Thursday, 29 April 2010

Progress Thursday 29th April 2010

Dear all
As the weather gently prepares itself for a traditional English Bank Holiday weekend there was much activity throughout the empire. The Permanent Way Team exhausted the present supply of sleepers with a commendable 21 changed at Hazelwood and also managed to grease 16 pairs of fishplates including changing, where necessary, the associated bolts.
The PWT were also an exhibit this morning during the visit of a Rolls Royce team building co-ordinator who may facilitate some further assistance from time to time with the sleeper changing process. Mick and Mike tended to the Komatsu to try and stem the loss of hydraulic fluid whilst failing. After their ministrations Mike went on to flail the Postern Lodge to Bridge DJW6 (Derby Road 4). VCT reported a difficult day of mainly hawthorn in the area of Milepost 134 1/4 culminating in one big fire.
DRE completed the fabrication of the steelwork associated with the MyTestTrack project with installation is scheduled for a start next Friday.
The expected coach movements got underway today with some of our team despatching from the Top Plane at Swanwick and some receiving at Wirksworth. The first arrival was a Brake Second Corridor (BSK) that will require a lot of remedial work through next winter followed by a Second Corridor (SK) which is nearly ready to run. These are both BR Mark 1 coaches that will provide back up to the LMS coaches under restoration. With the transport available opportunity has been taken to move a third vehicle which will provide a centre car for our two car Met-Cam dmu set. Thus we now have all the building blocks in place for the predicted opening to Duffield in April 2011.
John Allsop completed the painting of the interior of No3's cab and declared his task finished. The Works Train returned to Wirksworth and shunted the Lowmac into the Car Park to join the Flatrol already there to receive more sleepers tomorrow.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Progress Wednesday 28th April 2010

Dear all,
We welcomed a Drive a Diesel Day customer who was very well looked after by Richard and Hylton. Put to work to reshuffle our entire stock ready for the reception of passenger coaches and deal with a number areas put the participant through his paces. Freight stock was assembled for transfer to Shottle, the new ash pit was tested and declared satisfactory and wagons were berthed to create the necessary space. This involved extensive use of Tommy in the morning and D8001 in the afternoon. Jeff supplied lunch and, on departure, the participant declared that it was, with the exception of the births of his children, this was the best day of his life!
Down south, but not forgotten, the permanent way team changed a further 17 sleepers in the Hazelwood station area and up north the Shell/BP tank neared conclusion of its needle gunning. A further first aid course was held in the Training Room and the Model Railway group were creating a container handling terminal - perhaps a foretaste of Wirksworth's future?
DRE made strides in the fabrication and painting of the components for the new feature for MyTestTrack.
The weather commenced its run down to ensure we have a traditional grim Bank Holiday Weekend.
PS - I am very pleased to announce that Stuart Smith has accepted the role of Operations Manager. He has been doing sterling work to bring our operations documentation up to date commencing with the very successful Personal Track Safety Courses. There is much to be done to ready the Railway for its extended operations to Duffield and I trust you will give Stuart every support in his new role.  

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Progress, Tuesday 27th April

Evenin' all,

A most satisfactory day under clear skies.

The Works train went to Hazlewood and the team managed 24 sleepers in
the ground and have reached MP 135, They have dug their way past the
pile of woodchips! A count was carried out of outstanding sleepers to
be changed.

The VCT worked south of 134 .5, and are now clearing towards 134.25,
they managed a good fire. The Flail managed a cut as far as Postern

The DST rectified various teething problems, including putting in
cleaner water, this cured the priming that occurred on Saturday. They
also continued with driver training in the yard. They are happy.

DRE continued with the manufacture and painting of new rails for the
1530 testing. The Carriage People continued work on the 3rd Open
coach. Fred and Iris commenced the cleaning of the new green Multiple
unit. Lynette continued with gardening outside the Booking Hall, and
needle gunning of the Shell/BP Tanker is nearing completion.

Tomorrow sees the Works train leaving Shottle for Hazlewood. Next week
everything will be based at Duffield.


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Progress Sunday 25th April 2010

Dear all,
All in all a good day, with sunshine most of the time apart from a downpour in the afternoon.
Services bobbled up and down all day and the buffet car was open. Apart from an unfortunate technical hitch, everything ran as smoothly as possible.
Down the yard, the DMU team attended to a sticking unloader valve on E51505 which was preventing the dumping of control air in a correct manor.
Many thanks,
Graham Walker via Leigh

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Saturday, 24 April 2010

Progress Saturday 24th April 2010

Dear all
That overworked word "milestone" will be used very justifiably to reflect today's achievement. This "milestone" reached was the first running in turn of Ferrybridge No3 which operated on the Gorsey Bank line giving much pleasure to the restoration team and the galaxy of budding steam engine operators. It is truly magnificent to have a working steam engine based at Wirksworth and reflects very great credit on all concerned. The exercise revealed a few minor teething problems which will be worked on before its next appearance.
A great pleasure for me was to welcome 45 people from the Bluebell Railway including a number of them that I had worked with during my four years with the enterprise. They travelled by coach arriving at 1300 and needed to leave again by 1700 hrs so a lot had to be packed in the time available. After a sandwich platter lunch in the Gatwick Express they had their initial trip to Idridgehay to be followed by a journey up the Incline. The narrow gauge operated for them and Tommy made available for footplate experiences. All this was undertaken during the running in turns with No3 culminating in parallel running from Gorsey Bank to Wirksworth - quite a sight. Much appreciation was shown for everyone who welcomed them to our Railway.
The tills worked briskly during the day yielding satisfactory results and thanks are due to the Booking Hall and Catering teams together with the train crews who made it all work so well.
While all the excitement was going on the dmu team managed to rack out their container and change the injectors on 51188.
A really good day.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Progress Friday 23rd April 2010

Dear all
Amazingly another very pleasant day that continued to raise the spirits in the hope that the summer will permit us all to enjoy ourselves without reaching for umbrellas and keeping the central heating on every night.
Back to the facts! No 3 has been warmed through ready for tomorrow's tests and the ash pit project was drawing to a conclusion with only one more day's work to complete the task. THe dmu maintenance team concentrated on the doors of the "Bubble Car" and had a good housekeeping day. DRE continue the manufacture of the special rail section required for MyTestTrack and declared that the project had reached the halfway stage.
IMT undertook a whole line patrol paying particular attention to the Hazelwood - Duffield section and achievd a most productive day.
An encouraging phone call was received from John Young of the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway who looks after two Andrew Barclay locomotives including one with the works number 2361. Ours has the works number 2360 so they must have been sisters or brothers in the factory. He suggested that the two should reunite some time which seems quite a good idea.
The Booking Hall welcomed an amazing number of people for a Friday and it seems to all be related to the completion of No3 - it bodes well for the attraction of this machine to our visitor numbers.

Service Alteration Sat 24th April 2010

Please note the 13:45 Wirksworth to Idridgehay and 14:05 return Idridgehay to Wirksworth service will not operate on Saturday 24th April 2010.

Many Thanks.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Progress Thursday 22nd April 2010

Dear all
A most pleasant and warm day with every incentive to make progress on many fronts.The Permanent Way Team are now opposite the Hazelwood Wood Yard and their chippings conveyor leading to a gentle dusting as they changed 18 sleepers in that area. They also encountered another stretch where tree roots slowed down productivity.
VCT worked in the area of Milepost 134 1/4 taking down a lot of trees and creating one large fire for the brash. They also connected with Rodney's efforts at Holloway Road and moved his brash away to their fire further north - a true spirit of co-operation.
The flail dealt with an half mile stretch between Idridgehay and Bridge DJW 11 (Derby Road 3) that means that 50% of our line has now had the treatment with a start from Ravenstor some time ago. DRE made some adjustments to the facing point lock at Shottle North and then moved on to further manufacturing of the special rail section required for MyTestTrack. Parts were also painted so the installation will look the part after they are moved into its final position on the Hannages.
As part of the wind down of the TBTC project the Halcrow cabin was disconnected and a final electricity reading taken. The computer project saw the achievement of the Buffet Car till being linked wirelessly to the main server. Opportunity was taken to wash the 2 Car Hybrid dmu E51505+W51360 ready for the upcoming weekend and Ferrybridge No3 was shunted to be filled with water including a water treatment compound. This was after John Allsop completed the exterior paintwork with the lining on the wheels. It positively gleamed in the sunshine.
A little weed killing was undertaken around the Yard and the Booking Hall welcomed a number of visitors.
All in all, a most satisfactory and varied day.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Progress Report Sunday the 18th of April 2010

Dear all,

First a late report from yesterday. Saturday, of course, involved the
AGM of Wyvernrail, and shareholders attended from many large and
populous places, but mainly from Idridgehay. Consequently the passenger
service pottered happily about and the sun shone from wall to wall in
peace and blue tranquillity, largely due to there being no aircraft.
Indeed we could hear the birds singing in the afternoon, a great rarity
and a pleasure, as normally the tweeters of Wirksworth have to compete
with 747s turning round the Hognaston Beacon. The LMS Carriage
Association scraped their inside roofs in considerable heat and the duty
conscript began work on the Royal Oak path, which required strengthening
due to, um, heavy traffic.

Sunday dawned equally clear and sunny, and the day was taken up by
further pottering of the passenger service and the attendance of both a
Day with a Driver guest and a Drive a Diesel guest, who appeared
suitably impressed, and participated in a quantity of shunting. The
shunting also involved the DMU group and several DMUs are now attached
to DMUs they have never met before. The Class 31 received routine
maintenance. At Duffield continued brash and bramble work is thought to
have taken place.

Brash and brambles also featured at Wirksworth, with a magistrate of
conscripts attending to assorted clearance, although the one allocated
to Mr Ware's brash proved to be the least effective. On the opposite
side of the site, however, the west side car park retaining wall
received attention and the whole of that embankment is now slated for
brash removal, as part of a general tidy up. This was accompanied by
more filling work on the Royal Oak path and the entire and utter
clearance of the west side of the car park of small rubbish. Mr Chris
Allenby has earned the title "Slapper of the Month" for his efforts
marking out parking spaces; (as opposed to anything else, it being a
well-known fact that "anything else" is the responsibility of the P-way
Dept and has been since that incident with the lingerie at Barnsley
Lane, some time ago).

All the best,

Friday, 16 April 2010

Progress Friday 16th April 2010

Dear all
One of those most pleasant of days that recharges the batteries and restores faith in the direction we are heading. We welcomed three participants in our new Group Drive a Diesel product who thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality offered by Richard Buckby, David Woodhouse and Robin Lee encompassing a mixture of shunter and Class 20 experiences. They all were very complimentary about our enterprise. A major adjunct to their experience was the initial welcome in the Booking Hall and a warming lunch in the Gatwick Express.
DRE aided by IMT achieved the initial preparation of the area that will accept the new bridge guard and check rails on the Gorsey Bank line and the last of the bags of aggregate were moved out of the Car Park and placed for use on the footpath leading up to the Royal Oak.
The 2 Car Met-Cam had a proving run after repairs to E51505 and was declared fit to return to traffic. During the day all three of our own shunters, Hydra, Tommy and LJB were used for various activities around Wirksworth - another significant first?
Our contractor at Hazelwood has completed the ditching of the long straight south of the station and work continued with the final finishing of the new ash pit.
Ferrybridge No3 had its lining out completed and after varnishing next week will be declared complete. The Booking Hall welcomed today's visitors and the till saw some profitable use.
Phil and I met with a new potential customer and made a spirited pitch for their business - time will tell whether it is a real opportunity.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Progress Thursday 15th April 2010

Dear all
No sleepers changed but the day has been quite productive in other ways. A consignment of crossing timbers was unloaded from the Sturgeon to a storage area by the former Wash Green weighbridge and the vehicle transferred to the Car Park to load components for Duffield's new platform. The Works Train then took the vehicle to Shottle for stabling until next week. The Car Park is now largely clear of extraneous items and ready for busy times. This was made possible by the ever versatile Komatsu 130.
Needle gunning of the Shell/BP tank continued and Vince the Elder worked away on the bank opposite Platform 3.
VCT had a clear up day at the Hazelwood station site with two fires and some further earth moving to create more parking there. Our usual contractor, "Barry", has made spectacular progress this week with ditching of the long straight just south of Hazelwood, dealing with many years of neglect to very good effect.
Redundant rails were moved from the base of the Incline to the Weighbridge to allow DRE to commence the manufacture of a special section of "bridge" rail that will be installed on the Gorsey Bank line. This is required to keep us ahead in the road/rail testing business and will be unique to the MyTestTrack offer.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Progress Wednesday 14th April 2010

Dear all
If you regard the main project our enterprise is the opening of the whole line to Duffield you would be sorely disappointed today with an attendance of 3.5 people to change the large number of sleepers that will have to be done before the task is complete. If all of you out there are serious about wishing us to win this one there will have to be more effort and commitment put in!
Meanwhile, needle gunning of the Shell/BP tanker commenced for its future role as a water carrier for the steam locomotive. The Model Railway folk were active in their container and Lynette continued her task of reviving the Station garden.
The base for the sub sub shed of Wirksworth that will accommodate the 3 1/2 " gauge carriage and locomotive has been constructed and the commencement of a series of first aid courses started today.
Ferrybridge No 3 is genuinely No3 on both sides of the tank after the attentions of a sign writer.
I welcome comments direct to me at as to why we are having a downturn in the basic requirement to refurbish our track that is an essential requirement of the next six months.
In an endeavour to boost our revenue, Phil has been glad handing at Infrarail with some interesting new possibilities emerging.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Progress Monday 12th April 2010

Dear all
Winter returned to Wirksworth with a bitterly cold day generating little activity. Nonetheless, dmu maintenance progressed and water was containerised and taken to site for the ash pit project. The ash pit was visited by the funders, Derbyshire Aggregates Levy Fund, who declared themselves satisfied that the money had been wisely spent.
The Works Train was formed for a prompt departure in the morning and within the consist is a consignment of stone for use on the road/rail access point at Hazelwood.
The Booking Hall was open for business and the Catering Manager had a cleanup after the weekend's activity.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Progress Report Sunday the 11th of April 2010

Dear all,

Well, another sunny day. Let's begin down south at Duffield, where the
Rodders Sack and Bag Company have been weedkilling and the S&T Dept have
completed their work on the north ground frame except for the Annets
Lock and the insertion of the up Duffield fixed distant signal.

At Wirksworth a long list of jobs were in hand. At Cemetery Lane the
duty conscript carried on with the headshunt drainage project, and
various huge stones were dug out. The Baileycroft dock wall was
deforested of assorted weeds and impecunious greenery. The former dust
dock wall was painted, and the Booking Hall canopy received an
undercoat. The Day with a Driver declared himself satisfied having been
both to Ravenstor and to Idridgehay and had Gorsey Bank thrown in for
good measure.

The steam team proceeded with finishing works to Ferrybridge No3
including smokebox and vacuum brake matters and holes for the builders
plate. The Class 31 received attention and the DMU team began painting
the guards compartment of railcar 50599. This latter process being
interrupted by a Moment with the afternoon train service; application of
the Birmingham Screwdriver; two trains late; Duty Manager's hammock
shaken; Cadets despatched to furthest points of the empire to hold
passenger's hands; EP valves and heads scratched; Waterfall fairies
found inebriated in a bottle if Islay Malt; Duty Manager hoarse; What a

All the best,

Friday, 9 April 2010

Progress Friday 9th April 2010

Dear all,
Another day of great endeavour with a very large team tending to the newly arrived Class 108 including a full service and satisfactory start of the engines. Ferrybridge No3 is looking ever more smart with its green gloss largely complete, The LMSCA received yet more machine tools that were unloaded and moved with the help of the forklift and Komatsu. They also managed to connect the corridor connections between the two Stanier coaches declaring this to be a first in this area.
The lone member of the IMT cleansed Gorsey Bank level crossing gates and then moved on to assist the installation of rails on the new ash pit. With the aid of a JCB, some of the bagged ballast residing in the Car Park was spread in the area leading to the pit after the final tractor load of muck was taken off site. The whole aspect of this part of the Yard is much improved.
DRE, after helping the LMSCA, continued to fettle parts for the Duffield installations that, all being well, will be completed on Sunday.
The Booking Hall received a number of visitors and the Catering Manager was preparing for what is hoped to be a decent and profitable weekend.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Progress Thursday 8th April 2010

Dear all,
Nothing like a little warm sun to raise the spirits and bring a spring to the step with a wealth of activities being undertaken. On a south to north basis DRE have only one more day's work before all the new ground frames are complete with Duffield South levers receiving their appropriate paint today. A little further north VCT were active at the Hazelwood station site claiming that we can now fit 50 cars on our land there. Even further north the small but perfectly formed PW Team changed another 14 sleepers bringing them to Footpath F5 just north of Hazelwood. Progressing ever northwards Phil and I had an opportunity to test out the Multicar for the first time this year giving the section from Idridgehay to Wirksworth a thorough dose of weed killer. Phil also managed to cover a swathe of Wirksworth Yard in the annual battle with unwanted growth.
Within the confines of Wirksworth, Ferrybridge No3 had further attention to its paintwork and the ash pit team worked on the interceptor to prevent nasties going into the Hannages brook and are now ready for the rails to go on tomorrow afternoon. The end product is excellent and we will be ready to receive Tornado next week or maybe Oliver Cromwell?
Vince continued to act as a mountain goat opposite Platform 3 vastly improving the look of the embankment and the Booking Hall received a number of visitors together with the usual phone calls.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Supplementary Progress Wednesday 7th April 2010

Dear all
Whilst relaxing with my customary product of Scotland I realised I had made a grave omission from the cast that had contributed to today's wedding party success. Karen descended from the heights of the former dust dock and looked after the Booking Hall providing the main welcome for our guests. Without any form of training she mastered the new till and enabled people to part with further contributions to the cause enhancing the funds by converting stock into revenue. I did suggest that she take notes for the inevitable event the will seal her future with David in which we would all be happy to participate - particularly the free bar!

Progress Wednesday 7th April 2010

Dear all
The main event today was the post wedding celebration for Deborah and Keith Osman who wanted a railway theme for many of their guests, and themselves!, which included trips on the 2 Car Met-Cam, Iris and driving experiences on Tommy. Among the guests were railwaymen were from the South East of England who found the Gatwick Express a home from home. The party were welcomed with tea and coffee in the Buffet Car before embarking for Idridgehay. On return there were opportunities to ride in and drive Tommy before afternoon tea was served and sample a delightful EVR cake from May's. After the food there followed a trip to Ravenstor and more opportunities to experience Tommy. Many kind words were received from the 54 participants. Great thanks go to David Abbott, Graham and Patrick who provided the various train services and to Jeff, Anton, Fred, Iris and Stuart who dealt with all the catering requirements together with Garth and Geoff who opened the model railway display that was specially requested for the children. Stuart Smith is now formally passed out as a leading steward after his second turn of duty in this role - is there no end to this man's talents.
We wish Deborah and Keith a long and happy marriage in the knowledge she will read this as a convert to the Railway's blog!
Down south the Permanent Way Team achieved a total of 20 sleepers changed and reported that progress was slowed down by some rearrangement of sleeper spacing around a joint. Lynette should also be mentioned for soldiering on with the station garden at Wirksworth.
A very good day.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Progress Easter Sunday 2010

Dear all,

In the engineerium various repairs and varnishing was carried out to the
doors of railcar 50599, continuing the work begun yesterday. At the
south end of the line, the S&T Dept spent the day putting in the point
connections and facing point locks for the Duffield south ground frame.
This is now largely complete and there is only some outstanding work on
the north frame to be addressed. Around the yard various fouling point
markers were put in, and these do not relate to dog walking.

The main business of the day was, however, Easter. Chilly weather
brought a rather slow start but passengers and visitors picked up after
lunch and we spent the rest of the day entertaining small children in
the hunt for Easter Eggs and increasing the General Public Happiness,
our foremost task. We received very many compliments about how lovely
our railway is, how friendly the staff are and how neat and tidy the
operation is: I am most grateful to everyone involved.

Will staff kindly park on the ballast dock tomorrow, as you did today.

All the best,

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Progress Easter Saturday 3rd April 2010

Evening all,

A much better day weather and passenger-wise. Whilst we still await final confirmation, it seems we could have at least doubled yesterdays visitor numbers. The buffet car was noted as extremely busy at times with the specialities of chilli or lasagne going down very well. The narrow gauge and model railway were open as well as Mary's mysterious tent which always proves popular.

Today was the first time we have ran one of the new Drive a Diesel offerings. This one involves four separate guests all taking turns to drive. After the initial learning curve, it ran successfully and everybody was happy.

In the engineerium, the "new" Class 108 had more work carried out on reconstructing the cab including the replacement of Formica, sanding and varnishing window frames, and refurbishing the doors.

A brilliant day. Many thanks to all,

Mike Evans via Leigh

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Friday, 2 April 2010

Progress Good Friday 2nd April 2010

Dear all
A damp and grim day typical of a British Easter holiday led to a less than exciting foot fall. Nonetheless, grateful thanks go to all the team who welcomed our visitors to the Booking Hall, Buffet Car, Train Services, Model Railway Exhibition and the LMS Carriage Association Exhibition. Pleasant feedback from the visitors with Jeff's hot food proving to be a winner.
Within the Maintenance Facility ceilings were replaced in the recently arrived Class 108's guards compartment and DRE were in full flight manufacturing and modifying more parts for the Duffield ground frames.
We had a visit from a Barton coach on a check of our facilities for the classic coach rally later in the year with some of us taking a ride to Idridgehay and returning by rail. It only needed Sid James on a steam roller to complete the picture.
The old Training Room departed this morning as a donation to the Tanat Valley Light Railway releasing more space in the Car Park. On Wednesday, in conjunction with Alton Manor Farm, drastic steps were taken to cure the water pouring onto the line at Callow Park and more normal flows were noted today along the "racing straight".
Let's hope the rest of the holiday will be more productive financially.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Progress Thursday 1st April 2010

Dear all
A day of intense activity on so many fronts and I hope I cover them all. Firstly I should mention Vince the Elder who has been working as a mountain goat all week as he tackles the growth opposite Platform 3 - it's quite difficult cutting back the vegetation at 45 degrees to the horizontal.
The LMSCA have been somewhat demanding today as their new arrival was moved from Platform 1 to Platform 2 and back again but they declared success with their sealing endeavours and will be on hand over the weekend to show our visitors what the organisation is all about. I am delighted that one member of the team has started to replace the drop lights on the Saloon with the first now in place.
Much activity surrounded the Buffet Car with the Catering Manager determined to reach new heights of achievement over the weekend - pasta tuna bake and chilli con carne feature. The ash pit project inched forward and the dmu fleet were prepared for the Bank Holiday.
The Permanent Way Team were highjacked to part ballast the sleepers installed underneath Cemetery Lane bridge before loading the Idridgehay crossing gate so splendidly renovated by John Gratton for re- hanging. After this was successfully achieved the PWT gathered up the tools dropped at Hazelwood and loaded a bulk supply of logs for sale at Wirksworth.
The VCT dealt with a further 50 yards on the dreadful section south of Hazelwood that consists of predominantly of blackthorn. I am advised that the new trailer allows for one large fire rather than a multiplicity of small ones. Their endeavours will allow future passengers to enjoy the valley views.
At the southern end of our network DRE made great strides toward the completion of both Duffield ground frames and their associated works.

New Stock List Available for Download

Morning all,
Even though it only seems like five minutes ago since the last stock list was released, due to more happenings on the rolling stock front, another updated version has been released and is available for download from the usual place on the official website. Most notable change in this version is the addition of LMS Stanier Third Open 27162.

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