The Spinney Light Railway 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.

tim weather Tim weather

Picture from Robin added below showing loco preparation at Old Oak.

Getting ready

3rd July2021


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.

Loco news

alanmickspinney cliffclanline


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 time

Robin 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.

Loco news

cliffboilercert matthewtellerlister2


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

timpointno5 dinglywiring


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.

Next time

Hopefully another good turn out and meeting will be Saturday 3rd July.

First meeting 5th June 2021

branchedging trackexpansion.jpg


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 Mike 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.

toadin9bpoints settingup.jpg


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.

End of Current News

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