Spinney Light Railway Archive News
Winter 2015

30th April 2016

Another great day for all projects an early start for some on the carriage shed project with some expert help railway made presentable and some trains ran to test the railway. It was good to see Bob back after his medical condition but Dave M has now fallen ill we wish them well. Mick C and his wife Sue popped in today after returning from a holiday cruise from the port of Southampton and Mick's one hour allowance seemed to have been extended somewhat!!!

white lining

Dave MB and Peter set about painting white lines on the platform edges at all the stations however later in the day some gaps in the platform slabs grouting were filled with cement left over from the carriage shed project unfortunately it may be necessary to paint the white line on the edges in places in time for the important meeting next time. The tracks were cleared of any debris allowing trains to run freely whilst the coaches received a wash and allowed to dry in the sun. Turntable pits were cleared of leaves and drains unblocked ready for the summer season. Water and compressor checked and all OK.

S & T news

Bob was to be found in his usual post in Dingly Dell signal box however when it came to running trains he was spotted in Baytree signal box controlling trains as was David D who is normally in Old Oak. One of the block instruments was acting peculiar and whilst David D and Bob were on the phone to Robin the fault cleared itself. Also BD track circuit at Baytree was showing occupied when it was not. David D went on to operate Dingly Dell leaving Bob at Baytree a very rare occurrence. Signalling now tested with the running of trains and all signals and points seemed to operate as required.

Loco news

scott line depot shunting track testing

Four locomotives ventured out today King Jack Scott Line Clan Line and LMS 7163. Scott Line made a rare visit to the loco shed assisting with depot shunting and stock movements then joined the others to test the signalling and track. Clan Line can be seen testing the new track alignment from the unloading ramp. Clan Line had a few issues with the front riding truck but had no issues when travelling backwards (tender first). Maybe Cliff should always drive tender first!!!!! The two new coaches also ran faultlessly unladen especially over the spring points where there was doubt about them being heavy enough.

Carriage shed project

david g and son jonathan carriage shed project
carriage shed project carriage shed project

The pictures show the progress made today. With an early arrival at 08.00 David G coerced his son Jon (suspect bribery somewhere) who is a bricklayer by profession to help with this project and the tricky bits i.e. arched doorways. With excellent expertise at hand we observed rapid construction backed up by an all important team supplying bricks and cement. Also observed laying bricks were Alan A and Alan S whilst Nick and Tom were in control of the cement mixer and cutting bricks to demand. Thanks to all those that made it happen and for June who supplied the many teas etc.

Next time

The big event of the year Amanda's wedding to Nick and we will be running trains for the invited guests clean Spinney shirts please.

16th April 2016 first running day of 2016

A wet start and end to the day but kept fine for work to progress at the Spinney including continuation of brick work for the carriage shed point checking and rolling stock annual inspection. With the impending Wedding not far away an effort was made to get the site tidy this included leaf blowing any fouling vegetation pruned back and testing of the railway. Alan S experienced diagnostic trouble with his car and had to return home then travel to Spinney in David G's car hopefully the fault has been traced and no further issues.

Operational railway

point repairs point construction
dave mb water tank annual carriage inspection oil

Bob is not well again and we wish him a speedy recovery. The track from the unloading ramp was ballasted and first to traverse the new track alignment was Scottline followed by L94 and all proved to be useable. At Old Oak the new points are in the process of having the point handle mechanism designed and continuation of point construction involved fitting of tie bars. Old Oak number 7 point in the yard was not fully traversing and this required a bit of attention to get the blades to throw fully. Dave MB can be seen checking the Baytree water tank which originally had no water but by the end of the day was ready for use after being cleaned out. He was also noted for his H & S skills!!!!! he was training for a circus act before I took this picture. All the coaches were checked and oiled where necessary and the Cromers were vacuum checked as well all proving positive. All signal boxes had a spring clean swept and all windows cleaned so you can now see out of them.

Loco news

ballast train

This was the first advertised running day for 2016 but unfortunately with so much work going on and a lack of water at Old Oak only Scottline ran and that was just to move stock about test the track circuits signals and points. Number 4 point at Baytree received attention this year and is now a very smooth running point. Steam was planned but in the event no steaming today for one reason or another. Initially there was no water supply and this had to be rectified first this proved to be more than a simple task of switching on the pump. Once water was available the pipes and tanks needed to be flushed out until the water looked clear. Cliff continued to work on Clan Line and hopefully his lubricators will work when the loco is steamed.

Carriage shed project


Tom kindly stopped off on the way to pick up another tonne of sand which was unloaded in a convenient place not too far from the cement mixer. All the bricks are now on the concrete base in order to help keep Old Oak in a presentable state for when the Wedding guests arrive. Brick laying concentrated on the back wall today this involves an acute angled corner and in the middle space left for a door so plenty of brick cutting.

History section

robin and nick

It is good to see more history coming forth from the friends last time it was me at Guildford and this time it is Robin and Nick at Cockcrow in about 1992/3 on the 8F owned by Brian Heard at that time. There seems to be more lines coming from the turntable than I remember from my last visit. The 8F was originally a Spinney locomotive that Brian Heard bought after Joseph died and used at Cockcrow until Alan A bought it back to Spinney where it currently sits in the loco shed waiting attention to the boiler. The loco features in the Spinney First Forty Years document. Thank you to Robin for supplying the picture and information does anyone else have pictures from the early days?

Next time

It is hoped to run some steam locomotives and Kate will need a boiler test. Robin has produced a list of all locos and when their tests are due.

2nd April 2016

A lovely sunny day until we packed up when it rained all the way home. Bricks moved continuation of the carriage shed project track connected S & T work signals put out and loco work on Clan Line. A good turnout of friends today.

moving bricks bricks to old oak

david d working

Bricks were delivered at 09.00 by lorry and then had to be transported by trailer and man handling down to Old Oak for the carriage shed project. One of the trailer tyres required pumping up with a foot pump due to the weight. Once at Old Oak the bricks had to be man handled to the carriage shed but a good system was in place to unload and stack quickly it now looks like a real construction site. David D said he was not normally pictured in the news so to address the balance I have included a picture of David working. Cliff arrived and worked on Clan Line trying to get the injectors to work. Hopefully this will be proved next time.

Birthday Boy

mick cake 1 mick cake 2

Birthday Boy was Mick C whose birthday was actually today and he had chosen to spend it at the Spinney. Mick had three surprise cakes all on one day firstly at lunchtime then at afternoon tea and finally another when he got home to a family get together. I expect some beer was required to wash it all down!!!

S & T news

signals out

At Dingly Bob removed the temporary switch box for the points and re-commissioned the lever frame. Progress has not been as good this winter as he had hoped so anyone using the box this year will find that it behaves exactly as it did last year even though the electrical routing is different. All that remains to be done is the block instrument needs plugging in and checking which Richard should be doing next time and a supply for the signal lighting and ash drop buffers needs sorting which Bob will do the following time all being well. The signals were put out and were then tested by Richard who has discovered that two signals are not working. Mick C worked on Baytree number 4 point as this had a shorting fault. All rectified and ready for trains.

Carriage shed project news

carriage shed carriage shed

Heather and I made a trip to a builders store to buy some brick ties whilst progress was made with bricking the back and front walls. Alan A and Alan S cemented the bricks whilst they had a team mixing cement for them. In the right hand picture Alan S can be seen through the lefthand window whilst Alan A is throwing away some cement.

Next time

It is hoped to run trains and possibly a little work on the carriage shed project. Tom said he will collect and deliver the required sand.

19th March 2016

A bit of a chilly day good turnout of friends resulting in a lot of progress being made track repairs track construction signalling maintenance coaches and rail delivered and a start to the bricking on the carriage shed.

damaged track damaged track

When assessing the track it was noted that on the approach to the level crossing (down main) from Spinney station there was a severe dip. On closer inspection it was found to be bent and the foot of the rail broken we can only assume that whilst some trees were felled part of a tree must have fallen onto the rail. The pictures above show the bend in the rail and when the track screws were removed. The rail was removed and a new length rolled and fitted. In the process a couple of sleepers were also replaced. Also on the approach to Spinney another tree has been felled and its roots have undermined and lifted the track causing an adverse cant which was corrected and ballasted but possibly next year the track panel will need to be temporarily removed and the root removed.

track rolling new track alignment

Robin visited Spinney during the week to make the track panel which connects the unloading ramp to the sidings (righthand picture). Track gang continued to construct track another point was finished and Nick showed his point crossover (frog) that he has machined from a solid piece of aluminium (see pictures section).

Cliff and Peter drove to Salisbury to collect some steel track which has been stored. Also collected were two small coaches and we wait to see how effective these will be on a running day.

Carriage shed project news

first brick door formers

The covers were removed to reveal the large concrete base which was then cleaned using a jet washer. A check on dimensions has revealed that the shuttering has moved in one place and will require further concreting to support the wall. As the pictures show the first brick was laid along with partially constructed door templates. These will have arches added to the tops. It is hoped to have more sand and bricks delivered for the next meeting so manual labour required again to move it from the front entrance to Old Oak.

S & T news

Richard has overhauled Old Oak No.9 signal replacing the lead and the caravan connector in the hope that it works better! Last year it did tend to fail a lot. Richard also bonded and replaced the connections to the replacement rail at Spinney see earlier news. Track circuits and points at BE and OO were checked. Bob continued to work in Dingly and had made a test rig to establish if a fault that exists is in the relays or wiring.

All change: 5th March 2016

After watching the weather forecast you wouldn't be excused for staying indoors rain sleet cold etc. Many e mails were exchanged and on Friday night the plug was pulled and concreting the base was cancelled. However on arrival the weather did not match the forecast and a decision was made to concrete the base. It turned out to be a perfect day for manual grafting and only a couple of white showers. Bob stayed at home as the white stuff had already reached him.

first collection bags of cement

return visit

Also missing was David G who e mailed from the Caribbean to rub it in from his catamaran that he has booked David D who was packing to go on holiday and Cliff who had man flu!!! Without Cliff we still managed to have lunch on time. We had extra help from Andy Gelson from Aylesbury and Andrew A came along to provide the much needed help in man power.

Dave Tom and Tim arrived at the store in Guildford at exactly the same time you could not plan that if you tried. Two vans Dave and Tim's were used to collect 70 bags of cement and a container of the winter additive solution to prevent cracking / flaking in cold weather. It all added up to quite a weight while one van was loaded manually the other had the luxury of a fork lift to assist. Tom and Tim went back in the afternoon to collect more ballast sand.

mixing start concreting

Three cement mixers on the go and everyone doing a task. Concrete came by the barrow load but when tipped into the foundations seemed to make little difference at the start. With continued perseverance the foundations slowly filled and was then tamped. A late start and a late finish as the job had to be finished in one go.

I expect everyone will have one part of their body or more complaining aching limbs etc.

halfway top finish

Not to be forgotten is the track gang who are busy constructing points and track. The track is made up of different size rails and therefore requires specialist fishplates which Robin and Nick are planning to construct at home. A time consuming and fiddly task.

More pictures can be found in the pictures section of the web site.

Well done to all those who made it all possible Sterling work.

A Pause for Consolidation : 20th February 2016

Carriage Shed 20th Feb 2016 Precision
General View                                                 Precision !

Weather mild but spirits were dampened by an increasingly persistent drizzle.

Faced with insufficient young bodies to mix and lay the cement foundations for the new carriage shed we chose to spend time consolidating progress.

Meanwhile Robin continued his precision measurements (see picture above) and point assembly progressed with Alan A cutting the many sleepers required in the workshop.

Additional photographs from Adrian
Point Building 20th Feb 2016 Carriage Shed base 20th Feb 2016
Point Building                                                Is it level?

Team today
Alan A June A Andrew A Adrian Allum Mike Collins David Daines David Grant Jamie Heath Dave Marsh Cliff Perry Robin Smith Alan Stephen Richard Stokes Bob Thackeray Peter Willats Tom Zehetmayr.

6th February 2016

Main task for today was shovelling ballast sand followed by more shovelling and even more shovelling. In addition another point was re-sleepered. Bob reported that his car was playing up and returned home and Dave M also suffering from sickness and David G is also recovering from an op and unable to attend.

ballast heap ballast pile

carriage shed area

Those without ailments were assigned to the task of shovelling ballast sand in fact eleven tonnes of it hope it is enough. The ballast sand was delivered on Friday dumped at the entrance gate and all we had to do was move it to Old Oak area.

Thanks to Peter who once again loaned his trailer and with Spinney wagons we were able to transport all the ballast sand on one day. Thanks also to June who bought out tea and cakes early in the process to boost our sugar levels and productivity all the ballast sand was moved. Pictures show the two methods of transport and a good job done and the size of the task.

point construction bending the metal

Robin has purchased some rail which he has rolled to form a curve into the carriage shed a slight adjustment may be required on the radius. Also another point has been re sleepered and ready to lay on the ground. Alan S organised bending of the metal tie bars which will need tying together next time.

History section

I thought it would be interesting to add pictures of by-gone days and if you have a railway related picture send it to me and I will add to the news.

tim at guildford show mike hack driving george smiths sr mogul

Both pictures show locomotives built by the late George Smith who also built Kate (originally named Pegasus) and now owned by Mick Collins. Left hand picture illustrates when I used to run trains at Guildford on a portable track before a permanent track was built. Mike Hack is pictured at a nearby railway (literally just at the end of the road on the left) Broome Hill which was owned by Tony Palin Evans and closed after the storm of 1987 when trees fell across the line and it never re opened track removed when house sold. I too used to visit this railway with George Smith and Mike Carvel the latter used to part own David Grant's Scot.

23rd January 2016

Another good turnout of friends and the weather was also good to us. A lot of progress made today with point construction and installation wiring in Dingly Dell signal box and carriage shed progress. And true to form Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch.

carriage shed point baytree number 4 point installation

old oak track sketch

Robin has pencilled a diagram of the track layout for the new carriage shed but the plans are a little sketchy. The sketch shows the proposed fourth line onto the turntable which will help movements in the yard without bothering the over worked signalman. Nick machined a new crossover for Baytree number four point and this was assembled and installed immediately bonded to the signalling system by Richard possibly so no one could remove it again. However the point is yet to be tested for smooth running maybe someone would like to get a coach or wagon out to test the point. Bob continued to plod on with replacing the temporary wiring at Dingly Dell with the final version ready for the last relay rack to be fitted to complete the project.

carriage shed nick force fed

carriage shed

Dave M has refurbished the two lubricators for Clan Line by making new shafts and installing new one way bearings. Cliff attempted to bolt the lubricators back onto the running boards but was having difficulty and said he could have done with another pair of hands maybe next time.

The carriage shed footings continued with completion in readiness for the concrete. Under the watchful eye of Alan S and Alan A progress was made with all the wooden edging levelled and secured and the floor area dug out plus plenty of back filling. Nick can be seen helping by holding a wooden board and being force fed didn't want him to go hungry...

Next time

A large delivery of ballast sand and cement is due and will need transporting to the lower grassed area near Old Oak heavy work.

9th January 2016

This is the first meeting of the new year and a good turnout of friends. We welcome a new friend Peter W who came and helped. He has jumped in at the deep end and already helped by collecting a cement mixer with his trailer and helped by Dave M. Projects today were S&T maintenance Baytree number four point new sleepers and carriage shed construction.

bob checking track circuits alan cutting sleepers

robin and nick rolling rail

Bob continued working in Dingley Dell signal box and in the picture can be seen bridging contacts to check track circuits whilst Richard continued checking the track circuit bonding on the main line. Alan A was once more tied to the wood saw and can be seen cutting new sleepers he has lost count as to how many he has made but at least today was out in the open air for a change. Cliff arrived and with the help from Dave M worked on Clan Line this year's maintenance involves removing the two lubricators and refurbishing them. So far the lubricators have been removed and taken home. Robin and Nick are working on the Baytree number four point and rolled some new rail to the right radius to make a new rail blade.

start of carriage shed construction

The main activity of today and indeed the winter programme is the construction of the carriage shed at Old Oak. A good start was made today and included marking out the area making the wooden shuttering (Alan A had previously ordered) and digging the foundations so plenty of spoil to be removed and yet to be removed. Bad light stopped proceedings and luckily we packed up just before a heavy rain shower. When I took the photo I asked everyone to grab hold of a useful tool it seems that Alan S must have miss heard me! Thanks to June for the teas. This winter has been particularly mild and hopefully next time the weather will be suitable for foundation digging as we have not had any severe frost or snow yet.

12th December

dingly temp panel cleaning signals

Bob has made a temporary replacement panel (see picture) for Dingly Dell signal box as he will be removing the lever frame shortly for maintenance and improvement. Bob thought there was something wrong with the points outside the box as he could not get detection and lifted the point motor lid to check all connections. It then transpired that the detection was working correctly as there was a stone caught in the blade which was not easily seen. Proved the case for detection on the points. Richard bonded a few more rails where required. Dave MB cleared some of the line before he had to go early and was replaced by Cliff with the leaf blower. The track is now clear of leaves. David G cleaned the signals under the watchful eye of June.

baytree no4 point old oak track work

I lifted the rails out of Baytree number 4 point (see picture) as the crossover has become very worn and needs replacement all trains felt a bump as they passed over it. Robin has taken the rails home to make a new crossover section.

carriage shed start david digging

Work has now started on the carriage shed at Old Oak. This meant one of the sidings has had to be permanently removed however in the grand plan two shorter sidings will be laid outside the carriage shed. Work included mapping out the area and digging the footings which will continue at the next meeting. David G can be seen helping with his trowel. Thanks to June for the teas.

Happy Christmas to all the friends of Spinney.

21st November

Overall a chilly day but if you kept moving you were OK well for some it was a rather cold day and hopefully not too many of those this winter. We stopped at 13.00 for lunch as we couldn't wait for Cliff any longer Cliff did apologise when he arrived as we finished.

tidy up spinney measuring up

Works for the day included putting signals away clearing leaves measuring the site of the new proposed carriage shed finishing touches to the King Edward V11 and David G was spotted cleaning his locomotive Eileen Grant which is a very rare event I have never seen this activity before. Endless barrow loads of leaves were removed from the railway the rails could not be seen and this took nearly all day. Robin has been measuring for the carriage shed project and estimates that we need more rails for inside the shed. Jamie will send an artist impression which I will post on this news section in due course. There still needs to be some thought put in regarding the structural strength and geological ground work to support the weight.

david cleaning eileen mick on king

loco news

Two locomotives in steam today Eileen Grant and King Edward V11. David G gave Eileen a rub over with a cloth and has to be noted as this has not been seen before. This created banter as to when the locomotive was last cleaned and nobody could remember. The king had its tender looked at as last time there was a rubbing sound when moving. David G said he would not ride on it to test after last time. The locomotive was put back together and steamed. I thought they were trying to break my record of four hours to get a locomotive in steam but they were unsuccessful. The locomotive was steamed moved approximately two feet then had to re steam. Both locomotives ran up towards Dingly and back with Eileen Grant venturing out to Baytree and back.

S & T news

It is that time of year where all the signals are collected in washed and stored in the signal boxes two were missed between the tunnels and these will be collected next time!. June provided some hot water for washing the signals but in this weather it soon went cold. The signals seem to be in good condition and not in need of much maintenance. DD6 and SY PLS signals need renewing and some work on OO7 points is required to make them more reliable. Bob continued working on DD with the wiring and all track circuits were working correctly. It would be useful if the PWay could advise all concerned on any track works that will affect the bonding!

tree fellers

And finally

The last project of the day was to fell a fallen tree which was leaning at a precarious angle at Old Oak and over the area for the proposed carriage shed. The picture shows the angle before felling. A lot of it seemed to be rotten. Dave M was armed with a chainsaw whilst others rallied round helping to clear the branches and logs. A section of the tree still remains lying across the rear access as this was too large a section for the chainsaw. Many thanks to June for the warming teas (even for our hands holding the cup).

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.

The current NEWS ends here.