The Spinney Light Railway

Running 2012

This year we experimented with slightly fewer summer running days; a basic three week interval between running days rather than the customary two weeks of recent years. - Of course, in the Ballantine Dykes era the railway was open only once per month; the two week interval was set after the first 'Ainslie Winters' when a lot of maintenance work was needed and the winter interval was set at two weeks.

The First Running Day 12th May

Old Oak Turntable almost finished Loading Line

Winter work continued whilst some locos ran; the turntable was painted; the re-laid unloading ramp was completed; the first of the new hand point levers was fitted at Old Oak (it can be seen centre stage in the right hand picture above) : Alan A painted the platform edge white, which can be seen in the left hand picture. The buffer stop at the end of the Old Oak headshunt was put in place with terminals for a 12v blower; a big team was engaged in turning the rolling stock upside down, lubricating, testing vac brakes and generally cleaning and making ready for service whilst the small of locos in steam provided encouragement.

Engines in Steam
Kate, Karen, 78054 - which locomotive ran over the wire of Richard's meter. Oh dear Nick!

Running on June 3rd

Old Oak done

In many ways it was the first running day. Several engines in steam; we mainly played with our trains rather than worked to make it possible. A relaxed Tim and Heather on the left tell the story.

We had several visitors, I think I counted 15. Richard Smoothie from Cockcrow is an old friend and managed to have a drive at two locomotives.

The day ended with a BBQ which controller DG had to miss because of a family visit; thank you Robin for finishing off controller duties.

Two trains with visitor passengers below.       

Old Oak Turntable almost finished Loading Line

The pictures show a fine day. Sadly, it was subsequently going to rain on most days until August - see below!

Engines in steam:
Kate, Royal Engineer, Cliff's 0-4-0, King Jack, 78054.

Midsummer Running on June 23rd

Old Oak finishing

It didn't feel like midsummer; cool, grey and with just a little rain. However, the north of England was suffering major flooding, so I suppose we were lucky.

Controller Cliff had devised a timetable for us to run to; it was but an aspiration as there was hydraulic and steam testing to do and the Old Oak turntable base to lay. We did run to a fragment of the timetable until Tim's LU tank suffered damage to its spring gear in a derailment at the top of the branch. We then had tea and ran to whim!

Engines in steam: Clan Line, Eileen Grant, 78054, King Jack (with guest Russian driver) and L94

78054 also derailed at the top of the branch; event preserved for posterity. YouTube Link

Another Wet One : July 14th

Bay Tree Parking for Tea King

There were times we thought about not bothering as our wet summer continued. However we persevered and the day saw the King making an appearance amongst a good turn out of locos. Tim brought back his L94 after repair and Mike brought visitors from Bishop Stortford.

Locos in steam: Clan Line, Cliff's 0-4-0, King, Kate, Karen, L94, 78054.

July 28th : A fine running day at last

Michael Faraday at Old Oak Kate at Dingly

High Wycombe Model Railway Club and members of the Acton Miniature Railway attended.

High Wycombe as usual had auctioned off driving and signalling experiences. King Jack (Alan A) and the Scot (David G) provided the driving experiences but the chief delight was to have an operational Bay Tree Box available for signalling - thank you Geoff! Acton brought their model of a Metropolitan Electric Locomotive 'Michael Faraday'.

Engines in steam : Scot, King Jack, Clan Line, 78054, Kate.

The Sunday Run : August 19th
A sunny day with lots of visitors.

Spinney Learner 19th Aug 2012 King Jack Learner 19th August 2012

The weather couldn't have been better, Mick (controller) printed a departure list which worked very well; coaches in the right place meeting up with the right locos. Plenty of driving experiences were being held, both on steam and electric loco. Bob was not present but no shortage of signalmen and guests admiring how it all worked.

Tim's 50th Birthday Cake

Tim was 50 and provided a cake (see left) and so did Robin who was celebrating his Ruby wedding anniversary, so no shortage of cake. June, Alan and family had done a lot of preparation and the gardens looked wonderful. Robin finished assembling point mechanism at Dingly Dell sidings, coaches and signals cleaned ready for the guests.
The trains from Old Oak were heavily loaded at the beginning and Clan Line and L94 had to be manually assisted from the rear (pushed) to the top but passenger loadings reduced from Old Oak as the day progressed and got warmer. Everyone seemed to have had a good day.

Locos in steam :
Clan Line, LT tank, Standard 2, Kate, Karen, King Jack, Black 5 plus the Electric giving young driver experience in the Dingly Dell area.

Clan Line visits the Great Cockcrow Railway in September

Clan Line at Cockcrow

Every year the Great Cockcrow Railway holds a Gala for visiting locomotives and their drivers. Cliff, with Clan Line has become a regular at the event. The picture shows the loco and its owner climbing to 'Piggery Summit' in the glorious sunshine that blessed the event this year.

Tim and his Metropolitan Tank and Adrian with 'Michael Faraday' were also present.

Photographer, Alan Bostock attended and Tim found his website
Photo Eyes Cockcrow Gala Page.
Click to see more of Cliff, Tim and Adrian.

Charity Day, September 15th
in Support of Crondall Pre-School Group

Alan A leaves Old Oak Charity Day 2012

We ran trains from Old Oak back to Old Oak and Dingly back to Dingly. No driving experiences.

Here we see Alan A and King Jack about to depart Old Oak. In the plan King Jack was paired with Tim's L95 to climb the formidable gradient up the branch but L95 had problems early in the day and King Jack is going to work hard to reach Spinney.

Mike Hack approaches the gate Charity Day 2012

On the right is a photograph from the train as Mike Hack's 'Hymek' loco runs down towards the gate. Looking carefully at the junction signal ahead we can see he is bound for the main line towards Bay Tree.

The 'Hymek' proved a strong, competent locomotive shifting quite heavy trains throughout the day. A loco that starts at the press of a button is quite an asset on days with lots of passengers!

And below we see two pictures showing some of our happy passengers. On the left the loco Karen sets off from Old Oak whilst on the right King Jack enters the same station.

Alan S and Kate leave Old Oak King Jack enters Old Oak

Engines in steam, Clan Line, Scot, Black 5, King Jack, Kate, L94 and Mike Hack's 'Hymek' battery loco. Special thanks to Mike C and Cliff who allowed their engines to be used although they were unable to attend.

October 6th - A Quiet Autumn Run

Tim's Goods Train at Spinney Clan Line and Tim's goods at Old Oak

Only a few folk here - just enough to man all the boxes. But look at the magnificent goods train that Tim brought! The left picture shows Eileen Grant at Spinney and the right picture shows Clan Line at Old Oak - with Karen in the background.

Lunch Time Eileen at Bay Tree

The other photos show a typical lunch time at Bay Tree and Eileen Grant bringing in the goods train for lunch.

Engines in steam : Eileen, Karen, Clan Line and the King.

A Cold Running Day : October 27th

The shed at lunch time Oct 27th 2012

The one picture shows the scene at the shed at lunch time. Eileen Grant is ready for her last run of the season, Nick is eating his lunch and Shaun, on father duty, is talking to Alan S with some unidentified visitors in the background.

Locomotives in steam : 1939 - Cliff's 'Little Loco', Eileen, King Jack, Kate and Dave Marsh's just bought Great Western Tank which had a successful hydraulic and steam test.

November 10th

Kate at the Bridge

A damp day causing plenty of steam vapour from the chimneys except for Steve Trower who bought along his latest edition, an 0-6-0 diesel shunter, electric driven.
Dave Marsh ran his new locomotive, an 0-6-0 pannier tank which seemed to do well.
Mick Collins ran a goods train taking wagons full of leaves to Old Oak.

This time of year it gets dark early and it was nice to see the signals lit adding a bit of atmosphere. Fish and chips to finish, but then rain came and the fireworks were put on hold, however rain did not last long and those that remained enjoyed the fireworks.

Locos in steam: Kate, Clan Line, Pannier (Dave Marsh), 350 shunter (Steve Trower) and George with Hugh Ballantine Dykes at the regulator.

A Damp and Disappointing Ending

A running / put away day was scheduled for November 24th but, just as at the start of the year, there was continuous torrential rain so we cancelled the day. (Elsewhere there was serious flooding and the news was full of householders surveying their properties under feet of water.)

And so to winter work once more : this time the branch line from gate to tractor shed.....