By Cliff Thomas

Booking Office, shop and potential café opened by Ecclesbourne Valley Railway at Duffield

Published: 30th November 2016

EVR's new 'Window on the World' replaces tin hut

The small tin hut which served as Ecclesbourne Valley Railway’s Booking Hall at Duffield, since the heritage line opened in 2011 and which had long outlived its usefulness, is gone. It has been replaced by a new, purpose-built, facility providing a shop, shelter and the potential for catering facilities in the future. The official opening was performed in front of a crowd of volunteers, civic dignitaries and invited guests, by Mr. Norman Boulton.

The Duffield Booking Hall Project was initiated in 2015 by the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Association (the charitable arm of the EVR) with the agreement of WyvernRail plc, the railway’s operators.

Starting in March 2015, a sub-group raised the £25,000 required for a purpose-built structure in just one year. The money was raised principally through donations, augmented by Gift Aid. Following erection of the building it was painted by Association volunteers, who also laid paths and have commenced fitting out the interior of the structure.

Official opening of the new booking hall constituted the handover of the building to Wyvern Rail plc, which now leases the building from the Association at a peppercorn rent.

Developing line with main line link

WyvernRail plc reopened the entire line through the Ecclesbourne valley in the heart of Derbyshire between Wirksworth (the railway’s main base) and Duffield, alongside the main line station, together with the steeply inclined mineral line from Wirksworth to Ravenstor, in 2011 after 11 years of work.

The heritage railway project is supported by Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Association, a registered charity, which has nearly 800 members, over 150 of which are actively involved as volunteers restoring and maintaining rolling stock, carrying out track repairs and filling operational roles to run the line as a passenger railway. The Association has also purchased and restored rolling stock for use on the line, including wagons and coaches, and restored two 0-4-0 steam locomotives with the help of Heritage Lottery funding.

Santa trains in Ecclesbourne Valley

Duffield and its new booking hall will become the North Pole for EVR Santa trains between December 10-24. All Santa operations commence from Wirksworth, where there will be live band on the platform with a mince pie and festive drink for adults, juice for children, in Santa's Refreshment Area before each trip.

Children receive a present from Santa in his grotto on the train during the 18-mile round trip to Duffield (North Pole) and back, with additional on-train entertainment by a magician and other festive activities.

Getting to Duffield

Duffield is served by East Midlands Trains on their Derby to Buxton route and the EVR station is adjacent to the main line station.

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