The Spinney Light Railway

2012 - 2013 The Branch Winter

No track

The task
To re-lay from the end of 2012's track work at Old Oak to the top of the branch easing the steepest gradient.

In 2007-8 the bridge above the branch had been raised. This year we would raise the branch track below so the branch climb could begin nearer Old Oak thus reducing the gradient especially on the curved part of the climb.

This would involve:

Moving Support Material

Help from the tractor After the fill

We were taken aback at the quantity of fill required to raise the track. The spoil at Old Oak was put to good use using the tractor but even so, much shovelling was required to achieve the result shown.

The Point

Rebuilding the point Point Aligning

Work on the point was familiar territory. We dismantled and rebuilt using planks over the bridge, slightly widening the gauge for an easier and smoother transition on the uphill run.

Repairing the Cutting Walls

Repairing the Cutting

At first we feared we must face the expense of buying new rustic wooden support beams to replace the rotted material. However, where the cutting was shallow, the wood sides were removed and the soil graded back to make the soil slope down to the railway.

The wood recovered was used to replace the rotted beams where the cutting was deep, near the bridge.

This was a Reynolds enterprise and the picture shows Scott grinding a metal supports to size.

Raising the Level Crossing

Filling the Crossing Filling the Crossing 2

Quantities of hard core were first brought in to raise the line followed by much more cement than we first thought. Tom had to make two extra trips to the local builders merchant and both cement mixers were in use.

Now the Artistic Bricklayers

Laying the bricks Laying the bricks 2

Only the properly skilled were allowed to take part in this activity, and the end result, which can be seen in the summer running pictures for 2013, is very pleasing.

Final Ballasting

Mike's new loco assists with the ballasting Ballasting at the crossing

Mike C brought two bonuses to the June working day; first his new loco drew the unloaded ballast wagons up the hill after they had unloaded and second, his friend Paul who can be seen on the right with Tim ballasting the track near the level crossing.

Extra Finishing Off Day

Heather cleaning Bay Tree First train up the branch

The ballasting wasn't quite finished and Robin collected a few stalwarts for an extra day to tamp the stones well under the track, tighten up the odd track screw and check the levels. Heather took the opportunity to tidy two signal boxes and drove the first train up the branch.


Crossing Team

By this time it was late June so it was hardly winter and we basked in glorious sunshine on the last official day as the wood was placed in the crossing and the final ballast was placed round the track whilst Robin supervised the levels. However, we had lost several days in the winter both to snow and torrential rain. Some of the team are lobbying for an earlier start to the winter work of 2013/2014 so we can enjoy the railway in midsummer.

The 2013 Team

The 2013 Team

Left to Right :
Jamie, June, David, Heather & Tim Reynolds, Mike C, Robin, Mike H, Dave, Alan S, Shaun, Phoebe, Bob, Alan A, Alec, Richard.

Missing :
David Daines, Cliff, Nick, Tom, Scott