Monday, 30 December 2013

Progress Monday 30th December 2013

Dear all,

A mostly wet and breezy day which saw the usual Monday slumber awoken early by the arrival of Allelys to collect the Class 108 E50599 and Class 101 E51505. These vehicles have gone to the Bluebell Railway on loan for a few months to operate winter services there. Not only is it the first time a DMU has operated on the Bluebell (remembering that the Bluebell has been operating as a heritage concern for the whole length of time these vehicles have been built) but it will also be the first time these two vehicles have operated as a pair because they face the same way with us.

After this excitement, some small shed improvements were undertaken and some painting took place in the guards van of 50253.


Sunday, 29 December 2013

Progress Report Sunday the 29th of December 2013

Dear all,

A rather pleasant sunny winters day saw the Austerity Team scraping their chassis and painting their parts. In the shed, the Tarp Tuggers were also busy painting, welding, stocktaking (!) and measuring glass in relation to unit 50253, as well as making last minute improvements to the two units going to the Bluebell. This was shortly followed by the
antimaccassars being checked to make sure little greasy fingered tykes hadn't been in to muck up our pristine presentation.

Back at the station the New Year ritual of changing the timetables took place which also involved cleaning the running in boards. This was followed by sweeping the forecourt, which is also part of a process to record our assorted potholes, with a view to dealing with them once the weather warms up.

All the best,

Friday, 27 December 2013

Progress Report Friday the 27th of December 2013

Dear all,

It was slightly breezy round our parts today, as it often is in December, although this seemed to be major news to the media, presumably who all live in Surrey and to whom wind is probably something the cat has. Meanwhile, the Christmas hangover continued and so we tidied up as quietly as possible.

Down the yard, the tidying up included the Tool Van and at the station the wheelie bin had been miraculously emptied by the skip fairies and so we filled it again.

The Higham Charter rumbled its way down the line, pausing only for a very short moment to allow a senior magistrate to address a tree with the loppers, but the line in general was gratifyingly tree free, a testament to the work being done to keep our wood nice and presentable.

All the best,

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Bah Humbug progress Christmas eve 2013.

Plenty of people around the railway today from LMSCA and the steam team. However, since they decamped long before we returned we haven't the slightest idea what they were doing today- though I suspect more of the usual.

P Way trundled off to Shottle with the Komatsu and the land rover with tools since no breeze driver was forthcoming. This allowed us a useful check on the line for fallen trees etc.

Land was levelled out on the down side of the loop to form a stock ground for all the unused copings laid around the site and said copings were duly removed to their long term resting place. The turned out rail in the up side track was replaced along with all the missing fish bolts on the up side of the loop. A rail has been removed at the south end of the down side loop for protection so we can use this side for the works train during further works. Points at each end of the loop have been normalised, clipped, scotched and the switch blades secured with fishplates in the time honoured manner for out of use points pending their connection to ground frames in the near future. This means that from today up and down trains will travel through Shottle station on the up side track and although the platform wall is now complete the platform surface remains to be done so trains will not stop here just yet,.A lot of work completed by a gang of four.

Did you know that days off during Christmas holidays since the dinosaurs vanished has been approx 130 million days which equates world wide to approx 390 trillion trillion man days of wasted labour. And people moan there just isn't enough time to do anything- well I know the cure for that! Bah Humbug.

Cheers MKT.

Season's Greetings

A few words to express my admiration for the Santa team's efforts over the past three weekends and the background work that has gone on over the four months leading to the delivery of the trains. The tremendous achievement of some 70% growth in revenue and the great positive feedback from the participants demonstrates that everyone's efforts were thoroughly appreciated. The coming together of all our various departments to focus on this key time of year was also most gratifying and made it all work wonderfully.
So, a little time to relax and enjoy the festive season before we get into go mode again for 2014 where more great things are planned to move our enterprise forward.
Have a very pleasant Christmas and I will raise my glass, several times, to you all.
Today's picture shows again how far we have come in a very short time with a glimpse of the late, lamented Vince Ware as part of the team.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Progress Report Sunday the 22nd of December 2013

Dear all,

Well, the final day of Santa Trains saw us entertaining children and adults alike throughout the day: we have had tremendous feedback and, with one or two tweaks, we seem to have a winning formula. Many thanks to everyone involved in securing such a successful outcome.

In the background, the Tarp Tuggers, sorry the DMU Team, stormed along with wiring and Formica stripping in unit 50253, as well as undertaking some much needed yard tidying jobs. At Duffield, the Station Foreman also carried on the theme of tidying up.

I convey, from this cheerful corner of the inglenook fireplace at the Whore and Trumpet (A Marston's House), which is strangely full of elves, reindeer and Santa's Christmas Wheelbarrow, and where my feet are even now being embrocated in a bucket, the warmest good wishes to you all for the Festive Season. May Santa empty his sack in your sock and may your
Yule Log be seen burning brightly in the night from far distant and remote places.

All the best,

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Progress Report Saturday 21st December 2013

Dear All,

The penultimate Santa trains were our main focus today with three packed services to the North Pole.

Down the yard the LMSCA and DMU teams worked on their respective projects.

Compliments of the Season


Thursday, 19 December 2013

Progress Thursday 19th December 2013

Dear all
The dmu team readied the Santa train for a special train to give the pupils of Wirksworth's infant and junior schools a train ride before meeting Santa. Santa is pictured preparing himself for the energy required prior to their return in the Pullman Buffet Car. The PWT track patrolled between Idridgehay and Shottle together with more work on the drainage at Gorsey Bank after the charter train had returned to Wirksworth.
I am very grateful to David N for tending to the office lighting after the fitting finally died. The solar powered calculator couldn't cope with the lack of light!
The LMSCA continued with the exterior preparation of the Third Open and dmu team expended more energy on Bluebell preparations.
The Pullman Buffet Car seem to be on the destination list for winter walkers and the Booking Hall finalised the share holder Christmas mail out as well as circulating the significant achievement for the coming weekend's Santa trains.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Progress Wednesday 18th December 2013

Dear all
Christmas Day is only a week away and our last Santa trains approach this forthcoming weekend. We are managing to squeeze put the maximum possible for our enterprise causing palpitations in the present acquisition and assembly department. Nonetheless it reflects great credit on all involved that business has grown some 70% this year which helps immensely our insatitionable ability to spend money!
The PWT set off for the south gathering up the recovered drainage pipes from Gorsey Bank, repairing a manhole there and delivering the pipes to Shottle. They returned with VCT products for sale at Wirksworth.
We welcomed the Amey structure inspector who has completed his survey of our cuttings and embankments with no major problems found. The LMSCA solidly continued with their major endeavour of the fire damaged Third Open.
The Pullman Buffet Car was busy with and unexpected party of walkers and the Booking Hall continued to benefit from the availability of driver experiences on line and neared the end with the shareholders Christmas mail out.
We welcomed an old soldier, Phil Tarry, who seems to be strangely involved in the Whipsnade Park railway and its only fair to show a photo of him entertaining the London and Wirksworth Fire Brigades during the test of a trolley that could be carried down to the deep level tubes.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Progress Tuesday 17th December 2013

Dear all
At first a special mention to Amey who have been charged by Network Rail to check on our retaining walls, embankments and cuttings. Today was day three of their activities and we await the results of their endeavours with interest.The VCT tended to the combined debris of the great wind near Derby Road bridge and the pre-cut brash and tree trunks at 40 steps. They reported a five man team and one substantial fire. Mike the Flail set off to tackle the Bournebrook Avenue straight south of Gorsey Bank crossing to good effect.
Mary Birch volunteered to give the Santa train a clean whilst her husband, Rod, joined the DST to tend to Cathryn's springs and the adjustment of Henry Ellison's slide bar.
The Filing Fairy was in action and Fred & Iris gave the Mess Hall a very welcome cleanse. The dmu team continued with readying 51505 for its journey south and the LMSCA tended to corner pieces, guttering and sanding on their Third Open.
The PWT accomplished the majority of their track patrol together with further fabrication of the Shottle North Ground Frame. This process was assisted by our resident photographer who is illustrated with a wire brush unfortunately slightly in the shade.
The Pullman Buffet Car had a good day and the Booking Hall was energised by a further Bronze Steam Experience reservation, squeezing the last out of the Santa opportunities and posting out the Christmas mail out to shareholders.

Train Twinning

Dear all
I have been gently exploring twinning with a line in Provence who have invited an EVR visit next year. If there is any interest please let me know at
What's not to like?

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Progress Report Sunday the 15th of December 2013

Dear all,

The main activity of the day was once again Santa, and all things
considered we did remarkably well with busy trains and happy small people. My thanks once again to all involved.

Down the yard the Austerity Team, which is not a government department devoted to tanking the economy back to 1948, continued with their parts,
as well as baking gently in their brake van.

In the shed the DMU team continued with their efforts in the form of giving the guards van of 50253 its first gloss coat of paint and restoring some of its Formica. By way of celebration the DMU team are at this very moment having a conflagration at a certain Chinese restaurant.
Sorry, a collation at a certain Chinese restaurant.

All the best,

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Progress Report Saturday 14th December 2013

Dear All,

The main focus today was the second weekend of our Santa Trains. All services to the North Pole were fully booked and thank you to everyone who, despite a very tight schedule, helped ensure all trains departed on time. Our new catering arrangements for the Santa Trains is proving exceptionally popular with our visitors and I attached a photograph of a very festive decorated T.S.O.

Compliments of the Season,


Friday, 13 December 2013

Progress Report Friday the 13th of December 2013

Dear all,

A day of leisurely preparation for the weekend's Santa trains, around the station, in the vehicles and in the buffet.

The Booking Hall's administrative powers were put into gear stuffing the annual Christmas Greeting to Shareholders, and this will be hitting your doormats in a very soon moment.

Down the yard the Head of DMUs attended to his charges and the LMSCA attended to the Third Open, which received more spray paint and became increasingly watertight.

The Station Foremen spent the morning on the monthly inspection and then fixed various things which had fallen off due to rot and over-excitement.

All the best,

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Progress Thursday 12th December 2013

Dear all
A foggy, damp day that didn't inhibit the project moving forward. The PWT set off for Shottle to move their recovered drainage pipes for further reuse north of the station and recovered a further load of logs for sale. The dmu team puzzled over the failure of one engine from the south end of the Santa train and put more effort into preparing 51505 for its journey south. The VCT completed their task in the area of MP 134 which has opened up a pleasant section of line for our passengers.
The Pullman Buffet Car looked after the team on site at Wirksworth and the Booking Hall squeezed a few more passengers onto the remaining Santa trains. The protracted process of a mail out to our share holders is also under way.
Today's photo is of a resident elf - who is this person?
PS - I failed to mention the efforts of the LCC and family yesterday as they gave the Santa train a clean for this weekend and further tended to the marshalling of presents for this weekend's children. It's easy to gloss over the tremendous effort being put into this component but without it the whole process would not work.

Progress The day between Monday and Wednesday

Dear all
I'll start with a little bit of catch up! After the very high winds last Thursday a few stalwarts responded to an appeal to check the line ready to deal with any fallen trees and I am extremely grateful to Tony Watt, Mick Thomas, Mike Billings and Paul Rayner who turned out and dealt with some six trees that had blocked the line and would have prevented any Santa trains running this past weekend.
The first Santa train weekend was a joy to behold with the new format working extremely well and again the team should take a substantial bow for all the preplanning, present preparation and delivery of something that all the participants seem to have thoroughly appreciated. The process is very labour intensive and we take our hat off to all who actively participated from across our many departments. I cannot overemphasize how valuable this season is to our general financial wellbeing.
We were back to the normal tasks of running a railway today with the PWT changing some sleepers south of Gorsey Bank and continuing work with the Shottle ground frames. The track recorder was employed between Shottle and Hazelwood and Mike the Flail continued to attack the "racing straight". The VCT returned to their project around MP 134 and commenced dealing with the debris from the great wind. Five team members on site and two large fires reported.
The LMSCA concentrated on the guttering for the Third Open and completed the last section on the east side. The DST tended to the clack valves and gauge glasses on Henry Ellison and fettled the springs from Cathryn. Amongst the challenges faced by David N was the renovation of lighting in my office, a security light outside the Pullman Buffet Car and a fault on the extension lead within the vehicle. Tasks not associated with railway preservation but essential to keep the enterprise together.
The Pullman Buffet Car had a pleasantly productive day and I am extremely pleased to report that the Booking Hall received its first response the recent coach operator mailout following some diligent research by the Cooke family.
Today's photo shows the effort being put into the preparation of the fleet that will serve the Bluebell Railway - I hope they appreciate the quality that is approaching them!
PS - The Pullman Buffet Car will close after our New Year's Day trains until Tuesday 18th February as we tend to a drainage problem and reconfigure the counter area.
PPS - Anyone who has been trying to communicate with Pat and Mike Craft by email should be aware that they have had major problems with their technology and won't be online for a couple of weeks - I suggest you don't ask them why unless you have a few hours to spare.
PPPS - I have been trying to sent this message several times and the system seems to have taken against the word "Tuesday" in the heading!

Deserved praise for the VCT

Hi Martin


I have received an email from one of the parents who uses the path over the railway line in Duffield. They have asked me to express their thanks for the work you have done to widen the gates and posts.


I would also like to pass on my thanks and to let you know that I appreciate all the work you have done over the last 5 years to improve access on paths over the railway line.


Best wishes


Martin Coleman

Rights of Way Inspector

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Progress Wednesday 11th December 2013

Dear all
If this finds its way through the ether today saw the Permanent Way Team recovering materials from Gorsey Bank that are no longer required there in the form of drainage pipes. They also started to remedy the drainage through the crossing that was disturbed during previous attempts to ensure the water descending on this part of the Railway was properly channelled.
The dmu team continued to lavish attention on the vehicles that will operate on the Bluebell Railway in the new year and I am pleased to report that "Bubble Car" 55012 will join our fleet to be hired out when and whenever opportunities present themselves.
The Pullman Buffet Car struggled in the damp, cold and foggy atmosphere to detect a customer but the Booking Hall responded to Santa enquiries and was able to satisfy a few more eager customers as we have gently lifted the numbers we can carry on each train.
Today's photo is a blast from more relaxed times during the Santa season.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Progress Report Sunday the 8th of December 2013


Dear all,

A pleasant winter day, largely dry and sunny, saw teams working on both
the LMS Brake Van and Railcar 50253. However the main theme of the day
was of course Santa and we spread a great deal of happiness around
especially amongst a large number of small people. We received
compliments and commendations too numerous to mention but I would like
to thank our cadets in particular for their contribution today (a giant
economy pack of hand gel will be available shortly) also the fitters in
dealing with the day's engineering challenge and the train crew in
dealing with the Santa experience as well as the surprise embankment

All the best,


Daily report Saturday 7th December


A sunny but cool start to the First day of our Santa specials, Wirksworth to the North pole. Loads of smiling faces and shouting children ( adults as well ) greeted Santa as he boarded the train and enjoyed his day so much with us he as promised to be with us tomorrow and the next too weekends .
Derbyshires Friendly railway sure lived up to its name as we received loads of compliments for the way our guests were looked after by all staff 
Well done guys my hearty thanks to you all and those who worked hard behind the scenes.
Down the yard the Dmu team worked in the brake area sorting a preparing the heating ducts and two members support the dmus used on santa ensuring a nice run for the families

Ps one young lady would like to know why santa has shrunk by a foot .

An excellent day thanks to all your valiant hard work , so Im off to have cheese and a cold tawny port .

ATB John Evans.


Friday, 6 December 2013

Progress Report Friday the 6th of December 2013

Dear all,

A slightly chilly day saw the LMSCA welding the roof of the Third Open in the balmy confines of the shed, however the welder expired, technically the welding machine as opposed to the welder himself, and this saw the hoped for culmination of a finished roof missed by a short hair.

Down the line, the windy woodland bowsaw gang (which makes it sound like the Trumpton Fire Brigade had a secret criminal life) endeavoured to clear the line of newly blown tree parts.

For the rest of us, the morning began by manning the National Confused Customer Helpline, followed by an afternoon of the European Tinsel Challenge.

I am most grateful for all the assistance given towards Santa
preparation, from bookings to presents, from electrics to decorations, and thank everyone involved, in whatever capacity. While I don't know about anyone else, I propose to be face down in a wheelbarrow outside the Whore and Trumpet (A Marston's House) for some time to come.

All the best,

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Progress Thursday 5th December 2013

Dear all
It has been a bleak windy day but we have got off fairly lightly looking at the news from other parts of the UK. We now know that we have some tree debris at Duffield and Tony has agreed to do a track patrol from Wirksworth at around 1000 tomorrow. If anyone can join him they would be well received.
The PWT gathered some timber that had accumulated at the south end of Wirksworth's Platform1 and then tended to the drainage at Gorsey Bank to try and avoid the flooding recently experienced there. The team also made an impact on the drainage at what has always been called the white bungalow near the Hanages foot crossing. The bungalow is no more and been replaced by a larger house but there remains an ongoing debate about the water flowing off the hillside, under the Railway, and through these premises.
The wind also has destroyed the steam engine water supply from the "new" black tank to the locomotive which will be tended to in the fullness of time. Today's photo shows the dmu team continuing with the preparation for two of our fleet spending some time in the south.
The Pullman Buffet Car traded quite well in the inclement weather and the Booking Hall responded to late Santa bookings and the inevitable changes in customer requirements. It is quite an achievement to grow this part of our enterprise by over 50% in one year.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Supplementary Progress Wednesday 4th December 2013

Dear all
The accompanying photo illustrates the value of testing. The first Railvac we received was of UIC gauge used throughout mainland Europe but was a little to large to fit through a former Midland Railway bridge necessitating the construction of a new vehicle that spent some time with us in early 2013 and is now to been seen throughout the national network.
It reminds me that we still do a little testing with our regular "walking stick" customers paying a brief visit today.

Progress 4th December 2013

Dear all
Another day of intense activity. A team arrived under the leadership of the LCC to decorate our Santa train and joined later in the day the Catering group to ensure the Pullman coaches had the right atmosphere for this upcoming weekend. Tremendous thanks to all who participated as we approach our most demanding Santa programme ever.
The PWT participated in the Christmas spirit by transporting the North Pole tree southwards, it is something to do with the space time continuum differential, and transported a recovered cabinet from Gorsey Bank to Shottle, recovered handrails from the long disused cabinet near the Holloway Road foot crossing for reuse and effected repairs to the Duffield footbridge. Logs were garnered from the lineside for resale. At Wirksworth there was progress with one of the two ground frames required for the Shottle loop project.
I was too generous with my praise for the VCT who had misinterpreted the Duffield footbridge requirement thus the Scottish product promised has been withdrawn and they will have to be content with a cup of tea.
Back at base diesel railcar 50599 has had work to replace water damaged guards van interior panels and the head of department yesterday corrected my photo as I had ascribed a wrong class number. There may be night classes for this.
The Pullman Buffet Car had a reasonably active day and the Booking Hall has been squeezing the last Santa clients onto the few remaining seats.
PS - many congratulations to Rodney who has secured a post with the contractors erecting the masts for the overhead wires of the Nottingham light rail extensions.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Progress Tuesday 3rd December 2013

Dear all
Tremendous effort being put into preparing for our first Santa trains this coming weekend. There has been much washing of the exterior of the Santa train as illustrated and the opportunity was also taken to clean the Class 119 and Iris also illustrated to show the head of the department participating in the cleansing process.
Fred and the other Iris, a human being, gave the Mess Hall their traditional deep clean and the PWT occupied their time undertaking the fortnightly track patrol. The SBT were engaged in completing the new drainage at Shottle and a general tidy up as we search for funds to move this project forward.
The LMSCA concentrated on their Third Open as the exterior finish comes together and the DST wrestled with Cathryn's springs. The M1M struggled with their Second Open reporting the replacement of a window.
The VCT starred today having had some requests that were not strictly related to line clearance. The Derbyshire County Council required a further amendment to the Holloway Road foot crossing which was dealt with and a resident of Duffield had reported a tripping hazard on the recently refurbished footbridge. This again was dealt with by the VCT in addition to substantial clearance on the west (down) side of the area around MP 134. Five members of the team participated with three large fires to burn the brash. Many thanks to all involved who all deserve a hot bath and some Scottish product to complete their day. We also had the advantage of some contractors appointed by Network Rail to clear vegetation to facilitate inspection of structure DJW6 - this seem to have taken around 2 hours!
Santa also featured with the LCC dealing with present packing and assembly and the Pullman coaches had their first touch of Christmas. The Pullman Buffet Car had quite a productive day and the Booking Hall processed a spectacular number of Santa bookings received over the weekend. The Catering Manager bought a vineyard of wine and emptied Sainsbury's of mince pies.
The teams that have decorated Wirksworth Station deserve great credit as we prepare to welcome our first Santa guests this weekend.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Santa Specials Booking for This Weekend

This Thursday, the 5th December at approx. 15:00 is the cut off point for booking for our Santa Specials if you would like to travel this weekend (7th or 8th). We still have limited seats available for this weekend available to pre-book online at . Sorry, we do not have any seats available on the day.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Progress Report Sunday the 1st of December 2013

Dear all,

A delightfully sunny winter day here in the Gem of the Peak, which brought a multitude of Santa's Little Helpers who beavered away in the Present Preparation Emporium, while the dwarves blew out the fuses on several sets of Christmas lights. The tree arrived at an astonishingly convenient time (compared to when it usually arrives) and this was put up in a very soon moment before being decked out in Yuletide Celebrants (No elves were inebriated during this process).

Meanwhile, down the yard, the Tarp Tuggers (the shed seems to have acquired a tarpaulin for bad weather operations) proceeded with the grinding and welding of unit 56223 as well as fitting the carriage connection bellows and painting the guard's van interior.

Nearby, the Austerity continued to receive attention to its wheels and now four out of six have been painted and the fifth was getting a jolly good scrape.

Various visitors attended these proceedings including friends from Germany and from Holland, who were given an in-depth experience in LJ Breeze courtesy of its personal assistants, who later shunted the LMS nut roasting van into platform 3.

From their lofty heights, the Guerilla Gardeners surveyed our endeavours, handed out chocolate cake, consulted about their hedge, demonstrated a curious sewage problem and began working their way down part of the embankment, which will see an eventual improvement to the hoary old view from our platform.

All the best,

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Daily Report Sat 30th November 21013


A steady day down on Derbyshires Friendly Railway as 55012 worked the Wirksworth - Duffield Service with working heaters to keep our passengers nice and warm.
the Directors had their monthly meeting down in the training room this morning followed by the induction day win the afternoon  where we welcomed two more volunteers into the fold.
Down the yard
 Oaks enterprises was found to be busy painting the Dukes wheel sets
The Lmsca where found to be making holes and Vaseline applied before screwing the third open..
The Dmu team where to be found painting and fettling the cab of the newly acquired 101 .
The Dpg decended on the class 33 and sheeted her to prevent her being exposed to the oncoming winter    weather.
The 5inch Guage oiled and cleaned the tank engine and ready for next weekends santa specials .
Many thanks to all the staff who made the day special for our visitors.
ATB John.


Friday, 29 November 2013

Progress Report Friday the 29th of November 2013

Dear all,

A quiet day of pottering around.

All the best,

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Progress Thursday 28th November 2013

Dear all
The VCT were in operation near MP134 and it reminded me that they had plaudits from the Derbyshire County Council Footpaths Officer for their work at the Holloway Road foot crossing to ensure buggies can navigate it. Their work is illustrated which must be the classic footcrossing that will satisfy all our regulatory authorities and is a classic of how it should be done. We are indeed fortunate that we have these skills amongst us.
I have tried to resist further holiday photos but this one seems quite appropriate to our enterprise so I feel able to share it with you.
The PWT have been denied the oxygen of publicity of late and there are significant events to report. On Monday they formed over 66% of people on site that listen to Radio 3 and on Tuesday their replacement of 9 sleepers on Road 2 at Wirksworth was overlooked. Today they tackled the recovery and replacement of insulated joints south of Gorsey Bank crossing together with a cabinet which are part of the master plan for Shottle.
The dmu team achieved an oil change on 50599, fettled LJB and achieved further work on 55012 so that it is warm this Saturday. Thanks go to Lee who has sheeted the roof of the Royal Saloon so that the is no further water damage through the winter.
The Pullman Buffet Car looked after today's visitors and the Booking Hall processed yet more Santa bookings. The gross take this year has reached £13,400 as of today compared with a total take last year of £9940. We are not in the mega league yet but making great strides with 84% being booked on line - a feature not possible two years ago.Great credit to all who made this possible.
PS - we seem to be influencing matters down south. It is likely that we will be supplying a two car dmu set to the Bluebell Railway for January and February to operate between East Grinstead and Horsted Keynes and they seem to have hired the GWR Collett 5643 for 2014. What will Bluebell take from our ideas base in the future!
PPS - there was a significant turnout of Railway folk for Vince Ware's funeral yesterday that went some way to recognise his contribution to our enterprise. Those of us who knew Vince enjoyed his company and willingness to take on a great variety of jobs. He had our Railway in his blood and will be greatly missed.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Progress Wednesday 27th November 2013

Dear all,

Another 4 Drive a Diesel participants thoroughly enjoyed their day on this sunny and reasonably mild November day.

Down the yard, the LMSCA continued with the Third Open. Today some more roof panels were attached.

The Booking Office fought with the continual stream of Santa bookings that continue to arrive.

A good day


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Progress Tuesday 26th November 2013

Dear all
The VCT comprising six members returned to MP 134 to cut and burn reporting three large fires. They also gathered brash harvested by Rodney in response to a request from a neighbour who declared herself moderately happy with his efforts!
The PWT concentrated their efforts on Wirksworth where they sorted the components of wagons brought down from the south. This included a much travelled portable toilet that has been positioned to offer additional relief at Wirksworth Station.
Mike the Flail tackled the area between Jebbs Lane and Barnsley Lane and the Asset Manager, together with his assistant, tested the track recording trolley after replacing its batteries. The LMSCA concentrated their efforts on the Third Open with further welding of the roof. Fred & Iris gave the Mess Hall a good clean and the hunt was on to see who had brought milk to the party.
The DST tended to Cathryn's valves and Henry Ellison's slide valves together with many other undescribed tasks.
The Pullman Buffet Car tended to today's visitors and the Booking Hall processed a further tranche of Santa bookings..
The dmu team tended to our fleet including the north end windscreen wiper of the Santa Train.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Progress Monday 25th November 2013

Dear all
A very peaceful day with "Tony the Bolt" refurbishing and reconditioning fishplate bolts to conserve our resources together with Dan tending to the Third Open. John looked after the Booking Hall and listened to Radio 3 through the day.
I thought I would share with you the concept of the "Harvey House" that will form the basis of future catering on our enterprise and, if the technology can cope with it, a further plug for the Capital Projects Fund. This initiative is beginning to work for us as subscribers are growing to help fund the objectives. It is only the force of numbers that will help us realise these goals1

Daily Report Sunday 24th November 2013

Another Cold day kept the numbers down here on Derbyshires friendly railway as we held a rather long guards meeting which enabled us to look at the crew requirement for the new  season ahead.
The Dmu team carried on servicing the units and ensuring they are ready for the cold weather ahead.
The duty conscript attended for a short spell and tidied the yard and footpaths.
All in all a quiet day so its time for a nice cuppa and feet up for me.

ATB John Evans 


Daily Report Saturday 23rd November 2013

A frosty start on Derbyshires friendly railway as we enter into the run up to the Santa specials.
The 3 car unit was brought into the station ready for its big clean and preparation to receive our many Santa guests and not forgetting the big man himself Father Christmas.
The Schools team had a meeting in the Pullman buffet .
The duty conscript salted the footpaths and platforms at Wirksworth.
The Dmu team fixed Iris radiator leak as well as worked on the guards compartment on the  ex Strathclyde unit.
The 8f group worked on Cathryn and the duke despite the freezing temperature .
All in all a steady day for the time of year  , many thanks to all who entertained and looked after our passengers .
ATB John Evans

Friday, 22 November 2013

Progress Friday 22nd November 2013

Dear all,

A sunny but chilly day in the valley which saw us host a charter for ex-Coalville Depot staff. Some of them are now retired but some are still working for the railway. Some of them last travelled on a first generation DMU some 20 years ago and indeed some of them used to be drivers. One now drives Sprinters for East Midlands Trains and another drives Turbostars for Cross Country! After a tour round the yard, our 'bubble' and the Class 119 in multiple went firstly to Ravenstor and then to Duffield, where Town Street Fish Bar didn't disappoint.

Back in Wirksworth, the Station Foreman and his colleague continued to attend to door issues on the Training Room and carried out a few routine jobs around the station ready for a service day tomorrow.

The Booking Hall processed yet more Santa bookings. Currently, the first weekend has the most seats as you would expect. The final Sunday, 22nd, is virtually sold out with Saturday 21st not far behind.

An enjoyable day.


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Progress Thursday 21st November 2013

Dear all
A comforting photo from the hotel bar in San Antonio to share with you. No weapons were in evidence as our teams gently pursued their objectives. The VCT returned to the area around MP134 as they cleanse this area of tree cover and the PWT dealt with the removal and replacement of 5 insulated fish plates from Gorsey Bank and inserted two of them at Shottle South. Further cutting up of scrap took place at Shottle and steelwork intended for the road/rail dumper modifications was transported to Wirksworth.
We welcomed Amey continuing their structure inspections on our behalf through the generosity of Network Rail and the Filing Fairy continued to attack our paperwork. The dmu team resolved issues with 51505 and gave 55012, our visitor, an exterior clean prior to it entering service on Saturday. If you are a "Bubble Car" enthusiast we are not sure if this will be the one and only opportunity to travel in it as there are suggestions that it might leave us in the near future. It is not as elegant as our own version but worth sampling.
The Pullman Buffet Car dealt with a few visitors and the Booking Hall had a further satisfactory flurry of Santa bookings together with another footplate experience.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Progress Wednesday 20th November 2013

Dear all
A photo for the steam enthusiasts today from the railway museum at Galvaston - I will cease indulging myself in a little while!
Today saw the PWT changing six sleepers between Gorsey Bank and Derby Road No1 bridge as we eek out our meagre resources, track patrols from yesterday and today have covered the whole line and Tony has been fettling fishplate bolts in the Weighbridge at Wirksworth.
The lone dmu team member continued to service our fleet and the lone carriage cleaner turned her attentions to the assembly of presents for our Santa passengers roping in husband and son. June has asked that anyone intending to get involved in our Santa trains to say so quite quickly using this email address if it helps. It is quite annoying to think we are short staffed for people to just to arrive to help on the day. The message is if you wish to help let us know in advance so we know where we are!
We welcomed our Walking Stick customer for a brief interlude and the Pullman Buffet Car extracted what it could from a limited audience. The Booking Hall continues to process Santa bookings as we head towards 100% occupancy.
Having expressed my surprise at the footpath officer's requirements yesterday this was topped by Leigh calling to say there was a man from HMRC on site to query why we are not up to date with last year's tax and national insurance contributions. After being given a copy of our bank statement and a call to Cumbernauld he was satisfied that we had paid and the payment had been "misposted". On enquiring where he had travelled from it turned out that he had journeyed from Stoke - no wonder I am Nordic Blond

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Progress Tuesday 19th November 2013

Dear all
Firstly, a pleasant email from Sunday's driver experience day:-

Please extend my thanks to all involved for the friendly welcome and excellent tuition when my wife & I attended the EVR for my Double Gloucester DMU Driver experience at 1300 hrs on Sunday 17th November. I look forward to the next one.

Kind regards

Steve Lockwood"

Undoubtedly our experience offers wins friends and certainly influences how our enterprise is perceived. Many thanks to the teams that make them happen.

Today saw the VCT descending on the Holloway Road footpath crossing where we had been asked by the County Council's footpath officer to widen the access to permit the safe passage of buggies. You really couldn't make this up but apparently we are oblidged to do this as it is a walking route to a school and who are we to question current legislation despite the fact that styles were provided from around 1865 to 2011 - no buggies then, then!

The M1M were in action on the Second Open and the LMSCA tended to guttering on their Third Open which is really beggining to take shape again. The DST were tending to a variety of jobs including painting the wheels from Cathryn a very fetching pinky peach. The dmu team were assembling and checking the Santa train with an achievement of heating the centre coach of the three car set.

The PWT were small in number and transferred their attentions to Shottle keeping company with the SBT. After some lifting work at Shottle Mike the Flail trundled to Wirksworth for repairs and fuel returning to Shottle at the end of the day.

Fred & Iris gave the Mess Hall a very good do and it is to be hoped that today's participants have left it in good order. The Pullman Buffet Car benefitted from the good, but cold, weather and the Booking Hall had another record day. Santa bookings have now overtaken last year's entire revenue as of today which is a marvellous achievement with some 83% being booked online. We should recognise the in house skills that have made this possible - only two years ago this just would not have been offered with all bookings being made by post or in person.


Today's photo is of our "Bubble Car" visitor and, if it works, a refurbishment project for the dmu team - all expenses paid - at the Railway Museum, Galvaston - a Budd railcar with potential





Sunday, 17 November 2013

Daily Report Sunday 17th November 2013

A cold start to the day at Derbyshires friendly railway as we welcomed our guests for the Double Gloucester  Dmu driver day which was enjoyed by all.
The Dmu group were busy dealing with the unit repairs and sorting out the new supply of parts.

Mike and Brian visited the miniature railway to test Conway and check on the track.

All in  all a pleasant day , many thanks to all staff who participated in making this a great successful day

ATB  John  Evans

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Progress Report Saturday 16th November 2013 [1 Attachment]

Dear All,

It was a very pleasant day down at Derbyshire's favourite branch line. We welcomed a surprise large party of walkers on our mid-day service resulting in well occupied trains and a busy buffet and shop. The booking hall dealt with a steady stream of Santa bookings boosted by our new banner (photo attached). Down the yard the DMU team focussed on 55012 heaters, the LMSCA and 8F group continued work on their respective projects and the duty conscripts gave the pullman carriages a well needed external wash.

Finally congratulations go to eight volunteers who successfully completed part one of the shunting course.

All the best,


Friday, 15 November 2013

Progress Friday 15th November 2013

Dear all,

A leisurely sort of a day where the duo of Lewis and Richard managed to successfully dispatch another 4 Drive a Diesel guests with beaming smiles.

Around the station, the Station Foreman and his new colleague attended to a couple of issues including a leaky door on our Training Room. The Booking Hall dealt with yet more Santa bookings and the station gardener attended to the quad.

At Duffield, some leaves were moved.

…and that is about it. Nice and peaceful!


Drive a Diesel Railcar

Dear all
A little amusement from our experience days:-

Vince Ware

Dear all
We have now been advised of Vince's funeral arrangements which will be at the Small Chapel, Derby Crematorium on Wednesday 27th November at 1340hrs.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Progress Thursday 14th October 2013

Dear all
The main activities today involved the VCT and PWT. The VCT returned to their current clearance area around MP 134 and the PWT returned to Shottle as we make slow, steady progress towards a passing loop there. Both teams make a remarkable contribution to our enterprise in conditions that are often not pleasant enabling trains to continue to operate meeting all our Safety Management System obligations.
The dmu team continued to restore 51505 to health and resolve the heating on our new arrival. 55012, which, if successful, will see this visitor covering our scheduled services on Saturday.
The Pullman Buffet Car enjoyed modest patronage and the Booking Hall processed today's demand for Santa bookings. The latter is most encouraging and just emphasizes how essential it is to have online products.
We also received the November edition of Derbyshire Life, a large glossy publication, that contains advertisements for Santa Trains, Driver Experiences and an article on the Ecclesbourne Valley which is effusive in its praise for our endeavours.
Today's holiday photo is of the ultimate driver experience course

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Progress Wednesday 13th November 2013

Dear all
A gentle day as a small PWT tended to further development of the Shottle loop project and a little action at Duffield to fill pot holes in the car park together with isolating the water supply to the toilet block in case of frost.
The LCC cleansed the rolling stock for the weekend and began to assemble the Christmas gifts in the Training Room. Yesterday saw the Duffield gardeners brightened the Main Line entrance with winter plants in the hay rack planters and removed the detritus left by EMT passengers together with a good leaf clearance.
The Pullman Buffet Car had quite a thin day but the Booking Hall responded to a further flurry of online bookings. Mike Billings and the Komatsu made further progress at Duffield with lineside vegetation there.
Today's photo is a holiday snap, of which there may be more, showing how life has changed in such a short time across the pond.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Progress Tuesday 12th November 2013

Dear all
It is of great regret that I report the death of Vince Ware who is pictured giving advice an guidance to a younger recruit. There have been many messages and remembrances of Vince the Elder's contribution over the last thirteen years all of which mark the contribution and impact he made on our enterprise. On the 8th November 2000 Vince appeared to join the initial eight folk that started to clear our derelict line of the vegetation that had taken over since the last freight train ran. Over the succeeding 13 years he was to be seen in many roles surrounding the renewal of the line. A very private person that you really never knew what surprise he would present and had been a "creaking gate" for most of this time but so determined to make a contribution with many breaks for hospital treatment but remained undefeated by each adjustment to his body. Always good humoured and entertaining to be with he will be greatly missed. Vince the Younger is now just "Vince" and you just feel it is the end of an era. Our thoughts are with his family.
He, of all people, would expect the show to go on and would have appreciated that the PWT were jacking and packing at the south end of the Shottle loop and that the SBT have placed the final two coping stones and were building the steps at the south end of Shottle station.
The DST washed out the boilers of their two operational locomotives, repaired the pump in the pit and painted a few more parts of Cathryn. The dmu team replaced axle seals on the Class 119 and tended to the air drain and EP valves on 55012. Further work on 55012 included the air/axle panel as various electrical faults on the vehicle are rectified.
The VCT had a five man turnout and cleansed a further area around MP 134 with a 3 fire day.The Pullman Buffet Car had a satisfactory day and the Booking Hall is still cooking with Santa and Driver Experience bookings.

Pleasant Comments

Dear all
During my absence there have been some pleasant comments sent in:-
Good evening Mr Miller,
I would just like to say thank you to all involved in making Friday a very pleasant and enjoyable day out.
I hope to be able to return and have another go in the future using some of the different locomotives and rail cars that you have available.
Thank you once again for a fantastic day!
Kind regards
Nick Byrne 

We visited the EVR on Saturday and had a wonderful day.

I wanted in particular to thank Richard the ticket man for his wonderful guide to the track and the history of the railway -  to Graham for allowing me to sit by him in the cab and also to Mike?Tom? the wonderful Operating Officer for the very interesting tour of the sheds.

Once I had said that I was  a fellow volunteer working on the North Norfolk Railway were we given such a special welcome. Thanks to all.

I finished the day by finding some gems in the shop! and spent up!

I wish you all the best as you continue your restoration work over the winter months.

with best wishes

Tim (Bennett)

All good stuff!




Sunday, 10 November 2013

Progress Report Sunday the 10th of November 2013

Dear all,

A wonderfully sunny winter day. We pottered around painting, fixing DMU cab electrics and dealing with a charmingly leisurely charter. One of those rare quiet days when we could admire the progress of our endeavour without endeavouring too much.

All the best,

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Progress Report Saturday 9th November 2013

A cool start at Derbyshires friendly railway as our hardened passengers braved the cold to travel in the two car unit to Duffield and back.

The Pullman buffet had a steady stream of business as our passengers enjoyed the warm drinks and food on offer.

Down the yard the Dmu group were kept busy repairing the electrical faults on the newly arrived 122.

The 8f group were found playing with the Dukes wheel sets as well as Kathryns boiler.

Four members of staff attended the Railwayman 2 course and all were successful .

The passenger services manager  was to be found working on the steps at Shottle .

The Duty conscripts worked on painting the fences and filling in the uneven ballast with ash .

All in all a good day until the heavens opened up and heavy hailstones hit us as we tried to head home.
ATB   John

Friday, 8 November 2013

Progress Report Friday the 8th November 2013

Dear all,

A typical chilly, damp November day. Our usual Friday selection of Diesel experience guests wended their way up and down the valley. Around the station the recalcitrant Gents door finally yielded to reason and is now pristine once again. Would Booking Hall staff please note that it is no longer on a mortice lock, but on the usual internationally famous top secret code, known only to several thousand people, but which I cannot possibly state here in case GCHQ reads this email and comes for a pee and a strip search during the night.

In the shed the slightly damp LMSCA attended to the gutters of the Third Open and carried on filling and sanding the bodyside which will shortly be smooth enough to see yourself in.

All the best,

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Progress Thursday 7th November 2013

Dear all,

A beautiful crisp day until clouding over at the end saw a flurry of activity in the maintenance area. The DMU team were out in force, sealing a leak in the roof on Class 108 E50599 and working to replace the valve springs in the cylinder heads of No.2 engine on E51505. The contract repair of 'bubble' E55102 made a great stride forward after it has been plagued with electrical issues. These issues are mostly resolved now and a successful test run to Ravenstor in multiple with W55006 was made. Is this the first time two Gloucester 'bubbles' have been together in preservation?

The P Way team sorted S&T equipment.

The Booking Hall was busy with more Santa bookings and they are happy to report that bookings are up 111% week to date on same time last year.

Mick Thomas via Leigh

Progress Wed 6th November 2013.

Another cold ,wet and miserable day which failed to dampen our spirits. P way managed to complete cutting up scrap - thanks to Doug helping out with this unenviable task- and the completion of various holes at Shottle.

Drive a diesel customers had an enjoyable day out with the bubble car and class33.

LMSCA had a lone worker continuing with paint preparation on the LMS 3rd open.

Highlight of the day was the completion of coping installation at Shottle. Much credit to the team who have toiled away at this job for year now in all conditions (remember last winter) in bringing this project to fruition. Just to recap this platform wall was in a shocking condition and in danger of collapsing onto the track requiring a total rebuild from track level up and indeed when the copings were removed several sections just fell over. The other option was to demolish the wall and grade back the infill - hardly a step forward. Since two train operation in the future will require trains to stop here  the platform needs to be safe for passengers to use or not to exist at all. The thought of the general public wandering around on a near to collapsing wall doesn't bear thinking about- we have a duty of care to our customers. Although accurate costings have yet to be completed it looks like £3000- £3500 has been spent on mortar and concreting materials- a far cry from the estimated £30,000 for contractors to deal with it . Well done to all concerned you've saved the company some £27,000 and by the looks of it a better job too judging by the other work I've seen on other railway platforms around the area.