Secretary of State for Transport Visits Wirksworth
Hails ‘Tremendous Success’ of Ecclesbourne Valley Railway’s Reopening
Wirksworth, 26 October 2012: Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, visited the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway today to witness how the railway has been restored from a state of complete dereliction to a vibrant transport link for the town of Wirksworth and surrounding villages.
The Secretary of State with EVR team members at Wirksworth. Left to right, Martin S. Miller, General Manager; Mike Evans, Director; Mike Jacob, locomotive owner; Graham Walker, volunteer locomotive driver; Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport.
On what was the very first visit to a private railway, the Secretary of State was taken for a tour of the whole line, allowing him to witness its transformation over the past decade. As Member of Parliament for the Derbyshire Dales, the Secretary of State had visited the line on several occasions in the early days of its restoration but while his last journey was in a guards van along an overgrown and partially abandoned line, today’s journey was in the railway’s Royal Saloon, where afternoon tea was served.
“We are delighted to have welcomed the Secretary of State to our railway today” remarked Martin S. Miller, the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway’s General Manager. “This is a proud moment for us, especially as the Secretary of State is not only our member of parliament but a good friend to our railway” he added.
In addition to a tour of the line, the Secretary of State discussed a variety of issues facing the line to Wirksworth and met several of the railway’s volunteers, whose efforts were praised as, in a true example of the Big Society, the railway’s team of 200 volunteers not only brought the line back to life but operate it today.
The Secretary of State praised the railway’s management and volunteers for the significant impact the railway has had on tourism and local businesses in the Ecclesbourne Valley and was presented with a special brochure describing the railway’s restoration and its crucial role in the economic life of the locality.