The Spinney Light Railway

2011 - 2012 The Old Oak Winter

No sleepers

We thought that there might be a few missing sleepers at Old Oak station but Scott showed how many as he began to lift the old track there. You can get the idea from the picture on the right.

The Project
To re-lay at Old Oak and re furbish the area : which can be divided into five parts.

The Track

Making Points Again Andrew the Barrow Man

This was familiar work. We separated the track into panels, knocked out the old sleepers and replace with new; the rail was used again as were most of the screws. This work being done on a bench by the site.
In previous track re-lays we dug out what was left of the old ballast, but this has produced quite a spoil heap next to Old Oak, so this time we levelled the site and laid the new railway on top thus track level, including the turntable, rose by some two inches.

Ballast at the gate

Unfortunately we ran out of ballast. This was a major blow because buying ballast in small amounts is uneconomic but the lorry load you see us moving on the left cost 1700 causing the friends to dig deep into their pockets.

If you visit the railway please recall the expense required to maintain our railway and consider a donation.

The main line out from Old Oak was laid in a slightly different line, away from tree roots and allowing the departure signal to be moved to the (proper) left hand side of the track.

Point Machines

New Point Machine Design

Although the points to the two platform roads and the turntable siding were already driven by new point machines, the final external drive were made of mild steel and had rusted badly in the two years they had been down. Alan S replaced the external dive rods and links with stainless steel.

Robin famously predicted that the machines could be re-installed and set up in 10 minutes - this was a sad underestimate as it took Alan S and David G almost the whole of a working day to fit them.

Bricks, Paths and Platforms

Platform repairs Building walls near the headshunt

Platforms were re-laid, a brick supporting wall placed behind the bay platform and a path with a supporting wall placed round the loading bay.

Sometimes it was wet

Wet April New yellow shunt signal

April 28th was very wet! David Daines holding the umbrella to provide some shelter indicates something of the appalling conditions - but we worked on because, as usual, we had underestimated the scale of our winter tasks.

The second picture, taken a fortnight later shows the new yellow signal for trains as they approach the headshunt; if the points are directed towards the headshunt, a driver can ignore the signal, but if the driver intends to proceed towards the main line, he must obey the signal and wait until it rotates to 45 degrees.

The picture also shows the extended headshunt with its new brickwork and path, also the inbound three arm signal moved back to the end of the headshunt. In the foreground is the top of a new type of hand point lever.

On the far right work has begun on the loading bay line.

Old Oak Turntable almost finished

The Turntable

The picture shows the turntable re mounted and raised to match the level of the raised trackwork. This was Tim's baby and he made a great job; we learned from our experience with the Dingly turntable in 2011 and this refurbishment seemed to go smoothly. However, Tim had to have patience when it came to painting the structure because of the rain.

We see it just after it was eventually painted in May waiting for the paint to dry.


Bob building Dingly

Bob laboured on completing the circuitry for the interlocking of Dingly. He was still at it as we ran trains in June, but by then his efforts were transparent to operations indicating things are close to completion

And talking of June, thank you Mrs Ainslie for all the tea that kept us going!

Things left to do

We ran out of time and did not re-lay the sidings, though we did purchase some nice hand point levers. One is fitted to the first siding point. We hope to fettle the sidings soon, to match the loading bay line which has been re-laid.

Team 2012 - the annual photograph

Team 2012

Standing:   Jamie, David D, Cliff, Alan A, Tim, June, Dave M,
Scott, Mike C, Robin, Adrian, Richard, Alan S

Kneeling / Sitting :   Nick, David G, Phoebe, Bob

Trying to hide behind David Daines, and not quite succeeding, Tom Z

Missing from the photo, but part of the team :   Andrew Ainslie, Geoff Bailey, Hugh Ballantine Dykes, Mike Hack, Shaun Hampshire, Russell Maiden, Ian Pidgley.