Monday, 28 February 2011

Progress Monday 28th February 2011

Dear all
Our operation to tamp and line the track from Idridgehay to Duffield commenced today with a machine from the Gloucester & Warwickshire Railway managed by Railway Support Services. The operators travelled to Wirksworth this morning and we managed a midday start. However, the progress was good and some 3/4 of a mile has been dealt with during this afternoon. All bodes well for an 0900 departure tomorrow that should see the remainder of the long welded dealt with together with Shottle pointwork. All permanent way staff should come to Wirksworth in the first instance as there are a number of related tasks to be achieved.
Ferrybridge No3 had its second day of steaming in preparation for tomorrow's boiler inspector visit and all was reported well. We hope to use the locomotive for a little light shunting tomorrow which will really replicate times past.
Preliminary explorations of the SK's toilet system were undertaken to see if we can get a full flush on opening day.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

New Stock List Available for Download

Dear all,

A new stock list is available to download. It is located under the "Enthusiasts" heading on the new official website.

Main update this time includes some basic details about the tank wagon that arrived recently. If anybody else knows more about this vehicle then please contact John Stokes directly.


Progress Sunday the 27th of February 2011

Dear all,

I speak to you now from the parlour of the Whore and Trumpet (A
Marston's House), where embrocation is being applied to our parts after
another tumultuous day. Following the (no doubt) considerable joy of
motorists on many roads between Toddington and here, the tamper arrived
on a gargantuan but slow low-loader and then had to be turned so that
the sharp end faces south. Inevitably the heavens opened at this point,
but the low-loader crew met this with their usual resignation in the
face of torrential rain, much the same having happened at Toddington
this morning where they also had to turn the tamper. Surely, you may
say, was it not the right way round in the first place? Er, yes, it was.

Meanwhile in preparation for the tamper, the Sunday P-way gang had been
toiling on Hazelwood straight, where 5 panels of sleepers were squared,
drainage channels improved, and scrap collected.

Around Wirksworth Yard, the steam team lit up Ferrybridge No3 and tested
its brick arch by taking it to Idridgehay Gates before declaring
themselves happy. Meanwhile the Taylor Process, whose top secret method
appears to consist of a bucket of water with bleach, was continuing to
be applied to said gates and nearby items. Much the same approach but
this time with washing up liquid was being applied to the gradient posts
and the Museum Carriage at Wirksworth, and this vehicle now has a yellow
end again, rather than a green one.

The DMU team finished all but two of the Met Cam seats and the Rolling
Stock Superintendent displayed his vast talents by fitting axle box pads
to the tanker wagon, oiled the axle boxes of the Saloon and went on, in
a packed programme, to adjust the speedo on Iris. The LMSCA continued
their considerable efforts in the LMS Third Open with the heater plating
being attended to, amongst other things. Also in the general field of
the LMS, the brake van appeared to have turned the corner in so far as
it received its first new bolted-on bit, as opposed to having its bits
ground off, which is what has been taking place so far. The newly
arrived wagon body from another nearby railway received the inevitable
undercoat, under Rule 1001: "Rusting vehicles are not permitted at the EVR".

Finally, the Duty Conscript discovered that it was difficult to hold his
pants up and work at the same time, but nevertheless did a fine job of
removing some of the excess ballast from the platform 3 interlaced track
and applied it to what will be the start of the new picnic area path.
Members of the public standing on the platform felt that green underwear
was fairly tasteful, but possibly not the year's most fashionable colour.

The Booking Hall happily shook some wallets even between showers.

All the best,

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Progress Saturday 26th February 2011

Evening all,

A day which turned out beautiful in the end enabling our charter guests who had a ride to Idridgehay followed by a buffet to enjoy the line at its best.

The DMU team had a triumph today as they successfully connected the centre car up and completed a test run as a 3-car set. It was important to iron out any issues that may have occurred well before the opening. In the end, everything worked as it should with the centre car vacuum cylinders, brake rigging and communication chord all working and the gears, throttle, direction changing etc all working through from one power car to the other.

The 8F group were found to be painting the newly arrived van body so that it is in keeping with our tidiness and the Passenger Services Manager occupied himself inbetween dealing with visitors by fixing various things. The LMSCA were also hard at work getting their coach ready.

Despite great anticipation, as of home time, there was no sign of a tamper. 

Mike Evans via Leigh

Friday, 25 February 2011

Progress Friday 25th February 2011

Dear all
The day started with sheer mayhem and substantial expenditure. Lorries were queuing up at 0900 to deliver 10 tonnes of coal, 10 rails for the long welded section and a van body containing the worldly goods of the 8F group from Darley Dale. The coal was duly unloaded at sites suitable for our own No3 and the visiting 78019. The rails were transferred using the Komatsu from the lorry to the Sturgeon and the van body taken to its new resting place near the Maintenance Facility. A further delivery later in the day brought two substantial bogies suitable for large locomotive boilers.
In amongst this was a customer who luckily only needed the Gorsey Bank line for his tests being ably looked after by Mick Thomas. Rod and Mary tended to the packing of one of the buffers on the Shark. The old packing had completely rotted through and the buffer was hanging down dangerously. A most valuable job very well done.
The LMSCA admired their new flooring and tended to the doors on the east side of the vehicle together with those on the east side of the SK. A broken "butterfly" from the Passenger Communication system was splendidly repaired by our neighbours at the Garage across the road. A very generous gesture of help.
Alan Taylor from the VCT team had gallantly been volunteered to improve the paintwork at Idridgehay and test drove a bleach solution for removing the green mould that despoiled the finish. Success was reported and he also kindly removed the now redundant "passenger trains stop here" board and how the bleach process might be applied to the Up Distant Board that has also gone a slight shade of green.
The dmu team were putting seats together in the Met-Cam centre car and there was general moving of equipment to permit the 8F team's chattels to be landed.
The Booking Hall had a successful day with further opening bookings and two charter requests.
PS All next week sees the tamper in action working south from Idridgehay. Any help with the work necessary would be most welcome. 

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Progress Thursday 24th February 2011

Dear all
The permanent way team were very occupied today with a solitary two men resuming the sleeper squaring project achieving a magnificent 3/8 of a mile leaving around 18 panels to complete on Sunday subject to the necessary assistance. The remainder of the team deposited further white gold on the long welded section and squared the remaining concrete sleepers that were out of line. The Works Train returned to Wirksworth with the Sturgeon and Flatrol in the consist and shunted them to the Car Park to receive tomorrow's rail delivery. The remaining bagged ballast in the Car Park was loaded together with Midland Railway lamp posts. The now empty Dogfish were shunted into the Wash Green dock for yet more ballast.
The VCT had a most successful day moving numerous loads of brash to the burning site where there was one giant fire to consume them. A Duffield garden north of the Holloway Road foot crossing with no fencing was dealt with and the team were well looked after by the home owner after taking down a dead tree in the garden.
The Saloon had its final coat of gloss on the west side and lining out will commence on Monday if weather conditions are good. The linoleum in the Third Open was welded successfully to seal the joints and it looks a real treat.
The Booking Hall continued to process ticket sales for the opening, volunteers and shareholders days. This activity will resume again next Tuesday.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Progress Wednesday 23rd February 2011

Dear all
The main task today was to realign the pointwork into the north end of what will be Shottle loop. This has been achieved but the age and condition of the components may require a revisit after the excitements of the opening. The impending visit of the tamper will help things in the immediate.
Tony's sleeper squaring team were in action between Duffield Tunnel and the Holloway Road foot crossing and it is estimated that there is around half a mile to process. This will be accomplished tomorrow and Sunday if enough of the team turn out. PW staff should report to Duffield in the morning to continue this vital work.
Back at base there was movement of a dmu to facilitate Friday's customer visit and there was some activity in the model railway container. Cladding of the "steam shed" was completed and the Booking Hall processed today's opening special bookings.
The next five weeks are largely determined for us - Week 1 Tamping - Week 2 cut and insert new rail on the long welded section - Week 3 fill and level Duffield platform plus fencing of Duffield loop - Week 4 surface Duffield platform - Week 5 further HMRI inspection.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Progress Tuesday 22nd February 2011

Dear all
The Stanier Third Open occupies centre stage today after an energetic sanding of the floors yesterday the fitters arrived to fit the unusually named linoleum and very smart it looks. Much activity also undertaken under the coach as the electrical supplies were fitted. The Down (west) Side doors were adjusted so they clunk nicely and further progress was made with the seat ends. Alison lead a lonely life cleansing the Courier Van that will support the LMSCA's restoration efforts. The Third Open is coming on with very substantial leaps and bounds reflecting great credit on all concerned. A similar speed of progress is demanded of the Brake Third Corridor - I feel slightly negative vibes coming towards me.
The PWT turned their attention to the point work at Shottle North and unscrewed and realigned the turnout into Shottle Siding including turning the closure rail that was badly worn on the running edge. They were not helped and quite despondent after the Tool Van located there was found to have been robbed of some £6,000 of equipment sometime between last Thursday and this morning. Given the pressure everyone is under to deliver the opening this loss is deeply felt and has resulted in the need to hire in the necessary equipment to continue the work.
The VCT continued their good work at Duffield shifting numerous loads to the burning site with its two fires and exposing the A6 bridge in all its glory. Duffield is virtually unrecognisable after all the efforts of the team.
The DST has fitted the new brick arch to No3 and readied the locomotive for its intensive steam tests next week. The Saloon had its first gloss applied to its west side and the solebar together with the bogies are beginning to benefit from a coat of black gloss.
The Booking Hall processed bookings for the Shareholder day and opening weekend which are being received at a steady rate. New stock arrived with a very attractive EVR "turnip" watch and some very special celebration opening mugs.
In many ways we feel like salmon swimming up stream to spawn at the moment, although there is no time for that sort of thing, with the new need to purchase 10 lengths of rail (£4,500) to meet the demands to change side cut rail on the long welded section, weld it all up (£3,000), tarmac Duffield Platform (£4,000), fence the Duffield site (£1,500), manage the tamper (£10,000) and fit all this into the next four weeks.
If you find a somewhat terse response to questions unrelated to this final push please forgive us!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Progress Report Sunday the 20th February 2011

Dear all,

Another tiring day today, much to do and now precious little time in
which to do it. Again the bulk of effort went towards the Met Cam centre
car and the seats were assembled for the middle compartment so are ready
for fixing. Some preparatory work was done on the three remaining doors
which require attention. One of the two communication cords was rendered
operational. The LMS third open was shunted to platform 1 for its new
floor, which I will refer to as mushroom brown lino, thus being
guaranteed another Japanese spelling lesson. The shunting process, while
sounding simple, took very vital time off the DMU team, and if shunting
can be accomplished during the week or during other operations, this
would help that team for the present time.

Around the site, work proceeded on the LMS brake van and much rust
removal and angle grinding continued. The single duty conscript made
repairs to the north end ramp of platform 3, and the Rod and Mary Show
made serious inroads into the declining condition of the platform
shelter prior to its repainting. The BSK project crept forward with Rob
Green showing particular initiative in the identification of a suitable
steward's seat frame. The Booking Hall dealt with an increasing number
of visitors bearing strange, unusual and sometimes quite barking
enquiries, but its what we do. Training also took place in guard's
knowledge and this is only one part of a little seen and rather
intensive training programme taking place in several departments, behind
the scenes at the moment.

If anyone is interested in taking a greater role in the induction of new
volunteers I would be interested to hear from you (respond to my email
not the group). There is a view, which has considerable merit, that new
volunteers should be inducted in batches once or twice a month. At
present we are inducting people more or less as they walk in the door
and at current levels of effort prior to the Opening one might
reasonably take the view that we should be inducting people at our
convenience rather than interrupt major work when someone walks in and
expects our open arms on the spot: I say this candidly and this in no
way reflects any wish on our part to discourage new volunteers in any way.

All the best,

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Progress Saturday 19th February 2011

Dear all,

A day which started decidedly snowy in Wirksworth turned into heavy rain to soak us all again!

Today we welcomed a BuyAGift guest who was treated to a ride down the line and a ride up the incline on LJ Breeze. We also welcomed a private charter party who tested the new seats in Iris inbetween visiting our multitasking catering department who put on a fine spread for the charter guests as well as served lunch for the BuyAGift guests.

The DMU team were found hiding in the dry of the centre car. They have now managed to screw the sides, backs and chrome parts onto the seat frames ready for installation on nearly half a vehicles worth. Down below, the 2nd heater was successfully run up for the first time following the return of a faulty fuel solenoid from Turnditch in a working state.

The LMSCA were in full swing mostly working with wooden trim. The Third Open was also prepared ready to receive it's Shitake (with a Japanese twist, it says here) floor covering later in the week. Also in the coach department, the Saloon received a second layer of filler in the necessary places and a first coat of paint around the doors on one side.

It seems like the 8F group were doing some boiler work behind the shed although it seemed that one poor members sole job today was to trudge back and forth to the mess room with bottles of water for the tea brewer.

Mike Evans via Leigh 

Friday, 18 February 2011

Progress Friday 18th February 2011

Dear all
The stunning achievement today was the full line test of the Stanier Third Open coach to verify the vacuum brake and the work that had been carried out on the bogies and axle boxes. The whole process was a success and reflects great credit on the LMSCA team and all that helped it happen. It would seem that best guesses are that the vehicle last moved, other than up and down a siding, was some 40 years ago. The only down side at the moment is that you have to provide your own seat.Very well done to all concerned.
More mundane but essential tasks were some preparation for next week's major pw work at Shottle and electrical manoeuvrings to try and get some heat and light into the First Open for a party tomorrow. It would seem that a vital part is awaiting return from Turnditch!
There was a combination of activity between the Booking Hall and the Mark 1 BSK that saw cheques banked and floors painted.  I think it is called multitasking?
A great deal of paperwork, necessary to our future operations, was reviewed and progressed.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Progress Thursday 17th February 2011

Dear all
The west side of the Saloon has now received it undercoat allowing for the first top coat application early next week.
The VCT reports an excellent day at Duffield with further felling and eight trailer loads of brash being moved to the burning site with two large fires. Alan managed to finalise the painting of mileposts 133 1/4 and 133 1/2 as part of the essential lineside improvements.
The PWT divided into two gangs with one continuing with sleeper squaring covering 3/8ths of a mile to be within sight of milepost 134 1/2 leaving a mile and a quarter to be dealt with on Sunday and next Tuesday.
At Shottle the coping stones were pushed back to be within gauge except for a section at the south end of the platform where the wall will have to be rebuilt. This work is designed to ensure trains can safely pass the station until such time we can undertake construction work.
The Booking Hall continued to process ticket processing for the opening weekend.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Progress Wednesday 16th February 2011

Dear all
As I forgot to mention yesterday's progress to the Saloon I will amalgamate both days achievements. John has now sanded the west side, filled the body and tiger sealed the windows ready for the undercoat to be applied tomorrow if weather conditions permit. This vehicle will be in "ex works" condition within a couple of weeks and very well worth the premium fares we are charging together with the added attraction of steward Craft.
The PWT had another very productive with the sleeper squaring approaching milepost 134 3/4 leaving some mile and a half to be dealt with leading to another Sunday gang opportunity. The tamper arrives on 26th February and all must be well by then to get the maximum benefit from this very expensive operation. A further 48 tonnes of white gold were deposited taking the present ballasting activity south of "Old Lane" bridge. Some crossing timbers were changed at Shottle North Junction and the Komatsu was tripped to Shottle for next week's activities there.
Quite a long day for the LMSCA and the associated shunting to facilitate the testing of the vacuum system. It is really great to report that this process came to a successful conclusion after all the hard work. It is difficult to calculate when the brakes were last used on this vehicle but it must be 25 years or more. I am told the final success was due to the application of a "ballpein" hammer. I find I learn so much writing these reports some of which could be in a language that I will never understand.
We had a double dose of spring cleaning with Fred and Iris giving the Mess Hall a makeover and we welcomed Nathan from Belper School who was introduced to the joys of housekeeping on the Gatwick Express.
The Booking Hall process more bookings for the opening and shareholder trains yielding a most useful income for the future.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Progress Tuesday 15th February 2011

Dear all
Another day of supreme effort with the VCT dealing with two large trees and sundry other items just north of Duffield Tunnel with six loads of brash shipped to the burning site which disposed of this with two large fires. The DST received the boiler inspector to look at No3 in cold condition with all the associated preparation work necessary for this day.
The LMSCA had a large team in attendance to deal with wood staining, building of seat ends, light fittings and the receipt of more finishing wood. A little reported project is the steady restoration of the Mark 1 BSK (Brake Second Corridor) with the interior brake end painting completed and a start made on floor painting. A partition was fitted and a door removed for welding repairs. A total of 9 people were involved in these coaching projects today.
The PWT split into two teams, one of which continued the process of sleeper squaring and the other dealt with clipping up the extension to Shottle loop and positioning of the signage required to prevent unauthorised movements from the siding there onto the main line.
There has been much debate about resolving the problem of side cut rail on the long welded section and through the good offices of Bob Gibbens we have had further good advice from a former Network Rail Area Maintenance Engineer and a possible solution is beginning to emerge.
A tremendous amount of energy is being put into the documentation that supports our Railway Safety Case and I pass my sincere thanks to everyone involved. We welcomed a party from the former School of Transport at Derby and a dank, dull day. They were most ably hosted by Patrick, Tom, Richard and Graham and fed by Jeff. Thanks also to Rod and Mary for firing up the narrow gauge to add a little extra to their visit.
Another excellent day in most inclement conditions but with the joy of a plethora of bookings for the opening trains and the finance that accompanies them.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Progress Report Sunday the 13th of February 2011

Dear all,

Although the day was damp a great variety of tasks have been undertaken.
Starting at the south end of the line, the philosophy division of the
P-Way gang completed sleeper straightening on four panels of track near
Hazelwood, and a delivery of lamps posts was made for Duffield (to
Wirksworth in the end).

The yard at Wirksworth resounded to the sound of the angle grinder as
work proceeded on the LMS brake van and the brake van team recovered
some useful steelwork, which had formerly been engaged as the doors of
the late dust dock (waste not, want not). This appeared to involve the
use of the longest lever in the universe and thus the application of
science as well as philosophy by our volunteers today. Meanwhile, work
began on the J94 with a small team attending to its smokebox door. Also
on the steam front, a detachment of the Steam Team assisted by Higham
Enterprises replaced the motion (a working part) on number 2217, better
known in these annals as Henry Ellison.

Meanwhile, another magistrate of conscripts had arrived and were issued
with the new wheelbarrow, which bears the proud insignia of the
Passenger Department and when not in operation for conscript duties will
be used to transport inebriated members of the public to their homes,
and will receive the shed code YA for Yokecliffe Avenue. As a
consequence of today's conscript activities, the Wash Green crossover
has had the accumulated leaf fall removed from it; the station approach
has had some of its kerbstones reset, and work has continued to make up
the carriage sidings path.

In the BSK, another carriage project quietly progressing at the moment,
Chris Allenby and Captain Jack have had a lot of wood around for most of
the day, and this has resulted in a rather tasteful partition to
separate the trolley area of the BSK from the bike storage area.

The DMU team, not to be outdone in the field of carriage interiors and
assisted by Moore Enterprises, have rendered one of the two heaters for
the Met Cam centre car operational, and are within a small chuff (a
steam term) of having the other one going. At the other end of the
vehicle, the Ashbourne Mango Show, supervised by Gration Enterprises,
has fitted the backs onto five of the seat frames which will shortly
adorn this fine vehicle.

The Booking Hall happily entertained a number of slightly damp visitors
and some constructive wallet shaking took place, through a fog of nail
varnish remover.

All the best,

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Progress Saturday 12th February 2011

Dear all,

A gloriously sunny day saw pockets of progress around the railway. 

The Met-Camm centre car now has a working flow of electrons again which enabled the heaters to blow cool air around the vehicle for the first time since we acquired it. The heaters didn't heat due to the fact we are awaiting the fitting of some small pipes (maybe tomorrow). The lights also work as a result of the flow too. Speaking of heaters, the Class 108 has repairs carried out to it's heater which enabled it to heat the vehicle again. Iris was cleaned internally following the installation of the new seats.

Some repair work was carried out inside the GatEx although it is suspected that it mostly involved tidying up! The LMSCA were continuing work inside their coach and the 8F group seemed to be having a good sort out.

Mike Evans via Leigh

Friday, 11 February 2011

Progress Friday 11th February 2011

Dear all
Another day of an intense review of our activities by Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate which has exercised the minds of Stuart, Mick and myself. There has emerged many gaps in our defences which will be addressed very quickly.
While we were entertaining the team were pop riveting within Iris, fitting batteries to the Met-Cam centre car and fitting a new part to L J Breeze restoring it to operational service.
The Booking Hall continued to look after bookings for the opening which is producing some very helpful revenue to pay for the upcoming excitements.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Progress Thursday 10th February 2011

Dear all
A day when we welcomed two Railway Inspectors to a physical inspection of the proposed new section from Idridgehay to Duffield that will open in early April. In summary they are content and complementary about all that has been achieved since their last visit and deem the line safe subject to the ongoing work that will continue for the weeks to come. However, there was much debate concerning the side cut rail on the long welded section that extends from "Old Lane Bridge" through to "Willow Crossing", some 400 metres, which will require transposing before we open. This is something of a showstopper and is now exercising the grey matter to work out a solution and the methodology of achieving this within the timescale. Nonetheless it will be done!
The Booking Hall completed the Shareholder mailout and an encouraging amount of activity has been generated by those receiving the first batch. The PWT completed a further 3/8th of mile with the sleeper squaring project. It was a delight to see the completing of the installation of tactiles on Duffield platform and the team there have placed the edging the will define the area to be tarmaced between the garages and the former Vodaphone building. The key players in this exercise are now off to Spain!
At Wirksworth the LMSCA installed the last section of piping for the "pass-com" system with the aid of our resident plumber, John Gratton. Light shades manufacturing continues and the electric cable routing determined. The first sections of the hardwood beading were made and fitted to the seat ends. Beading and trim is being made up of over 500 separate pieces of "Utile". All of which has to be manufactured from scratch. It is difficult to overestimate the amount of energy and dedication going into this project.
We have another day with HMRI tomorrow where all our paperwork will be reviewed. Be prepared for a somewhat rambling report of these events! Many thanks to Hylton, Graham and Jeff for facilitating today's visit.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Progress Wednesday 9th February 2011

Dear all
A more calm, measured day with the PWT continuing the process of sleeper squaring. It would seem that Shottle to Hazelwood is now in good order and it remains to check and adjust, where necessary, the section between Hazelwood and Duffield Tunnel. The team are asked to assemble at Shottle tomorrow where all the equipment is based.
We welcomed a customer for testing who produced three machines for processing but confined their activities to the Wirksworth Station area and were pleased with their day ably hosted by Mick Thomas.
The LMSCA were in action and report that the underframe of the coach is now repainted including the vacuum cylinders. The "strings" are now fitted to the cylinders ready for its first test of the system..
The Booking Hall dealt with more Shareholder mailouts and processed on line and postal bookings for the opening weekend.
In the south the Duffield platform team achieved the setting of a further 85 tactiles and have earnestly requested that no one stands on them for at least 48 hours, There are 21 left to be dealt with on this longest of all our structures.
Another most satisfactory day.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Supplementary Progress Tuesday 8th February 2011

Dear all,
Another correction from yet another electrical engineer pointing out that it isn't pac or pak but PAT (portable appliance testing). You're never to old to learn, I'm told!
Perhaps I should delegate these reports or take more water with it?

Progress Tuesday 8th February 2011

Dear all
I have had to take refreshment before embarking on today's report given the amazing productivity of all our teams but first I have to undertake my version of the Guardian's corrections and clarifications. My reference to "pac" testing should, of course, be "PAK" testing with many thanks to the electrical engineer for pointing this out! I also lead you to believe that Shottle North pointwork was being rearranged and this should have been the alignment of the track from Shottle North to Shottle South. I feel humble, well not so humble, to have mislead you as your scribe for the day's events.
However, ever onwards the Saloon has now had the treatment of the west side and both ends together with below the windows on the west side. It fair gleams and is a great credit to John Allsop who is masterminding the transformation. Further deliveries of materials for Duffield platform arrived at Wirksworth this morning and transport was arranged for these vehicles and the already loaded Dogfish to site.
The VCT had another very productive day with numerous loads of brash being moved from Duffield to the two fire burning site and Alan found the time to prepare and undercoat mileposts 133 1/2 and 133 3/4 which all leads to the splendid presentation of our lineside furniture.
The LMSCA tended to lights, lobby and saloon floors together with the application of further veneer wall panels. The DST prepared Ferrybridge No3 for its inspection by the boiler inspector next week.
Back to the Shottle activity which witnessed a magnificent turnout to slew the track to Mick's pegged out centre line and produced a straight line between the turnouts at Shottle North and Shottle South. This process needed a lot of people particularly for the panel in concrete sleepers used in connection with our testing work. Even more spectacularly the team split into two after the slewing to return to sleeper squaring between Shottle and Hazelwood. It would seem that given a good team tomorrow that this work will be complete ready for the visit of the tamper.
The three Dogfish deposited their white gold on the shoulder of the long welded section south out Idridgehay. Long welded track needs plenty of stone to prevent movement as temperatures change and our section is somewhat light in places. Should there ever be a hot summer again the stone will constrain the track from moving too much.
Also achieved to today with the help of a young offender and minder was a trench at the back of the coping stones on Shottle platform enabling them to be pushed back into position at a later date. This will contribute to making Shottle platform safe prior to its refurbishment at some date in the future.
The Duffield platform team have had a most productive day with a further 65 tactiles laid and the cabling at the back of the platform installed and the troughing had all its lids placed.
The Booking Hall team have also been working at some speed to stuff the shareholder offer and around 50% of the envelopes have now been posted. On line booking have been processed and posted to customers for the opening weekend.
All those who participated in yet another wonderful day should enjoy their moment of history as I doubt any other railway in the UK match your achievements today.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Progress Monday 7th February 2011

Dear all
A paper pushing day with more preparation for the official visits to take place later in the week. A start was made by an electrical to pac test all our appliances and some 50 have been processed in the Mess Hall, Booking Hall, Office and Training Room complex. Two heaters were failed including mine! I dread to think what the final total of appliances will be as the whole site is gradually covered.
The Booking Hall received a few useful calls including one for a party booking in September. All who are able are urged to attend at Shottle tomorrow morning for some very necessary adjustments to the pointwork there.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Progress Sunday 6th February 2011

Dear all,

A day of exciting progress for the most numerous team on site today, the DMU team. Split into two, part of the team have completed, all but a few pop rivets and a good clean, installing the new seats in Iris. They look fantastic! The other part of the team did further work on the underneath of the Met-Camm centre car. Attached is a photograph of the outcome taken in the fading daylight.

The other main thrust for today was further DMU training with yet another new driver passing the tests. So that he isn't bored the driver trainer has recruited somebody else to embark on their training with them taking their first session today.

Further work was undertaken by the town's gardening contingent up on the embankment opposite Platform 3.

Graham Walker via Leigh

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Progress Saturday 5th February 2011

Dear all,

A very wet day with driving rain throughout which saw our Day with a Driver and Drive a Diesel experiences get under way for the first time in 2011. Guests all enjoyed themselves, including the light lunch provided in the buffet. Despite the weather, some ordinary passengers were carried to Idridgehay as well.

The DMU team proceeded with changing the seats in Iris, a task started last week. This difficult job is necessary to free up enough cushions to complete the Met-Camm centre car. Half the vehicle has been completed so far.

The 8F group were in attendance, as well as the LMSCA who are hard at it preparing their coach for the opening.

Mike Evans via Leigh

Friday, 4 February 2011

Progress Friday 4th February 2011

Dear all
Something of a whirlwind of a day with a large contingent from Loughborough arriving to see our facilities at Wirksworth, view the line and deal with a number of issues surrounding the hire of 78019. The whole exercise was most useful and I was struck by how organised they were including a full complement of drivers and firemen for the period the loco will be us. It really promises to be an uplifting and exciting time.
A further 48 tonnes of ballast was delivered to the three Dogfish at Wash Green dock and the Saloon was lined out on the east side. The Met-Cam centre car also received lining to its interior. On the painting theme the Third Open had its final coat to its ceiling and further manufacturing of parts continued.
On the down side, L J Breeze developed a fault to its "engine run solenoid" causing the loco to fail. Very luckily Mike and Graham managed to source a replacement at our local auto electrical supplier which, all being well, should arrive Tuesday. Meanwhile the Class 20 will have to shoulder all our requirements tomorrow and on Tuesday.
The laborious process of preparing our mailout to shareholders concerning their preview day on 7th April has commenced and should be completed over the weekend. They will be able to book on line by close of play Monday thanks to Robin's efforts.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Progress Thursday 3rd February 2011

Dear all
Another day of stupendous progress with activity centre around the PWT who managed affairs at Duffield and the north thereof together with further energy on the long process of sleeper squaring. The Works train left with 3 Dogfish loads of ballast and three "flat" vehicles comprising two Lowmacs and one Flatrol. Some 10 tonnes of ballast was deposited in Duffield Tunnel, a further 16 tonnes north of Holloway Road foot crossing and a further 16 tonnes along the straight north of "Edwards" Crossing. This is quite an expensive exercise and won't go away as we remedy years of neglect.
The Works Train used the "flat" wagons to move brash to the burning site and this was supplemented by 6 Landrover trailer loads as the product of the VCT's endeavours are moved to the burning site where two good fires consumed this unwanted material.
With the aid of a mini digger the "humps" created by the footings of the old footbridge at Duffield were broken up and the ground levelled around the entrance from Chapel Lane at Duffield and in preparation for the fencing that is going to be erected there. The mini digger was quite busy as it trenched a duct for the water pipe from the existing footbridge to the former "Vodaphone" building. Pipework was installed and the trench backfilled with the result we now have a water supply into the building. The platform team completed the work at the back of the structure and, aided by a roller lent to us, the base for the remaining tactiles was prepared. Spoil from around the site was moved and levelled for the intended garden area. This levelling included the area around the "Vodaphone" building after manholes were raise to the necessary height.
All involved deserve a loud round of applause for the amount of work achieved.
Back at base the new tank wagon had its axle boxes examined and measurements taken for new oil pads. It was declared to be in better condition than was thought after its years of inactivity.
The Directors Saloon had the first coat of gloss applied to the south end and the west side had its first fill after the panelling was securely fastened to the body.
A couple of general pleas follow:-
The skip provided for metal at Wirksworth required considerable attention and time wasting as it was found to contain rags and a myriad of plastic items. A reminder that the skip it is only for metal where we can earn money and not for sundry items where we have to pay for it to be taken away. There is a large wheelie bin provided for sundry rubbish.
We have had a look at a number of Facebook sites operated by members following a comment about inappropriate comments concerning personalities within our enterprise being made on one of them. I am all for freedom of communication but users of Facebook or Twitter have to be aware that comments concerning the Company and its volunteers should be fair, reasonable and, hopefully, positive. Be aware that people from both within and outside our enterprise have equal access to your comments and the law of libel (which is defamation by written or printed words, pictures or any form other than by spoken words or gestures) is applicable. Facts are easy to check - I'm only a phone call or email away.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Progress Wednesday 2nd February 2011

Dear all
A day without glamour but mundane and very essential tasks being undertaken with the PWT straightening some 50 sleepers south of Shottle. This job is related to the planned visit of a tamper that will line and level the track. Unless the sleepers are exactly 90 degrees to the rail and properly spaced the tamper will not work correctly and could damage the timbers.
The steelwork that will complete the troughing at the north end of the Duffield platform was installed and work will continue tomorrow on the installation of the remaining tactiles. Fred, Iris and Dorothy further deep cleaned the Buffet Car and sparkled up the Mess Hall. This unseen and often unappreciated work is vital to the overall presentation of our enterprise particularly after a Tuesday when nobody seems capable of washing their own pots and plates!
The Works Train was assembled for a quick getaway tomorrow and a permanent way trolley received repairs. Miscellaneous debris was removed from the three "flat" wagons so that they can remove brash from Duffield and then be loaded with redundant materials from Duffield.
Much work went on in the Buffet Car to restore the ravages of the winter on its plumbing and the Booking Hall dealt with the latest applications for tickets on the opening weekend.
Late a night, for us, some 500 Backmann wagons arrived on a pallet and are now in secure storage for sale to expectant purchasers. Good job they are "oo" guage.
The LMSCA, who seem to be working seven days a week now, moved ever onward with the Third Open.
Another good and productive day.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Progress Tuesday 1st February 2011

Dear all
Probably over 60 people at various locations along our enterprise with a mind numbing variety of tasks being undertaken. The DST washed the boiler of No3 out in preparation for a visit by the Boiler Inspector to conduct his annual internal examination. The LMSCA encouraged 8 people to join them today with the fixing of veneer panels achieved and the repair of the flooring in the lobby's. The Pass Com, or communication cord, was deemed to be operational although a small amount of pipework is necessary to complete the project. Special thanks to Graham Walker who used his expertise to bring the project to near conclusion.
At Duffield the PWT completed he boxing in of the stone delivered over the past two weeks and the platform project benefited by the application of the "MOT Type 1" and broken concrete supplied allowing for the construction of the stabilising back wall by the application of metal angle iron at the north end.
The VCT reported a team of seven that achieved two fires, six loads of brash transported, two chainsaws in operation and, in addition to work at Duffield, a further 200 yards opened up around milepost 134.
Deep in Wirksworth yard the BSK had paint applied to the Guards brake area and the temporary steam engine shed finally had the roof panels placed. Yet more ballast was delivered for transport on Thursday.
The Booking Hall was in action processing the first of the on line bookings for the opening and brought the process up to date.
It is exhausting keeping up with the sheer endeavour and determination to meet deadlines.