The Spinney Light Railway

2009 - 2010 The Spinney Station Winter


Winter Snow

The picture shows the beautiful effect of the snow at the railway in January. However we lost the last working day in December and the first in January to frost and snow.

Although there were no more lost days the weather was 'dreich' throughout the working season.

If you don't know what 'dreich' means think dull, grey, miserable; look at the photographs below and try to spot how often the sun shone or folk were not well wrapped up.

The main Event - Spinney Station Lines

Bad Track 2010

Well, this is what some of the track was like when we got it up. It was amazing that trains stayed on.

The rails were in pretty good condition and were used again, but the rail curving device was enlisted to smooth the curves where appropriate.

The sleepers were all new and drilled for a gauge of 7¼" + 1mm. The old railway seemed to have been laid close to 7¼" which, of course, is the nominal gauge. We hoped the slight gauge widening would reduce the drag to a train on curved sections.

A new technique employed was to place thin plastic sheet below the track to prevent weed growth and the migration of dirt into our nice, clean ballast.

Points presented the same challenge as in previous years and each one took almost a day to rebuild. There were five points to deal with between the box and the tunnels. A new point machine was built for the tunnel mouth and we took the opportunity to move the breaks between some track circuits to safer positions.

The pictures below show how we progressed:

Early Stages Early Stages

Progress More Progress

And the finished outcome:

Finished looking up Finished looking down

New Track Near Gate

It really does look great. Just look at the clean ballast - and that added touch of the white line down the platform edges.

The last photograph near the gate shows how the ballast discolours; the up line was re-laid three years ago; how long before the new and old can't be distinguished?

Added Detail

It doesn't fall off!

The SLR is a miniature of the historic railway in the first half of the 20th century. This needs more than just locomotives and carriages. This winter Dave Marsh provided some added detail.

Look at the left hand side of the picture of Clan Line proving the new track at Spinney and you will see an 'stencil' speed limit sign '5', typical of those that used to be on the real railway.

The other good news from the picture was that Clan Line did not derail whilst it was driven through every part of the newly laid track.

New BufferStops

On the right you can see the new bufferstops for the siding by Spinney signalbox that Dave also provided together with some brickwork to tidy up the end of the siding.

Dave also rebuilt parts of the platforms where frost had broken up the brickwork supporting the concrete slabs.

An additional 'Added Feature' which is not entirely welcome is a spoil heap some 5 feet high and 30 feet long at Old Oak, being the material dug from below the old railway through Spinney Station.

The Ballast Day

Inbound Heap

The heap of newly delivered ballast had to be barrowed in from the gate one February Saturday.


The ballast alone cost 1900, track screws 200, new spare rail 200, parts for each new point machine 70. A fair estimate for the total spend on the railway's infrastructure this winter would approach 3000. It was an expensive winter.

If you visit us, do please remember to put a donation in the tin! All donations gratefully received and put to good use

The New Point Machine at the Tunnel and a 'nearly new' in the Loop

New Point Machine Design

Alan S continues to develop the point machine design and a new machine was installed at the tunnel mouth

All the mechanism is now within the box (previously parts were below the machine and inaccessible to repair but all too accessible to dirt and sand). The electrical links can be quickly disconnected during repairs and the detection cams cannot trash the microswitches when wrongly set.

The old point machine was moved to the bottom of the loop to make a double point with the point which diverts up trains into the loop. Now, if a train starts in error, down from the loop, the new point will send it into the signalbox!

A big 'thank you' to Robin for masterminding this re-laying. (Sometimes from Dubai!)

Bay Tree

Unfortunately Geoff was ill this winter so progress with the re-wire of Bay Tree has been slower than he would like. However, progress there was with the shelf indicators now all working.

The Lift in the Engine Shed

New Point Machine Design

It was all but impossible to get a picture, but here's the president and the mastermind with the class2's tender sitting on the lift.

The lift platform can match the level of the outside track or the inside racks thus increasing the capacity of the engine shed considerably.

In testing the lift was able to cope with the 8F; quite a weight!

Tom's Refurbished Wagon

Tom's Wagon

The wagons at the railway get very little attention. Indeed in the winter they are used to shift material round the railway when they get struck with shovels and have things dropped on them regularly. Consequently they are generally in a poor state even with bits hanging off.

Tom took pity on the wagon in the picture and thoroughly refurbished it, even giving it authentic brakes that can be 'pinned down' just as in the days of loose coupled freight trains.

Tom was very modest about being photographed with his wagon but D M snapped this one. You can just see part of the new lettering 'S L R', on the side.

What's Left

As ever there were lots of other jobs done; thank you for the following :
Despite his wife, Marian's serious illness Cliff managed to fix many of the lenses back into the signals. The initial glue must have reached some sell-by date because these lenses have been falling out like leaves in autumn recently. Alan A, as well as being chief sleeper cutter repaired the air pump and the water pump. Bob continued to coax life into the system at Dingly particularly persuading the point machines to work for one more year.

If I have missed anything else that was done, thank you anyway.

Team 2010   Two attempts as people came and went

Team 2010(1)
Back Row, Left to Right,David G, Alan A, Geoff, Alec, Cliff, Mike C, Alan S, Richard.
Front, Robin,Tim,Darren,Nick, Dave Shaun and Phoebe.

Team 2010(1)
Clockwise, Geoff (turning round), Tim, Richard, Alan A, Darren, Bob, Dave,
Jeff A, Robin, Shaun, Alan S (just), Alec, Mike C, June.

Missing from both, Adrian, Myke B, Mike H, John M, David D and Tom Z.