The Spinney Light Railway News

13th April 2019

Weather dry with occasional sun, but with a cold easterly wind.


Alan A, June A, Alan S, Andrew A & Daisy, Peter, Richard, David D, David G, Robin, Mick, Cliff, Bob, Rob R, Paul F.

    Signal at Danger

Signals and Preparation for Running

Richard, and Rob put out and tested the signals round the railway and tested the points. The block instruments were retrieved from the cellar, set up and tested.

David D and Robin re-sleepered between the road crossing and the tunnels.

Bob worked on in Dingly, preparing signalling for the bi-directional routes between shed and station.
He reports a track circuit issue which will have to be resolved next time else it's "Switch to Manual and flags"!

Carriage Shed

Mick, Alan S, David G and Alan A set about installing an independent water supply for locos at Old Oak.

Dave M had provided a redundant plastic water tank which, after much digging by old men unfitted for the task, is now in place on a flat paved surface, below the new carriage shed. More of this in later news.

Peter and Paul finished the cladding to the back wall - a task made time consuming fitting each slat to the tapering roof.

“Digging “Carriage

Finally the team had a clear out of the current contents of the carriage shed, stacking the remaining useful wood tidily so stock can be run into the ground floor tracks. David and Paul sawed up the scrap wood into pieces suitable for kindling, placing two buckets and a box full in the engine shed. The final touch was to remove the large sheet of cherry wood, lodged in the engine shed and obstructing access to the rack of locos (since 2011?) to the carriage shed, where it lies, obstructing nothing, against an inside wall.

Next time

Plan is to work in the morning; some of the team clearing debris and intruding vegetation from the railway whilst others progress the carriage shed.
In the afternoon we might steam the odd engine and begin our "Summer Running".

30th March 2019

Another glorious spring day!


Alan A, June A, Peter, Richard, Jamie & Henry, David D, David G, Dave MB, Adrian, Robin, Mick, Cliff, Bob. David G and Mick arrived very late after being stuck in standing traffic on the M25 for 1½ hours but Dave MB trumped that, arriving even later from Los Angeles.

Jobs done or continued

Spot sleepering and moss clearance in the Spinney area, leaf clearance, point switchblade repair completed outside the shed, new ex shed shunt signal wired up (signal is to new alternative routes between shed and Dingly), carriage shed yard hand point levers added and track fettled outside the carriage shed, sideboards added to the carriage shed.
Quite a list - well done team.


“Sleeper “Sleeping

Spinney sleepering and Henry sleepering

“Carriage “Carriage

Peter and Alan shuttering

“Carriage “Bob

Adrian makes a point whilst Bob gets wired up

“New “Missing?”

The new signal and a challenge to find what's missing

Other pictures received can be found at Pictures => Winter Work => Winter 2018/19 (1).

Maybe signals out next time.... Looking forward to Summer Steaming.
Found any erRors, omiions, speling or grimmar errOrs? - email the group and shame DG.
Come back Tim!

PS Proposed Summer Dates are now in the Friends and Visitors sections of the website.

16th March 2019


Bob e mailed to say he was ill and would miss another meeting and was worried about being struck off!!!! Robin also has come down with a bug and unable to attend, we wish them well. David G is away sunning himself whilst we persevere in these windy conditions!!! I have altered the web site track diagrams to reflect the Winter changes and how it will be this year. As usual, thanks to June who kept us fed and watered and came to see progress and as the pictures show, the scale of what has been achieved this Winter. 11 friends today and when Cliff arrived we stopped for lunch as a few of us were getting hungry. Thanks to Adrian and Dave MB for their photos.

“loadingballast” “resleepering”

Adrian and Dave MB leant a hand to many projects today and were seen helping here loading ballast into a wagon then delivering it to the carriage shed apron where it was used to back fill between the rails and the new edging. Also pictured above is David D and Jamie who spent the day re-sleepering in the spinney area. David D has produced a map of the railway and marked on it the location where there are defective sleepers that need replacing, a job that needs doing annually. Mick C and Richard reassembled the loco shed pointwork, but I believe this still needs testing. Richard removed the temporary buffer stops between loco shed and Dingly Dell as this line may now be used to leave the loco shed towards Dingly Dell.

“carriageshed81” “carriageshed82”

The carriage shed project continued with Paul, Peter and Dave MB measuring, cutting and nailing the shuttering to the carriage shed sides and progress can be seen in the pictures. The other side will require the same treatment next time. I along with help from Dave MB, Adrian and Mick have finished making the edging so the ballast does not disappear down the embankment. Bricks were used to enhance the appearance and reduce the amount of ballast required. Additionally the power cable is buried here. Alan A and Andrew concentrated on the electrics and we now have electricity at the carriage shed supplied from Old Oak signal box. The lights were switched on and demonstrated that there was enough lighting.

Next time

Continue with fixing the wood shuttering to the other side of the carriage shad and tidy the site, hopefully Robin will be back to supervise. The carriage shed apron points still require their operating mechanism. We need to establish Summer dates.

2nd March 2019


8 friends today in what turned out to be, glorious weather despite the weather centre stating rain in their early week forecasts. Apologies from Bob, Robin, David D, Paul and Dave MB blamed his absence on something to do with work! Thanks to Adrian and Peter for their photos.

All work centred around something to do with the carriage shed and so much got done today - all without a supervisor. Robin was away but as the picture on the right shows, we feel he was still watching us. June kept us tanked up with hot drinks and joined us to watch the progress. I have placed more pictures of todays events on the pictures page.

“carriageshed72” “carriageshed73”

“carriageshed74” “carriageshed78”

Richard tested Old Oak number 7 points as we had dug close to them last time and they worked fine. Richard also bolted some track together in the apron area. Peter got involved in many tasks, including tweaking the carriage shed back door then giving it a coat of undercoat paint. Peter also managed to deliver three wagons of ballast and helped with the yard edging. David G spent most of his time lying on the carriage shed floor trying to get as much dirt of the floor and onto his jacket whilst fixing sleepers to the track inside the carriage shed (one way to clean the floor). Alan S and Mick also secured selected sleepers to the concrete floor. Alan A, Alan S and Mick also got involved with installing fluorescent lights and a consumer unit now that the cable has reached the shed. Adrian and Peter helped me after I had laid the cable, to install edging and support with new earth which was wheelbarrowed from Dingly. I have started to lay paving bricks to mark the edge and save ballast as we have made a dent in our ballast pit. Top right hand picture shows David G using a wagon to test the tracks in the shed - push hard enough you will get it to pass through the back door (if open).

As the picture shows, Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch and the wagon was used for seating - very versatile. It was thought that Millie (dog) ate Richards Doughnut, but this was later found at the bottom of the wagon, so the dog got the blame again. Cliff used the leaf blower to tidy the railway to such an extent that he ran out of fuel and Alan A to the rescue to refill. The last picture shows Mick up the ladder marking out where a hole needs to be drilled for when we install a clock on the outside. The hole was later drilled by Alan S. Another good day with a lot of banter to keep us going.

Next time

Next meeting is 16th March when we will continue with fitting out the carriage shed, lay some more paving bricks and complete ballasting on the shed apron.

16th February 2019


Well I am back, after not being on line for nearly four weeks, it is amazing how much you rely on something when you don't have it, so thank you to David G for covering this awkward period. Bob and Dave MB e mailed to say they could not make it today, also missing regulars were Alan S, Mick C and Dave M. I had to work on a boiler in the morning with a rush to beat Cliff to the railway, which I managed to achieve. Main activities once again centred around the carriage shed project with David D collecting sleepers and Cliff tidying the site with the leaf blower - I presume there are still leaves on the line. The carriage shed apron has been nicknamed "The Hub" and we have explained to David D this is where it will all happen on running days and he will be very busy. June kept us tanked up with hot drinks and joined us to watch the progress.

“carriageshed64” “carriageshed65”

Pictures show Alan A sanding the exposed woodwork in readiness for the cladding which will not be added until either the power cable has reached the carriage shed or temporary lighting has been installed as internal work is still ongoing. Some cladding was bought down to site by Paul and Peter and is currently sitting on Old Oak platform. Peter and Paul hung the door on the back of the carriage shed but will need a little tweak next time. Peter could not believe how long it has taken to hang one door. The roof still requires edging and ridge tiles which should be considered before next batch of bad weather.

“carriageshed68” “carriageshed66”

To get electricity to the carriage shed, an armoured cable has been purchased and will run from Old Oak signal box to the carriage shed. This meant digging a trench between the two and involved tunnelling techniques using a crowbar to make space under the tracks. Digging team were Jamie, Paul and myself and pictures show the route taken. The cable has been laid out and trench back filled. Luckily we found pipes in the signal box wall and we were able to pass the cable through one of these without the need to drill a hole. Additionally square paving stones are being used to make an edge between the rail sidings and the drop to the lawn and the cable will also follow this route. Robin and Richard gauged the remaining track on the apron and some work still remains on connecting the points to a lever. Richard also tested number 7 points after we had dug a trench and refilled. After removal of a few lumps of ballast, the point worked.


David G and Andrew spent all their time on their knees fixing the track to the concrete and getting it perfectly aligned. David G said he could do with something to kneel on as his legs were suffering by the end of the day. At 16.00 we decided to reduce work commitments and relax a bit and the banter restarted. Excuses were made as to why we had to get home which included, don't want to be late twice in one day (a railway term still used today - late arrival late home), got to get home before it gets dark, got to cook a meal, however no one said they had to leave to see their better half!!! So we were still there one hour later chatting about progress and other plans. These plans included moving the water tower from Dingly to Old Oak, I wonder who is going to dig the foundations and the trench for the water pipe!!!

Next time

Next meeting is 2nd March, Robin and David D have stated they have more important things to do and cannot make it, so we shall continue unsupervised. The armoured cable trench needs to be dug towards the carriage shed and the remaining track needs fixing to the floor. Peter will adjust the back door.

2nd February 2019

Unfortunately a cancelled working day. It looks good but it was better warm at home!

“February “February

Pictures above from Alan Ainslie 1st February 2019

19th January

“January “January


A guest NewsMan today as Tim has changed his internet service provider and the new provider is not providing service!
However Tim sent the pictures which surround this text and the following copy:

"There were lots of us there today in the damp weather almost all working on the carriage shed project. David G, Alan, Mick and Rob worked on the internal track assembly, Robin, Adrian, Jamie and Richard assembled the track at the shed apron, Tim and Peter supplied 6 wagons of ballast and spread it under the new track.

Cliff used the leaf blower to clear all the railway of leaves and David D surveyed the railway for damaged sleepers and noted likely places for a derailment. Counting all those sleepers should help David sleep!

Tim particularly thanked hostess June for her supplies of tea, cake and encouragement."

DG's bit: The weather was quite foul - intermittent drizzle with thick cloud, the only relief was the lack of wind.
Well done workers for sticking to the tasks. The good news is in the pictures showing railway now connected to the new shed. Like last time we left the ballast wagons stored in the shed.PROGRESS!


Finally, it is good to report that we had some fun, sharing jokes and poking fun at each other. The picture above, taken by Peter, shows Tim sharing one of these jokes.

5th January

“daveoldoakbufferstop” “oldoaktrackconstruction”

A good turnout today for the first meeting of the year, only Bob and Jamie missing. We all wrapped up to beat the cold and thanks to June and helper Eric for the teas and cakes. Dave M removed the Old Oak buffer stops and has taken it home to renovate as the metal work was showing signs of rust and the paint was peeling from the buffer. One panel was required to be constructed to bridge the missing link in the new line connecting the carriage shed to the turntable. This panel was inserted and ballasted and will be tamped next time. The new line can be seen next to the carriage shed in the last picture. Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch. After lunch, Cliff and Dave MB continued with site clearance of the many leaves still on the ground. Alan A was also tidying the site around the carriage shed. We also have a fallen tree across the railway between Baytree and Dingly, this will need removing at sometime as trains cannot pass. Most people can be seen in the pictures.

“carriageshed57” “carriageshed58”

The carriage shed project became the main focus for this winters maintenance / construction activities. Pictures show Mick C and Alan S assembling the first length of track inside the carriage shed. They spent most of the day on their knees so will feel pretty stiff sometime soon. They managed to assemble a complete siding to the other end of the shed. Nick worked on the carriage shed apron track work, cutting rails to suit, whilst Peter continued with the roof, making good progress. Remaining roof job involves top 'A' pex and coping stones at the door end.


The picture on the right shows the first ever wagon to enter the new carriage shed and be stabled there for next time, we will have to have an opening ceremony another time. The wagons were used to transport the ballast from the pit to the new line which can be seen on the right of the carriage shed, more trips will be required next time. Discussions were held regarding how the doors and hinges might best be constructed and we await a firm decision. Both Mick C and Alan S were competing with David G on having the filthiest clothes, but David G still wins by a mile. Robin supervised all the track construction.

20th December

“mickclanline” “sueclanline”


Thursday saw the chance meeting of Spinney friends on Clan Line which was travelling from London Victoria to Sherborne and return. Whilst Mick and Sue travelled in luxury, wined and dined, Dave MB was part of the support group and did what was necessary to ensure a smooth operation. Dave managed to get Mick and Sue on the footplate at Victoria as can be seen in the pictures. There is also a video on the google group of Clan Line arriving at Clapham Junction. Dave can be seen in the right hand picture admiring the ground.

15th December

Due to inclement weather forecast (again, it is the time of year for it), today was cancelled and here ends another year, next meeting will be in 2019.

1st December

Due to inclement weather forecast, today was postponed and rebooked for Saturday 15th December.

17th November Pack away

Pack signals away and prepare locomotives for winter shut down. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes (see last picture).

“petesignal” “lunch171118”

All bar one signal have been disconnected, washed and stored in either a signal box or engine shed. The loco exit signal has been left out as Bob is currently working on it. Left hand picture shows Peter either sitting comfortably or praying to the signal before disconnection and storage. Richard and Adrian moved an insulated block joint on the approach to Old Oak and detected a track circuit problem at Dingly. Right hand picture shows most of us having lunch and signals waiting to be placed in Baytree signal box. Not in picture were:- Richard, Adrian and Cliff who just managed to get out of view of the camera. Bob e mailed to say he could not make it, hope we see him before Christmas.

“mickdavidalanlocos” “mickgrate8”

Mick steamed Kate for the last time this year and ran the locomotive up and down the loco siding before blowing it down and oiling for the winter. Mick removed the grate and the effects of this years running has meant some winter maintenance as can be seen in the right hand picture. Surprised the fire did not fall straight through or perhaps it did! Cliff tried to light a fire in Clan Line but was unsuccessful, suggested he learn from scouts and rub sticks together. First picture was taken because it is so unusual to see David G attending to his locomotive, in this case cleaning it, records show that this has happened twice. Jamie worked on his locomotive and concentrated on pipework between locomotive and driving truck.


Other activities included leaf blowing by Dave M and Dave MB to tidy the site. During the railway clearance it was noted that on the loco yard exit road, many sleepers were below ground level so the offending earth was dug away to allow the sleepers to breath to avoid rot. Discussions about ballast cleaning included use of a cement mixer and water supply. The picture on the right shows Sophie who after many had left, knocked the plate onto the floor and finished of the cakes - no dinner for Sophie.

Next time

Next meeting is the 1st December and will be the last one before Christmas.

3rd November Fish and chips and fireworks


A wooly hat day especially as the day progressed, ran trains ending with fish and chips and fireworks. Cliff arrived early so we had an earlier lunch than usual however this did not mean we started running any earlier. The first train ran at 14.34, probably one of our worst start times, can we try and get back to 13.00 start time next year?. We did not stop for tea as per usual as we planned to stop earlier in time for fish and chips. The default controller was unable to attend, something to do with being in hospital, some people go to great lengths to get out of being controller, we wish you a speedy recovery. We therefore all appointed Jamie as he did a good job last time with the help from his son Henry. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes and Dave MB for the firework picture.

“fireworks1” “fireworks2”


The end of the running season was marked in the usual tradition of fish and chips followed by fireworks which was very relaxing and entertaining, a really nice end to the running summer season. Peter kindly bought the fireworks and another year of excellent fireworks. The rockets (except three) were very loud and a couple of wooden rocket sticks found their way back to us. Unfortunately my phone camera could not capture the colours but Dave MB sent me one of his pictures. Henry enjoyed the sparklers.

Loco news

“davenickbaytree” “jamiebaytree”


Six locomotives on track today were:- Scott line, 73115, 33029 Charlie, Jesse, Royal Scot 6109 and LMS 7163, however Jamie reported problems with LMS 7163 and retired early. Cliff had to make three repairs to Jesse, mainly the drain cocks (know the feeling) before running. My L94 is still waiting to be re assembled following front end repair work to the smoke box, weather been too cold and work been too demanding. The Spinney freight wagons had an outing today and can be seen in the picture below. They did play up a bit and I eventually found the cause was buffer locking. Alan S ran the Royal Scot as light engine as we did not have any passengers other than Annika and Henry.

S & T news

“nickoldoak” “heatheroldoak2”

Bob e mailed to say he could not be able to attend today and signallers were:- Old Oak - Peter and Dave MD, Spinney, Adrian and Richard, Baytree - Mick and Dingly - David D. David D seemed to be having a great time in Dingly which is not his normal signal box, and very jovial, good to see friends enjoying their time at the Spinney. Pictures show Peter and Dave MB operating Old Oak and exchanging the token with Nick and Heather. Adrian and Richard had to rectify a fault at Spinney and the telephones did not initially work because the power supply had not been turned on!

Next time

Next meeting is 17th November when we will put the signals away and start winter maintenance. Robin has e mailed a list of jobs which include continuation of the carriage shed project.

End of Current News

To see earlier raw News use the 'Archive News link at the top of this page.

More usefully, use the link to 'The Past' on the front page for summaries.