Sunday, 29 August 2010

Progress Report Sunday the 29th of August 2010

Dear all,

Today saw us start with what TV weatherpersons now call Rogue Showers,
known to us up north as torrential rain. After the torrential rain the
sun came out, rather to our surprise. Like yesterday, once this happened
passengers turned out to sample our cheerful little railway and, as was
the case yesterday, we once again exceeded the numbers for the
corresponding weekend last year, to our considerable satisfaction.

Both services were in operation, with steam to Ravenstor (and again
tomorrow), and the Met Cams to Idridgehay, beating their way through wet
weather, road cones, sheep, fallen trees and Eon's attempts to electrify
the line. Train crew will shortly be issued with helmets.

Meanwhile, in other news, yesterday the Conscripts were delegated to the
moving of a redundant electrical box to its new home, the moving of
brash and scrap wood to the potash creation area (fire) and the
collecting of general rubbish from around the yard, which comes with a
gentle but firm reminder: the reason our yard is tidy is because we
don't want to fall over things, colleagues new to our railway, possibly
from other railways where the concept "tidy" is, er, rather looser than
it is here, may wish to observe this more attentively.

Those of you familiar with these annals will have noted that the
headshunt drain project was completed recently, and consequently
Criminal Drains Plc have now moved onto the down shed drain, which is
being stoned up in the traditional manner, with a wheelbarrow.

All the best,

Friday, 27 August 2010

Progress, Friday 27th August

Evenin' all,

A pleasant dry autumnal sort of day saw much shunting to position stock for the weekend..

The day started with the arrival of what is I think, the biggest machine to be tested on our line. It appears to be too big to get out of the yard! It is in for testing next week.

Steam footplate training continued, and No3 went to Idridgehay with two coaches and made a successful trip.. Water remains a problem - as do matches!

The per way/IMT had a day of moving and transporting rails, from Shottle to Duffield, and from Willow Crossing and Idridgehay to Old Lane bridge. This was after they came across the team carrying out repairs to the erosion site. All of their steel piles (please do not mention piles) were transported from Hazlewood to their site.

At Wirksworth the frame of the northern Met Cam as well as the bogies were cleaned and painted.

A busy weekend ahead!


Thursday, 26 August 2010

Progress, Thursday, 26th August

Evenin' all,

A quiet day at Wirksworth, with negligible passenger numbers. The last train was used as a showpiece for potential new customers.

At Duffield, the southern ramp had its concrete blocks added to get it to the right height and the bottom coping stone was positioned.

At F4, the Per way team (of 3 1/2 ) managed to lay 18 sleepers, which was a very good total owing to the size of the team.

A little further north, the VCT continued clearing the are between F5 (north of Hazlewood towards the erosion site). They also assisted contractors in delivering the first few sheets for piling the erosion site, more are to follow. The contractors are now on site with machines and have set up camp. They will be operation between F5 and the erosion site for the next couple of weeks.


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Progress, Wednesday 25th August

Evenin' all,

On the first dry day of the week, the Wednesday per way team excelled themselves, and managed 39 sleepers changed, they have now reached F4, The last hundred yards or so has been very difficult by the fact of so much leaf mould being used as ballast! Some re-gauging also took place as the Gauge Tie Bars have been removed. Well done to the team for their hard work.

The Platform team at Duffield achieved more success with the rebuilding of the face to the southern ramp, concrete was put on top to provide a level for the blockwork. The coping stones were moved nearer to their final resting place.

The Incline service ran with a scattering of passengers, whilst a few more persons wandered around the station and shop at Wirksworth.

Tomorrow sees work starting on the erosion site, the fishing club are bringing in a tracked excavator to start steel piling the site.This vehicle will be on track at times.. The Works Train will not be returning to Wirksworth tomorrow.


Monday, 23 August 2010

Progress Monday 23rd August 2010

Dear all
An inclement start to the new week but it was good to welcome today's Drive a Diesel Day participant who had the pedigree of living in Rotherham overlooking the Harrison's haulage yard that had for so long played host to Ferrybridge No3 and Henry Ellison. He was ably looked after by Richard and Lewis who able to guide him on L J Breeze and D8001.
The LMSCA seat project was quietly progressed and 50599 had a second flat down of its west side aspect and the application of BR blue paint. Repairs were conducted to the ramp leading to the EVRA shop and Information Room with a substantial piece of steel chequer plate being applied to its base.
Tony Watt refurbished a total of 40 footplate bolt nuts and we received a further 200 sleepers towards the track refurbishment project. These were tripped to Duffield after the Drive a Diesel Day activities had concluded and during the process opportunity was taken to weed treat around Gorsey Bank, Idridgehay and Duffield platform.
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors and the Buffet Car looked after the inner needs of our Drive a Diesel Day driver and his guests.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Progress Report Sunday the 22nd of August 2010

Dear all,

A wonderful summers day, blue sky, sunshine, fluffy clouds, birds
tweeting in the trees. Once again passenger numbers were satisfying and
both Iris and the Bubble Car bobbled up and down happily to Ravenstor
and to Idridgehay. Much positive feedback from passengers today about
our trains and cleanliness. The Day with a Driver Guest had travelled
from Anglesey was very happy with his visit and departed to stay in a
caravan in Belper for a week (no smirking at the back, there).

The DMU team concentrated on the further T-cutting and polishing of the
side of the Bubble Car which we didn't do last week and Rob has had his
part polished by Leigh, a popular activity for many people from
Ashbourne. This process was assisted by the Duty Conscript and the whole
of that side of the Bubble Car is now glowing. Higham Enterprises
cleaned the windows. A second polish may take place before the Bubble
Car goes on its holidays to the Severn Valley Railway in a few weeks time.

Carline's Drains and Blondes arrived with grin and a large mattock and
proceeded to tidy up the outstanding work around the Cemetary Lane
headshunt buffer stop, where we have been constructing drains and so on
for several months now. This project is now done, thanks to everyone who
has contributed time and backache to it. In other news, the class 31
received routine maintenance; a large amount of brash was moved to the
fire, and the picnic tables were weight tested.

All the best,

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Progress Sat 21st August 2010

Evening all,

Soon back into the swing of things after my little hols, with both services running with reasonable passenger numbers and a thoroughly satisfied Day with a Driver guest.

Down the yard, the DMU team continued working on the Met-Camm Centre Car, cleaning and painting the wooden components of the corridor connections. The LMSCA continued work on their Third Open coach.

Doesn't sound much, but a good day of progress.

Mike Evans via Leigh

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Progress Thursday 19th August 2010

Dear all
Quite a day with activity in many areas. We welcomed back a customer who was on his third attempt to achieve vehicle acceptance for use on Network Rail and was mightily relieved that all his modifications had worked and left with a pass mark from the vehicle acceptance body.
Today was also the day that Val Lowndes flew solo as a Guard on the Ravenstor service and confessed to having a very pleasant and satisfying day. John Allsop has completed the first undercoat of 50599 on the west side as it gradually changes from green to blue.
The VCT tackled the vegetation between Wash Green bridge and Gorsey Bank together with modifying the flail so that it has rubber guards to prevent material flying in unplanned directions. They also surveyed the heavily silted entry to the drainage under the Railway opposite the "white" bungalow near the Hannages foot crossing. This will require further work to ensure the flow of water under the line does not cause problems this winter.
The PWT welcomed new volunteers that are appearing as a result of our pleas on Radio Derby and East Midlands Today and planted the remaining 22 sleepers before dropping some pre-used timbers in the area of footpath F5. These will enable machines to access the erosion site which is to be piled at the expense of the Derby Fishing Club. The Flatrol and Lowmac together with the rest of the Works Train were returned to Wirksworth ready for more sleepers to be delivered next Monday.
Duffield platform progressed with concrete troughing completed along the back wall and much sundry surplus material cleared from the platform to facilitate future work.
The Booking Hall welcomed today's visitors and Tom completed a three day stint to bring our accounts up to date illustrating the more we grow the more effort is needed to keep on top of this vital area.
PS - The broadcast of our piece on East Midlands Today caught us all be surprise as we thought it had fallen on the cutting room floor. If anybody was quick enough to record it we would be grateful for a copy.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Progress Monday 16th August 2010

Dear all
Continuing our quest for world wide domination today's Drive a Diesel Day guest was Dutch, resident in France. He was accompanied by his wife and son, who had bought the day and works for First Great Western at Reading. They were most ably looked after by Lewis and Richard and declared themselves very pleased with their time on the EVR.
Further progress with the repainting of 50599 with the west side ready for a first pass with undercoat. Also on the dmu front we welcomed a delegation from the Severn Valley Railway who were inspecting the Bubble Car and Iris which will be visiting them later in the year.
The Watt Fishplate Refurbishment Co was in action with 20 bolts restored for reuse. The Works Train transited to Duffield ready for a prompt start tomorrow so that productivity with the sleeper changing can be restored. Our Radio Derby appearance seems to have encouraged some new faces to join us in this quest.
I had the pleasant task to visit the Duffield developer's solicitors in Derby to prove my identity in connection with the transfer of the land at the south end of Duffield platform. This will enable the necessary documents to be sent off to the Land Registry. Just another £10k to find to complete the job!
The Booking Hall welcomed a few visitors on a pleasant summer day.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Progress Report Sunday the 14th of August 2010

Dear all,

A very pleasant day indeed saw sunny weather and many visitors to the
Railway. The passenger service bobbled happily up and down and the Day
with a Driver and his guests stayed until the very end of the day, being
entertained to our many delights. A coach party attended us after a
morning at Peak Rail and were most complimentary about the EVR, about
our stations, our gardens and our staff.

Down the yard, the narrow gauge ran for the benefit of visitors and
Higham Enterprises painted a cabinet and renewed the upper dock parking
markers. The DMU team were fully committed all day to their many
important tasks and the Catering Dept declared itself well satisfied
with the afternoon's business given that we were "resting" after our
many galas.

The main task of the day was, however, the polishing of the Bubble Car
(Railcar M55006), which was parked in platform 1 to be rejuvenated. This
involved a very large amount of polish and attracted the attention of
almost every member of staff to polished their own part, with some
polishing other people's parts. After this considerable effort,
including Kilroy and the Vinigarettes doing the windows, the Bubble Car
was shunted down the yard to rest outside the shed, where it sat
gleaming in the afternoon sun. During the coming week we hope to do the
other side from platform 2.

All the best,

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Progress Saturday 14th August 2010

Evening all,

A day which started cold and had many heavy showers throughout saw a pretty busy passenger service run which included a churchgoers annual railway trip along-side the usual passengers. Thank you to Mr Woodhouse who rescued the guarding situation at the final hour. The Narrow Gauge also ran to the delight of the visitors. Today's Day with a Driver thoroughly enjoyed himself too.

Down the yard, the LMSCA continued their work on the TO whilst the DMU team continued work on the Met-Camm Centre Car. A visit from the person who started the restoration before the vehicle arrived helped the team decide how the restoration can make a conclusion.

Graham Walker via Leigh

Friday, 13 August 2010

Progress Friday 13th August 2010

Dear all
Friday the 13th proved to be a productive day although very wintery. Four participants enjoyed their Group Drive a Diesel Day having travelled from Carlisle, Liverpool, Wakefield and Derby. The mix of shunting with LJB and delivery of freight to Shottle with D8001 proved to be a winner again in the able hands of Richard and Robin. During the lunch break Lester from the Class 20 Association changed a fuel injector in around 30 minutes helping to ensure a successful afternoon.
During the morning Phil was able to give a prospective training customer a whole line tour which seems to have identified an area a mutual interest. The Met-Cam centre car had the hole in its floor repaired and the Bubble Car received technology from the car world to sparkle its tired paint work - only its a bit bigger than a car!
The IMT achieved a real advance in dealing with dipped joints on the Incline with 8 panels treated. This is a very important part of track maintenance as the rail becomes ever more "crippled" if not dealt with and the vehicles that use the line experience unnecessary stresses.
Training of another Booking Hall clerk took place and the Booking Hall welcome today's visitors together with a few members of the general public.
An event took place earlier in the week whereby Dorothy provided an improvement to the volunteer facilities at Wirksworth and David fitted it. The Staff Toilet now has a de luxe wooden seat that will be appreciated by many although I have always wondered why people do not complete their ablutions at home rather than spending valuable time in the Company's facility.
PS - I am pleased to report that Mick Thomas has accepted the role of Steam Locomotive Superintendent. He will work closely with Mike Evans our Motive Power Superintendent and Graham Walker our Rolling Stock Engineer. Anyone wishing to participate in our new steam locomotive operations should make contact with Mick.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Progress Sunday 8th August 2010

Dear all
There was an early start for some as they recharged our water supply for today's consumption but all the services started on time and welcomed similar numbers to yesterday. Phil was conscripted to undertake a lunch time relief guard's turn and our home grown team of Thomas/Grange/Tait ably managed No3.
To celebrate the end of this gruelling two week period the 1700 Wirksworth to Idridgehay and return was double headed with Bellerophon and No3 with a well co-coordinated non stop return from Idridgehay to Wirksworth. It is difficult to imagine how long ago a double headed steam passenger train ran on the branch, if ever.
Once more I thank profusely the team that supported the operation of six days of steam, the weekends requiring some 30 people to man all the necessary positions. The whole represents our entry into the world of steam operations and many lessons were learnt but the underlying planned worked extremely well. We haven't quite entered the big league but we sure have moved into the middle ground. I understand the Railway press have been deluged with photo offerings - maybe a front cover is due?
Whilst all this was going on there was steady progress with Henry Ellison in the bowels of the Maintenance Facility.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Progress Saturday 7th August 2010

Dear all
Everyone has been involved in delivering the penultimate day of our two steam gala. There was a different mix of visitors with far fewer enthusiasts replaced by "ordinary" visiting couples and families. Our team again did sterling work to deliver a very good show. The Booking Hall take was slightly lower than last Saturday but the Buffet Car did marginally better so the overall performance was very satisfactory.
My thanks as ever go to all who participated in a long and energy sapping day with great good humour reflected in the very complementary comments received from our visitors. Today's star was Leigh who single handedly, without a break, ran the Booking Hall very efficiently. An interesting statistic, to me!, is that 25% of the transactions were by credit/debit card which is a facility we have only been able to offer for the last three months. We also had our first "card refused"!
Bellerophon's last run with us will be the 1700 Wirksworth to Idridgehay and return tomorrow and No3 will be crewed for the first time by a home grown team - we'll see how they do!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Progress Friday 6th August 2010

Dear all
A chill in the air today as we prepare for the final weekend of our steam gala and it doesn't look like sun cream will be needed over the weekend. However, there has been much preparation with fuelling the Met-Cams, coaling Bellerophon, sourcing locomotive water, cleaning and checking the passenger accommodation and stocking the Buffet Car. Bellerophon also was undergoing some routine maintenance by the Foxfield team.
The Met-Cam centre car project moved forward with preparation for the seating to be installed and the LMSCA undertook further work towards their upholstery shop. IMT thoroughly oiled the Wirksworth area pointwork paying special attention to the Wash Green crossover ready for its role again this weekend.
During the morning the Komatsu unloaded the Sturgeon depositing its scrap rails and sleepers from Duffield Tunnel to ground there. LJB then moved the Sturgeon into position to load a rail at Willow Crossing north of Shottle and a rail, part buried, north of Idridgehay for a journey to Wirksworth. These were then unloaded on the Incline ready for further use by one of our customers.
There was a small, brief flurry of activity to jack, pack and tamp sections of the miniature railway to permit operations to resume tomorrow.
We think Bellerophon will be leaving us early next week so if you want to see this elegant engine working on our Railway the next two days offer that chance. Steward Craft will be serving Bucks Fizz in the Saloon both days with his usual aplomb.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Progress Thursday 5th August 2010

Dear all
After yesterday's disappointment today lifted the spirits again with the prearranged arrival of BBC East Midlands Today for a piece on They were able to start their tour with some footage of today's customer preparing to illustrate to Network Rail their new device to move long welded rail on the Incline. Journeying down the line they spent some time with VCT near Derby Road 4 bridge who had a nice fire going to burn the brash from their activities. Onwards to the PWT as they renewed their attack on the remaining 700 sleepers between Duffield and Hazelwood illustrating the dire state of the timbers being replaced. The final part of the filming work was of the Duffield Platform team completing the last of the tasks set them by Mick Thomas before he went on holiday. We are not sure when it will go out but they have been repeating some film of the launch of No3 throughout the day. The PWT achieved 24 sleepers today as they get back into their stride after the Duffield Tunnel work and VCT opened up more vistas. Mick will be back next week to re-energise the platform team with the next set of work.
Back at base the Ravenstor operated for a small but perfectly formed audience ably supported by the Booking Hall, Buffet Car and EVRA shop. Some further improvement was made to the interior of the SK for the fast approaching final steam gala weekend.

Steam Gala 2010

Morning all,

This YouTube user, a visitor to our railway last Sunday, has created what I would consider to be a reasonably good account of the Steam Gala featuring runs to Ravenstor on both No3 and in Iris as well as to Idridgehay behind Bellerophon. It also features many members of staff so look out for yourself! It is 18 minutes long and is not necessarily edited in the order that events occured.

Part 1:
Part 2:

If you couldn't make it last weekend, see you this weekend!



Choo Choo Tracks Cancellation

We are sorry about the cancellation at short notice of this event. Anybody with pre-paid tickets can collect their refund at the station from today for two weeks. Anybody who had purchased tickets online have already been refunded.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Progress Wednesday 4th August 2010

Dear all
If you sense a slightly jaundiced tinge to today's report please forgive me!
A successful day was held in Duffield Tunnel where the remaining 11 sleepers were changed and rails drilled to accept the final fishplate. Not an easy area with the base plates and spikes badly corroded making extracting and changing a time consuming process.
At Wirksworth we had a steam service to Idridgehay using Bellerophon and Iris plied the Incline. It is fair to say that a midweek experiment with steam barely covered costs but we did use the day to improve community relations with our neighbours on Bournebrook Avenue and I think this can be described as successful.
Lynette continued her attack on the station garden and the Booking Hall together with the Buffet Car welcomed our visitors.
During the day our good friends at Derbyshire Dales District Council telephoned to announce that we did not have the necessary paperwork in place for tonight's planned event involving live music and our liability would be a £20,000 fine and/or six months in jail. Therefore I cancelled the event. I do hope that whatever is planned by the Government in October will sweep away this barrier to our progress and endeavours to inject life and wealth into Wirksworth. One day someone will call and say "there seems to be a problem - what can I do to help?"

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Progress, Tuesday 3rd August

Evenin' all,

Another day of cleaning and prepping for more steam tomorrow. Even more coal was added to BELLEROPHON, enough to last it tomorrow. The water tank wagon was filled up ready for tomorrow and the weekend (hopefully).

The Incline service ran, carrying a few passengers. The rake of coaches on platform 1 was cleaned and charged .The Carriage dept had another good restoration day - they had a profitable weekend securing sponsorship for some of the new seats (Sponsor a seat for £150).

The Per way team delivered sleepers to site and dropped them off, the new batch takes them to just short of F4, and the end of the relay is now in site. They also dropped some off at Duffield to replace the 30' panel at the north of the tunnel.

The VCT had a big day at 49 steps (they counted every one) they carried out renewals to the stile/gate, removed vegetation, as well as moss etc from the steps. They managed one fire there and then cleared another tree that had become dangerous near to Jebbs Lane.

The Platform dept have now installed the old crossing timbers at the rear of the platform at Duffield, this can now be backfilled and rolled.

A new potential customer also had the grand tour and has requested work and a setting-up day for next week.

All in all a busy and productive day.


Monday, 2 August 2010

Progress, Monday 2nd August

Evenin' all,

A 0530 start to get ready for a photo charter, The visiting loco was coaled and watered before starting work - incidentally the well has run dry at Wirksworth. The members of the charter spent the morning going up and down the Incline with Bellepheron hauling two box vans and the LMS brakevan. After lunch the ensemble moved south. Due to the lack of water at Wirksworth, the loco filled up at Shottle, twice! Many thanks to Peak Oil. The train arrived back with half a boilerfull!

The Tank wagon was brought into the platform and had the hose running for a few hours . in order to get some water for mid week trains. The loco was also coaled up.

A long day, but the visitors certainly had a good day, and we await results.The EVRA shop as well as the Buffet car were open and both made a few quid. A start was made on cleaning the stock after the weekend and getting ready for next weekend.

A number of visitors also dropped in having seen the steam loco zooming back and forth.

Tomorrow's works train will start from Wirksworth, they will be followed by the VCT, also paying a visit to the centre of the universe.


Sunday, 1 August 2010

Progress Sunday 1st August 2010

Dear all
I have run out of superlatives! Another record day with the highest daily take of all time on our Railway, straining, but not breaking, all our resources. The steam service to Idridgehay was strengthened to three coaches and was full on every trip. The Saloon was a winner again with Steward Craft serving appreciative crowds at the suitably enhanced fare. The Met-Cams worked turn and turn about with the steam service admirably co-coordinated by the Wash Green Ground Frame team and today's special mention is of Robin Lee who masterminded the movements in the Yard involving walking several miles through the day.
The narrow gauge team of Rod and Mary reported good trade with the participants able to take photos of the Class 20 towering above the train and the various comings and goings of the steam engines as they took on coal and water.
No3 was popular again on the Ravenstor service with Iris filling in during the watering periods. The Booking Hall was double personed throughout the day and the car park was ably managed by our own team aided by a Youth Offending Team. The Buffet Car also achieved record takings and finally closed at around 1630 being devoid of any stock whatsoever - no waste there then!
It was good to see the LMSCA, Patriot Society and EVRA shop all providing an extra appeal to our visitors.
I can only express my gratitude once again to all who participated including the visiting train crews. I suspect that the photographs that will gradually emerge will be fascinating and show the line in a whole new light.
I hope we have the energy to deliver it all again next weekend together with the events planned for Wednesday.