Friday, 31 May 2013

Progress Report Friday the 31st of May 2013

Dear all,
A stunningly lovely day here in Wirksworth, a large number of driving experience guests, both steam and diesel, spent a pleasant day with their families and friends, pottering along the line and fetching brake vans from strange places.

In the dim coolness of the shed Allsops Painters and Decorators carried on with the class 119, which will no doubt shortly be as fine a vehicle as it was when it used to thunder along the line between Redhill and Guildford. Around the station the buffet car acquired a new step and the south platform 1 footgate was painted for a top secret reason, as well as the bookshop railings. In addition an extremely productive meeting was held very nearly at dawn with a pleasant and sane neighbour at Shottle.

Will Booking Hall staff please note that there is a caravan site voucher offer in progress (£2 off a day rover with the voucher, which should be treated as cash and put in the daily bag). Also the talking tunnel is now in operation once again and does not require turning on and off  because it has a fancy new system which can differentiate between humans and cats, that is to say it won't be activated at three in the morning by a passing pussy.

All the best,

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Progress Thursday 30th May 2013

Dear all
A most satisfying and invigorating day that demonstrated one of our unique selling points. A single unit railcar visiting Duffield and Ravenstor with a pre-booked coach group from Dorset. The train crew entertained our guests and there were small spin-offs for the Pullman Buffet Car and EVRA shop. A photo of their luxurious transport is attached.
I can again report, with certitude, that the PWT have completed the fishplate greasing programme for 2013 with 16 pairs dealt with at 8 panel ends with the message "job done". The VCT spent the morning in the Jebbs Lane area continuing with fence repairs accompanied by the customary cutting and burning. After retreating to Wirksworth to permit this afternoon's charter to run they concentrate on the Incline with particular emphasis on the trees that had started to overhang the platform and wagon there. Some of the pre-cut brash around Cromford Road bridge was also dealt with.
Matt pursued his lone quest to enhance the LMS Brakevan and Allsop Enterprises completed the gloss on the west side of the Class 119 together with preparation work on the dome over the drivers cab.
The Booking Hall was in revenue generation mode resulting in an unscheduled visit to the bank.
The day was also relieved from the past days unremitting rain which also lifted the spirits.

Progress Wed 30th May 2013

As they say you can always tell when its summer cos the rain gets warmer. So, in the rain today Komatsu was trundled off to Shottle with the works train to cut, drill and install the remaining rails for the Shottle South turnout and with the team split into 2 gangs a further 8 pairs of fish plates were dealt with at Duffield. Komatsu was returned to Wirksworth as next week it is due a major service.

On another front DMU team along with Graham Walker spent the day sorting out vacuum leaks on our coaching stock and with all leaks cured plus release valves overhauled brakes should be on line again. New felt was also fitted to the LMS brake van roof where apparently it had blown off after some recent high winds in the area- oh really, nothing to do with enthusiastic use of a certain GWR regulator then.

Allsop corporation was busy again painting things, this time the west side of DMU 119 into undercoat with apprentice painter M.Evans assisting.


Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Progress Tuesday 28th May 2013

Dear all
After a pleasant sunny weekend today saw unremitting rain that dampened even the most hardy spirit. Nonetheless the train crew ran the scheduled service with the great support of two people that performed the "third man" role. This is the least attractive of our operating positions and I very much appreciate and thank those that stepped forward today. The Booking Halls at Wirksworth and Duffield, the EVRA shop and the Pullman Buffet Car all contributed to ensuring our passengers enjoyed a welcome and warm food through the day.
The DST were engaged with a boiler inspector as the first part of restoring No3 to service and Henry Ellison received routine maintenance. The LMS Brakevan makeover made further progress and the LMSCA concentrated their efforts on the Brake Third Open with window frames featuring together with a general tidy up.
It was reported that caravan dwelling holiday makers featured amongst our passengers and you can only be sympathetic to their existence in a constant downpour. I omitted to mention Richard's recruitment of Duffield Main Line passengers yesterday who waited in vain for a rail service to the holiday resort of Matlock and its sister at Matlock Bath. Wanting to travel by rail they felt Wirksworth may be a more desirable destination given the situation.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Progress Bank Holiday Monday 27th May 2013

Dear all
The stars of our show today were those that entertained our much needed passengers. The train crews, Booking Halls staff, EVRA shop, Model Railway men and women, Narrow Gauge duo and the Pullman Buffet Car team. Universal praise from our visitors and encouraging till takings. The Bank Holiday was a complete success with takings well above the similar holiday last year and there was a general feeling that all areas were "on song".
Other activities on site were the sterling work of Matt to restore the LMS Brakevan to its former glory, restoration of "The Duke" inched forward, the Class 119 received fresh paint to the interior of the guards brake area, repairs to the steam cleaner and the Head of Gardening tending to our beds at Wirksworth.
A small team responded to an appeal to man a stall in the market place at Wirksworth to promote our wares during the Carnival - June, JHT, Alan Johnson and Vince Morris did the honours.
All in all, a very good day.
PS - At Saturday's Board Meeting Kevin's contribution to and funding of the mail out of the Annual Accounts was acknowledged. Also, we were pleased to increase Tom Tait's job titles to include Education Officer with a remit to develop school groups to the Railway.

Progress Report Sunday the 26th of May 2013

Dear all,

A lovely warm sunny day here in the Gem of the Peak. We dealt with a steady stream of passengers and visitors in our usual way: there is a great deal to be said for quiet efficient routine.

Down the yard the other LMS brake van had undercoat applied by Higham Enterprises; the Duty Conscript mowed parts of the estate which only those with 007 numbered PTS cards ever see; The multi-million pound shed
lighting project proceeded with another roll of £7.99 silver sheeting from Homebase; the class 119 received primer, trim and a floor hatch in the general area of its guards van from the DMU team, assisted by Queen  Industries (Brassington); the Austerity steam engine, sometimes referred to in these historic annals as the J94, had its boiler cleared and the cylinder chest cover removed, all as part of an early stage of its long term restoration.

All the best,


Sunday, 26 May 2013

Saturday 25th May 2013

The sun shined brightly on Derbyshires friendly railway which brought a steady stream of visitors to enjoy the delights of our railway iincluding those who just called to sample the delights of the pullman buffet.


The duty conscript found himself tidying round the lower car park before doing a splendid job mowing the station lawns.
The 8f group found themselves doing more essential work on preparing  Kathryn for restoration Mike and John where to be found painting the front of 119 yellow having completed the roof painting yesterday.
The dmu team where to be found panelling the inside of the 119 unit as well as completing other internal work.
Highham decorating services were to be found undercoating the Lms brake van
The Lmsca were kept busy completing the Third it rises from the ashes.
The 5 inch and narrow guage were also to be found  offering rides and information to our visitors .

Many thanks to all the staff for providing a super service allowing our many  visitors to have an enjoyable  day.

ATB John

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Progress Thursday 23rd May 2013

Dear all
It would seem I was a little premature in reporting the completion of the great fishplate greasing project as there are a further 28 to do before this task can be ticked off. The PWT intended to do this today but were strangely frustrated as they couldn't open the door of the road/rail Landrover at Shottle after a couple of hours of trying!
The Watt track patrol was in action between Shottle and Duffield where he met up with the contractors engaged to resolve flooring problems in the toilet block there. They have completed the task today and restored the building to its former pristine state. Allsop Enterprises with the help of Mike Evans undercoated the roof of the Class 119 and the M1M undertook further work in the toilet at the second class end of the CK prior to the set being shunted from Platform 1 to enable the Pullman Buffet Car to be visible again as visitors enter Wirksworth Station.
The dmu team prepared their vehicles for four days of intensive activity and discovered the cause of an air leak on the three car set.
The Booking Hall and Pullman Buffet Car looked after today's casual visitors encouraged out by occasional bursts of sunshine.
Today's photo is of the scene in 1963 showing the long gone conveyor and engine shed at Ravenstor and was taken by Bernard Coomber who generously sent in a few examples of this area transcribed from colour slides.
Omitted from yesterday was the sterling work of Mick Kingsley who mowed the bank outside the garage at Wirksworth to good effect.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Progress Wednesday 22nd May 2013

Dear all
The second and final day for the derailment investigation exercise and a photo is attached of some of the team in action. The results will be evaluated and poured over at Network Rail's new Milton Keynes HQ to evaluate the skills demonstrated by those involved.
The PWT completed the long drawn out fishplate greasing work between Hazelwood and Duffield reporting some 28 pairs and 14 panel ends dealt with in a just over quarter mile section. This does represent the first time for some 40 or 50 years that the whole line has had this treatment. The process has been frustrated by the extreme weather conditions over the winter months reflecting great credit on our team who have doggedly pursued the end goal.
The LCC bravely ignored her ailments and cleansed the loco hauled train and was relieved to know that further dmu work would be presented to her next week - no time off was granted.
The Filing Fairy also continued the Forth Bridge work surrounding our record keeping whilst her husband undertook further evaluation of the work required to restore the Duffield footbridge to health. A discussion with the SBT revealed that an opening date this year was unlikely given the scale of remaining work and that it would be sensible to write this off for 2013 and budget for an Easter 2014 opening. This coupled with ongoing access problems and obstructions would suggest this is a realistic solution.
Materials for the planned extension of Platform 2 at Wirksworth has started to arrive on site with work due to start from Monday 10th June.
The Booking Hall dealt with a pleasant number of enquiries and the Pullman Buffet Car benefited from our Network Rail customers desire to satisfy the inner man.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Progress Tuesday 21st May 2013

Dear all
A slightly surreal day with a team from Network Rail being taught the dark arts of post derailment investigation by an exterior consultant ably hosted by Mick Thomas on our behalf. Track patrols were in operation and our service ran smoothly with Iris on the main line run and the "Bubble Car" ran between Wirksworth and Ravenstor. The Booking Halls at Wirksworth and Duffield together with the Pullman Buffet Car and EVRA shop ensured our visitors were well received.
The DST extracted the fire bars and ash pan from No3 and conducted routine maintenance on Henry Ellison. Coaling of the loco was also achieved ready for its next excursion on Friday. The LMSCA continued with screwing and filling on their Third Open and the single M1M team member began to explore the toilet area of the SK which is next in line for return to service. EVRA removed the temporary scaffolding propping up the new locomotive water supply. A more tasteful solution will be in place for our next visitor.
The dmu team undertook a full interior clean of the two car set and we bade farewell to 5643 as it departed for the Severn Valley Railway taking special care not to take the bunting erected in the Town Centre with it!
I arranged the final payment to the Duffield developer for the plot of land that the, now, toilet block sits on and we are thus the proud owners of a little piece of Duffield. Much debate during the day about the condition of the timbers on the Duffield footbridge and an alarming revelation that it will cost us some £480 just to apply and advertise a temporary closure whilst the work is undertaken yet alone the timber costs and labour associated with the repair!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Progress Mon 20th May 2013

A mild day for P Way out with the land rover fish plate greasing. Another 1/2 mile was dealt with which equates to 44 pairs of plates- an excellent achievement and another good day should see this important but tedious task completed for another year.

Other tasks completed today include a new battery and isolator installed in the Komatsu which will enable one to easily terminate the evil computers power supply thus delivering one good boot up the jacksy when required. The availability of required timber sizes for Wirksworth platform extension was investigated and the hardware calculated and ordered. 3 tons of coal was moved to the coaling point for our smaller engines and the S&T inspection paperwork was brought up to date.

The representative from our customer was busy marking out the track ready for this weeks training course on derailments for Network rail staff.

LMSCA were busy with the LMS open coach who, along with a contractor, are involved in a major rebuild following its sad demise. Work on the wood frame to date is very impressive ensuring a return to traffic as soon as possible.

VCT were busy at Jebbs lane returning there to complete fencing work and further brash fires.

Some time was spent sorting out the training room ready for our customers on Tuesday gathering the tables and chairs that seem to have been scattered to the four winds over the last couple of weeks but they were rounded up and returned to their rightful place.


Sunday, 19 May 2013

Progress Report Sunday the 19th of May 2013

Dear all,

A very pleasant spring day indeed. We chuffed up and down the valley to the sound of happy passengers and to the ringing of several tills. We had many visitors new to the railway and it was most re-assuring that we
continue to introduce ourselves to new people.

Down the yard, the LMS brake van began to receive a new seat to complete its interior fittings, and in the shed, after yesterdays frenzy of class 119 action, the DMU team completed the wall panelling of the guards compartment, a major achievement and with only the ceiling to go.

All the best,

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Saturday 1th May 2013

Quite a busy day on Derbyshires friendly railway as the passenger numbers increased for the final Saturday of the visiting GWR Collet  along with the visting classic car group, Rodneys birthday group, and  a party who enjoyed their afternoon riding and buffeting  in the Royal saloon. 
The pullman buffet staff were last seen soaking their feet after a very busy day serving the hoards of visitors who thronged the buffet.
Down the yard the Dmu group were like busy ants crawling up and over even under the 119 rail car completing many minor tasks including the search for the pin hole in the air pipe last seen being examined by the visiting doctor.
The 8f group managed to take out the obstrtuctive regulator bar belonging to kathryn

As well as further work on the third open which was  shunted further  into the shed to prevent the repair teams from getting wet during this rather wet May

All in all a  pleasant day  many thanks to  all involved in todays very busy service esp the fitters who managed to get the last train of the day away on time

ATB  John E

Progress Report Friday the 17th of May 2013

Dear all,

A day of peace and tranquillity. We entertained a few steam driver experience guests, we pottered around the gardens, we dusted the Booking Hall and the Mason-Smith Organisation expurgated the Third Open.

All the best,

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Progress Thursday 16th May 2013

Dear all
A fine day for once that brought out a decent number of passengers for our Thursday services. What a difference a little sun brings allowing us to make a very modest "profit" on the day rather than last Thursday's large loss.
Allsop Enterprises has made great strides with the paintwork of the Class 119 with the west side and south end completely sanded and filled. The north end of the vehicle was filled ready for its final gloss coat. The engineers resolved a start problem with No1 engine. The engineers also tended to a broken drop light in the guards compartment of the "Bubble Car" and achieved repairs to the double doors on the vehicle.
Our team operated 5643 on the Duffield services and the "Bubble Car" on the Ravenstor services and my thanks go to Chris, Mike, Hylton, Eric and, particularly, to Richard together with the Royal Saloon steward amd LMSCA Steamers Bar steward for delighting all today's passengers. All worked well supported by the Booking Halls at Wirksworth and Duffield, the EVRA Shop and the Pullman Catering Team.
The PWT dealt with the three monthly examination of the Shottle Ground Frames and made further inroads to boxing up the recently dropped white gold. Also at Shottle the VCT reported a two fire day as vegetation north of the station was dealt with. The Komatsu was pressed into service providing a coaling up service for 5643 at the end of the day.
The LMSCA have been sanding down the Third Open and timber work has progressed off site as this project gains pace. The Filing Fairy continues her task with great energy whilst her husband works at establishing a SMT (Structure Maintenance Team) involving some extremely valuable help and advice from third party sources.
Today's photo shows some of the interest shown in today's operations.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Progress Wed 15th May 2013

Another cold and wet start to the day with PWT at Shottle. A start was made reinstating the up side connection to Shottle loop South Turnout with a hopper load of white gold dropped to complete ballasting here. Several empty wagons were left at Shottle as room at Wirksworth is at a premium, however, the rudd which is required at Wirksworth for work is still red carded owing to the presence of a nest belonging to a distant relative of the raptor family- namely a very annoying blackbird.

SPB had the final levels applied to the new wall ready for coping replacement, a tedious pastime that takes most of the day but we don't want a wavy platform edge so attention to detail here is a must if we are to maintain our high standards.

Buffet had a few customers and Allsop corporation was at it again painting yet another vehicle.

Garden dept was also present no doubt sludged up to the eyeballs.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Progress Tuesday 14th May 2013

Dear all
Another cold, blustery day that did not encourage visitors to attend our Railway in any meaningful numbers but, as we were running single unit railcars, a small contribution was made towards our costs. The train crew, EVRA shop, Booking Halls at Duffield and Wirksworth together with the Pullman Buffet Car all served our hardy passengers. The Pullman Buffet Car also benefited from today's "walking stick" customer and next week's advance guard for derailment analysis training. Rails supplied for the Hilti training day were loaded and despatched on a rather large vehicle for 4 x 30ft sections.
Fred & Iris gave the Mess Hall a very good clean and the mysteries of the Royal Saloon leaks were tackled by a thorough cleansing of its gutters. The VCT concluded their fencing project at Shottle for the time being and dealt with vegetation to the north of the station with one very good fire reported.
The DST serviced Henry Ellison for Friday's experience customers and prepared 5643 for its Thursday exertions. The dmu team changed a defective buzzer on the "Bubble Car" and replenished the coolants and oils provided in the brake compartments of the fleet.
The LMSCA concentrated on the Third Open reporting much "screwing and filling". Many minor faults with our "hotel services" were dealt with or identified for future rectification.
Today's photo tries to show off the paintwork of the Class 119 representing the blue and grey era.
Thursday sees the last weekday operation for our visiting locomotive and anyone interested in the restoration of Cathryn is invited to attend a Race Night fund raiser at The Malt Shovel Saturday starting at 2030hrs

Monday, 13 May 2013

Progress Monday 13th May 2013

Dear all
A quiet day after the busy weekend that allow a small permanent way team to return to fishplate greasing between Hazelwood and Duffield with 11 joints being tended to over a quarter mile section. There is around one mile to go with this vital task. After the landrover had reached Shottle it was safe to allow the Bubble Car to work between Idridgehay and Wirksworth on driver training runs.
The Pullman Buffet Car and Booking Hall tended to a few hardy souls that braved the sunshine, showers and cool wind.
Today's photo illustrates the challenge presented by the fire damaged Third Open which has commenced the long road to its second renovation.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Progress Report Sunday the 12th of May 2013

Dear all,

A dry start deteriorated into cold and wet weather for the afternoon, but we were satisfyingly occupied with passengers on the various services of the day and the brake van rides kept visitors occupied during breaks between service trains.

At Gorsey Bank, the crossing keeper whiled away his vacant minutes by cutting back the vegetation to improve the sight lines. At base, Smiths Screwfixers sanded the side of the Third Open and we inspected some of the new floor timbers which have appeared for that vehicle's rebuild. Next door, the DMU team attended to the guards door pillars of the class
119 and carried on with preparation and fitting out work for the guards compartment in general. There was however relative peace and tranquillity around the yard after the frenzied work getting things
ready for last weekend's bank holiday.

All the best,

saturday 11th May 2013

Anthor Busy day at Derbyshires friendly raiilway as the visting locomotivle encouraged visitors to brave the unpredectable weather with many of the vistors  giving the railway positive feedback praising the staff and those involved in the coach retoration.

The Pullman buffet was kept very busy as the passengers seeked refuge from the unpridictable weather.

The Dmu team reached another milestone as they completed the first class compartment of the 119. The 8f group managed to partly free the regulator on  Katherine In the shed further work was completed on the third open

The duty conscript found himself in charge of car park duties as well as spring cleaning the brake vans

All in a pleasent day was had by all  many thanks to all those involved

ATB John

Friday, 10 May 2013

Progress Report Friday the 10th of May 2013

Dear all,

A day of showers and occasional sunshine saw us dealing with a selection of steam experience guests and with a posse of photographers here for a photo charter with the visiting Collett locomotive.

In the background, painting continued on the class 119 railcar, into a charming heritage blue and grey livery, and nearby, the Third Open carriage was having its sides attended to by Smith's Screwfixers and Scrapers and its underframe painted.

All the best,

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Progress Thursday 9th May 2013

Dear all
This experimental day of a stand alone steam operation was dogged by a return of the weather we have come to expect causing all but the most hardy to stay at home. We probably have lost around £600 on the experiment which is quite disappointing but guides us towards the future. Nonetheless, everyone involved used the day to gain further experience of operating with locomotive hauled stock and it could reasonably regarded as a training day. One hopes that the coming weekend will restore our fortunes.
The support of the EVRA shop, Booking Halls at Duffield and Wirksworth, Steamers Bar and Pullman Buffet Car was all appreciated by those visitors who braved the elements.
A further message was received from MI6 reporting that "the Geese have been cleared from the track at MP 135 3/4". It's a funny old world.
Allsop enterprises were in business throughout the day tending to the Class 119 reporting that the east side now has a coat of grey gloss and blue undercoat. The north end is now in blue undercoat. The engineers tended to L J Breeze to replace a switch which will make change of direction more reliable with thanks to Lee Sharpe who happened to have the necessary part tucked away in is garage. Lee and the LMSCA made further inroads to the renovation of the Stanier Third Open with other members of the team manning the Steamers on train bar.
The VCT continued their Shottle endeavours and the Filing Fairy enjoyed a day of record enhancement broken only by a footplate ride as 5643 ran round at Wirksworth. The Asset Manager was examining comments concerning the timbers on the Duffield footbridge and the PWT conducted their 3 monthly examination and servicing of the Wirksworth ground frames.
News from yesterday concerned the PWT who used the opportunity to tackle track degradation at the south end of Bournebrook Avenue where 4 sleepers around a track joint were changed, the track jacked and packed to level and some 18 tonnes of white gold deposited to support the shoulders in this area. They finished off by boxing up the deposited ballast. The SBT concluded this week's work by reporting the fixing of some 30ft of concrete top, 30ft of backfill and a take down of around 50% of the remaining wall to be rebuilt.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Progress Tuesday 7th May 2013

Dear all
Today represented the inevitable feeling of being the day after the Lord Mayor's Show with signs of exhaustion by those who have actively participated in the last few days. Nonetheless, the show goes on with Allsop Enterprises undercoating the east side of the Class 119 and sanding down the north end of the vehicle.
The service worked well with the 2 Car on the Duffield run and Iris on the Incline with passenger numbers returning to a peaceful, appreciative, audience. The support teams in the Booking Halls at Wirksworth and Duffield together with the Pullman Buffet Car and EVRA shop looked after today's visitors.

We welcomed two customers who were testing and trialling trolleys, iron men and radar detection, all of whom expressed appreciation of the service provided. The LMSCA were quite pleased to return to Stanier vehicles after their supreme bust of BR1 activity. Another window was fitted to the BTO and much housekeeping took place. The M1M continued to enhance the panelling in the Royal Saloon and achieved an operational toilet in the CK.
The VCT were busy with the fencing at Shottle station and thinning the vegetation north of the station with the customary fire. The DST concentrated on preparing 5643 and Henry Ellison for their next tasks this week. They all seemed to get satisfyingly dirty during this process. The SBT were in action with help from members of the PWT prevented from track work activities by today's passenger services.
The Watt track patrol operated finding no concerns after an intensive Bank Holiday service with our visiting steam engine.
PS - I would like to place on record my sincere thanks and appreciation for the participation of everyone who helped the weekend be so successful. It is not really thought through how many people give of their time to make such an event work with the evident joy of all our visitors. Both the Company and EVRA have earned some very necessary revenue without which the enterprise cannot continue. We not only managed to operate three steam engines for three days but fielded all the necessary train crew for these services, supporting dmu services, loco watering crew, narrow gauge and miniature journeys, Booking Halls at Wirksworth and Duffield, EVRA shop and Bric a Brac stall, Pullman Catering, the Steamers on train bar/buffet, Royal Saloon steward and, quite critically, a crossing keeper at Gorsey Bank. They should all take a bow!
PPS - The Asset Manager who is trying to form a SMT, Structure Maintenance Team, is appealing for scaffolding as responsibility for all our many structures is being firmly placed on us after many years of help from Network Rail. If you can help please let me know.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Fwd: [wirksworths_railway] Progress Report Monday 6th May 2013

Dear All,

Well the records tumbled today as the glorious weather ensured a record crowd attended Derbyshire's favourite branch line. It is difficult to ascribe superlatives to today's events suffice to say our train services and platforms were bursting with visitors. All our locos performed faultlessly as did the narrow and miniature gauge engines.

Our Bank Holiday Steam Gala has been an unqualified success. Forget about the romance of Paris in the Spring, Wirksworth Station take some beating as one couple had a romantic moment and got engaged on Platform One today. J.H.T. informs me its all down to the aphrodisiac qualities of steam that did it!
There's no answer to that…

All the best,


Progress Report Sunday the 5th May 2013

Dear all,

Today has quite possibly been the busiest day we have ever experienced not connected to a line opening. The weather was delightful, the trains packed to the doors and the General Manager's till button finger verynearly in need of special bandaging.

Will the person who left the road rail landrover in the car park kindly come and remove it.

All the best,

Progress Report Saturday 4th May 2013

Dear All,

Where do I start? Today represented the culmination of weeks of intense preparation by our staff and volunteers so we could celebrate the launch of newly-restored locomotive Henry Ellison and what a celebration it was! The weather was a little unkind early this morning but I am happy to report that the sun came out on cue for the naming ceremony on platform one. The locomotive looked resplendent.

Our visiting locomotive Collett 0-6-2T no. 5643  and its rake of pristine coaches took centre stage on platform two together with resident stalwart no. three on platform three in preparation for a 10.20 synchronised departure of all three locomotives. I am reliably informed that the gallery of photographers who had gathered on the bridged to record this event were not disappointed!

We welcomed visitors from as far a field as Poland who had made a special journey to attend the gala. We also played host to visitors from other heritage railways with neighbouring enthusiasts showing a keen interest in the speed and quality of the restoration of our coaching stock. 

The model, miniature and narrow gauge railways were all open for business and proved popular with both young and older guests.

The passenger staff were pleased to hear a number of compliments from today's visitors who were most praising about the tidiness of our stations, the friendliness of our staff and the vistas enjoyed on their journey. All Duffield passengers trains were full to capacity and the brake van rides proved very popular. Our Pullman Buffett staff have also been singled out for praise by customers for the high standard of service they provided and "their professionalism when being rushed off their feet."

I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to all staff and volunteers who helped to make today such great success and a special mention must go to the DMU team who stepped in at a moment's notice to provide a 2-car DMU service to Ravenstor during No. three's extended coal and watering interlude.

A fantastic start to the bank holiday.

All the best,


Friday, 3 May 2013

Progress Report Friday the 3rd of May 2013

Dear all,

A lovely sunny day in which we test ran the GWR Collett and the  carriages, and tested a number of ancillary items such as the water supply. We are therefore tolerably ready for the weekend. In so far as it is Bank Holiday, for those of you thinking of visiting and who may have some flexibility of choice as to which day you travel, Sunday will be the quieter of the three days, we expect to be extremely busy on both Saturday and Monday.

Meanwhile, down the yard, the class 119 received the attention of Evans Sanders and the Third Open carriage, in the shed for its restoration (now we have dealt with the BSK and the CK), was shortened a twinge at one end ready for new work, which I understand from a totally reliable Daily Mail spokesperson will be the addition of a bay window.

All the best,

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Progress Thursday 2nd May 2013

Dear all
It is very hard to adequately describe the energy that has gone into today with frantic activity surrounding our new coach fleet. This has involved application of crests, interior advisory notices, buckeye examinations and coupling the vehicles together. This does not deminish the cleaning efforts with the valuable input of the LCC and long suffering husband. The water supply for the locomotive also occupied many man hours and was finally proved to be in the right place and work successfully.
The DST dealt with the preparation of the visiting locomotive after its late arrival last night that included watering, coaling with the aid of Mick on the Komatsu and group familiarisation of this temporary new addition to the fleet. The PWT continued with Car Park tidying and gave some of our hard won ballast to the area around the water tank so that it would be less swamp like. Stock for the "Steamers" buffet was securely stored and the VCT worked on the fencing at Shottle. Great strides were made with the presentation of the miniature railway structures and track.
The visiting loco undertook a run to Duffield with a Brakevan to ensure that it can navigate our structures and trackwork. This also enabled the DST to get some experience of the engine and its characteristics. All was well. Prior to departure from Wirksworth the loco tested the vacuum brake system on our newly restored stock revealing a slight problem with a valve on the the CK. Rod and Graham launched into resolving this for tomorrow's dress rehearsal for the weekend. At the end of the day the Royal Saloon was added to the train and I do thank everyone involved in the very hard work to make everything possible - and there have been a very large number of participants.
John Allsop has moved from loco hauled caoches and achieved remarkable progress with the Class 119 dmu car with the east side sanded and filled ready for undercoat. He has changed from maroon to blue and grey which will be another tribute to his skill.
All this energy and good weather ensured a steady stream of visitors that lifted the Pullman Buffet Car and the Booking Hall. I must not forget the Filing Fairy who has supported all the necessary files that enable us to run. As a special treat she was escorted to see her husband on the footplate of 5643 as it prepared for its first trip along the line.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Progress Wednesday 1st May 2013

Dear all
The M1M continued with the exterior finish of the CK and the LCC + 1 husband, called in from a pleasant day in the garden, worked through the assembled coaches. Anton's antimacassars were applied as the interiors were lifted to our customary standard.
The PWT set off for Duffield this morning to clear away the surplus material from the platform project and gather the Komatsu from Shottle for its coaling duties over the next three weeks. After arrival at Wirksworth the 3 Dogfish were loaded with ballast from the Car Park and the concrete sleepers tidied away.
The fencing around the miniature railway received further cosmetic treatment and the Head of Gardening continued with the maintenance of the station gardens. The SBT reported a credible 30ft of backfill and 24ft of concrete top achieved.
The Pullman Buffet Car had quite an exceptional day with many visitors brought out by a sunny, pleasant day. The Booking Hall processed online and personal bookings to great effect.
Those of you seeking news of our visiting locomotive can just be advised it is touring Derbyshire at the present time with a singularly inefficient haulier who had been previously advised of the direct route from Preston to Wirksworth. Our loco has now visited Chesterfield, Bakewell and Matlock and is presently heading back to Chesterfield. The mind boggles!

Father's Day

Good morning,

Spend Father's Day with us on Sunday 16th June with all day travel on the train and a two course lunch in the Pullman for just £15.00 for adults and £12.00 for children.

They will be serving train made soup of the day and a roast Turkey dinner.

Booking is essential so book now online!