Tag Archives: Heritage Railways

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway – Secretary of State for Transport Visits Wirksworth

  Secretary of State for Transport Visits Wirksworth

Secretary of State in the cab of one of the railway’s locomotives at Duffield.

 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.

Chasewater Railway 2010 Timetable Leaflet Receives HRA Award.

2010 Timetable Leaflet Receives HRA Award.

Chasewater Railway’s timetable leaflet has achieved the status of “Best Timetable” in the Heritage Railway Association (HRA) Publication Competition for 2010.

Under the HRA’s banner of “promoting the very best in publicity and magazines”, the 2010 Competition was a great success, with the panel of judges needing considerable time to assess all the entries. The panel consisted of a member of the public (without any specific interest in preserved railways), an independent railway enthusiast, two professional railway editors (from Heritage Railways and Steam Railway), and the HRA Publications Officer.

Edited by Chasewater Railway Museum volunteers, the timetable leaflet focussed on providing prospective visitors with simplicity and clarity in understanding the operating timetable, together with details of special events throughout the year. Needless to say, the volunteers concerned are extremely proud and delighted to have come “top of the class” and to have achieved such a resounding success.

The award will be made to the Railway at the HRA meeting in Porthmadog in September.

Chasewater Railway Museum and Other News

Chasewater Railway Museum and Other News

This coming weekend, March 19th & 20th, sees the first event of our 2011 calendar – the Spring Gala.  In spite of the sad absence of RSH Nechells No.4 from the running locos, there will still be plenty going on during both days.The Narrow Gauge will be getting a good workout along the perimeter fence on the far side of the Heritage Centre.M24006 Mk1 SK 2nd.  Came to Chasewater Railway from Shackerstone – formerly at West Somerset Railway

Inside the Heritage Centre there have been a couple of changes, the Mark 1 coach – M24006 has been brought in for assessment and the Fowler diesel loco has come in from the cold, with Bass No.5 on duty in the Brownhills West yard, and the Hunslet diesel 6678 will be at Chasewater Heaths.Fowler 0-4-0 Diesel loco 4100013/1948.   New to Garrington’s Ltd. of Bromsgrove, came to Chasewater 23-4-1994 (Pictured with DL7 by Nigel Canning)

The first train will leave Brownhills West at 10.15am, and the last at 16.00pm.  The first train from Chasewater Heaths back to Brownhills West will leave at 10.57am, and the last passenger train at 16.40pm.

Full details on the website – www.chasewaterrailway.orgAmong visitors to Chasewater later in the year will be the MG Car Club.A nice MGA parked on the platform last Sunday, March 13th.

For the latest news and explanation as to the happenings at Chasewater, the BBC paid a visit last week with John Craven talking about the work to the reservoir dam.  This will be shown in ‘Countryfile’ on BBC1 next Sunday, 20th March at 7.00pm (after you get home from the Gala!).


90 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Nov 1978 – 3

90 Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces Nov 1978 – 3

Future Plans

Company News from the Joint Meeting

This meeting was called to enable the Board and the Committee to agree on the immediate and medium term goals for the railway and the respective roles of the Company and Society in achieving them.  The meeting was well attended, long and friendly and resulted in total agreement on all points.

It was decided to aim to operate the train services to the beginning of the causeway by 1980 and to open the line throughout its present length by March 1983.  This would mean rebuilding the causeway, erecting fences, major clearing of undergrowth and the obtaining of a Light Railway Order.  New platforms at the north end of the causeway and the far end of the line were also planned.  To cope with the increased traffic that the longer line would generate, it was agreed that in the five years up to 1983 a minimum of three locomotives would have to be put into and kept in working order and three additional revenue earning coaches would have to be acquired.  It was hoped that when the line was open as far as the causeway, i.e. by the beginning of 1980, two trains would be in operation on busy days and when the line was opened throughout, not less than two trains, each with two coaches, would be working each operating day.

It was also agreed that work should begin as soon as possible on the erection of buildings to house the working locomotives and wooden bodied coaches.  By 1981 detailed planning for the main museum complex should start with a view to beginning fund raising in the summer of 1982 and work on the buildings themselves in the winter of 1983.

It was unanimously agreed that the Society was to have sole responsibility for the acquisition, restoration and preservation of items of Railwayana and that the Company would hold all fixed assets such as track, buildings etc. and concern itself with the running of the railway and the raising of capital and income for the project.

Thus the Company will play a vital supporting role to the Society whose original aims – the acquisition, restoration, preservation and display of items of historical railway interest – now becomes the aim of what has come to be called the Chasewater Railway Project.  The Company is to raise the money for the attainment of that aim.  The Railway will be the principal show place for the Society’s locomotives and coaches.

The STEPS Project

Everything seemed splendid after the meeting and I was duly told off and to write something for Ian Patterson to publish so that the world might know where we were going.  Publication was set for September.

In August one John Selway, a Zebedee-like creature who telephones me from time to time to see if I am still awake, said ‘had I heard of STEPS and if not, why not?’

The Special Temporary Employment Programme is a creation of the present Government under which they will pay the wages of men hired under approved schemes to do work of value to the community which would not otherwise be done.  A grant towards materials would also be payable.  The Severn Valley, Festiniog and Midland Railway Trust have all benefited from the programme.

Frantic discussions were held with the Manpower Services Commission who operate the programme.  They seemed very keen to have us.  After much discussion and some reservation the Board decided to apply for a STEPS scheme.  The principal reservation concerned the quality of the overall supervision.  This was overcome by the Manpower Services Commission agreeing to allow us to appoint our own nominee as the site engineer – to be paid by them – provided he became unemployed first.  The gentleman concerned will have handed his notice in by the time you read this.

To cut a long story short, the scheme was applied for and approved for 52 weeks starting on the 2nd January 1979.  The Company will be employing up to 30 men to work on the railway.  The total wage bill, all paid by the Government, is £79,000, and in addition we shall receive a £5,250 grant towards the material cost of this work.  The scheme involves the reopening of the line throughout, including the rebuilding of the causeway and the erection of fences and platforms, by March 1980 – three whole years ahead of the rather optimistic date agreed at the joint meeting in July.Photo from D. Bathurst’s collection – 1978

To cope with the administrative problems which the scheme will create, we have acquired a site office – a mobile portacabin kindly loaned free of charge for the duration of the project by Cox’s Plant Hire of Brownhills and a telephone has been installed.

Of course, although one major problem is now solved – the re-opening of the line – another is created.  To provide the additional capacity necessary to cope with the increased traffic that the longer line should produce – and thus make more money for the project – we have got to have three locomotives in steam and three more revenue earning vehicles.  The original date for this was 1983, at the earliest.  Obviously it would be wrong to say that we must have them when the line opens throughout in 1980.  However, it is equally obvious that we cannot realise the railway’s full potential without them and so the sooner we can get them the better.

When the line is paid for in 1979, some £1,200 – £1,500 will be left in the development fund.  Before we can operate the line at maximum efficiency and put up the two buildings mentioned above, at least another £10,000 will be needed.  It can and will be raised.  One way in which I hope to raise money is by running a development fund lottery for the next few years.  This will be quite unlike the old weekly tote.  It will be on a much bigger scale and will take place about three times a year.  Tickets will be sold principally to members of the public visiting the railway rather than by Society members to their friends.  Properly managed such lotteries should raise between £1,000 and £2,000 per annum.  I shall however need help with the sales of tickets and I shall be pleased to hear from anyone who would be willing to sell lottery tickets at Chasewater at the following times: the first operating Bank Holiday of the season, Sunday and Monday plus the next operating Sunday afternoon: Transport Scene Saturday and Sunday and the next operating Sunday afternoon: the Saturday and Sunday of the Model Railway Exhibition and Gricers’ Day.  How about you?

The FutureThis was the Causeway in 1992 – from D. Bathurst’s Collection

What of the future?  Apart from the obvious delights of having two miles to operate over as opposed to 700 yards, much work must be done.  The Board will soon be considering the future of the Norton branch: the nature of the STEPS programme to follow the present one: the possible extension of the railway to the north and or south:  the museum and workshop buildings and, perennially, the raising of money.

All these are continuing evidence of the new sense of professionalism which has brought so much progress in less than two years.  We are all determined however, that this professionalism, which we must maintain, will not stop the railway being fun.  As Keith Sargeant said to me recently – we must never forget that CLR is our train set.  Quite true – but there is no doubt that the longer the line and the more bits and pieces on it, the more fun a train set is.

It is the Company’s job to provide the longer line and those extra bits and pieces.

John MacmillanLooking towards Chasewater Heaths from Lakeside – lots of work to do. Photo – D.Bathurst’s Collection 1992
Some thoughts about the future from 1969.
Chasewater Railway Museum Bits & Pieces 51 and 52