Spinney Light Railway Archive News
Summer 2013

Digging day 23rd November 2013


David D putting last signal away hole for traverser becoming bigger

The day was cold and sunny a perfect day for digging holes kept us warm at least. There were at least three different holes being dug and none by Phoebe. The S&T paid heed to the last paragraph in the last news and as the sun still shone took it upon themselves to take in the remaining two signal gantries and a few small signals (thanks David D). The hole at the loco shed is almost complete and excavation has a revealed a pipe which was a surprise to all. The pipe and electrics will have to stay but they are close to a wall and hopefully will not interfere with the traverser (Alan S will be monitoring that situation as he is designing the traverser). Picture shows Shaun wielding a pick axe whilst Alan scurries away from him. The spoil has been moved to Old Oak to help raise and level the ground next to the sidings. It is hoped to construct a carriage and wagon storage shed at Old Oak. Dave M made it his mission to remove a tree stump at Old Oak which was proving awkward. It took most of the day to remove but no one wanted to go home until it was removed as it had put up so much of a fight to stay in the ground.

much soil was moved last tree to be removed

Dave M gets the tree stump out of the ground

Not to be out done Bob and Mike H decided that the S & T should also follow trend and dig some holes in an effort to lay an additional power cable to the branch point and find the hidden conduit. This was not the success they had hoped! Bob has come up with a "cunning plan" which may eliminate the need for more digging. We will have to wait and see what the "cunning plan" involves. David D and Cliff started work on some track panels which will be needed for the approach to the engine shed and at Old Oak.

To assist in all the diggers copious amounts of tea was drunk (many thanks June). We are now all looking forward to next time when possibly some holes can be filled in.

A lot of work achieved by all transforming the place into a building site.

Pack up day 9th November 2013


start of ashpit hole appeared

All work was spasmodic as the weather was awful cold overcast at the best of times with some torrential down pours the first picture sums up the dress code for the day. Heather Scott and David D got involved with washing all signals and most signals were put away just leaving the gantry ones for next time these are heavy and require more people to handle. Alan A used his chain saw to cut the fallen branch at Old Oak and then the debris was cleared to the bonfire. There are still two branches which are hanging precariously and need to be bought down. Alan S and team started with the ash pit project outside the engine shed. One road was removed and digging commenced. Picture shows a hole with people looking into it. The spoil removed was mainly sand and all of it was moved to Old Oak to level the ground for the next project the carriage and wagon storage shed.

Loco news

mick class 20 bogie

Not much to add in this section as winter work has started and normal running has ceased. Mick C had a problem with his class 20 loco slipping on the last running day in October. Initially it was thought this was due to the wet rails and a light locomotive. However on investigation it was found that only one bogie was providing the traction. On the defective bogie (shown) two bolts which can be seen on the bolster beam had come loose which allowed the electric motor to drop and disengage from the gearing to the drive wheels. Mick C has taken the bogie home to replace the two bolts and make more secure. David G has updated the loco register which can be found in the members section then loco running data since 2011.


Not daunted by the pouring rain and wet knees Mike H. & Bob T. decided to fault and fix the non working line side telephone by Spinney number 6 signal. Armed with all sorts of test gear (a wet screw driver and a wetter volt meter) they opened the connection box and found that this was ok. Then in sheer wet bad temper waggled the telephone cradle (ie the thing the phone hangs on) and sure enough it sprang into life. As the phone is sealed against damp they decided that all the necessary remedial work can be done on a nice warm Spring day!! Mike H. & Bob T. then squelched back to Spinney box and joined in a spirited technical conversation (Well at least Bob did!) with Alan A. (The Boss) R.S D.G. on power feeds to points etc etc in and around the Spinney box. Much was learnt! Someone said it might be a good idea to try and get Phoebe to dig around the gate area to try to find the buried conduit there. As the rain had now turned in to a torrent Mike H. & Bob T. decided to have a preliminary look at the new (second hand) Norstar electronic digital exchange. After trying all sorts of things and it not working we decided it was tea time and to get hold of a manual. It was at this stage Mike H. discovered that his water proof coat wasn't and was very wet and cold so went home and stood in a very hot shower which made a change from the very cold shower we had all been standing in most of the day! Part of this year's winter project is to add point detection on the spring points at Spinney (which there are five points refer to Spinney track diagram for 'S') these will be interlocked to the relevant signals and this has started with Richard and Adrian digging laying and re-covering cable runs at the crossover directly outside the tunnel crossover between Spinney box level crossing and at the top of the Branch line. David G was helping somewhere.

Next time

Before the hole in front of the loco shed becomes too great the gantry signals need putting away in the loco shed. Continue with ash pit and point detection projects. The weeds etc at Old Oak need clearing in readiness for levelling the ground for the carriage and wagon project. Scott hopes to bring his electric loco as this has been under repair for over a year and it would be nice to test it before the end of the year.

Storm 28th October 2013 (St. Jude)

broken branch at old oa fallen branch at old oak
approach to old oak fallen branch at old oak

leaves covering line at spinney tunnels

The weather office predicted the worst storm since October 1987 to hit Southern England on Monday 28th October at approximately 09.00hrs and they were right. Although not as bad as 1987 the storm as I personally remember from working through the night of the storm this storm still managed to cause havoc to the whole area with unfortunate injury damage and travel disruption but at least we were informed unlike Michael Fish in 1987 saying a lady has phoned in to say there will be a storm but don't worry there won't be one a major gaff by the weather office that will be remembered for many years to come. The Spinney railway was very fortunate in that no major damage was caused. Old Oak suffered the worst of the wind however escaped with falling branches crashing to the ground landing between two signals. Imagine if the branch had been slightly to the left or right it would have damaged a signal or two. The first picture shows a branch hanging precariously which will need attention before another strong gust of wind brings that down. The approach to Old Oak is covered in debris and I have included a picture of the tunnel at Spinney to give the feel of the time of year. This is a pictorial record of the event.

Last running day 26th October 2013

heather with guest norman scott and heather driving

mick june and phobe


The day clashed with the Mid Hants Railway Gala and Halloween at the Cockcrow railway and coupled with dismal weather not much happened. We had one guest which we managed to run a train for. The morning was spent either sheltering from the rain or clearing the line from the many leaves and debris that had fallen. Thanks to all who cleared the lines. Additionally the rails on the branch and section of line between the two tunnels were treated to reduce slipping. All the telephones were tested due to previous problems and faults were found. This must be added to the winter list of maintenance as it is important to have communication when running trains. The new guest list arrangement worked (including the visitor book) and our guest Norman was very impressed with the set up. Tom assessed the condition of the three coach arctic set with a view of restoring to former glory and working vacuum brakes. Vacuum brakes have been a topic for discussion lately and it must be remembered that when changing locos on a stock it is advisable to manually release the brakes on all coaches / wagons as each loco my pull a slightly different level of vacuum. This will prevent dragging brakes. Robin was again observed with his clip board measuring up various projects will we get to see an artist's impression of the new projects?

Loco news

bob driving

This photo of Bob has not been digitally altered in anyway and Bob did actually drive the electric loco a slightly blurred picture but it had to be taken in a hurry. Four locos made it out L94 (Tim Heather and Scott) Karen (Alan) sorry didn't get any photos of you Kate (Mick C) Electric loco (Bob). The damp conditions added to the atmospheric conditions when running the steam locos but unfortunately most of my photographs the steam covered the driver. Kate and Karen double headed at the end to remove the freight stock at Old Oak and move them to Spinney. David G drained the water from the Scots boiler in readiness for winter.


Mike H covered for Bob at Dingly whilst Bob drove the electric loco it was nice to see Bob out and about and enjoying himself in other matters other than signalling it was also nice to see Scott driving (see pictures). Signal Post Telephones still proves to be a problem and Spinney number 7 points were problematic throughout the afternoon. These points allow access to the branch and are very important to normal operation of the railway. The points were looked at prior to running and detection adjusted. Later in the day the microswitch for detection disintegrated and then track circuit from the branch showed occupied when it wasn't and this locked the points. Track circuit failure maybe due to the very wet conditions but it maybe a good idea to upgrade the point motor and detection ready for next year. SY Track circuit G failed intermittently throughout the day probably due to a combination of damp and power supply - but Scott coped with that. SY track circuit K went down permanently at tea time when ironically it was drying out a bit. It was getting dark when we finished and so we could see the semaphore signal back lighting - or lack of it. The following were not showing a light - might be worth looking at next time before signals are put away. SY 3 11 15 18R (which doesn't have a light fitting) OO number 2 signal and BE 8 11 12 13. (Or perhaps these could be put aside for a winter job.)

Next time

Fish and Chips and fireworks were postponed so it is planned to do this on the next meeting of the 9th November. The signals need to be taken in for the winter before we start winter maintenance.

Freight day 5th October 2013

visitor ivan


Ivan Hurst who is the secretary and vice chairman of the Southern Fed paid us a visit he lives local and has never been to the site before. Ivan was impressed with what he saw and was also offered a drive of the class 20 electric loco and L94 steam loco but chose only to drive the class 20 a short distance. No other visitors so a fairly quiet day where we were able to re run the freight day with Alan Stephens as controller. This also allowed people to drive learn to drive or signal trains as captured by Alan Ainslie's camera. Pictures in this news section show them in action. Running freight trains is very popular and has proved to be a challenge especially with stock out of place brake van requiring shunting and shunt moves made at Baytree and Spinney which are permitted but haven't been done for a very long time. One freight set managed to derail three times in the same place entering the branch at the top. No immediate reason could be found. Phoebe did her best to close one line of Old Oak by creating a 'landslip' through digging in her normal place and David D cleared this up just before we started.

scott driving richard driving

Loco news

jamie driving

Running commenced about 14.00 with the following locos observed during the afternoon L94 1369 pannier tank Clan Line Class 20 Eileen Grant and Brunel. Brunel was steamed and driven by Jamie who is relearning his firing and driving skills. Alan S made a new lubricator shaft for Clan Line which Cliff fitted before steaming. Cliff reports that it seems successful but will test again on a longer run. Shaun filled 45482 boiler with water ready for winter storage. Locos in steam and running began about 14.00. Due to slippery rail conditions a track adhesion gel has been sourced and David G applied it to the rails using a brush. This proved very successful for adhesion especially climbing the branch line and between the two tunnels. The adhesion gel remained on the track and did not coat the locomotives that travelled over it which is always a worry for wheel and bearing contamination.


spinney signal box

Reports of over zealous raking for leaves pulled a track circuit lead off and caused a track failure so if a little extra care could be considered when track clearing it would be appreciated. Due to an operating error shortly after starting the afternoons running all lines at Dingly became blocked with coaches and wagons none at Old Oak at this present time. This took a fair amount of shunting which unfortunately delayed Dave on 1369 who had to wait a long time to leave the loco road. Also shunting freight stock at Old Oak was difficult due to the operating constraints of the short distance between signals '3 4 5' Home signals and '9' section signal (refer to Old Oak 'track diagrams' section for location).

Next time

26th October will be the last run of the 2013 season and will finish with fish and chips and fireworks.

Freight day 21st September 2013

First steaming of King Jamie explaining roster to Alan

freight train at old oak


Tour of Britain cycle race was held today and involved rolling road closures involving the Hoggs Back (A31) road. Fortunately this road was only shut from 13.30 to 16.00 so did not disrupt anyone arriving or leaving but would have done if it had clashed with friends and families day so we were lucky. Jamie was controller and had worked hard before the day to organise a roster or plan for moving freight around the railway and was constantly running around checking progress. I put a spanner in the works when I took a freight train when not booked but I didn't want to see it idle and managed to return it without disrupting plans too much. Some trains had to be substituted for passenger trains as a few guests turned up and passenger trains were made a priority. So just like the full size not everything goes to plan. Good juggling made by Jamie to keep things in order. I inadvertently only managed to photograph one freight train and Alan S seems to be getting quite a bit of exposure in this news article.

t9 Steve Trower

Loco news

L94 (Tim and Heather) 78054 Std 2 (Nick and Tom) Clan Line (Cliff Dave and Tom) Kate (Mick C and Paul) Class 20 (Mick C). Jesse (Cliff) 6109 Scot (David G) 6001 King Edward V11 (Alan S Andrew and Nick) We had a visiting loco T9 recently built by John Butt but bought to site and driven by Steven Trower and Dave (Guests). 1369 (Dave M) had injector problems when steaming up so decision made to withdraw from afternoon running Jessie took a long time to get steam up and 6109 Scot back from repair failed again and got the blame for greasy rails which caused problems for locos pulling trains up the branch from Old Oak. T9 also retired early due to lubricator problems. Good news 6001 King Edward V11 after approximately 4 years in pieces was back in steam and was observed around the railway towards the end of the day.

Note from Cliff The not obvious link between the T9 and Clan Line is that both were started by John Morgan and the T9's (there are three of them) were unfinished when he died in 1998 (ish). John Butt took the chassis of each of the three and finished them doing about 75% of the work needed to build a loco and commissioning the boilers.


Faulty signal

For a change locos were in steam and ready for action in good time but just as the afternoon was about to commence number 7 points at Old Oak failed and needed attention. It was a bit complicated so Robin called for help from Alan S. Fixing of the points was temporarily hampered by the fact that Alan had inadvertently placed his metal tool box across both the rails causing the track to show occupied and lock the points. Points soon fixed and running began. Spring points at Dingly also needed attention. The photo shows Spinney number 4 signal protecting the level crossing and the junction to the branch giving the driver an interesting choice. Lower and upper quadrant!

Other news

Discussion at the end of the day lead to a decision to finish running in October and use the November date for cleaning signals and packing up the railway ready for winter maintenance Robin has already been spotted with his tape measure note pad and pen. Also discussed was interest in running later into the day during one of the October dates so as to see the signalling all lit up and add another aspect / challenge to driving.

Spinney at Cockcrow 13 - 15 September 2013

dave m with cl at cockcrow david teaching scott at cockcrow
mick and cliff at cockcrow scott and cliff at cockcrow

David G Dave M Jamie Cliff Tim Heather Scott Adrian Mick C attended the Cockcrow annual gala despite the inclement weather. Friday provided some heavy down pours whilst Saturday and Sunday was mainly light rain. However 20 out of 23 locos turned up and good spirit and banter was evident. Spinney locos included Pannier tank 1369 Clan Line Class 20 L94 and Sarah Siddons which accounted for 25% of visiting locomotives. There were four London Transport locos present on the Saturday quite unusual to see that many at one event.

The photos show the Spinney locos at Cockcrow and David G tried to show Scott how to signal at Everglade Junction signal box but it got too busy to learn. Most trains were out for a lengthy time some being nearly 90 mins before returning to Hardwick. Dave M steamed Clan Line on Sunday and with Cliff helped with the passenger service.

Friends and Family 31st August 2013

nigel and richard jenny driving=

guests at tea time


A huge success. One thing that is improving and is especially noticeable this year is planning. Before the day Robin volunteered to be controller and with the help from David G gained information from us all to plan car parking a train service and advise June on numbers to feed and supply cups of tea. David G has now designed a form which is in the members section for future use. A lot of behind the scenes organising and communication got us off on a right foot. Thanks also to Jamie for his car parking attendant duties ensuring a smooth start. No reported parking problems and those that had to leave early were able to. Richard S took over the role of controller after Tea as Robin had to leave.

Approximately 70 visitors arrived and with the excellent sunny weather all enjoyed themselves some spotted just laying in the sun did they ride any trains!! Towards the end of the day some guests had a chance to drive steam and diesel locos.

Loco news

L94 (Tim Heather and Richard Bentley) Karen (Alan S) 1369 (Dave M and Paul Tompkins) 78054 Std 2 (Nick and Paul Tompkins) Clan Line (Cliff and Alec) Kate (Mick C and others) Class 20 (Mick C). 6109 Scot (David G) King Jack and Shaun steamed 45482 but did not run due to an injector problem hopefully next time. We had a visiting loco 0-4-0 Bridget owned and driven by Nigel Pidgeon. Nigel has only owned the loco for approximately six months and therefore he found it a challenge to get used to a new loco and a new route double head and with passengers - well done. Most trains were double headed to get the trains up the gradient from Old Oak although it was still a bit slippery and some had to be pushed even though it was a dry rail. Maybe a banking engine in future! Clan Line was observed going down the gradient towards Old Oak with all driving wheels locked. No freight movements today and passenger trains were heavily loaded at the start and reduced loading after tea. David G took 6109 Scot home to investigate and repair a steam leak with the help of Alan A.

S & T

Also a great day for the signalling team no problems to affect the running of the trains. Several guests had a look at the operation of the signal boxes especially Spinney and were amazed at the complexity of it all.

Next time

Jamie will be controller and is planning a few freight trains.

A Thank you

Katherine and Chris gave a Thank You card to the Friends of Spinney for their wedding gift and this can be viewed in the members section. Thank you also to Mick Collins for allowing strangers to drive Kate my friends son and Dave's wife Jenny among the list. A very memorable day.

10th August 2013

grandson and Jessie

Another pleasant sunny day in this great summer. Lots of engines and lots of visitors.

Picture on the left shows Cliff teaching his grandson to drive his little loco Jessie.
Both grandson and loco did well.

Clan Line passes the toolshed

Meanwhile Cliff generously provided his other loco the beautiful model of 'Clan Line' for other members of the team to drive. Clan Line showed itself not only to be a fine model but also a strong and reliable locomotive as it hauled trains filled with our visitors round the railway.

Mike H & diesel

The garden was in great shape green and lush as can be seen in the picture of Mike Hack and his loco with well loaded train.

The able Controller was Mike C.

Locos in steam : 1369 Clan Line Jessie Karen Kate and Nick's blue Holmside. (You need a name for the poor thing Nick!). Diesels Mike C's class 20 and Mike H's Hymek were also running.

27th July 2013

loco working well robin on class 20 loco=


If you had believed the weatherman you wouldn't have gone out however it turned out to be a warm day and the thundery showers or torrential rain as it became didn't come until approx. 19.00 as we packed away. Mick C invited two guests who enjoyed themselves having free choice of any train and also observed driving Mick's loco and taking an interest in the signal boxes.

A very interesting day Cliff was the controller and had worked hard to produce a timetable as he had done last year. It was planned that the timetable ran up until tea time then usual free for all. This year was a marked improvement but hampered by a late start by some and a track circuit failure between Baytree and Spinney (see S & T section). One train was wrong routed and some ran later than advertised but on the whole it was an interesting challenge and most trains did get to where they were planned.

A mixture of passenger and freight trains ran with shunting at Dingly and Old Oak to get the brake van at the correct end good railway operations. Cliff laminated schedule cards for the signalmen and drivers which included timings and train reporting numbers. As not everyone comes from a railway background the 4 character train reporting number had to be explained. This has been a very enjoyable experience and has bought up many ideas which members would like to do to improve the railway. Alan A did not drive so spent the day observing the railway running and as a S & T technician.

Loco news

L94 (Tim and Heather) Karen (Alan) 1369 (Dave M and David G) Clan Line (Cliff and Tim) Holmside (Nick and Shaun) Kate (Mick C guest and Tom Z) Class 20 (Mick C and Robin). All locos were driven by a variety of people.

L94 passed it hydraulic test at the beginning of the day Karen and 1369 double headed hauling a freight train which was a pleasant sight. Shaun worked on his 3 1/2 inch gauge Rob Roy which had a fractured pipe. Like all repairs it was fiddly and involved removing many parts to get to the defect. Pipe was silver soldered and loco is not far away from a hydraulic test. Tom Z and Dave M worked hard to refit the front pony truck on Brunel after fixing the mounting brackets hope to see it running next time. Nick has solved his injector problem by using the water in the driving truck for the injectors which means the water is not too hot as it would be from the loco saddle tank supply. The loco ran well all afternoon and the first picture shows what Nick thinks about the loco performance Nick's reaction was to state "bloody hell it goes like the clappers".

dave on his loco double heading=

S & T

Richard is aware of the Spinney banner repeaters not working and has repair in hand. He has missed two meetings otherwise they would have been dealt with by now. None the less as David says when seeing a single yellow when leaving the tunnel drivers should expect to stop at SY3. In mitigation it was quite slippery at some times. The failure of track circuit L at Spinney was indeed a real blow. Scott in Baytree had to offer trains by telephone and instruct drivers to pass BE 1 / 10 at danger (no block instruments). A second failure which we also had last time was that Baytree track circuit BL showed continuously occupied. Whilst it did not affect operation it was a further distraction on the Baytree panel. As a result Scott sometimes took some time to give train out for down trains and so queues formed at Spinney. He did brilliantly under the circumstances.

On a couple of occasions there were five trains standing at Spinney. To alleviate the problem Robin diverted a couple of trains to Old Oak in contravention of the timetable (having established that the driver signed the route!) without consulting Control!

It was fortunate that Alan A and David G found the Spinney TC problem so that normal service was resumed loose wire in a junction box!

Next time

After passing over the level crossing towards Spinney the bushes have grown where they now come into contact with train or driver / passenger and will require some pruning. Also on the approach to the level crossing in the opposite direction there is a dead tree branch which is dangerously close to peoples head and needs pruning. Banner repeater for Spinney number three signal requires attention as there was a reported three SPaDs at this signal (Richard has this in hand). Find all wiring records for the signal boxes.

I had 77 pictures submitted to me which is really a surprise for one afternoon running so thank you and apologies if I didn't use one of your pictures I can't fit them all in to the news it does show the level of interest for the day. Well done to all for taking part in the time table exercise and to Cliff for getting us to work together and providing us with something different to work on.

Wedding special 13 July 2013

decorated loco wedding headboard=

clan line at baytree=


A very hot day what summer is supposed to be. The day started with a general tidy up of the site and Alan A had hung some brackets on the back of the shed which we stacked with rail. Unfortunately the excessive weight caused the brackets to fail and gravity took over. The heat bought problems with track expansion it was difficult to put the bridges in place and the track had visibly moved in places. The points were drawing a higher current than usual especially mid afternoon at the height of the heat wave. Some points did not fully move and caused a couple of derailments.

Katherine and Chris married on the Friday and guests were invited to the railway on the Saturday (13th) sun shining on both days glorious weather. Many guests took up the offer and it was nice to see so many people enjoying themselves in the sun and on the railway. Some guests were surprised at the size and operation of the railway all they knew was that Alan had a garden railway. One young lad was seen driving King Jack whilst others made visits to the signal boxes all were impressed. At afternoon tea Friends of Spinney presented the happy couple with a card and Marks and Spencer voucher.

karen at baytree

Locos on track

L94 (Tim) King Jack (Alan A) Karen (Alan and Shaun) and Eileen (David G) Clan Line (Cliff) Nick bought his 0-6-0 Holmside which passed its Hydraulic boiler test but then had trouble with the injectors for the steam test possibly due to the warm water in the saddle tank and therefore did not run. Proposed to alter water feed to injectors to come from the driving truck. Shaun tried to steam his Black 5 but had trouble getting a fire ready and also did not run. Cliff made a headboard and L94 was decorated to mark the special event.

Electric loco was also available and two young ones were observed driving up and down Dingly sidings having fun.

S & T

Bob had found the fault between Baytree and Dingly and bell codes worked faultlessly between these boxes. Dingly suffered a signal failure number 3 signal failed but this did not interfere with the days running. The signal at the top of the branch failed a couple of times and Robin came to the rescue with an oil can.

Next time

Number 3 signal at Dingly needs attention as does the banner repeater for signal number 3 at Spinney.

Extra working day 15th June 2013

22nd June 2013

Group photo 2013

Group photo 2013

L - R Jamie June David G Heather Tim Mick C Robin Mike H Dave Alan S Shaun Phoebe Bob Alan A Alec and Richard.

Not there on the day were Nick Tom Scott David D and Cliff who had been present but had left early.

Two freight trains pass at Spinney David double heading at Baytree

General news

The record of the winter 2013 work has now been added to 'The Past' section. To access the winter news either visit the home page click on 'The Past' - 'Recent Winter work' and then 'Winter work 2012/13' or click on following link Account of last winter's work