The Spinney Light Railway

2010 - 2011 The Dingly Station Winter

Dingly Gantry in 2010

The principal task of the winter was to relay the track in Dingly station. Included in the work was moving the gantry controlling the entry to Dingly station. The picture on the left shows the gantry in its old position as a train of brownies enters the station in 2010.

A train approaching Dingly in the old layout first met a single arm signal and then the gantry at the Dingly throat. The two signals served no real purpose so the idea was to move the gantry to the position of the first signal. The gantry is now the only signal between an inbound train and the platforms.

Old Dingly 2 Old Dingly 3

The other two pictures above also show the old situation (and Bob) before the changes.
Notice the two arm junction signal just below Bob's face which controlled movements from the headshunt. The 'junction' was at the exit from the headshunt. If you had the left arm you were also required to obey the gantry signals but given the right arm you were clear to the station area.

The 'Oh Dear' bits; catastrophes we could have avoided

Trying to take water

The Water Pump
Amazingly, for the third winter in a row, we failed to drain down the water before frost caused damage to the electric water pump that fills the water tower at Bay Tree station. (The water butt at Dingly is connected to the tower and is on the same level so both fill together. The Old Oak tap is just a hose from Dingly.) Most bits of the water system seem to survive, but the water pump and its filter suffer badly, requiring money and time to repair.

Let's resolve to 'pull the plug' and drain down at the end of the last running day in future.

Repairing the seized King

The King was found to be seized
During the winter we move every loco one wheel revolution every working day This prevents internal bits rusting together. When we came to move the king, it was seized. The locomotive had been stationary all summer and the pistons in both centre cylinders had rusted in position.

The repair was quite a saga. First, a rough towel was put under the loco so as the wheels would grip the rail, and then leaning down on the loco, it was rocked to and fro. No movement!.

Repairing the seized King

Then, crawling under the engine with a metal rod and a hammer, we struck the crossheads, hoping to dislodge the seizure. No luck!.

We tried steaming the loco, hoping the temperature rise would help, and repeated both the above techniques but without effect. Finally the front cylinder covers, one big end and several other parts (to give access) were removed and judicious tapping with rod and hammer released the pistons.

Many hours of skilled work, particularly from Alan S, were required to put right a disaster that could have been prevented with a gentle push. Another lesson learned.

Re Laying the Branch

Tim smoothes the branch

An interlude in main game was Tim's repairs to the section of branch line from the fixed distant under the bridge to the tractor shed which was dug out and re laid.

There had been one or two derailments here because tree roots and the track had caused significant twisting.

We see Tim, who was in charge, excavating the track bed. There were lots of roots!

Dingly at the half way stage

Ballasting and testing one of the new point machines Dingly work in progress

Pictures taken in March. By now the single slip crossing and most of the points had been rebuilt with insulating joints cut in for track circuits. Most of the bits for the 8 new point machines were made but only two were assembled.

Robin and Dave M had put in several extra days; Dave was our construction engineer rebuilding the platforms, a significant job as can be seen in the right hand photograph.

Excited gentlemen Dave & Alec Scott shunts into Dingly
April (above)
The last point was rebuilt and four point machines were mechanically connected.
The left picture shows a rare glimpse of Bob, the mastermind of the signalling electrics, wiring cables to a new point machine. About six plain track panels are still required; progress here was halted because we ran out of track screws. Screws to finish cost a further 300!

Tim's Dingly photograph Skilled Dave
May (above)
Nearly there! Scott's loco brings in the last ballast train.
Dave M puts his skill to use keeping the platforms neat and safe. Yes safe! Over the years crumbling concrete takes its toll.

Alan making the new gantry Installing the turntable and foot crossings
More May
Alan was the woodwork king. Several hundred sleepers cut and here he is adding a signal post to the outer gantry.
On the right is the turntable adjusted by Mike C and Tim to match the new higher rail level. They also had to lift the ash pit, dead end, line.
Extra bits
Not so many this year; it was almost all Dingly. Geoff continued his marathon in Bay Tree and a hand pump was added to the loco 'George V'.
The eight new point machines deserve a special mention. They cost a fortune (over 100 each in materials alone) and occupied Alan S, David G, Tim R and Mike C for most of their time at the railway plus many days in home workshops.

Thank you June

And of course, Tea !

Thank you June

What would we do without you?

You keep us going every year.

Team 2011 - the annual photograph

Team 2011

Standing,     David Daines, Mike Collins, Robin Smith, Adrian Allum, June Ainslie, Cliff Perry, Alan Ainslie, Mike Hack, Dave Marsh, Jamie Heath, Tom Zehetmayr, Alan Stephen.
Kneeling :     David Grant, Alec McCloskey, Scott and Tim Reynolds.
Very Front :     Phoebe and Hayden.
Missing : Geoff Bailey, Bob Thackery, Richard Stokes, Nick Smith.