Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, A great way to spend a day...
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The historical tunnel at Wirksworth The historical tunnel at Wirksworth

The Ecclesbourne Valley and Wirksworth Station in particular is steeped in history. The line served the many quarries of the area until 1989 and many of the features remain intact. There is a large tunnel where stone trains used to come under the town and there is a very steep line up to the quarries of Ravenstor where stone trains would start their journeys. Should engineering be the subject, there is nothing more appropriate than railways. The design, the noise and the size of the trains, the rails and the infrastructure that carries the railway is a fascinating subject. Tours of the yard and maintenance area can give pupils a fascinating insight into rail technology from times gone by.

What does it cost?

There are two examples. One is where the group travel in their own reserved area of a public train, for example a coach to themselves. This requires the visit to be on a day when the service is running. You can give us a call to find out this information or visit our website, where the dates are clearly marked. This is the most cost effective option as the charge is just £5.00 per child. There will be one free member of staff per 10 pupils. There is a £40.00 charge per class for the educational pack.

The alternative is to visit on a date when public trains are not running. This will mean that the train is operating just for your group only. The cost of this is £10.00 per child, with one free member of staff per 10 pupils. There is a £40.00 charge per class for the educational pack. The minimum group size for this is 20 pupils.

What does a typical school visit include?

A popular visit is to arrive at Duffield Station for the 11:15 service to Wirksworth. Many school visits choose to arrive at Duffield by main line train from Derby (around 7 minutes journey time) or drop the coach off in the nearby village.

Our train will depart Duffield at 11:12 on green timetable days and saunter through the valley to Wirksworth, taking around 30 minutes. En route, our officer will explain various features of the route and what can be seen in the valley. This can be tailored to the class age group and the subject area being studied.

On arrival at Wirksworth we can provide interior accommodation in the form of a railway coach for a class to sit and eat a packed lunch, or we can provide a packed lunch which must be ordered when making a booking. If it is a dry day, theres plenty of seating outside on the platform too.

From there our officer can take the group on to look at some of the features we have. A presentation can be given in our Training Room facility about either the railway or the local history and this can be combined with a visit to our Museum Coach, which includes many artifacts associated with the railway and its history. Many groups then combine this with a trip on the Wirksworth Narrow Gauge Railway, which shows the aforementioned tunnel that came through the town for stone trains and also a waterfall. The maximum group size for this is around 20 so many groups split this up, with half the class taking lunch and half doing this and then swapping over.

As an alternative, some classes have decided to go into Wirksworth town and take a look at the historic features such as the church and quirky streets.

Following a toilet stop and a visit to the Booking Offices shop, it is popular to take the 14:05 train back on green days to Duffield which will again last around 30 minutes. This train arrives at Duffield at 14:45, which is a convenient time to get back to school for the end of the day.

WyvernRail PLC, Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. Wirksworth Station, Coldwell Street, Wirksworth, Derbyshire. DE4 4FB. 01629 823076. © 2017