The Spinney Light Railway Running 2014


Summary for the 2014 running season includes:-


Engine shed pit and approach roads

David D testing the new track steps

Before the season started more spiders made homeless as Heather cleaned the signal boxes, Shaun and Jamie had a look at the rolling stock, annual MOT, adding grease where necessary and testing the vacuum brakes where fitted. Alan A built and installed two foldable steps in the loco pit, Alan S and Dave M finished cementing the bricks to the new coal stage, Mick and David G installed the number 4 siding including the buffer stops, The missing check rail and retaining wood around the point work was installed whilst Robin measured and installed the decking to bond the sleepers together and the point mechanism. The main project has been the loco pit and David D can be seen testing it with his curling skills.

signal box diagrams

Both Old Oak and Baytree signal boxes received new track diagrams and this has now been replicated on the web site.

News away from the Spinney

Social evening

enjoying the journey enjoying the journey

Thanks to Dave Marsh for getting the ball rolling on this one. This may be a first (as far as I know) where we could meet together with our wives and have a sociable evening. Dave M suggested an event where we could socialise away from the Spinney grounds and as we are all railway orientated it came as no surprise that the Real Ale Train (RAT) on the nearby Mid Hants Railway was suggested and immediately agreed with 16 people attending. Some of us decided to book a hotel room so we could enjoy the evening without worrying about who is going to drive. Tickets sold fast and some friends were left disappointed as they had left it too late. Unfortunately, Dave M became ill on the day and his tickets were snapped up by Alan and June. 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. It was an enjoyable evening and murmurs to repeat the event next year!

Cockcrow gala

heather and cliff waiting at signals

Cliff, Dave M, Jamie, Nick, Shaun, Heather and Tim were present along with Clan Line, Pannier 1369 and L94 locomotives, so a good turn out by the Spinney group. David G was resident signaller for the day. Dave M and Jamie drove on the Friday and well into the dark hours for some night driving. On the Saturday we all drove. Heather and I drove into the dark hours on Saturday night which added to the fun of our hobby, could Spinney do an evening run? Nick also drove Steve Trower's new locomotive LSWR T9. Good time had by all. Also seen on the Saturday were Andrew and Ann Blackwell with their Dean Goods loco numbered 2527 and Jeff Brown with the Black 5 numbered 5206 from East Herts, both of whom recently visited the Spinney.

Clan Line visits Clan Line

clan line at stewarts lane south london

Cliff had long waited for the opportunity to get two Clan Lines together, and see if the big one stood up to comparison with the model which became reality on 11th September 2014. Clan Line met Clan Line at Stewarts Lane the South London depot mainly home for Gatwick Express and the VSOE Pullman coaches. In the event it turned out to be nearly identical, apart from air brake, the wrong colour background to the nameplate, etc.etc. It was a bit galling to find the real one cleaner than the model, but with a team of nine to get her ready something should show! The MNPS (Merchant Navy Preservation Society) were a very friendly bunch.

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


wedding card wedding headboard

On the 19th July, Jamie and Annika tied the knot in Sweden, something to do with getting lots of Ikea presents. Jamie steamed Brunel which was given a special head board made by Cliff. Their wedding was in July but the Friends and Families day was the first time Jamie, Annika and son Henry have visited the Spinney together and were surprised with the card and present from the Spinney friends. Jamie's best man, Tony, was present as a guest and managed a drive of L94.


briefing driver training

28th June we had the annual visit by High Wycombe society and unfortunately this was one of the wettest days of the year and we all got absolutely soaked. We were short of friends to run the railway with no signalman at Old Oak, so with a stop board placed at the top of the branch, we made the branch into a possession and ran one train up and down the branch without the need for signals. We dedicated two locomotives for driver experience, one ran on the main line with Alan A, whilst David G ran the other on the branch possession which included shunting at Old Oak. David G unfortunately hurt himself when his foot hit the new wall by the shed and caused him to derail. Along with the torrential rain, he packed up early. Despite the rain many guests stayed for rides.

26th July, Alan A invited some guests from Doncaster.

john sadd dave rogerson

Dave Rogerson (left picture) was 70 on the day so many happy returns to him. He drove Kate under instruction from Mick C and John Sadd (right picture) drove King Jack.

visiting black 5 Visiting N class at Bay Tree

23rd August, visit by Andrew and Jeff who normally run at the East Herts miniature railway society located in the Van Hage garden centre, Amwell near Ware. This is of course very close to our three East Herts contingency. Their Black 5 and two blood and custards performed well and can be seen relaxing in the first picture. After being shown round the track they were more than happy to be left on their own to enjoy the Spinney. Jeff and the Black 5 were seen again at the Cockcrow Gala weekend. 25th October, visit by Andy Gelson from the Vale of Aylesbury who brought a very nice N class which had miniature tea cans in the cab, two other visitors, Colin Hebbes and Rodney Vale Coe from New Romney also joined us for the afternoon.

Myke and Marion also made several visits to the railway, it is always nice to see them and have a chat. Myke likes to reminisce and look at the projects he was once involved with. We had a visitor from Japan and therefore ran a special day on the 15th November, for him to see the railway in operation. Three locos in steam so plenty to see and it must be the latest in the year we have ever run trains.

Running to a timetable

9th August Several Visitors and we attempt a Timetable

Head Scratching

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

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

Heather and Clan Line at Old Oak Heather and Clan Line at Dingly

Charity day

guests at old oak cliff explaining basic operation of loco

20th September - The weather either side of the Saturday was delightful sun but Saturday was overcast but warm, however, with rain over night, the rails were wet and caused all locomotives to slip even after the rails had been treated. Robin was controller for the day and as usual he devised a plan. Like all plans they are subject to alteration at very short notice, with changes occurring as late as Friday night, I don't think a last minute plan was published. Bob, Nick, Dave MB and Scott who were on the list for not attending, did so due to a change in their circumstances but it was just as well they did turn up as all SLR friends were very busy. Mick's mate Paul also came and provided some much needed help running around for things to keep engines going. When we arrived the gardens were in good order, so not much clearing up needed. Alan and June, Katherine and Chris had done sterling work and Andrew did all the driver experiences, so the whole family were involved. All hands to the deck as it became a very busy afternoon. Robin had a major task on his hands as there were long queues coupled with locomotive and signalling failures and it became one big juggling act, but true to style he kept calm and kept the service running. On a more positive note, pleased to say that no derailments or other such incidents occurred even though we had some heavily loaded trains and some enthusiastic young passengers! Alan A managed to capture the day with his camera and I have included a few in this news article, trying to capture all locos and their drivers.

Locos this year at the Spinney

This years runners and riders are listed below in order of most run to least run. On the whole a good turn out with 15 different resident locomotives running through the year. It appears to be difficult to find a picture in the news with the owner driving.

Mick Collins' two locos

Kate, Mike and Pupil again

   Class 20 (below) 9 occasions

mick and freight

Kate, on the left was also a regular performer with 6 runs during the 2014 season.
Mick is always happy to let someone else drive his locomotives and here we see Kate with a very young driver. He is also keen to start up the class 20 and get the stock out. We certainly know he is about with his locomotive sound system.

King Jack - 9 occasions


Seen a lot this year and has mainly been used for Driver experiences. Alan has been unable to drive recently and has offered driving to various people which is a generous thought.

Clan Line - 7 occasions


Another locomotive which is a frequent runner. Clan line has had lubricator problems this year but Cliff hopes to have solved the problem. Clan Line has also been to Stewarts Lane South London Depot and Cockcrow annual Gala.

1369 GWR Pannier - 6 occasions

dave m at old oak

The week before Cockcrow Gala, the loco suffered a main steam pipe leak into the cylinders and Dave M did well by working on it at 05.00 each morning before work ensuring it was back running a week later - well done. It was rare to get a picture of Dave driving his locomotive as there was normally someone else driving it.

Kate - 6 occasions

heather driving kate

Another locomotive which is difficult to photograph with the owner driving. Mike is always letting other people drive so he can operate his class 20 locomotive so I have include a picture with Heather driving.

78054 - 6 occasions

nick freight at old oak

Nick's locomotive ran faultlessly and is pictured with a freight train.

Karen - 5 occasions


Good runner and ran with no problems in both the single and doubles categories (double heading), never too late out of the paddock.

L94 - 5 occasions


Another good runner and unlike last year, no faults this year.

Scot - 5 occasions

tim and heather with the scot

Scot has suffered from steam leaks this year and Alan S has tried in vain to replace gaskets etc. It is hoped to overhaul and repair the locomotive at the Spinney this winter rather than take it home. The lubricator seems to be working well as the driver also seems to get a spray over the afternoon. No photos of owner David G driving it.

Eileen Grant - 4 occasions

david g and dave m driving

Actually got a picture of David G driving one of his locomotives. This locomotive ran well and can be seen double heading with Dave M on the Charity day.

Brunel - 3 occasions

wedding card

Brunel was mainly steamed by Jamie and was therefore chosen for the Jamie and Annika wedding Special.

1939 Jesse - 3 occasions

learner driver

Failed on the last hurdle, last running day developed a manifold steam leak which requires urgent attention.

Scott Line - 3 occasions

ballast delivered

Mainly used at the beginning of the season and for engineering trains on a working party day. Picture shows Scott driving Scott Line and delivering ballast to the newly laid engine shed roads.

45482 - 2 occasions

Shaun's Black 5 successful boiler test

This locomotive had a boiler test quite late in the year and once passed was able to venture out.

George V - One occasion

george v

In the non runners list and staying in the paddock was the King

And finally

alan with object

Always good to have a good picture worth a caption contest and this year it involves Alan S again. Last year he had his hand over the loco pit wall grabbing a cake:-

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