Duke joins celebrations of first train since 1947

HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits the ecclesbourne valley railway to open the lone connecting duffield with Wirksworth.

HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits the ecclesbourne valley railway to open the lone connecting duffield with Wirksworth.

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the first scheduled passenger train from Duffield to Wirksworth for more than 60 years completed its journey with royalty on board.

The Duke of Gloucester, who is the Queen’s cousin, hopped on board for the eight-and-a-half mile journey – the first one on the line since June 1947.

HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits the ecclesbourne valley railway to open the line connecting duffield with Wirksworth. Duke meets the Mayor of Amber Valley Alan Cox.

HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits the ecclesbourne valley railway to open the line connecting duffield with Wirksworth. Duke meets the Mayor of Amber Valley Alan Cox.

Restoration work on the line means that paying customers can now connect with mainline services at Duffield from Wirksworth.

The royal visitor got into the spirit of the occasion last Wednesday, April 6, by riding on the footplate for part of the trip.

He also toured the station at Wirksworth and visited the railway’s museum, before unveiling a plaque, which commemorated his visit and the reopening of the line.

The train included a carriage built in the year the line closed which has been restored by a dedicated team of volunteers at Wirksworth.

HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits the ecclesbourne valley railway to open the lone connecting duffield with Wirksworth.

HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits the ecclesbourne valley railway to open the lone connecting duffield with Wirksworth.

The restoration of the track was completed thanks to more than a decade of hard work by helpers who gave up more than 400,000 hours of their time. They were on the train last Wednesday.

John Snell, chairman of Wyvern Rail, which owns the line, paid credit to them. He said: “We have waited, anticipated and dreamed of this day for over a decade and it is so very fitting that the people who made this dream a reality are those who are present on this very special day.”

Also present at the event were Martin Miller, general manager of Wyvern Rail and Mike Craft, secretary of the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway Association, both of whom were present on the very first day of clearance work in November, 2000.

Mr Miller said: “It is truly amazing to consider not only what we have achieved in just over a decade but the sheer dedication of both our shareholders and volunteers in keeping faith in our plans.”

HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits the ecclesbourne valley railway to open the lone connecting duffield with Wirksworth.

HRH The Duke of Gloucester visits the ecclesbourne valley railway to open the lone connecting duffield with Wirksworth.