Spinney Light Railway Archive News
Winter 2013 / 2014

Group photo May 2014

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

Next time

Outstanding work includes

Working day 10th May 2014

Happy Birthday

Mike Hack was not present today however word reached us that he celebrated his 80th Birthday yesterday and was dragged away screaming today for a family event. We all wish him a very Happy Birthday and he does not look a day over 90!!!

Financial news

June sent out an e mail regarding the financial situation please can you respond to June's request as soon as possible and also let her know what you have spent over the winter period. Thank you for all your help both financially and physically.


Loads of pictures today as there was a lot of work completed which left no time for running trains anyway the weather was a typical summers day with sunny periods interspersed with rain some heavy showers. A turnout of 16 people also helped the projects along bring them nearly to an end so we can start running trains next time. New rule books have been printed and two people admitted to reading it on line. Cliff said he realised that he had been operating Baytree signal box incorrectly. It is worth a note to say that all drivers may need to understand how the telephones work at the signals they do not always go directly to the controlling signal box (please ask Bob) and thanks as always to June for the tea and coffee. Cliff arrived but we had already stopped for lunch.

Clean up

heather cleaning signal box david d cleaning the track

Heather cleaned Baytree Dingly and Old Oak signal boxes so now Bob will not be able to hide in Dingly as we will see him through the window pane or his reflection. Also many spiders were evicted to find a new home. David D has been very busy over the last two working days removing the moss from the track around the loop this time we remembered to call him when tea arrived. We commented on his gardening skills but were told not to mention this in case word got home. David B (sorry I do not have a picture of you working hopefully next time) also got the blower out and went round clearing the line of debris this will really help for next time as a few projects need completion and this will save time and we will be able to run trains.

Project News

final fixing dave coal storage

During the week Alan A painted the loco pit floor and the metal plate to bridge the gap at Baytree. Nick made the point rodding and I assembled the slide plates for the traverser. Mike C and Alan S continued with the loco pit project and secured the track so it lined up with the span and traverser. They also cemented the base below the shed doors whilst Dave M cemented the edging bricks into place and built a coal storage area. The whole area looks very new clean and tidy and bets were mentioned that David G could change all that in an instant. Rubble has all been removed to the dumping area at Dingly so the place does not look like a construction site any more.

robin and nick point installation

Alan A bought some edging strips which I cemented into the ground and this will retain the ballast at the point area. Nick had bought cut and threaded some stainless steel rods but when assembling them found to be one rod missing. Error quickly blamed on the drawings supplied by Robin as there was no mention to the quantity required. However there are two points! When testing the point lever and rodding it was decided that at the area between the lever and the point needs some structural fixing to make it more sturdy and it has been decided to fix some decking board between them at the next meeting. Clan Line was pushed over the points to test them and it was found that when entering number 2 road it kept derailing. Robin and Nick have removed the check rail and will replace with a longer one next time to guide the loco through the point.

Loco news

cl testing traverser

Clan Line was used to test the points as previously mentioned and was also the first to use the traverser then Cliff took her to the ash road at Dingly Dell to steam her up minus the cab. No steam leaks were found so next job is to replace the cab. Mick C also got his class 20 out and ran it to Dingly Dell and back to the engine shed several times to test it and it seemed to work well.


Bob reports that he has removed some temporary wiring in Dingly Dell signal box and got the signal telephone to work at Spinney number 6 signal. Richard cleared the area around the level crossing.

Next time

We will run trains next time but there are also outstanding jobs to be completed and these include:

Anyone want to read the new rule book?

Extra working day 3rd May 2014

dave and jamie laying edging bricks alan and alan with wood and metal work

rail fixing


A good turn out of 9 people on a glorious day and major progress made. Dave M and Jamie cemented some edging bricks by the bridge and engine shed which will stop the ballast from disappearing over the edge. Alan S Mick C and Paul worked on the engine shed roads attaching the rails to the spans traverser and lift out section which Alan S was in charge of. Alan A made a cover for the cables and pipes that run along the wall at the new engine shed road pit and then took on the task of removing all the engine shed doors for repainting which were primed by the end of the day. I ballasted some areas around the site and painted the metal plate which spans the gap at the Baytree which has also received another major punning for clearance from the adjacent line. Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch (as he expected). Cliff worked on Clan Line touching up some paint work and hopes to re assemble the cab after it has been steamed once. Dave MB (I have added B to his name to distinguish him from Dave Marsh as this Dave has a pristine reconditioned Bantam motor bike which was present in all its glory hence the B) helped by removing ballast from under number three road as the track was higher than the others and used the blower to clear the line at Old Oak. Thanks June for the tea and coffee.

Robin was not present but has been working on up dating the rule book I will add the new track diagrams for each signal box and print for your bed time reading. I knew you would be interested!

Before next Saturday Alan A said he would paint the parts required on the lift out section and the metal plate for the gap at Baytree this will help with installation next week. He is also planning to paint / seal the floor of the new engine shed pit.

Lunch time

lorry driving

After lunch there was time for Mick C and Paul to practise their lorry driving skills although in miniature. I bought along my radio controlled lorry with tarp top and low loader trailers. Low loader has rear wheel steering which is an art to master. Mick and Paul both had fun trying to reverse the lorry perhaps a real one next time!

Next time

There are a few jobs to be completed before we run trains and hopefully if we can arrive early enough and get the main bulk of these completed then trains can run. The list of jobs include:

If you can help with these projects then hopefully we can run trains.

26th April 2014

On a day when the team consisted entirely of those 'of riper years' the e mails exchanged are entertaining and tell the tale :

DG to the group
Anyone got pictures for the website?
Anyone like to tell me what they did?
Alan A Robin & I were focussed on 2 v short bits of track from traverser to shed.

MH responds
The two pictures that I took are in my camera sadly I have left it in the Baytree Sig Box! Sorry.
Bob T carried on tidying up and sorting DD and assisted Mike H with telephone maintenance.
A faulty phone at OO was replaced and the line side phone by Spinney sig 6 was removed for rather more serious maintenance.
I have no idea what Richard was up to but he did come into OO and pull the odd lever and mutter!
David Daines was seen working like a Trojan all afternoon clearing debris from the main line between sig 6 and the splitting distants.
We all enjoyed tea and cakes. Thank you June.

MH again - almost immediately
Two things
Cliff was with us and Richard didn't mutter I now realise that my hearing aid was on low power!

Thinking Still Thinking

debris after lunch

The pictures and notes eventually arrived

Robin :
Measured up for shed points control rods.
Nick to prepare for installation.
Planned ballast retaining for the shed siding.
Siding has a vertical drop to the grass.
Alan A:
Repaired the Dingly Block Instrument damaged by damp over the winter.
Bob :
Installed Dingly Instrument
     Bob says 'Looks really smart'
Richard :
Proved signalling function throughout; everything worked!

Next time

An extra working party day has been arranged for Saturday 3rd May with the aim to run trains on the 10th May.

Mid Hants RAT (Real Ale Train)

group photo 45379 at Arlesford
group photo group photo

I must start this section by thanking Dave M and Jamie for putting forward the idea of getting us together socially and planning the RAT trip on the Mid Hants Railway. Unfortunately Dave was ill and unable to attend but the tickets did not go to waste and were snapped up by Alan and June. The working party was thin on the ground as some of us chose to ride the RAT It was a great outing along with our better halves everyone in a smiling mood when they got on and off the train as the pictures show. 16 people were in the group which is a good turnout.

The loco for the evening was Black 5 number 45379 hauling six coaches. The RAT experience consisted of two round trips from Alton to Alresford and the second trip seemed to go quicker than the first for some strange reason probably due to the fast flowing beer and chatting. Everyone mixed together well and plenty of chit chat. Food was available with some opting for the hot curry which was reported to be very hot with steam coming out of their ears others selected the more traditional pub food and just had crisps did not want to spoil the taste of the beer. A great event.


Jamie and Annika announce wedding

On the train Jamie and Annika announced that they are getting married this year in Sweden on 19th July. Jamie did say that he had told us before on a working day but no one could remember. Usual remarks from the male side were offered to Jamie but can not be repeated here.

12th April 2014



It was good to see Bob on site and back to normal. David G was present as Alan S drove him to site so he could not forget this time and he is definitely out of holiday mode. Mick C was in London taking his wife to see Miranda (TV personality) and then for a meal to celebrate his wedding anniversary well done for remembering we hope it was good. Cliff arrived early at 11.40 and caught us all out it threw us and we didn't know what the time of the day was and didn't know whether to stop for brunch however we soldiered on and had lunch at one o clock when our stomachs complained. The picture shows what a good turn out we had today and with lovely weather another good day and a lot of progress made. Cliff managed to get Clan Line successfully hydraulic boiler tested and we look forward to seeing her run in May if not before then to test the new loco apron track. Once again thank you June for the teas and coffees.

Loco shed team

mixing for new loco pit floor

The loco apron track work has gathered pace and been mostly ballasted. Some areas have been left unballasted as work on retaining the ballast is required. A discussion at the end of the day has led to some ideas which need to be costed. The point is nearly finished a point blade needs a little adjustment for smooth running and the point mechanism to the two point levers need to be installed (more rodding needs to be ordered for this). Longer sleepers were fitted to accommodate the point levers however this simple job was made difficult because S&T and power cables were in the way and a trench had to be dug to lower them. Nick has been working again at home this time making parts for the point cranks to sit on. David D made another track panel for the siding whilst others installed the track into engine shed roads 1 and 2. This project took longer than planned as drill bits snapped and finding the correctly sized drill bit was very difficult.

mixing for new loco pit floor new loco pit floor

Dave M kindly collected the sand and had it loaded into the back of his van from here it was shovelled straight into the cement mixer. The picture shows Dave leaving his van practicing his 'walking on thin air' skills. The last picture shows a lot of people watching which reminds me of the following 'union rules you need 8 people for every job' and 'there are three types those that make it happen those that watch it happen and those that wonder what happened'.


bob testing signals

Bob Richard and Adrian were busy today getting the signals out and testing. There were a few problems found but not beyond their capabilities. Bob found that the ground position light signal number 6 (refer to Dingly track map) which has LED lights had one aspect which would not change colour this was due to the 5 volts supply also feeding the 12 volt relay easy diagnosis. Water is also penetrating Dingly signal box with water on the floor and the dampness causing mould on the wood work and interfering with the electrical systems. Something needs to be done to alleviate this problem before it gets worse.

And finally...

testing the new track

David D is practising his Curling skills as he pushes the first wagon delicately into number 2 engine shed road over the new track and new cemented floor. The new cement floor had just been laid and had the wagon derailed and fallen I expect the air would have turned blue. Previously the electric loco had been pushed back into number 1 engine shed road. Both traversed the new track safely.

Next time

A few of us will not be present as we are having an evening out on the Mid Hants Real Ale Train (RAT) however work to be completed involves coupling the loco apron point mechanism painting the new loco pit floor and cementing the edging at the loco pit and finish testing the signals. It is hoped to start running in May.

Extra Day 5th April 2014

Extra Day

As the season turned to spring we had the (almost) traditional extra day so we could hope to run before mid summer!

Tasks were to skim the engine shed wall below the doors and to give the metal work of the traverser and the fixed bays a final coat of paint.

With these jobs complete we hope to lay track into the shed next time.

The team braving a dull day with a little rain were :- Alan S Alan A David G Dave M and Mike C plus of course June with the tea.
Thank you June

22nd March 2014



Bob did not attend due to illness and we all wish him a speedy recovery. David G had not arrived by lunch time which was unusual and June telephone to see if he was alright. It appears that he was still in holiday mode and forgot. Obviously relies on Alan S and Mick C for a reminder who on this occasion weren't at the Spinney. Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch. A smaller turn out than usual but a lot of work was achieved with a lot of banter. The weather forecast did not look good with light rain from mid day however the weather as can be seen from the pictures was bright sunshine but chilly at times and a heavy hail storm about 4.30pm hence the decision not to paint.

Loco shed

loco shed approach Cliff overhauling CL

Robin orchestrated the track laying gang and the result can be seen in the picture. Plenty of obstacles to over come especially fitting fish plates and one or two track screws sheered when screwing in to the sleeper. However great progress here and with one or two longer sleepers to add for the point mechanism and it will be ready for ballasting. Robin has put in some extra time including lengthening part of the point to get a smoother radius on the point. Cliff has been busy overhauling Clan Line which has included fitting new valves on the back head and new washers sealants etc. Cliff says that the loco is now ready for a boiler test perhaps Clan Line could test the new loco shed track work?


Testing the points indicator points indicator

Richard and Adrian were the S&T team today and Richard reports that all the power points were cleaned and tested and all worked all track circuits are operating. The point indicator light at Spinney was wired up and tested (see picture). The indicator is located on the right hand side (in direction of travel) and when points are set correctly it shows a yellow If no light is shown drivers must stop and examine the points before proceeding. The detection at the tunnel end of Spinney is installed 5 normal now includes the facing sprung points lying normal (RH switch closed) 5 reverse now includes the trailing points lying normal (LH switch closed) Everyone is asked to remember this if there is a detection failure on five points please (check on track diagrams). In three weeks time It is hoped to get the signals out and tested.

Next time

The traverser still needs painting (weather permitting). Track on the loco pit area needs making as does a track panel for the siding from the traverser and number 4 shed road. The loco shed point requires controlling mechanism installed.

8th March 2014

Alan drilling loco approach track building Alan testing traverser happy workers.jpg

Once again thank you to cameraman Mike H for the pictures.

Loco shed and News

Good weather good turnout of people and plenty of fun and oh yes a bit of work Cliff did send his apologies for missing the day and David G is away on holiday. David kindly put a sunny beach scene on the web site front page in the slide section to let us all know (Now removed).

Picture top left Alan A is installing four wall lights and an electrical power socket. The lights are recessed into the wall and the picture shows his work plenty of dust and noise went with it. The electrical sockets will allow vacuum cleaners to be used and other electrical equipment needed for maintaining and running a locomotive. Picture top right the tedious task of track building three panels have been made which will form the loco shed apron roads. Picture bottom left The traverser has been installed and tested by many people and this shows Alan S load testing it. It is now ready for painting before track added. Picture bottom right Jamie is on his mobile phone and was making references to hair!!! hence the expression on Robins face and Nick turning round in amazement. This shows the fun that was had on Saturday. Robin and Nick are over halfway to completing the new three way point for the loco roads. The points will be operated by two point levers set on the approach (when arriving from Dingly Dell) at a distance so you don't have to get off the locomotive to change them. Loco road four will be accessed by the traverser.

Some ballast was also moved to the loco apron in readiness for track laying.


The S&T department enjoying the first sunny day for weeks felt that it would be a good idea to actually do something. Richard reports that all the points are now working Bob & Mike H discussed technical matters over a cup of tea (Thank you June) in the sun. The peace was disturbed by being told that the Spinney phone had No Dial Tone. This almost ruined the day for Mike H but having finished his tea he investigated this fault. The cure was for Mike H to plug in the mains plug on the exchange. The phone in Dingly Dell was also misbehaving so to cure that Mike H changed the instrument. Again fault cured. It was now tea time (more thanks June). Bob T was working as usual very hard in Dingly Dell replacing power packs that were dead or in one case arcing (damp or a deceased spider). Having cured all the faults and got all the points to work Bob was very put out when the power failed completely. Again after much thought and determined fault finding it was discovered that the plug in Baytree had been dislodged accidentally by an other member of S&T. who was diligently working in the box. All in all not a bad day with some excellent tea breaks.....

Baytree and Old Oak track diagrams are due to be replaced this year and the web site track diagrams have been up dated to reflect the changes.

Next time

Alan S and Mike C will not be present and on the jobs to do list is painting the traverser I offered to paint it health and safety yellow but for some strange reason black has been chosen. I stated that the yellow strip at the Old Oak turntable has been 100% successful with no one falling in the turntable pit although Jamie did trip over the yellow water pipe. S&T have on going work to do.

15th February 2014
Heavy Showers don't stop Progress


Checking Traverser Levels

Those of us involved in the construction of the traverser will treat these devices with greater respect now we know how critical is their setting up. ALL the axes must be at 90°.

The inexact science of the bricklaying both of our new work and of the existing shed wall caused our disappointment last time.

However having discovered the issue. Dave M carefully laid the new capping exactly horizontally and at exactly the right level while Alan S provided fixings and wedges for the channel on the shed wall to be level in BOTH its horizontal planes.

Initial testing indicates satisfactory smooth running. Also having learned the hard way we checked the capping stones could be drilled without splitting when we secure the checker plates and the other running channel.

Three Way Point

Begining the Shed Point

A feature not yet mentioned is the challenge Robin has undertaken in making a three way point at the shed throat. All points requires careful alignment and the three way with its interleaved frogs noses and checkrails will be a real test of skill.

The picture shows Robin and Alan A 'thinking'. 'Thinking' before 'cutting' will be well rewarded in this project

Other Events

Making Shed Track Panels Mixer Down!
S & T (Adrian & Richard) continued wiring the point detection at Spinney and David D and Jamie began track panel work for the shed approach.

However we had a minor catastrophe when the rumbling cement mixer rumbled itself off its supporting slabs and collapsed still rumbling on the ground.
Once put back in place it appeared no worse for wear but the event will probably become the folk memory of the winter.

1st February 2014
More questions than answers


I have given this heading as all work carried out today was engulfed in problems and setbacks constantly rethinking and designing the project in hand. Progress was therefore not as expected but better to get it right. Six steps forward and four back springs to mind. Also I was under the influence of Lemsip due to a nasty cold and found I couldn't physically do what I wanted to do and be of any reasonable help. Generally slow progress in all departments. We did have a couple of showers but on the whole the weather was good for working. Thanks to Mike H for camera duties.

Cliff arrived (but we had already started our lunch) and worked on Clan Line the cab had previously been removed as were all the fixtures and fittings. Today Cliff was refitting the water gauges which have been leaking in the past. Copper washers and gunge used to seal the joints. We all hope the work proves successful.

loco apron rail cleaning remedial work salvage squad

Loco shed team

The top right picture shows the old rails being cleaned from years of built up dirt / contamination and ready for re-use.

The Essex contingency weren't expected this week but due to extra hours added by them the traverser parts were all fully assembled painted (first coat) and ready to bring to site. Under the expert guidance from Alan S the chequered plate was bolted to the top of the retaining wall and the traverser aligned up. Unfortunately all was not well and things did not work or line up within specified tolerance. The chequered plate was removed and the top layer of bricks which proved to be a problem (too soft) were subsequently removed. To get the correct level paving slabs were suggested see last picture) and some were found at Old Oak but no decision has yet been made. The traverser has suffered from a little distortion caused by the heat from the welding and Alan S using his immense skill accurately corrected the distortion using a modern day implement - large hammer.

The loco apron was covered using a membrane with some ballast to weigh it down. The three way point was laid on top for general feel to track alignment which has also had the blades re-attached after Nick's milling activities (see previous news).


The day was spent largely on the changing over of cables from Spinney box to No.7 points and hopefully this will be completed next time. All the sprung point detection is now working although will need possible final adjustment. Point indicator will be finished next time as Richards meter failed! Bob is anxious to see the end of cabling at the level crossing (see previous news) for No7 point (point that takes you on to the branch) and return to Dingly Dell.

Next time

The traverser will need accurate aligning and the S & T team say they will get the points indicator illuminated.

18th January 2014


Traverser construction

Alan S Mick and David G spent the day working at Micks garage / workshop constructing the traverser. The workshop was ideal as it has a car lift which provided a large flat surface at waist height (don't know who's waist height). Metal was delivered during the week and then the trio spent the day cutting forming and David G was let loose with an angle grinder to finish off the joints. Not a saw in sight but spectacular cutting using angle grinder discs spreading ret hot sparks everywhere. Then equally spectacular arc welding followed by more sparks as the excess weld was ground off. The traverser was not completed so another session is required to continue the fabrication so we will have to do without the gallant trio for another session before we gasp in amazement at the brilliant art work.

Nicks point work

Also working from home territory is Nick who is repairing the point blades for the loco shed (taken home to cut the ends off). Nick will re adjust blades using his milling machine so high accuracy and points may be traversed with a good chance of not derailing as was the case in the past. So far Nick has done one set of blades and one more set to go. Cliff has also been busy drilling sleepers and on Saturday he bought 178 sleepers to Spinney ready for use. Credit also to Sir (Alan A) who cut them all to size and would probably be happy if he never saw another sleeper again. More sleepers will be required for the spot re sleeping on the main line and additionally extra-long sleepers for the loco shed point.


loco point Dingly sidings extension

Robin was away again but left an e mail with suggested projects. Dave M and Shaun H cleared and levelled the ground at the loco shed apron area. The left picture shows the levelled ground and the old loco point laid down to gauge new track formation (Nick is repairing the point) but with Robin away we did not haves a definitive answer hence Shaun's posture. The Baytree which has spent many years growing was heavily cut back to allow the new track formation to pass closer to the loco apron wall. The right hand picture shows the Dingly siding project which is now complete ballasted and ready for use. The two sidings have been lengthened to allow rolling stock to be stabled in them and not foul the foot crossing. Cliff stated that the colour of the new ballast did not match existing ballast (not changing it). Pway duties completed by Tom Jamie Dave M Shaun Dave Tim and Scott.


point indicator at Spinney

S&T took advantage of the dry weather to get on with the external wiring around Spinney box. Having finally given up on getting more copper in the ground under the drive Bob instigated his cunning plan of swapping the connections in the boxes either side to use the fatter wires for the higher current circuits. Meanwhile Richard continued with the facing point detection now required by the HSE. This included fitting an indicator (refer to picture) to the up end of trailing crossover just below the box as there is no adjacent signal for it. The indicator has two aspects red at the top and yellow at the bottom. Instructions for its use by drivers will be given at the start of the new running season but primarily will include the following:- Red illuminated or yellow not showing means stop and with the yellow illuminated means the points are correctly set for the movement. Adrian assisted especially with the boring but necessary identification of cables.

Next time

Hopefully Robin will be present and can advise on the re sleeping required between Spinney and the Baytree junction distant signals. S&T team have plenty to do including wiring up and testing the new points indicator. Essex team will continue with the traverser project at Mick's garage. It would also be nice to get the carriage shed project started now that the ground has been levelled.

4th January 2014


trailing point detection

More rain

David G and I were not present on Saturday so news kindly provided by Robin. I was out looking for a water pump in readiness for future flooding.

There was heavy rain first thing in the morning which caused lots of local flooding but there was a convenient break in the middle of the day which enabled a few jobs to be done. Alan A was able to cut sleepers. A new drilling jig is ready (made by Nick) in the workshop labelled
'7¼ +1mm for 22mm rail'. We need around 170 standard sleepers for the engine shed tracks. Cliff will drill when Alan has finished cutting and planning. Alan S Dave M Nick and Alec back filled behind the new wall and removed the heap of spoil. David D prepared the top couple of brick courses below the engine shed doors ready to receive the channel to carry the tracks over the new pit. Alan A also took the chain saw to a number of fallen branches. There is still a lot of debris to clear. The big root from the site of the Old Oak shed was moved to the bonfire. Robin fitted the detection switches to three spring points (SY5b the SY loop points and SY7b). Not yet connected electrically and still require final adjustment. Alan S and Mick worked on the Class 20 wiring and Cliff continued working on Clan Line.

Pictures taken after the day
Traverser Location after 4th Jan 2014 Carriage Shed Site Cleared 4th Jan 2014

Nearly Sleepers Ready

The three pictures show :-

Top Left : The traverser site with the brickwork cleaned and with the back filling complete.

Top Right : The potential carriage shed site now cleared.

Left         : An

E N O R M O U S     P I L E
O F    S L E E P E R S

which are now
ready for use.

Cliff is poised to complete the process

Anyone like to do a sweepstake on the number of sleepers there are on the railway?

21st December 2013

The forecast said it would rain and it did but it was a mild 10 degrees.
The wall for the outside engine shed inspection pit was built - photographs from Alan A.

wet bricklay from baytree 22 dec 2013 wet brick lay start 22 dec 2013
Awet brick lay done 22 dec 2013 wet brick lay dm dg as 22 dec 2013
Bricklayers Alan S (i/c) Dave M Alan A Nick (apprentice - look for the back to front bricks).
Labourer Tom - better muck with every mix.
Brick carrier David G (don't lean on the wall!)
Also in attendance Richard S David D Cliff (after lunch to mend Clan Line) Andrew A (found the cross brick links).

We put up a tarpaulin to cover the work occasionally it would blow off the roof and dump the bricks holding it down on an unsuspecting bricklayer or overflow at its edge over a labourer standing there.
To say it was wet would be an understatement although the tarpaulin kept us less wet. Thank you June for the sustaining tea and cakes.

7th December 2013


dave and nick moving ballast

During the week 409 bricks 1.7 tonne ballast and 850kg of sand as well as 16 bags cement had been delivered at the drive entrance. To say nothing of the fact that the delivery driver put a hole through the drive tarmac with the stilts of the lorry! This all had to be transported on to site using a van and wheelbarrows. Dave and Nick used the wheel barrows to move the ballast and David G and Tim used the van to move the bricks. A very good turnout of people today and a lot of work was achieved. Cliff didn't come so we had a late lunch as we didn't know what the time was we were all so engrossed in our projects.

Engine shed project

Alan S and Tim taking time out engine shed project concreting the base

The day started with final preparations to the base (more digging thanks Jamie) foundations were finished for the floor and retaining wall under the supervision of Alan S. Tom joined to help with all aspects of concreting mainly the manual labour of moving all that ballast again. Plenty of concrete mixed right up until it got dark. Cleaning tools was done under torch light. Pictures show there was time for fun as well as the usual banter.


The two Davids D and G were busy disassembling the track panels that were removed from the engine shed approach unfortunately the picture taken is too blurred for the news not sure if it was because they were working so fast the camera couldn't capture their movements. All sleepers removed and binned. Robin surveyed the engine shed approach for point design and also looked at extending the two long sidings at Dingly two short lengths have so far been found. This has also involved building the bank up using spoil from Old Oak. The ground at Old Oak received a little more attention Robin hammered in the pegs to get the levels required and Tim continued to level the surface and fill in the hole left by the tree removal from the last meeting.


Bob working out how to get wires across the level crossing

Bob and Mike H revisited the problem of passing new wires under the driveway with no success. Using Mike H's drain rods and a lot of effort and swearing the conduit remained obstinately blocked. It feels like the rods came up against concrete. It was then decided to try and put Bob T's cunning plan into operation. The correct wire in the external box by the gate was located but could not find the other end in the spinney signal box. The connection box on the wall by the gate was changed for a larger one to take any additional connectors when the cable is eventually located. Meanwhile. Richard did some S&T maintenance attended to the banner repeater in the tunnel and a broken track wire was found in the tunnel area. Spring points were examined to see how facing point detection can be added.

And lastly

Alan making a difficult decision

What can be said about this picture!!!!!! Another one of Alan's difficult split second decisions.

Digging day 23rd November 2013


David D putting last signal away hole for traverser becoming bigger

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

much soil was moved last tree to be removed

Dave M gets the tree stump out of the ground

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

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

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

Pack up day 9th November 2013


start of ashpit hole appeared

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

Loco news

mick class 20 bogie

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


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

Next time

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

Storm 28th October 2013 (St. Jude)

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

leaves covering line at spinney tunnels

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

The current NEWS ends here.

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

or click here :- Running 2013 to see a summary of the 'News' that used to follow below.
That bit of the NEWS has turned into HISTORY !