Friday, 30 November 2012

Progress Friday 30th November 2012

Dear all
Another month comes to an end with quite a delightful group enjoying a Drive a Diesel Day. This, again, was most ably hosted by Lewis, Richard and John which concluded our driver experiences of 2012. The programme of steam and diesel experience days yields most useful revenue but the skills and welcome extended by the members of our team who participate also has an immense public relations effect on people that would have not otherwise known of our existence. Today's lead customer was returning for a second experience having enjoyed the first one so much and he said he had set the alarm for 0455 to travel up from Clapham - now there's proof that we are getting something right.
Further work on the Guards compartment of the Bubble Car was in progress together with polishing of the exterior furniture of the vehicle. It was also good to see Dan and Derek putting in an extra day to move the Mark 1 BSK project forward.
Anton returned after a well earned break to get up to date with the doings in the Booking Hall as we await the arrival of Santa and the Pullman Buffet Car welcomed regulars and provided lunch for our experience customers.
It has been pleasant, sunny and very cold through the day. The weather looks set to challenge us in the coming weeks.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Progress Thursday 29th November 2012

Dear all,
Firstly, a terrible omission from yesterday's report that kept me awake all last night except from a brief period between 2200 and 0700. The LCC, together with husband of LCC, prepared Santa's Grotto which involved quite ingenious solutions to preserving the integrity of what, after all, is an heritage vehicle. June has done a splendid job and should be congratulated on her hard work.
Today, the PWT concentrated on Shottle and continued preparing for the reconfiguration of the south end of the loop that will eliminate severe speed restrictions as the train journeys into it. The VCT renewed their endeavours south of Shottle and were probably the only warm people on site with three large fires to consume the brash.
Work continued within the "Bubble Car" as panelling out of the Guards compartment progressed. The rest of the dmu team resolved a fuel pipe problem on Iris and fuelled it for its last service day for a little while. A fuel leak on L J Breeze was also investigated and declared acceptable for a few more outings. In the south further improvements were made to the staff car park at Duffield with the aid of locomotive ash moved to site. I am also grateful to Mike Evans and John Allsop who have had an opportunity to clear the gutters of the Royal Saloon now it is undercover which will allow further sealant to be applied to prevent water ingress.
The Pullman Buffet Car traded steadily and the Booking Hall bottomed the recent Santa bookings for despatch to our customers. The round up this week revealed that we are 13% up on this time last year and that online reservations represent 75% of the total.
Today's photo demonstrates the size of vehicle that supports some of our test customers.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Progress Wednesday 28th November 2012

Dear all
Another most productive day with our customer accomplishing their EMC testing at Wirksworth and then departing for Barton-under-Needwood for further work to complete the acceptance of the vehicle to work on Network Rail. The manufacturer from Germany operates from a former DDR "half" roundhouse and has cheered Bob Gibbens as they can supply spares for Trabants, in fact the Managing Director has a Trabant powered speedboat - the mind boggles. A photo is attached that shows the vehicle which bears an uncanny resemblance to our own Multicar.
The PWT had a good day with all the track patrolling going on as planned and the other part of the team dealt with a number of tasks including clearing the area of the south Shottle points, collecting the portable toilets from Duffield and distributing them to new locations and collecting a wagon of logs for sale.
The SBT installed some 50 ft of concrete base foundation and, at Wirksworth, a walling contractor has started to remedy the problems in the Car Park.
The Filing Fairy continued her massive task and the Booking Hall has a most satisfactory day with Santa and Group Bookings.
The Pullman Buffet Car was test driving a new "chocolate log" and introduced our customer to the joys of the Pullman Bacon Buttie.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Progress Tuesday 27th November 2012

Dear all
It was good to welcome a test customer and their team which included a number of German technicians who were ably hosted by Mick Thomas with help from David Newby at the start of their two day stint with us. Interestingly, the test vehicle was built on the same principle as our very own Multicar but adapted for rail grinding and significantly younger.
The VCT returned to their clearance site south of Idridgehay and dealt with much brash by two fires and the PWT started to strip down the pointwork recovered from the Shottle south area in the most inclement of weather conditions. The SBT erected some 27 metres of shuttering to enable reconstruction of the base stonework for Shottle platform and the ingredients were delivered to Wirksworth to allow them to proceed tomorrow.
The LMSCA continued with the construction of new window frames for the BTO and assisted with the restoration of the Mark 1 BSK. The DST worked on all three locomotives with continued efforts to release the mechanical stoker on Cathryn, painting of Henry Ellison  and winter maintenance on No. 3.
Fred & Iris gave the Mess Hall another thorough clean and Mike Billings worked on the Komatsu's flail head attachment that is in need of major surgery. The "Bubble Car" had yet more gutter work as this project moves into its final stage.
The Booking Hall continued to process Santa bookings with another pleasant flurry today and the Pullman Buffet Car capitalised on our test customers who were drawn to Wirksworth cuisine.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Progress Report Sunday 25th November 2012

After a very damp start the friendly railway in Wirksworth got down to doing what it does best and looked after a steady stream of visitors many who sampled the the fine delights of the Pullman Buffet which included  a Christmas themed Sunday lunch.

Down the yard the DMU group worked hard to restore the 119 to pristine working  condition.The Lmsca  where like busy little bees on a hot day replenishing the windows on the bak coach. The duty conscript and his minders toiled hard not only cleaning the inside of the 3 car unit but going around the car park and  paths on a general clean up.

Rodney surfaced above the water around Wirksworth to collect waste ash for improving the the car park at Duffield, whilst Down in the training room the guards huddled together around the cauldron to discuss and prepare a mutual remedy for next years running of trains.

I'm sure they will all now be sat  with their feet up and reflecting on a job well done.

ATB   John

(John Evans via Tom Tait)

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Progress Report Saturday 24th November 2012

Dear All,

It was a cold, wet wintery day down at Derbyshire's favourite branch line. During her preparation for service it was found that Iris had a fractured fuel pipe to her heater and the 2-car set was quickly prepared for the 10.20 Duffield service. The lone quick fix fitter expertly dealt with the fault and Iris was able to return to her normal duties at 12.20.

Down the yard the LMSCA concentrated their efforts on the window seals of the BSK. In the shed the 8F group continued the dismantling of Katherine's mechanical stoker. The lone quick fix fitter turned his attentions to a fault with the Bubble car's lights and again his administrations proved successful and the fault is now rectified. Finally up at Duffield the station foreman set about fixing some broken car park fencing.

All the best,


Friday, 23 November 2012

Progress Friday 23rd November 2012

Dear all
The sun shone through the day and the wind had dropped away enabling me to take a photo at Duffield, in pleasant conditions, that will illustrate our unique signal there for a forthcoming internal publication so I thought I would share it with you!
I have been gently challenged on my use of the word "unique" to describe our two single unit railcars. My claim was based on their regular use on all service and charter trains through the winter period which, I think, is peculiar to us?
I omitted the endeavours of the VCT from yesterday's report as they were very much present south of Idridgehay cutting and burning.
Wirksworth was fairly quiet today with continued work to complete the "Bubble Car" and further processing of Santa bookings in the Booking Hall. The next shareholders mailout is a task that also made modest progress.
The Pullman Buffet Car saw returning regulars from Severn Trent Water that have adopted us as the cafe of choice.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Progress Thursday 22nd November 2012

Dear all
It was delightful to welcome a returning customer who wished to test a new system of measuring track deflection with a gismo that Bob Swepstone would much appreciate. The tests involved L J Breeze and I am grateful to David Newby who drove the locomotive to the client's requirements. The essence of the tests where to provide a refernce via a camera that recorded the changes as a train passed by. It was confirmed that our track at that point deflects within tolerance which is comforting.
The "Bubble Car's" guttering was replaced where repairs had dictated its removal and the Class 119 restoration team started the second engine to their combined delight.
LJB's activities revealed a fuel leak that was traced to a missing copper washer on one of the injectors. This problem was resolved by the dmu team resulting in a splendid minimalisation of the golden product not being wasted.
The dmu team also orchestrated a shunt to put the Royal Saloon under cover for the winter which was most helpful.
The Pullman Buffet Car had quite a day with contractors to Severn Trent Water knocking on the door at opening time, regular clients and today's customer adding to the activity.
The Booking Hall processed further Santa bookings and we are now at some 12% ahead of this time last year with 75% booked on line. There is still lots of capacity available on all trains and it would be great to beat all previous year's records.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Progress Wednesday 21st November 2012

Dear all
A most unpleasant and very wet day that frustrated our PWT and SBT ( a new term for you to absorb representing the Shottle Building Team). Effectively no real work was achieved apart from a transmission of timber between Hazelwood and Shottle by rail by rail/road Landrover - maybe another first.
The dmu team have applied the final lining out of the "Bubble Car" which represents the conclusion of this splendid exercise where we are definitely unique in being able to offer economical passenger services with single unit railcars.
The Filing Fairy continues the task of competence recording and the LCC delivered and categorised the presents acquired for the Santa trains. The FF husband made strides to prepare for slinging courses with a willing volunteer acquired from Network Rail.
The Safety Management Review Group have finalised the new Rule Book Assessment that is now lodged under the member section of the web site with many thanks to Robin.
The Booking Hall had a productive day processing incoming Santa bookings together with a coach company who would like to visit us next September. The Pullman Buffet Car had a thin day after visitors were surprised that we were open but seemed reluctant to engage with a sales opportunity. Presumably they don't pay for anything anywhere!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Progress Tuesday 20th November 2012

Dear all
A few folk on site today, well over 50 folk making it quite difficult to keep track of all the goings on. Nonetheless I will try.
The dmu team continued their attack on the Class 119 and things beneath its sole bar whilst the DST continued with their dismantling and assessment of Kathryn.
The PWT departed for the south and greased some seven rail joints reporting a particularly difficult day requiring our whole supply of refurbished bolts. They are tackling the alternate joints which seem to have been untouched for around 40 or 50 years demonstrating the value of this tedious exercise. The Watt Bolt Company has been in production for two days in order to try and keep up with demands. The Shottle reconstruction team have made further progress on this lengthy project and will journey to Hazelwood tomorrow to obtain timber for shuttering to allow casting of a smooth base for the reconstructed wall.
The LMSCA are quite proud of a new glazing technique for the new windows to be fitted to the BTO as the large guards area is reduced to create room for wheelchair bound passengers. We welcomed back Dan Smith who is going to mastermind the return to traffic of the BR Mark 1 BSK.
I am most grateful to the recovery team that descended on Bletchley Park last weekend following the generous donation of signalling equipment from the model railway club that is being evicted from the site. The prize was a four lever ground frame with various shunt signal discs and a signal post with associated semaphore signals. Many other components and products for the EVRA shop were also gained.
The Booking Hall received a further flurry of Santa bookings and delivery of a new leaflet that encourages us all to think of the Railway in our will.
The Pullman Buffet Car looked after the inner needs of a volunteer teams.
A drizzly and productive day.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Progress Report Sunday the 18th of November 2012

Dear all,

Another shiny Sunday in Wirksworth, or it was once the frost had gone.
The sunshine brought a few hardy visitors out to look around, but most
activity was general upkeep or further restoration.

In general upkeep, the Duty Conscript tidied the car park of a large
amount of brash which had mysteriously fallen off the car park wall and
also despatched the remains of the Ravenstor footgate, which was
suffering from rot and the gnats. Down in the stores, the sound of
hammers being dropped accompanied by some grunting indicated that the
new stores racking (three "Derbyshire Quality" racks for 99p) was being

On the restoration front, the sound of Abba floated around the yard as
the LMS brake van received interior caulking and painting. The class 119
received more trim to the second class compartment, and underneath our
chilly engineers fitted the fuel pipes, the oil filler and the throttle
cable apparently using the Wolverhampton Crimpers. We look forward the
being able to pull the throttle cable to start the engine, and I am
reliably informed by several knowledgeable journalists that you do this
in the same way as you start your mower, only that with a DMU throttle
cable you have to fix it to the back bumper of a blue Clio and drive off
quickly. As, in my experience, it is impossible to drive off quickly in
a blue Clio, this is unlikely to be the correct explanation of how a DMU
throttle cable works.

All the best,

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Progress Report 17th November 2012

Dear All,

A very busy day down at Derbyshire's favourite branch line. Following on from last Saturday's filming, Iris again starred today with a sound recording team arriving to record the dulcet tones of her engines which will be loaded onto digital sound chips for model engines. A full train of passengers left Duffield at 11.10 en route to Wirksworth with the on train crew acting as creche stewards due the amount of junior travellers. The stray sheep on the line further helped keep the young passengers amused. We welcomed visitors from as far a field as London and Norwich with some visiting us for the first time following a recommendation from friends who recently enjoyed our hospitality. They compliment us on how clean and well kept our stations were. The buffet coped admirably with the unexpected rush of patrons and the model railway received a number of visitors.

Down the yard the LMSCA focussed their efforts on preparing the BTK for the fixing of the bellows. The DMU restoration team carried on with their work on the class 119. Inside part of the team completed the side panels, trimmed No.1 side around the top and put up the luggage rack. The rest of the team worked underneath the unit and the coolant system was completed and declared fully water tight and ready to run. In the shed work continued on the Bubble car's dome.

Finally, a group of very pleased volunteers returned from their adventures at Milton Keynes and have successfully rescued 2 home distance signals and a 4 lever frame as well as other signalling miscellany.

All the best,


Friday, 16 November 2012

Progress Friday 16th November 2012

Dear all
John carried on with the lining out of the "Bubble Car" and test fitted the new arm rests he had manufactured for the Class 119. The latter required fine tuning so they have returned to the Allsop workshop for modification.
The Safety Management Review Group met to start updating the Rule Book Assessment paper and the Sectional Appendix. Our small customer returned for the second of their two day session.
It was good to see Richard Flatman who is making a sound recovery from his major heart surgery. During the afternoon we welcomed David Horne, MD of East Midlands Trains to discuss areas of mutual interest and see how we may work even more closely together during 2013.
Two events were missed from yesterday's lengthy report. The first was that there was further interior work undertaken on the Oaks Brakevan project and the second was to record the first Online sales of the newly introduced "stocking fillers" put on offer through the web shop.
Repairs were undertaken to the pedestrian gates at Idridgehay where the prognosis was that one good one could be created from the two returned to Wirksworth.
The Booking Hall had an admin sort of day and the Pullman Buffet Car dealt with a steady trade.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Progress Thursday 15th November 2012

Dear all
A lengthy report tonight as a massive amount of activity was achieved today. A splendid team arrived to deal with the preparation for three significant projects that involved a great deal of delicate shunting. Faraday was returned to the Museum line as its restoration to productive use is beyond us at the moment. The chassis of The Duke and the wagon containing its water tank were also placed on the Museum siding so that serious work to return the locomotive to steam can commence. The LMSCA Stanier Third Open was journeyed to the Maintenance Facility to enable a contractor to commence remedying the fire damage and move the coach along to returning to the operational fleet. The Mark 1 BSK moved to the Carriage Siding to enable a strategy to fast track this vehicle into service be implemented. I am most grateful to all involved with these positioning moves that set the scene for restorations in the immediate future.
The VCT spent their day just below Cromford Road bridge to cleanse the retaining wall on the UP side of its remaining vegetation with honorary member Swepstone. A very large fire dealt with the brash and sundry products from this exercise and am pleased to report that this concludes satisfaction of the requests by Network Rail and Amec.
The PWT were engaged at Shottle placing all surplus rail onto the Sturgeon and recovering pointwork deposited in the grass at the south end of the loop. The platform area was surveyed and levels taken to deal with its raising by some 8 inches. The temporary access furniture was removed as this will not be needed when the station reopens.
John applied the final gloss to the "Bubble Car" together with completing the yellow warning panels leaving lining and lettering being the only tasks left to complete on this marvellous restoration. The Filing Fairy returned to the "Forth Bridge" of getting all our records up to date and she really deserves out unquestioning support given that there are over 200 of us on the books at the moment.
John Allsop also applied sealant to the Royal Saloon's roof to try and stem water ingress and the dmu team gave the 2 Car set an exterior wash.
In amongst all the activity was entertained our small customer who reported a satisfactory day.
The Booking Hall was in revenue raising mode as tow of next year's customers used the over the phone credit card opportunity and finalised this weeks Santa statistics. We are now 13% ahead of where we were this time last year with 76% of the bookings being through the Online shop.
The Pullman Buffet Car had a satisfactory day with the pleasant weather bringing out the passing trade and our volunteers eating with some vigour.
Not bad for a November Thursday.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Progress Wednesday 14th November 2012

Dear all
Much endeavour on many fronts again with the PWT taking the leading role. Track patrols again proved their use to the safety of the line with Tony W spotting a broken fishplate between Idridgehay and Shottle resulting in its replacement. The PWT also organised a Works Train to transfer our former "Shell" tanker to site at Shottle station that will provide the water supply for mixing cement. I don't think it has travelled so far for many years! Coping stones were removed from the south end of Shottle platform and a modest amount of ballast remaining in the Rudd was deposited on the southern pointwork there.
There is a growing number of our team taking an interest in the Shottle platform reconstruction and I am very pleased to report EVRA's support in providing the surface material when the project is nearing conclusion.
The "Bubble Car" project moved ever forward with the east side gutter painted and the Head of Gardening moved more brash to the Wirksworth burning site.
The Pullman Buffet Car had a quiet day but the Booking Hall processed a flurry of Santa bookings. Another test customer emerged after some 7 months of silence which brought further anticipatory joy to our world.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Progress Tuesday 13th November 2012

Dear all
A most active day in what many perceive as the closed season. I am most grateful to the VCT who arrived at Wirksworth mob handed to clear vegetation from structures advised by Amec acting on behalf of Network Rail. Their products resulted in two splendid fires to burn the brash of these activities and it was noted that Bob Swepstone was amongst them getting down and dirty.
The PWT continued the essential work of fishplate greasing between Shottle and Duffield achieving a remarkable 34 pairs. The Komatsu was used to grade and tidy up the "car park" area at Shottle following the departure of the Mess Hut to its new location. John and Chris have taken down around 30ft of the platform wall as the project to rebuild commences.
The DST concentrated their efforts on Henry Ellison and the LMSCA prepared the Third Open for its move to the Maintenance Facility and manufactured the framework for a new window in the Brake Third Open.
The Filing Fairy made further strides with our record keeping, David replaced the water heater in Wirksworth's ladies toilet and Fred & Iris gave the Mess Hall a good clean. All activities that go without notice but so essential to our enterprise.
Equally, in the south there was a deal of activity to provide a new door stop for the ladies toilet, collection of leaves and weeding. The dmu team were most productive with John Allsop cutting and preparing seven stepboards for rotten ones on the Bubble Car and were fitted today. Panelling was fitted to the Class 119 as this vehicle strides forward to star in an event in 2013.
The Pullman Buffet Car had a steady and satisfactory trade with the Booking Hall dealing the usual range of visitors and phone calls.
After a very fallow time I have dealt with three test enquiries today which brings a warm glow and entertained a location manager that may yet yield some joy.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Progress Report Sunday the 11th of November 2012

Dear all,

A lovely sunny autumn day here in Wirksworth. We occupied ourselves by
pottering around in a pleasant no-kind-of-hurry sort of way, no
passengers to worry about and only a few curious visitors to create a
ripple of activity in our comfortable, contented serenity.

The Duty Conscripts painted their way through another fence and the LMS
brake van received a white ceiling to its verandah. Down the yard the
coolant equipment was re-fitted to the ever more complete class 119 and
more interior panelling was restored to the second class compartment of
that vehicle.

All the best,

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Progress Report Saturday 10th November 2012

Dear All,

Today's sunny weather had a positive impact upon visitor numbers with all our scheduled services enjoying good passenger numbers. At Wirksworth station we played host to a group of media and film students from Chesterfield College who were making a short film as part of their course work with Iris starring in a supporting role.

Down the yard the LMSCA were in attendance lubricating corridor joints in 27001. The DMU restoration team split into two groups with one concentrating on preparation work in readiness for the panels being fitted under the standard class windows of the class 119. The other group focussed their attention on washing the exterior of the 3 car set ready for its trips to the north pole. At Ravenstor station a number of volunteers spent the day clearing the station path towards the stone centre of excess vegetation as well as level its surface. Finally, at Duffield station the garden received a general tidy up.

A very busy day.

All the best,


Friday, 9 November 2012

Progress Friday 9th November 2012

Dear all
Bob Swepstone has been beavering away in the background over the last couple of days to assist Network Rail's contractor to inspect retaining walls around the Wirksworth area. This has resulted, in the immediate future, in the closure of the Wirksworth Car Park while further checks are made and further vegetation cleared for a complete assessment. It's a reminder that all our structures are some 150 years old!
Good news on the Santa front with bookings within a smidgeon of being 30% up on this time last year with the great preponderance being online.
The Pullman Buffet Car had another steady day and the Booking Hall concentrated on house keeping.
PS - there is a Ravenstor working party planned for tomorrow assembling at Wirksworth for 1000. This is to take advantage of the closed period for care and maintenance of our northernmost outpost.
PPS - first journey over new track at Shottle with the 1020 Wirksworth to Duffield service - quite an event
PPPS - Sunday lunches and many other goodies in the online shop - everything is just a click away

Stop Press!!

Dear all
The Online Shop now offers Sunday Lunches throughout November and a range of stocking fillers for Christmas.
Many thanks to Robin and Leigh for putting the technicalities together.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Progress 8th November 2012

Dear all
Today was the 12th Anniversary of the start of work to renovate the Duffield to Wirksworth branch line. The emotional effect of this date is lost on the majority of the present volunteer team that has grown from an initial eight to over 200 in the intervening period. As you look around today it is difficult to imagine what has been achieved in quite a short time and it is with some pride that I can announce that we have opened a new section of our Railway.
The Shottle deviation, or bypass, is now installed to enable the platform to be reconstructed with the full, and financial, support of our neighbours at Peak Oil. This Company were always doubtful in the early days about our intentions but are now very much behind the actions we propose there. EVRA have stepped up to ensure the surfacing will mach the quality achieved at Idridgehay.
Saturday see the first use of the Shottle deviation which will allow transit over a brand new section of track never, ever, experienced by any mortal!
The VCT were working a little south of Idridgehay, near the site of Colin Blowers memorial site, and reported four roaring fires in addition to an earlier one south of Shottle. The PWT can glow in their achievement with the Shottle loop that looks as though it has been there for ever. A most satisfactory session with Peak Oil, the owner of the station building and surrounding area, has resulted in a clear plan for the future with that Company supporting the project financially.
The dmu maintenance team concentrated on Santa's three car set to deal with a problem alternator. The Bubble Car moves ever forward with the first gloss being applied to the Up, East, side of the vehicle.
Down at Duffield leaf gathering has been the order of the day,
Today's photo is of the new secure transport for volunteers so that they can't escape before the job in hand.
This is not an April fools joke but the PWT are seeking a redundant bath in order to blend the fishplate grease that tend to separate in time. I have suggested that there would be a photo opportunity as they resemble the grape harvest aiming for Wirksworth's first bottling.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Progress Wednesday 7th November 2012

Dear all
The main activity today was the PWT travelling to Duffield to recover surplus sand left over from the reconstruction of the station that will now be used for the Shottle platform project. The team then filled two wagons with logs for sale, one at Shottle and one at Wirksworth. Many fishplate bolts were inserted into the Shottle loop line and the Shottle Mess Hut was moved close to site and the S&T van put into the platform line as a working base. Temporarily this has closed the Railway at Shottle pending diversion through the loop that will be accomplished tomorrow all being well.
Amey, under contract from Network Rail, attended Wirksworth today to commence examination of retaining walls and the Head of Gardening was in action barrowing debris from the garden to a burning site.
The Filing Fairy made further progress with our record system that will soon be the envy of any heritage railway in the UK. The Bubble Car received further attention from John Allsop who was very bullish about its completion date. A photo supplied by Leigh shows how much the vehicle has progressed.
The Pullman Buffet Car traded quite well and the Booking Hall processed a very heartening number of online Santa bookings.
Another good day.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Progress Tuesday 6th November 2012

A cold and drizzley day but p way were out in force greasing fishplates and achieved 26 pairs. P way mechanical dept removed the rest of the radiator elements from Breeze for cleaning and resealing prior to adding antifrezze. Yet another branch of p way spent the day retapping fishbolts and added another 34 to the pile.

VCT were again at Idridgehay with one but enormous fire clearing yet more linside.

Mike the flail returned the flail head to Wirksworth for repairs but it was pronounced dead on arrival and needs 2 to 3 days welding work to repair.

LMSCA carried on with repairs to the LMS brake.

Steam team spent the day winterising No3 and also removing bits of Ellison from the shed.

DMU team had a shunt to move the bubble car to the other side of the shed for painting taking the time to wash the dust off as well.

Lots done despite the weather.


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Monday, 5 November 2012

Progress Monday 5th November 2012

Dear all
A sunny, crisp day as we welcomed three participants on our penultimate Drive a Diesel Day of 2012 very ably hosted by John Allsop and Richard Buckby with John Evans helping with the afternoon session. Catering had to be spot on as John, Angela's husband was one of today's clients. The day included shunting the S&T van to the Car Park to aid this week's permanent way activities.
The Tony Watt, the fishplate bolt refurbisher, was in business retapping the fishplate bolt nuts declaring that he was saving me money by each nut dealt with and, indeed, he was!
The Booking Hall welcomed our visitors and the Pullman Buffet Car had a bit of a thin day overall except for the Drive a Diesel people.
PS - after the modest success of our first advertised Sunday Lunch offering we will try the rest of November and place it on line. The team will be encouraged by your support that may lead to us being confident that the product will work through the Santa train programme.
PPS - I receive, on our behalf, notices of criminal activity in the Wirksworth area and there is a noticeable rise in thefts and break-ins. Please ensure everyone does all possible to secure the site by keeping our three main gates closed and locked when the last man leaves.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Progress Report Sunday the 4th of November 2012

Dear all,

A rather chilly but largely dry day here in the wonderment of the Peak
District. Although there were no timetabled trains today, we
nevertheless operated a charter to pick up a happy band of walkers from
Duffield, who had been on the 3 Railways Walk. This brought a rather
pleasant week to a close, as we had been quite busy due to the half term.

The DMU team carried on with their stores effort and with the painting
of the ceiling of the class 119 second class compartment, which is now
looking suitably resplendent. A convocation was held about curtain
fabric and our interior decoration team has come to a suitable
conclusion about the shade of red necessary to match the carpet.

The Duty Conscript, the one named after a famous lift manufacturer,
possibly by parents living in Norfolk, to which anything involving
height must have been an aspiration, carried on with the painting of our
many fences.

Down the yard, the LMS Brake Van proceeded on its merry way and now it
has internal seating for a small multitude: the possibility of its use
towards our Christmas event was contemplated and with a suitable supply
of chestnuts and a rather hot woodstove, Santa may have roast nuts this

All the best,

Friday, 2 November 2012

Progress Friday 2nd November 2012

Dear all
A cold, crisp, mainly sunny day where we welcomed the final steam experience customers of 2012 ably hosted by Mick and Hylton. We also gathered in three drive a diesel day participants excellently looked after by Lewis and Richard. John Evans graciously moved between the two experiences to ensure all the accompanying families enjoyed their day as well.
It was also satisfying to provide a little test track service to our rail flaw detection customers as they proved their new software.
The dmu team concentrated on the woodwork in the guards compartment of the Bubble Car enthusing about the progress made today.
The Booking Hall welcomed our many guests in addition to accomplishing and end of financial year stock take. The Pullman Buffet Car benefited from the sheer number of people coming and going through the day.
Lastly, the caravan situated on Wash Green dock that provided accommodation for "Ashford Bob" until he found the expense of coming to Wirksworth beyond his resources has departed for pastures new. Another end of an era story as the caravan was well beyond its sell by date and Bob made quite a contribution to our enterprise in its formative years. He has found solace on the East Kent Railway which has similar mountains to climb.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Progress Thursday 1st November 2012

Dear all
Well, what a surprising day as we operated for the first time a Thursday half term service at this time of year. To encourage us a minibus turned up for the first train from the Castle Donnington Volunteer Centre driven by a Great Central volunteer with 17 passengers and, after that, the only way was up.
Very satisfactory results from all departments in this experimental toe in the water at this time of year. We had the very first ever online booking for this coming Sunday lunch opportunity, thank you John, and I hope there will others before the weekend. It is very romantic in the Pullman Second Open with our new lighting system!
The dmu team dealt with the alternator belt repairs to 51360 and LJB benefited from the attentions of David and Doug who sorted radiator leaks and demonstrated how the radiator was fixed in manageable sections revealing the sealing washers had degraded.
The PWT fixed the newly manufactured lift fishplates to the Shottle loop and dealt with missing fastenings on the south loop point. The Shottle deviation moves ever closer.
The VCT dealt with more blackthorn south of Hazelwood, enjoyed two large fires and repaired the fence exposed by their clearance work.
The Booking Hall welcomed our many passengers and processed yet more Santa bookings which are now 20% ahead of this time last year and the Pullman Buffet Car had a satisfactory day although many of our passengers rushed off without a purchase. Maybe the economic situation continues to affect discretionary spend.
Tonight's photo is of the enamel sign from Borrowash signal box that now is exposed to the light in Wirksworth. The history of the sign is that it adorned the box until closure with the introduction of Derby Power Box in the 60s. At that time I was working at St Pancras and returned home with my washing to find that T W Ward had put a hawser around the box to pull it over and burn it. I asked if I could have some parts before the pyre and was encouraged to help myself. The sign has travelled extensively to New Mills, Romiley, Bolton, Guernsey, Southampton and Sheffield Park before ending up at Wirksworth Moor. It deserves to be exposed to the general public after being in hiding for so long.