So that is it! The final day of 2014 is almost complete and what a great year it has been for the railway. Many great things have happened this year, almost too many to list. The year kicked off with a bang as we hosted Network Rail for their Sport Relief Sponsored Train Pull in March and also welcomed back two of our DMU cars from their adventure at the Bluebell Railway.
In to April and many hours of hard work paid off as the LMS TO rolled out of the shed sporting a super glossy maroon finish. We look forward to the finished product there!
May the 10th saw a brilliant day dubbed the Big Bus and Train Bash organised mostly by our friends at trent barton. The day featured live music in the car park, heritage buses, a fairground, cadets and much more!
A sunny day in June saw HM Queen pass through Duffield on a Meridian and we were there to wave from our side of the fence. The sunny weather continued as we hosted the ever-great Annual Classic Bus Rally at the start of July with some brilliant classic buses making the popular trips to Duffield Station and also tours of the Carsington area. The event was livened up even more-so by the arrival of trent barton's Mango Man to delight the kids. Aside from the Classic Transport Weekend, excellently organised by Geoff Clark, we hosted the Royal British Legion for their special day and a sneaky visit from Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin didn't get missed on this day.
August saw a brilliant Multiple Memories event with many enthusiasts making the trip to the railway to ride our DMU fleet.
September saw a successful Tunes and Chips Evening Land Cruise hotly followed by a nostalgic trip back home for unique Derby Lightweight "Iris", being an invited guest of East Midlands Trains for the Derby 175 celebrations at Etches Park. We also teamed up with Derby County at this time as they helped us design and install a full-size advertising sideboard right behind the goal at the iPro Stadium.
Even in the late autumn things didn't slow down. We saw the arrival of ex-Severn Tunnel single car 977975 from Barry, with the intention to return it to mechanical working order so that the Permanent Way team can have something warm, comfortable, economical and faster than their current transport for when they're down the line working away. We then saw the arrival of what could be deemed the final piece of the jigsaw... The Derby Lightweight 2-car set, one of the most prestigious and the oldest surviving British Railways DMU. Rather nice to have all remaining of such a rare class back together and so close to where they were built.
And finally, thanks to the efforts of all, we had our most successful Santa season to date. Many happy and smiling faces were seen as we ran 9 days of Santa Specials, taking 22 members of staff for each one.
2015 promises to be a great year. There's many things on the calendar to get excited about and one of my particular favourites is the Murder Mystery evening on the 24th June. We will see our first dip in to on-train catering in the new season and we will host the Railcar Association as their annual Convention rolls in to town at the end of September.
If you haven't yet fallen asleep, today still saw lots of progress, not least with the thaw of the snow. A reasonable-sized P Way team turned out to continue with the three-way point relay. I am told today was all about fish plates as they're waiting for the snow to disappear before bolting the track down.
The LMSCA had a reasonable team in too with work continuing on the LMS fleet and on the BSK rebuild project.
The DMU team checked over the train for tomorrow to make sure it hadn't frozen up over the last few days and some nice touches were made to the Pullman to ready it for opening tomorrow.
Happy New Year!