2007 was by far the busiest year in the railways history beating the previous best of year 2006 by over 20%. Hopefully this improvement will be maintained in 2008.
Lights have been fitted to the station for running at night and were successfully tested by the bonfire night trains on November 3rd This was an all ticket event organised by the Friends of Rudyard Lake . Work on the track has resumed for the winter as usual.
All the engines have passed their annual boiler test. Waverley is currently having major mechanical work done and Excalibur & Merlin are stored for the winter. Waverley will emerge in 2008 painted Apple Green.
The annual steam gala was held on September 29 & 30th and featured 7 steam engines in use. Dry weather and a frequent 3 train service meant that all the steam engines got plenty of opportunities to run. The smaller atlantic type engines had the new first class coach to themselves and ran in combination or singly over both days. The Leek and Manifold engine E. R. Calthrope again impressed everyone with its power and happily pulled the trains and one of our Exmoor engines up and down the track. The Exmoor engines simply were there to provide air braking to the train. Sadly it had to go back to Trago Mills in Devon on Sunday the 30th. We are very grateful to David Nicholson who drove 500 miles to bring it on Saturday and take it back on the Sunday. The Great Northern Atlantic was able to run the length of the line despite its very fine scale wheel flanges.
A new footbridge is complete at Rudyard Station to link the old and new platforms and was opened by Janet Woolley on 2nd of September . The next project is to erect the signal box at Lakeside loop. The signals have been re-sited to match the extended passing loop.
Daily train services ran through the school holidays. Traffic is up on 2006 levels despite the poor weather earlier in the summer. The new coaches and shelters to give wet weather protection were well timed.
Coach No.6 a 12 seat glazed, enclosed coach with doors was delivered on 26th June by LTM Engineering and is in service. The railway now has 10 coaches in service at present. Over the weekend on 23, 24 June refurbished bogies for coach No. 11 were delivered , fitted and the the coach successfully tested with unloaded and them loaded test runs. It will be in use soon for special events. The lifting gantry has been erected and painted and is proving to be ideal for coach bogie inspections.
The loop at Lakeside was lifted, the track bed scraped and re ballasted. The South point re timbered and refurbished and moved 5 track panels towards Rudyard. The main line was then tamped and ballasted. The loop line has been re-laid. The loop was back in use by early July. A site for the new signal box ( ex Fairbourne Railway) has been dug out at the South end of the loop.
The platform shelter at Rudyard now has been completed and the valances fitted. It has been very useful in the very wet weather this summer. The clock tower awaits delivery of the clocks.
Additional storage has been provided to allow all the coaches to remain under cover. The sets have been rearranged to allow complete rakes to be shunted in or out at the start and end of the day. The good weather in April meant busy passenger traffic and an experimental two train service running at half hourly intervals successfully operated on April 15 & 22nd. The extension to the passing loop is urgent and now planned for June. The new waiting shelter at Hunthouse wood is complete and looks very smart
Plans are in hand to shunt the trains rather than hand shunting to assemble them.
Easter was the busiest in the railway's history. Good weather over most of the weekend meant the extra seating capacity was fully utilised with two 5 coach trains in use on three days. All the railways steam locomotives were used at some point over the holiday period. A further enclosed coach has been ordered from LTM engineering and will become fleet No.6.
A visiting scale model Great Northern Atlantic steam engine was on test on 3-5th April.
The loop at Lakeside has been ballasted and packed. It is intended to extend it by 100 feet in June. The railway's signal department has fitted all the signals with lights to allow for running after dark.
A new 12 seat enclosed coach No.5 has been delivered from LTM Engineering and was in service at Easter 2007. Delivery and test running took place on 31st March. No. 6 is now ready for delivery.
Work has been carried out to extend the head shunt at Hunthouse Wood to take a full works train. Rumours that this is the start of the extension to Rushton Spencer are incorrect.
The last new panels of track were replaced on Sunday February 4th and the track rejoined. Packing and ballasting to make the track is fit for the Half Term passenger trains was completed in time. The total length of track replaced is well over a quarter of a mile. All the main line is now either S7( 13.5 lb per yard) on new sleepers or 20 lb per yard rail section. The S7 rails came from closed railways at Drayton Manor and Ashorne Hall.
Regular steam hauled works trains are in operation during the week. Excalibur is being used at the current time. It sounds superb taking the three loaded bogie wagons up the track.
The next tasks are: to paint the extended waiting shelter at Hunthouse Wood. The passing loop at Lakeside is also to be extended to allow 8 coach trains to pass.