Spinney Light Railway Archive News
Summer 2014

15th November - change to the roster

team work coaches at dinglys

Today was initially planned for last Saturday and as an end of season pack away day i.e. put signals away etc, however true to Railway style things were subject to alteration. Alan and June had a visitor from Japan plus some other more local visitors and wanted to show the railway in operation, which we did. The visitors almost had the railway to themselves.

Robin was selected / volunteered to be the controller, the resident expert for times like these. The weather was damp, no rain whilst running, but the rails were treated to avoid slipping. A lot of team work was observed today as shown by the bridge lift and many jobs were completed. Everyone seemed to enjoy the day. Jamie has drawn some plans for the new carriage and wagon shed and today he surveyed, pegged and measured the area in readiness for development. Myke and Marion Baigent also made visit and it was really nice to have a chat with them. Myke was keen to talk about projects he had done in the past at the Spinney and at Guildford. As it got dark early, we packed up earlier than usual and chatted around the table with fish and chips, making a good end to the day.

dingly covered in leaves rail treatment

On Friday, Dave MB came down and started blowing the leaves, as can be seen from the picture, the whole railway was covered by them and a lot of clearing up was required before we ran a train. On the day, there were still many leaves on the railway which had to be cleared and transported by train to Old Oak and then by wheel barrow to the fire. We trialled a new method of applying the rail head treatment by using a plastic tub with a hole in it and whilst kneeling in a wagon, ran it along the top of the rail, pushed / pulled by Dave MB. It worked well, so now a more permanent solution is required to be designed and built.

Loco news

loco line up at spinney nick at spinney

Three locomotives out today and one with Robin driving whoch is rare: King Jack (Jamie, Tim, Alan), 78054 (Nick and Robin) and Eileen Grant (David G). Jesse 1939 (Cliff) steamed but immediately sprung a steam leak on the manifold and was immediately retired for the winter and maintenance. David G was first in steam and ran with two coaches. Dave M cleaned his Pannier 1369 and removed all the ash, whist Shaun took his Black 5 away for winter storage and maintenance.

S & T news

One major problem occurred prior to running at Spinney, number 7 and 9 points would not function. The fault was traced to number 7 points and with Adrian to the rescue, all fixed ready for service. The point motor assembly is planned for replacement this winter.

Next time

Put signals away and start winter maintenance and project work which will include constructing two new point machines, re sleeping the main and construction of a carriage / wagon shed.

25th October - the gloom of autumn gathers

Karen approaches Old Oak

Our new flagman above seems to expect another train down the branch ? ? ?

Controller was Richard, Tim was absent so DG is responsible for this 'News' and Alan A was mostly in his workshop preparing an exhibition display stand for his work. Lots of visitors, one, sadly not photographed, clutching our track diagram in his hand and intent on travelling every metre of the railway.

Visiting N class at Bay Tree

N Detail

Andy Gelson from the Vale of Aylesbury brought a very nice N class seen left at Baytree, with an inset showing the miniature tea cans in the cab.

It's always good to see visiting locos and better still when they travel faultlessly round our railway - not a single derailment today! The visitor had an added local bonus as it carried the shed plate 70c indicating Guildford as its home shed. Andy was accompanied by his dad and another member of the club.

The webminder, anorak firmly in place, delved into old ABCs and found this not authentic as all his data pointed to 73c Hither Green as the base for 31873.

However, even the webminder does not possess all the locoshed books for the BR era so is open to correction.

Two other visitors, Colin Hebbes and Rodney Vale Coe from New Romney also joined us for the afternoon. All our visitors admired the railway. It's all too easy to forget what a privilege we enjoy in our intricate, fully signalled railway.

The saga of the Scot's blowing left hand cylinder gasket continued as Alan S replaced another one of the several gaskets that keep the cylinder steam tight. Sadly the critical one was NOT replaced but Jamie enjoyed a drive of the old lady. Kate was also under repair with steam blowing back into the lubricator. Both repairs are superficial and the locos will be back next year. Thanks to Alan S who now deserves the title 'Chief Engineer' as he either actually does our repairs or is the consultant who diagnoses and advises on all our maintenance issues.

1369 Banking

Locos in steam were Royal Engineer, 1369, 31873 (the visitor), Karen and the Class 20 - not in steam but running!

Photographs of the day, provided by Alan and Jamie are to be found in the pictures section Here is a link to the pictures.

Today's editor liked this one of 1369 banking the scot past Woodland Junction.

The webminder learned that our host Alan was disappointed not have his promised Fish & Chips. Maybe we can rectify next time. Thanks as ever to June and Alan for their hospitality. Great to see Louise & Eric too.

10th October 2014


leaf train nick fixing the bridge bolt

The weather was better than expected and in the sun was pleasant. A very relaxing day with no major commitments and Nick was the controller. A very tranquil, relaxing and enjoyable day working on the GWR principle - Go When Ready. As the pictures show, locos either ran light or with one coach.

Prior to running, the railway had to be cleared of leaves and the bolt to locate the bridge had to be glued back in place. Myke Baigent and his wife Marion came along for the afternoon and it was really nice to see them again. Thanks to Alan A for the panoramic pictures and June for the Tea and Coffee. More pictures can be found in the pictures section.

Loco news

loco line up tim and heather with the scot

Six locos on track today: King Jack (Jamie), 1369 Pannier (Dave M), Scot (Tim and Heather), Clan Line (Cliff), Karen (Alan) and Black five 45482 (Shaun). The Scot needs a new gasket as it is weeping on the rear of the left hand cylinder and will be taken home shortly for winter maintenance. Clan Line ran for longer than planned due to the nice pace of running. Clan Line will not be running next time as Cliff is not available.

S&T news

busy at bay tree

The picture (left) shows Baytree track diagram with four sections lit up indicating trains in section. A busy scene and all under the control of the signalman who was unusually Bob. Normally Bob is in Dingly but this was covered by Richard and David G. Before running, Bob adjusted the spring points at Dingly as the micro switch used for detecting the points, was stopping the point from sitting correctly. Richard also evicted many snails that had found their way into the Spinney number 7 point motor housing. Had they stayed, would have affected the point motor operation.

Next time

Saturday 25th October will be the final run of the year and due to the time of the year will involve some dark hours running with Richard as the controller. This will be followed by Fish and Chips.

Charity day 20th September 2014


charity hq and face painting

A lot to report on this event as if it wasn't one thing going wrong then it was 100 things going wrong. A busy day for all especially the controller. Thanks to Robin, Bob, Adrian and Alan A for their contributions to this news.

The SLR runs one day a year dedicated to a chosen charity and this year the local parish church fund raising committee - Seale, sands, Wanborough and Puttenham Parish was chosen. They set up their own gazebo's and in one of them, children could have their faces painted and the results can be seen in some of the pictures, including those in the picture gallery. The children also had a quiz and could be seen around the site looking for clues.

setting up signs

The weather either side of the Saturday was delightful sun but Saturday was over cast but warm, however, with rain over night, the rails were wet and caused all locomotives to slip even after the rails had been treated on the branch and between the two tunnels. Cliff and Dave MB began preparations on Friday, adjusting the brakes on Clan Line tender and Dave MB was reported to have done most if not all the leaf blowing. Robin was controller for the day and as usual he devised a plan. Like all plans they are subject to alteration at very short notice, with changes occurring as late as Friday night, I don't think a last minute plan was published. Bob, Nick, Dave MB and Scott who were on the list for not attending, did so due to a change in their circumstances but it was just as well they did turn up as all SLR friends were very busy. Mick's mate Paul also came and provided some much needed help running around for things to keep engines going. When we arrived the gardens were in good order, so not much clearing up needed. Alan and June, Katherine and Chris had done sterling work and Andrew did all the driver experiences, so the whole family were involved. All hands to the deck as it became a very busy afternoon. Robin had a major task on his hands (see news below) as there were long queues coupled with locomotive and signalling failures and it became one big juggling act, but true to style he kept calm and kept the service running. On a more positive note, pleased to say that no derailments or other such incidents occurred even though we had some heavily loaded trains and some enthusiastic young passengers! Alan A managed to capture the day with his camera and I have included a few in this news article, trying to capture all locos and their drivers, hence the large amount of pictures in this edition.

Thanks as always to Alan, June, Andrew, Katherine and Chris, especially Chris who did a grand job in delivering tea and cakes to SLR Friends around the railway as we didn't stop for our customary tea break.

guests at old oak cliff explaining basic operation of loco

The main gate had one gate open and was supervised to allow guests to come and go at will which is an unusual practice for us but it worked well. A very busy day with all trains full right up until the end of the day, one train had 7 people in a 4 seater coach - overcrowding! There was no time to stop for tea which was had on the move, a bit like exchanging the token but in this case selecting and picking a cake of a plate and grabbing a cup of tea whilst steaming through Spinney. Alan S learnt from the first attempt not to grab the cake too hard as there is not much of it left by the time it reaches your mouth (There's no truth in the rumour that one driver took a cake instead of the token!). Due to the long waiting times that were being experienced, it was decided to change the passengers at Spinney as a queue had developed there, again another new practice for us with the consequences that some drivers did not realise that they had to stop and over shot the platform.

david g and dave m driving alan and tim at spinney

heather driving kate

The service plan was to run trains on set routes all afternoon - Dingly Dell to Spinney, round the loop and back to Dingly Dell (denoted by the yellow disk on the front of the locos), whilst the other service was Old Oak to Spinney, round the loop and back to Old Oak (denoted by the blue disk on the front of the locos). This gave the guests a choice of circuit but they seemed to queue mostly for the Old Oak service. Overall all the guests said they enjoyed themselves and some had never seen miniature trains such as ours.

It was nice to see Joy at The Spinney who was resident at the Spinney until Alan and June took over and is well known to the longer serving friends of the SLR. Joy started as nanny to Hugh and was an integral part of the household and was Mary Ballentine Dykes companion in later years. Joy was considerable help to SLR when Alan and June bought The Spinney, and has close associations with the running of the railway.

Driving experience

king jack at spinney pic 1 eileen at spinney
king jack at spinney pic 2 king jack

The pictures above show a few of the driving experiences on King Jack and Eileen. David G (top right picture) looks like he is in the shade!!!! The vast majority of the driving experiences were conducted by Andrew as can be seen in the pictures.

5 driver experiences booked but due to the multiple locomotive failures, Andrew had to stop and rescue a train at Spinney station. When he arrived there were two coaches of stranded passengers with no locomotive. Driver experience delay was over 1 1/2 hours.

Loco news

Nine locos on the track:- L94 (Tim / Heather), class 20 (Mick C), Clan Line (Cliff), Jessy (Cliff), Kate (Mick C and Heather), Karen (Alan S), Eileen (David G), Pannier 1369 (Dave M) and finally King Jack (Andrew A).

To cope with the gradient on the Old Oak branch, trains were double headed, Eileen Grant with Pannier 1369 and L94 with Karen. All the other locomotives used the Dingly Dell circuit. Unfortunately we suffered some locomotive failures which lead to them being removed from service on a very busy day. This is a record for the most number of locomotive failures in one afternoon and one that we don't want to repeat. Clan Line suffered from lubricator problems as did Kate later in the day. Jessy had water problems whilst Class 20 loco had one bogie not powering and came to grief at Spinney. The train was rescued by King Jack which had been on driver experience session. This left us very short of locomotives (50% loco failure rate of service trains, King Jack was driver experience) and the controller wondering what ever will happen next.

S&T news

The S&T had their share of problems, all signal boxes had something wrong and requiring attention whether before or during the day.

At Dingly Dell the 50 volt power supply failed taking out all the point detection, therefore once a point got the instruction to move it never stopped (oscillating) as the system did not know where it was. This was cured before the start of running by borrowing a 50 volt feed from Baytree which was put in to support the block locking, part of the first phase of the Dingly Dell upgrade. During running a failure of the starting signals from platform 1 and siding 2 (12 & 15) was traced to a failed micro-switch which was detecting spring points 2 (the down end of the main departure crossover). This being a low speed area the faulty switch was shorted out rather than stopping running to replace it. The replacement can be carried out before running commences next time. Neither problem delayed the service but a green flag had to be deployed on a few occasions until the right terminals to short out were found.

Unfortunately that was not the only power supply problem we had. Baytree suffered from low volts at signals 1 and 3 when the back lights were on, so we ran without lighting which solved the problem.

At Spinney, we started with a problem of point 5 not detecting Reverse. They were throwing perfectly, but not quite actuating the micro-switch. With a bit of use, the motor freed up a little, and the extra thrust / velocity was enough to do the trick! A similar problem to Baytree with low voltage seems to have occurred at Spinney SY17, several drivers reporting 17R and it's Banner Repeater being off but 17 itself at stop. Spinney SY4 had some problems too, probably the same reason. Not sure why we had so many voltage regulation problems this time - perhaps the grid was struggling!!

Autumn has started at the SLR as we had our first encounter with this years leaves, before Network Rail. Not only slippery rails but a LEAF found its way into the point detection on the point leaving the yard at Old Oak. Unusually the detection is mounted outside the point motor box. As the signal could not be cleared to leave the yard Richard was called to investigate and remove the LEAF. Proves the detection works.

Next time

Next time will be fish and chips and controller will be Nick, please confirm with him whether you will be attending or not. Check signalling works.

Clan Line at Stewarts Lane 11th September 2014

clan line at stewarts lane south london

Cliff has long harboured the thought that it would be nice to get two Clan Lines together, and see if the big one stood up to comparison with the model. In the event it turned out to be nearly identical, apart from air brake, the wrong colour background to the nameplate, etc.etc. It was a bit galling to find the real one cleaner than the model, but with a team of nine to get her ready something should show! The MNPS (Merchant Navy Preservation Society) were a very friendly bunch. Also present was the vehicle inspector from DB Schenker who was giving Clan Line her certificate for the "Surrey Hills" excursion which will ran on Friday 12th September. He also has a 7 1/4 inch gauge Lord Nelson, and with the fitter for Clan Line, interest in 10 1/4 inch gauge railways as well.

Cliff says he had a dream of getting his Clan Line on the running plate under the nameplate of the full size locomotive, but there is only so much risk you can take with a few bits of ironwork track and a fork lift, so discretion overcame the foolhardiness. A purpose built cradle on rollers or similar would do the job, but they contented themselves with getting the two alongside and taking pictures form the adjacent pit.

All good fun and an unusual event!

Cockcrow gala 13th September 2014

nick and david at hardwick heather and cliff waiting at signals

Cliff, Dave M, Jamie, Nick, Shaun, Heather, myself and our daughter Victoria were present along with Clan Line, Pannier 1369 and L94 locomotives, so a good turn out by the Spinney group. Dave M and Jamie drove on the Friday and well into the dark hours for some night driving. On the Saturday we all drove and the first picture shows Nick and David G who was resident signaller for the day. Heather and I drove into the dark hours on Saturday night and it was really quite good fun, could Spinney do an evening run? Couldn't get a picture of Dave M driving his locomotive as there was always someone else driving it. Dave M did very well to repair his locomotive in such a short space of time. Dave M says he was up at 05.00 each morning to do a bit on the locomotive before work - well done. Nick also drove Steve Trowers new locomotive LSWR T9. Good time had by all. Also seen on the Saturday were Andrew and Ann Blackwell with their Dean Goods loco numbered 2527 and Jeff Brown with the Black 5 numbered 5206 from East Herts, both of whom recently visited the Spinney.

6th September 2014


happy train at old oak new recruits
jamie on king jack dave mb driving

The controller for the day was Alan S who had a busy start as the bridge had to be put in to move the stock and then removed again until Cliff had removed Clan Line in his van. Another pleasant day with approx 26 guests, most of them were seen on a train at some point during the day. The top two pictures show Spinney being enjoyed by all ages, train of waving people and young ones learning to drive, which made their day and both pictures describe the atmosphere of the day quite well. Alan A did not drive but could be seen around the site with his camera, so thank you for the high quality pictures for this news and can also be found in the pictures section of the web site. Most trains ran with one coach, but the frequency of the trains meant that everyone got a ride when they wanted to. It also helped only having one coach as it made the climb up the branch a lot easier. At one point, all the trains were at Dingly either in a platform or waiting at the signal to come in. Don't know how that happened but it meant signallers got a break whilst Bob was extremely busy. Old Oak had it's moments and it too was congested on more than one occasion. With so many trains it kept David D busy and unable to have an afternoon nap. An attempt was made to beat Cliff's record of keeping the branch token (Cliff managed to get the token from Old Oak as far as Dingly) but Richard thwarted the involuntary attempt and I had to surrender the token at Spinney number 3 signal.

Loco News

visiting dean goods loco

Locos on track today, were: L94 (Tim and Dave MB), Kate (Heather), Class 20 (Mick and Dave M), King Jack (Jamie), 1369 Panier (Dave M) and a visiting locomotive from Romney in Kent. Andrew and Ann Blackwell bought their 301 Dean Goods locomotive numbered 2527. It is in a very good condition and can be seen again at the Cockcrow gala this month. They also bought a wagon which can be seen with Ann riding on it. Wagon also up to the same standard as the locomotive and has had several modifications over the years including the fitting of vacuum brakes.

1366 loco under repair

Unfortunately Pannier 1369 (Dave M), suffered a major steam leak and had to retire early and be taken home. Dave M has wasted no time and was up at 06.00 the following day in readiness to strip down the locomotive. The adjacent picture shows his progress after one day's work. The leak appears to be on the steam feed to one of the cylinders. Dave M is hoping to have it in steam for the Cockcrow gala. Also going to the gala is Cliff with his Clan Line and myself with L94, which will make three of us at the event. Cliff is also taking Clan Line to Stewarts Lane in South London (Know it well as I have worked in and out of there many times in the 80's) to have his locomotive pictured against the full size locomotive. Look forward to seeing the picture.

S&T News

Bob worked on Dingly box in the morning and no operating problems were experienced at Dingly. Number 4 signal at Spinney, stuck in the on position a couple of times, so David G was observed observing the signal but it would not fault whilst he had his eye on it. No other problems reported.

And finally

alan with object

This picture will make a great caption contest:-

If you can think of any more, please add to Spinney google group.

Thank you Alan A and David G for taking photo's which are now posted in the pictures section and June for the tea and BBQ. Our visitors also stayed for the BBQ and joined in with the conversation.

Next time

Saturday 20th September is our Charity day and we are expecting a lot of guests so we hope for good weather and enough friends to run the railway please.

23rd August Friends and Families Day

visiting black 5 busy at singly

nick and alan double head

The controller for the friends and families day was Robin who put together a plan and e mailed this to us before the event, so a lot of preparation went into organising people for specific jobs, I think Robin was up to version three before the day started. Jamie landed his usual role which was to arrange car parking in his herringbone fashion. However there were not as many people as last year and there was space left in the car park and no one boxed in. It appears that Robin also booked the weather as it was a dry and a pleasant day, just a bit chilly towards the end. There were no significant defects or incidents. A few intermittent signalling problems at Dingly Dell and a couple of other minor things. It was good to see a visiting engine. Andrew and Jeff, their Black 5 and two blood and custards performed well and can be seen relaxing in the first picture. After being shown round the track they were more than happy to be left on their own to enjoy the Spinney. Some double heading took place and the picture shows Nick and Alan leaving Old Oak. Everyone seems to have enjoyed themselves.

happy at old oak

Picture on the right shows smiling faces - sums up the day.

Ten locos on the track including one visitor. This must be record, they were:- L94 (Tim / Heather), class 20 (Mick C), Clan Line (Cliff), Kate (Mick C / Heather), Karen (Alan S), Eileen (David G), class 2 No 78054 (Nick), Brunel (Jamie), King Jack (Alan A) and finally visiting locomotive Black 5 number 5206. Andrew and Jeff normally run at the East Herts miniature railway society located in the Van Hage garden centre, Amwell near Ware. This is of course very close to our three East Herts contingency.

David G learnt the melting point of plastic. When dropping his fire, he released it into a plastic bucket which then melted and caught fire much to everyone's amusement. Unfortunately, Cliff was too slow on the camera to record the event. The day ended with a BBQ for friends and families.

Thank you Robin for your organisation, June and Alan for the tea and BBQ and allowing our friends to enjoy the Spinney.

Wedding Special

wedding card wedding headboard

Pictures show Jamie and Annika who recently got married in Sweden. The friends of Spinney clubbed together to get them some shopping vouchers and Cliff made the headboard. This came as a surprise as their wedding was in July, but this was the first time since the event that Annika was due to visit the railway. Jamie's best man, Tony, was present as a guest and managed a drive of L94.

Next time

Alan S was volunteered to be controller for next time.

9th August Several Visitors and we attempt a Timetable

Head Scratching

Controller Cliff issued his timetable at the start and here we see some head scratching at Dingly as folk puzzle out the paperwork.

The timetable actually worked pretty well until we lost engines to driver training.

Cliff said : "If we measure our performance by train mileage, then the timetable concept looks positive - two locos did at least 80% of their timetabled runs (L94, and 35028). Clan Line ran more miles in the day (7.8 actual, 62.4 scale) than she has ever done before at Spinney." The webminder thinks that Clan Line's outstanding performance had something to do with the driver - see pictures below.
Heather and Clan Line at Old Oak Heather and Clan Line at Dingly

Passengers at Spinney

It's always good to see guests enjoying the ride and here we see Mick's guests looking back at the camera as they pass Spinney box.

Other guests had professional experience; on the left below is Robert Westmorland driving King Jack under instruction from Alan A and on the right, between Richard and Cliff, is Martin Denyer, a signaller from Cockcrow.

Sadly, no photographs of Cliff's grandson Todd, who 'assisted' Cliff throughout.

Robert Westmorland on King Jack Martin Denyer in Spinney Box

Shaun's Black 5 successful boiler test

An extra 'plus' for the day was Shaun's successful boiler test for his black five. At first Alan S struggled with a tiny tv camera on the end of a wire to see the inside of the firebox until Shaun eventually disclosed that the grate and ashpan were removable when David G grovelled on the wet ground to see the dry firebox.

A real bonus was the gate cctv camera repaired. Thank you Andrew and Alan A."

Technical Reports of the day

Thank you Cliff for your efforts.

26th July and Doncaster guests

Pictures by guests on the day. Click on the first picture for a larger view.
Doncaster Frontispiece Doncster 2
Doncaster3 Doncaster4
Please tell David G to move his junk off Bay Tree platform so it doesn't spoil the photographs.


tiding ballast store

Step back a day and Friday afternoon was thunder and lightning with very heavy rain. If that continued it could have been a re-run of the High Wycombe visit (see previous news). Thankfully the opposite happened and we had a very hot summers day, some complaining it was too hot especially working a steam locomotive. Alan and June had guests from Doncaster, some travelling for the day whilst others stayed locally overnight. Before the event, I put on the web site a pre visit task list pre arrival of the V.I.P.s, which included S&T work, tidying the ballast store, cleaning signal boxes, coaching stock and emptying the Old Oak turn table of leaves and clearing the drainage sump from the pit. During the week, Cliff had been down to clear the line of leaves, leaving them in the Old Oak turntable pit and Alan A had also been busy tidying the site. The visitors were impressed with the work done for them and some had tried the simulator on the web site.

tidying old oak kids waving at Dingly

The picture shows the happy children who climbed aboard and did not want to get off. I only ran with one coach with the intention of spreading the load onto other trains but somehow they all managed to squeeze on by sitting two abreast which I have not seen before. They were all very well behaved, waving to everyone and told the driver when to go. A few children enjoyed driving the small electric locomotive.

bbq 260714

Robin has designed another form this time in the guise of a planning roster which worked extremely well, ensuring there was enough people to run the railway. David G was the controller and managed to get two locomotives in steam at 13.00 and ensured the visitors were kept happy with plenty of train movements.

The day ended with another fine BBQ with some guests staying for this and joining in with the conversations. It was a very pleasant end to a marvellous day, trains ran and everyone was pleased with the day.

Thank you June, Katherine, Louise and Amanda for the food preparation and serving.

Loco news

john sadd dave rogerson

Eight locos on the track:- L94 (Tim / Heather), class 20 (Mick C), Clan Line (Shaun), Jessy (Cliff), Kate (Mick C), Scot 6109 (Alan S), class 2 No 78054 (Nick) and finally King Jack (Alan A). Mick C used his class 20 to get the stock into position before he steamed Kate. Kate and King Jack were used for the driver experiences. Dave Rogerson (left picture) was 70 on the day so many happy returns to him. He drove Kate under instruction from Mick C and John Sadd (right picture) drove King Jack. Scot 6109 retired early as it needs glands re-packing on the valve cylinder.

Cliff measured the distance he travelled using GPS which apparently also worked when he was in the tunnel. Clan line is measured by wheel rotation and statistics are as follows, 4 hours, 56 scale miles, 7 actual miles, maximum speed 11.7 mph (93.5 mph scale), whilst Jessy (0-4-0) is GPS and 2 hours 50 minutes, 29 scale miles, 3.7 actual miles, max speed 7.9 mph scale 63.2 mph. Cliff also ran out of steam and apologises, when we returned from tea so there was a short delay in starting again, but the weather was so good no one minded.

Nick has taken over some of the tasks to maintain boiler records and was seen checking and updating where necessary. L94 passed its steam test.

S & T news

new old oak diagram new baytree diagram

baytree diagram

Alan A, Andrew, David G and Alan S spent the morning in cramped conditions installing the new track diagrams at Baytree and Old Oak. Old Oak was quickly installed whilst Baytree threw up problem after problem and was finished just in time otherwise we may have been looking at over running engineering works, just like old BR. The diagrams look superb and 100% improvement on previous diagrams. Old Oak needs a little work now to change the signal plates to make the signal box fully operational. All the signals were checked to be in working order which seems to be good practice for all running days.

Bob was unable to be present as his car is suffering from mechanical problems so we hope it can be fixed in time for the next running day and in addition we need signalmen.

Next time

Still a few jobs to complete:-

Pre 26th July and VIP guests

I normally add a - Next time - section for jobs to complete but as i was not around i am writing a list of jobs that need to be done this Saturday before the VIP guests arrive from Doncaster. This additional news has been written to prompt everyone that the Spinney needs to look more presentable for this Saturday and continue the trend to make the Spinney even better for the friends and families day in August. We will all benefit from a tidy and presentable Spinney.

Alan A is making a start by taking a couple of days off this week to make the Spinney more presentable but would those that are coming on Saturday please give sometime in the morning for the following tasks:-

Thank you in advance and hope to have lots of good news to write about on Saturday.

12th July and Summer returns

Nick at Bay Tree Adrian at Old Oak

Visitor on Kate

What a contrast to the last running day - warm, dry and pleasant weather

No controller had been appointed last time but Mike Collins valiantly stepped up to take on the role, combining it with running his class 20 and Kate. Other engines in steam were Eileen Grant, King Jack and 78054. The flange way at the spring point on the up line just below Spinney box was widened to successfully cure the derailing problem of the last two sessions.

Nick Smith took over the boiler records paperwork and was to be seen happily recording the information required in the rather cumbersome new scheme.David Grant volunteered as controller next time.

Kate, Mike and Pupil Kate, Mike and Pupil again

Nick and pupil

The last three pictures show the railway being enjoyed by youngsters. Thank you Mike and Nick for lending your locomotives to the next generation.

The day ended with a relaxing barbeque in a balmy evening; thank you June.

28th June 2014 High Wycombe visit

briefing driver training
Dave MB learning from Cliff tims guest

As the pictures show, not a good summers day, in fact it was torrential and heavy rain up to tea time. It was unbelievably wet for running trains and Wimbledon tennis suspended all matches except the centre court which has a cover, however we carried on to entertain our guests, the High Wycombe club. It was also Glastonbury music festival weekend and that is known for the rain and mud, luckily we did not have the mud to contend with, the rain was bad enough. We all looked like drowned rats by the end of the day. The day started with punning vegetation which is growing at an alarming rate, S&T checked all was working and wagons and coaches put in place. Thanks to Alan and June for making the garden and grounds very presentable, a lot hard work has obviously been done.

The signal boxes became popular for getting out of the rain. The rails were slippery so i added the railhead treatment which solved the problem. We were also short staffed, 9 in total and not enough to man all the signal boxes, coupled with the rain and operational problems, it was a challenging day for all as we did not have the back up for when equipment decided to fail. Now you know what it is like on the full size railway at times. I was quite busy and unfortunately I was unable to take many photographs. Some of our guests left after tea time and quite by surprise it stopped raining and those that were left were able to enjoy the railway a bit more.

possession board

We ran six driving experiences, one hour long. We made the Old Oak branch a possession marked by a possession limit board and signal (See picture). One train can then run up and down the branch without a signalman. Spinney signalman (Richard) had instructions not to allow trains to enter or leave the branch without Controllers authority. Two driving experiences ran concurrently with one on the branch and the other on the main line. They decided to split their hour with half an hour on each. Making the branch a possession allowed the guest to shunt wagons and drive up and down the branch as they so wished on a minimum staffing level. Despite the weather, they enjoyed themselves. David G conducted the driver experience on the branch line and rode on a driving truck whilst Alan A did the driving experiences on the main line. Unfortunately, David caught his foot on the brick wall by the building and this caused the riding truck to derail and throw him off. I have contacted David and whilst he says his foot still hurts, he will not trouble the NHS just yet. Another derailment occurred at Spinney when the riding truck of 6109 derailed on the sprung crossover although the yellow light was alight, this will need investigation. We had one non-railway incident, there was a loud noise and a thud, and on investigation, it was found that a branch next door broke off and had crashed to the ground. The sound of it falling was heard for quite a distance.

Loco news

Five locos on the track. Locomotives were: Pannier 1366 (Jamie), Scott Line (Electric) (Heather), Scot 6109 (David G), class 2 No 78054 (Tom) and finally King Jack (Alan A). Scot 6109 and King Jack were used for the driver experiences. The leading pony wheels on King Jack derailed when leaving Dingly on the last set of point before entering Baytree section on the up line. This was found to be a track problem, with not enough clearance between the switch rail and the stock rail. I am not at the next meeting and Bob will show which points and the exact root of the problem. Tom and Jamie steamed up to provide a double headed passenger service but not many takers and those that did normally only managed half a circuit before deciding to get under cover.

S&T news

Richard changed the signal plug connection on the splitting distant for Baytree in the morning whilst Bob continued with his mammoth wiring project in the Dingly signal box. The S&T report that things held up remarkably well including the track circuits in the extreme wet conditions. There was a problem with the bell / block instruments between Spinney and Baytree which Richard managed to resolve once he found enough time to leave the signal box and get back before the next train. H track circuit at Spinney needs bonds checking or resistor adjusted as it did not like the wet weather. A problem occurred where the phone system went down so Bob made a dash between trains to fix the problem. The CCTV is still not working in Spinney box for the level crossing.

Next time

As we concentrated on preparing the site for the guests, the following work is still required:-

14th June 2014


learner driver busy at dingly

loco pit lights and new wagon

A good day weather wise as it only rained at lunchtime. David G was controller and made it very clear that he was by shouting out his orders. This approach seemed to work as he wanted a loco in steam by two o clock and he got what he wanted. Electric out before then. Cliff gave driving lessons to Dave MB as can be seen in the picture. Cliff also now holds the record for over carrying the Branch token. Cliff managed to pass Spinney box at least twice and end up at Dingly where it was collected by the signalman that gave it to him in the first place. Once token back in machine, trains could move again. Nick bought along his new gunpowder wagon which looked good amongst the rest of the freight stock and is shown in the picture. It was almost a freight day with a few light engine movements and one or two passenger trains, a real good mix. Three derailments today, not good for any railway, but the full size are at it as well, they were, Nick derailed at Dingly whilst making a shunt move and the fault was unfortunately due to signalman's error, thankfully no damage done, George the fifth loco derailed when crossing from the up to the down line where the new points indicator has been installed, reason yet to be finalised and the wagons derailed at Old Oak (see last part of news). Alan and June A have been working behind the scenes again, June has been pruning and looking after the grounds whilst, Alan has painted the loco pit and installed the lights and power socket into the wall ready for wiring. More pictures have been added to the gallery pictures 2014 summer running. Jamie also measured the site at Old Oak in preparation for the planned carriage and wagon shed. We also had two visitors from the Wimbourne club, Eric Basire and his wife. Eric is writing a book about Kenton railway locomotives and George the Fifth and the Scot will feature in his book. Hugh and David as owners of the two Kenton Locos here were quizzed by Eric and I know that he appreciated driving the engines as well. A lot of people so a lot of cakes and thanks again to June for the tea and coffee.

Loco news

dave m at old oak nick freight at old oak

Nine locos on the track, must be a record. Locomotives were: Brunel, Pannier 1366, Scott Line (Electric), class 20 (Electric), Karen, Clan Line, Scot, George the fifth 2663 and Jesse. Mick has repaired his electrical connection to the bogie and the loco performed well.

S&T news

A few signals cause problems. Old Oak number 2 signal decided to stick in the on position despite oiling, until the end of the day when it functioned normally. Spinney number one signal when setting for the loop line, had trouble clearing due to point detection. Also at Spinney, number 4 and 18 signals stuck for a while. Robin checked all connections and adjusted where necessary. The signaller still has no visual display for the level crossing and therefore has to leave the signal box, check vehicle has gone before closing the gates.

Outstanding work includes

And finally

derailment at old oak

A minor derailment occurred when packing up, the freight stock when being hauled out of Old Oak sidings to the tunnel, decided not to follow the rest of the train. A mystery as to why they derailed but looked spectacular.

Next time

High Wycombe will be visiting next time, please help if you can.

24th May 2014

The weather forecast was showers but on the whole we had a reasonably dry day although cold at times, no one got wet. Other parts of the country had heavy showers so we were lucky. A good strong gathering today as can be seen in the annual group photo despite David D assuring us he would not be present and then turned up. David D has e mailed to say he will not be attending the next meeting, so we wait and see. Work progressed on the engine shed area and a bit of pruning around the site before we started to run trains. Robin has started a controllers log and this can be viewed in the Friends Section. It has been pointed out to me that the Dingly track diagram was wrong and signals 1 and 3 were labelled the wrong way round. I have now corrected this on the web site but unfortunately the rule book has been printed and will have to wait for next edition or alter yourselves. We did have one operating incident which was unfortunately my fault. I passed a signal at danger outside Spinney signal box and was immediately informed by Adrian what I had done. I was so engrossed in trying to locate a noise / problem with the Scott Line locomotive as it was newly restored, that I inadvertently passed the signal. Fault with loco turned out to be the brake rigging which needs adjustment. A lot of people so a lot of cakes and thanks again to June for the tea and coffee.

Work news

steps ballast delivered

new point with levers

Heather cleaned Spinney signalbox, more spiders made homeless and cleaned the sit in coached. Shaun and Jamie had a look at the rolling stock, annual MOT, adding grease where necessary and testing the vacuum brakes where fitted. Jamie has produced some drawing for the proposed carriage shed which looked good and he now hopes to draw a 3D versions so we can visualise what it will look like. Initial drawings show two levels for carriage and wagon storage. Alan A built and installed two foldable steps in the loco pit, Alan S and Dave M finished cementing the bricks, Mick and David G installed the number 4 siding including the buffer stops, I installed the missing check rail and retaining wood around the point work whilst Robin measured and installed the decking to bond the sleepers together that have the point mechanism. The points worked very well. Scott Line (driven by Scott) can be seen delivering the ballast to the engine shed area.

S&T news

Mike H appeared briefly and helped Bob fix the telephone at Spinney number 6 signal. This was tested and worked with clear speech. The phone by the splitting home needs a new instrument of the old fashioned type and Mike H and Bob are working on it. Baytree had a track circuit failure and the fault was located to a moved relay which had been knocked by a wooden door that is being stored in the box. The track circuits had a few intermittent faults but once trains started running they settled down and worked OK. No other signalling problems were reported.

Loco news

clan line heather driving

Boiler testing was in progress and Brunel passed her hydraulic test whilst Clan Line passed the steam test. Three locomotives out today, Clan Line, Class 20 and Scott Line. Clan Line has received an overhaul over the winter with new fittings and all seemed to be well. Mick's class 20 suffered a failure as only one bogie was supplying any tractive effort. The fault was traced to a faulty connector later in the afternoon. Scott Line made an appearance after approximately two years when it suffered a major fault and went into melt down resulting in a new motor and a complete re wire. This time last year the loco was home to five mice. The locomotive performed well after the brake rigging was adjusted.

Group photo

team 2014

Thanks to Dave MB for volunteering to take the photo, a good setting with new work in the foreground, a train, two lines of people on a different level and the house.

Left to right

Back row, Bob T, Robin, Dave P, Cliff, Mike C, Dave M, Alan S, David G, Alan A

Front row, Scott, Tim, Jamie, Heather, Nick, Shaun, David D, June, Adrian, Richard and Phoebe making sure we did not move.

Not present, Mike H. and Tom Z

The current NEWS ends here.

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