Monday, 31 August 2015

Progress Bank Holiday Monday 31st August 2015

Dear all
A totally foul day for the last of August and the end of Bank Holidays for 2015 challenging all but the most hardy to run and visit an heritage railway. Many thanks to all our team that managed to operate the Duffield and Ravenstor services, staff the EVRA Shop and Bric a Brac sale, propel the narrow gauge and collect money in the Booking Halls of Duffield and Wirksworth. Special mention for Richard Buckby who stepped into the breach to act as third man for the first three round trips to Duffield and John & Julie Ball who multi tasked on the final journey to and from Duffield.
The dmu team continued to prep and paint 50253 as illustrated, conduct emergency repairs to an air pipe on Iris and assist with its removal from service halfway through the day.
Surprisingly the passengers began to arrive and by midday we were quite busy. It was good to host an 80th birthday party both on the train and in the Pullman Buffet and all expressed thanks for their reception by the train crew and catering team. The second photo shows some happy footplate riders on Henry Ellison preparing for the climb to Ravenstor.
All in all a good day despite the odds.
PS - It is with sadness I have to report the death of Peter Skinner last Saturday. Peter was an early supporter of our Railway and documented many of our pioneering activities through his videos. Our thoughts are with Beth his wife and I will advise funeral details when known. Another plaque for our memorial sleeper I'm afraid.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Progress Friday 28th August 2015

Dear all,

A quiet day of pottering around before the Bank Holiday weekend with the shop being restocked of sweets and other worldy goods.

The Station Foreman painted the skirting board in the new Booking Office and some track patrolling was done.

I suppose the main item on the agenda today was entertaining four excited Drive a Diesel Day participants and their guests. They tried their hand on the Bubble followed by the 33, ably guided by John Allsop. Richard backed up the day with the entertaining.

It was a good day as we welcomed three new volunteers to our railway. Hopefully the recent recruitment drive is paying off a bit and we can point them towards the areas where we are short of people. Although it does take a while before they're able to fill the gaps on the rota unfortunately.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Progress Thursday 27th August 2015

Dear all,

The last operating day before the Bank Holiday saw average numbers passing through ably carried by our Bubble. Thanks to the crew for their efforts today.

Whilst the Booking Office worked on preparing this year's Santa offering for launch, the DMU team worked on readying the trains for this weekend. It is important that the interiors are clean and tidy for the customers. One member began painting the guards van in 50253 with a final coat.

Another group attacked L J Breeze, fitting the refurbished starter motor. However, no vroom today for some reason so they've retired to their teas to allow some thinking to take place.

I didn't get chance to take any photographs today but I will mention that we're now down to just a handful of tickets for Tunes and Chips and week on Saturday - .


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Progress Wednesday 26th August 2015

Dear all
A fairly miserable start to the day developed into a pleasant late afternoon with the main event being our train service that operated with the minimal number of staff and my thanks go to John Ball who was both Guard and Third Man. The service was supported by the Booking Halls at Wirksworth and Duffield together with the EVRA Shop and Pullman Buffet. It does suggest we may have been over ambitious trying to operate five days a week which I am sure will be taken into account in next year's planning.
John Allsop has been working his magic on one of the vehicles which will feature during the Multiple Memories weekend and the PWT dealt with replacement of a double fishplate fracture reflecting the age of some of our track components. There was a track patrol of the section between Gorsey Bank and Ravenstor with no alarms reported.
Further progress was made with the third track into the Maintenance Facility as illustrated. Also shown is the Permanent Way "Bubble Car" which has been drawn out of the facility to facilitate the painting of a second dmu showing that progress is being steadily made to make this former wreck into a useful addition to the fleet.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Progress Tuesday 25th August 2015

Dear all
I am doing a little sick leave relief as Mike has taken advantage of a late cancellation to resolve a hernia rectification. I am sure we all wish him well and a speedy recovery and my return to retirement!
As usual Tuesdays are the busiest day of the week both for volunteer effort and the variety of train services. The first two round trips of the day are with diesel multiple units and the second two by the Class 33 "Swordfish" and our first opportunity to field four maroon liveried locomotive hauled coaches. There is some more work to be achieved with EVRA's latest addition to the train but it is a credit to the team that this vehicle has travelled more miles today than perhaps for 25 to 30 years.
The DST conducted a steam test on Henry Ellison and prepared the locomotive for the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend. The water pipe from the big black tank was repaired and ash barrowed away from the Wash Green Dock site. As part of the two man barrow team Nathan Cooke should be congratulated on achieving a First following his University studies, a great credit on him and his supportive parents.
Cathryn received footplate work, valve refits, machining of plate for axle boxes and continued painting.
Fred and Iris were in action to restore the Mess Hall to a state of harmony and cleanliness.
The LMSCA continued with fitting out jobs on their BTO and their workshop container had a tidy up.
The PWT accomplished track patrols, a clearance of the recently broken up concrete and the preparation of chaired sleepers for the next stage of the Maintenance Facility third track. A hand spray of Wirksworth Yard continued with the attack on unwelcome vegetation.
Today's services were supported by the EVRA Shop, Pullman and On Train Catering together with the Booking Halls at Wirksworth and Duffield.
A special mention should be made of David Newby who completed the refurbishment of the Gents Toilet at Wirksworth today allowing the facility to reopen much to the relief, sorry, of our visitors. It is genuinely a silk purse out of a sow's ear!
Also some credit to the VCT who responded to an appeal to strim the grass on our main approach to Wirksworth Station yesterday to great effect and Rachael's efforts with sign cleansing are noted.
PS - As Nottingham finally opened its new extensions today it is appropriate to illustrate the area around the QMC

Monday, 24 August 2015

Progress Report Sunday 23rd August 2015

A Busy start to the morning as No3 Brian Harrison was fired up  and made ready for another day on the  incline firstly with the Brake van on a 2 hour steam experience before running the  hourly passenger service with the trailer car.
The Dmu group also had a early start too as they shunting the stock around the yard before moving the Pw dmu out of the shed so that L J Breeze could be put under cover ready for her starter motor replacement.
Todays Wirksworth - Duffield service was .operated  by  55006 the single car bubble which handled the service very well despite the variations in the weather .
The Pullman buffet and the Narrow gauge were both open to our passengers and visitors .

All  in all another pleasant day with many compliments about the friendliness of our staff both at the stations and on the trains my thanks to all the staff whos hard work makes this possible .



Friday, 21 August 2015

Progress Friday 21st August 2015

Dear all,

A quiet day of progress at the railway which was dull but warm.

Dan serviced the EVRA SK doors whilst paint was scraped off the windows.

It was very much a day of construction. Dave moved the toilet project forward considerably as the urinals and sink are now piped up. Hopefully this facility can reopen next week. The Foremen, with a new chap with them, progressed the new Booking Office fitting skirting and architrave.

A team met for the first Santa meeting of the season with dates and times being decided, including an extra day on Christmas Eve. A photoshoot for the leaflet took place this morning. A positive step forward!

The photo is from yesterday showing an original consist Class 101, although the front vehicle is still in undercoat.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Progress Thursday 20th August 2015

 Hi all
A busy Thursday on Derbyshire's longest Preserved Railway. 55006 covered the service train to Duffield but as the Commercial Manager stated everybody was a little cosy !!  Perhaps we should have provided two railcars, but predicting the correct vehicles on a daily basis is not an exact science but important as it forms one of the main costs of running the Railway
The EVRA SK passed its vacuum test and was placed in the formation so we now have a rake of four maroon MK 1's
The DMU group formed the all green three car Met Camm set  for their Annual fish and chip evening Saturday, even though 50253 requires its  final gloss paint. 50253 has not run in multiple for over six years.
Bye for now

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Progress Wednesday 19th August 2015

Hi All
Its quite amazing we seem to be having a good run of warm dry weather, which will always help our passenger numbers. 55006 handled the service train today supported by the Pullman Buffet and the  EVRA shop
Wednesday tends to be the quietist day of the week for passenger numbers and volunteers, but the DMU duo pressed on with 50253's restoration and the PWT loaded materials destined for Wirksworth next week
Dan worked on the EVRA SK's vacuum system hopefully nearing its completion so it can join the Mk 1 formation for next weeks cream tea train
All for now
Mike Evans 

Supplementary Tuesday 18th August 2015

Dear all
A small blast from the past showing Faraday in its guise as "Sir Peter & Lady Hilton" to honour Lady Hilton who was a great supporter of our enterprise and made the first share purchase in 2002 receiving certificate 0001. Faraday was a great workhorse for over 7 years and we hope it will go to a new home where it can be put to work again. Peeping into the photo is the "Shark" ballast brakevan which is now part of the Foxfield vintage train and one of the Tube Lines Battery Locomotive. How time rushes by!
Today's video was taken at Derby last Sunday whilst waiting for Beverly and her mother to return from Brussels.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Progress Tuesday 18th August 2015

Hi All
Our first two service trains were covered by our Hybrid set of the 119 Gloucester and Met Camm 50170. Class 33 Swordfish covered the afternoon cream tea train full of satisfied passengers partaking of sandwiches and scones full of jam and cream. I can taste them now.
The DST prepared the Barclay for the weekend incline service and continued with Catherine's restoration
The DMU trio continued with 50253's corridor connection and internal fittings  
All for now

Progress report Sunday 16th August 2015

The second day of the diesel weekend was well supported by families and enthusiasts alike.
The  visiting 33 hauled the Wirksworth - Duffield service whilst  Iris the Derby light weight  looked Ravenstor service .
The Pullman buffet was kept busy serving hot drinks and to our visitors and passengers whilst the narrow guage offed trips on the 2ft gauge .
Down the yard he Dmu group were busy renovating  50253 corridor connection  so she will be ready for the September Dmu gala.

Evra stff worked on their Sk as it  progresses to full running condition.
Tim carried out further renovation on the class 31 .
 Martin manned the Booking office at Wirksworth whilst Eric helped out at Duffield a real team effort kept our many visitors happy my thanks go out to all the staff involved.

ATB   John


Sunday, 16 August 2015

Hi All
The first day of our Diesel weekend was covered by Class33 Swordfish on all services. It seems very popular with some followers coming from Grimsby and Watford and the expensive cameras were in use. Iris worked the Incline service to introduce a novelty factor.
The 8F group had the angle grinders whirring away cleaning old paint and rust off The Duke's cab parts.
The steam cleaner in the maintenance facility worked overtime as Leigh and Jake cleaned the cushions and backs of 50253's seats. Ben laid new lino and Rob continued the under sole bar checks and greasing points
Lets hope the weather holds and another successful day is achieved
Bye for now

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Supplementary Thursday 13th August 2015

Dear all
Another big, shiney vehicle on test today hosted by Joe.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Supplementary Wednesday 12th August 2015

Dear all
A farewell was said to our Swedish customer who was so ably looked after by Tony and Joe over the last three days and he said he would be back after the warm and helpful welcome he had received from all the team. The PWT were out in force to jack and pack the "Spondon" point as illustrated here as this significant project moves ever onwards.
There is also a little indulgence at Matlock Bath, the Venice of the North!

Progress Wednesday 13th August 2015

Dear all,

A lovely hot day saw passenger numbers actually better last Wednesday in the end.

Down the yard, we hosted a testing customer and the PW team started to ballast up the new point.

Dan worked on the EVRA SK brakes whilst the DMU team continued the M Exam on 50253.

The toilet team are flushed with success and I know it is not normally what you would see on a report but the refurbished Gents is starting to look good!


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Progress Tuesday 11th August 2015

Hi all
With a full cream Tea train and bustling platforms Wirksworth  could have been any busy station in the 1960/70's.
Running mainline diesels midweek was always a risk but as not many Heritage railways seem to use them other than weekends many enthusiasts have been visiting us
Our second Test track customer this week, Balfour Beatty was seen testing a small digger at the bottom end of the yard
The gent's toilet refurbishment moved forward with more new sinks and cisterns.
Iris and Fred gave the mess room another deep clean. Many thanks to them both
All for now


Supplementary Tuesday 11th August 2015

Dear all
It is very difficult, and slightly suspicious, to take a photo of the splendid work being undertaken to raise the standard of the Wirksworth Gents Toilet but here is a glance at the tiling. Great credit to the Newby & Thomas Toilet Company.
Today's video of a small machine on test destined to work on the tube sections of London Underground.

Progress Report Sunday 9th August 2015

A lovely dry day brought a steady stream of passengers to the railway including a large group of cyclists who certainly kept the Pullman staff busy.
Iris and No3  looked after todays services between Wirksworth ,  Duffield and Ravenstor much to the delight of our visitors.
Down the yard there was quite alot of activity for a Sunday.
Rod and Mary ran the narrow guage.
Evra staff continued with the renovation of the vacuum cylinders on the sk.
Oakes Enterprises was has having a shade of grey day as the cab of the Duke was painted in grey primer.
The Dmu group continued more renovation work on 50253 including the washing vaxing and fitting of its seats.
 New buffers were also prepared for the above unit.

Many thanks to all the staff who made this a special day for all our visitors.

ATB  John


Monday, 10 August 2015

Supplementary Monday 10th August 2015

Dear all
Today's test vehicle which we understand will work on the tube section of the Transport for London network.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Progress Friday 7th August 2015

Dear all,

A peaceful sunny day in the Gem of the Peak with the sound of the tweeting birds only broken by the toilet team cutting tiles. Most of the tiling is now done and the new electric hand drier has been fitted.

The DMU team did a Fuel Point pit stop on 50170 and cleaned it ready for service tomorrow. The EVRA SK had further work done on the vacuum braking system.

Today's photo shows Station Foremen Martin and Stuart repairing a platform trolley...on a trolley! I nearly got a picture of our Infrastructure Manager sitting on a chair having a cup of tea in the Gents before resuming the tiling but I wasn't quick enough!

The rest of the PW gang were fettling the new point work and Rodney mowed the lawn at Duffield.


Thursday, 6 August 2015

Progress Thursday 6th August 2015

Dear all,

A day which started off minging turned into a beautifully sunny and warm afternoon. The passenger service, once again hauled by 33103, was quite busy all day. We welcomed a new volunteer to the Third Man role too which was nice.

Down the yard, work continued on the braking system of the EVRA SK to ensure that the vacuum cylinders are good and the rigging is set up right.

The DMU Team connected up the recon engine on 50170 and it now runs lovely. Another one off the board!

In fact, today's photo shows the aforementioned engine on the vehicle.


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Progress Wednesday 5th August 2015

Dear all,

Not quite as intense as yesterday but not too bad, with numbers being boosted by a visiting group from the Gloucestershire and Warwickshire Railway Carriage and Wagon Department. The service was operated once again by "Swordfish" to the delight of passengers.

Work continued on the toilet refresh project with one wall now tiled.

The PW team made great strides again with the new point and the DMU team began the task of connecting up the newly hung engine on 50170.

I hadn't a photo from today so here's a photo of the view out of the window.


Supplementary Wednesday 5th August 2015

Dear all
An illustration of the team beginning to sparkle up our visiting Class 33 *Swordfish", which is looking quite "work stained", with a repaint of the south end cab as a good start!
PS - Again, for those of you following developments in Nottingham there is a shadow timetable on the two extensions of the tram system one of which, ironically, passes the former Barton Bus HQ at what is now called High Road - Central College. Barton were known for their selection of vehicles that could pass under the bridge at Sawley Junction, now known as Long Eaton, that were sampled as I journeyed from Borrowash to my school in Long Eaton.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Progress 4th July 2015

Hi all
The second week of Diesel hauled traction kept all the departments very busy. Lets hope the numbers continue for the next two days !!
The Infrastructure head man and David Newby continued the refurbishment of the Gents toilet whilst the other half of the PWay team continued fettling the new point on the pit road
The lower end of the car park saw EVRA's SK surrounded by vacuum parts removed by Dan in an effort to finally put an end to its braking problems. Next to the SK, 50170 received an engine change by the DMU duo
The DST were seen applying more gloss to Catherines under frame and examining No 3 after its weekend work on the Incline. Our two steam locos will be working on the Incline to the end of September. 
Bye for now

Supplementary Tuesday 4th August 2015

Dear all
A couple of photos from today showing the concrete plinths after being broken up which, when the rubble is removed, will allow the new Maintanence Facility siding to continue on its appointed course. The other shows the newly painted EVRA SK gleaming on the Car Park siding whilst receiving attention to a defective brake cylinder.
PS - A look at Belper Station for you -

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Progress Report Sunday 2nd August 2015



Today was one of those days when we all agreed first thing that it was going to be really quiet in view of the wide range of events and attractions happening in the locality. Someone was clearly listening in the signal box in the sky because from that point on the tills began to ring a pace and we closed proceedings with significant passenger loadings on our steam and diesel service throughout the day. What ever it is we do at our railway to attract visitors we clearly continue to do really rather well.


In the engineerium the DMU team concentrated their efforts on the restoration of unit 50253 which has not seen active service for around six years this being painfully evident when the oil filters were removed. She is being given what is referred to as an M exam which is simply described as…everything. Our engineers identified a timing issue with one of the engines meaning fuel was being injected too early, the engine would run but as you might imagine not very well. Once this and several other faults had been rectified,  in a playful moment engineer Ben was heard to say "very soon when I press this button this DMU will run" ..except he was interrupted half way through by…the DMU running! These guys really don't realize how good they are. Work was also progressed on the vestibule and headcode box and we look forward welcoming this new addition to our fleet in the foreseeable future.


The Wirksworth booking hall received some executive focus with two of our directors staffing it for the day and we thank Neil and Martin for stepping in at short notice. It was noted this afternoon that a party from Duffield had used our service to spend a weekend in Wirksworth and were returning home complete with luggage…all part of the service. The catering department were extremely busy as always and the gift shop reported brisk business later in the day.


A small group of young photographers and subjects in period dress and props were assisted at Wirksworth with their work. They seemed to be trying to frame the scene of a romantic farewell from the 1960's and your RO could be seen welling up with the emotion of the scene.


At our southern terminus we met a fascinating new visitor who had worked with and on Iris when she was in active service. He was in fact at Derby works when she was assigned a contract to the film the entire UK network. He explained in some detail the layout of the vehicle at the time complete with generators, seating areas and desks and had several stories of her antics such as being snow bound for several days, the history of the vehicle never ceases to fascinate and we hope we returns soon with more memories.


We welcomed Curt as a new volunteer to our ranks who underwent initial training and assessment which went extremely well and we look forward to him joining our team as a regular visitor in the future. This also allowed us to demonstrate the new induction process where John had already prepared inductions pack and joining documentation to complete. This really is a huge step forward in welcoming new staff to our railway.


On that note, as we approach the high summer months the number of visitors goes up at approximately the same rate as the number of volunteers goes down because by definition, everyone is on vacation. For those of you who use social media you will see we are starting a campaign to advertise for new volunteers and would appeal to you to consider recommending friends or family who may be interested in giving some of their time to our enterprise. Equally please continue to check the rota and volunteer your time over our busiest period for those roles for which you are qualified, as I type this is the evening summer sunshine June is already making plans for Santa specials…it will be here very quickly.


Finally, we welcomed engineer Jack back to the fold after a period away…fortunately John didn't spot him otherwise he may have been inducted….


I leave you with pictures of todays requested traction in the form of railcar Iris and No3 Brian Harrison and also 50253 being returned to service…


Many thanks to everyone involved in another successful day...