On Wednesday (27th) I visited the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway at Wirksworth for a ‘Drive A Diesel Day’. I won the prize in a competition run by local bus company Trent Barton, who have teamed up with the Railway to offer combined tickets for 2014.
The day started at 10:00 when myself and three other enthusiasts, who had travelled from the Blackpool area and the Severn Valley, met at Wirksworth station. We were shown the controls of a single car diesel multiple unit, number 55006, before we each took turns to drive the unit a few hundred yards down the track and back.
Once we had familiarised ourselves with the controls, we were let loose on the full length of the line down to Duffield. We each drove the unit for two miles down the eight mile track, before repeating the journey in the reverse direction.
Lunch was taken in the station buffet, a converted Gatwick Express coach, before we progressed to a Class 33 diesel, number 33035. Although we only travelled at a sedate 25 mph, it felt much faster in this more powerful machine. We even went inside the engine, where we could see all the internal workings.
Although late November, the sun shone all day and we were able to take some great photos, without having any visitors sneaking into the frame. The scenery around the line is beautiful and we saw many pheasants, who scattered as the train approached, and a few buzzards circling overhead.
The day finished as darkness descended at 16:00. It was an interesting day, which at £199, is good value for money for any train enthusiast.
- Railway engines (Thomas and Friends) (en.wikipedia.org)