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Ben’s Blog – October 2020

20 October 2020 | News

Our latest update from Ben Harding, our Railway Operations Manager, shining a spotlight on whats been happening at the railway this season.

A lot of activity has been taking place since my last report, with the railway’s and site.

Work on our new building was halted when the government lockdown was announced back in March. We are pleased to say that the concrete footings, drainage and some of the services are now installed. This means that when the project does resume, the next phase is the erection of the steel framework, which forms the skeleton of the building. An exact date of when works will resume will be decided shortly, but it is anticipated that it will be at some point during the winter months.

As we approach the time where we are winding down after a not-so-long daily running season we have two more events to look forward to, in the form of Paddington Bear and the Fireworks Night. Sadly, due to COVID-19 we have decided to cancel the winter gala this year and just run the evening fireworks display, which is now fully booked.

Santa at Lappa Valley tickets are selling very well and we are looking forward to welcoming visitors to us at Christmas. All event tickets can be purchased by clicking here. 

There is plenty of work planned for the winter season ahead the biggest project being the complete re-tracking of the 7.25″ gauge woodland railway with new rail, sleepers, fixings and ballast. So a busy winter ahead!



Ellie has performed well over the season being one of the main performers alongside Ruby & Muffin. Only routine work has been carried out on Ellie such as boiler washouts. We plan to put a different whistle on Ellie for the winter, so keep an ear out for it and see if you notice her new ‘voice’! It is anticipated that Ellie will be working the winter trains alongside ‘City of Derby’.



Ruby has shared much of the summer season work alongside Ellie and Muffin. As we near the end of the season, Ruby will be winterised after the October half term. During November, Ruby will be subject to a valve exam and some other minor bottom end work. It is anticipated that Ruby may operate some of the christmas trains, but certainly will return to steam for February half term 2021.



Zebedee was in service for the first part of the season but it was decided to withdraw the locomotive for overhaul in August. Zebedee now awaits patiently in the queue to be pulled down and have work commence. It is hoped that Zebedee will return to steam in late 2021/early 2022.



Muffin has performed faultlessly over the season having week long spells in service in rotation with the Ellie & Ruby. Muffin will be winterised after October half term and will undergo some minor maintenance including repainting of the front buffer beam and fitting of lamp brackets. Muffin will return to steam in March 2021.



Our very reliable lister diesel shunting locomotive is now having a mid term overhaul, having required very little work since its major rebuild in 2011. Part of this work includes a reconditioning the gear box and clutch, re making the clutch mechanism, adding a dual height coupling to the front of the locomotive and a repaint. This work is anticipated to be completed by December.



City of Derby emerged from overhaul in April 2020 for testing and after a couple of minor tweaks, was completed and re-entered service when our season began in July 2020. Other than routine maintenance, City of Derby has performed well over the summer and is now a regular locomotive in the cycle, being used for off season ‘rainy days’ and is the loco used for train two.



The Newlyn Downs continues to be a popular, busy attraction. Eric & the Duke of Cornwall are both performing well, with only minor maintenance planned for the winter.



VICTORIA – arrived at Lappa Valley in June 2020. Following some minor electrical faults which had to be traced and rectified, Victoria is used in rotation with the blue APT and green 125 power cars.

The APT is performing well and will be subject to some engine work this winter to fit a new starter motor and a new hydraulic drive pump.

The 125 is working in rotation with the other locomotives but due to its smaller size, is normally used as the reserve locomotive.



We are pleased to offer our dual gauge 5″ & 3.5″ gauge portable track for sale.

All mounted in a trailer quite happily towed by a family car, it includes;

  • 100 metres of raised track and all fixings and supports
  • 2 riding trolleys
  • 1 battery electric shunter locomotive
  • Various wooden packers
  • Orange net fencing and supports
  • 2 timber ‘platform’ sections

The asking price for is £3000.00 ONO.

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