16th October 2021 A shovelling day
Thirteen friends in attendance and were:- Alan, June, Andrew, Hayden, plus Tim, Heather, Peter, Dave MB , David D, David G, Dave M Dave MB, Jamie (Controller), Henry, Cliff, Nick, Robin and visitors Ian and Rosie with his 9F 92184 and Andy with his 31873 southern N class locomotive. Mick unfortunately is ill and Alan S was out enjoying himself on a birthday surprise. Cliff e mailed to say he would arrive as pedestrian relief Shoveler. When Cliff did arrive, we had already completed the ballast move and as usual, we stopped for lunch. Thanks to June for the additional cups of tea and of course the cakes.
Pictures above show the main task for the day, 19.5 tonnes of ballast had to be moved from the drive to the ballast pit, and all moved in a staggering 2 hours and with help from the visitors. Will they come again if there is hard graft to be done!!! The ballast pit is brick built but has been enlarged using plastic pallets, cable tied together. The team group photo L - R, Dave M, Dave MB, David G, Matt, Ian, Heather, Robin, June, Jamie, Henry (Supporting the shovel), Nick, Peter, Alan A with myself taking the picture and avoiding the traffic. Missing from the line up is Ian's daughter Rosie, but can be seen tipping ballast at the ballast pit.
Cliff has returned Clan Line to Spinney whilst Dave M has taken his 73115 locomotive home. Scott Line was used to tow Clan Line up the branch which was its power limit and moved 73115 down to old oak, keeping David D busy in his signal box. The 9F traversed the railway with only one restriction which was the line nearest the carriage shed, the curve onto the turntable is just a bit too tight. The point at the exit from the Spinney tunnels may also have been a bit tight but these were not used as the freight stock was stored in the platform. Andy drove his locomotive 31873 without any issues.
The left hand picture shows the resident locomotives, L94 and 1420. Dave managed to run round the railway and build his fire back up after the tea break. 1420 is venturing out more now and Dave plans to run it again next time.
S & T news
In the signal boxes were:- Old Oak - David D, Dingly - Jamie, Baytree - Robin then Cliff and Spinney - Matt. This was Matt's first time in Spinney which is a difficult signal box but he managed it well especially as signal number 18 became defective. Andrew, Alan A and David G fixed the signal which required a new solenoid. Otherwise all signalling worked well.
Peter has been working on a replacement fixing for the signal electrical connections and the prototype can be seen above. The pictures show the connector coupled to a signal and with a rubber cover for the winter. It has been decided to replace the round tube posts with metal angle. Robin has also taken some rolled rail home and plans to start construction for the new point required to run a siding along side the carriage shed. Robin is also going to advise us of the winter dates shortly.
Next time is planned to be the last run of the year and will finish for the traditional fish and chips and fireworks. Friends, please visit the normal communication for details.
2nd October 2021
Due to the awful forecast and current fuel supply problems, it was decided to cancel today and hope that the next meeting fairs better as we have a lot of ballast to shovel before running trains for the last time this year.
18th September 2021
A good warm sunny day and relaxing. Eleven friends in attendance and were:- Alan, June, Andrew, plus Tim, Heather, Peter, Dave MB (Controller), David D, David G, Dave M (later joined by family), Jamie, Henry, Nick and Robin. Day start with small jobs and Peter finished the cable fixing in the tunnel, Heather cleaned the signal box windows whilst others tidied up some leaves. Robin and Nick rolled some rail in preparation for winter work and the installation of the planned siding adjacent to the carriage shed at Old Oak. Robin has taken the rails home to work on and construct a point. Cliff was not in attendance today so once again we didn't know when to have lunch resulting in the 13.00 train running being delayed to 14.20 when the first train departed Old Oak. If we get much later we might as well wait for tea break. Thanks to Jamie, Dave M for photos and to June for the teas and cakes.
5 locomotives on track today and were:- L94, Scott Line, 73115, 33029 and 1420. David G steamed Eileen but was unable to run as he couldn't find the driving truck water drain cap and therefore unable to store water for the injectors. David G went home at tea break so as to make another cap ready for next time. I expect he will find the old one once he has made a new one. Dave MB steamed 1420 and is learning how temperamental it can be and juggling fire, pressure and water level is an art on a small locomotive. Good to see Dave MB and the locomotive out on the track. I took my usual time to steam L94 and I blame the Non-flammable paraffin I was using - It was several years old. Dave MB is trying to beat my record I think on the longest time to steam a locomotive. Henry drove on his own and is pictured with a rainbow effect over him.
S & T news
In the signal boxes were:- Old Oak - David D, Dingly - Jamie and Henry, Baytree - Robin and Spinney - Peter. David D had to leave at tea time and Old Oak and Dingly were unmanned after tea but we still managed to run a few trains. Dingly was one train in and out before another one entered, whilst those going to Old Oak were one way trips to the carriage shed and loading ramp. Lefthand picture shows Alan A, Andrew, Peter and David G replacing the point motor connector plug and socket, whilst the righthand picture shows Andrew and myself repairing Dingly point number 14, we never have the right tools for the job when we need them. A stone had wedged itself in the blade operating area and the motor was continually working and slipping on the rest of the mechanism. Also at Dingly nearly all the locomotives derailed on 11a points and will need further investigation as there were other issues on the railway which took priority. Spinney had a track circuit failure which affected the block instruments with Baytree. Robin was controlling Baytree and phone call assistance to everywhere else, even though he was loosing detection on his number 4 points occasionally, so he was very busy.
Jamie has been voted as controller next time and according to the diary we only have two more running days for this year.
4th September 2021
Cloudy but dry and a good weather forecast which is basically a typical summers day. Twelve friends in attendance and were:- Alan, June, Andrew, Hayden plus Tim, Heather, Peter, Paul, Dave H, Dave MB, David D, David G (Controller), (all the D's again) Jamie, Henry, Mick, Alan, and 3 visitors.
Usual tidy up commenced in the morning and jobs include fixing the electrical signalling cable back to the walls in the tunnel and Peter managed to put 25 fixing straps in with another 15 to do. Picture shows Dave drilling holes for new fishplates to connect the rails. Now that the rails are firmly fixed, we have a new problem, the axles on the green coaches hit the door stop (coaches behind his feet in the picture).
Cliff was not present so we didn't know when to stop for lunch and when we did, it delayed the 13.00 start time to 13.50. David G was controller and only had to contend with trying to keep the trains moving and no major faults to deal with. Thanks again to June for the teas, cakes and BBQ.
Six locomotives on track today and were:- L94, Scott Line, Kate, Royal Scot 6109, 1420, King Jack which was a nice number to have running round without over crowding the system. I have captured the running locomotives in the pictures above. Paul steamed his 1470 but is still having problems with it. Dave MB has been working on his 1420 locomotive, replacing seals and tightening joints to make sealed systems and picture shows that after several test trips up and down the loco shed road, he ventured out for a couple of circuits. 1420 is slowly overcoming all the issues it had. My visitors all managed to drive L94 and Scott Line which made their day.
S & T news
In the signal boxes today were, Dingly - Jamie and Henry, Baytree - David G and Alan A, Spinney - Peter, David G and Andrew, Old Oak - David D who was either very busy or periods of no trains. Bit like busses, all trains came at once or nothing at all. We have new signallers running the signal boxes and it was noticed that the bell and block instruments were not being used correctly with operation of signal levers (set sequence required) and therefore it has been suggested that at the beginning of next year we have a training day and development day to help learn procedures and specifics regarding the individual signal boxes. After saying that, it was good to note a green signal going into the tunnel and another green signal coming out of the tunnel, I didn't know that these signals had a green bulb in them.
When closing the railway, it was good to see the coaches being put away and not left out or get in the way of the loading ramp. The day ended with a BBQ but with smaller numbers from last time (4). Dave MB has been coerced into being the controller next time.
Dave M sent in pictures of the Andover event where Dave M, Cliff, Nick and Robin attended.
21st August 2021 Friends and Family
Another dreadful weather forecast, but we went ahead with running and the weather just got better as the day progressed, well it is summer. Fifteen friends in attendance and were:- Alan, June, Andrew, Hayden plus Tim, Heather, Cliff, Peter, Paul, Robin, Jenny, Dave M, Dave MB, David D, David G (all the D's again) Jamie, Henry, Mick (Controller), Alan, and visitors with a locomotive were Matt, Richard and Luke. 16 friends and family were on the list to attend, which made the railway very interesting. With rain at the start of the day, the rails were treated to prevent slipping, unfortunately there was a stone in Spinney number 7 points and Scott Line derailed. Alan A secured Spinney number 3 signal to mounting bracket as well as cleaning the carriage shed floor. It was thought that longitudinal sleepers would make the cleaning process easier, maybe a winter project? Rest of the railway was tidied up as the vegetation had grown over the line in several places. A very good turnout and with so many visitors, the car parking became an issue, with all tarmac space covered. Who was the expert last time for arranging car parking? Mick was the controller for today and was kept busy, trying to smoothly run the railway. One new issue, now that the coaches are stored in the carriage shed, there is a conflict between locomotives being loaded and putting the rolling stock away, as you can only do one or the other at a time. This meant only a few people left to put the rolling stock away. Peter and Janice celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary and was presented with a card. At the BBQ. Peter thanked everyone and said it had been 50 years of married bliss (whatever that is). Thanks again to June for the teas, cakes and BBQ and a special mention to say Happy Birthday to June next week.
At one point there were 9 locomotives on the track at the same time which must be a record and were, L94, Scott Line, King Jack, Clan Line, Royal Scot 6109, 1470, Class 20, Spinney electric and Scamp. Cliff e mailed to describe his afternoons activities which stated that he needed, and received a huge amount of help. Borrowed blower, earth fault correction (the country end of the small bridge needs a bit of TLC to the rail clip - being off the track in mid air is not really Earth fault - I know), technician whose magic touch restored the power to the buffer stops on the ash road, signaller at Spinney and his lovely assistant allowing me track space to recover pressure, (twice), driver of 6109 who offered to pull me back to Dingly (but pressure recovered so that humiliation was avoided) and oodles of assistance to load finding out that the trailer has been adapted in a careful way to secure Clan Line perfectly. No names in case I missed anyone out, but all indicative of a great spirit among the friends that made the day. Thank you all. On enginemanship, Cliff said that he is finding Clan Line is a different engine with the new boiler, more fire sensitive, and particularly resistant to maintaining pressure when I leave the injector on, coupled with a new found ability to prime even when I turn it off with water close to the top nut. All excuses, will try harder. Paul once again struggled with his 1470 and I only observed him at the loco shed or Dingly station. Dave MB worked on his 1420 and had the cab off to access parts.David G gave his Grandsons driving lessons using Royal Scot. Mick took his class 20 back to the loco shed as the railway was full to capacity and with Paul back at the loco shed this left 7 locomotives running round which is still a lot. Visitors were given the opportunity to drive which added to their enjoyment.
S & T news
Henry had a great day, riding around in a wagon, driving and as can be seen in the picture, operating Spinney signal box under the watchful eye of Robin and Jenny. How Robin kept calm in Spinney signal box I do not know. With so many trains on the railway the track circuits were constantly lit, bell codes constantly belling and operational problems such as Baytree number 4 points not detecting and causing a back up of trains. Even David D was busy at Old Oak, with all line occupied at times, never seen it so busy. Baytree was operated by Mick, Luke and David G during the course of the afternoon, whilst Jamie did Sterling work at Dingly later covered by Matt. Jamie can be seen allowing trains to pass a signal and no one knowing why the signal would not clear. This happened several times. Robin has been working at home updating the signalling instructions. These have been printed and Robin will distribute as required.
Picture shows a large number of people enjoying the BBQ and is the largest I have seen for a long time which was good to see. June did well with ordering and cooking just the right amount especially as some only confirmed their wishes on the day, a good time to wind down as it had been a very busy afternoon. Alan S produced some gauge plate that he has welded together using plasma, this seams to be new technology to me and the weld looked very clean and that was his practice piece.
Additional photographs have been added to the pictures section.
Hopefully good weather, another good turn out and meeting will be Saturday 4th September.
7th August 2021 Wet! wet! wet!
In contrast to last time, today was heavy rain and was therefore cancelled. It did dry up for part of the afternoon but had we have run we would not have seen more than one hours running and probably all soaked, including signallers. Adrian e mailed to say he has had heavy rain for most of the last two days (Friday and Saturday)with average temperature about 23°C in Stockholm, so we are not the only ones suffering.
Cliff offered an invite to use his OO gauge railway which was taken up by Paul, Jamie and Henry and as this was in a shed, if it had rained, it would not have been a problem. Lots of trains were run, from passenger, freight and even a mail train put in an appearance. A few minor issues happened during the running, but most were down to 'Operator Error" (Cliffs words). Unfortunately service along the branch was suspended during the afternoon due to a fault somewhere. We thought at one point David G may appear with his tool box to try and locate the fault (Davids fault). The fault was later traced to the last loco which ran along the branch and normal service resumed. Weirdly that loco ran fine afterwards, I suppose that's model trains for you..... Additionally Henry had a preference for diesels, and contrasting approaches to speed. Anyway a great, unplanned afternoon was had by all. Thanks to Cliff and Jamie for organising the afternoon, pictures and sending me an account to add to the news.
17th July 2021 Hot, Hot Hot!
With a temperature approaching 30 degrees and unbroken sunshine, we were lucky not to suffer significant track distortion; Robin did push a couple of bits of track back into place but then all was well.
People present - almost a full turnout:
Ainslies: Alan, June, Andrew and Hayden, Mik Butler (Dingly), Mick Collins, David Daines (Old Oak), David Grant, Dave Harvey (morning only), Dave Mowat, Cliff Perry, Nick Smith (Spinney), Robin Smith (Controller) Alan Stephen, Peter Willats (Spinney) and visitors Dave Marsh (fleetingly) and Matthew Teller who did a grand job signalling in Bay Tree.
Locomotives out running were:
GW 0-4-4 1420, Brunel, Clan Line, Class 20, Eileen Grant, Karen, King Jack.
The mounting for SP3 was found damaged but by sawing off the bottom 3 inches of the signal post it was re-secured. Later we found the spade contacts to the solenoid had been damaged, causing the signal to sometimes fail, and this is a fix for next time. Peter had been hard at work producing a new mounting for the banner signal in the cutting and a new box to cover the point machine in Spinney platform. Next time: Needs a small cut out to clear the shaft to the point.
On the locomotive front, several successful hydraulic / steam tests were carried out and it was good to see Dave MB's loco out on the main line. Brunel, now owned by June, hauled a couple of coaches. June even had a drive!
Tim and Heather are away on holiday in Scotland so DG is to blame for this News. Tim is still eager to contribute to the 'News' and sends these pictures of a weather forecast system he has discovered whilst in his travels.
Picture from Robin added below showing loco preparation at Old Oak.
Very good turn out considering the forecast was originally thundery showers but as it turned out, it was a pleasant day. Twelve friends in attendance and were:- Alan, June, Andrew, Hayden plus Tim, Heather, David G, Dave H (Lack of Dave's today), Cliff, Mick, Alan S, Peter, Paul, Robin, Jenny and Mik B. Alan S and Mick finished the water column project and we now have a working water column at old Oak. As this has an electrical switch a power supply supplied from the usual trail from Dingly / Old Oak boxes and we must remember to switch it on / off as required. Picture shows the required number of supervisors to watch Alan S make the final fitting. Dingly number 4 points failed and Andrew diagnosed this as a bent point rodding bar. Once corrected the point was reset and functioned perfectly. Seems someone had stood on it!! David G was good at telling people what to do so he automatically became the controller for the day. David D was away on canal VIP duties and Dave MB is under the weather a bit, we wish him well. After the maintenance, Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch. On another note, my phone said I had done 2.6 miles, 6,608 steps by the time I left the Spinney which is good exercise and who needs a Gym? Has anyone else monitored their travels at the Spinney? Thanks to June for the tea, cakes and an enjoyable BBQ.
Boiler testing continued and L94 and Kate successfully passed their tests. Six locomotives out today and were, L94, Scott Line, 1470, Kate, Karen and Clan line. Paul is still having some difficulty with his 1470 loco and only managed one lap before retiring from a lack of steam pressure. Clan Line ran today and is pictured on its way too Old Oak, probably the first time in four years. Top left hand picture show Mick and Alan side by side, stopped for a chat as nothing was moving for a period while signalling issues were remedied, whilst the left hand picture shows L94 which had an earth fault and struggled to cope with ballast on the rail head. Thanks to mobile phone technology I was able to summon help very quickly and no damage done. The foliage was from an earlier encounter with bracon across the branch line and seemed to stay as a mascot
S & T news
Picture shows Robin with his supervisor and Jenny was able to show Robin how to regulate trains as all trains passed Baytree very smoothly. David G was in Old Oak until Robin left and he went to Baytree. The branch then became one train in steam and emergency token system. Mik B operated Dingly but had a very quiet day as most trains went round the main. Peter was in Spinney and finding his way to controlling it and I think he learnt a lot as he had a lot of trains at one point. Remember to check instruments if trains come to a stand, they soon stack up, but well done for trying.
Next timeRobin has been coerced to be the controller and David G will write the news.
19th June 2021
A very good turn out considering the dampness and the rain that was forecast. The rain held off until we packed up. Fourteen friends in attendance and were:- Alan, June, Andrew, Hayden plus Tim, Heather, David G, Eileen, David D, Dave MB, Dave H (lots of Dave's), Cliff, Mick, Alan S, Peter, Paul, Robin, Nick and visitor Matthew Teller, who has asked to visit again. It was good to meet those that couldn't meet last time and catch up on a years news. Alan A has replaced the tap in the toilet and then moved on to tidying the site. The wet weather has caused branches to bend a bit more than normal so a lot had to be trimmed to clear the railway. Andrew spent the whole day with the chain saw and by the end was soaking wet. Everyone else found a job and the picture shows Peter installing cable clips to re-secure the cabling that has come loose in the tunnel. Lighting provided by Dave MB, only another 40 clips to renew.
Normally when Cliff arrives we stop for lunch, but this week he was early so the mantra fell to Robin, so when he arrived (on crutches) we stopped for lunch. After the maintenance had been done attention changed to running the railway. The day ended with a BBQ under the parasol as it was raining when we started, however it did stop and allow those that stayed to have a relaxing and enjoyable time. Thanks to Dave MB for the pictures, some of which are in the pictures section and to June for the tea, cakes and BBQ.
Alan S and Nick boiler tested Pauls 1470 loco and Cliff's Clan Line, both were successful and the picture shows Cliff receiving his certificate. Due to Covid, no one has run for a long time, more than a year in some cases and therefore we now have a situation where everyone needs a boiler test at the same time.Previously this duty has been staggered throughout the year. Five locomotives out today, L94, Class 20, Scott Line, 1470 and a visiting locomotive, a 0-4-0 Lister owned by visitor Matthew Teller and can be seen in the pictures section and above. Dave H had the opportunity to drive and said it was very different riding experience to anything he has been on before. Matthew took great care not to fill the petrol tank in the vicinity of steam locomotives, good thinking.
S & T news
Spinney had three points that were not working from last time, number 5 and 9B points were lubricated and adjusted and began to work. Number 7 points leading to the branch caught us out until Dave MB leant us a meter and with assistance from Andrew it was discovered that the protecting mcb had tripped. All we had to do was find it, glad it was something simple. Top righthand picture shows Matthew and Dave H looking for inspiration or something else. Andrew and David G managed to get Dingly working somehow. In the signal boxes were, Old Oak - David D, Baytree - Mick, Spinney - Peter whilst Dingly was mostly unmanned and seemed to be self service.
Hopefully another good turn out and meeting will be Saturday 3rd July.
First meeting 5th June 2021
For the first meeting of 2021, eight friends in attendance and were:- Alan, June, Andrew, Hayden plus Tim, Heather, David G, Cliff, Peter, Paul, Dave H and a newcomer Mik B. Robin emailed and hopes to join us next time. I arrived earlier than expected, approx 11.15 BC (Before Cliff) who e mailed to say he would arrive at lunchtime (no change there). Unlike the previous day which was constant rain, we had a very hot and sunny day as can be seen in the pictures (sun cream required or wearing of hats to protect ourselves) and the track has expanded in the Dingly siding, we didn't try putting the bridges in as they are sometimes prone to expand. It has been a long time since we have met at the Spinney and a lot of social catching up was made along with getting the railway back towards a running state. Nature soon disrupts things. Whilst we have been away, Alan and June have been working on the railway, the toilet room has bee smartened up with new tiles and the branch has some new edging (see picture). Whilst everyone got stuck into a project, I was unable to capture everyone on camera but the transformation of the railway was very evident by the end of the day. Alan A gave newcomer Mike B a tour of the site and he has an interest in signalling. Pictures show Andrew with a power cutter which he went around the site making clearances for the trains. He had his son Hayden helping by picking up the leaves. Peter has made some new signs for the signal boxes which he has erected. Also involved with the tidy up were Paul, Dave H and Heather who also made the signal boxes a bit more presentable.
Thanks to June for the teas and cakes and to Cliff for the cream and Scones.
After the tidy up we concentrated on operational aspects of the railway, and with most signals put up we tested each signal box. Some problems were encountered, At Old Oak signals and points would not work until we found a bare wire touching something it shouldn't and this reminded me of the Clapham crash on 12th December 1988. At Spinney not all the signals are out yet and these will need to be put out next time. However number 5, 7 and 9B points failed to operate. Number 7 points just needed a bit of elbow grease to fix as it had not moved for a year, however 5 and 9B are more serious as rust had held parts together and preventing movement (Number 7 is painted to prevent this). Alan will try and remedy before next time. The 9B point motor cover is in a terrible state, being wood it has collapsed. When dealing with this point a Toad was hiding in the leaves in the point mechanism and didn't want to leave.
Hopefully these issues will be remedied and we can run a train or two next time.