14th March 2020 - The last before the lockdown
After a long break and weather permitting, we managed to reconvene at the Spinney. Ten friends:- Alan A, June, plus Cliff, Robin, Adrian, Richard, Dave MB, Mick, Alan, Peter, Paul and Tim. I was late arriving (due to breakfast with neighbours) at 11.45 BC (before Cliff). Behind the scenes, Paul sprayed the cutting walls to removed build-up of algae and hopefully it will die off and we can brush down in a couple of weeks, June helped the lorry driver unload the concrete posts / panels and these were moved from the drive using Peter's trailer to Old Oak. Peter also collected the postcrete from the DIY store on the way in.
The pictures show the main activity of erecting the Berlin / retaining wall behind the carriage shed and after a slow start, soon gathered pace and the results can be seen - looks good. Robin and team reinstalled the buffer stops at Spinney and Old Oak and Dave MB cleared the rail lines from branches and debris using the blower whilst Peter painted the buffer stops at Dingly loco ash drop area. Richard has tested the signalling and all appears to be in working order and Alan S has adjusted the turntable at Old Oak as this was causing an issue of derailment when in a specific setting. Alan S and Mick installed the filter and pump to the water system located behind the carriage shed, Alan had prefabricated a bracket at home for the filter to mount on. As the pictures show, we had the right amount of watchers verses workers - union policy. Thanks to Dave MB and Adrian for the additional pictures which are shown on the news or pictures section and to June for the teas and cakes.
29th February 2020
Unavoidably the meeting at the Spinney was cancelled due to the British weather and with our next booked meeting on the 14th March, will this be the longest break between meetings on record - one for the statistician amongst us... Cliff invited all to visit his '00' gauge railway in his garden shed, after lunch, naturally and Dave MB and Adrian went to visit. I was otherwise busy in a confined space, re-siliconing my shower - I know where I'd rather be. The pictures show an extensive layout and comprised of a mixture of traction dating around the 60's so steam and diesel side by side. Reliability declined with the increase in operators, as Adrian predicted, with one complete loco failure and a "never done that before" derailment of the prime set, with the usual uncouplings and of course, multiple operator errors (mostly Cliff's). But it was fun, and Marian enjoyed the company too. It was Spinney in the dry, even had some biscuits!
Thanks to Dave MB, Adrian for the pictures and Cliff for an account of the afternoon.
1st February 2020
Nine friends:- Alan A, June plus Tim, Alan S, Mick, Richard, Adrian, Robin, Jenny, Peter and Cliff sporting a nasty cold all helped to make it a good 'work in progress' day. This weeks nominees for the February Lord Lucan award are: David D (sick), Dave G (sick), Jamie (wife sick), Paul (engine replacement), Dave H, Bob (water works - not him but his toilet) and Dave MB (big toys again). Thanks to Peter and Alan S for videoing my loco and supplying pictures for the news. Also thanks to June for the teas and cakes as I had left my coffee at home (I got the coffee out, Heather made a coffee then put the jar away back in the cupboard).
The day started with testing my new 9F locomotive chassis around most of the railway, points and track were tested at Old Oak and Spinney and it was found that the locomotive is unable to navigate 5 points at Spinney and the points to the extra run round road at Old Oak. Dingly was not tested but on the whole a successful test. Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch. Cliff has taken away a signal to overhaul and will return later with a new coat of paint and all parts fixed and working. Picture above shows everyone taking a well earned rest.
Jenny brought Robin along and he can be seen (in pictures above) sporting his new fashion accessory - support boot after his argument with a car. Robin has made some buffer stops for Spinney and Old Oak whilst Peter has made the wooden stops and can be seen trying to drill his leg. Alan A was busy making parts for the carriage shed doors, using a router to cut slots and form ends. Alan S, Mick and Adrian fitted guttering to the back of the carriage shed then connected front and back guttering to the water butt at the rear. This was all tested using a bucket of water but as Mick did not hear Alan S say pour the first test failed!!! I can be seen removing the old chain link fence as a new concrete retaining wall is to be erected. This has involved removing a lot of chicken wire, metal posts and a tree stump which was placed exactly where a concrete post is required.
18th January 2020 First maintenance day of the year
Six friends braved the cold start and were: Richard, Paul, Dave H, Bob, Alan S and Tim with Richard and Paul leaving early leaving a grand total of four. Apologies of absence received from Robin - who's foot has had an argument with a car and the car won, Mick - nasty cold - keep it to yourself, Peter - aching bones, other nominees are: David G - found a country with a warmer climate, Dave MB - bigger toys to play on, Jamie - nail in car tyre only six months old - not sure if the nail or the tyre is six months old and Cliff - well just double booked and can't be in two places at the same time, so as a result a slow news day. On a serious note, we wish those that are injured and ill a speedy recovery, it's not nice having to watch daytime TV. Thanks to June for the tea's and cakes.
We spent the morning just chatting about anything and everything whilst Alan A went out to get some drainage fittings, plus some moss clearing from the roof of Dingly signal box. It was so thick that it would have needed mowing if left and it had started to fall onto the track. The lefthand picture shows the effort made and filled the wheelbarrow. The remaining moss will have to be treated later in the year. After lunch (not sure what time we had it as Cliff was not available) work started on the carriage shed drainage, which involved replacing a broken bracket, sliding the guttering along and fixing the down pipe. This was then connected to a pipe leading to the rear of the building and will be connected to a sump next time. The fall of the pipe was tested with a bucket of water and proved successful. Righthand picture shows Alan cutting the down pipe with the necessary safety watchers. Bob worked in Dingly and Old Oak signal boxes. Many years ago an electrical cable was run from the engine shed to Old Oak signal box with too many wires (over engineered at the time), however this is proving to be advantageous as Bob needs more wires to Dingly as was able to make electrical connections within Old Oak box which in turn will give enough wiring to run extra signals when exiting the loco shed. Alan A continued with the roof eves cutting complicated angles and overall a steady slow progress was made.
Another picture from the archives
After our last visit to Ted Martins woodland garden railway, Robin sent in the picture above showing Ted Martin driving County of Somerset locomotive at Spinney in October 1983 and just reaching the top of the branch from Old Oak.
We appear in the Seven and a Quarter News
With the first meeting in 2020 cancelled, DG occupied his time by gathering the three recent e mail exchanges about our history into new pages within the website section
'The Past', under a sub heading 'Odds and Ends'
The link below goes to the story in the 7¼ News that was here in our 'News'.
14th December Winter Work
Nine friends:- Alan A, June, plus Tim, Robin, Richard, Mick, Alan S, David G, Cliff, Paul and Dave H. Messages from Bob, David D, Dave MB, Peter and Jamie to say they could not attend. I was last to arrive, yes Cliff beat me, and lunch was immediately called. The main work focussed on the carriage shed project and on going work included, painting the wood work, fitting the guttering and cutting and fixing the wood to make the carriage shed door frames. Robin has made a buffer stop which is ready to be fitted at Old Oak and just needs the wooden buffer beam which Peter will make after Christmas. The short siding outside Spinney signal box has also been lifted as this will also need a new buffer stop and the gradient fell the wrong way. So when it is replaced, anything left in the siding should tend to roll towards the buffer stops and not the running line. Work finished early approximately 15.30. Happy Christmas.
December 13th Visit to London Underground signal boxes
We entertained some London Underground signallers and a trainer during the year and as a return gesture Sean and Jason invited Mick and David G to view three signal boxes which will soon disappear as technology takes over and transforms everything to computerisation. The picture shows Mick at the Upminster panel.
Brass Monkeys Weather on 30th November
As the Herts and Essex car arrived at the railway the thermometer read 0.5 degrees; this after Bob suggested the forecast was good - but then he was tucked up safe in Wales. (Get well soon Bob.)
Roll Call : Alan A, June, Mick, Alan S, Peter, David D. Robin, Jamie & Henry, Rob, Richard (fleetingly) and your webman for the day David G.
It didn't begin well! DG turned on the tap and it wouldn't shut. Unkind people said he had broken it but perhaps the failed tap washer had something to do with the overnight frost.
Anyway, Alan A, broke off from his carpentry (see later) and, commendably and without complaint, found the stopcock, went out and bought washers and made a repair.
The tap photo also shows one of the many leaks in the garden hose we used to connect to the pressure washer.
The other photos show Rob and DG at work, (others also assisted) and we left the bridge without the leaves that had been there and the metal a bit cleaner. A second attempt is proposed before we start running in the spring.
Leaves! Leaves! and more Leaves!
Nothing really to say, but we spent most of our time at it. The frost would have brought lots down overnight so maybe we can hope the worst is over but.....
Carriage Shed Doors
To my shame no pictures; but Alan A spent most of his day alone in the workshop preparing these doors. Nothing to see on site but hopefully there will be progress to photograph next time (14th December) when we may indulge in some Christmas Cheer.
16th November Winter Work Begins
A pretty full turnout on a pretty dismal and overcast day. Notable absentees were our President (somewhere in Europe) and our usual News compiler, hence this effort from DG who awaits, in fear, the censure of the Grammar and Truth Police (David D)
The roll call was June, David G, Alan S, Robin, Nick S (needs an initial now Amanda's husband is a Nick), Richard, Adrian, Peter, Paul, Dave MB, Dave H and a glimpse of Cliff who collected Clan Line for her winter holiday.
The top pictures tell the basic story of signals washed down and collected whilst any locomotives with water in their boilers were drained down. Pictures from Alan S.
The bottom two pictures, (thank you Peter) show the now crowded carriage shed - full because only two vehicles now remain in the tunnel.
Once we get the doors on and some painting done it's just possible that, at last, we can give a cheer and say
A delightful picture of Karen, ready for winter hibernation, completes this DG News.