The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is aiming to change 728 rotten wooden sleepers in the next 3 weeks in order that the line, that runs between Wirksworth and Duffield, is ready for inspection by HM Railway Inspectorate.
This inspection is carried out for free, but after September the responsibility will pass to private companies and could cost the railway an extra £10,000 and delay the start of passenger services to Duffield by a year.
A formal launch of services to Duffield, where passengers will be able to connect with national rail services, is expected to take place next spring. It is hoped that a main line steam locomotive, hauling a rake of LMS carriages, will participate in the opening ceremony. At present the railway operates between Wirksworth and Idridgehay.