ex-Gatwick Express!

WyvernRail plc is working in partnership with the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Association to reopen the Duffield to Wirksworth railway in the heart of Derbyshire. There is 8½ miles of single-track railway, which joins the Midland Main Line at Duffield. There are five station sites, two level crossings, a yard with extensive sidings and a mineral branch to the old Middlepeak quarry at Wirksworth. It is planned to link the mineral line to the National Stone Centre and the High Peak Trail.
On 24 February 2003 they took delivery of the first of four coaches from Porterbrook Leasing for use on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. Until 2002 these coaches were used as part of the Gatwick Express service and represent some of the very best rolling stock to be used by a railway revival scheme. WyvernRail received a GLV and three air-conditioned passenger coaches later in February, the first of which arrive at 2:30am 26 February. Not only are they ideally suited for initial push-pull operations along the line, but can be readily adapted to provide luxury dining facilities as the line becomes fully operational.
The coaches will be based at Wirksworth and can be seen by visitors between 10:00am and 4:00pm weekdays and weekends.
They could not resist having a sit in the coach before "going and doing something more useful". Broad grins all round suggest that they are more than happy with their new aquisition.

photograph by Paul Rayner

WyvernRail On 27th March 2003 they got the set on the move and with fingers crossed took it two miles down the line - mainly for morale boosting and publicity purposes. The line has a ruling gradient of 1 in 100 all the way downhill to Duffield, about 8 miles away, and their only motive power is a 207 hp 0-4-0 shunter!
The train made a fine sight and certainly impressed the population of Wirksworth which has not seen a passenger train on the line for nearly 20 years.

GLV 9107 leads 3 car set 8317 (comprising 72632 + 72716 + 72633) down the grade towards Duffield.

photograph by Neil Ferguson-Lee

Another, later, view of the set in action just south of Wirksworth where the diminutive locomotive can just be made out at the rear of the stock. The whole set has been taken down to the main line at Duffield as a gauge test exercise.

The last 500 yards before reaching the Midland Mainline appears to be double track but is, in fact, a single line and a loop.

photograph by Neil Ferguson-Lee

WyvernRail GLVs also make useful dining and exhibition accommodation!

photograph by Neil Ferguson-Lee

Thursday evening, 11th December 2003, saw a second GLV, Nº9101, arrive which will be marshalled to the north end of what will then be a rake of five coaches. This will provide an opportunity for use as a second lecture theatre or shop and may well be kitted out with a diesel generator - but not to provide motive power!

More details available from Wyvern Rail's web site.

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This page was last updated 15 July 2005

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