Monday, 30 April 2012

Progress 30th April 2012

Dear all
The main activity today was the combined efforts of Mick and Charles to assemble small track components for ongoing work at Shottle. Three cheers for Charles who was the lone respondent to Mick's pleas for help. Their activities will minimise lost time through the week.
The Booking Hall and Buffet Car received a small range of visitors on what turned out to be a most pleasant day after the monsoons of the weekend. Let us hope the second Bank Holiday weekend of the year yields conditions more conducive to earnings that relate to the effort put into them.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Progress Report Sunday the 29th April 2012

Dear all,

What a foul day, we were not so much damp as completely drenched. The
persistent rain coupled with high winds, and rain for the last two
weeks, has resulted in sodden ground, and although our lineside is
remarkably clear thanks to the considerable efforts of the Vegetation
Clearance Team, nevertheless we had two trees down on the line today
from neighbouring ground: one at Shottle cleared by the Third Man, Ben
Hoskins, with the on-board tool, and a rather larger one south of
Idridgehay at bridge DJW 12 which obstructed the line to the extent that
a delay of nearly twenty minutes was experienced to the down service.
However, the tree was addressed by the heroic Ben with his heroic tool,
and reinforcements were despatched by horseless carriage to Idridgehay
to render assistance.

The day had begun in the usual calm way although the buffet staff
arrived a twinge too promptly for a Sunday morning, even though this was
obviously in the interests of an early breakfast. The DMU team dashed
off down the yard after a couple of hours of additional rest and fitted
some corner pieces to the class 119 windows, but were recalled on
several occasions to fix dicky wipers on the service train.

Meanwhile, Nathan was spending some time in the Ladies, and this venue
has now received an excellent repaint to the walls and ceiling, with a
little finishing work to be done on the floor shortly. Paint was also
being applied in a rather more haphazard way by the Duty Conscript to
the interior of the south weighbridge, as well as grease being applied
to several non-working parts in there to assist with their removal. Once
this was done the Duty Conscript retired to the Mess Room to dry off and
proceeded to stuff the best part of 200 envelopes for an upcoming
leaflet mail out. The staff at Duffield attempted to stem the vast
inflow of water to a certain recent building and several items of
furniture are now drying out in front of Rodney's fire.

A 10 mph TSR is imposed between Idridgehay Station and Idridgehay Down
Distant: pending inspection of the railings and parapet of bridge DJW 12.

All the best,

Friday, 27 April 2012

Progress Friday 27th April 2012

Dear all
Today was an earning day as we entertained four Drive a Diesel Day participants and 3 Steam Experience guests. They were very ably entertained by John Allsop and Richard Buckby on D8001 and Mick Thomas and Neil Hardwick on No3. These "experience days" bring a great deal of good will to the Railway and I don't think we have had a disappointed customer since we started down this road.
Opportunity was taken to take two vehicles to Shottle for next week's endeavours with the diesel experience but the plan to take the three loaded Dogfish was somewhat frustrated by a vacuum brake problem.
The Pullman Buffet Car fed our guests and gathered some trade from their partners and girl friends. The Booking Hall ensured all were welcomed and pressed on with a multitude of tasks to ensure we are ready for the upcoming weekend.
Thanks also are due to John Evans who acted as guard for the morning steam experience and afternoon diesel experience. The demand for these products remains unabated and they have become a crucial part of our growing enterprise.
There was a side product from all this activity as the progress along the line checked its condition after days and days of heavy rain revealing no particular concerns - at the moment!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Progress Thursday 26th April 2012

Dear all
The continuation of the most unpleasant weather would dampen all but the most hardy souls. However, today's attendees demonstrated true grit as they advanced the cause of our enterprise. (should be able to enter an appropriate sound clip at this stage). The PWT dealt with a "twist" in the track at Platform 2 at Wirksworth detected by the track recording trolley and also fettled the ballast on the Incline affected by the activities of the Railvac machine. The Incline also benefited from a track patrol and some order was restored to the Tool Van. I omitted to mention the track patrol from Duffield to Idridgehay yesterday that also were drenched in the process.
The dmu team descended in force as they prepared the service train for the weekend. A leaking roof in the centre car was fixed and 51505 had final mechanical attention prior to its return it service. Fuelling also took place for the weekend which always causes me to twitch but they were relatively modest in their demands.
VCT continued to attend to the fencing at Hazelwood station with Hingleys supplying the materials and generally advising and guiding on the standard of finish. A tree was felled at the south end of their patch to ensure the fenceline was perfect.
The DTT reported that on Tuesday their team grew to four and accomplished much painting and plumbing followed up today by further interior painting. When the painting has been completed the last part of the task is to tile the floors. I think it is fair to say we will have the finest toilets in Derbyshire within a few days further work.
The Booking Hall and Buffet Car plied their trade to a small audience today.
My congratulations go out to every one who has continued with our project this week in the most unpleasant conditions.
PS On my return from Glasgow Tuesday I travelled Glasgow to Birmingham and then joined a Cross Country service from Birmingham to Derby encountering an old friend, "Virgin Dave", now "Cross Country Dave". An early painter of all our mileposts and Gatwick Express bogies. It reminded me that today's drivers wear smart suits and are definitely kings of the road, deservedly so given the responsibility for several hundred people.Nonetheless, Dave will be back amongst us before long and at least will "whistle up" as he hares through Duffield.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Progress Wednesday 25th April 2012

Dear all
The most miserable day of the year celebrated my return to the fold after visiting La Belle France and the latent separate country of Scotland. Day two of our customer's quest for certification endend successfully with a return trip to Duffield. As the machine was driven from a basket the operator was not just wet but soaking. Just think Onedin Line.
Our Idridgehay to Wirksworth track patrol were equally wet after their brave efforts and found our drainage struggling to cope with the continuous downpour. The likelihood of an hosepipe ban must have considerably retreated.
The Lone Carriage Cleaner tackled 51505 after its fitting of splendid new seats. The Booking Hall and Buffet Car were open for business but few brave souls took advantage of this opportunity.
To cheer me up, and perhaps you, I attach a photo of Britain's favourite station.


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Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Progress Report Tuesday the 24th of April 2012

Dear all,,

Another fine day here in Narnia, a shame the only thing for dinner is
Mrs Beaver's cooking, oh, well. A word of thanks to all those who so
ably stood by their posts this afternoon.

Around the Railway the main action of the day featured p-way, or at
least that part of it not waiting for the line to clear of our friends
Nifty Lift and their machine under test. A number of concrete sleepers
were loaded, and various base plates were removed from sleepers at
Gorsey Bank, all this in furtherance of the Shottle Loop Project, which
has our full attention at the present time. In addition a small panel of
track was assembled for despatch to Huntingdon: our fame clearly having
spread as far as the East of England.

Back in the yard, the LMSCA fixed another two floor panels into the LMS
Brake Third, and we look forward to being able to walk the entire length
of this carriage without the underframe giving us the vertigo, in a very
soon moment.

South of Hazelwood, the VCT proceeded with their many endeavours in
clearing and fencing the line and the improvement is indeed most obvious.

Around the station, the Filing Fairy continued to fill ever-decreasing
gaps in our staff files, and if we keep asking people about their
paperwork, this is of necessity.

The Ladies Toilet began to receive an interior repaint and June modelled
a very tasteful line in ladies paintwear today from the haute couture
department of B&Q.

All the best,

Monday, 23 April 2012

Progress Monday 23rd of April 2012

Before we get to today's happenings I have been overwhelmed by your generosity with no less than £2750 pledged towards our rail bender after just 24 hrs. Now the bad news - the price is £4880 plus very awful tax. I have today spoken with Geismar and that is off the shelf price so maybe we can better that a bit with a bit of grovelling. We will continue for a couple of weeks to see if we can raise this amount. Of course the company will pay the vat and you can pay the money into the company in the form of a share application so you get shares for your contribution. On this note it's worth reminding you that if you buy £500  worth of shares or more then you are entitled to a refund of your income tax of %20 of the value under the current scheme so you would receive a rebate of £100 on your purchase - the minimum amount to qualify is £500. Some of you have already sent money to the company but it might be best to just pledge an amount until such time we are sure we have enough to purchase the equipment. Again many thanks and we will see where we get to.

Today we had Korec on site testing their equipment with driver training on the class 33 with Hylton and Richard passing out to drive said machine. P way were out and about in the yard weed killing and I toddled off to Worksop to obtain some special fishplates for the Shottle project from our friendly track dealers. The center car or centre car from the 3 car set had more attention to it's roof from Mike with Martin absent in the land of whiskey on official business,more red gold was delivered ( diesel ) and further attentions were made to the station buffet to complete the renovation. A busy day.

Cheers MKT


Dear all,

We will shortly be ordering badges for staff with public duties (i.e.
stations and train crew).

If you do not currently have a badge, please respond to me at with your name as you wish it to appear on the

All the best,

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Progress Report Sunday the 22nd of April 2012

Dear all,

A day of rather predictable showers, which naturally cleared up to
pleasant sunshine once the trains had gone. However, we were cheerfully
busy, notably with two parties of historic cars of various kinds both
having a rally and visiting us in the process.

Various activities were taking place around the yard, the class 20 was
receiving routine maintenance, as was the Catering set, as indeed was
steam locomotive No 3.

South of Wash Green Bridge Nathan found himself rather overtaken by a
phantom roofer in the form of the Duty Conscript who didn't really want
to leave. This must be a record in itself. Anyway, good progress was
made on the South Weighbridge which will presently become a small
workshop for the station.

The main event of the day, after a great deal of screwing (it says here)
was the out-shopping of railcar 51505 after its internal refit, it now
has wonderous new seats and can't have looked so good for the best part
of 30 years. The DMU team is now looking forward the seriously getting
to grips with the class 119 vehicle which is little more than a shell
apart, from the occasional work report in these annals.

A reminder to all drivers of the Standing Order of the 12th June 2010, a
copy of which remains on the Mess Room Noticeboard: "Stopping Distances
at Gorsey Bank Crossing". Please ensure you comply with this Order at
all times.

I leave you now for an urgent appointment at the Shanghai Emporium.

All the best,

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Progress Report Saturday 21st April 2012

Dear All,

A very pleasant day with lots of activity on the railway with shareholders in abundance. Our normal timetabled service ran with the usual efficiency and the better weather impacted positively upon our passenger numbers.

A small army of conscripts tackled the mess room, cleaned a number of DMU bogies, cleaned the toilets and the cribs were filled with ash ballast all with good results.

Work continued on the LMS break van and a small number of the 8F group continued the boiler restoration work, The DMU team had a successful day fitting the re upholstered seats in 51505. The two Pullman coaches were bolted together and heat and light was reinstated to the second class coach . The Class 20 group  members set about a vacuum fault which was successfully resolved to the joy of all concerned.

Tonight's evening charter was a most enjoyable affair and returned to Wirksworth ECS at 22.30 making it a long day for all concerned.

An altogether tickityboo day.


Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Progress Wednesday 18th April 2012

Dear all,

A quiet day at base with monsoon rains most of the day. It was very quiet at Wirksworth but the LCC managed to get up to date on the spring cleaning of the coaches, finishing off with the Pullman First Class coach. The Pullman Buffet still had some hardy souls which is promising considering the weather.

Undeterred, the PWay team were battling the elements at Shottle continuing with the installation of the pointwork for the loop. This is most appreciated as they are working hard to reconnect our railway together ready for passenger trains at the weekend. They are very wet!

As I write, the sun has come out! Typical!


Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Progress Report Tuesday the 17th of April 2012

Dear all,

A bright and fairly sunny day with a vast range of activity in many
parts of the Railway. Starting at our southern extremity, painting of
the lavatorial extravaganza took place at Duffield, closely preceded by
fence repairs and petrol engine shunting, and then closely followed by a
hue and cry down the main line, thankfully not our main line.

At Hazelwood and environs, the fencing team commenced a grand tidy up
which appeared to run very nearly along the whole of the south end of
the line and involved several fires for the removal of brash, tat,
rubbish and other detritus.

At Shottle, our hoary-handed men of toil strove to get the crossing gear
fixed, in a gargantuan effort of blood, sweat and tears and are very
nearly at the crossing noses in a day of wide ranging p-way action along
the Shottle Loop.

At Idridgehay the station dog was no doubt highly entertained by the
surprise arrival of a train full of evacuees from Wirksworth, along with
their jam sandwiches and gas mask boxes. This was an exercise in wartime
re-creation by Wirksworth Junior School and there was a certain
reluctance to come back: "I like it here the sun's shining". This
involved steam locomotive No3 (the semblance of wartime engineering),
the SK and the Saloon, as well as a trip to Twiggs to buy a pipe so we
could fill the toilets in the SK. The toilets rather predictably
proceeded to leak in the usual way as soon as the tanks were filled.

Meanwhile, back at Wirksworth the steam team were engaged in a frenzy of
activity involving Henry Ellison covering the sanders, the lubricators,
the vac system, the regulator valve and the dome cover. During a short
breather the grate was removed from No 3 in order to have a new pattern
made, presumably following its triumphant return from Idridgehay. In the
buffet we were offered 500 teddy bears.

The LMSCA could be heard banging and grinding for most of the day and
the new floor in the brake third carriage now extends about two thirds
of the way along it.

When the post was opened (about half past four) a very charming letter
emerged from some visitors on last Thursday's London charter, which
extolled the virtues of our Railway and our friendly staff. The friendly
staff are now soaking their feet in embrocation and the station bike has
been re-attached to the flag pole.

All the best,

Monday, 16 April 2012

Progress Monday 16th April

Despite a weather forcast predicting gloom and rain a very pleasant day with PWT progressing well with the blockade at Shottle. Plain line has been removed, the ballast dug out and 38 crossing timbers unloaded ready for laying out tommorow. All chairs and smalls have also been unloaded next to the work site. The weather doesn't bode well for the morrow but we shall see.

Enquiries for a further 3 days of testing work means our already busy railway is bursting at the seams with not enough days in the week to satisfy all our different business interests with driver experience days, testing work, passenger services, charter work midweek and days for repairs all clamouring for a place on the calender.This week and next are booked solid - no more room at the Inn.

Cheers MKT.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Progress Report Sunday the 15th of April 2012

Dear all,

Quite a pleasant sunny day, though with rather a chilly wind blowing
through our parts. The passenger service ran cheerfully up and down in
its leisurely way: a coach party from Altrincham had the full experience
and were most complimentary about the line, the friendliness of the
staff and the tidiness of the Railway in general, having first exhausted
the buffet's supplies of bacon and brie paninis.

Down the yard the DMU team carried on with the seat fitting to unit
515015 and later scraped the gutters of Iris, one of those obscure
routine tasks which stops it raining down your neck when you get into a
carriage. Also down the yard, the Duty Conscript applied several bags of
ash as ballast to the pointwork cribs at Cemetery Lane to bring the
level up to the sleeper tops, where it should rightly be. Further
tidying up of the Swedish Piles took place in the car park.

Around the station, the recently arrived Information Room received its
first undercoat, prior to a repaint into our usual colours of maroon and
cream. At the south end of the station the two Nathans also applied the
first coat of paint to the interior of the South Weighbridge.

All the best,

Friday, 13 April 2012

Progress Report Friday the 13th of April 2012

Dear all,

In the absence of higher powers (they being in the land of boulangeries)
it falls to yours truly to report on today's Wonderment of Wirksworth.
The main business of the day being two driver experiences, one for the
class 20 and one for steam engine No3. In both cases our guests had come
from far-flung corners of the known universe and enjoyed themselves in a
major way, ably hosted by a fine array of our enginemen.

A modest amount of other work took place around the site, with the
continuing re-organisation of the Booking Hall seeing the food and
beverage provision being despatched to the buffet and replaced by many
remarkable sales items: "My God, where did that come from?", as one
passer-by asked, looking at one of our Phil Tarry branded money boxes.
This was accompanied by the erection of some new signs; also by the
transmission of a vast amount of our leaflets to the Heritage Centre by
the miracle of the Passenger Department's horseless carriage, and the
general entertainment of assorted visitors who came between showers.

Down the yard, the grunting emanating from the class 108 proved to be a
result of various members of the DMU team on the floor of that vehicle
engaged in screwing the newly arrived and delightfully re-upholstered 3
bay seats to the frames.

All the best,

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Progress Thursday 12th April 2012

Dear all
The great event of the day was welcoming our second visit from UK Railtours that involved a large number of our team providing a range of facilities. A slight bottom clenching moment as the three car set wouldn't maintain air pressure before departure to Duffield resolved in Graham's inimitable style that allowed the day to proceed seamlessly. Meanwhile No3 and brakevan together with Iris were readied along with the miniature railway, narrow gauge, evra shop, Company shop, Pullman Buffet Car and model railway.
The whole event that attracted 137 people to Wirksworth was a most successful, profitable and pleasant day. My thanks go out to all our team who pitched in and made it happen not forgetting the two that ensured Gorsey Bank and Idridgehay gates were open for non stop runs between Wirksworth and Duffield and the on board trolley team that added that extra ingredient to the day.
In the background a dmu team replaced a Guards window on the Class 108 and dealt with a leaking roof on the Class 119. The EVRA team achieved a connection between the water tank on the Incline and the newly positioned rail tank north of Cemetery Lane bridge. This will help us ensure water for our steam engines is much more accessible and stress free.
The VCT were constrained by today's trains but achieved the required fencing at Duffield for the disabled toilet access.
Another day that showed our Railway at its best.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Progress Wednesday 11th April 2012

Dear all
A day where the weather was quite fickle with most of the hours sunny, if cold, deteriorating into the present conditions of rain and hail. Nonetheless, the PWT continued their scrounging of serviceable components for the Shottle loop project. This involves quite a tedious recovery and replacement of good components for less good components reflecting our inability to fund fresh sources of this equipment. Credit is due to Mick Thomas for coordinating a labour and machine intensive but least cost solution.
The Buffet Car enjoyed a steady trade though the day and our latest recruit bakes a fine scone for the genuine Derbyshire Cream Tea. John continues his snagging work to complete the refit project.
The DTT were in action and have largely completed the Ladies which will open tomorrow. The Head of Gardening was present and muttering about dandelions but the area under her control looking most attractive whilst the sun shone.
A report from the VCT after yesterday's communications problems confirmed that they had completed work between Idridgehay and Shottle, for the time being, and also between Postern Lodge and Hazelwood. They had a team of eight and burnt a great deal of brash.
The Booking Hall achieved a new look as its mixed role as a purveyor of food and gifts draws to an end with a fix on quality souvenirs for our passengers taking precedence. The new range of mugs should please a number of our team as well as visitors. The Class 33 group should be well pleased!, as they say.
A lot of behind the scenes preparation for tomorrow's HST excursion from St Pancras has been done and I just hope the rain holds off.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Progress Tuesday 10th April 2012

Dear all
Inevitably the sun came out today and shone down on a legion of activities. The PWT harvested materials from the former Gorsey Bank line and the Wirksworth Yard for the Shottle loop project and managed a track inspection between Idridgehay and Shottle. The DST concentrated on their energies on Henry Ellison and the LMSCA were happy with the progress on the flooring of the BTO and achieved the installation of the steam heating pipe underneath the coach.
Dmus were moved so that the LCC could access them for cleaning ready for our next big day on Thursday. The VCT have been in action but mobile phone signal blank areas have prevented any knowledge of their activities - but I am sure they have been productive.
Snagging work has continued on the Pullman Buffet Car which has continued to trade with some success. Fred & Iris gave the Booking Hall a thorough clean and the feature garden on Platform 1 has had the woodwork stained for the first time in many years.
The DTT report that the concrete has been laid between the "plinth" and the building and that the Ladies is almost ready for commissioning all bar a little decoration.
The Booking Hall gathered the financial strands together after the Easter weekend and completed the long task of AGM mailouts.
The DST also report that they would welcome candidates for trainee firemen as steam commitments grow.
Glossary - I am reminded that our acronyms are not always understood by all!
PWT - Permanent Way Team
DST - Dream Steam Team
LMSCA - LMS Carriage Association
LCC - Lone Carriage Cleaner
VCT - Vegetation Clearance Team
DTT - Duffield Toilet Team

Monday, 9 April 2012

Progress Easter Monday 9th April 2012

Dear all
A wet, chill and thoroughly miserable Bank Holiday Monday that saw little activity before lunch time but with a welcome lift in the afternoon. All team worked in appalling conditions but Richard Buckby who acted as Third Man on the Duffield service deserves particular praise for getting a soaking at each level crossing gate opening, 4 per round trip making 12 excursions in all. The other hero was Mary who continually had to rid her tent of pools of water whilst dispensing the egg hunt to an unexpected number of wet egg hunters.
It was good to see Lorna in the EVRA shop and the narrow gauge team also endured the weather. The catering team had quite a good day where the warm food was a winner. All in all the whole team did amazingly well and deserve our thanks for keeping the show on the road.
A little further progress with the Class 119 rounded off the day.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Progress Report Easter Sunday 2012

Dear all,

A day of sunny intervals and almost no drizzle. We were pleasantly
occupied in pottering around with passengers and visitors, with a
greater proportion of families today than yesterday or Friday. All parts
of the railway were open and operating, and once again much positive
feedback was received including from visitors from other railways.

Around the yard, the DMU team achieved success in getting their
vestibule ceiling up as well as completing various trim around the
vestibule of the class 119. The LMS brake van progressed in its merry
way and the Duty Conscript transferred our many new pipes to the pipe
wagon. The dogfish had their decals renewed and Dan commenced the
application of wood preservative to the quad, resulting in a
considerable visual improvement, and making a restful change from
welding his parts together.

All the best,

Comment Saturday 7th April 2012

Dear all
I thought I would share with you, in a blow by blow commentary, how we have moved on in our 10+ plus years of activity from the customers point of view. My son, wife and two children, one and two and half years old, descended on us of the Easter Weekend and some thought had been put into the time to ensure they were entertained.
We commenced our day at Wirksworth station at around 1130 yesterday and the first port of call was Mary's egg hunt stall and armed with the location questionnaire we set off to respond to the 10 questions. The first few were polished off before taking the 1155 Wirksworth to Ravenstor and return which was followed by the children and their parents wanting food. Angela and team produced the adult all day breakfasts and sandwiches for the children, all well received and the back to the egg hunt. This took us to the Museum, C&HPR water tank and talking tunnel for a ride on the narrow gauge railway. During this trip the children could see No3 taking water and "pacing" us back to the steam loco shed. Coins were thrown into the waterfall together with "Poo sticks". A return to the remaining egg locations brought us to a journey to Duffield on the 1420 departure from Wirksworth. Ben was on trolley duty and the journey passed pleasantly as the children had fallen asleep and remained inert on the return journey. They woke up in time to enjoy a further visit to the Buffet Car before departing for home at around 1630.
Everyone encountered had been pleasant and informative ensuring a good day out for those less than fascinated by railways.
I write this as when we started this adventure we may have held peoples attention for 30 minutes to an hour and now we can claim to be a destination that will occupy the visitor of 5 or 6 hours with the ancillary support of other than pure railway things to do.
Importantly for all of us the total spend was of the order of £70 compared with, maybe, £3 ten years ago. This will surely sustain our future if we continue to get it right.
By way of contrast the same tribe visited Steeple Grange today with a similarly warm welcome and it was good to travel over the "Duke's" level crossing for the first time and experience their "branch" to the quarry en route to the National Stone Centre. The explanation of the fossils to be found there was quite fascinating, even to one who may be known for his cynicism! The SGLR have a lot going for them that is complimentary to our own operation and joint activities are to be encouraged.
We have certainly come a long way thanks to all the people that made Saturday's experience rewarding for all those that experienced it.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Saturday 7th April 2012

A rather grey and cold start to the day did not deter our visitors with good passenger numbers throughout the day. Rod and Mary's Easter egg hunt proved very popular with our younger visitors as did the narrow guage. The Pullman buffet is proving more popular by the day and the appetising smell of fried bacon was ever present on platform two.

Down the yard a number of activities took place. The LMSCA were welding the floor on the LMS BTK. Work continued on the interior of the LMS breakvan. The DMU Team continued their work on the class 119 with steady progress on its interior and repaired a vacuum seal on the class 117. Maintenance work was also undertaken on the dogfish ballast wagons. The 8F group continued their work with the Henry Ellison boiler and the class 31 received some cosmetic surgery to its cab.

A very satisfactory day.


Friday, 6 April 2012

Progress Good Friday 6th April 2012

Dear all
Traditional Easter weather today with a chill to the air but we were spared rain. My thanks go out to everyone who participated in delivering our scheduled trains, the Booking Halls at either end of the line, the narrow gauge operation, opening of the Model Railway, the much appreciated on train trolley service and the well received catering products. It was all appreciated by today's passengers and a modest contribution to our finances has been achieved.
The day demonstrated the value of a proving run on the Incline as the said run discovered a tree across the line. All departments responded to this emergency and we only lost one scheduled run to Ravenstor and again thanks are due to all that participated. The other slightly bizarre start to the day was the inability to get into our new splendid Booking Hall at Duffield as the combination lock had failed. Thanks are due to David N and Mick T for coming to the rescue. The positive side of the new arrangements at Duffield was a perfect balance of tickets sold with the cash taken which I can tell you is a significant step forward.
The engineers progressed the woodwork within the interior of the Class 117 unit and undertaking mysterious, to me, technical things on the Class 33. Graham and Mick T took the opportunity of the majority of our oil axle box based wagon fleet being located at Wirksworth to give them an annual check up, top up the oil, drain any water and repair brake rigging damaged over the previous 12 months.
There was a lot of housekeeping jobs undertaken at Wirksworth together with a little light gardening. The need to prepare our mail out of the Annual Accounts by stuffing envelopes and labelling them occupied any soul with nothing specific to do! Around 40% were dealt with today but if you do turn up over the next three days without a duty be prepared! My thanks to the willing today.
The Derby & District Amateur Radio Society will be operating a Radio Station at Duffield tomorrow and Monday. They will be using the most appropriate call sign G2DJ to celebrate the first anniversary of the full line opening of our line. They hope to contact other Radio Stations around the world.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Progress Thursday 5th April 2012

Dear all
After yesterday's white out today turned out to be pleasant and sunny at times allowing life to continue normally. The dmu team were thick on the ground preparing, washing and fuelling the fleet for the four days of Easter. They also achieved quite a landmark event by starting one engine on the Class 119 50173 that had last come to life in 1993, a remarkable achievement towards the final restoration of this vehicle. The Steam Experience clients were ably hosted by Mick and Hylton and expressed delight in their time with us with the afternoon session seeing a whole line tour.
Before the Steam Experience got underway I asked Richard B and Tom T to conduct a complete line examination ahead of tomorrow's train service in view of the snow and high winds. This was successfully undertaken with no problems encountered. Richard then went on to progress the lonely job of collecting chairs for the Shottle loop project.
Some finishing work on the Buffet counter was done but a fault on the water heater leaves us with unsatisfactory solutions over the Easter weekend. Nonetheless, the Pullman Buffet proved to be a winner today with trade building up from our volunteers and occasional visitors suggesting the seven day opening may be a winner for us.
Anton undertook his pre-event signing programme at various sites along approach roads to Wirksworth and Richard P came in to top up the Multicar's weed treatment container ready for its next excursion. Significant progress by the DTT allowed the christening of the first new toilet and its opening in time for the upcoming weekend. It would be embarrassing to mention the first client but only to say he was a former resident of Barnsley.
The Booking Hall continued valuable work processing group bookings and preparing Pullman Buffet Car menus.
I also should mention yesterday's heroes that included the Pullman Buffet Car staff who amazingly served a family of four that had braved the appalling conditions and Leigh, in the Booking Hall. who continued working until he could reset the server and webcams. We also held meetings with a customer who is planning an event for salesmen and the Guerrilla Gardeners who are anxious to develop their activities at Wirksworth.
Lastly, for those of you who haven't seen the complete Pullman line up a photo is attached showing their magnificence.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Wednesday 4th April 2012

Dear all
You wouldn't believe it!


Dear all,

We are sorry for the lack of webcam images today, the weather is causing mayhem with the electricity supply in Wirksworth town and our Internet connection is down as a result.

Hopefully it will be rectified shortly.


Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Supplementary Progress Tuesday 3rd April 2012

Dear all
New photo attached that is actually current rather than history, if only recent!

Progress Tuesday 3rd April 2012

Dear all
A massive shunt today with Chris, Matt, Eric and Robin coordinating the activity saw the First Open moved adjacent to the Second Open to unite our three newly liveried vehicles together. This was a task that involved a lot of stock shifting and included the clearance of the Car Park of the Dogfish and three, now empty, flat wagons. The end product really delivers the "wow" factor as people arrive on site to see a three coach Pullman train.
It was day two of our Pullman Buffet Car and there was a steady trade to sample the "all day breakfasts", bacon butties and freshly made sandwiches convincing me that this adventure will work. Our customer today demonstrating surveying equipment also was tempted by the pleasant smell emanating from the Buffet and consumed bacon and sausage sandwiches. A very well done to the new catering team who are working in a still incomplete premise whilst the fitter is poorly.
The PWT completed the resleepering between Wirksworth and Idridgehay, or used up all we are going to buy in this financial year, and returned at a fairly early hour satisfied with their endeavours.
The Pullman Buffet benefited from the attentions of the Cooke household and now boasts tasteful curtains and blinds. June has pursued a determined approach to our standards of presentation and I am extremely grateful for all her hard work ably supported by her family. Embarrassing picture attached.
The DST concentrated on Henry Ellison as the boiler endured water pressure testing, caulking of the firebox and design work on the boiler clothing. The VCT report that they have reached "Willow Crossing" footpath on the approach to Shottle with so splendid four fire day, fence repairs and a strong team of seven people. Upon Allen's return there was a little debate about how many of the team enjoyed free TV licences. Quite a few were identified which says a lot for the health giving properties of working on vegetation clearance. We await the first telegram from the Queen that will be delivered by liveried messenger to a location only located by an ordnance survey reference.
The Filing Fairy pursued her determined approach our record keeping submitting Stuart to the third degree today. The last event today was the arrival of a very large black tank funded by EVRA which has been placed on the Wash Green dock as part of the upgrading of our water supplies for steam locomotives. This is a most significant event and represents Vera's determination to raise our game in this area.
The DTT carried on with their vital project by completing the cut out of the former telephone mast plinth and being ready for the laying of a concrete pathway in connection with the toilet task.
The Booking Hall dealt with the weekly accountancy work and made strides in our determination to get the Duffield operation on a proper footing for 2012. This is in terms of properly accounting for our sales there and providing a new level of "customer" service.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Progress Monday 2nd April 2012

A cloudy and cool day at Wirksworth with several tasks completed.

The bubble car had further repairs to its ceiling , 10 tons of type one stone was removed from the car park to the ballast dock to make concrete pads for the new water tank to sit on , all the the clay and ballast tippings from the railcare visit up the incline have been tidied and levelled off, a new post for the entrance barrier has been made and the new pullman buffet had its inaugural Monday opening today. Quite a lot of work for the 3 people on site. We hope to improve on the roll call presently.

Cheers MKT.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Progress Report Sunday the 1st April 2012

Dear all,

What a pleasant day: it was deeply blissful here in the socialist
republic of Wirksworth. The train service pottered up and down in our
usual quietly efficient way, with no sheep on the line to trouble our
timely passage, but spring lambs in the fields apparently proved quite
entertaining for our passengers, some of whom broke into song on the way.

At Duffield the Station Foreman undertook the application of anti-weed
spray between trains and ordered a new tie. Back at base, the DMU team
varnished assorted parts of the class 119, attended to its vestibule
doors, attached trim and made serious attempts to coax the long dormant
engines into life. At the south end of the station Nathan almost
single-handedly worked on the weighbridge and very excellent progress
was made there.

The key feature of the day though was an extraordinary sequence of
passenger feedback, which appeared to have been brought on by the sunshine:

"That was absolutely charming - we will see you again soon..."
"What wonderful old posters you have on the front of the station..."
"Isn't this a sweet little waiting room..."
"We're from Croydon. You're really friendly here..."
"What lovely pansies you have at this railway.."
"Here's a donation. Ben gave us a really good show..."

So there you have it. I'm off now to that famous hostelry, the Whore and
Trumpet (A Marston's House), to rest my astonishment.

All the best,