Spinney Light Railway Archive News
Summer 2015

7th November

There were one or two drops of rain today, in fact it did not stop until about 15.00, so pretty miserable start and only 9 friends on site.

king in steam nick in steam

With a bad start due to the weather, the fish and chips and fireworks have been put back to next time, weather permitting. Alan S steamed King Edward V11 whilst Nick steamed his 78054 Standard and both locomotives ran from the engine shed to Dingly Dell and back, so Bob was the only signaller who saw a train or two. It was interesting to watch the trains move as the rails at Dingly could not be seen for the blanket of leaves. Other parts of the railway were also covered. A lot of fun was had with a lot of light hearted jokes etc.

nick blowdown loco tender testing

tree fallen

The pictures above, show Nick blowing down his loco (probably photographed at the wrong angle) whilst the left hand picture shows the Kings tender being tested. A squeak had been heard so David G volunteered to sit on the tender whilst pushed back and forth to try and locate noise. This picture shows David after being pushed a bit hard and fast and he is trying to balance and stay on. A whining noise was heard and after a couple of pushes we narrowed it down to the tender. Righthand picture shows what could have been a lot worse had it completely fallen in a year's time!! A tree adjacent the perimeter fence to the SLR down at Old Oak has fallen as it is completely rotten at the base. It has been saved from completely falling by a much thinner pine tree. Had the carriage shed have been built it would have gone through the corner of the roof. Jamie is very glad that he had not found his pencil sharpener earlier otherwise we may have already started the build!

S & T news (From Bob)

Although we had enough competent signallers to run there would not have been many left to steam. Given the early call not to run, due to the awful morning weather, the opportunity was taken to get a head start on maintenance by S&T. The signal retrieval was left until next time in the hope that the weather would be better next time, except for the position light signal at the MPD exit, which Richard took home to rebuild. Bob continued to prepare Dingly Dell for the next, and hopefully final, wave of relays to complete the current interlocking plan. There was also a good deal of practising interpersonal skills. The signal boxes were tested, as on any normal day, and found to be working normally, apart from one track circuit at Dingly Dell occasionally showing occupied. This was not a surprise as the rails could not be seen under a cover of soaking wet leaves. Early bath for everyone, in more ways than one.

Next time

Put signals away. Due to the awful weather, it is hoped to have fish and chips next time followed by fireworks (all weather permitting). The point in the loco approach needs attention this winter as on blade has become detached from the stretcher and mechanism.

24th October

carriage shed planning leaf clearing

young signallers in baiter

Richard was controller today and thanks everyone (via e mail) for ensuring all went well and thanks also to June for the tea's. The weather was a but overcast and luckily we timed our finish to avoid the worst of the rain. We had visitors with steam locomotives and Dave M Stepdad organised visitors from his motor club. This time of year is prone to leaves on the line and today was no exception and many had fallen covering the rails. Heather, David G and Dave MB bought along Alex, Emma and friend who again helped clear the line of leaves. Emma, Alex and friend were rewarded with the chance to operate Baytree signalbox under the guidance of David G and Richard. Jamie has found his pencil sharpener and produced some drawings for the carriage shed and both Robin and Jamie spent the day pegging out the location of the carriage shed. Unfortunately some of the pegs were knocked out of place.

Locomotives on track today were L94, Scott Line, Kate, Atlantic and Holmside. Scott Line started the day by running around the site, track cleaning. Alan S worked on the King Edward V11 whilst Nick worked on his locomotive 78054 Standard. Cliff steamed Jesse but the manifold failed again and will need further attention.

atlantic holmside old oak

fixing point old oak

The two pictures above show the visiting locomotives. Rob Holt with his Atlantic from the Eastleigh Lakeside Railway and Simon Merritt with his Holmside which runs at Bankside, Bainbridge garden centre near Winchester. Both locomotives were quickly in steam and ran all afternoon hauling passenger trains, Holmside can be seen at Old Oak with everyone waving. David D had to leave early so was replaced by Heather who had a brief lesson from David. Shortly after she took over, 7B points failed and 7A points started oscillating, stopping all movements at Old Oak. Heather said that this was not in her lesson. David G was called to fault find and can be seen testing everything in the point motor. Whilst this was going on, we still ran trains to and from Old Oak, a bolt was temporarily removed from 7B points so that they could be altered manually. The fault was traced to be another unplugged connector, thus no electrical power at the point motor. How this became an issue mid running is a mystery. 7A points needed adjustment on the stops for the micro switches.

Next time

With weather permitting it is hoped to have an earlier tea break followed by fish and chips (delivered) and fireworks. Please bring a firework or two. It is hoped not to be too late so that the young children can join in.

17th October visit to the Vale of Aylesbury club

unloading apparatus double track

Robin, Nick, Tom, Dave M, Dave M's Stepdad and Tim visited the Vale of Alyesbury club track which runs in a figure of eight with a diamond crossover and all constructed using steel rail on plastic sleepers. Interesting to note was the track construction across the roadway where the two running lines sat side by side then parted after the level crossing. This avoided having a point where pedestrians and vehicles crossed. The unloading equipment was very user friendly with a hydraulic table electrically controlled using one of two buttons which allowed access from a car, van or trailer of any height. The table was then adjusted to meet with rails that were on a turntable which allowed 360 degrees rotation before aligning with a traverser to transport locomotives to a steaming bay or track access. The steaming bays had electrical terminals located underneath for connecting blowers whilst water was supplied by a communal water hose.

robin and nick t9 nick freight

Robin and Nick had use of Steve T's T9 locomotive for the day and after collecting, steamed up and spent the day hauling a freight train. The track is colour light signalled which is automatic except for the main station area. A tunnel makes an interesting feature as does the diamond crossing.

dave wagon tim freight

There was one passenger train whilst all the others were hauling freight stock. The pictures above show Dave M with his new wagon in formation and Tim's L94 also hauling a short freight train. At the end of the day all the wagons were coupled together, 27 in total, and hauled around the circuit, Video Here. Thanks to the hosts for the tea and coffee and their hospitality.

mystery driver

Can you guess who is driving L94 across the level crossing, it doesn't look like he can see where he is going or what might be in front.

The track runs parallel to the Quainton Road standard gauge society and the Network rail line to Aylesbury. The society made a couple of shunt moves, possibly to shunt coaches and to observe what we were doing. Quainton Road also has Oxford Rewley Road station building which was dismantled and resurrected there and now houses two Royal coaches and a Castle locomotive on show.

10th October

dave 40th birthday dave wagon

mending water pump

Saturday was Dave's 40th Birthday and at the beginning of the day, received a couple of cards and presents, so Happy Birthday to Dave. As a surprise. Dave's wife, Jenny ordered a wagon as can be seen in the picture. Dave collected this from the midlands model engineering show at Leamington Spa and we look forward to seeing it on the track as part of a freight train. I suggested to Heather a similar arrangement but judging from her replies, it doesn't look like I will get one (unable to publish replies). The right hand picture shows what nearly became of a show stopper as we could not get water to the watering points and would of meant no running of steam locomotives. Thankfully, Robin found the water pump and discovered a broken wire, which was duly repaired by the friends in the picture. Locomotive 78054 had a boiler test and duly passed but did not run today.

dave and tim doublehead mick and passengers

cliff ons cottline

Last running day we had a Charity as guests and this time we had people from the same Charity that were unable to visit on the day but wanted to see the railway. David G taught them how to signal Baytree signal box whilst others enjoyed a ride on a train or two. Initially Dave and Tim double headed but the passenger demand tailed off very quickly and Dave resorted to driver experience trips up and down the loco shed approach road. Cliff worked on Clan Line as he wishes to run it next week at the Vale of Aylesbury club track then drove the electric locomotive, Scottline.

david g in teaching mode young driver

king at dingy

Alan S steamed the King, and was observed running around the track, unfortunately the King had a derailment on the point work coming out of the Spinney tunnel, but was soon back on the rails. Alan A also had a drive.

Locomotives out today were: L94, 1369 pannier, Class 20, Scott Line and the King. Thanks to Adrian and Alan A for the photographs and of course, June for the refreshments.

3rd October visit to Ingfield Manor Railway

richard and wife line up

goods train

Richard S and wife, Dave MB with Alex and Emma plus Heather and I had a great time at Infield Manor Railway. On arrival we were told we could help ourselves to tea and coffee and not wait to be asked which made a nice atmosphere. Richard can be seen riding behind their Scot whilst, Alex and Emma were allowed to drive the internal combustion engine and Hymec up and down the new extension. The picture shows the smiles on all faces. Heather and I were allowed to drive the Scot and the pannier tank (unaccompanied) which previously belonged to Robert Symes the TV personality who has now sadly passed away. Robert used to present Tomorrows World, for those that can remember back that far.


We finally packed up about 18.15 when they decided to run one long train to mark the end of the day. The visit for 2016 is still available just need to confirm the date.

And Finally - at the end of the day, jacket potatoes wrapped in silver foil were placed into the smoke box of the Scot for cooking. Apparently lamb and pasties have been cooked this way, something that we on 7 1/4 can not do due to space but interesting to view. Thanks to the Ingfield team for their hospitality and look forward to 2016.

19th September Charity Day

A glorious day for the Charity event, excellent organisation from both parties and everyone enjoying themselves, a really good day.

Hayden with tortoise music


The Charity organisers had this one sewn up, portable toilets provided at Spinney station, all level / foot crossings manned for safety, many stalls and all ready for start time and plenty of helpers, some with cameras most aimed at the railway. Equipment started arriving the day previous and was ready for their team to erect and fill. This is the first time we have seen a goat, orange snake called Tango and a tortoise at Spinney, more like a zoo, but people were encouraged to touch them. Hayden can be seen with the tortoise. There was face painting, name the train, knocking tin cans down, food, and live music all afternoon, so plenty to attractions for visitors to part with their money, we hope the charity did well.

busy at old oak music

Robin was controller for the day and as usual, he had everything planned, e mailing us all a spread sheet detailing what needs to be done, locomotives assigned to routes and which coaches to use. Heather did her part of being a transparent wall maintenance engineer (window cleaner) on the signal boxes, Tom tidied up the loco traverser area whilst others tidied the site, placed coal at the appropriate places and placed the rolling stock in the right place using Scott Line. There were dedicated services, Dingly Dell to Spinney and return, Old Oak to Spinney and return and a Spinney to Spinney circular. Locomotives carried coloured discs to indicate which service they were on. This meant that people were evenly spread and all got to ride a train. Bob is out of the country and Richard took his place in Dingly Dell as well as being the S&T on call representative. Richard G in Baytree, David D in Old Oak and Robin, Andrew in Spinney. Eric was observed taking an interest in Spinney signalbox but found it highly confusing and chaotic. Spinney was a very busy signalbox and at times needed two signallers to cope with demand and keeping an eye on how many times trains had gone round. David D at Old Oak managed to regulate the branch by waiting for a train to arrive before sending a train up the branch. The above pictures show busy scenes at Old Oak and below at Spinney but this was the case throughout the railway.

busy at spinney alan with scot

The above picture shows a busy scene at Spinney with three trains in their area plus others waiting to enter the platform. Alan A gave driver experience sessions on King Jack to those that that won a sealed bid process organised by the charity, it is believed that one person generously donated £100 which is very commendable. The railway suffered a points failure before the start of running at Spinney box. 9A points failed but Richard managed to rectify the fault by resetting the electrical protection. However at approximately 17.15 the whole railway came to a stand still as Spinney 9A and 7 points failed and nothing could move, something Network Rail manage quite easily. Fault traced to Spinney 9A points having a mechanical failure causing the electrical protection to trip and affect 7 points. 9A points will need looking at this winter.

Locomotives on track today were:- Scott Line, L94, Karen, Scot, Clan Line, LMS 7163, King Jack and visiting locomotive 31873 from Vale of Aylesbury (Andy and Joe), who have visited before and were a great help (thanks). Cliff managed to have Clan Line in steam at 11.46 (another record) and helped Tom test and adjust the brakes on the vacuum stock. Thanks to June and Louise for the tea and cakes as we did not stop for the usual tea break and the evening chat over a beer and hot cross buns, (although it is not Easter).

12th September Cockcrow gala

The annual Cockcrow Gala was originally over one weekend but this event has this year seen trains running from Thursday to Sunday. How long before it becomes a week long event!!! Just shows the level of interest. Cockcrow always seem to have good weather and this year was no different, although there was a rain shower approx 09.00 the day brightened up and became pleasant.

l94 and class 20 smiths

spinney friends

This year saw a record number of Spinney friends (12) at the gala and a good display of Spinney shirts, Tim, Heather, Alan S, Mick C, Dave M, Dave MB, David G, Jamie, Adrian, Robin, Nick and Cliff with Five Spinney locomotives running, L94, Pannier 1369, LMS 7163, Clan Line and Class 20. Jamie and Dave M ran their locomotives on Friday, unfortunately Dave's Pannier 1369 suffered a superheater fault and retired early. However Cockcrow team got together and made a repair, after which, it was steamed again and it ran Friday evening. On Saturday, L94 left Hardwick at 10.50 and arrived back at 16.15, so it had a good run. Clan Line broke her own record running 18.5 real miles in the day, with a biggest load of 17 people, with a T9 as pilot. Dave M also bought along his brand new Standard 5 locomotive 73115, which was on display at Hardwick bay platform, hope to see it in steam during 2016.

73115 at cockcrow scot 6100

line up

Saturday evening saw a line up of three T9 locomotives, Southern 730, 117, 30285 and Cliff with Clan Line. The locos were all started by John Morgan, Clan Line was the only one he finished and John Butt finished the T9s, all of which are now owned by folk at Cockcrow. John's widow died four weeks ago, her and John's daughter Susie was there with her family, so the John Morgan line up was a great moment for them.

Royal Scot from Yorkshire was also present and would like to visit the Spinney as his daughter does not live too far away. It would be nice to see this Scot next to David G Scot.

As usual we all had a great time and thanks to the Great Cockcrow team for allowing us the pleasure of running on their railway.

And finally

Cliffs oiling device

I was sent this picture taken at Cockcrow of oil containers lined up on a wall, however there seems to be evidence that Cliff is not too far away, you spot the clue?

5th September 40th Anniversary

A little bit of organising confusion prior to the day but that is normal for any event, however with team effort it resulted in one of the best days for having guests, all of whom had rides and spoke highly of the Spinney railway. Robin was controller so what could possibly go wrong. David D was observed making repairs to the point machines at old Oak which were damage at the last meeting.

andrew and louise with notice cases notice case 1

notice case 2

The pictures show Andrew and Louise placing the new notice cases on the wall. The notice cases displayed pictures from 1985 kindly supplied by Mike Walshaw and made interesting viewing looking at how the railway has changed with track, signalling, locos and vegetation.

It really highlighted how much work goes in to running, maintaining and improving the railway also some of the old faces that once graced the Spinney. Robin and Alan A have been working on a document detailing the first 40 years and this will be published soon. I also hope to provide a then and now picture page on the web site in the future.

cake speech

ballantine dyke family

Tea was marked with cutting of a cake decorated for the 40th Anniversary and speeches. June did exceptionally well as the cake was only ordered the day previous and delivered Saturday morning, that's what we call just in time freight on the railway. The cake was a traditional fruit cake topped with icing and was delicious, not much left at the end of the day. Both Alan and Hugh gave speeches which thanked all those involved with the Spinney railway over the years. Hugh enlightened us with stories about his father, how he was noted being out at two o clock in the morning mapping out the tunnel alignments on the night of his daughter's wedding. The earth from the tunnel was moved to create the groundwork for the track from Baytree to Dingly Dell, so nothing was wasted.

For the cutting of the cake and speeches, everyone gathered round and it was nice to see the Ballantine Dyke family, Myke and Marion and other guests from the past who once regularly attended Spinney.

1369 pannier alan a 8f
hugh at baytree kate at baytree

Signalmen today were Bob, Robin, David D and Richard whilst locomotives running today were:- L94, 1369 Pannier, Class 20, Clan Line, LMS 7163, Eileen Grant, 2663, Scott Line and finally King Edward V11 no 6001 came out and seemed to run well. Alan A is pictured on the 8F which was not in steam but was bought out to re created a scene from earlier years. With nine locos on the track, Spinney inevitably became congested at times especially when there was a track circuit fault just outside the signalbox. This has received a temporary repair using a piece of cardboard. A more permanent repair will be required for next time. Dingly did not go without action as there were three locomotive earth faults (derailments) and Scott Line decided to inspect the turn table pit. Luckily no one was hurt or any damage done and made an interesting day for Bob. As for the three locomotives in the ballast at Dingly Dell, Kate's trip into the ballast was put down to buffer locking, no more problems after a longer coupling chain was fitted. The other two incidents were both large engines coming into platform 1. Their leading bogies wanted to go straight on at point 11A and this was enough to pull their drivers off of the curve route that they were taking. The points were examined after each incident but no obvious fault found. More investigation required. There was also one Cat A SPaD at Spinney.

Putting the above to one side, with so many trains running, no one had to wait long for a train and Hugh gave driving tuition to his family. Alan had invited some guests from Surbiton and they were amazed at the Spinney railway and operations as they had never seen anything like this before. Also invited was Chris Knibbs who works on the Bluebell heritage railway and also the Ingfield manor railway to which he has given us an invite to the 10 1/4 inch gauge railway.

After the running many people stayed for at the BBQ, possibly the most I have seen. Amongst the chit chat the topic of the planned carriage shed cropped up and Jamie who is drawing the plans replied that there has not been much progress since last time as he is waiting for a pencil sharpener he has ordered from eBay. June and Alan were also presented with a card for becoming Grandparents again.

Next time is Charity day and we will be short of a signalman as Bob is off on his holiday so we will not see him until Firework day - enjoy

22nd August

Sweltering hot day for the friends and families day and there were many friends and guests today enjoying the railway and relaxing in the shade. David G was controller and then I took over when he had to leave for an evening engagement.

mick and sarah henry driving

Thanks to those that made it to the Spinney in time to tidy up the site, Dave M was observed blowing leaves and Robin pruning the vegetation. Traffic has been bad lately and Mick C reported a journey time of four hours which equals Bob's normal journey time but a lot less in distance. Alan A has painted the handrails on the bridge over the branch line but because they were not yellow, I did not notice in order to get a picture. I will endeavour to look next time. Most of the time, the locos on the track were being driven by family and friends and the pictures above show Jamie's son Henry driving Scott Line under the watchful eye of Heather whilst in the background, Alan S daughter Philippa can be seen driving Karen. Philippa said she thought she had got the hang of driving and enjoyed herself whilst Alan was thinking of fitting a seat belt. Lefthand picture shows Micks daughter Sarah having a drive.

Locomotives on track

busy at baytree

L94, Scott Line, Karen, King Jack, Class 20, 1369 Pannier, LMS 7163 and visiting loco Tarn Beck Number 2. L94 took three hours to steam up and when it did so it was tea time, I will try and be quicker for the anniversary - the loco just did not want to steam. A few locos had injector problems and I wonder if it was due to the wrong type of heat and maybe the water was too warm for the injectors. Must not complain too much for having glorious weather. The lefthand picture shows a busy scene at Baytree, with King Jack leaving the station after a blow up and the rarely used starting signal cleared. Scott Line had previously been given the calling on signal.

tarn beck tarn beck

level crossing alteration

The main attraction today was the arrival of visiting locomotive Tarn Beck number two who arguable must be the largest and heaviest locomotive to run at the Spinney. At two feet wide and weighing in at 0.8 of a tonne clearance was a bit of an issue. The loco belongs to Mike and Lorraine from the Littledale railway in Lancashire and after running at the Spinney were on route to run at Beer Heights railway at Pecorama who are also celebrating their 40th Anniversary. Tarn Beck number two, built in 2008, is one of two River Class locomotives and named after the river that runs past at the bottom of their garden. The pictures show the level crossing receiving alteration work to provide clearance. At Spinney, the reversible platform line was deemed too narrow and could not be used whilst the other platform had a slab removed. Alan A looked quite comfortable driving the loco.

Next time

Robin will be controller and has already started by e mailing us all with a detailed plan for the next meeting, 40th SLR anniversary.

1st August

Another warm day with initially 8 friends ending in 9, low in numbers mainly due to holidays. Cliff was late so we started lunch without him but then Dave MB beat Cliff for late arrival by attending mid afternoon well after Cliff had arrived, are they in competition? Today was very relaxed with the emphasis on loco maintenance, tidying up the railway rather than running trains. Heather cut back the bushes at Old Oak so that the signalmen can see the trains and the trains don't brush past them. I cleaned up the Old Oak and Dingly loco fire dropping areas, emptied and washed the buckets to make it more presentable.

S & T gang engine shed work

Old Oak point number 7 has not worked for the past two running days (see previous news) and the S & T gang finally found the fault - the external electrical connectivity device had an air gap causing a loss of electrical transfer capability, requiring equal force to be applied from both ends, or in laymans terms, it had become unplugged, now plugged back together it works fine. The caravan style plug and socket was buried under leaves and not spotted, a mystery as to how this happened. Baytree number 4 point is now giving cause for concern as it is wearing heavily and trains now have to pass slowly over it to avoid the risk of derailment. This point must be repaired this winter. Alan S spent all day making and fitting pipe work to the King loco, piping in a clack, hand pump feed and control valves. Alan A cut the floor to allow the control valves to be accessible. David G worked on his Scot, replacing the gasket on the lefthand cylinder which involved removing the crosshead and piston. All replaced and David steamed the loco and had a trundle round at the end of the day.

Slocodetailadded.jpgpinney full mick passenger train

No controller appointed today and for most of the day we only had one loco running, therefore the coaches and wagons were brought out of the tunnel and stored a Spinney station leaving one line open to allow trains to pass in both directions which made an unusual sight, all platforms full. David D had some guests arrive and they had a railway to themselves with Mick taking them round with his class 20 and Bob at Dingly and Richard at Spinney signalling where required. Baytree was left unmanned whilst at Old Oak, David D operated the frame to allow the loco to run round.

loco detail added locos galore

Mick has painted the coloured pipe connections and added rubber piping to add a bit of detail on his class 20. Also in the picture, Dave MB can be seen quickly snapping up the last piece of cake before anyone else can get to it. Here you can see his tactics to beat Phoebe. The picture on the right shows nearly all locos out and filling up the engine shed roads, only one in steam which was the Scot.

Thanks to June for the orange juice and many cups of tea. As it was a relaxed afternoon we had tea at Baytree so we did not have to walk anywhere, is that being too relaxed!

18th July

Another warm day and a good turn out.

Tidy up

June and Dave MB Family derailment at old oak

A good start to the day with many friends arriving early to help with tidying up the site as June has been busy elsewhere with Alan not being up to full speed after his Knee Op. Alan S was controller for today and soon got things moving, however still a lot of talking observed. Dave MB bought along his two kids, Alex and Emma who can be seen in the first picture jointly picking up cuttings for the fire. Apparently they were offered chocolate!!! but were rewarded with driving Scott Line, see pictures section. Other areas were pruned and trimmed and droppings all cleared away. We also had a derailment, see picture and this has happened before in the same place. The track is due to be renewed when the carriage shed its constructed.

Clan Line and L94 dave mb family train

adams loco

Andy, Richard and Jo all from the Vale of Aylesbury club bought along a new locomotive, 4-4-2 Adams Radial numbered 488. They have been before and are familiar with the SLR. Their loco ran quite well except for one small derailment where the front pony truck fell off after passing a trailing spring point at Baytree, no damage observed and it was soon trundling around the track again. The picture above shows Dave MB with Alex and Emma, a family train all to themselves. Later on, Alex was observed driving Eileen under instruction and both Alex and Emma drove Scott Line which in all made their day, worth the leaf clearing in the morning.

Loco news

tom and jamie fixing locos

Plenty to report on this subject, as there was maintenance been carried out on two locos. Dave M returned Clan Line after a stint at the Guilford track during their annual gala and model show. Cliff attempted to steam Jesse but a repair replacing a gasket but failed whilst steaming up. Jamie worked on LMS 7163 tank loco removing the two mechanical axle pumps to establish why they are not pumping, a blocked pipe has also not been ruled out. Tom worked tirelessly on King Jack all afternoon, replacing the cylinder cover gasket and hopefully we will see this loco steamed at the next meeting.

Locos out on track today were:- L94 - Heather and Tim, Scott Line - Tim, Alex and Emma, Clan Line, Dave M, Eileen,- David G, Dave MB and Alex and 4-4-2 Adams Radial 488 visiting locomotive.

S & T news

fixing point at old oak

point half way

Whilst the site was being tidied up, a small group (see picture) investigated a few problems involving points. Firstly, number 9 points at Spinney required investigation but not sure of the outcome as they worked well during the afternoon. Number 7 points at Old Oak failed last meeting and still refused to work this time even after many people had looked into the box. Richard tried testing it with a long pair of wires but to no avail. This caused operational problems at Old Oak as the point had to be held across manually.And finally as the picture shows, Spinney number 5 point as you exit the tunnel failed in mid position. Luckily it was spotted and Alan A immediately fixed the problem - a bent contact had restricted movement.

Next time

Change of date from advertised and next meeting will be Saturday 1st August.

4th July - It was hot!

Phoebe was hot

Holidays, knee surgery and a rival attraction at Cockcrow depleted our ranks today, so 9 souls did the biz, ran 4 locos and manned 4 signal boxes, with one spare person to respond to the controller's whim. (Like pour water over the bridge to keep it cool - it was a lovely hot day and it expands, tricking a track circuit into thinking a train is on its way from Baytree when it isn't - this S&T stuff is much easier to fool than a locomotive).

Jamie brought half his family to see his new acquisition (7163 0-6-0) perform admirably on both passenger and freight duties. Alan S ran Karen all afternoon, and Mick C used Kate to give his new friend a go (found him on holiday in Greece), while the friend & wife were on their way home to Swansea. Even further than Bob!

Kate and Mike's Welsh visitors Alan S and Karen

King Jack waits in vain

Apart from a few faults possibly caused by the heat (Phantom trains, sticking signals etc.) the railway ran well. Robin signalled as this involved neither bending nor sitting down, both being out of the question since he woke in the week with a stiff back. This got him out of moving bridge duties, or picking anything up from the floor, in fact, almost anything useful.

King Jack sat in the sun all afternoon waiting for Alan A to turn up, but after surgery on Thursday, feeling fine on Friday (Still under the anaesthetic) this was not possible. He may be out tomorrow, possibly assisted by screaming at nurses with the pain all day Saturday. We all wish him well and a speedy recovery.

Pilot driver

Absolute star for the day was June, with extra cold drinks, as well as usual hospitality. Thanks June! And thanks to the team for making the Controller's job non-stressful. Alan S in charge next time - 18th July. Watch out folk for the 8th August date to change - TBC.

20th June High Wycombe visit

david carriage cleaning dingly turntable repair
handrail installation tea at old oak

High Wycombe visited today and thankfully it was not a repeat of last year - weatherise. Last year we had torrential rain but this year we had a couple of showers where coats were required but after the shower it was warm and sunny. The High Wycombe group was fewer in numbers this year with a father and son who had not been before and were amazed at the scale of the railway and its operations and upkeep. Most of the visitors managed to get a drive and some had a go at signalling.

I was controller for the day and June had e mailed to ask if site clearing could happen before we all got involved with steam locomotives. A tidy up of the site involved leaf blowing, picking up leaves and pine cones. David D had a bucket of pine cones he had collected and he said if he walked a bit faster he could be the pines express. With all the dry leaves placed on the bonfire, it reignited itself creating a smoky atmosphere at Old Oak and Dingly. One of the wooden planks on the Dingly turntable is showing signs of rot and Alan S investigated but will require repairing at a later date. The bridge on the main line over the branch had its hand rails installed (after approx 3 years). Tom made the hand rails and delivered at the last meeting and it was good to see them installed, they just need painting, I have some yellow paint … … …

dave mb driving jamie and dave at spinney
cliff at spinney high wycombe in spinney box

The visitors arrived and were given the new brief then Graham, the High Wycombe organiser, gave the them a tour of the site whilst we steamed up. Thanks Graham for your organising prior to the day and during the afternoon, it helped me a lot and I think made it possible for everyone to enjoy themselves. Graham has also e mailed to thank us for our hospitality. The whole day seemed to run smoothly and relaxing as could be which made my job as controller a lot easier, thanks to you all.

Loco news

Seven locomotives out today and were Scott Line - Tim, Clan Line - Cliff, LMS 7163 - Jamie, Eileen Grant - David G, Pannier 1369 - Dave M and Tom, Karen - Alan S, and King jack - Alan A. David G and Alan A gave driving experiences all afternoon. All steam locomotives at some point during the day had issues with the fire going out but managed to get going again.


Richard tested all the signalling in the morning and prior to the day I thought there would not be enough signallers. However, as it turned out we had too many which should not be a problem. Good to have more than not enough as last year we couldn't man the Old Oak box. Spinney box had a few problems in the afternoon, number three signal kept sticking and not replace to danger and the points indicator was not working. Both issues will need addressing for next time

Next time

The next meeting is on the 4th July and Cliff has volunteered to be controller for that day, thanks Cliff for making it easy for me to choose next controller. A few friends will be missing, David G and myself will not be present so there will not be any news for the next event, therefore next news will be 18th July.

6th June

Good glorious weather sun shining and we had visitors from the Wimbourne club, who have been before but not for may years. Richard was controller who managed to get the railway started with a shortage of signallers which was overcome with a few adjustments. Cliff e mailed to say he would not be able to attend but Jamie e mailed to say he would take Cliff's place and arrive at lunch time so we knew what time of day it was. Jamie ran his loco with family on board. We were a bit short staffed at the beginning but with late arrivals we were able to provide a good service.

Alan S driving David driving
Mick driving Alan driving

Locos on track

Locomotives on track were:- L94 - Heather, Tim and Chris, Karen - Alan S, King Jack - Alan A plus visitors, LMS tank - Jamie, Eileen,- David G and Heather, Kate - Mick plus visitors, also worthy of note is that the Essex / Herts contingency all drove their own steam locomotives on the same day which is rare. Also to note that there were no diesel locomotives today - all steam with a mixture of freight and passenger workings.

Wimbourne visitors

Chris driving Wimbourne visitors driving
Chris driving Wimbourne visitors driving

The pictures above show the atmosphere and how the Wimbourne club got involved with driving and especially the youngsters who took an interest in the signalling and thanks to Robin and Nick for encouraging them to have hands on experience in the signalbox and Mick C for allowing driving experiences with his locomotive.

At teatime, Chris was nominated the Wimbourne spokesperson and thanked the Spinney for the invitation and hospitality and invited us to their club.

And finally

Tom lawnmower repair

Alan A whilst mowing the lawn, ran over an old metal rail chair which shot out through and damaging the lawnmower casing. June managed to retrieve mower parts as well as the offending article. The picture on the left shows Tom's handy work with the gas welder and could be considered as modern art and could win millions in a gallery these days. The offending article has been given to me and I will convert it into a paper weight or door stop.

The railway seemed to run faultlessly with no reported problems today, lets hope this trend continues.

Next time

Visit from High Wycombe, please can we have plenty of friends helping.

23rd May

Nick and Dave M wagons

A pleasant day although some of us had difficulty getting to the Spinney as the motorways and other roads were heavily congested in the morning as it was a Bank Holiday. Unfortunately Mick C is ill and unable to join us. Richard, Tim and Dave M had visitors who enjoyed their visit. Richard's visitor works for Network Rail whilst Tim's visitors work for South West Trains, so no rivalry!!! Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch and when he put Clan Line away we all stopped and packed up. Who needs a clock with Cliff around. When tea was called both Bob (Dingly Dell) and David D (Old Oak) did not receive the message to stop and must have wondered where all the trains had gone as they had stopped at Baytree as usual - communication problem!!!!! Dave M bought along his wagons which were a good sight as they were towed around the railway. David G was the controller.

Robin plinth Robin award

We recently decided to scrap some steel rail which had some rail chairs attached. I decided to take them home, cleaned the rust and painted, making them into either door stops or paper weights. I then thought about making a plinth to commemorate the completion of the Spinney Light Railway Permanent Way and constructed the item in the left hand picture. Like all projects, this did not go as smoothly as planned as the engraver spelt upgrade without the 'a' and had to be done again. Righthand picture shows Robin being surprised by the award which he dedicate to all those that had helped improve the PWay.

Robin showing visitors Baytree Bob at Baytree

Robin was on true form today with good PR, showing visitors how the Spinney is signalled and operation of the Baytree box and diagram. Charlie in the middle last visited the Spinney 30 years ago and found the day very interesting, trying to compare his memories with todays railway.

It is unusual to get two signalmen pictured in the news but I had to take a snap of Bob who ventured out of Dingly Dell box when he smelled tea at Baytree and to save his legs he drove a train as pictured.

Locos on track

Jamie new loco

Eight locos out on track today, Clan Line - Cliff and Dave MB, Scott Line - Heather, Tim and Jamie, L94 - Tim and Heather, Karen - Alan S, 0-6-0 tank - Jamie, 78054 - Nick and Tom, A3 Felstead No 2743 and Southern N class No 31873 both visitors from Aylesbury and not forgetting Bob for his short journey on the Electric loco.

Jamie has recently purchased a new locomotive as can be seen and passed its steam test. A few nigalling faults but these were easily overcome and Jamie had a good time with his new loco and has plenty to learn about locomotive maintenance, transport and we are sure he will enjoy his new loco.

A3 and Souther N class double heading Southern N class 31873

The visiting locomotives came from the Vale of Aylesbury club and visited us last year. The A3 2743 named Felstead, was in very good condition after being completely overhauled over the winter months. The Southern N class 31873 was also a good sight and was observed pulling wagons all afternoon.

The First Running Day as Spring arrives on May 9th

The day started grey but sunshine broke through. The garden woke up to spring as the picture of the blossom at Old Oak shows.
Spring blossom at Old Oak Marsh Family at Bay Tree
Dave Marsh was first in steam and we see him entering Bay Tree after several circuits of the main line; there were no other locos ready so he had the (signalman free) railway to himself.

78054 banked by 1369 at Old Oak

The engines in steam are all illustrated and were :
78054 (Nick and Tom), 1369 (Dave Marsh and Jamie), Kate (Mike Collins and Dave Mowatt) and Clan Line (Cliff) - I apologise if I missed any other ephemeral drivers!

David Grant put water into Eileen Grant but then retired to God's waiting room at Old Oak

Robin was in charge at Bay Tree (and also controller), Richard i/c Spinney and Bob at Dingly.

1369 and 78054 at Dingly Clan Line at the shed
Kate at Old Oak Driver Collins

Recovered relays

There is an extra picture of Mike to celebrate his successful installing of the point machine for the branch points at the gate. It was a struggle! Both Jamie and Mike contributed financially with long mobile phone conversations between Spinney Box and the point as various adjustments were made. BUT - the machine then worked faultlessly through the day.

The last picture shows us bringing to the store, stacks of electricals (relays, transformer rectifiers etc) which have been passed on to us by Cockcrow. Richard estimates the value (if bought new) as several thousand pounds.

One job for next time is to repair the wiring to the main junction signal above the bridge at Bay Tree which failed during the afternoon without a volt to be seen at its terminals.

Next time controller is David Grant. Rejoice!

25th April - maintenance

Rain first thing and again after we packed up so we were lucky with the weather and productivity was up again.

point installation

Lefthand picture shows a group of friends looking for the lesser spotted point machine. Spinney number 7 point was installed, mechanically and electrically but despite best efforts the motor failed when used and has been taken away by Alan S to fix. The motor mechanism is not engaging with the spindle (drive shaft). In the picture can be seen Mike Baigent and his son Andy who also used to be a regular. Mike made a brief visit and it was nice to see him.

Heather cleaned all the signal boxes, spiders removed, windows cleaned so now they are ready for the summer running season.

track levelling test wagon

Track work involved, new ballast, tamping, levelling using the mirror and tightening of the rail to sleeper scores which were left slack to allow for track bending / alignment. Righthand picture shows David D practicing his curling skills once more and pushing a wagon along the new track with my cup of coffee inside. No coffee spilt so track must be good. Richard continued to test the signalling system despite interruptions from moving ballast trains and later in the afternoon a steam locomotive. Productivity has been increasing with each meeting, which has enabled us to be nearly complete and ready for running trains. Just the signalling to finish and winter work can come to a close. At the beginning we only managed one track panel and if this rate had continued we would have probably rolled into the 2015/16 winter maintenance programme.

signal restoration new bridge handrails

Lefthand picture shows Alan A quietly restoring damaged signals, some have had their wooden post replaced due to the wood rotting and received a repaint to make them look as good as new. Alan has also renewed the conduit ready for the signal to be rewired. Righthand picture shows the new bridge hand rails which Tom delivered. They will need painting and fixing to the aluminium supports spanning the bridge. Another project nearing completion.

david g

In the lefthand picture, can you guess who this is!!!!!!! Maybe one for the ladies!!!

June ordered new Spinney shirts and announced that the shop had said that the previous order was in 2005 so the shirts must be of good quality or not worn. Well, David G certainly puts his shirts to the test and tried to have his photo taken in his old shirt complete with holes. He was forced to change in to a new shirt for the picture. David G demonstrates how not to change a shirt and get tied up in your own garments.

Another unusual feature is a Scotsman with a cheque book (on the platform). Empty cups of tea also in view so once again, thank you June for keeping us fed (cakes) and watered.

first train of the year

Righthand picture shows the first steam train of 2015. Dave M steamed his 1369 pannier tank and ran it on the available track, coaches and wagons occupying the rest of the station. One of the ballast wagons had suffered a knock and can be seen being fixed on the platform. The locating bolts for the wheel sets were bent and had to be straightened using dubious means. Also out on the track was Scott Line. Alan A had a visitor with two young children who were given the opportunity to drive the Spinney electric loco and under the guidance of Mick C, were also observed driving Scott Line up and down the Old Oak branch. A day they probably will not forget.

Group Photo

group photo

Top row left to right: Alan A, Bob, David D, Richard, June, Robin, Alan S, Heather, Dave M, Bottom row: Mick C, Tom, Tim and David G. Not present were Jamie, Dave MB, Cliff, Adrian and Phoebe. It was suggested to take another picture when these friends are present and photo shop them into the group picture.

The photo has been taken at the site of the main works this year, which has been to replace the majority of the line between the Spinney number 7 point and the home signal for Baytree.

The current NEWS ends here.

You can find summaries of each year's activities in the section The Past

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