Sunday, 28 February 2010

Progress Report Sunday the 28th February 2010

Dear all,

Not really a spring day at Wirksworth, and not really a tornado either,
though the "slightly moist weather" siren was sounded in the morning.
Quite a range of activities were being undertaken. In the shed the steam
team were working on the internal boiler plating of Ferrybridge No3. The
DMU team were re horning their Met Cams, half a horn is apparently not
enough, and after a certain amount of tooting, honking and coughing I am
told they now have a full horn. Doubtless this will affect the line's
many sheep in the usual manner.

Also in the engineerium the Class 31 received routine maintenance and a
large amount of washing of railcars took place by the Duty Conscript.
The second Duty Conscript was (with a certain inevitability) allocated
to drains and spent the day digging out the down cess drain north of
Cemetery Lane, and had to be hosed down afterwards: always good for the

The number of visitors is gradually increasing and various people
pottered around the station admiring the wonderment of our endeavour, as
well as listening to the left-handed hooting in the yard which initially
passed for the horn. A little post painting was carried out by way of
sprucing up the platform fences.

At Duffield the S&T Dept proceeded with the long running work of
connecting the lever frames and our main line is now linked to the
frames and the loop locked out for the moment. In a gesture of
munificence towards the S&T dept the trolley they would like to use
shortly has been placed adjacent to the Flatrol ready for loading,
having been "driven" down the yard by the DMU team using the Power
Handle (a spade) and a Reclining Postuar (no longer available from the

All the best,

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Progress Saturday 27th February 2010

Evening all,

Today was a cold and miserable day with many volunteers turning out.

There were two main activities today, the first was welcoming a "Day with the Driver" guest who had specially arranged to learn to drive a DMU; more specifically he had requested a Class 101 as he remembers them from a few years ago when he used to ride behind them. He said he used to dream of one day taking the controls but never thought he would ever do it, having said that though, he did very well in learning to drive and had special instruction on dealing with wheelslip which was particularly bad coming north from Idridgehay.

The second main activity of the day was to perform a mass shunt. Firstly, the works train was assembled for next week and then several other wagons were arranged into more useful positions. The main aim was to free up the two brown boxvans.

At the station, work on the model railway continued and the Booking Hall was manned half and half by the Wirksworth ASM and our Chairman. 

Elsewhere, work progressed on the 31, a litter pick of the yard was completed and Tommy received a much needed wash after the recent work.

An exhausting day!

Mike Evans via Leigh

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Friday, 26 February 2010

Progress Friday 26th February 2010

Dear all
As the end of the second month of the year draws to a close we had the pleasure of entertaining an Estate Manager from the Chatsworth Estates to discuss areas of mutual interest and look at our joint boundaries which lie between what we refer to as Derby Road 3, south of Idridgehay and Derby Road 4 south of Postern Lodge Farm. The discussions also covered an initiative by Peak Oil to facilitate a separate entrance for us to access Shottle Yard entailing the purchase of a small slice of land from the Estate. It was all very encouraging.
At Wirksworth the Class 108 sold to the Keith and Dufftown Railway was being readied for departure the week after next and Tommy was used extensively to shunt this and other vehicles around the Yard.
Preparation of the 2 Car Met-Cam was achieved ready to receive tomorrow's "Drive a Diesel" customer who had specifically requested a Class 101 dmu. Catering was also put in place for tomorrow's guests.
DRE worked quietly away at further material preparation for the ground frame installations. Much tidying up has been done at Duffield and the size of our land acquisition including the former Vodaphone cabin is now quite clear. At Wirksworth the finishing touches were put to R&R Motors new premises in the former Ennis garage for their grand opening on Monday.
IMT had a productive day restoring the Incline connection that had been slightly disturbed yesterday when the Komatsu slipped off track (no damage to the machine!) and patrolled the Ravenstor and No 2 lines. Both members of the IMT team had an opportunity to familiarize themselves with Tommy.
Another busy day!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Progress Thursday 25th February 2010

Dear all
A mega sort of day with activities throughout the empire. Our new Catering Manager received an induction to the location of everything from his new office to the stop tap for the Buffet Car. Everyone starting a new job must go through this mind numbing process! The was much sorting of EVRA shop goods for transport to the model railway exhibitions over the weekend at Chapel en le Frith and Ilkeston.
The Komatsu and its flail returned after some months and the area between the east side of the station and Cemetery Lane bridge received a good do. At the end of the day the bags of ballast derived from an unfortunate discharge a few weeks ago were removed from the Incline trackside to a tidy location.
DRE were active at Duffield South Junction with the pointwork now connected to the ground frame and the associated sole plate and stretcher bars fitted. VCT continued their activities near Postern Lodge with a four fire day. They welcomed a new recruit which boosted the group to five.
PWT has an equally successful day after the frustrations of yesterday. 26 sleepers were changed, around 110 sleepers discharged to the lineside and the Works Train loaded with fence panels for Wirksworth. They also managed to heave off four redundant concrete sleepers at the erosion site for embankment protection.
The Logging Department cut more of their product and produced bags of sticks for sale.
Amazing what goes on on a quiet Thursday!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Progress Monday 22nd February 2010

Dear all
Arctic conditions again prevailed with the unfortunate driver of today's test vehicle having to travel at 6mph for the entire round trip to Duffield in an open lift basket. The escort Landrover conveying the rest of the team was much appreciated with the heater working overtime. This was the customer's first visit and many complements were received about our "offer" that also enabled them to take some publicity shots against the wintery background.
The computer upgrade project inched forward, hindered by the weather conditions, and Ferrybridge No3 had its rear cab windows fitted. The maintenance team gave LJB a check over and refuelled the machine. Brake adjustments on the Met-Cam set were made for its activities this coming weekend and Tommy had further fine tuning of its reversing mechanism.
Central Networks have planted a new pole and stay wire the correct distance from the Duffield Loop Line and will remove the existing pole and wire later in the week together with transferring the associated high voltage cables. This is of considerable assistance to the Duffield project and will ease the parking of staff cars there.
Tomorrow the Permanent Way Team should report to Shottle, with the exception of the train crew, for sleeper changing.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Progress Sunday the 21st of February 2010

Dear all,

Snow. Again. Atrocious road conditions and lunatics in 4 x 4s wanting to
meet their maker before lunchtime. However, a hardy band eventually
assembled at the station and most of the day was occupied by evacuating
the final parts of the old Training Room and its stores into the new
Training Room, completed to huge relief with only another week of
"filing" things into their proper places for us to be in order. If
anyone is interested in the old Training Room (it is NOT to remain on
site), please contact Martin with the usual cash offer. The engineers
occupied themselves making battery covers for Tommy and Hydra, and Tommy
was tested again for yard use, performing satisfactorily.

All the best,

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Progress Sat 20th Feb 2010

Dear All,
Today saw another cold day at Wirksworth proving that winter has not quite finished yet. 
The main activity of the day was the continued preparing of Tommy for service. Tommy received an oil change and had his brakes adjusted.  The radiator elements were also washed out to aid the air flow through to the coolant system. Some minor adjustments were made to the torque converter and heat exchanger pipe work.
Meanwhile in the station area further progress was made to the model railway. The Booking Hall and Bookshop were also open and the afternoon sunshine brought a respectable amount of visitors.
John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans.   

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Friday, 19 February 2010

Progress Friday 19th February 2010

Dear all
The end of a most successful week at Duffield saw the safe walking route between the platform and Duffield North Junction completed and it is now ready for a top dressing of stone at a future date. The team at Duffield today consisted of DRE and the IMT together with a young offender and supervisor who finally relieved the site of most of the redundant material that had gathered there over the last few years. The improvement is most noticeable and has reduced the vision of a building site to one of a station in waiting.
The Komatsu 130 and Works Train returned to Wirksworth after a little shunting at Shottle and a delivery of the Flatrol to the Car Park. En route Phil restacked the VCT fires from yesterday which still had signs of life in them.
The other success today was the fitting of new belts to Tommy, starting the engine for the first time in eight months and a satisfactory test run to Ravenstor. It is planned to achieve an oil change tomorrow and release the loco into service. Another pleasant outcome to the hours of work put into this machine.
D8001 was also started and some of our team of drivers re-familiarised themselves with the loco ready for the season ahead that includes many "Drive a Diesel Days".
Progress on all these fronts is quite miraculous given the atrocious weather conditions we continue to endure. I left Wirksworth this evening in the midst of a blizzard when will it end?

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Five Days 2

Hi there,
As Richard Buckby has so kindly pointed out, the BBC have finally scheduled Five Days 2. I thought I would share the information with the rest of you.
It looks like 'Five Days 2' - partly filmed on our line, goes out on BBC1 at 9 p.m. from the 1st. to 5th. of March.

BBC press release at:
I'm sure we all look forward to sitting down and watching that!!

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Progress Thursday 18th February 2010

Dear all
A very low turn out for the endeavours at Duffield today but those who did attend achieved great things! Both ground frames have now been installed in their final resting places with the help of the Komatsu and a mini digger. In addition to preparing the sites of the ground frames the mini digger has commenced creating a safe walkway from the platform to Duffield North. Surplus muck was loaded to the Flatrol and transported off site north of the tunnel. This work will, exceptionally, continue tomorrow and all are welcome to participate. Opportunity has been taken to cleanse the Duffield site of most of the surplus material and the road/rail access point has been further improved.
On the other hand the VCT fielded a large team that were able to employ two chain saws and create four large fires to burn the brash. Their work site some half mile south of Shottle is very visible from the main road and will afford good views of the passing trains.
The last lap of fitting out the new Training Room is now complete and the facility is another major step forward in an upgrade of our offer to paying guests as well as improving our own in house training environment. Much credit to Anton and David & Dorothy who have purchased and transported new furniture on our behalf. The Logging Department have been active and are meeting ever increasing demands.
I am pleased to announce the appointment of our new Catering Manager, Jeff McCullough. Jeff is a New Zealander with a varied background and will bring new energy to this vital area of our development. He will start to bed in next week and I am sure you will give him every support.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Progress Monday 15th February 2010

Dear all
After today's ballast delivery arrive the Works Train was made up and despatched to Duffield where it remained in its entirety ready for tomorrow's endeavours. Within the Maintenance Facility the Class 119 had its roof ventilators painted and the Rudd's rather strange shaped doors were raised with some difficulty to make it safe to travel.
The steam cleaner was discovered to have suffered from frost damage and will need a strip down before it can be put to work. A flurry of commercial enquiries warmed the heart as the future had been looking a little bleak earlier in the day.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Progress Sunday 14th February

Dear all,

Today the sun shone amid the blue skies of Wirksworth. The Komatsu was
despatched to Duffield and foliage removal and office cleaning was
reported from that station. In the engineerium, the class 119 received
work including the application of anti-corrosive paint, and Ferrybridge
no3 received fittings to its cab, doors and an unbent smokebox lamp bracket.

Around the yard drainage continued but with only a small conscript
presence the planned transfer of the extensive filing system from the
old Training Room had to be deferred. Nevertheless our own volunteers,
having rediscovered the pressure washer, cleaned the new Training Room
with it and erected a whiteboard therein. A First Aid survey was carried
out and the location of a multitude of First Aid boxes identified ready
for checking to take place shortly.

The S&T department loaded further materials for the Duffield work onto
the flatrol and engaged in a certain amount of jumping. The jumping
failed to have the desired effect and a more scientific method of
bending plates then resulted from "further consideration".

All the best,

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Progress Saturday 13th February 2010

Evening all,
A strange kind of day, having arrived at Wirksworth to a covering of snow to then have torrential rain/sleet upon departure, with drier interludes in the middle.
During the course of the day, a multitude of tasks were performed. These tasks included putting a lone dogfish into the ballast dock first thing this morning and then moving Iris over to the pit. The process of checking each unit ready for passenger services to start on the 20th March has begun. This includes checking final drive oil levels, gearbox oil levels, engine oil levels, fan belts, brakes and batteries etc etc. Also on the battery front, 51188 is on charge and therefore should not be moved without the battery charger being unplugged! Todays Duty Conscript, who seemed quite interested in railways, had the task of washing down LJ Breeze to make it a bit cleaner. It is often useful to do this task to remove oil and grease from the steps and external areas to help reduce the risk of somebody slipping.
At the back of the shed, a small team continued with Ferrybridge No.3 which is looking much more like a proper locomotive now.
Down at the station, the Booking Hall had a fair few people come through the doors for a look and there was a team of people working in the Model Railway. Some work continued on the minature gauge railway also.
Graham Walker via Leigh

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Friday, 12 February 2010

Progress Friday 12th February 2010

Dear all
This busy week has been pleasantly rounded off with us hosting the Rail Accident Investigation Branch on one of their periodic training days. Lunch in the Buffet Car was welcomed and Dorothy's warming soup went down well. Many thanks to Anton who stepped into the breach to deliver the service.
IMT and DRE combined to strip further parts required for Duffield from Shottle South and Wash Green ready for a further push at Duffield next week. IMT also embraced oiling the slide chairs of the pointwork within Wirksworth Yard. The two wagons recently released from long term storage of steam engine parts were examined and declared fit to run.
Tommy received two new hoses and belts for the new fuel pump were sourced. With a fair wind next week should see the completion of work on the locomotive allowing it to enter service. Opportunity was taken to return the dmus temporarily berthed on the Incline line to their normal resting place outside the Maintenance Facility.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Progress Thursday 11th February 2010

Dear all
The weather was slightly more kindly but still very cold. Productivity was maintained on many fronts with VCT reporting a most successful day at the combined foot and accommodation crossing A3/F8 south of Shottle where the Up (east) side gate has been repaired, many trees felled and much brash burnt. The PWT carried on working south from Milepost 1351/2 with 16 sleepers replaced after quite a struggle with tree roots that had entwined themselves with the rotting wood to be removed. This coupled with the de luxe hard wood Jarrah sleepers that replaced them slowed the pace somewhat.
DRE loaded a consignment of S&T material for Duffield that included the two ground frames, check rails, chairs, sand and sundry other items to facilitate their installation next week.The Logging Department continue to bag their product and the Company Secretary brought the share register up to date, issuing the necessary certificates to recent purchasers who have supported the Dash to Duffield.
We welcomed a representative of the Derby and Derbyshire Rail Forum in conjunction with a group visit planned for late May.
Quite a pleasantly busy day.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Progress Wednesday 10th February 2010

Dear all
Just adjusting the calendar to the correct date - it's been a funny old day!

Tuesday 10th February 2010

Dear all
Another glorious day of snow flurries and biting winds but our enthusiasm remains undimmed! LJB set off at the crack of dawn to collect the Works Train from Duffield and reinstated a fishplate clamp near footpath F3 before returning to Hazelwood to support the sleeper changing operation near Milepost 135 1/2 some two miles north of Duffield. 15 were changed in atrocious weather and they all turned out to be Jarrah hardwoods making drilling a time consuming process. At the end of the day the Works Train berthed at Shottle from where it will start tomorrow.
At base deputy DRE moved 20+ steel plates from the Weighbridge to the S&T stores for further work before they are installed at Duffield to support the point rodding runs from the north and south ground frames. Filler was applied to Ferrybridge No3 as part of the painting process and the Logging Dept were in evidence. Phase one of the grand computer enhancement project was declared complete with the necessary terminals wired up to the Booking Hall.
Lynette experimented for one long hour with gardening in a snow storm and a further Track Safety Course was held in the Training Room which now accounts for some 50 working volunteers being "processed". A great achievement with many thanks to Stuart for facilitating these valuable courses.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Progress Tuesday 9th February 2010

Dear all
A very busy day on many fronts but probably the most newsworthy is the efforts made to reunited Ferrybridge No3 with its water tank, cab and chimney. This involved the use of a hiab fitted vehicle, constant attendance of LJB and the dedicated Dream Steam Team. Ferrybridge No 3 now looks like a locomotive again and will certainly be a credit to our project. As the day drew to a close the two Andrew Barclay locos were shunted into the shed and the wagons that had been containing their various parts released back into traffic. A very tiring day but successful day for all involved.
We also welcomed two vehicles from a customer, one of which was a most interesting Severn Tunnel Fire & Rescue vehicle being put through its paces by a team from Network Rail. I think it was the first road/rail machine that came complete with "blues and twos". The customers declared themselves pleased with the day and went away with many thanks to Tony Wheeldon who had been our representative for the tests.
Much progress was achieved at Duffield with the southern crossover and road/rail access point jacked and packed to the satisfaction of today's gang master and the VCT declared themselves pleased with the progress at footpath F8, south of Shottle, with the west, Down, side being completed. I should mention that a leading member of the team, Alan Taylor, returned to base sporting a very fetching supporting belt of blue baling twine reflecting his farming ancestry. It was also good to see Paul back in action benefiting from the fresh air after a period of enforced inactivity.
The Logging Department expressed gratitude for more product delivered over the weekend but were selling on with undue haste - it doesn't grow on trees!
The grand computer system enhancement project moved forward with much loud activity in the Office and, again, my gratitude goes out the people involved. We will be the most hi-tec Railway in the Country.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Progress Monday 8th February 2010

Dear all
The Ice Age has returned with flurries of snow and a biting wind but the show must go on! Early deliveries of ballast gave the opportunity of a fairly early departure for Duffield with the train also conveying the tool van and additional brakevan that were left at Duffield for tomorrow's activities. Two loads of stone were dropped on the southern crossover and one on the northern crossover allowing plenty of scope for levelling off over the next couple of weeks. The empties were returned to Wirksworth for their next adventure.
At base the dmu fleet were moved to the Incline line so as to be clear of the lifting activities planned for tomorrow and the scrap bogie was satisfactorily cut up and taken away from the Car Park. Slow but steady progress was made with Tommy to return it to service. Wiring up of the new Training Room was completed ready for the carpet that is due next week.
A prospective dmu purchaser was welcomed from the Keith and Dufftown Railway.
Apart from LJB's driver all the Permanent Way team should report to Duffield tomorrow where Mick Thomas will be in command.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Progress Saturday 6th Feb 2010

Hi all,
A little light shunting was achieved first thing this morning before the majority of today's staff embarked upon on of the track safety training sessions in the Training Room. Elsewhere, progress was made on the Model Railway and further work was done on the minature railway for the car park. The Booking Hall was open and welcomed a few visitors.
Mike Evans via Leigh

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Friday, 5 February 2010

Progress, Friday 5th February 2010

Dear all

It was good to welcome a visitor from the Swanage Railway who had come to look at the unpowered driving trailer dmu advertised for sale by Railcar Enterprises after proving unsuitable for our own services. The redundant dmu bogie was moved to the Car Park for cutting up next week and the alternator belts on LJB were tightened up to ensure the battery is being recharged properly.

The IMT concentrated on recovering pointwork components from the former Wash Green trap point and the point leading into the former "bogie" siding at Cemetery Lane that are needed to complete the Duffield installation. Heavy work but satisfying in as much as all the bits and pieces are now ready for transfer to Duffield next week.

The Ground Frames for Duffield are steadily taking shape with much metal bashing taking place with the objective that they can be eventually lifted into place as complete units with minimal work needed on site.

To round off the day the Dogfish were shunted into the Wash Green Dock for loading with ballast on Monday.


Progress Friday 5th February 2010

Dear all
It was good to welcome a visitor from the Swanage Railway who had come to look at the unpowered driving trailer dmu advertised for sale by Railcar Enterprises after proving unsuitable for our own services. The redundant dmu bogie was moved to the Car Park for cutting up next week and the alternator belts on LJB were tightened up to ensure the battery is being recharged properly.
The IMT concentrated on recovering pointwork components from the former Wash Green trap point and the point leading into the former "bogie" siding at Cemetery Lane that are needed to complete the Duffield installation. Heavy work but satisfying in as much as all the bits and pieces are now ready for transfer to Duffield next week.
The Ground Frames for Duffield are steadily taking shape with much metal bashing taking place with the objective that they can be eventually lifted into place as complete units with minimal work needed on site.
To round off the day the Dogfish were shunted into the Wash Green Dock for loading with ballast on Monday.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Progress Tues 2nd Feb 2010

Evenin' all,

A day of continous, rain, but with patches of blue sky on the horizon!

The Per way team maqnfully got down to jacking and packing the
southern crossover at Duffield, this was a very heavy job, as jacks
were used to lift concrete panels as well as wodden sleepered pointwork.
More stone is required in the area next week, especially on the RRAP
headshunt which still has top be lifted a few inches, but at least the
heavy work has been tackled. As a bit of a change, we may change the
day for the Jacking gang next week, just to share the fun around!

The VCT completed snagging the Holloway Road foot crossing, and
continued work further along the line towards Shottle, this involves
fencing, new stile/ gates, as well as opening up the sight lines.

The DST remained in the dry, and continued dressing No 3, as the
boiler cladding is called.

Tomorrow sees the Per way team reporting to Shottle to carry on
sleeper changing south from Derby Road 4 bridge. Train leaves Shottle
at 0915.


Progress Mon 1st Feb 2010

Dear all

A new month saw ballast being delivered very promptly allowing the Works Train to set sail for Duffield. This time the southern crossover received sufficient for the whole ensemble to be jacked and packed with the balance being spread between the platform end and the A6 bridge on the "main line". Operations were hampered by the stone freezing on route to Duffield making discharge a less than easy task so it will all be a bit "lumpy" when the team arrive tomorrow. On return to Wirksworth the empty ballast hoppers were shunted to await their next duty and the Works Train assembled for tomorrow with two wagon loads of sleepers for Shottle.

The upgrade of the station's computer system continued with much activity to relocate critical parts. The webcams are now off line for a while but they maintain their security function.

We welcomed a visitor from the Dean Forest Railway who was keen to look at the redundant Passenger Office as a possible base for their dmu operations.

A good day in sub zero conditions.


PS - the Permanent Way team should report to Duffield tomorrow where the tool van has already been positioned for a great day of jacking and packing.