Sunday, 29 December 2019

Progress Sunday 29th December 2019

Dear all,

...and there we have it. As I write the final service of 2019 is sat at Duffield bringing the curtain down on another exciting year. Fairly similar passenger numbers to yesterday saw a reasonable load for the time of year. It is always a time to reflect on achievements on the past year but so much has gone on it is hard to remember it all! The opening of Phase 1 of the new Station Building at Wirksworth and construction of the new toilet block is up there in the list of achievements, as well as the introduction of new lifting jacks for coaches, or maybe our first proper Steam Gala? 2020 should continue in the same fashion I would hope. The introduction to service of the LMS Brake Third coach should be a highlight as well as the teak coaches. Who knows what else might come along with the building project, maintenance shed, signalling projects etc?

There were a few souls down the yard today with work continuing on the former Caledonian Sleeping Car, Faraday and the Derby Lightweight trailer.

Thank you to all of our volunteers for their hard work and effort over the last year and Happy New Year to all of our followers. Hope to see you in 2020, possibly starting with our first service day on January 1st?


Saturday, 28 December 2019

Progress Saturday 28th December 2019

Dear all,

The first day of our post-Christmas service trains today which saw reasonable loadings on board Iris. Ideal for those looking for something to do during the holiday period. We have a further service day tomorrow as well as New Year Trains and Fizz on New Year's Day.

It was fairly quiet down the yard except for a little further progress on the Derby Lightweight trailer car.


Friday, 20 December 2019

Progress Friday 20th December 2019

Dear all,

Fairly quiet on the railway today, not surprising given another awful day of weather.

The Santa train was taken for fuelling ahead of the coming 4 days of service. This was much to the delight of a long-term testing customer of ours who was able to get more flange measurements when he wasn't expecting them. Iris was also prepared for service on the 28th/29th weekend including fuelling and a blowing EP valve dealt with.

Further work continued on the Caledonian Sleeper car as well as work on the underframe components of the LMS Brake Third, which is up in the air on the jacks at the moment.

Sean attended to the foot crossing at the north end of the station at Wirksworth to make sure there weren't any tripping hazards.


Thursday, 19 December 2019

Progress Thursday 19th December 2019

Dear all,

The rain didn't dampen spirits today for a mid-week Santa service day. Great to see more happy and smiling faces. Thank you to everyone involved in making the wheels turn again today.

The new toilet project continued apace with the urinals and privacy screens being hung on the wall in the gents and all of the pipework for the hot water system being ran to the boiler. Just the urinal pipework to connect up before the water system can have a grand switch on (with hopefully no leaks) but this will now be in the new year. It'll soon be cubicle construction time.

Speaking of wood work, the C&W were working on the Mark 3 sleeping car as they continue conversion work to make the vehicle suitable for use statically, including creating fire escapes.


Saturday, 14 December 2019

Progress Saturday 14th December 2019

Dear all,

Santa was the aim of the game again today with two out of the three trains being very busy indeed! Santa's throat certainly knew about it. Well done to the team once again, who posed for a photo at Duffield earlier. They did very well as a few of them were Santa 'newbies'. They were especially grateful to today's support team too who managed to change a faulty heater control panel on one of the cars in between trains to provide a welcome boost to the heating.

As I left, the late shift were booking on for this evening's Carols on the Train special which has been kindly sponsored by Portabrook Leasing. Tickets for this community event were largely distributed through local churches.


Friday, 13 December 2019

Progress Friday 13th December 2019

Dear all

Friday 13th is unlucky for some but just seemed to bumble along at the railway. There's no services this time of year on a Friday so it was just a few maintenance-types on site. One team carried out further work on 55006's routine exam and the Carriage and Wagon Dept worked on the Mark 3 sleeping car as that is made suitable for use here. A lone ranger worked on the Derby Lightweight trailer car too.


Thursday, 12 December 2019

Progress Thursday 12th December 2019

Dear all,

The monsoon rains didn't help activities today and it can't have been too pleasant for the PW Gang down the line doing drainage work. I suppose at least they can see if it is working as it should be!

Down the yard, the Maintenance Team started the routine exam on bubblecar 55006.

The toilet block has progressed well this week with the new hot water boiler being installed which will supply hot water to all of the sinks in the building, including running the electrics to it. The sink basins have been installed in both the ladies and gents, with pipework being ran round the room for the ones in the gents.


Sunday, 8 December 2019

Progress Sunday 8th December 2019

Dear all,

Santa was very much the name of the game today with very little else going on around the railway. We entertained many happy families on the railway today. My thanks go to all those involved in this significant operation from those serving in the marquee, the train management, the entertainment, the train crew, platform staff, Booking Office's, catering etc. Not to mention the man himself and his grotto helper. There seems to be a bout of winter virus going round so thank you to those who stepped in at late notice to keep the show on the road (well rails).


Thursday, 5 December 2019

Progress Thursday 5th December 2019

Dear all,

Slightly milder today. The Mark 3 sleeping car was placed into Platform 3 at the request of the Ivatt Diesel Recreation Group as it is their opening ceremony of "Centenary Works" tomorrow. Their president, who is in his 100th year, will open it and they have a charter on Iris booked in.

The PW were preparing for their January works programme and the S&T department were busy building signalling bits for Shottle box.

The plumber has worked three days on the new toilets at Wirksworth with all of the toilets now being in place and plumbed in. He has been working on the fresh water mains connections today and bringing them into the building from outside.


Saturday, 30 November 2019

Supplementary Report Saturday 30th November 2019

Dear All,

Today marks a significant milestone in the development of our railway with the launch of our new website. The format makes use of state of the art graphic design and is driven by a robust 'back office' which guides the visitor gently to a point of sale. We have developed comprehensive 'bolt ons' so once a person has bought a ticket for a meal on the Derbyshire Countryman train they are offered gifts to purchase to enhance their experience such as flower bouquets , champagne  as well as custom decorations to personalise their experience.

Keep an eye out too for our new V.I.P. evenings when we introduce the luxurious 'Ryedale Saloon' for special events and private hire together with new 'taster' experiences which will create more opportunities for members of the public to take the controls of one of our diesel locomotives.

Visitor feedback informed us that the majority of people who visit our railway for the first time, view our website prior to their visit. Our website is our shop window and as such we feel the high definition graphics and pictures together with its intelligent back office and on-line ticketing purchasing ensures it will showcase the railway at its best as well as increase our commercial activity.  I am grateful to Leigh for all his his creative energy and hard work together with Dominic Ainsworth for his guidance and advice with the website structure.

You are most welcome to make suggestions on any additions or modifications you wish to see to either Leigh or myself.

Compliments of the Season,

All the best, Tom

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Progress Thursday 28th November 2019

Dear all,

Another wet day in the valley saw Henry Ellison prepared for tomorrow's book launch. The book has been written by the late Vince Morris and his colleagues and so is appropriately been launched here. Apparently the television may be coming so the brass bits have had an extra polish. A start was also made on deconstructing No3 for exploratory work on it's overhaul.

The new toilet project has taken a leap forward. We're not quite flushed with success just yet but good progress for one day. Following a delivery of components yesterday, the first couple of toilets have been installed in the Gents. The attached photo was taken at lunch time but there has been more progress this afternoon as the waste pipes have been plumbed into the toilets and a start has been made on running the fresh water too. It is surprising how much there is in somewhere like that with waste and fresh water plumbing for toilets, sinks, urinals etc as well as electric for a hot water boiler and hand dryers. On top of that I guess it is most important to construct cubicles too! I did want to take an end of day photo but I couldn't get in so maybe tomorrow.

The Santa train was taken for a spin this morning as all vehicles have been under maintenance recently with one of them being lifted too.


Sunday, 24 November 2019

Progress Sunday 24th November 2019

Dear all,

A most enjoyable day today as we hosted 29 Taiwanese delegates from Taipei who are over in this country looking at heritage railway with a view to setting up their first full sized one. There were some government officials, rail experts and marketing people making up the party and were most interested to learn about things required when running a tourist attraction - museums, toilets, cafes and also products you can offer such as dining and driving experiences. Following a short presentation, they boarded the 11:00 Shottle Special and enjoyed a nice spread during the journey served by the catering department, before having a lengthy tour of the yard and maintenance facility. They were lovely people and very interested and complementary of our railway. Lots of photographs were taken by the visitors, we felt like celebrities! I'm told a group photo shall appear at some point.

Elsewhere, work to finish off the overhauled toilet compartment on class 101 50170 continued ahead of Santa and the Derby Lightweight trailer car received further interior attention.

Today's photo shows the atmospheric Shottle Special in the platform, taken by Chris Nesbitt.


Saturday, 23 November 2019

Progress Report Saturday 23rd November 2019

Dear All,

Another rainy day at Derbyshire's favourite branch line did not deter our visitors too much and a reasonable number of passengers for a damp, cold November's day travelled on the penultimate Shottle Steam Special.

In the station cafe Helen Hills, our Catering Manageress and her team, laid on a fantastic spread in gratitude to the volunteers for their hard work and dedication and it was great to see such a good turnout. In the maintenance shed Faraday's radiator cowling and bonnet were refitted following corrosion repair. Tim will appraise you later of progress on the Duke.

There was a surprise visit from the big man in the red suit today as a number of video  vignettes were shot for marketing purposes. Last week I mentioned our new Derbyshire Railwayman Dinning Train which will debut next year and we have already taken on-line bookings. A very good omen indeed! Keep a look out too for our new website which will be live very soon.

Today's service was supported by the museum, cafe and booking hall staff. Thanks also to the engine crews and train crew who ensured our visitors were looked after and the trains ran to schedule.

All the best, Tom 

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Progress 19th to 21st November 2019

Dear all,

A strangely quiet week in general this week, possibly due to the time of year. I'm not sure!

There was a good turn out on Tuesday for the construction of our new marquee which will have a starring role as part of our Santa trains which are rapidly approaching. It took eight people all day to construct and somehow seems larger than the old one even though in theory it isn't.

The PW gang ballasted some more of the new Road 5 in the yard which provides some more useable siding space and have also assisted the contractor in the periodic lifting equipment inspections that have to be done.

Further work has taken place on the LMS Brake Third coach with the newly constructed tables receiving their vinyl covering. Very nice they look too! The exterior paintwork is also progressing.

In the shed, roof leak repairs have been carried out to DMU centre car 59303 ready for the coming month.


Sunday, 17 November 2019

Progress Report Saturday 16th November 2019

Dear All,

We did enjoy a little respite today from the rain thank goodness. This must be the worst November weather we have experienced since the Duffield line opened. That said we did have a steady stream of visitors to enjoy a steam hauled trip to Shottle. At Wirksworth station the Commercial Department were very busy finalising next year's brochure which looks superb together with updating our ever increasing number of gifts/ experiences to purchase online. Final additions to our new website too means a more slick looking 'shop window' for the railway. We are also finalising our on line shopping section on the new website which is scheduled to go 'live' in December. People will be able to directly book meals on our new 'Derbyshire Countryman' dining train together with various product enhancements to make their time at the railway even more memorable. If your looking for a special gift for a friend or relative, look no further!

At the miniature railway, Ron and Kyle were busy preparing 'Wren' for transporting to its annual boiler inspection. It is planned to complete the installation of a turntable as well as further extend the line towards Gorsey Bank during the winter break. Down in the maintenance shed there was much activity which Tim will appraise you about later. Today's service was supported by the museum and shop, station cafe, booking hall staff.

All the best, Tom

Friday, 15 November 2019

Progress Friday 15th November 2019

Dear all,

Another Friday and another track inspection following further heavy rainfall, this time by road-rail Land Rover. Once again drainage down the line is working well even with the river running very quickly nearby. A fallen tree was discovered blocking the line near footpath F4 but fortunately the team were able to deal with it using equipment already on board. It wouldn't have affected passenger services this weekend as they're only booked to Shottle but it would have affected Monday's testing customer so a good discovery made. In the process, the Christmas decorations were also delivered to Duffield.

At Wirksworth, we hosted the Branchline Society who solely wanted to travel on the Miniature Railway. Thanks to Ron and Tom for hosting them.

The Maintenance Team carried out further work to the Santa DMU in preparation for the start of those and the batteries were charged on the recently arrived Mark 3 sleeping car.


Thursday, 14 November 2019

Progress Thursday 14th November 2019

Dear all,

Yet another day of extremely heavy rain dampening progress. The PW were down the line checking drainage and probably getting soaked, but there weren't many at Wirksworth. The Maintenance Team were in the shed working on the DMU for Santa, replacing a piece of formica panel which had broken.

You may have noticed the delivery of a Mark 3 sleeping car fresh from the Caledonian Sleeper service. This coach belongs to the Ivatt Diesel Re-creation Group, who rent the garage, and it will allow for both their volunteers and our volunteers to book accommodation on site once it is commissioned. Most railways have some sort of volunteer accommodation for those who come along way or have early starts and late finishes so this will be a most useful addition as we grow.


Sunday, 10 November 2019

Progress Sunday 10th November 2019

Dear all,

Finally some sun! Today we continued with out Shottle Specials steam and diesel top and tail combination. Three return services to Shottle operated, with the first slightly retimed by 5 minutes to allow the railway to fall silent at 11:00. Thereafter, the sunshine brought out good numbers for the time of year for a ride. The Cafe was also quite busy, with most things sold old. I am told stocks of Mars bars are critically low!

Down the yard, work continued on the refurbishment of Faraday and the restoration of the Derby Lightweight. Further ceiling panels have been plimped up in the latter.

I attach a couple of photos. One is of HE about to set off across Gorsey Bank Crossing yesterday sent to me by Stuart Graves and the other is of 08605 "GR Walker" shunting the stock back into platform 1 this evening.


Friday, 8 November 2019

Progress Friday 8th November 2019

Dear all,

Following the heavy rain over the past 48 hours or so the decision was made to traverse the entire route of our line by DMU this afternoon to check for any issues with flooding and trees. It really is a testimony to the efforts of our PW gang there are no flood waters in site anywhere down the line and the entire route is clear. The River Ecclesbourne is higher and flowing faster than normal but is still well away from the track. The sight of the fields the other side of the main line at Duffield though reminded me of the sea. We dropped off one volunteer who was going home by train and fortunately managed to catch the last train to Derby from Matlock before services were suspended.

Volunteers were still hard at work back at Wirksworth with work continuing on reinstating the toilet compartment on 50170 hopefully ready for Santa's visit. A start was also made on the fitness to run on the recently arrived teak coaches. 08605 also had some fettling ahead of services this weekend on the Shottle Specials.


Thursday, 7 November 2019

Progress Thursday 7th November 2019

Dear all

A quiet day on the railway today with torrential rain all day putting most people off. Trains aren't running during the week at this time of the year which allows lots of admin and planning to take place. A meeting was held with the plumber to get the next phase of the toilet project underway.

The PW braved the elements to traverse most of the line checking it was clear and free from flooding. A blocked drainage channel south of Shottle was causing water to block up but this was temporarily remedied by hand to keep things flowing for now.


Friday, 1 November 2019

Progress Friday 1st November 2019

Dear all,

The final service day to Duffield until 28th December has been and gone and it was an acceptable day for the time of year. The Shottle Specials start tomorrow and Henry Ellison was warmed through in anticipation. The coaches were also cleaned and readied too.

A delegation from Lancashire were out in force hammering and banging away at the Class 14, with the owning group using down time over winter to do some much-needed TLC. Both vacuum exhausters were removed for overhaul and they were still hammering away at a stuck nut on the rods in the dark, as they are being removed for rebushing. This should help the ride quality no end next season.


Thursday, 31 October 2019

Progress Thursday 31st October 2019

Dear all,

A beautifully sunny but chilly day to end October with Iris handling the services today. The majority of passenger came from Duffield today and the buffet particularly benefitted so.

Advantage of the weather was taken with the doors and windows on the new toilet block being varnished to protect them.

Down the yard, the Maintenance Team investigated and hopefully resolved a random power controller fault that had developed on W55006 over the last few days.

I suppose the big news of yesterday was the arrival of two beautiful vintage teak coaches in the form of a 1935 LNER first class and a GNR 1910 Observation Saloon. The coaches are operational and we look forward to them joining the LMS Brake Third coach which is in the final stages of restoration.


Sunday, 27 October 2019

Progress Sunday 27th October 2019

Dear all,

In stark contrast to yesterday, today was typically a beautiful day even though it wasn't very warm. It was back down to expected activity levels at this time of year as we had our final normal service day on a Sunday for a while. Next week the Shottle Specials start on Saturday but we do have trains Tuesday, Thursday and Friday through to Duffield as it is half term.

Down in the engineerium, work continued on Faraday's cab and on 50170 which is receiving roof repairs and toilet construction work.

Further work continued in the LMS Brake Third which is in the process of being painted.


Progress Report Saturday 26th October

Dear All,

Despite the monsoon rain and flood warning from the Environment Agency that the River Ecclesbourne was about to burst it banks, and thanks to the skills of our drivers, we were able to run our advertised service yesterday. Many Muggles of assorted shapes and sizes braved the weather to visit the Wirksworth Wizarding Day. It was quite a spellbinding sight akin to a scene from one of Harry Potter's films as our visitors alighted in full costume at Wirksworth station. I believe the on train catering of chocolate frogs, jelly bat wings and other related confectionary was very popular and quickly sold out. We welcomed both Radio Derby and BBC East Midlands Today on the first Duffield departure and a feature on the event is planned for Monday's programme.

At Wirksworth station the display of owls proved very popular offering some great photo opportunities. A frequent incline steam service was also in operation and Richard conducted a number of yard tours to interested visitors. Congratulations to Rob Green who successfully completed his practical driving assessment on the class 73. The warmest, driest most popular place today was the museum and shop which seemed perpetually busy.

Other heritage railways in the Midlands had to cancel their services today due to the severe weather therefore its timely to mention the excellent drainage work our Permanent Way Team has been undertaking over the past few months. Without a doubt today's intensive timetable would not have been possible if it wasn't for the planned improvements the team has made to problem areas requiring better track drainage. To give you some idea of the impact the rain has had on the River Ecclesbourne, I have attached a video of the river in Wirksworth yard taken by Dave Williams in between testing of Henry Ellison.

Today's event was an unqualified success despite the weather and grateful thanks must go to the following groups of people who went that extra mile in often atrocious weather conditions to ensure we were able to deliver all advertise services and attractions:- Train Crews both steam and diesel, Crossing Gate Keepers, Shottle Signalmen, Station Staff, Catering Staff, Booking Hall Staff and those volunteers providing on train hospitality. A great team effort. (apologies if I have missed anyone)

All the best, Tom

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Progress Thursday 24th October 2019

Dear all,

I don't know where the days go! This week we have had plenty of testing including a hospitality day ran by the customer with the tube car as well as a robot device from Italy. Today was devoid of testing on the Duffield line so it was a good opportunity for the works train to head down the line as well as get it stabled at Shottle for the weekend.

Of course, Saturday is Wirksworth Wizarding Day and the whole town is expected to be extremely busy, despite a poor forecast. Today involved setting up down the yard in preparing two coach rakes for the event as well as admin in the office to do with printing timetables, discussing the day with the organisers from the town etc.

The lino flooring has been laid in the new toilet block which allows us to move on to the plumbing stage. Very nice it looks too! Photo attached.


Friday, 18 October 2019

Progress Friday 18th October 2019

Dear all,

Not too busy down on the railway today but there was certainly a hive of activity in the town with people setting up for this weekend's Model Railway Exhibition. It promises to be bigger and better than ever so that's quite exciting.

Henry Ellison was steamed up following the repairs and prepared for service on the incline tomorrow.


Thursday, 17 October 2019

Progress Thursday 17th October 2019

Dear all,

It was just a solitary degree this morning as I arrived at Wirksworth. But it didn't deter Bob and the tube car customers who were preparing for their first demo day to railway industry boffins. The base for the day was Duffield so the tube car had to ghost his way to Duffield first thing. Thanks for Eric B and Neil W (and latterly Bernadette) for their hospitality towards our test customers today too.

Down the yard, Met-Camm 50170 was moved to the pit ready for the pre-Santa exam as well as fuelling for the weekend.

In the new toilet block, the internal window frames were varnished and some floor preparations were undertaken ready for the lino next week.


Friday, 11 October 2019

Progress 11th October 2019

Dear all,

A miserable monsoon day where we hosted another Drive a Diesel Day for one family who all fancied having a drive of the bubblecar and then the Class 33. The local pub had overcome the local gas emergency to provide top notch nosh for the whole party inbetween.

The steam team were drowned as they reconstructed Henry Ellison following boiler work with the help of a hired-in crane.

The Maintenance Team also had to shunt to fuel and prepare vehicles for the coming days and also looked like drowned rats.


Thursday, 10 October 2019

Progress Thursday 10th October 2019

Dear all,

Today saw the Permanent Way team drill some brand new rails which belong to a test customer whilst some shunting was done for the weekend. The tube vehicle had to be released from it's spot in the shed, now sporting a nice coat of bright white gloss all over. I believe it is their plan to vinyl it ahead of their demonstration days soon.

Further work was undertaken on the new toilet block at Wirksworth with the windows being varnished, following on from a thorough clean of the floor yesterday.

A fairly run of the mill day really.


Sunday, 6 October 2019

Progress Sunday 6th October 2019

Dear all,

Well considering it was forecast for heavy rain all day the sun shone for a lot of it! Today was as expected for a back end of the season Sunday but we did host a party who enjoyed afternoon tea in the Station Café afterwards. Thank you to the train crew and catering department for their efforts. The new museum was attracting some attention and it was nice to chat to locals who are most complementary about a new facility in their town.

There weren't many in the signing in book today but the Class 73 has further work undertaken on the cooling system to try and make it water tight.


Friday, 4 October 2019

Progress Friday 4th October 2019

Dear all,

A relatively sedate day until late in the afternoon as we hosted a group who had chartered Iris for a trip to Ravenstor and then to Duffield, with hot drink refreshments too. The scheduled departure time was 16:00 however due to problems with their road transport we didn't manage to get underway until 17:30 so the trip turned out to be rather more twilight than expected. Thank you to the crew and catering who stayed later than expected, it was certainly appreciated by the group leader.

Down the yard, the Class 73 has many hoses renewed on the cooling system after it had developed several leaks. The contractor continued with the Maintenance Facility extension and the service train for the weekend was prepared.

Also apologies, as I forgot the Drive a Diesel experience yesterday in my haste! The most useful source of income.

I attach a couple of pics of the new museum/shop which is now open on operating days.



Thursday, 3 October 2019

Progress Thursday 3rd October 2019

Dear all,

Today just seemed a little bit empty now regular Thursdays have finished for the season. However, that doesn't mean it was commercially quiet with tickets for Wizarding Day, Santa and Driver Experiences selling well today over the phone.

Down the yard, final bits and bobs were carried out on 50253 ready for it to re-enter service and the shed was shunting for our customer's tube car to go in for some work.

The PW team were at Wirksworth working on the new siding started last week by the university students and the S&T Department were down at Shottle.


Thursday, 26 September 2019

Progress Thursday 26th September 2019

Dear all,

The final Thursday of the season has passed and it was boosted by a couple of parties, one of which had afternoon tea in the Station Cafe. The EVRA team were seen transporting many boxes of books from the old Portacabin shop into the new building preparation for the opening soon.

The PW gang were busy tidying and sorting after the activities of the university students last weekend and some further work was carried out on the Derby Lightweight. To be honest there weren't many people on site down there yard.

We did host a testing customer who worked on the incline.


Thursday, 12 September 2019

Progress Thursday 12th September 2019

Dear all,

A pleasant mild day which saw reasonable passenger numbers for a back-end Thursday come along for a bumble through the valley on Iris, exactly like yesterday's group who chartered her did.

Back at Wirksworth, some of the obligatory shunting took place along with further work on Met-Camm car 50253 which is still in the sky having work on various underframe components undertaken as well as a more general exam ahead of the Santa season.

Work on the new building continued with further fitting out of the museum area. The electrician was working in the toilet block with the extractor units being fitted yesterday and the lights today. I don't think they're wired in yet as cutting the holes in the ceiling for the lighting units, which sit flush, is a time consuming job.

The S&T department continued working on the signal box at Shottle.

Other news this week, and I'm sure they won't mind me sharing this nugget of information being as it was on their Facebook page the other day, is that the former R&R Motors garage at Wirksworth Station has a new tenant! We have reached agreement for the LMS 10000 new build project to rent the garage as a workshop for overhauling various components destined eventually for their locomotive. Their initial plan is to spruce up the building so if you notice it getting a lick of paint etc go and say hi!


Thursday, 5 September 2019

Progress Thursday 5th September 2019

Dear all,

A moderate day on the trains with Iris back out handling the services. It was well loaded on the first train, especially.

We welcomed a reengineered on track plant machine which came all the way from Scotland at no more than 30mph. It was an L reg! I bet they're glad it passed the certification process.

Down the yard, DMU car 50253 which is still up on the jacks had the repaired fuel tank reconnected and a loose injector pump drive rebuilt. Very handy working at normal height rather than in the pit.

The PW gang have been surveying for another new siding in Wirksworth Yard which will be started with the assistance of Birmingham University in a few weeks time.

Work continued on the new station building which is hurling ever closer to being open.


Saturday, 31 August 2019

Progress Saturday 31st August 2019

Dear all,

A good day in the valley with 73210 doing the first return and then 78018 doing three returns. The steam locomotive is due out again this evening on an evening special.

The new Station Building had further electrical wiring undertaken as well as general tidying. The new model railway which will be located in the former museum coach was also in the process of being set up.

Upon the return of the 73, it received an A exam. Faraday was attached with a welder and needle gun to progress this project further.


Friday, 30 August 2019

Progress Friday 30th August 2019

Dear all,

As the summer Fridays draw to a close we saw a busy day with 78018. I thought 91 on the first train was good but 103 on the last train trumped it! Thank you to the Catering Dept, EVRA shop, on train bar and Booking Office for supporting the service today (in addition to the train crew of course).

Down in the engineerium, another DMU went up to the sky on the jacks. This time it was the turn of Met-Camm Driving Motor Brake 50253 which is having attention to the pivot grease lines. This is in addition to the installation of a new gearbox which will be completed when the car is reunited with the wheels shortly.


Thursday, 29 August 2019

Progress Thursday 29th August 2019

Dear all,

Noticeably cooler today as we saw moderate passenger numbers perfectly suited to running a 'bubblecar'. Tomorrow sees the final summer Friday of the season which is steam hauled and has the added bonus of a couple of pre-booked parties too.

Down the yard, the Maintenance Duo were busy dropping the faulty gearbox from Met-Camm car 50253. This one has been out of action a while and it will be good to have a nice refurbished replacement in time for the Santa season.

Work continued inside the new Station Building with the display cabinets now illuminating and artefacts being to go in to the museum area.


Friday, 23 August 2019

Progress Report 23rd August 2019 (suplimentary)

Dear all,
This evening we provided a Gin train with evening platter for the Derbyshire Childrens Holiday Centre at Skegness charity with 70 guests enjoying a steam hauled excursion to Duffield along a sun soaked Ecclesbourne Valley. The evening was a great success.

A grateful thank you to the catering team, who worked tirelessly to ensure the evening ran smoothly, the footplate crew who gave their time freely to support the event and members of the DMU group who were waiting at Wirksworth station to assist passengers disembark as well as helping with train disposal.

A great team effort.

All the best, Tom

Sent on the move with my iPad Pro

Progress Friday 23rd August 2019

Dear all,

A gorgeously sunny and warm day which saw services handled by 78018. Trains were very well loaded with over 100 on the first train and good numbers thereafter. Thank you to the crews that kept on time and made it run smoothly.

Down the yard, the trains were prepared for the weekend which led to a nice photo of three rodded locos. The Derby Lightweight progressed in the shed too.

This evening sees a private charter with 78018 and I gather Gin is the order of the day along with meals on the train.

Unfortunately one of the components which runs the webcam system has failed and we're awaiting a delivery of a replacement. Apologies for this but we hope to be back up and running soon!


Sunday, 18 August 2019

Progress Report Saturday 17th August 2019

Dear All,

Today was our class 33 day running day with resident 'Swordfish' and visiting locomotive from the Churnet Valley 'Sophie' undertaking the honours. We played host to a reasonable number of visitors. At Wirksworth station work continues at a pace in the new museum which is nearing completion. Some excitement today in the station car park when an unexpected delivery of a rail vehicle for testing next week required some shuffling of cars to facilitate a clear path to the yard car park.

Todays service was supported by the miniature railway, station cafe, Association shop, Idridgehay crossing keeper and booking hall staff together with the operational team ensured our visitors were well looked after and the trains ran to schedule. I have attached a photo of platform one at Wirksworth station which I have tried to capture the excellent work of our volunteer gardeners.

All the best,


Friday, 16 August 2019

Progress Friday 16th August 2019

Dear all,

A miserable day with monsoon rains but it didn't deter the visitors with a very good day recorded on the till, coming for a ride behind 78018 in the dry. Even the sheep provided the visitors with some amusement too!

Down the yard, the guys continued looking in to the issues with 33103 with a view to trying to get it back in service for this weekend's Class 33 Running Weekend. Happily a problem with the engine governor was rectified and the locomotive released join classmate 33102 tomorrow.

The LMS BTO coach in the shed has had the lino laid today as well as the bodyside primed. This really will be an excellent coach when it is completed.


Thursday, 15 August 2019

Progress Thursday 15th August 2019

Dear all,

Finally a reasonably sunny day (after it soaked us about 9 o'clock). The service today was the Class 119 and 101 coupled to it. It was a busier day than Tuesday with a noticeable number of grandparent/grandchild combinations.

Down the yard, the Mark 1 SO which had a vacuum cylinder changed the other day had everything connected up, tested and returned to the rake ready for tomorrow and the weekend. A good job done!

The Derby Lightweight trailer car which is up in the air was prepared for the correct bogies to be connected, this of course included shunting them out from the very end of Cemetary Lane.

Investigations into the issues experienced with 33103 at the weekend began but so far no joy.


Sunday, 11 August 2019

Progress Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August 2019

Dear all,

Our Summer Diesel Gala saw weather more common in Autumn but it didn't deter the enthusiasts from enjoying our selection of locomotives on offer, including visiting Class 33 33102 "Sophie". The event ran very well but unfortunately home fleet 33 33103 "Swordfish" developed a fault late yesterday and couldn't operate today. Attached is a photograph of the two 33s operating together when they could. Thank you to everyone who took part in another successful event, it takes a lot of hard work and effort from all involved.

The Derby Lightweight trailer car, which is now up in the sky, had a handbrake warning buzzer fitted and a start was made on overhauling a vacuum cylinder for it.


Friday, 9 August 2019

Progress Friday 9th August 2019

Dear all,

Not a bad day after the heavy rain cleared this morning until near the end of the day where a torrential downpour with thunderstorm decided to wet everyone! Issues raising steam this morning delayed the start for 78018 so elctro-diesel 73210 did the first train, which in turn enabled a power fault with the latter to be discovered ahead of the gala tomorrow. This was fortunately able to be rectified later in the day. A few last minute jobs were done in visitor 33102 "Sophie" so she is all good to go for the weekend too. The Class 08 "G.R.Walker" was cleaned ready for service on Sunday and some final positioning was also done.


Thursday, 8 August 2019

Progress Thursday 8th August 2019

Dear all,

Calm before the storm today with the DMU service. We hosted a couple of groups, one of which had walked the whole of the Ecclesbourne Way, setting off from Duffield around 08:00 this morning. Tomorrow features the only day of steam this week with it being the Diesel Gala on Saturday.

Speaking of which, those who have been watching Channel Webcam these last few days will have noticed 33102 "Sophie" being delivered from the Churnet Valley mid-afternoon on Tuesday ready for the gala this weekend. The event will reunite "Sophie" with classmate 33103 "Swordfish". Yesterday there were further movements as the LNER Gresley coach which has been restored on site by contractor returned home to Yorkshire but the work doesn't stop as another LNER coach arrived for him to do the same treatment to today.

Alot of gala prep has taken place over the last few days including fuelling, positioning of vehicles and most importantly marshalling two rakes of coaches as per the steam gala earlier in the year.

Volunteers were hard at work in the new building as this draws ever closer to completion and John continued painting inside the new toilet block.

78018 was warmed and prepared for service tomorrow.


Sunday, 4 August 2019

Progress Report Sunday 4th August 2019

Dear all,

As I pulled up at Cromford lights this morning in the land rover, once the vibration had stop and the smoke cleared I could see it was 19 degrees outside and was looking forward to a pleasant day on the railway, maybe that thought jinxed the mornings activity. On arrival I was greeting by the dream steam team who informed me the 78018 had been failed because of a fault with one of the axles on the tender.

A two car DMU was despatched to platform two in readiness to manage passenger services but a short while later news came from up the yard that a fix has been completed and the steam engine was indeed declared fit for services. The two car was returned to the yard and whilst leaving a little late the coaching stock left pulled by steam much to the obvious delight of our passengers. The weather remained overcast with occasional brief showers but very warm and humid and my particular admiration is extended to the steam engine crew who were on site early this morning to prep the loco, fixed the issue with the tender and then worked in the heat of the foot plate for the rest of the day, we ensure water was supplied to the loco and crew at regular intervals. In the engineerium work continued on the interior of the Derby Lightweight as this project continues to progress well.

It was mentioned to me by one of today's guests that 78018 features in this video shot in 1955 when she was stuck in a snow drift on Bleith Gill, I don't think today was the day to shoot show drift on the shottle loop !

My thanks also to the catering staff both on train and off, passenger services on and off train, shop and booking halls for all their efforts today in difficult conditions and in dealing with the different challenges during the day.

I leave you with pictures of 78018 on final approach to platform one and two


Pete Watts
Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Operations

Friday, 2 August 2019

Progress Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd August 2019

Dear all,

Two reasonable days on the trains with loadings good yesterday for a DMU day and very respectable loadings for the steam service today. An article in the Country Images magazine from a reporter who experienced our afternoon tea first hand has also meant an upturn in bookings in this area too.

Down the yard, work to repair air leaks in pipes under the cab floor on 31601 seem to have been successful so far in time for the weekend and Tuesday.

Work also continued inside the Derby Lightweight trailer car and on TSO 4440.


Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Progress Wednesday 31st July 2019

Dear all,

As July draws to a close we hosted a special DMU charter for East Midlands Trains. They wished to thank all of their Station Adopter volunteer who tirelessly look after the stations on their network before the franchise changes over in a few weeks time. We collected some 150 people who had arrived at Duffield mostly by train. Some of them booked to arrive early were treated to a presentation by Eric B at Duffield before everyone boarded the 4 car DMU for Wirksworth. At Wirksworth, lunch bags were waiting in the Café and so too was the Bubblecar to operate shuttles to Ravenstor. Around 5 or 6 yard tours took place during the afternoon to provide interest for our guests and they were also able to enjoy a trip on the Miniature Railway too. After around three hours they were taken back to Duffield for onward train travel. Fortunately the rain mostly held off and there were many happy visitors at the end.


Saturday, 27 July 2019

Progress Report Saturday 27th July 2019

Dear All,

Back to typical British summer weather today with torrential rain interrupted by occasional dry spells! However that didn't seem to affect our visitors with lots of smiling faces around our enterprise. The station cafe was again busy with a party of guests celebrating booking clerk Robert Harris's birthday. Many happy returns Robert.

Today's service was supported by the station cafe, Association shop, miniature railway and booking hall staff.

All the best,


Friday, 26 July 2019

Progress Report Friday 26th July 2019

Dear All,

Wirksworth was slightly cooler today but still very hot for the time of year. We were very thin on the ground today with volunteers but I'm happy to report it was quality not quantity that ensured our many visitors were well looked after. Unfortunately Helen Hills our Catering Manager took ill whilst on holiday and was unable to attend today but her team rallied round in her absence to provide afternoon tea services for two very appreciative parties. We wish Helen a speedy recovery.

We played host to three pre-booked groups today; St Helens Ladies Guild from Darley Dale, The Woman's Institute from the Allestree branch and a retirement party from Derby County Council.

A special mention should go to our Operational Staff who, despite the uncomfortable heat, delivered a first class service and ensured the train service ran to schedule. Today's service was supported by the Association shop, miniature railway, station cafe, crossing gate keepers and booking hall staff.

All the best,


Sunday, 21 July 2019

Progress Report Saturday 20th July 2019

Dear All,

Today saw the first visit to the railway of the Local Defence Volunteers.  The original WW2 Home Guard were in action at Wirksworth Station today as the Belper and Wirksworth L.M S. Railway Platoon who carried out a number of demonstrations much to the amusement of our visitors. There will be more from the platoon on Sunday.

Our first train to Duffield was delayed slightly due to last night's deluge which had caused som drainage problems at Idridgehay crossing. Grateful thanks to Ron who  took time out from the miniature railway to clear the mud from the crossing. The Associated hosted two footplate experiences on the incline today with both sets of visitors expressing much satisfaction with their visit. Up in the town WyvernRail plc held its Annual General Meeting and it was good to see a number of our supporters enjoying a trip to Duffield prior to the meeting.

Today's service was supported by the station cafe, Association shop, miniature railway and booking hall staff.

All the best, Tom

Friday, 19 July 2019

Progress Wednesday to Friday 19th July 2019

Dear all,

It has been a generally busy week with plenty of customers and also projects on the go.

Wednesday we saw the arrival of another first in the form of a withdrawn London Underground D78 stock car belonging to a test customer which has been fitted with some experimental running gear. This medium-term project should be quite interesting.

We have been thin on the ground with volunteers as many attended the funerals of Vince Morris on Wednesday and Andrew Ormond on Thursday.

In between though, some work has been carried out on the geometry of the new siding in Wirksworth Yard and the somewhat obligatory shunting which takes place each week to keep vehicles where they need to be for the coming days. Iris has been having an exam inbetween all this, which is nearly complete.

We took delivery of some concrete sleepers late yesterday to further advance the PW projects.

Today was the first day of Friday steam operations of the summer and, despite the heavy rain, it was quite busy. The first train was particularly well loaded, with the on board bar running out of hot water early on.


Saturday, 13 July 2019

Progress Saturday 13th July 2019

Dear all,

Another muggy day in the valley with services operated by both Class 33 "Swordfish" and Class 2MT 78018. Services were reasonably busy all day which was pleasing to see, as was the Café and Miniature Railway.

Down the yard, work continued in the construction of the Derby Lightweight toilet compartment and also the gradual rebuild of TSO 4440. The Class 73 also had a turbo oil change this afternoon.

A gang departed early doors for the seaside, well near Blackpool anyway, to collect recently acquired S&T components (sea reported as not seen, but seagulls heard so they must have been close). They were back at Wirksworth in time for a cuppa at the end of service. The hard work continues with this tomorrow.


Thursday, 11 July 2019

Progress Thursday 11th July 2019

Dear all,

A warm and muggy day with services handled by 55006, a steady day ahead of the school summer holidays.

Progress on the new Station Building continued apace with the construction of the new museum cabinets being the order of the day. John also did some cement filling inside the new toilet block. If you're wondering what an empty toilet looks like, see the attached photo of the Gents.

The PW gang were working on the new Road 5 in the yard packing it ready for use.

The Standard 2 received fitters attention from the home railway with the assistance from a couple of our chaps to bring it into steam for testing. Happily they passed it fit for traffic so it can operate at the weekend.


Sunday, 7 July 2019

Progress Sunday 7th July 2019

Dear all,

Regrettably we weren't able to operate the planned steam services due to the braking issues which developed yesterday and therefore services were handled by Class 73 73210 at late notice.

The Class 14 guys were on site doing an engine oil change following the fitment of their new cylinder head a few weeks ago. The locomotive was given a successful test run on the last service too.

A couple of chaps were working on the Derby Lightweight trailer car with fitting out of the toilet compartment almost being completed. It looks really heritage!


Progress Report Saturday 6th July2019

Dear All,

Apologies for the delay with this brief report. Today was an eventful one down at Derbyshire's favourite branch line. The weather was very unkind at the start of the day with the first Duffield class 31 hauled service departing in heavy rain. Sadly a steam brake issue meant that our visiting locomotive 78018 required some TLC before it could enter service and the class 31 undertook the second Duffield run. Thanks to the skills of the footplate team the fault appeared to be rectified so it was decided the locomotive should enter traffic for the third Duffield service top and tailed with the class 31 as a back up should the problem with 78018 re-appear.

Unfortunately at Duffield prior to the run round the class 31 appeared to be developing a possible mechanical issue. Upon return to Wirksworth the steam brake problem on 78018 re-appeared therefore both locomotives were 'failed' and it was left to class 73 73210 Selhurst to undertake the last service. Thanks to the operations team on duty today for their flexibility and resourcefulness that ensured we were able to deliver our timetabled service despite the numerous problems with the locomotives.

Today's service was supported by the booking hall staff, station cafe, miniature railway and Association shop.

All the best, Tom

Friday, 5 July 2019

Progress Friday 5th July 2019

Dear all,

Another sure and steady day in the ramp up to the weekend with services once again being handled by 55006. For the benefit of Chris Hall this is regrettably not a Deltic!

Further movements were made in the yard to position the Class 14 on the pit for further work at the weekend and also to position the Class 31 ready for tomorrow morning's early run.

As I left, preparations were in full swing for the VIP Diner this evening. This is evening 2 of 3 and there are a handful of spaces left next Friday for the final one which can be booked online.


Thursday, 4 July 2019

Progress Thursday 4th July 2019

Dear all,

It was a steady day on the trains with services handled by 55006.

The Maintenance Facility was shunted today to swap the LMS BTO coach over from one road to the other to allow work to continue on the bodyside undercoating. Also in the yard, our German test customer was working too.

The PW gang had a day without track today instead setting to the pot holes in the road way at Duffield, clearing some mess from around the gate area and also fixing the gate itself which was having some structural issues.


Sunday, 30 June 2019

Progress Sunday 30th June 2019

Hi all

Today was another first for our new events Committee who arranged the Classic Bus Rally. Eleven classic buses arrived from far away as Barrow and Yorkshire and most took turns in carrying passengers to and from Duffield Station. At one point two were required.
Steam engine 78018 and the green two car DMU were used on the two train service with some loadings being full to capacity
Luckily many of the Classic Buses came loaded with passengers as once again the car park was completely full
The narrow and minature gauge railways ran plus steam on the incline with the catering department running to full capacity. How they ate so many chips in the hot weather I will never know !!. 
Financially it exceeded last years takings and I wish to thank all who helped to make it another very successful day 



Saturday, 29 June 2019

Progress Saturday 29th June 2019

Dear all,

Hats off to the steam crews and the buffet today as the temperature on the outdoor thermometer at Wirksworth reached 34 degrees. Passenger numbers were reasonable given the event tomorrow.

Lots of staff were seen sitting about in the heat but the event for tomorrow was set up in the car park and the Class 73 had ammeter gauge work carried out.


Friday, 28 June 2019

Progress Friday 28th June 2019

Dear all,

Eerily quiet this morning on what turned out to be a beautiful day. Only John and I were on site first thing, with John continuing with the painting of the new toilet block.

Things did begin to wake up around lunch time with LMSCA Nick arriving. The BTO coach is in the Maintenance Facility at the moment having had the bodyside completely stripped of paint and old filler ready for repairs and painting. I believe undercoat is the aim to begin with whilst the interior is finished off, before a final paint takes place.

We welcomed a brand new test vehicle which has been shipped directly from Germany. Despite an entertaining way of unloading with a language barrier, the driver did understand the word "beer" when an arrow was drawn on a map.

As I handed over late on, the crews were arriving for the first of three Friday VIP evening dining trains featuring a three course meal. This is kind of a first as, despite doing dining trains in the past, these are the first to feature hot food. I hope it goes well this evening.


Thursday, 27 June 2019

Progress Thursday 27th June 2019

Dear all,

It looks as though we have had to wait until the end of June for the sun to come out but hopefully just in time for the Bus Rally on Sunday. Today's service saw reasonable passenger numbers for a out-of-holiday Thursday which was supported by the buffet who saw immediately raised ice cream sales.

Yet more shunting took place earlier to prepare for the weekend including clearing the incline of stabled vehicles ready for service, moving 31601 to the pit for a brake block change and hiding the works train out of the way for weekend service too. The Class 14, with it's recently replaced cylinder head, was moved out of the way of steam operations too. The Class 33 was fuelled ready for service next week and the 73 positioned ready for tomorrow evening's dining train. In amongst this, the Standard 2 was coaled up ready for the weekend.

Lots of work around the new building took place today as a grand tidy up post removal of the harris fencing took place and concrete entrance ways were poured to allow wheelchairs and buggies step-free entry. John was busy painting the exterior of the toilet block.

The PW were still in the yard continuing to install the new siding which will apparently become road 5 in the grand plan. It will go as far as it can do for now as to extend it to its full length will require some levelling of the terrain.


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Progress Thursday 20th June 2019

Dear all,

Today's Blue Timetable was handled admirably by Iris. Thank you to Eric and Sean for covering the Third Man at late notice.

More shunting took place in the yard (a daily occurrence recently) and the PW team did some important fish plate greasing on the incline.

Painting commenced on the toilet block with white primer being applied between the showers.

Yesterday, the LMS Brake Third Open was extracted from the siding which it has been for around 8 years to allow for external painting to begin. We also waved goodbye ti A Class 52322 after two months of sterling service.


Saturday, 15 June 2019

Progress Saturday 15th June 2019

Dear all,

It was a day of records and firsts today as we had our busiest ever day on the trains. It was the first time we had fielded two rakes of Mark 1 coaches (albeit with a DMU centre car interloper on one), the first time we had 4 steam locomotives in steam and the biggie - the first time two steam trains have passed each other in the 152 year history of the line.

There were many happy visitors who enjoyed their day despite the weather and thank you to all the volunteers for their hard work in putting on a good show.


Thursday, 13 June 2019

Progress Thursday 13th June 2019

Dear all,

You could easily forget it is June as more heavy rain battered the railway today. Fortunately there doesn't appear to be any flooding issues in the valley which is good. Today's DMU service had a coach party who enjoyed a return journey as well as a light lunch in the Station Café. Thank you to those who assisted with that.

Today was the first day of prep for the upcoming gala weekend. The coach rakes were reformed to create two rakes of Mark 1s (with the aid of a DMU centre car). Both 78018 and 52322 were shunted to the watering point to make sure they were filled ready for service. They were also both loaded full of coal. A warming fire was then placed in 78018 ready for a steam test tomorrow.

The PW declared the newly installed point in the yard fit to drive over as they finished levelled and packing it.

Further shunting and tidying tomorrow.


Friday, 7 June 2019

Progress Friday 7th June 2019

Dear all,

Today we hosted a Bronze Drive a Diesel Experience. Thank you to Lewis and Chris H for entertaining our participants and their guests in the torrential rail which we have endured all day.

We welcomed BR Standard Class 2MT 78018 today from the GCR with loco and tender arriving in convoy. Two tender engines at Wirksworth! The steam team prepared 52322 for service tomorrow and also No3 for some experiences they have on Sunday.


Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Progress Wednesday 5th June 2019

Dear all,

Today the Maintenance Team continued working on the recently-arrived Mark 1 SK ready for it entering traffic next week at the Steam in the Valley event. The vehicle has had a full fitness to run examination and other minor repairs. Today they were refurbishing the side panels which edge the seats in the compartments.

The PW team continued with the pointwork installation in the yard with this task on target for completion.

I attach a photograph of the new toilet block at Wirksworth which has had the scaffold taken away this week. Painting of the outside should commence soon.


Sunday, 2 June 2019

Progress Report Saturday 1st June 2019

Dear All,

It was a busy day down at Derbyshire's favourite branch line with busy trains throughout the day. Our visiting locomotive 52322 is certainly  a very popular guest perhaps being one of the most photographed locomotives to date. Down the yard the DMU team were preparing for an evening private charter in W55006.

Todays service was supported by the Association shop, Station Cafe, Miniature Railway and Booking Hall Staff. Special thanks to our visiting engine crew from the Lincolnshire Wolds Railway and GCR who, together with our own on train crew, ensured our many passengers were looked after and trains ran to schedule.

All the best, Tom

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Progress Thursday 30th May 2019

Dear all,

Half term Thursday service was well patronised today with there barely being a seat on the first train from Duffield on the two car 101 DMU. It was great to see and there were many happy families and wannabe train drivers. Driver Chuck was most touched as one little lad used his pocket money to buy him a gift of a drivers pin badge out of the shop without his parents knowing.

Some preparation took place down the yard for the weekend including cleaning down the A Class and positioning vehicles.

Work continued inside the new station building as the internal fit out grows closer.

The Permanent Way team are enjoying a small holiday from their usual Shottle base by working at Wirksworth for a couple of weeks. They are installing the turnout which was constructed by the University students way back in September. So far so good. The turnout will eventually allow for some much needed additional siding space.


Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Progress Report Monday 27th May 2019

Dear All,

I have turned off predictive text so hopefully less grammatical errors in this report! The day started in typical bank holiday fashion with customary rain but as the day progressed the sun came out as did our visitors with today being the busiest of the holiday weekend. Again we had both the narrow gauge and miniature railways in operation as well as a steam service on the incline which proved very popular with our visitors both young and old. The miniature railway carried over one hundred passengers during the weekend. Following on from Joe's report for Sunday, work continued on the respective projects in the maintenance facility.

The Association ran a steam experience on the incline in between passenger services and we also entertained a large number of passengers celebrating a birthday on the Duffield service. 

Today's service was supported by the Association shop, station cafe, narrow and miniature railways, crossing gate keepers, Shottle signalling staff and booking hall staff and again my thanks to everyone who gave up their bank holiday to ensure we enjoyed a very successful weekend.

All the best, Tom

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Progress Report Saturday 25th May 2019

Dear all,

Day one of the Spring Bank Holiday proved a busy day here at Derbyshire's favourite branch line. There was an intensive timetable of three steam loco hauled services and Four DMU return services to Duffield. No. 3 provided steam services on the incline as well as a footplate experience at lunchtime. Not forgetting our smaller trains with both the narrow gauge and miniature railways in operation. The station cafe was busy throughout the day and the Association's on train buffet service had a steady stream of customers.

Down the yard restoration continued on the Duke and Faraday. Richard was also busy conducting yard tours throughout the day. We also welcomed two new volunteers today other induction. Delivering such an intense service call heavily upon the contribution of our volunteers and I am grateful to everyone who gave up their bank holiday Saturday to ensure our visitors had an enjoyable day with us. This evening the Association ran a Jazz and Ale charter return to Duffield which was hauled by the Class 14.

Today's service was supported by the Association shop, station cafe, narrow gauge railway, miniature railway, crossing gate keepers, Shottle signal men, train crews and booking office staff. (apologies if I have committed anyone!)

All the best,


Thursday, 23 May 2019

Progress Thursday 23rd June 2019

Dear all,

A nice sunny day saw the PW team locate most of their required equipment up to Wirksworth ready for installing a new point in the yard next week. This is a point which the University students had constructed back in September but has since lay in the yard awaiting installation as other areas of the running line have been greater priority.

Work continued on the recently arrived SK as this gets ready to enter traffic in around 3 weeks time. A fault with one of the engines on the Class 119 was also rectified.

A few meetings were held with a couple of testing customers which should be interesting going forward.


Saturday, 18 May 2019

Progress report Saturday 18th May 2019

Dear all,

There really was a feeling that our 2019 season continues at something of a gallop as we scanned across the carpark, platforms, buffet, shop, miniature railway and passenger service this afternoon and they all looked really very busy under distinctly average weather conditions.

We also performed something of an operational first in the late afternoon as the returning final steam service passed a two car DMU southbound and under private charter at Shottle, more of this later. This could not have been performed without Signamen John and Tony turning out on a Saturday afternoon to ensure safe passage of the later afternoon passing services.

Todays deepest footbath award goes to the catering team, as well as dealing with the aforementioned large volume of hungry visitors, part way through the day they were slightly startled by an unexpected party of a further 22 hungry visitors but as usual rose to the challenge and all were sent away having enjoyed their meal with us. As afternoon turned to evening and still not convinced they had fed enough people they catered for the large evening charter. If you haven't tried Helens cakes I must insist you do so at your earliest convenience, they are to die for.

This evenings private service was to celebrate the birthday of one of our members who is also a very experienced railwayman with his friends and family. The evening comprised drinks taken in the Bubble car, followed by the full group on a 4pm departure on the two car DMU to Duffield. On their return an extensive buffet meal provided by the catering team prior to which all the names were entered into a hat and four lucky winners got a drive a diesel service on two more return trips to Duffield. Under Bens instruction the four lucky winners each took their turn at the desk and provided the crew a rather pleasant ride down and up the valley. As the party organisers left at the end of the evening and enthusiastically thanked us it was clear they had genuinely enjoyed their time with us, its rewarding to see people leave as new advocates of our services and hospitality.

Away from the gaze of the crowds the Engineerium was also busy working on the Duke, Faraday and the Derby Lightweights smallest room was a focus of attention as the toilet facilities were being installed.

A huge vote of thanks to everyone who gave their time today to ensure so many guests enjoyed their time with us.



Pete Watts
Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Operations

Friday, 17 May 2019

Progress Friday 17th May 2019

Dear all,

Generally quiet at Wirksworth today with Lewis and Richard entertaining four Drive a Diesel experience guests firstly trying their hand at a DMU in the form of W55006 before taking to 31601 in the afternoon. Incidentally the latter being back in traffic after one of the doors was returned following refurbishment.

Down the shed work continued on the Fitness to Run for the recently arrived Mark 1 coach, in preparation for it to debut at the Steam in the Valley event. Focus at the moment is on the axle boxes and also sealing some leaking windows.


Thursday, 9 May 2019

Progress Thursday 9th May 2019

Dear all,

A dry start enabled a gazebo to be put up at Wirksworth ahead of a wedding reception we are hosting on Saturday. The day will mostly involve catering on the train but it will just provide a little shelter to guests in the interim if necessary. Derek and Dan were working in the BSK(K) to get all the systems working and testing everything out ready for Saturday after winter storage and works.

The PW team dodged the rain as best they could to continue ditching and crib work north of Shottle and the S&T dept carried out routine facing point lock and ground frame inspections.

Progress on the new station building was also hampered on the outside as painting in this weather isn't possible, however the walls were being plastered inside to move the project on.


Monday, 6 May 2019

Progress Monday 6th May 2019

Dear all,

The busiest day of the three day Bank Holiday weekend saw services handled firstly by 33103 "Swordfish" on the first return of the day followed by visiting steam locomotive 52322. Thank you to all staff and crew which made it a steady enjoyable day for our visitors. Numbers were boosted further with a coach party from Lincolnshire on the last train too. It was nice to see the locomotive pausing at Duffield prior to running round for photographs and footplate visits. Even the groups that normally work down the yard were seen enjoying a ride down the line on a Bank Holiday afternoon!

Thursday, 2 May 2019

Progress Thursday 2nd May 2019

Dear all,

Can't believe it is May already! Today the PW team were just north of Shottle continuing with the unenviable task of drainage whilst the S&T crew were continuing with signalbox refurbishment; hopefully on the inside due to the weather.

This morning we took delivery of 4 brand new coach and DMU lifting jacks from France which have taken around 5 months to manufacture. They have been very kindly sponsored by our coach and DMU owners and owning groups as they are not a cheap item. The manufacturer have yet to come and install, commission and train staff but it is a real step forward. Previous lifts have involved expensive specialist cranes.

The Maintenance Team continued to wash the body sides of the Mark 1 rake after unloading the jacks.

The Station Building is looking very nice and I attach a picture of latest progress.

Today we have launched two new products. Bookings are now being taken for our Friday VIP Diners in the summer where a three course meal is served on board the train. Numbers are limited over three evenings for these and tickets can be purchased at . The other being annual passes, something which we have been asked about for a while but haven't had the systems to do it. If you're a regular it is an option and can be purchased at


Monday, 22 April 2019

Progress Report Monday 22nd April 2019

Dear All,

The final day of the Easter Bank Holiday and it was more of the same. More sunny weather, more visitors and more fun. Wirksworth Station had lots of children enjoying the party workshop, the miniature and narrow gauge railways carried more passengers and the cafe was again very busy. On the incline there was a footplate experience before passenger services commenced and the Association shop received more visitors.

Catering and Commercial team members met with a customer to plan a special summer event and following this meeting held an impromptu gathering to begin to explore this year's Santa format which was quite surreal in this hot weather. The Easter holiday activities have been an unqualified success with a significant increase in revenue compared to last year.

Finally as the coaching stock was shunted into platform one for servicing, news came in that there was a line side fire south of Idridgehay Station. A number of volunteers from the Diesel team came forward to offer their help and a trio of Joe, John and James set off to deal with the incident. I later discovered they had to cancel their evening meal booking due to attending this incident. This dedication is a great example of how lucky we are to have such a group of devoted volunteers.

All the best, Tom

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Progress Report Sunday 21st April 2019

Another glorious day at Derbyshire's favourite branch line ensured we played host to visitors from near and afar. A slightly slower start to the day compared to yesterday but by lunchtime our Easter  attractions were in full swing. The Family Circus proved even more popular today with families who visited yesterday back for more fun. The miniature railway exceeded expectations and carried the same amounts of adults as children. The locomotive 'Wren' apparently  a big  hit with Dad. Down the yard the narrow gauge also was very busy and it was good to see 'Lenny the Lister' back in traffic after many months of inactivity.

The queue outside the cafe suggested our cafe staff were kept very busy through out the day and the Association shop enjoyed a number of visitors. Today's photo features the footplate team of 52322 which brought together two drivers who were based at Peak Rail many years ago. Our very own Mike Thomas and Martyn Ashworth now based at the Great Central Railway.

Over on platform two you could be forgiven for thinking you were watching an episode of 'Jackanory' as Fred Court spent time between the incline services recounting his numerous and amusing tales of by-gone BR days to groups of interested passengers. 

Again, my grateful thanks go to everyone who gave up their Easter Sunday to support our railway by volunteering in whatever capacity. Your contribution is of great value and helps ensure we can maximise our revenue earning possibilities together with offering a range of activities that helps makes us a tourist attraction that people want to visit regularly.

All the best,


Saturday, 20 April 2019

Progress Report Saturday 20th April 2019

Dear All,
What a fantastic day! The glorious weather brought out the crowds of which many were visiting Derbyshire for the Holidays and had chosen to spend Easter Saturday with us and they weren't disappointed. The Family Circus (pictured) was a most popular attraction with our younger visitors and both the miniature and narrow gauge railways were in operation and enjoyed record numbers of passengers. 

Our catering staff were kept busy throughout the day and the demand for ice cream was so high that an extra trip to the suppliers is scheduled for this evening to replenish stocks.

My grateful thanks to all the train crews who ensured our services ran to schedule and a special mention to the cafe staff who provided our footplate crews with a constant supply of water to keep them hydrated in uncomfortably hot conditions. A further thanks to our diesel shunters who stayed late to shunt the stock to platform one enabling the steam crew to dispose of the engine as soon as it finished the last service.

Here's hoping for more of the same for the rest of the holidays!

All the best,


Friday, 19 April 2019

Progress Friday 19th April 2019

Dear all,

A stunning day for the first day of steam operation in 2019 and there was a real buzz around the railway. 33103 operated the first return which is somewhat of an experiment but happily it had a respectable number of passengers on it, before 52322 took over. The locomotive was off shed within plenty of time and sat posing in Platform 1 for a while. The day was slick and calm and I would like to thank today's crews for their efforts along with supporting teams in the catering and on the Miniature Railway. Henry Ellison operated the incline starting with a steam experience before doing rides.

Further work took place on the Class 73 and various items were cleared and tidied from the car park in order to improve capacity.

Here are a few nice photos from today.


Thursday, 18 April 2019

Progress Thursday 18th April 2019

Dear all,

Usually the day before a 4 days Bank Holiday weekend is a bit of a let down but to be fair today was quite positive. The sun was shining and the "bubblecar" was barely capacious enough.

Some final preparations were taking place for this weekend including tidying up in the car park, water the coaching stock etc. Locomotive 52322 was steamed and received a through fitness to run examination ahead of entering service tomorrow. A small light engine test run to Idridgehay after service exercised the axle boxes. It will be interesting to see how the weekend goes, especially the early 09:40 diesel service which happens before the steam loco takes over.

As I was leaving, Reid Freight were arriving in convoy with two coaches - one is a Pullman car for contract restoration and the other is a Mark 1 SK that is almost ready to run and will come in mightily handy for the steam event later in the year.


Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Progress Report Tuesday 16th April 2019

Dear All,

Our class 122 known as the 'Bubble Car' provided the traction today and the 11:15 service  departed Wirksworth station with standing room only. It was great to see the train full after moderate passenger numbers last month.

Down the yard there was much activity with the arrival of the first of our visiting steam locomotives. (pictured). Also pictured is the arrival of another steam locomotive named 'Wren" which will be featured on the miniature railway over the Easter weekend. The steam team were in attendance and Barclay locomotive Brian Harrison was in steam being made ready for a boiler inspection.

Rob was busy performing fitness to run examinations on the final two coaches that will form the consist for the summer trains. The new station building is progressing well with further roof tiles being fitted as well as work on the new toilets. The station cafe team were in creative mode and have come up with an exciting new product for the summer.  Watch this space!

Supporting today's train service was the Association shop, the station cafe,  miniature railway and Booking Hall staff.

A most enjoyable day.

All the best, Tom