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.