and a number of other tasks.

Our own cadets, in between gate duties, did a great deal of weeding,
which included the pulling of Ragwort from embankments all around the
station, yard and nearby areas, a weed which has been taken to the fire
site to be burned. The Nursery Path fence has been repaired as wear,
tear and wood rot had got to a section of it. A new combination locked
was fitted to the South Weighbridge. The wideway adjacent the incline
line has been mowed, or more accurately 2/3 of it has been mowed and a
mower appointed to complete it next week. A temporary banner has been
fixed to the Wash Green fence in order to catch the many hundreds of
visitors who approach the town from the Malt Shovel. Half the decals
have been applied to Tommy, the other half being strangely non stick.
Ravenstor Station has been inspected and a bench at that fine station
faulted for attention. A failed door on Iris has been remedied. The
class 117 has received further paint to its roof, in near perfect
painting conditions. Mr Lidgett had beans and pork sausages for his lunch.

All the best,

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Progress Saturday 11th July 2009

Evening all,
Day one of two of our July Family Event Days saw a moderate amount of people visiting to travel to both Idridgehay and Ravenstor. The buffet car, EVRA shop and booking hall managing to relieve them of some of their hard-earned cash in the process. Also at the station, there was a fun and games stall as well as a magician who had luckily managed to magic some nice pleasant weather.
Everybody today was tied up in running the event day and therefore there was little other progress. A short report that doesn't reflect the hard work and effort put in by all concerned.
Many thanks,
Mike Evans via Leigh

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Friday, 10 July 2009

Friday 10th July 2009

Dear all
A most pleasant day giving a string in the step as the enterprise drives forward. The IMT had a day of two parts, the first was to patrol from Derby Road No 1 bridge through to Wirksworth and the second was to rearrange the vehicles within the Yard. The patrol revealed no horrors but emphasized that the area around 40 steps will need radical drainage improvement in the fullness of time to mirror the improvements on the "racing straight". The shunt involved releasing the LMS coach which will be leaving us on Monday for a commercial restoration at Shildon. Its place was taken by vehicles from the siding that will house our opening train for Duffield next year as we gradually plan for this event needing room for three coach lengths.
Hydra and Tommy were placed with L49 for the delight of our Family Fun Day visitors and serve to demonstrate the difference in gauge between vehicles designed to descend into the deep level tubes under London and the "normal" railway gauge.
DRE worked on the Duffield North Ground Frame which is now in grey undercoat and ready to be transported in due course to site. The dmu Class 117 51360 had all its oil and filters changed. A short sentence but the process occupied three people all day.
I am pleased to report that the protracted cosmetic restoration of Faraday is now complete and we wait a suitable opportunity to place it on the Museum Siding for display. Painting was also the order of the day for more parts of Ferrybridge No3 with the back cab and sand boxes receiving treatment.
With the help of restorative justice further weeding of the "racing straight" took place and the overall effect improves the presentation of the line immensely.
The Buffet Car was readied for the weekend and the Booking Hall received a number of visitors and a welcome respite from the useless phone calls.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Thursday 9th July 2009

Dear all
Productivity all round again today with the VCT's ingeneous solution to provide access to the Model Railway when it is open and provide access to the Weighbridge from the rail side when the it is closed. VCT also completed the work at the main gate including a restraint when it is open and the whole effect is most attractive. To round off their tasks at Wirksworth the Landrover has a safe tail gate again.
We welcomed Richard Hatch back into the fold to assist with the ground frame installations and today saw a combined effort by DRE and the PWT to maximise the load of the scrap skip in the general tidy up of Shottle Yard. The Permanent Way Team then went on to insert 10 new sleepers south of Postern Lodge and back load logs for Wirksworth. The flail dealt with sight lines at accommodation crossings north of Idridgehay and it is becoming difficult to know how we managed without the machine.
A customer entertained us at Wirksworth whilst conducting brake tests on three small road/rail machines which would be a tempting acquisition if we could ever afford one. Anton bravely went out to erect the signage for the weekend and the platform furniture received further attention.
In the bowels of the Maintenance Facility Faraday's cosmetic restoration neared completion and parts of Ferrybridge No3 were tastefully repainted.
The Booking Hall coped with an influx of visitors and the usual range of phone calls.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Wednesday 8th July 2009

Dear all
Another day of much endeavour including Battery Locomotive L49 successfully completing its trials on the TBTC test track. The cosmetic restoration of Faraday continued and work progressed on Tommy to resolve the interface between the crank shaft and fan belt pulleys. The Met-Cam set was provided for some visitors in connection with contract negotiations and then received further work to the toilet with more successful flushing.
Timber supplies were received to ensure the VCT are not held up for lack of materials and there was energy expended in lifting and sorting various items in Shottle Yard. This will enable items not wanted to be turned into cash which all helps the cause.
The Permanent Way team achieved a credible 20 sleepers changed as Duffield gets ever nearer and further weeding of the "racing straight" was accomplished. John Ball completed his regular check and top up of our first aid boxes of which there are now a staggering total of 23.
The Mess Hall had a good tidy and the Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Tuesday 7th July 2009

Dear all
Another amazing day in spite of the awful weather requiring many words to do it justice.
The cosmetic preparation continued on Faraday and the steam team achieved great things with the back cab and coal bunkers fitted to Ferrybridge No3 together with attention given to the valve link motion. In conjunction with Twiggs the smoke box plate was offered up and declared a fit. It was then returned to Twiggs for further work.
A fairly demanding customer occupied the Incline and Yard during a long series of brake tests resulting in our bags of ballast travelling a few more miles as weights. The up side was that the customer also brought a machine fitted with a ballast profiling bucket which was trialled through the mud at Shottle North, the new stone dropped at north of Willow Crossing and the ballast shoulders north of Idridgehay that have been "proud" for a number of years. This trial had mixed results and we may have more opportunities tomorrow.
Two supervisors and two young offender continued the weeding work in 4 ft of the "racing straight" to good effect and the flail tackled adjacent areas between Mileposts 140 and 139 before being displaced by the ballast profiler travelling to Shottle resulting a flail of the area around Postern Lodge crossing.
The VCT turned their attentions to a variety of jobs at Wirksworth including the fencing for the Model Railway container embracing a removable section and new gate. Work commenced on repairs to the main gate which had been side swiped some time ago by a departing heavy goods vehicle and repairs were largely completed to the yellow Landrover to secure the tail gate.
As today's customer with his two machines and two trailers was preparing for departure Battery Locomotive L49 arrived from the LH Group for testing starting tomorrow creating a lively scene in the Car Park.
A Booking Hall training day was held and a surprising number of visitors were drawn to us in between the downpours.
However, I save the best to last with the Permanent Way team reporting a spectacular 31 sleepers changed today in the Postern Lodge area, a truly magnificent achievement.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Monday 6th July 2009

Dear all
A day of sunshine and showers that commenced with some running repairs to Iris that involved welding of supports for coolant pipes. On completion of this work the dmu team of two turned their attention to the toilet in the Met-Cam 2 car set and found some frost damaged pipework. I have to say they were flushed with success (sorry!).
The IMT patrolled from Idridgehay to Mile Post 140 1/4 and returned the Landrover to Wirksworth for some light repairs. They then took L J Breeze light engine to Shottle ready for the week ahead which will concentrate on sleeper changing so all permanent way workers are asked to proceed direct to Shottle this week.
Faraday's cab benefited from attention and the locomotive is nearing cosmetic completion. A supervisor and young offender were put to work continuing the removal of dead weeds from the "racing straight" improving the visual impact of this stretch of line.
The Booking Hall tended to the usual range of phone calls. Planning continued for the refurbishment of Travis Folly accommodation crossing and establishment of the loop line at Duffield. The logistics of completing all the trackwork at Duffield by Christmas were defined. These major works will break the monotony of sleeper changing - I hope.

Friday, 3 July 2009

Friday 3rd July 2009

Dear all
You may have noticed the introduction of an eight day week that includes two Tuesdays. This is to ensure we hit targets and open Duffield on time and it will help with the completion of the Olympic village that otherwise would have opened in 2013.
Today we welcomed the National Television & Film School who were working on a production for their finals and occupied the 2 Car Met-Cam in filming at Callow Park. Quite a long day for Phil and Mike which was not helped by the steady rain that fell for most of the day. We haven't quite detected the story line but look out for the dmu scenes at the 2010 Cannes Festival.
The refurbished pistons for Ferrybridge No3 were gathered in and DRE fabricated the necessary bolts for the benches to be installed at Shottle North. The IMT patrolled between Idridgehay and Duffield doing good works ( I am sure) and the Buffet Car was prepared for the weekend ahead.
The Booking Hall had a half day today but we coped as the weather seemed to deter any visitors.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Tuesday 2nd July 2009

Dear all
A most satisfying and exciting day in the warm sun. Three, and more cheers, to David, Graham, Roy (73) and Les (78) which saw the repainting of "Tommy" completed and the nameplates affixed. Most importantly both Hydra and Tommy are fitted with their electric start motors with Hydra now being able to start from the cab on an ignition switch. Graham also produced a temporary solution to the clearance of the east side coupling rod that prevents it "rubbing" against the crank. We have really moved forward towards having three locomotives owned by the enterprise and available for all our works trains requirements.
The Trans Plant tamper completed its trials with us and has departed for Ruislip. The Model Railway container had a final coat of floor paint and the Komatsu flail was in action from the 40 steps area to Ken Rowlands crossing opening up the sight lines against the fast growing vegetation.
The Permanent Way team, in weather not really suitable for heavy manual work, loaded 50 garden quality sleepers and delivered them to Shottle for disposal. They also commenced to place very second hand sleepers along the track bed of the proposed loop at Shottle. This is to enable us to accomplish a detailed sort of the various sections of pointwork we have accumulated at Shottle and on board the Sturgeon to provide the hardware for the points to be installed for the headshunt at Duffield North and the elements we have in stock for the metalwork required for Duffield South. The team also cut some redundant rail for the heavy metal skip located at Shottle which should release some much needed funds in due course.
The VCT continued their endeavours south of Hazelwood with more views being opened up and a very big fire. Again, it has not been ideal weather for this extremely valuable work and I am sure there will be cold showers all round tonight.
Another departure was the 40ft container owned by the Briddons bring to a close this chapter of our lives. The Wirksworth site has certainly benefited from many departures, and few arrivals, in the last few weeks allowing more room to access the useful equipment.
The Booking Hall was usefully manned today with quite a few useful phone calls and a service of ice creams to the workers.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Wed 1st July

Evenin' all,

Another scorcher, saw the Works train away, but we needed to pinch the
Booking Hall Attendant to act as works train guard, as most of the rest
of the staff went to Shottle. The road works are causing a bit of
bother in that respect. However, once a crew was mustered, some broken
concrete bits were loaded as well as some point rodding. Theses were
dropped off in appropriate places. The bits of concrete were dropped
off at the erosion site wher a lone chap was manfully wielding a shovel
(naturally he was called Doug). The team then continued to Duffield
where more scrap material was recovered. A load of logs were gathered
on the return journey.

A visiting Footpaths Officer had a whole line tour to have a look at
our needs, this was very usefull. This required the Landrover to
'overtake' the works train at Shottle and again at Duffield where the
siding was once again used.

Back at base there was more activity around No 3, as well as continued
painting of Tommy's cab, and Faraday had more green paint applied. The
new container also had some green paint slapped on. More S&T work was
carried out on the frame for Duffield North.

The works train will be required again tomorrow and a crew, especially
a guard will be needed to depart from Wirksworth around 0915.


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