Friday, 31 August 2012

Progress Friday 31st August 2012

Dear all
A day to lift the spirits as the sun graced Wirksworth through the day encouraging the many visitors to experience the Wirksworth Bistro hosted by the Pullman Car team.
The main event today was a combination of steam experience and drive diesel day participants with Dave Williams and Matt hosting the steam and John Allsop and Richard hosting the diesel. As ever Evans the Guard rushed between the two. Many pleasant comments received from the participants who seemed quite reluctant to leave us.
Nathan took advantage of the sun to paint, prepare and varnish all available opportunities.
There was much cleaning and tidying for the weekend which is forecast to be quite pleasant.
Some clarifications and corrections are due to the VCT for yesterday's efforts! Apparently, down south, the weather was pleasant enough to allow muck shifting at Hazelwood, rebuilding of a stone wall and levelling. Jebbs Lane foot crossing had its sight lines improved in perfect weather again. Thus the team were doubly blessed.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Progress Thursday 30th August 2012

Dear all
As August gently passes by we were welcomed this morning by unremitting rain and it wasn't until the late afternoon that conditions improved. This all has its effect on our footfall through the Pullman Buffet Car and Booking Hall.
The PWT worked at Shottle after yesterday's ballast drop to fettle up the area around the north point of the loop together with dealing with the loading of sleepers that was deferred from yesterday. The VCT continued their endeavours at Shottle but the dumper proved somewhat problematic which may need better brains to find a resolution.
Some interesting charters were progressed for mid September and into October which will test our ingenuity.
No3 had a fire lighted to ensure it is ready for tomorrow's activities.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Progress Wednesday 29th August 2012

Dear all
Until the early evening the day has been extremely wet lowering our visitor count to single figures. Nonetheless the PWT rejoiced in the return of LJB to service and commenced activities by discharging the Flatrol of its garden quality sleepers and then went on to fill two Dogfish, with the aid of the Komatsu, with ballast recovered from the former Gorsey Bank line. After lunch this was tripped to Shottle for the north pointwork and sleepers for relaying under Cemetery Lane bridge loaded up.
The LCC gave the 3 Car set a good clean and dmu maintenance continued. Fitting of some rather pleasing table lights in the Pullman Second Open moved forward as we prepare for the darker evenings.
The Filing Fairy continued her good work and the Pullman Buffet Car welcomed the few that ventured out today.
The Booking Hall processed a pleasant flurry of on line bookings with the Day Rover featuring at the moment.
Better weather is promised for the next few days to lift the spirits.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Progress Tuesday 28th August 2012

Dear all
As predicted today, the day after the Bank Holiday, was warm and lovely creating a pleasant environment for a goodly number of visitors. During the day the whole line received the benefit of track patrols carrying out this vital part of our enterprise.
The DST concentrated on Henry Ellison with the steam brake fitted and a myriad of snagging as the locomotive approaches its entry into service. The LMSCA were also busy as they ready the Third Open for its renovation after the fire.
The revenue earning parts of the business were the provision of our scheduled trains coupled with the Booking Halls at Wirksworth and Duffield together with the Pullman Catering and EVRA Shop to good effect.
The miniature railway was in operation from time to time and Nathan continued his heroic painting of all things that do not move including the Training Room, Miniature Railway storage container and Wirksworth's north end running in board.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Progress Bank Holiday Monday 27th May 2012

Dear all
A dull, dank Bank Holiday Monday that deterred all but the most hardy from visiting us. Nonetheless, those that did enjoyed their time with the service to and from Duffield by dmu and an exclusively steam service on the Ravenstor line. Catering, the Booking Hall, on train ticket sales, the EVRA shop and narrow gauge all did their best to collect a groat or two. An additional member of the steam team was Toby from Steam Railway magazine who seemed to enjoy his day with MKT and JHT.
The Oaks brakevan project moved forward and the Class 119 received a lot of further restoration attention. Will and Rob tended to LJB whose alternator did not seem to be charging reporting success after discovering a broken wire.
The Bank Holiday weekend as a whole can be considered a success despite the miserable conditions and my thanks go to all who participated over the three days. We have been on the go since last Thursday's charters, the Friday experience day to be followed by tomorrow's service day. This represents quite a big ask of the volunteer team.
The weed control duo were in action until the heavens opened and Mike Kingsley made great strides with grass mowing until, again, the weather intervened.
No doubt it will be a heat wave tomorrow.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Progress Report Sunday the 26th of August 2012

Dear all,

A very pleasant Bank Holiday Sunday here in the Gem of the Peak. The sun
shone cheerfully in the afternoon, though we were a twinge moist to
begin with. The train crew arrived at dawn to run a charter service for
the Branch Line Society, and they seemed very happy with their
journeyings around our railway, and were gone before the first service
train of the day arrived back from Duffield. The rest of the day was
taken up by a successful time with regular passengers from just about
everywhere in a caravan, and the till could be heard ringing even in the
parlour of the Malt Shovel.

Down the yard, the steam team proceeded with Henry Ellison, the LMS
brake van carried on its merry way, and the station staff repaired the
lights. The DMU team spent the day losing their nuts in the oil sump and
tightening up strange hoses on a replacement engine for unit 51360.

Many thanks to all concerned.

All the best,

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Progress Report Saturday 25th August 2012

Dear All,

Well the weather forecasters got it wrong again for our area; except for a ten minute heavy shower of rain, Derbyshire's favourite branch line enjoyed warm and sunny weather today. The scheduled train services entertained good passenger numbers throughout the day. Down the yard at Wirksworth the LMSCA continued their restoration of the BSK. The 8F group carried on with their work in the cab of Henry Ellison with both steam and water pipes being tightened. New Footboards were fitted to the LMS Break Van which is nearing completion. The DMU Team fitted 4 tungsten lights to the first class compartment of the class 119. The number one engine was removed on 51360 ready for replacement next week. The unit's number one bogey was also re-blocked. In addition the team made time to fit the alternator on Breeze.

The Pioneer diesel Group welcomed the Chief Engineer from Swanwick Railway who came to assist the group resolve an engine power issue on the class 33. This resulted in an impromptu run out for the locomotive on the incline undertaking two scheduled passenger services.

Altogether a very productive start to the bank holiday weekend.

All the best,


Friday, 24 August 2012

Progress Friday 24th August 2012

Dear all
I am writing this as my colleagues continue to work and entertain our visitors as I have to be in Leeds this evening.
Nonetheless, I can report that our Steam Experience clients were splendidly looked after by Mick Thomas and JHT and our Drive a Diesel Day participants were equally in the good hands of Lewis and Richard Buckby. John Evans coped with flitting between the two experiences and Tony Watt came in for the afternoon journey as Third Man. I am very grateful for all their efforts to deliver a great day for our customers and their many onlookers.
In amongst this activity was a great deal of dmu work to ensure all our units are ready for the Bank Holiday Weekend and we fielded a charter this afternoon for the North Kent Vehicle Preservation Society. With this group was a very old acquaintance in the form of Ken Lee who is a director of the Kent & East Sussex Railway presently devoting his time to their Carriage & Wagon Works turning out their delightful vintage coaches. A photo of their transport is attached which suitably befits a preservation society.
The Head of Gardening, assisted by mother, spent an afternoon dead heading the Buddleia and pulling Convolvulus. A close look at the bank will reveal quite a lot of butterfly activity which all down to Lynette's good work.
The Safety Management Review Group met in the morning to make the final adjustments to the Rule Book review and thanks are due to Chris Beale for pulling everyone's views together.
I can also report that the very first on line Santa booking of the season has been received - frightening isn't it!
The Booking Hall and Pullman Buffet Car welcomed all our experience guests and the many people that accompanied them. There was much cleaning and painting to put our best face forward for the weekend.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Progress Thursday 23rd August 2012

Dear all
A most satisfactory day with two charters swelling the coffers enabling the Pullman Buffet Car to achieve its best ever Thursday this year and the Booking Hall to make a solid contribution to our finances.
The VCT were curtailed by our charter activities but still managed to clear a further 30 yards of lineside south of the Hazelwood pig farm opening up yet more views and creating one very large fire. The lone PWT member completed the fishplate bolt tightening target of all bolts between Wirksworth and Idridgehay also reporting some complex measuring of curve radii than passed over my head I'm afraid.
Solid progress with dmu maintenance was made as the weekend demands approach and more of Henry Ellison was painted.
Many happy people entertained by our team which I hope will result in further business particularly from the coach company that brought the second charter's customers.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Progress Wednesday 22nd August 2012

Dear all
A ground breaking day as, after a few tweaks, LJB headed the Works Train for the south to start cleansing the line of accumulated logs produced by the VCT, gather some garden quality sleepers for sale and bring two Dogfish back to base for filling next week. The locomotive performed faultlessly and I hope we can resume some of the activities prevented by its prolonged absence.
The LCC caught up on cleaning the 2 Car set and Royal Saloon after her day off last week and part of the PWT completed fishplate bolt tightening between Wirksworth and farm crossing A7 ( just north of the cattle creep).
The Filing Fairy was in good form as great progress was made with our paperwork and the DST returned to make inroads to the painting of Henry Ellison's components. With the arrival of the Abbotts site security is improved with 24 hour cover for a while. The school approach road at Wash Green received its annual flail by our good friend John Bowler and the Booking Hall welcomed a goodly number of visitors.
The Pullman Buffet Car also benefited from a good "foot fall" through the day.
Having recovered my notes I can further report on yesterday's steam activities. No3 had oil feeds to the valve spindles with each spindle now having its own direct feed from the lubricator. Attention has also been given to the regulator which has become increasingly stiff to operate for our steam experience customers. A solution has been devised that will help future participants. Henry Ellison benefited from the fitment of a cab gauge, alignment of the blast pipes and installation of the balance pipe to the water tank.
A photo discovered by Nathan reminds us of how far we have travelled. He thinks it was taken about nine years ago.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Progress Tuesday 21st August 2012

Dear all
A most satisfactory trading day, given the indifferent weather, with all areas performing very well. Our Pullman Buffet Car had its second best Tuesday of the year and there were peons of praise from two particularly interesting visitors. The first group had been assured we ran steam and were disgruntled! They were completely turned round by a behind the scenes visit to Henry Ellison. The second was a family with a wheelchair bound, quite disabled adult, who called in specially to ask me to thank the train crews for their attention and care. So, three cheers to our crews today and the Booking Halls and Pullman Buffet Car who continue to make our visitors very welcome.
Lots of engineering also achieved today with No3 receiving maintenance and Henry Ellison making tremendous progress as it nears completion. The miniature railway also provided an additional attraction proving to be very popular. (I have to confess I have left my copious notes on the desk so may expand tomorrow!)
Alan returned to Jebbs Lane to tend to the gradient post there and seemed content with his endeavours. Nathan gave the Wirksworth running in boards on Platform 1 a little tlc before the heavens opened. The LMSCA, with a smaller team than last week, continued their work on the north end of the BTO that requires some 102 screw holes drilled and countersunk. The donated emulsion continued to be applied to the TO.
Bob Swepstone welcome two training experts that had recently completed their railway careers and have indicated they will help in areas were we cannot achieve the training in house. This will be a very useful contribution to improve our competences in activities vital to our continued progress.
Undoubtedly, the star of our show today was Mick Thomas, ably assisted by fitter Futter, who has accomplished a task beyond our team to reverse-engineer LJB's water pump, fit it and start the locomotive up and move it. This sorry state of affairs started last October where the water pump passed through the hands of LH and an "expert" firm in Derby. After much shouting the pump arrived back at Wirksworth last month disassembled and minus a vital part. Mick has machined this a new replacement for this missing part and source a myriad of seals ect. through eBay. The result is that LJB can move again and participate in our ongoing progress. We owe him a great debt of gratitude.
Illustration of fumes emanating from LJB this afternoon.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Progress Monday the 20th of August 2012

After a rainy start we were again blessed with sunshine for the rest of the day.

Having completed the rebuild of the water pump for Breeze over the weekend, myself, Doug Futter, Chris Ralls and Charles began the uphill struggle to refit the thing to the loco. Now, many of you reading this may think " a water pump - two minute job ". Yes, on a Ford Escort perhaps, but, on a Rolls Royce V8 diesel it is mounted on the rear of the engine block driven by the oil pump which is also mounted in the same place and both bits have to come off for access, each part weighing at least 25kg each with the running plate in the way and just about everything you can think of in the way as well it's a bit of a job requiring bits of rope, wood and 4 men to accomplish. But, accomplish we did and another 2 to 3 hours work should see the loco running again.

Being a bit of a mechanical engineering day saw a new starter motor fitted to the Met Camm 2 car set - another job requiring lots of blood, sweat and tears by the DMU team attended by Messrs Newby who, by his own admission, spent most of the time laying on his back.

Vct where again doing earthy things at their Hazelwood base with the Komatsu.

The weed killing team spent the day spraying natures best efforts between Shottle and Duffield.

A lone worker spent his day dealing with the weeds at Duffield Station.

PWT made a stirling effort unloading the 3 flats and the sturgeon of material, sorting and placing in stock.

A gaggle of children also paid us a visit and were given a ride on the narrow gauge before they sampled the delights of our buffet.

I think that's about it for today so hopefully I haven't left any one out.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Progress Friday 17th August 2012

Dear all
Another day dogged by unpleasant weather but enjoyed by our steam experience customers. Their hosts were Dave, Neil and John who received very good feedback from the two all day clients and the morning and afternoon taster sessions as we clear the backlog of our two cancelled sessions. Prior to departure of the afternoon trip I was conscious of a very interested spectator who turned our to be Paul Whittle the vice chairman of the Himalayan Railway Society. He was duly gathered in and widely complemented on the good work the Society was doing in India. It is a "must do" destination.
Nathan battled against driving rain to find areas that he could paint satisfactorily and there was continued progress on the track of the new water supply for the black tank. There was much activity continuing with dmu maintenance including the preparation and fuelling of the 2 Car set for the weekend and Tuesday.
It was pleasing to welcome David Taylor who will be a regular volunteer in the Pullman Buffet Car on Fridays and indicated he will help this weekend. It is also great to report that Izzy and Natalie, who are Buffet Car regulars, have done exceptionally well in the "A" level exams.
The Booking Hall is basking in the success of the skiffle and chips train that promises to break all known records - over 110 people booked and paid!
The Marketing Group mentioned yesterday had their first productive meeting last night and a group photo is attached with, left to right, Rodney, Eric, Angela, Peter, JHT, Tom, Anton and NFL

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Progress Thursday 16th August 2012

Dear all
An incredibly large dmu team turned out today to work on the fleet as the demands over the next couple of weeks see action nearly every day. Included in their activities was a rescue mission to Duffield to recover the spares van located there.
The VCT descended on the area just north of Shottle and commenced attacking the remaining vegetation in that location. Once clear this will enable us to tackle the drainage issues in this section which will require major surgery.
The PWT completed all the possible work on the north point of the Shottle loop with ballasting to be done over the next couple of weeks. They then turned their attention to the south end pointwork and straightened out a stock rail with the Jim Crow.
There was more "peckering" on Wash Green dock and EVRA took delivery of a small container locating it at the north end of the line. This will provide security for the miniature railway equipment as the original plastic hut has proved to be less that robust.
David N conducted repairs to the fuel pump for the fuel store so that we can account for the destination of this expensive commodity again - we have spent £16,000 on diesel so far this financial year and has become the single largest expense for our enterprise.
David W warmed No3 through for tomorrow's Steam Experience Day and enquiries for these products shows no sign of abating with bookings taken today for November.
The Booking Hall and Pullman Buffet Car enjoyed a reasonable footfall although the indifferent weather through the day was not too encouraging. The show goes on this evening with the first meeting of the new Marketing Group in the Training Room.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Progress Wednesday 15th August 2012

Dear all
A not quite complete report today as I have been on intermittent ferrying duty for the mother in law's birthday.
Nonetheless, it has been a very wet day which was lucky for those on Bob Swepstone's track inspectors course in the Training Room. There has been more "pecking" for the new water supply to the black tank and Tony has achieved some track patrolling in very adverse conditions.
The Filing Fairy has had a good day as she continues to arm lock volunteers into submission and the Booking Hall took our first charter booking for 2013 together with deposit paid!.
The Pullman Buffet Car was mildly successful as people were driven inside by the rain but no record were broken.
Normal service resumes tomorrow.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Progress Tuesday 14th August 2012

Dear all
A most unusual day with events conspiring to test our metal.
The normal Tuesday activities were going along with the LMSCA hosting a record 10 volunteers on their projects testing their ability to find meaningful work for the whole team. The DST gave No3 a full service including attention to an axle box that had become very warm after its exertions last Friday. They also kept the pressure on the reassembly of Henry Ellison. The dmu maintenance team were out in force as they commenced the work to change an engine on 51360.
Nathan has done sterling work to sparkle up the Training Room complex and there was the incessant sound of concrete peckering as the preparation work for the water supply to the new black tank progressed.
The interesting and challenging part of the day started with the Duffield service train ran low on fuel and had Iris attached to provide additional fuelled engines. There was then the call from Hazelwood that the 1510 Duffield to Wirksworth service had failed but was able to crawl back to Duffield. There then followed a classic rescue with the Class 33 that hauled the train to Wirksworth and then formed the heavily delayed 1620 Wirksworth to Duffield and return. This is the first time in our entire history that we have had a total train failure and I am extremely grateful to all the train crew, Rodney at Duffield and catering at Wirksworth who ensured our passengers were looked after and seemed to leave us with a smile.
Amongst all this the Booking Halls, Pullman Buffet Car and EVRA shop had quite a good day which benefited from warm sunshine rather than the rain that was forecast. Also helping us was yesterday's road closure of Coldwell Street was removed and normal access to Wirksworth Station is restored.

Progress Monday 13th August 2012

Another day without rain at Shottle saw the approach road on Shottle North loop turnout drilled and screwed down to gauge. Further trips back to Wirksworth to get another genny since ours packed up at the start meant loads of mileage for Duggy  as the powers that be have closed the road between the memorial and the station so if you're planning to go to Wirksworth over the next couple of days remember you can't get to the Station from the town.

Vct moved South today with the komatsu wearing a bucket for a change to sort out earthworks at their Hazelwood depot.

The buffet open second had cables laid in place by Dave Newby to supply electric.

Weed kill team started a whole line kill and reached Shottle today.

Further work was carried out on the bubble car by Dan who also applied some paint to the lms coach.

The Station buffet reported better than usual business despite - or because of - the road closure


Sunday, 12 August 2012

Progress Sunday the 11th of August 2012

Dear all,

The main business of the day, a generally pleasant and warm day, was the
Diesel Weekend, which has been a considerable success. The class 31 and
the class 33 both performed well and we had an interesting mix of
enthusiasts, tourists and families during the day, with many positive
comments about how clean and tidy the Railway, our stations, and our
trains are, and how professional the Railway is in its outlook and attitude.

At the south end of the line, the Duffield Foreman proceeded with his
usual summer activities of pruning and weeding; at Shottle in a slightly
late report from yesterday the south end fence received further painting
and the plants were watered; at Gorsey Bank the Marketing Dept
endeavoured to keep our trains on schedule at the gates; in the yard at
Wirksworth various small teams happily worked on their respective
projects: the LMS Brake Van (this week accompanied by 50s hits) received
further glazing and painting; the LMSCA proceeded with the sealing and
painting of the interior of carriage 27162 as part of the start of its
long road to recovery; and the steam team worked on fitting the ashpan
to Henry Ellison - a task involving rather a lot of rolling around on
the floor. Also in the shed, railcar M55006 received further welding. In
the car park, Cooke Enterprises got the first coat of exterior gloss on
the Training Room, which had begun to look at bit tired (by our standards).

Many thanks to all involved. Judging by late enquiries today we should
also be decently busy on Tuesday provided the weather doesn't disgrace
itself again.

All the best,

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Progress Report Saturday 11th August

Dear all,

Derbyshire's favourite branch line was bathed in glorious sunshine on the first day of our diesel weekend. We welcomed a large number of visitors to the event consequently all our services were busy. The hot weather caused a minor points problem at Duffield but thanks to the the skilled intervention of Richard Hatch and Tim Oaks, this was quickly rectified with no detriment to the timetable.

This evening we tootled off down the line to Duffield on a fish and chip special which was most enjoyable. Thanks go to Leigh for coordinating the event and to Rodney our 'fish and chip man' who ensured our passengers enjoyed a warm and tasty meal.

All the best,


Friday, 10 August 2012

Progress Friday 10th August 2012

Dear all
It has been quite a day with a steam experience participants ably hosted by Mike Ball, Matt and John Evans through a very warm day. Mick Thomas hosted today's test customers as they demonstrated their trolley equipment to Network Rail on the Incline. More development work seemed to be required that may bring their return to Wirksworth. Mick also bottomed the problems with our "Bance" and it is now performing as it should.
Some charter and filming enquiries were dealt with that may, or may not, bear fruit. The Oaks brakevan project moved forward and there was much effort to tidy up, paint and prepare the site for the weekend.
The Pullman Buffet Car enjoyed a steady trade and I attach a photo of our steam team and their guests enjoying an al fresco lunch in the sun.
The day has concluded with an 80th Birthday Special for Joe Ruddock, his family and friends which I hope to join later in the evening as they head for the Malt Shovel. Joe has been a loyal supporter and worker since day one of our project putting in money as well before we knew we had a real enterprise. He remains remarkably fit and is an example of how volunteering has a very real benefit to longevity.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Progress Thursday 9th August 2012

Dear all
A delightful day when all was well with the world except a neighbour on the Incline. It does prove you can't do right from wrong as two neighbours had asked for tree clearance and were very pleased with the result. They were aware that the VCT would return today to burn the brash but another neighbour emerged to complain about the smoke! However, undaunted, the team decamped and returned to the 40 Steps area and achieved a two fire day. The joys of vegetation clearance.
There was much preparation for the upcoming diesel weekend with both the Class 33 and Class 31 being fuelled up at a cost approaching £1,600 and their coaching stock assembled ready to roll on Saturday.
The Bubble Car project moved ever forward as painting of the roof commenced and the new panel at the north end was welded into place. This vehicle will be a useful returnee to our operational fleet.
The PWT completed the north point work at Shottle with the addition of two more closure rails as this project moves ever closer to conclusion.
There was a pleasant drip feed of visitors for the Booking Hall and Pullman Buffet Car.  
The VCT recovered a pair of spectacles from Gorsey Bank and as they were our side of the fence it maybe one of our splendid team of third men has accidentally dropped them. They now rest in the Mess Hall for collection.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Progress Wednesday 8th August 2012

Dear all
As the day progressed Summer seemed to arrive, however briefly, over the valley. The PWT worked at Shottle after assembling a number of required components from their stores at Wirksworth and achieved the insertion of two closure rails in the north point of the Shottle loop project. The Asset Manager propelled his Track Recording Machine up the Ravenstor Incline to check its present condition introducing a few beads of sweat on the brow.
The Filing Fairy was in position as this essential work closes in on the gaps in our defences and the LCC received assistance from Dan and Tim in the preparation of Joe's 80th birthday train having "clocked" that one of Tim's skills was window cleaning. Dan & Tim had earlier re-erected the STOP board at the end of the truncated Gorsey Bank line so that the signage now matches that described in the Safety Management System documentation. They also gave the Pullman set a wash to prepare it for the upcoming weekend.
The Booking Hall and Pullman Buffet Car benefited from the improved weather conditions and the catering operation was challenged by demand today. For those of you familiar with the area we welcomed the former landlord and landlady of the Jovial Dutchman at Crich who retired some 10 years ago. They brought a group of friends and relatives and are likely to be regulars for meals. My last visit there was to celebrate a successful pass as a tram driver at Crich after a weeks intensive tuition so there was a brief period of "all our yesterdays".
At our southern extremity there was a litter pick through from Duffield Station to the Holloway Road foot crossing. Our eagle eyed representative noticed two of our neighbours discharging their garden waste onto our land and gently persuaded the culprits to take their detritus back. It remains a mystery to me that the prosperous end of our line still seems to regard us as a dumping area.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Progress Tuesday 7th August 2012

Dear all
A day of sunshine and showers that seemed to have had quite a positive effect on our visitors. The crew of our 1110 Duffield to Wirksworth service were wondering whether to wait for a late running Nottingham to Matlock service but were pleased that they did as some 30 passengers transferred to the branch!
Meanwhile the DT gave No3 its monthly service and check with the rest of the team continuing with the reassembly of Henry Ellison. Mick Kingsley deserves a credit for mowing the banks at Wirksworth until the rains came suspending operations. The LMSCA and Dan concentrated on the welding necessary for their new plate work at the north end of the BTO and Fred & Iris gave the Mess Hall their customary detailed deep clean.
I was reminded that yesterday was a two bench day in the weighbridge with bolt fettling, of the bullhead variety, and Bance repairs going along in harmony followed by a one bench day today where flat bottom fishplate bolts received the renovation treatment.
My thanks go to Tim and Nathan who placed some of the necessary signage at the end of the passenger section recognising the shortened Gorsey Bank line.
It was good to see that our earnings today by the two Booking Halls, the train crew and the Pullman Buffet Car justified all the energy put into these activities.
Spotted by my namesake in today's Mirror was the attached piece which may have been influenced by our very own Tom Tait who spotted the author on board

Progress Monday the 6th of August 2012

Another fine and sunny day at Shottle gave P Way a chance to get ahead with a few jobs on Shottle loop turnout. The through road was repacked from end to end to remove a dip in the middle, all the br1 base plates between the loop and the turnout on the curve were removed and replaced with pan 11 base plates - much stronger and far more able to retain the gauge on the 11 chain curve. We also removed a concrete sleeper adjacent to the switch toe joint and replaced with timber to keep the sleepers either side of the joint the same. The switch destined to replace the up side switch on the southern turnout was removed from it's stock rail ready for loading and transferring to Wirksworth for some welding and regrinding on the tip before being put to use. All the displaced base plates were loaded to the Sturgeon ready for transfer to stock at Wirksworth. We had a good turnout today - 8 men at Shottle with Dave Newby and Tony Watt remaining at Wirksworth refurbishing fishbolts and repairing the bance wrench.

VCT were again at br 24 clearing up brash and burning with Mike Billings carrying out more flailing ( 50 shades of grey - I think not - on his head perhaps ) and trimming the hawthorne hedge near Rowland's crossing.

Further work was carried out on the bubble cars' roof prior to painting.


Monday, 6 August 2012


Dear all,

A word of reminder about the Railway's policy on young people. At this
time of year we often get young people who join us because it is
essentially the school holidays and parents are seeking somewhere to
keep their offspring busy. I have, however, to remind everyone
(politely) that we are not a youth club. If you are asked whether such
and such a young person can attend the Railway, you must make it clear
that all normal application procedures apply. Young people under 18
years of age must have written parental consent: they cannot turn up of
their own inclination or with their "mates" and wander around looking
for something to do. Secondly, they (and indeed all new entrants of any
age) must attend an Induction. The safety of the public, our own
insurance requirements and our ability to supervise young people are all
issues in this matter and must be understood and complied with. Any
young person who does not have parental consent will be required to leave.

The next Induction is on the 22nd of September at 2pm in the Training
Room at Wirksworth Station.

Anton Shone
Passenger Services Manager

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Progress Report Sunday the 4th of August 2012

Dear all,

The Met Office quoted us for a day of torrential rain. The quote was
clearly out of date and we basked more or less in summer sunshine until
a desultory shower passed over about 5 o'clock. Passengers on the main
service trains and the narrow gauge as well as the Day with a Driver
Guest (who managed to turn up at Duffield to modest consternation)
appeared entirely happy and numbers were improved after a quiet start by
a multitude in a coach from Scunthorpe (via Buxton and quite a lot of
reversing). "They said this was a mystery tour, love, and its certainly
been a mystery to me" remarked one lady as she asked for the buffet.

In a frenzy of activity Dan very nearly did just about every job it was
possible to achieve in one day, starting with fence painting, carrying
on through platform and coach washing, some lawn mowing, and culminating
in tree tidying (a joint activity supervised by Rodney) and bubble car
undercoating. We were quite out of breath. Meanwhile, the lousy and
almost entirely inaccurate forecast disrupted the days painting plans,
except for some modest touching up by Nathan, and yet another round of
multi-tasking involving carpet laying, sleeper moving, cupboard painting
(indoor) and junk removal took place courtesy of Cooke Enterprises.

Down the yard, the DMU team spent the day attempting to tighten their
nuts and bang out their cotter pins, towards a general objective of
getting a working alternator on the class 119. The steam team, having
addressed the tank-injector pipework of Henry Ellison, spent quite a lot
of time adjusting the cab and in the process removed the upper half of
the cab backplate, this resulted in an engine of rather Indian
appearance. The last train to Kalapur, supervised by the Nawab of Stoke
Shed, will be leaving shortly.

All the best,

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Progress Report Saturday 4th August 2012

Dear All,

A rather slow start to the day with moderate visitors to our railway but our later trains enjoyed good passenger numbers reflecting the better weather. Down the yard the 8F group continued their restoration work as did the DMU team who focussed on erecting pelmets in the class 119. The LMSCA too were in attendance as their restoration project gathers pace. Dan completed painting the station fencing around the crossing gates and the Pullman Buffett welcomed a steady stream of customers throughout the day.

Our major project today was organised by Tim Oaks and involved a posse of railwaymen descending on mass to the disused Denby branch line to salvage a range of surplus equipment. This venture proved very successful.

All the best,


Progress Friday 3rd August 2012

Dear all
Quite a decent day with Mick and Joe Culver hosting another steam experience. Unfortunately one of the afternoon participants missed his opportunity as the M1 was closed for a while and he was stuck in the resultant traffic jams.
The dmu team concentrated on the Class 117 with the ambition of fitting curtains in the first class and there was more "creosoting" of the Wirksworth platform fencing. Anton, carpet fitter, Shone utilised some of the former Buffet Car carpet for the Booking Hall to provide a strip in front of the counter. This carpet originated from a Cinema some years ago so reflects credit on the manufacturer!
A very positive meeting was held of the Safety Management Review Group as we tackle our current project, a revision of the Rule Book to take account of lessons learnt from the 16 months or so of operating the full line.
The Booking Hall and Pullman Buffet Car benefited from quite an influx of visitors and the new, wizzo, ice cream freezer was stocked up for the weekend.
Picture attached courtesy of Bob Swepstone showing Alan's handiwork in position

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Progress Thursday 2nd August 2012

Dear all
The weather was a little kinder to us today allowing for a most productive day by the VCT. They initially visited the clearance area between bridge DJW 24 and footpath FP13, Derby Road No1 and 40 Steps, transporting the brash to a burning site away from adjacent properties and achieving one large fire. During the afternoon they responded to an appeal from a neighbour in Spring Close next to the Ravenstor line and dealt with the tree cover that was causing two houses some problems. This act has greatly improved their credit rating but it was disappointing that no tea was offered in gratitude.
The PWT visited Shottle tending to a number of issues surrounding the north pointwork and removing the chairs from a number of sleepers that will be replaced by a more advanced versions recovered from the former Gorsey Bank line.
We were very pleased to host a charter for the Derby Trogs, discovered to represent "Trevor's Railway Old Gits", consisting of a wonderful reunion of people from the late, lamented, Derby Carriage & Wagon Works who had been involved in the testing along our line of diesel multiple units produced from the Works. They were then hosted by Angela and her team for a late lunch.
The dmu maintenance team were in action as the fuelled the two car set for the weekend, gave Iris and exam and gear box oil top up and ensured we are all ready to roll for the next few days.
With the help of our neighbours again, the Station Garage, the ball cock was fitted to the water tank on Wash Green dock as we move ever closer to adequate water facilities for steam operations. Dan started his day on continued Bubble Car renovations but transferred to fencing improvements on the station after being worked up for the day.
The Booking Hall had an enjoyable day processing a flurry of "Skiffle & Chips" bookings and further enhancements to our web site. The Pullman Buffet Car benefited from a pleasant flow of visitors brought out by the joyous sunshine.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Progress Wednesday 1st August 2012

Dear all
A day of sunshine and showers that didn't really do it for the Pullman Buffet Car and Booking Hall but we were grateful for the small offerings that presented themselves. Nonetheless, the Buffet Car started preparing for tomorrow's party booking and the Booking Hall researched how we might use stored data bases to access our Santa customers of 2011.
The PWT continued the process of sourcing material for Shottle loop which today involved recovering two bullhead rails from under Wash Green bridge and replacing them with the flat bottomed variety. Given our present financial situation it is very much a make do and mend.
It was great to see Tim and Matt give the Pullman set an exterior wash together with a pressure wash of Platform 2. Even my Office windows were cleaned ... I can see, I can see!
The Lone Carriage Cleaner was in go mode dealing with the Royal Saloon, 2 Car set, Iris and the Training Room. The Filing Fairy, whilst feeling a little delicate, continued her dogged pursuit of our outstanding paperwork and David N tended to some additional lighting in the Buffet Car.
There is a material recovery opportunity from the Denby branch available on Saturday with the permission of Network Rail. The team will be gathering at Wirksworth at 0900 on Saturday and if you feel able to participate you will be made welcome. Tim Oaks is leading the charge and the end product is likely to speed up the completion of the Shottle loop project.