Thursday, 31 December 2009

Progress New Year's Eve 31st December 2009

Dear all
The last day of the year saw a remarkable degree of activity in sub zero temperatures. DRE continued work on the assembly of the Duffield North Ground Frame at its temporary resting place outside the Weighbridge at Wirksworth and the Komatsu made its way slowly from Duffield to Wirksworth ready for work in the Car Park next Monday.
A two man VCT team borrowed Ray Matkin's trailer to collect the chassis of their new Landrover rail trailer for fitting out with flooring. They also took the opportunity to move timber delivered last week into stock for application at Holloway Road Duffield and the planned track fencing at Duffield station.
At Duffield a hardy team fitted a pair of lift fishplates on the headshunt, continued screwing down track components and tidied some more surplus material for shipment off site.
Back at base the shape of some operational changes were finalised so that we can make better use of the time left available to us to complete the Duffield project. We have determined that more days of the week will have to be used if we have a chance of finishing the main parts by August 2010. To this end we will introduce the following from Saturday 9th January:-
1    The Saturday team will have the responsibility of placing 3 empty Dogfish in the Wash Green dock for loading with ballast each Monday morning
2    A ballast train will depart Wirksworth each Monday for the foreseeable future and work to a designated site, discharge and plough out, returning the empties to Wirksworth
3    Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays will be predominantly devoted to resleepering with the occasional relief for jacking and packing
4    Fridays will be devoted to the Infrastructure Maintenance Team (IMT) for "statutory" track inspections and on the spot remedial action. The team will also be trained for periodic weed treatment runs.
To aid this process and try and introduce some certainty into the train operation, Robin Lee will try and identify volunteers in advance for the various tasks of Driver, Guard, Third Man and IMT teams and I would ask you to give him every assistance to do this through the wondrous mechanism of email.
Additionally I will be requesting the Motive Power Superintendent to give priority to the availability of a second shunt locomotive so that we can out base a loco at Shottle each week utilising Saturday as a change over day for fuelling and maintenance.
Lots to do and so little time to do it in!
For those of you who watch life through the web cams please take your fill over the next couple of days as they will go off line next week while we upgrade our computer system. They will not cease recording though!
Undoubtedly 2010 will be the most frenetic year we have experienced so far and will test our resolve and good humour. I will raise a glass or two of that splendid product from Scotland to you tonight all and wish you all a most pleasant New Year's Eve and an energetic and healthy 2010.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

RE: [wirksworths_railway] Tues 29th Dec

Hi all,
As a supplement, the DMU team were out in force at Wirksworth in the cold weather and managed to fettle an injector on one of Iris' engines so that the engine runs much more smoothly now. This seemingly small job makes such a difference to, not only ride quality, but also the lifespan of the engine.

Date: Tue, 29 Dec 2009 17:32:51 +0100
Subject: [wirksworths_railway] Tues 29th Dec

Evenin' all,

Two activities today.

At Wirksworth the Dream Steam Team had a very successful day and
managed to shunt No3 around the yard, propelled by diesel power. This
proved that everything ran smoothly, the wheels, connecting rods,
coupling rods etc, tehy also managed to start adding the cylinder
covers and a start on cladding, so real progress.

At the Duffield end of the line, all of the main line sleepers have
now been laid, a 30' panel has been added to the southern headshunt,
this will be filled in shortly to make a RRAP for road rail vehicles to
on/off track Plenty of sleeper drilling The ice is over an inch thick
in Duffield yard, and had to be broken by the Komatsu before some
sleepers were laid.

Tomorrow sees Per way at Duffield but again no loco required.


2009: A year in review -


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Progress Monday 28th December 2009

Evenin' all,

Well Christmas is over and it was back to work.

With heavy snow forecast later this week, the chance was siezed to
take LJB down to Duffield and move the works train, as well as recover
the Sturgeon. LJB realised that supervision was on board, and that it
had better be on best behaviour. It was. At Duffield, the newly
promoted platform Superintendent of Hazlewood was present, complete
with trolley on as well as his tools, not to mention the yacht

On the way back we took the opportunity to throw a few logs aboard,
these were discharged outside the Logging dept (should keep Geoff off
our backs for a few days). I know that they are upside down, inside out
etc, but if you try log hurling on ice, you are just glad to get rid!

So the Sturgeon is in the car park ready for loading rails. A few
hardy souls visited the station today for a look around, we also
noticed a great many neighbours out and about.

Tomorrow sees the Per way team at Duffield. No loco is required.

Thanks to Dave N, for coming to help with LJB


Thursday, 24 December 2009

Progress Report Christmas Eve 2009

Dear all,

Today, in Graham's fashion tips, we were chiefly wearing double
underpants, which was um... a comfort. A rather early start saw a
mechanical person arrive at sun up to collect the General Manager's
horseless bicycle, a mere three hours before the Duty Manager arrived
after his morning croissant and second latte. However, once all were
assembled the scheduled shunting began, work proceeded apace, with
Paxton Enterprises being in charge of the shackles. Shunting continued
throughout most of the day and even LJ Breeze performed faultlessly
having first been shown the skip and given a warning about slack
attitude by Driver Stokes.

Meanwhile various tasks were being ticked off the to-do list including
the reconstruction of the station clock weatherproof box, which had
suffered from the same hi-tec engineering fault as the nation's
Eurostars, though with rather less of the knock-on effect. The new
Catering Office was next on the list for external work, in which sealant
was applied to the split stanchion supports and its fecklessly fitted
air cowl was taken off, turned the right way up and put back, so that
rain water runs out of the building not into it. Once the last of the
mince pies had been demolished (feeling a bit queasy now) and Mr Gration
had done his Christmas Shopping, the interior of the said Office
received some preliminary flooring work and a severe tidy up. This
process was then applied to the Mess Room in readiness for our
re-opening on Monday.

It only remains for us here in Wirksworth, once and true capital of the
Peak Province of the Kingdom of Mercia, to express the hope that your
Yule Log will glow joyfully in the night, and for the Officers and
Volunteers of the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway to wish you all a very
Happy Christmas.

Happy Christmas.

Progress Weds 23rd December 2009

Evenin' all,

So, the days are getting longer, but what has happened to this global

It was another freezing day, but a team of hardy per way chaps turned
up at Duffield, to await LJ Breeze, but once again it failed to leave
the yard due to freezing air in the breaking system, the crew tried all
they knew but by 1100 they still could not move, so the train was
cancelled.The team did some more drilling and screwing of the new track
at Duffield, but were limited as to what they could do with a train
sitting on the worksite. We tried digging some of the ballast to insert
concrete sleepers, but the permafrost beat us. Next week, the sturgeon
MUST be returned to Wirksworth, for loading over New Year.

The other activity, was at Wirksworth where the last of this year's
Santa Specials ran. This year we put in an extra day of Santa trains,
We ran all of our advertised services, many of which had 100% loadings.
It means a great deal of hard work but the fact that people come year
after year, shows that we have a good package, Very well done to all
concerned, and thank yoy for your efforts.

The site will be closed for the next couple of days, whilst we sort
the sprouts out. May I take this opportunity to thank all our members
and supporters for their toils, and to wish everyone a very happy
Christmas - Per way will meet again next Tuesday at Duffield.


Progress Tuesday 22nd December 2009

Evenin' all,

The day started with a deep frost and freezing fog. LJB didnt like the
conditions and was unable to leave Wirksworth Yard - it was required at
Duffield to assist the per way team. Without the means to shunt the
trains we resorted to other methods to offload about 150 concrete
sleepers for the main line at Duffield.Most were dropped into position
using the Komatsu, the rest were stockpilled on the platform, ready to
be laid once the train is shunted. This in itself was a big achievement
given the fact that most of the sleepers were frozen to the wagon! (not
to mention frozen toes, noses, etc.)

The two man VCT went to Barnsley Lane and managed a good fire of left
over brash, before taking their Landrover to Wirksworth.

The Dream Steam Team continued work on No 3, with coupling rods fitted
to both sides and the crossheads now fitted. All pipework in the
smokebox was also completed

Further driver training took place on Iris, around the Yard, watched
by members of the Logging dept, who are now down to chopping sawdust,
as they await more stocks.

A young 'willing volunteer' managed to clear the platforms of snow
again, whilst restocking and cleaning of the Gatex was carried out by
Pat Craft on her lonesome. This is ready for tomorrows' final visit of
Santa and the team. More calls and bookings have been taken today. I
think that this 'Santa Season' will prove to be our best yet.Well done
to all concerned.

A long drive home through 'whiteout' conditions (Why is it that
drivers of grey cars, seem unable to find the light switch on their

Tomorrow,sees the laying of the remaining sleepers at Duffield, once
we have a loco to move the works train about a bit (weather
permitting). Also, as mentioned, tis the last day for visiting Santa at
Wirksworth, I am sure that the 'clean team' would welcome some help
with the mince pies etc.


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Progress Mon 21st December 2009

Evenin' all,

A short day, but fairly productive.

The DMU team turned out and have rectified the Met Cam, so that it is
back on 4 engines, the fault causing the fire alarm to activate
yesterday was traced to water getting into the electrics on the engine
- never happen on the big railway. Other locos of the fleet have been
run up. LJB is now on the Pit Road and is wired in to keep it warm.

The Parrot was rescued from the Guards compartment of the Met Cam
where it ducked for shelter at Ravenstor yesterday. It has been brought
into Martins office where it is being defrosted ready for its roll on
Wednesday with Santa. Several more bookings taken for Wednesday's Santa
specials. As for yesterday, despite the long and often tortuous drive
to and from Wirksworth, the show went on. The thought of Santa Specials
being cancelled due to snow was too horrible to think about!

Half of the IMT turned up - the other half being snowed in, a quick
walk around the yard was all that could be achieved, some electrical
bits arrived and were taken into stock ready for some work on the
communications suite as well as the new catering unit.

Duffield station was visited and work will resume there tomorrow
(unless there is a massive snowfall overnight).

I spoke to Bod Birch today, and Mary is still in hospital with
Diverticulitus (or however you spell it) - something to do with the
intestines. She is responding to treatment.


Sunday, 20 December 2009

Progress Sunday 20th December 2009

Dear all
Again, many grateful thanks for all who turned out to make Santa happened today in the worst weather we have experienced for many years. There was a deal of multi tasking to ensure the production was seamless from start to finish with the added bonus of snow for the children and the not so young. A great tribute to the whole team from check-in to dmu preparation and operation, the pirate crew, the mulled wine production and delivery crew and, of course, Santa.
We were aided by a clutch a young offenders and their minders who did a splendid job of clearing the platforms and access ramps only for their work to be covered by another couple of inches of snow as the afternoon wore on. Also special mention to the two cadets who worked very hard to provide a superb catering service.
It was a pleasure to speak to so many people who were visiting us for a second or third time and indicating it was THE place to meet Santa.
I trust the whole team got home safely as the roads were pretty treacherous as we left site.
There is the final day of our Santa season on Wednesday and any additional help would be welcome to complete the programme.
Finally, Mary Birch was taken ill last night after returning home and I am sure we all wish her well for a very speedy recovery.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Progress Saturday 19th December 2009

Dear all,
Extra brownie points today for the rather small team that managed to deliver the Santa services in freezing conditions. The four engined Met-Cam set pushed the Jolly Roger without difficulty on its initial journey to Ravenstor and displayed no starting problems in sub zero temperatures. The Booking Hall welcomed a few extra last minute customers that helped swell the coffers and the Gatwick Express has been left on overnight so that we start tomorrow with reasonably well heated vehicles.
There was a very welcome donation of fuel for the dmu fleet and many janitorial duties were attended to. It may be a sign of the times that a sink plug and chain disappeared from site!
All hands on deck for tomorrow's production please - it is our busiest day of the Santa season and it may snow overnight preventing some of the more distant members of the team reaching Wirksworth.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Progress Friday 18th December 2009 (Prelimenary)

Hi all,
In the absense of any report so far, I thought I would report on what we had done today!
The DMU team were all there bright and early in the freezing conditions, snow lying on the ground and a biting wind that made it so that you couldn't feel your face; the aim was to try again to finish the new engine on 51505 to make it available for use on Santa Specials. We are happy to report that after successful testing this afternoon, Santa's North Pole Express has now had a significant horse-power (or should that be reindeer-power) boost and is back to four engines (first time this set has had four engines since October 2007)! This is the end of a task that has taken much longer than expected, about five weekends in total, but well done to all involved.
Being the only team on site, I can safely assume that the sole other task that was undertaken was light admin work and much planning.
If the snow continues to lie, the Santa Special trains tomorrow will be very picturesque.

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Thursday, 17 December 2009

Progress Thursday 17th December 2009

Dear all
A day when I think we all must be mad! Freezing conditions interspersed with driving snow would encourage you to be anywhere else but the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway - but! - the permanent way team continued with the installation of the loop head shunt at Duffield and fastened more track work in place.
Phil hosted a visit from a track tamping contractor so that he may understand what we want to achieve when its all finished - from this perspective August 2010 seems a long time in the future but I fear the months will flash by.
The VCT moved forward at the Holloway Road foot crossing but, with no regard for productivity, broke up at lunchtime to enjoy themselves at the Puss in Boots - anyone would think it was Christmas.
A lone representative of the Carriage Department continued the process of insulating their container - I'm sure it will be too warm in the summer but it's difficult to imagine warmth at the moment.
Floods, pestilence, blizzards and plagues of frogs expected tomorrow.
Martin - writing this with figureless mittens

RE: Progress Weds 16th December 2009

Dear all,

Phil underplays the achievement at Duffield today: I can say the work,
as seen from Iris, is astonishing and a tribute to all concerned.

ATB, Anton

Progress Weds 16th December 2009

Evenin' all,

A wet day from start to finish! The sort of day when sensible people
are indoors - The Per way team waded through the mire at Duffield again
and completed the cutting and laying out of rails for the Duffield
south crossover. More rail and sleeper drilling and mor clipping up.
After lunch, 'Iris' paid a visit to Duffield and ran into platform 3
via the Loop and new crossover. We are now quite adept at slewing the
track with the Komatsu.

The only other job was a start being made on refurbing the former
'Kave' cabin and converting it.

Various meetings were held to discuss internet requirements and
tickets demands for the future.

Tomorrow sees more work at Duffield, with more screwing down and the
laying of more sleepers.


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Progress Tues 15th Dec 2009

Evenin' all,

A dank grey day certainly did not dampen the spirits.

The Per way team had a very good day at Duffield, with everyone busily
drilling, cutting and clipping up. More rails cut and installed with
the result that at the close of play, the Works train managed to access
Platform 3 (south) and 'kiss the Buffers'. A great achievement.

The VCT started work at Holloway Road footcrosing in Duffield, where
the crossing is being remodelled. The descision point for pedestrians
is being moved closer to the track to improve visability, both for foot
users as well as our train staff. They alsohad a fire at Shottle to
have a bit of a tidy up.

Back at Base, the logging dept were counting sticks, the Carriage dept
continued insulating their new premises, and the stocks for Santa were
replenished reeady for the weekend. Some S&T staff turned in, to fettle
some more cranks as well as fitting the kitchen sink in their mobile
workshop. A willing volunteer continued to work in the swamp north of
Cemetery Lane bridge trying to improve the drainage. Fred and Iris,
once againvisited the Messroom to give it a good clean up.

The Dream Steam Team fitted the other crosshead to No 3, as well as
fitting the Connecting rods, as well as various cotters and split pins,
they claimed a successful day.

Tomorrow sees more track work at Duffield.


Progress Mon 14th December 2009

Evenin' all,
Another cold and overcast day, but a day of more preperation.

The tool van has been delivered to Duffield ready for an early start
of work tomorrow. The remaining concrete sleepers have been uplifted
from the car park at Wirksworth and loaded onto the Sturgeon. The
Komatsu ha been refuelled and greased ready for its return to Duffield
in the morning.

On the DMU front, Mike and Graham are pleased to report that the
replacement engine on the Met Cam has been fired up and is now running,
although a little more tweeking is required.

The Sturgeon and LJB are outside the VCT store ready for loading, at
first light, with bits for the new gates at Holloway Road in Duffield
LJB will be shunting at Shottle to free up the VCT landrover on the way

Per Way team to report to Duffield, for more tracklaying


Sunday, 13 December 2009

Progress Sunday 13th December 2009

Dear all
A day of hard slog for all who came to help with the delivery of today's Santa trains and they are to be congratulated on another superb production. Many very happy children and lots of praise for our unique take on the Santa theme.
The Class 20 Association took D8001 down the line ensuring it remains in tip top condition poised for commercial work. Before it returned under cover opportunity was taken to further service the machine.
DRE worked steadily at the Duffield North Junction Ground Frame which is being assembled behind the Weighbridge at Wirksworth so that it can be lifted into position as a complete unit when the time comes.
The Steam team also reported a success with the right hand cylinder packing a crossheads installed.
Another good, if exhausting, day

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Progress Saturday 11th December 2009

Dear all
As might be expected all efforts were directed to the successful operation of our first trains of the Santa season. There was a smooth transition from check-in to the waiting pirate for guidance towards the Santa train. On then to the North Pole and entertainment around the Jolly Roger plus the all important meeting with Santa. Clutching presents the passengers all return to Wirksworth to be seated on the Gatwick Express for mulled wine, mince pies with fruit juice and colouring books for the children. This is repeated three times with thorough cleaning between each train load.
Prior to the activity the Jolly Roger is propelled to Ravenstor and gathered up again after the last train. That this all worked faultlessly is a tremendous credit to all the team involved from the Booking Hall, through the pirate crew, the maintenance team that ensured all the train movements were delivered and were well heated, the head of mulled wine and the servers of wine and mince pies together with the unglamorous job of cleaning up. Rod's Jolly Roger has to be seen to be believed with many new creative features that provide so much entertainment and the travelling conjurer adds another dimension to the experience. Only another 12 trains to go!
There were many return visitors today that had been captivated in previous years and they certainly weren't disappointed with today's efforts. A mention is deserved for another unsung hero who has steadily upgraded the lighting around the station and around and within the buffet car making it much more manageable to illuminate the public areas as dusk descends.
We could always do with extra pairs of hands to make it all work - so come on down.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Progress Friday 11th December 2009

Dear all
The arrival of freezing temperatures, as usual, just in time for Santa caused a number of problems with LJB failing to start and the main Santa train needing some coaxing into life. In order to achieve the necessary shunt to release the Jolly Roger for service tomorrow we had to resort to using Iris and the Bubble Car combined as station pilot. Nonetheless, the show must go on and further decoration of the Gatwick Express stock was achieved and Christmas tunes can now be played through the station public address system - what joy!
DRE were active at Shottle with the aid of the Komatsu. The buffer stop was unloaded and placed in position at the end of the siding and four 1 tonne bags of ballasted were scattered around the Shottle North Ground Frame to complete the earthworks there. The concrete sleepers resting at Shottle were loaded to the Lowmac for transfer to Duffield on Tuesday and will be utilised in the Duffield South Junction road/rail access point (RRAP). The team then ventured to Duffield to take further measurements for the location of the ground frames required there.
The Komatsu 130 returned to Wirksworth for sleeper loading on Monday.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Progress Thursday 10th December 2009

Dear all
Tremendous efforts were made by both the VCT and the PWT. The VCT return to the area between bridge DJW 6 (or Derby Road 4) and the erosion site and opened up further vistas on the Down (west) side of the line ensuring our trains will be visible from the Duffield to Wirksworth Road. It has been a magnificent four fire day.
A goodly sized team were a Duffield further fine tuning the southern crossover and the geometry looks spectacular. Their hard work culminated in one rail from the loop to the mainline headshunt being installed with the second to be achieved next week. You can now visualise how the end product will look and most impressive it will be.
One penalty of having so many new shunting opportunities is that after assembling the Works Train at Duffield, dropping off the Flatrol and collecting the now empty Sturgeon at Shottle, arrival at Wirksworth was in pitch darkness with only the Christmas lights to welcome them back to base. There was a novel use of an illuminated mobile phone display screen to relay signals between Guard and Driver - improvisation at its best.
The Booking Hall received a Christmas makeover completing the readiness for our first Santa day on Saturday. There was also much activity on the Santa booking front together with the arrival of more welcome payment cheques. Special mention for Pat Craft who has spent an inordinate amount of time and effort compiling the bookings and mailing out the appropriate tickets together with John and Yvonne who have assembled the presents suitably graded by age and sex for the children. To do Santa well, and we do, takes a great deal of behind the scenes work not to mention the creative talents of Rod and Mary with the Jolly Roger about to leave the slipway. Santa reported a beard crisis and I am pleased to report that strike action has been narrowly averted as my own safety was at risk.
Phil was gently returned to his institution after day release, we hope they will let him out again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Progress Wednesday 9th Deecember 2009

Dear all
As Phil has been institutionalised it falls to me to report on today's doings. Tumbleweed was blowing along the platforms at Wirksworth as all energies were directed to Duffield. The work at Duffield to put in the south crossover and headshunt is quite complicated as the various components have come from different sources. They require a great deal of clever working out to make sure rails are cut to the correct length as we have a limited stock of this precious commodity. Nonetheless, the loop has been connected to the northern part of the crossover and rails have been identified for the other "closures" giving plenty to do tomorrow.
Back at base late Santa bookings continue to pour in and our planned five days of activity look to be a resounding success. A lightening visit by our Finance Manager seems to have brought a great number of cheques for signature so we need every penny we can earn.
Today marked an end of an era as the last Battery Locomotive - L54 - was tested and declared fit to return to London. L54 was duly loaded for transit to Ruislip and gently left us in amongst the abandoned cars scattered along our approach road by parents collecting their offspring. The last vehicle of this most pleasant contract, a tamper, will be with us in late January and a suitable wake will be held for the team that have been involved in the project.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Progress Tuesday 8th December 2009

Evenin' all,

Another major advance at Duffield saw all of the new crossing timbers
laid out for Duffield South. The large chunks of ironwork were also
craned into position, this consisted of two crossing noses, two
switches and other assorted bits. One can now see what the layout will
look like. The rails still need to be added as well as a mass od
cutting and drilling, but the warm sunshine helped to raise spirits.

Near Derby Road (4) bridge, the VCT had a very good day with three
large fires and are busily attacking the hawthorn in the area, they are
now close to the erosion site and can thus help to monitor the
situation. Mile posts 135.25 and 135.5 were also painted with gloss.

Back at base, L54 the last battery loco arrived for testing. The
logging dept had another stick chopping day, before Geoff ventured to
Duffield to see what real work was like - he was offered a crow bar but
politely declined as he did not know which end to sit on!

The Carriage dept had a 5 strong team turn out, to assist in setting
up their new suite. Allison has now made a new stepped approach to the

The DST have been fitting the crossheads and main steam pipe to No 3,
and report good progress.

The Santa Support Unit, decorated the Gatex ready for the season
whilst the 'Jolly Rodger' was pronounced seaworthy and awaits departure
for Treasure Island. More gardening took place to tidy up the area
ready for our little visitors.

50,000 2010 timetables have now arrived and are being made ready for

Tomorrow sees another big day at Duffield, where a start will be made
on connecting up the new crossover. I, of course, will have to depart
early as I am visiting the Institute of Mechanical Engineers to tell
them of our progress.


Monday, 7 December 2009

Progress Monday 7th December 2009

Dear all
A dull, dank and dismal day that did not aid those lying underneath E51505 who continued to be mystified by the lack of fuel reaching the new engine. A solution evaded them and further research will be necessary to crack the problem.
The IMT set off to check and unblock drain if required between Wirksworth and Idridgehay. The success of the earlier major work on the "racing straight" was demonstrated by the need to take only a small number of measures to keep the water flowing.
We welcomed an engineering student from Leicester who has requested some practical experience of a railway environment. Even though he has seen our extensive maintenance facilities and admirable working conditions he has vowed to be back to work alongside the Motive Power team and Fridays and Saturdays.
I was scheduled to have a blood pressure check this afternoon and the readings were high! I suspect the culprit was an earlier animated discussion with the gentleman who had resurfaced the station approach road who tried to extract £3,000 for the work - after a great deal of time a figure of £500 was settled on. I just have to make sure my bike is tar sprayed!
Behind the scenes there was preparation work for the upcoming Santa trains and Phil and Neil have honed an excellent PowerPoint presentation to be delivered by Phil to the Permanent Way Institute on MyTestTrack. The photos selected were particularly good.
Duffield is the featured destination tomorrow with only the train crew required at Wirksworth. The great adventure of assembling Duffield South Junction commences with the creation of another crossover and a road/rail access point within the proposed car park. Quite a task that will occupy the next couple of weeks. The end product should look very professional.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Progress Sunday the 6th of December 2009

Dear all,

Quite a pleasant and mostly sunny day at Wirksworth. The day began with
some traditional shunting in which the Sturgeon was transmitted from the
car park to the weighbridge and a number of hernia inducing jarrow
crossing timbers unloaded for the use of the S&T Dept, as part of their
cunning plan for Duffield North Junction. This was followed in S&T by
some further sorting of strange and wondrous components.

Down the yard, Santa preparation work was taking place with the final
touches being applied to the Jolly Roger and the reindeer being mucked
out. Related work was continuing in the engineerium, once the shed
leisure pool had been evacuated (the morning's torrential downpour
having filled the pit and glum looking engineers having to wait until
nearly lunchtime for the pit pump to have any impact on the water level
at all). However, in due course work re-commenced on the "new" engine of
E51155 ready for Santa next week, but a naughty little fault persisted
all day and the Director of Rolling Stock Servicing has said he will be
spanking it very severely tomorrow. Also in the engineerium the lagging
was completed on Ferrybridge number 3. In the Booking Hall, Paxton
Enterprises, assisted by the Voyager Windowlickers Society, took some
further Santa bookings (with money).

The Duty Conscript, assisted by the University of Derby Engineering
Department Miniature Railways Netley Branch (phew) continued to moved
the piles of Complete Railway Aggregate Product from the car park in the
direction of the headshunt drains.

All the best,

Saturday, 5 December 2009

New Stock List Available for Download

Dear all,
A new version of the stock list available for download from the usual place on . Updates are mainly minor, but with one outgoing.

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Report Sat 5th Dec 2009

Dear All,
Silent night,
holy night........
Oh sorry I was just singing because today's activities have chiefly involved brining Christmas to Wirksworth station. Out in the station quadrant a Christmas tree was erected and festooned with various flashing lights. Elsewhere the booking hall and the Met-Cams were also decorated in peroration for running Santa trains. There is still some space on the Santa trains see the website for more details. Don't forget you need to book in advance for this event if you wish to attend.
Meanwhile down in the yard the Class 20 had a B exam, which apparently involves doing allsorts of checking, testing, greasing, cleaning, replacing, adjusting and tinkering of the vertical hold so that it stays upright.  
Also in the yard a small DMU team shunted some wagons and DMUs so that the Met-Cams can be placed in the shed to allow easer starting during the cold season. Some sweeping and moping out of vehicles was also achieved. In between this activity they also ran an "on demand" train service to Ravenstor in conjunction with the towns Christmas Extravaganza market.
A young offender and his minder did some shoveling of Comprehensive Railway Aggregate Piles, to aid the walking surfaces in the Yard.
We are also informed that the station supervisor at Duffield did some work there involving trolleys. No doubt a full and comprehensive report on his work will find its way to your computer screens shortly.
At the crack of dawn, some men in a big lorry were to be seen completing the new tarmac driveway to the car park. Very nice it looks too.
The booking hall was open and did a steady trade and the model railway was fettled.
All in all a good days work.
John Stokes an behalf of Mike Evans.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Supplementary Progress Friday 4th December 2009

Dear all
Forgive me - a spelling mistake - try

Progress Friday 4th December 2009

Dear all
A lot of money rolled down the station approach today, in excess of £5,500!, as two lorry loads of permanent way materials were received comprising the crossing timbers for Duffield South Junction and the planned Wirksworth steam servicing facility (or pit). Some of these timbers will also form the bases of the ground frames to be installed at Duffield. Some 60 concrete sleepers were also received to complete the sleeper count for the "main line" at Duffield. All the Duffield timbers were loaded directly to the Sturgeon which will be accompanied by an armed guard for its transit to Duffield on Tuesday. DRE was roped in to supervise the reception of the materials and ensure all arrived that we had paid for.
The Motive Power team were out in force and achieved a major success with the fitting of a replacement air pipe on LJB that enables the locomotive to generate air very quickly and will resolve problems we have been experiencing with air braked stock. The prolonged process of fitting up the new engine on E51505 inched forward with a degree of urgency creeping in as the Met-Cam set will be the backbone of the Santa Specials. The is still work to do on the flywheel assembly and fuel system.
More materials were delivered for the catering stores and preparation area and driver training was continued using Iris. We now have half a new station approach road with technical difficulties slowing work down. The project will continue tomorrow.
Many of you will know that we intend to recruit a full time Catering Manager in the New Year to put a great deal of energy into this area during 2010. Through the good offices of Leigh the vacancy is now on our web site and before it is generally advertised I offer the opportunity to apply for this exciting opportunity. By way of background our catering turnover (not profit!) in 2009 has been of the order of £9,000, near neighbours achieve around £70,000 and the Bluebell (another nine mile railway) now turns over £2,000,000. If you would like to be part of the future, this is the time - - the post has a low salary with a great incentive.

Job Vacancy Available

WyvernRail PLC are pleased to make available a new and exciting full time role within the company. We are looking for a Catering Manager to help grow this area of our business and full details, including how to apply, can be found at

In any case, all questions and queries should be to the General Manager.

Thank you.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Progress Thursday 3rd December 2009

Dear all
A very varied day with activities spread all over our empire. The conclusion of this week's work at Duffield saw the mini digger cleansing and levelling the site prior to departure until the next time we need a dig. Scrap metal was gathered and transported to the waiting skip at Shottle and the Works Train returned to Wirksworth gathering logs along the way. On arrival at Wirksworth the logs were shunted to the Car Park to be joined by the empty Sturgeon to await tomorrow's delivery of crossing timbers for Duffield South Junction. LJB was then feed and watered ready for next week.
The VCT revisited to their work site south of Hazelwood to clear a further 50 yards of vista and create their customary warmth from two fires. DRE completed the safety fencing around Shottle North Ground Frame and installed a boarded walkway over the rodding run to provide safe access to the frame. Back at base they had a stock take of the remaining items that will be used for Duffield North and South and identified those remaining missing items that will have to be purchased to complete the job.
The Carriage Dept. continued the mammoth task of boarding out their new home and the first of the materials needed for the new catering store and preparation area arrived.
A positive meeting was held with EON Central Networks towards moving the pole at Duffield that supports the overhead line across the new development and Midland Main line. The pole and its stay wires are too close to the loop line and a solution emerged that will be satisfactory to both parties.
Works started to improve Wirksworth Station approach road between the entrance and Booking Hall - it would seem there is some surplus material from road surfacing in the Belper area.
Quite a day.

Progress Wednesday 2nd December 2009

Evenin' all,

Another busy day at Duffield saw the installation of the new switch
panel on our main line at Duffield south, This quite a large chunk of
bits , being a D switch. This has now been rebuilt. It arrived a few
weeks ago in one piece but had to be stripped for transport to
Duffield. More digging and levelling means that the rest of the track
can start going in. More crossing timbers arrive on Friday. The chance
was also taken to carry some S&T material from Shottle to Duffield
north, wher S&T work will start shortlt.

S&T were also gathering parts for Duffield as well as making handrails
for Shottle north. Back at base, the logging dept got stuck into some
large logs that were deliverd recently, they have a rush of orders on.
Also a team set out to mark up the Fouling points (also known as
Clearance ppints around the yard - this is to the new euro standards.
More work was carried out on the 'Jolly Rodger' to get it ready for the
upcoming Santa specials. The gardening dept were also busy tidying up
and preparring for the winter season.

Tomorrow sees more work at Duffield in the morning.


Progress Tuesday 1st December 2009

Evenin' all,

A bitterly cold day, rarely above freezing, saw battery problem with
many vehicles, but at least the manpower was warm.
The main activity was once again at Duffield, where the southern
extremity of the line was dozed. The new Stop Block was positioned as
was the main line headshunt. There was some hanging about waiting for
machines to do their work, but by close of play we were more than happy
with the result.

We had a couple of interuptions, the Duffield Parish Council arrived
en masse, and were given a full tour of the site. A Test vehicle also
put in an appearance, they were testing a road rail tractor mounted
flail, this new customer went away very pleased, which is why we are

The S&T dept continued work at Shottle, creating a walkway so as not
to fall over the rodding runs., this met with some success.

The VCT were again working at Derby Road 4 bridge and managed a huge

The DST had a trying day1 They wondered why bits and pieces failed to
go together, and after much measuring, found that certain new bits on
No 3 were made on the large size.

The Carriage Dept continued to decorate their store/workshop with
woodchip., they managed to muster 5 bodies to help.

Tomorrow sees more work at Duffield with much skilled work involving
the rebuilding of our new pointwork.