Monday, 31 January 2011

Progress Monday 31st January 2011

Dear all
It's the end of January already although it was quite wintry on site again. The dmu team fitted the second heater to the Met-Cam centre car and received a few more seats for the vehicle. It is most pleasing how this essential vehicle for the opening is coming together.
A start was made on cataloguing our "small plant" as part of the process of evidencing that it is all in good and safe order. This is quite a task with the sheer volume of kit and the number of locations it is held in.
The LMS Third Open had a further coat of paint on the ceiling pushing forward this equally essential opening project.
The Booking Hall was open for business and the on line reservation system for the first public trains to and from Duffield is bursting into life. This reflects great credit on Robin and Leigh who have pulled the process together creating yet another first for our enterprise.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Progress Report Sunday the 30th of January 2011

Dear all,

Phew, another day in which we tirelessly thundered along. Iris received
the main thrust of our attention, in which the DMU team began exchanging
her current slightly incorrect seats for the right ones. The right ones,
reproduced at considerable expense, bear a very lovely green pattern
moquette with (rather inexplicably) small sea-shells on them: they are
quite delightful. This is, however, a hugely time-consuming process, and
as the former seats are removed from Iris and her own inserted, the
former seats (which are themselves of a high standard) will be going
into the Met Cam centre car. This is likely to take the whole of
February to achieve. Iris also had her bogies cleaned, with several
parts and a number of our cadets being well greased up.

Meanwhile, the steam team ministered to Ferrybridge No3, and it is being
de-winterised ready for a boiler inspection to take place shortly. The
LMS Brakevan continued to be de-constituted to its framework, with a
further application of the angle grinder today.

In the BSK, where the paint fumes were clearly beginning to have a
hallucinogenic effect on the three slappers inside, Captain Jack, Prince
Bradley of Narnia and a rabbit on a motorbike were in full production,
and the cage-work has been undercoated, to our considerable satisfaction.

Once again a magistrate of conscripts tested our vast organisational
skills and more painting was undertaken (the ladies toilet will be
returned to again next week), the North End School path fence was
repaired, and the carriage sidings walking route made more level. There
also appears to be an acute national shortage of wheelbarrows in
Wirksworth Yard, and I appeal for their return.

The Booking Hall completed the laminating of price labels, a task also
progressed yesterday by Rooney's Professional Printers Plc, and dealt
with a range of visitors from cyclists to bikers, potential new
volunteers and the Hon.George Aldridge, who was inspecting his property
in the north; as well as parting our busy staff from their hard-earned
pie money and miraculously (for us) selling a copy of Derbyshire Life.

All the best,

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Progress Saturday 29th January 2011

Evening all,

A bitterly cold day saw major progress yet again. The Met-Camm centre car, a vehicle that will hopefully be needed at the opening, went to the pit and had the south bogey brake work de-rusted and freed up so allow the brakes to work, whilst inside further work on the wooden door backs took place. Progress on this vehicle is coming on apace. The other half of the DMU team worked in the 108 to help get this vehicle ready for the opening as well!

The LMSCA were in full swing inside their Third Open and the 8F group seemed to be having a clearout. 

Further DMU driver training took place with another two drivers nearing completion of their course. Good luck to them!

Mike Evans via Leigh

Friday, 28 January 2011

Progress Friday 28th January 2011

Dear all
Essential work strides forward with the Met-Cam centre car over the pit for the fitting of its heating systems to be followed tomorrow by work on its north end brakework. The LMSCA were manufacturing light fittings and the temporary engine shed moved slowly forward with the first roof panel fixed.
The Class 20 Association's flying fitter checked whether reports of water ingress were serious and determined that all was well. After quite a long period of inactivity the batteries need a charge which will be undertaken next Friday.
The Saloon project moved forward with the east side solebar and bogies receiving paint and more remedial work undertaken on the west side. This vehicle will really look very nice when complete.
A small huddle assembled in the Training Room to ensure our driver and guard records were up to date. Vital work where we have to evidence what was taken for granted in the past. Thanks go to Stuart for hauling this all together.
Housekeeping jobs were in progress by the Booking Hall and Catering personnel. Great praise should be lavished on Leigh and Robin who have been working very long hours to enable us to achieve on line sales of our planned opening trains. Keep a watch on the web site as the system will go live in the near future. To reiterate, the plan is to run Shareholder preview trains on the 7th April, run a public opening on 8th April and then into the weekend of 9th and 10th April. Shareholders will be written to very shortly with an offer they can't refuse and the public sales will be at special prices over the following three days.
This, of course, all depends on us being able to complete a very wide range of tasks in time! It's almost like selling a housing development before the footings are installed and we only have the artist's impression together with great faith!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Progress Thursday 27th January 2011

Dear all
Yesterday I ascribed the excellent work at Shottle to Duffield. I have today moved that work to its rightful site at Shottle at the press of a few keys, if only the actuality was so simple! The PWT had mixed fortunes today as LJB refused to start and needed the battery charger to encourage life. After a reasonable pause the Works Train set off for Duffield and dropped a further two Dogfish worth of ballast to complete the stoning up of the loop. 10 tonnes of "MOT" was also delivered to complete the base for the remaining tactiles that will be installed to complete that part of the platform project.
The track through Shottle station was surveyed and realigned but more manpower will be need to address areas of this relaying outside the platform area. Following the discovery of a supply of left handed Pandrol clips those missing from the Duffield installation were inserted. The VCT had another productive day between the A6 bridge at Duffield and the platform with several loads being moved by trailer to the burning site where it was again a two fire day.
Interestingly it was noticed than 2 of the 6 sleepers dropped at Barnsley Lane to replace defective ones in the main line had disappeared. This accords with what seems to be a general rise in crime and I again urge vigilance throughout our empire with instant reporting to the Police if anything is not as it should be.
The temporary steam shed received further attention and Anton undertook some stress relieving painting. NVQ assessors spent some time with Alex who is well on the way for a railway engineering qualification.
More BuyaGift bookings were processed leading to an increasing expectation that this business will exceed the splendid results achieved last year.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Progress Wednesday 26th January 2011

Dear all
We received a further 32 tonnes of white gold together with 10 tonnes of not inexpensive platform fill for Duffield. This will be shipped to Duffield tomorrow and the contents of the Dogfish discharged to complete the ballasting of the loop. The platform fill is due to be gifted to Duffield next Tuesday.
The PWT have concentrated on Duffield with the buffer stop positioned at the end of the loop, for now, and the whole ensemble plated up, rail ends drilled and it is said there was an imaginative use of fishplates to join flat bottom to bullhead rail. The Duffield platform team have completed the troughing run at the back of the platform and an innovative solution has been arrived at to cope with the north end that does not allow for the depth of troughing we require.
The Model Railway group report progress with their "n" gauge layout and further work has been achieved on the Saloon. Low temperature have frustrated the application of varnish but this will be applied when conditions improve.
The LMSCA have been in go mode again with step boards fixed, further lights fixed and wall finishing pieces applied. The "PassCom" which I understand to be the communication cord has received attention. I don't know what the current price for incorrect use of this device is now?
The Chairman and I have been reviewing our Safety Management System and amended as necessary in the light of current circumstances.
Charter enquiries continue apace leading to a hope that 2011 will be quite a spectacular year.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Progress Tuesday 25th January 2011

Dear all
Another day of unremitting effort with something around 60 volunteers at various locations which is stupendous by any measure of activity on a heritage railway on a non operational day. Down south the Duffield platform team installed water to the former Vodaphone building and laid a further 30 sections of toughing at the back of the new platform.VCT made a substantial impact between the A6 bridge and the new platform on the Up (east) side with a reported "numerous" loads of brash transported to the burning site that sported two fires. Alan also fixed another couple of structure markers so we all know where we are on the new section of line.
Further north the PWT assembled the 90 extra feet to the Shottle loop siding fixing everything down only leaving the fishplate bolt holes to be drilled into the bullhead rail section ahead of the buffer stop that will be positioned later in the week. The team also sorted out a further reusable 14 sleepers together with 4 garden quality for disposal by the VCT head of department.
Even further north at Wirksworth we were pleased to welcome a MTT customer who was being put through his paces by Network Rail. The activities were ably supervised by Hylton and supported by Joe Ruddock with the forklift truck. There was further progress with the steam locomotive shed and it was good to see Fred and Iris back in action giving the Mess Hall a good do.
A grand team were working on the Stanier Third Open dealing with the heavy work of installing replacement vacuum cylinders, refurbishing the release valves and fitting the first of the interior veneer panels. Finishing wood was applied to the four interior doors, more packing installed and further work to the lighting. The vestibule floors were uplifted ready for replacement in advance of the planned installation of linoleum. New vacuum "bags" were fitted and the whole team are to be congratulated on the speed at which things are coming together.
The DST removed the front buffers of No3 so they can receive inserts to make them more effective. Henry Ellison received further attention to the rear of the cab and foundation ring together with much cleaning and painting of components.
We welcomed Leigh Gration to his first day as co-coordinator of the reservations for our line opening activities which, all being well, will go live on 1st February. This singular opportunity to build up funds for the future and pay the not inconsiderable costs surrounding the opening is an essential part of our way forward in 2011.
Also rumbling along in the background is the planning for this great event of the decade, maybe the century. If you meet people a little frayed at the edges as the pressure mounts, be gentle with them!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Progress Monday 24th January 2011

Dear all
A normal day of measured peace and quite shattered by the newly arrived tank wagon being sandblasted to great effect by a person in a suit that resembled that of a deep sea diver. In a two day contract the vehicle will receive undercoat and be ready to take its place as a secondary water supply for our visiting steam locomotive. To ensure our stock wasn't damaged during the blasting process Tommy and Santa's Grotto were moved out of the way and two Dogfish and a Grampus were shunted to Wash Green dock for more stone arrivals later in the week.
The Saloon now has gloss paint applied to the east side and north end with further work to continue Wednesday. The Motive Power Superintendent was on site for some further dmu maintenance and, after the shunting activities of yesterday, the Buffet Car had all its services reconnected.
In the background our Chairman has undertaken work to persuade Derbyshire County Council that we are worthy of inclusion within their next Local Transport Plan and that they should concentrate on making the access from Duffield Main Line to Duffield EVR a safe and smooth route - we shall see!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Progress Report Sunday the23rd of January 2011

Dear all,

A useful day with many small groups of volunteers around the site
carrying out a wide range of jobs. The most challenging of these jobs
transpired to be a reformation of the Gat Ex set, which involved a
gathering of carriage and wagon expertise not often seen in one place
together, and which took every hour of daylight we possessed,
unfortunately, whilst this proved successful at the end, we were not
able to get the requested dogfish into the ballast dock before night
overcame both us and an exhausted Rolling Stock Supervisor, and I
apologise for this.

Notwithstanding the shunting of the vast rake of wagons and carriages
which were sat in line 3, to enable the above to take place ("its like
Clapham Junction"), work proceeded with the crucial door backs to the
Met Cam centre car and now half are completed, along with their
associated Formica and the staining of two of them, thanks to Ashbourne
Stains. Even this apparently simple statement disguises a type of work
where the drilling of one hole took the best part of an hour, and which
was clearly trying the patience of the DMU Team, as well as exhausting
our supply of drill bits.

Around the yard, the Inspection Saloon progressed, with more painting to
be done tomorrow and the LMS brake van resounded to the sound of the
angle grinder. Lamport Dave put up two outstanding signs and then
proceeded to assist Allenby Enterprises and a lightly painted Captain
Jack with the application of undercoat to the BSK parcels compartment.
Another huge turnout of conscripts tested our supply of shovels and
wheelbarrows, and a whole series of winter potholes were filled in
station approach; the carriage area walking route levelled, and the
ladies toilet received the first of three coats of floor paint. Ladies
may have to wait a day or two now.

The Booking Hall spent the day repricing our interesting range of
goodies and dealt with several visitors including yet another charter
enquiry, who were shown the FO, fortunately back in its siding by the
time they arrived.

All the best,

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Progress Report Saturday 22nd January 2011

Dear all,

A brief report to say we had a most productive day continuing the work on the class 108 guards van trim; dealing with driver training (congrats to Tom T and Pete) and progress was made on the LMSCA Third Open's Art-Deco lights and other parts.

All the best,
Mike Evans via Anton

Friday, 21 January 2011

Progress Friday 21st January 2011

Dear all
Another day of unrelenting progress towards our opening in April. The Third Open had the attentions of that painting legend, Ernie Bradley, who completed a full repaint of the ceiling of the entire coach and the lesser mortals dealt with the lights within the coach. Liegh ploughed a lone furrow most of the day with Met-Cam centre car as door interiors were reassembled.
The Saloon moved further forward with much "tiger" sealing of the windows and more filler applied. Given better temperatures we should see to top coat applied next week.
It is planned that the Gatwick Express coaches are rearranged on Sunday dictating that all services were disconnected from the Buffet Car in case it reacts to the shunting movements.
The Guerrilla Gardeners explained there objectives for the area above Platform 3 at Wirksworth and were firmly put under the control of Pat Craft who knows more about this sort of activity than most! We should end up with a most pleasant area that will add value to the station and a further attraction for our visitors. Locally grown fruit and vegetables must be an asset to our activities and we look forward to a sales stall on the platform.
Interestingly the usual suspects on the various local councils that pretend to be helpful to us run true to form with a catalogue of reasons why this should not take place and what permissions are needed for a garden! We have advised "full speed ahead". This team of volunteers from Wirksworth have the ability to combine their objectives with ours and I wish them every success.
In the deep recesses of the Records Office our paperwork has undergone of further day of updating and Passenger Services have been planning for the future which has included the future shape of our Duffield installation to achieve a minimum cost best solution for the opening.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Progress Thursday 20th January 2011

Dear all
Very solid progress made at Duffield with some platform fill inserted to enable work to continue on the toughing and further improvements to the former Vodaphone hut achieved. Two Dogfish loads of white gold were deposited at the south end of the run round loop but I fear more is required. The VCT moved five trailer loads of brash and dealt with more vegetation south of the A6 bridge. A satisfactory fire was kept going near milepost 134.
The PW team turned their attentions to Shottle where next week's action will take place. A sort of our diminishing sleeper stock produced 44 of suitable quality to extend the Shottle loop southwards and using two 60ft rails released from Duffield and a 60ft bullhead rail cut in two so that we will be able to extend by 90ft. This will be topped off by the buffer stop released from the Car Park line in Wirksworth.
The Saloon repainting project proceeded but was affected inhibited by the sub zero temperatures that prevailed all day.
A general note as we receive emails from the Police about activity in our area showing quite an increase in burglary from shops and business premises together with roving gangs removing catalytic converters from vehicles on the roadside. It behoves us to be ever vigilant and ensure all our premises are locked down as far as is humanly possible when we depart at night. It is always most helpful when members who live close by our Railway can bob in at unsocial hours and not be inhibited from dialling 999 if they see something suspicious.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Progress Wednesday 19th January 2011

Dear all
Another day when everyone was in go mode. The PW team completed the slewing of Duffield loop and transported three wagon loads of brash away from the VCT's cutting area. They also loaded up half a wagon of logs for transport to Shottle. Missing fishplate bolts in the Duffield Tunnel headshunt were replaced and much moving of material to Shottle, including rail to extend the loop, scrap and reusable sleepers was achieved.
Materials collected from Twiggs this morning were used to repair the gutters and downpipes on the former Vodaphone building at Duffield. There was much activity at Wirksworth as material was delivered for fill at the Duffield platform and two Dogfish were filled with white gold for the Duffield loop. The coal receiving point at the north end of the Car Park received attention with metal sheets placed on the ground around the coal bunker to ensure the next delivery is not contaminated by stone. The steam shed supports were concreted completing this part of the project.
The Met-Cam centre car moved on apace with the interior looking very respectable and it is hoped that the seating can be fixed to receive upholstery in the not too distant future. The north end and east side of the Saloon are now in undercoat and very splendid it looks too. The LMSCA have been in action as well with the first bulkhead seat fixed and the wheels painted, again you can see the coach visibly changing for the better.
Our BuyaGift products seem to have been popular over the Christmas period with booking requests coming in at a fair rate. It is hoped that the booking arrangements for the opening trains will be on the web site in the next seven days.
Apart from the train crew, all permanent way people should report to Shottle tomorrow which will feature over the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Progress Tuesday 18th January 2011

Dear all
We should get used to a tapestry of events that influence our enterprise but today produced another adventure as we were requested to host the final day of Birmingham University's Independent Competent Persons course. Jointly sponsored by the Office of Rail Regulation and the Heritage Railway Association we hosted the event by picking up the participants at Duffield and paused at Shottle which became part of the day's exercise. At the end of the day the team were returned to Duffield and many thanks are due to Lewis, Graham and David who had quite a long day. Among the participants were the team from Birmingham and people from the Bluebell, West Somerset, Teifi, RH&DR, Severn Valley and Corris Railways plus our own Phil Tarry. This was the last day of the course and they all should be qualified as ICPs if the end of day interviews were satisfactory. Jeff provided the necessary catering to this group and we earned a satisfactory return from our efforts.
Our train crew undertook some essential shunting during the day to prepare for tomorrow's deliveries of stone and Duffield platform fill.
The VCT had a most productive day with seven people in the team as they mounted a further attack on the vegetation at Duffield and burnt the brash at milepost 134. The scene at Duffield is being totally transformed through the formally dank, dark cutting there. The PWT used all the bagged ballast in the Grampus's to complete the boxing up of the Duffield North Junction pointwork and covered three remaining exposed manholes. Some 54ft of troughing was laid at the back of the Platform ready for further fill which will be delivered to a wagon at Wirksworth tomorrow.
The LMSCA strode forward with the Third Open with side wall packing, further ceiling work and the installation of new axle box bearing pads. This project is swiftly moving forward but is really exercising their finances with a commitment to provide linoleum for the coach costing £2,000 in addition to the tens of thousands already spent.
The DST began the "dewinterisation" of Ferrybridge No 3 with the locomotive being moved over the pit and many parts were refurbished for reinstatement to Henry Ellison. The Saloon has been undergoing a steady programme of attention which has culminated today with the north end and east side having their final fill ready for the first undercoat. Thanks are due to John Allsop who has moved this project forward in less than ideal conditions.
I have to mention an unsung hero who has been concentrating on the remedial work needed to our track before opening is possible and has identified remedial work needed to the drainage on the Hazelwood straight and has sorted the permanent way stores at Shottle.To safe his blushes I won't mention the name but this is vital behind the scenes work.
It was good to welcome Fred and Iris back into the fold now the weather is improving and Dorothy was undertaking a stock check of the catering equipment.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Progress Monday 17th January 2011

Dear all
I am pleased to be back amongst you after a study tour of the tramways of Lodz and receive an inordinate number of emails and answerphone messages. All up to date now with some satisfactory income generators.
A grateful thanks to the mystery plumber who has restored normal service to the Buffet Car after remedying three burst pipes in the vehicle and to Monday's Booking Hall clerk who kept the interruptions to the minimum.
The energy is really needed to ensure the opening arrangements are dealt with and all projects are directed to this most singular objective. Further refinement of what we want to achieve is now determined and we should start selling this once in a lifetime opportunity in the next couple of weeks.
Tomorrow sees a most interesting day as we host the University of Birmingham's Independent Competent Person course which will be interwoven with the requirements of the VCT and the planning for the necessary tamping in March. All pw staff should report to Duffield tomorrow and there will be no Works Train.Beware we will expect the temporary return of Tarry.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Progress Report Sunday the 16th of January 2011

Dear all,

A pleasant start which turned damp as the day wore on. This did not
divert our volunteers from a huge range of tasks which were achieved
today. We will begin with the Steam Team, as they arrived before the
milkman. On Henry Ellison, which we shall call no 2217, panels were
welded to the cab back and welding also done to the front drawbar as
well as making some joints and cleaning the clack valves. On 2360 known
to you as No 3, some time was spent with the brick arch and making the
fire bar ring complete. Taking a break from their engines, the Steam
Team then freed the drain cap on the Tanker Wagon, repaired the thread
and welded the frost damaged pipe.

Meanwhile the milkman had delivered some green top and a wad of
conscripts, so many that it was necessary to create three teams. Tiny
Conscript was delegated to the removal of the Christmas Tree, which had
over-extended its welcome somewhat, or past twelve days anyway: this was
consigned to the potash pile accompanied by the annual ritual of burning
a year's supply of the Daily Mail. Small Conscript was delegated to the
eradication of Mount Thomas, a large pile of snow deposited outside the
Booking Hall during the recent execrable weather, which had refused to
melt: this has now been removed and much of the area around it swept and
some potholes filled. Regular Conscript was delegated to the tidying of
scaffolding poles to enable the transfer of certain scrap, sorry,
valuable railway artefacts from one carriage to another in the yard, for
later sorting by the LMSCA.

While this furious activity was taking place, the DMU Team had also bred
during the night into two teams and Team Blue proceed to eliminate the
Guard's Ejector System, a loose plank in the Guards Door of the class
108, which is famous for tipping guards onto the nearest pile of mud,
platform or slightly miffed passing waitress from the buffet car. Team
Blue then proceed to refit the lamp irons to the corridor end of the
108, a simple task taking a mere five and half hours of big hairy men
(sorry, Rob) swinging on elephant-sized spanners to return the said
irons to their correct places for the first time in 12 years. The ends
of the newly fitted handrail bolts were also successfully removed using
a very small tool, and this is of course no reflection on Brad or the
size of his tool. Team Green on the other hand occupied themselves with
the door backs for the Centre Car and these are composed of,
miraculously, the original 1957 Formica, which had survived various BR
refurb attempts and the infestation of the foul orange, so much a
feature of feckless 1970s BR interior design. The door backs are
therefore a delightful pale green, as they originally would have been.

I am sorry this is such a huge report, I won't keep you. Meanwhile in
the Gat Ex, Bramson Enterprises continued the replacement of the FO
armrests and now there remain only three to repair, in what has been a
long saga. Taking a break from this some roof scraping was also engaged
in, in the BSK, in preparation for its interior painting. Up in the
yard, the narrow gauge Lister received fitters attention, and the repair
work to the LMS Brake Van proceeded to the sound of the angle grinder.

We were quite, quite, exhausted. Fortunately the Pot Noodles arrived in
time for tea.

All the best,

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Progress Sat 15th Jan 2011

Evening all,

The only operations of the day were some further DMU driver training runs. These three guys have been providing their valuable assistance generally around the railway for a while now and it is excellent that they are finally getting close to not only fulfilling their ambitions of becoming a driver but also becoming a valuable addition to the team of drivers who will help us out significantly during the packed 2011 operating season.

Elsewhere, the second corridor connection of the Met-Camm Centre car was completed which is another great step towards having this vehicle ready for the opening. This means the vehicle can now be coupled up to other DMU vehicles properly so that passengers can walk through the train. Unfortunately, without an adapter, DMU corridor connections are not compatible with MkI corridor connections. Luckily though they do fit with LMS corridor connections!

The LMSCA were again in full swing working towards their ambitious target of completing the TO in time for the opening.

The 8F group were in attendance and so were the Passenger Department, who reported that it was currently warm enough to paint...

A very good day,

Mike Evans

Friday, 14 January 2011

Progress Friday 14th January 2011

Evening all,

Today was all about coaches and rolling stock.

The DMU team constructed one end of the Met-Camm Centre Car's corridor connections from scratch. Having not done one before it was more of a jigsaw puzzle than anything else, but it had pleasing results.

The LMSCA were out in force inspecting the axle boxes on the Third Open. Progress was too declared more than satisfactory.

In the shed, further work was undertaken on the preparation for the repaint of the Inspection Saloon.



Progress at Duffield Thurs 13th

A bigger team today and finer weather resulted in another 48 tonnes of white gold spread along the running line which has been duly boxed up completing this part of the work. Next for ballasting is the runround somtime next week with some slewing to line in anticipation of this.

Platform work is again in full swing with 8 more tactiles laid, the steps at the North end completed and all the levels along the back edge marked out for installation of troughing.

The South crossover has been lubricated and readjusted after the Siberian weather affected the functioning of the fpl. Difficulty was experienced normalising the lock until Richard Hatch discovered a mammoth tusk stuck in the point blades. We were going to send it for carbon dating but R. Hatch distinctly remembers it dying there about 5 thousand years ago when he was a lad.

VCT have been in attendance again with their scorched earth policy in Duffield cutting. They estimate some 10 train loads of brash and rubbish has been removed including 3 more wagon loads today.

Next Tues all to sign on at Duffield as no works train due to occupation of the single line by one of our customers.

Cheers MKT.


Thursday, 13 January 2011

Progress at Duffield wed 12th Jan

  A smaller team than yesterday but managed to sort out the various manholes at Duffield as well as adding a further sleeper to the North crossover to correct a problem with timber spacing. This work should enable us to drop the remaining ballast in the running line and box up tommorow. Another 48 tonnes of ballast delivered today and much shunting to get the train consist correct for an early get away in the morning. Shovel types to sign on at Duffield, train crew types to sign on at Wirksworth,Oh and the Dorchester dining car will be with you again for lunch tommorow.

Cheers MKT


Wednesday, 12 January 2011

progress at Duffield Tuesday Jan 11th

Hi all much work has been carried out at Duffield today with the platform north end steps constructed, another 28 tons of ballast deposited in the headshunt and south crossover with the whole lot boxed up with the remainder of the ballast drop from Fridays excursion boxed up as well. This leaves one third of the running line and runround left to box up ready for tamping. Another 3 hopper loads will be delivered tommorow and taken to Duffield on Thurs - this will complete the running line.Hopefully tommorow will see some of the manholes attended to at Duffield with most of them in various stages of decrepidation. They will be made up to sleeper level and have affective lids placed thereon. Various little heaps of errant sleepers have also been sorted ready for despatch to their new homes. VCT have also been busy in the cutting north of Duffield tunnel again with mountains of brash and rubbish removed to expose a vista of garden fences ( or not in the case of one particular garden that seemed to rely on the rubbish to create a boundary that now seems rather exposed ). It really beggers belief the amount of rubbish tipped onto the cutting faces that we now have to remove at our expense and great effort. I hope the good burhgers ( or is that burgers as in macdonalds ) of Duffield appreciate our efforts to clean up the place.

Cheers MKT


Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Hi-Vis Review

Dear all,

Those of you who have been around the station at Wirksworth over the
last two or three weeks will have noted the testing of maroon hi-vis
vests, and the discussions about it in the Mess Room and in general. For
some ten years now, the Railway has been effectively a construction site
and the standard hi-vis in use has been orange. However, we are now
changing to a fully operational railway from April, and there appears to
be a consensus that this is an opportunity to review the position. We
propose, therefore, that infrastructure and trackside activities will
retain orange, but that Operations and Passenger Dept staff and all
public visitors, such as Days with a Driver guests or persons wishing to
view the yard, will move to maroon in order to reduce the "sea of
orange" around our stations, which so often negatively impacts our
public, community and heritage image. We have used maroon as our
day-to-day uniform almost since the inception of the Railway, it has
been popular and makes us recognisable as having our own image rather
than us being some reproduction of BR or an appendage of Network Rail.

A supply of maroon hi-vis will be made available presently and we hope
you will support this approach.

With kindest regards
Anton Shone, Passenger Services Manager and Stuart Smith, Operations

Monday, 10 January 2011

New Website

To echo a previous message, we hope to be launching our new website in the near future. If you find that the site is unavailable (404 error etc) or that pages are slow, please bear with us as we will be back soon! You may also experience strange URL's in the address bar.

Once the new site has launched, the live webcam streams will be temporarily unavailable to online viewers.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Progress Report Sunday the 9th of January 2011

Dear all,

A thoroughly pleasant winter's day here today. Starting at the south end
of the line, general tidying was in progress between Duffield and
Holloway Road. At Wirksworth the guerilla gardeners attended in force
and with the plans for the new embankment gardens. There will be three
gardens along the top of the west-facing embankment above the station,
where there are nice views of the trains and the town. At the south end
will be a circular garden with benches, a sitting area and a water
feature, with cottage garden plants. In the centre will be a vegetable
garden where growing things will be grown; and at the north end there
will be a Forest Garden which will be for wildlife including bees, field
mice, tigers and such.

Around the station the new 2011 timetables were put up and repairs and
relocations made to some of the poster boards. The Duty Conscript moved
a great deal of Complete Railway Aggregate Products from around the
coach sidings and then de-balled the Christmas Tree pending its removal
with the Komatsu, as it was a twinge to heavy to move with the mere 40
staff available this weekend.

The main thrust of the day was in the rolling stock. Much banging took
place in the LMS brake van and the brake van team were suitably happy at
the end of the day. Next to the brake van, the BSK, little mentioned in
these annals and a fairly recent arrival from another railway, had its
parcels compartment trim attended to, though not before some
particularly unique previous repairs at the vehicle's earlier home had
revealed themselves, which elicited a brief staff discussion about the
ability to differentiate ones buttocks from ones elbows.

Meanwhile the DMU team when not attempting to superglue Matt to the Met
Cam centre car, had begun work on the newly arrived door backs, which
have to be sanded and varnished as part of the general refurbishment
work on this vehicle. Most importantly however, the vacuum system of the
vehicle was tried and found to be generally sound and this is a major
step forward in its progress.

Continuing with rolling stock (it being one of those days), the
long-running fault preventing the Gat Ex TSO from heating its contents
(that is passengers) was traced to a switch in the heating system. The
TSO now has operational heating (the switch having been turned on).
Finally, the class 108 received its door grab handles and this completes
its exterior attachment work.

Finally, we convey our best wishes to Chris Lings upon his departure to
Australia, Chris has be a friend and ally to our Railway and to the DMU
team in particular, we wish him every success in a country famed for its
surfing and man-eating spiders.

All the best,

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Progress Sat 8th 2011

Dear All,
  Its been quite a while since I wrote a weekend report. However your usual Saturday scribe is currently some where in London.  So here goes.
A rather busy day today with many volunteers on site working to further various projects.
Driver training was undertaken on both the Ravenstor and Duffield lines using Iris and a two car DMU. The 3 trainee drivers progressing in skills satisfactorily.
In the yard the LMSCA carried out further work on the TO with the celling undercoted and beading added.  This coach is looking better every time I see it. Also on the carriage and wagon front cleaning was carried out in the BSK and a young offender cleaned the Buffet car.
On the Mk2 Gatwick Express set further work was carried out on the FO heating system to bring it back into full operation.
A further trip to Mrs Miggins also known as the Midland Railway Centre was carried out by a member of the DMU team. This proved to be most useful expedition as many parts for the Met-cam centre car were acquired while there. These included the door backs, chrome tops for the seat frames, vacuum hoses and electrical jumpers.
We were also pleased to welcome another new cadet today, further increasing the volunteer numbers.
The 8F group were also around and continued with the tidying of their support coach. Meanwhile at the opposite end of the line, Duffield Station staff (Rodney) continued with the removal of brash from site.
John Stokes on behalf of Mike Evans.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Progress Friday 7th January 2011

Despite mother nature's best efforts to derail our plans today Hylton Holt and Tony Watt managed to trip the ballast hoppers to Duffield where their contents were duly spread along the platform line. In order to make the point with the said snow mother that we are not to be trifled with, we, with the help of Chris and John, boxed up the platform line with the remainder to be continued next week. Next weeks work will be p way at Duffield Tues, Wed, and Thursday so can shovel candidates please sign on Duffield at 9 am except the rostered works train crew who need to sign on at Wirksworth on Tuesday so they can be taxied to Duffield enabling them to work the hoppers back to Wirksworth on Tuesday at close of play. More white gold to be worked to Duffield on Thursday.

Cheers MKT.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Progress Thursday 6th January 2011

Dear all
A most satisfactory day as the main project was under extreme focus. The PWT completed the Duffield loop jacking and packing which was no mean feat given how much the track needed lifting. This process incorporated the removal of the road/rail access point outside the cabin and the material released has help minimise the additional stone required there.
The Komatsu was returned from Duffield to Wirksworth and reattached the flail for an afternoon's activity on the Gorsey Bank section. To aid this activity and release the VCT Landrover for action Hylton and John Silvester kindly rushed to Wirksworth to move the Works Train out of the way. The VCT were in action in the Hazelwood area and Alan has fixed a very tasteful bridge number on the Wash Green structure, DJW26.
The LMSCA had a productive day on the Third Open and work continued with the refurbishment of the Saloon. The steam shed had some cladding attached to the east side aspect.
Ballasting will commence at Duffield tomorrow as long as the stone is not frozen within the Dogfish hoppers.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Progress Wednesday 5th January 2011

Dear all
A day of unremitting dismal rain but great progress towards our re-opening goal. At Wirksworth 48 tonnes of limestone ballast was deposited into our three Dogfish hopper wagons for transit to Duffield on Friday and the elements were put in place so that refurbishment of the exterior of the Saloon can commence tomorrow.
Much effort and energy was devoted to the trackwork at Duffield with the slewing of the platform track concluded. Jacking and packing of the Duffield loop dealt with about 66% necessitating some quite high lifts to ensure it is level with the "main line".The road/rail access point opposite the main entrance has been removed and future operations will use the loop headshunt. Chairs were screwed down at Duffield South after yesterdays realignment activities. I take my hat off yet again for the degree of productivity in atrocious conditions.
I am sorry I omitted the triumph of the DST with Henry Ellison but readers will see that achieving our opening day and the activities associated with this will absorb all my waking hours. Regrettably triumphs in areas not associated with this objective will not elicit much excitement if we miss the main objective of the previous 10 years endeavour however laudable they are.
Nonetheless, activity has been evident on the Model Railway today and some of you will have noticed that I am preparing for the new Wirksworth Marina with two boats in storage on site now.
Tomorrow sees renewed activity at Duffield so if you can participate come on down.

New Website

We will shortly be transferring to our new website. Whilst this happens, pages on our site may be unavailable or slow. Please bear with us!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Progress Tuesday 4th January 2011

Dear all
Our most important year since this project started has begun in earnest.The Permanent Way Team incorporated the SK (Second Class Corridor) coach in their consist today to allow for the gauging of Duffield platform and the A6 bridge there. It would have been unfortunate if all the hard work produced a track configuration that could not cope with the vehicles we plan to operate from April. The exercise resulted in slewing the track where necessary and dictates that the remainder of the working week will concentrate on the track alignment at our southern terminus.
The LMSCA supported a team of eight on the Third Open dealing with a wide variety of jobs including seat brackets, vacuum brake components, light fittings and many other areas of the vehicle.
The VCT achieved further felling at Duffield and burning of brash near MP134, returning their Landrover to Wirksworth at the end of the day for routine checks and refuelling.
Outside our main thrust for the reopening the DST continued with the restoration of Henry Ellison as funds permit.
PS - for those participating in the Permanent Way activities for the rest of the week there will be no requirement for a Works Train and everyone should report to Duffield for the tasks required there. A special appeal to Tony Wheeldon to bring a full gas cylinder as there will be no hot drinks without it! It is suggested that work will commence at 0900hrs prompt!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Progress Report Sunday the 2nd of January 2011

Dear all,

A pleasant day of pottering around with the passenger service engaged in
its final day (we trust) of Idridgehay-only timetabled trains, with the
exception of a single planned service on Mothers Day, which will be
pre-bookable with lunch (details of this will be on the website
shortly), there will now be a short maintenance gap until the Duffield
line opening. We were not so busy as yesterday, but it was still a
cheerful start to the New Year.

Around the yard the DMU team shunted their various units to clear the
running lines and undertook further work on the guards van of the class
108. Various coolant and anti-freeze was topped up as the weather may
yet give us another moment, and Higham Enterprises attempted to do some
topping up of his own. The steam team proceeded with the construction of
a brick arch to the firebox parts of No 3, so that, as I understand it,
it will have a bigger chuff. The steam team has also asked me to see if
anyone wishes to assist with steam locomotive cleaning, the brunt of
this is currently born by Matt and Chris and more hands would be of
help. Should you be interested in applying the oily rag please let Bob
Gibbens know and he will happily describe the job.

All the best,

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Progress Saturday 1/1/11

Dear all,

Start where we left off. The first day of 2011 was damp and a bit rainy but we were pleasantly surprised with the amount of people who came to enjoy or New Year Trains and Fizz event. Everybody was complementary! Of the three trains that were timetabled today, the middle one at 13:00 was the busiest by far.

Down the yard, a small team continued to investigate the vacuum leak on 55006 making some further small steps and the LMSCA were out in force working on the Third Open coach.

Happy New Year,

Graham Walker via Leigh