The Spinney Light Railway News

15th June : Wet

The weather forecast accurately predicted heavy showers; June sent an email excusing anyone who thought that staying at home in the dry was the best option.

However Peter, Phil and David G did attend. Peter worked through a list of jobs in connection with the Spinney re-wiring, Phil tested the signalling at Dingly and found issues with block while Alan A and David G attempted to fix a reluctant signal 8 at Bay Tree.

June provided warm, jam doughnuts mid afternoon - the highlight of the day!
Hopefully we can run trains next time.

1st June, Maintenance continues

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Six months into the year and it is still cold, did we miss summer? Never known a year like this for delays to running trains, railway still not ready due to signalling issues. Another good turnout today totalling 13 and were Alan, June plus Tim, Heather, Dave M, Andy, Alan S, Mick, Peter, Robin, Nick, Jamie, Henry, David D and Dave MB. Peter was otherwise engaged in the morning and when he arrived, we stopped for lunch. Robin has been coming during the week to try and get these faults rectified. Thanks to Jamie for his picture contributions and June for the teas and cakes.

David D, managed to clean Spinney platforms with his pressure washer, which completes all the stations, a lot of dirt and grime has been removed. Heather can be seen collecting foliage and not on camera was Henry removing more moss from the cutting walls between the tunnels. Right hand picture shows Andy demonstrating how to remove an air lock in the water system, after showing everyone pictures of me performing the task in 2022, it was now pay back time of capturing Andy avoiding swallowing the water.

S & T news

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At Old Oak, I cut away part of a sleeper at number 8 point as this was fouling the detection system and Peter filled the unused holes in the point mechanism so that the wrong hole could not be used if taken apart again. Peter also post creted in a new signal connector for Dingly signal number 8. Nick and Robin spent all day on wiring the new point mechanism on Dingly number 23 point, what should have only taken a morning was unfinished at the end of the day. However, the point detectors were fitted once an angle finder could be found to cut some aluminium plate. Helpful as we are, we all said we had the required equipment at home (not much use). Nick continued to give demonstrations using a portable battery. Alan S can be seen adjusting Spinney 9B points as the detection was out, no toads this week. Three on lookers wondering what Alan is doing. Took this picture as it was not staged and amusing, maybe we needed more people to watch work being completed. Alan S had also made tubing plugs on his plastic 3D printer and these were fitted to the tube ends which run under the level crossing. Ballast was then used to in fill the holes and look as if nothing has been done.

Loco news

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Three locomotives in steam and were:- 1420, Katie, Jessie number 3 whilst Dave M unloaded Bobside, he did not steam it. Driving Jessie appears unorthodox, lying on a flat wagon and leaning over the coal wagon. Not sure if this is comfortable or not. Dave MB steamed his 1420 and initially had problems with his injector but picture shows he was happy and made several trips around the railway. With virtually no signals, driving was done cautiously, being prepared to stop in the distance you can see to be clear. It also appears that we have run out of coal, so we are chipping in to buy a ton for when we start running and estimate it should last a couple of years. Also, we ran out of water, two commodities which are necessities for a steam locomotive apparently. The water shortage was caused by a dislodged pipe and therefore after all the rain we have had, it has not been collected. Dare I say, we need it to rain or is it going to rain anyway, to fill the water system.

Re-railing exercises

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Katie 2, Jessie 3, that ends todays score. Katie derailed and was put down to miss placed ballast and continued without incident, however, whilst Jessie remained on the track, the flat wagon didn't and despite investigation, continued to cause problems. None the less it did provide good rerailing training and how to do it safely, without damaging the locomotive and using leverage.

18th May, Over running engineering works continues


Good weather, allowing us to progress, but we are still not there yet for full running. Another good turnout today totalling 12 and were Alan, June plus Tim, Heather, Dave M, Alan S, Phil, Peter, Robin, Nick, Jamie, Henry and David D (AM shift) and Dave MB (PM shift). Left hand picture shows Robin and David D in conversation. Thanks to Jamie and Phil for their picture contributions and June for the teas and cakes.

Work continued with tidying the railway, the rewiring project and finishing the level crossing until the next winter maintenance programme. There appears to be more work required before we can run successfully.

Rewiring project

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Peter and Phil can be seen repairing the Old Oak point number 8 which was mentioned in the last news. This is their first attempt at repairing a point motor and with a little help they have learnt how they function, what to touch and what not to touch. A new stainless bolt was put through the bearing as the old one was a make shift with round end and two filed flats for a spanner. Propper bolt head now, allowing for socket or spanner. Peter can be seen again in the right hand picture fitting the new signal with its connector whilst Alan A can be seen continuing with his wiring, this time he is out of the Spinney signal box and wiring up the new location boxes which have been mounted on the new concrete posts we have put in. Alan was seen at all three today and hopefully these can be tested soon.

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Robin visited the Echills Wood Railway last year and enquired about their point mechanism. Subsequently, Robin has purchased one and made a control box which Nick is screwing to Dingly signal box brick wall. Nick always had an audience and Dave MB missed the demonstration and will have to wait until the next meeting where I am sure there will be many more demonstrations, I forget how many times he removed the control box cover and replaced just to show point operation using a battery. Dave M can be seen supporting the Dingly signal box while Nick fitted the new box. Next time the detection switches will be fitted, but in the meantime, Robin has taken them home to fit longer cables. David G was not with us today so he can view next time, suggestions were made that this new point mechanism is David G proof, but we will see.


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Left hand picture shows me testing the track circuits and hauling Dave M loco Bobside up to the loco shed and is the first train movement of the 2024 season. This involved unusual moves, traversing points and wrong direction moves due to line blocked for wiring, which made it interesting. Heather can be seen reversing over the points at Baytree with Robin looking on. Both Robin and Phil operated the signal boxes to observe track circuits and signal operation. Unfortunately we have a track circuit permanently showing lit in the second tunnel and at Spinney the platform track circuit did not illuminate with Scott Line standing on it. Some signals require investigation as either stiff or do not work. Whilst investigating Spinney points 9A and 9B, Toads were found again under the cover of 9B. Photo shows the baby toad with its head precariously under the mechanism and had the point worked would have harmed it. The mother toad was at the back and I saw leaves move under the point mechanism so assume there is one adult and two baby toads. We will have to check that point motor before we use it, just in case they are in a dangerous position.

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Heather cleared moss from the platforms and sat down to save her back, whilst Jamie and Henry scrapped the walls in the cutting between the two tunnels, there is a lot of moss this year.

Level crossing


As the rail height across the level crossing has been raised, the track leading away from it has required lifting, levelling and ballasting. Picture shows Dave M acting as a tamper machine whist Alan S looks on and checks. This side is now finished and the other side will be looked at in the next maintenance programme. The other line has some temporary wooden boards which lie in the four foot and must be removed before we run trains.

4th May, Over running engineering works


A good turnout today totalling 11 and were Alan, June plus Tim, Heather, David D, David G, Dave M, Dave MB (all the Dave's again), Alan S, Phil, Robin, Jamie and Henry. Thanks to David D for providing the news whilst I was enjoying myself in Wales and David G for the pictures. David D has found it is not easy and took three write ups to get it word perfect. Work continued with the level crossing, Spinney signal box re wiring and getting the rest of the signals out and testing where possible. Other jobs involved site clearing, carriage shed cleaning and another signalling location box postcreted into the ground. Picture shows Robin showing his homework and how to bend like a banana. This was booked to be our first running day but that was not possible with the amount of work still to do. Dave M became unwell and had to leave, we wish him a speedy recovery.

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David D managed to stay all day, which was good to see, but he says the next meeting may be problematic due to his treatment programme. David D can be seen using his pressure washer to clean Dingly Dell and later Old Oak and he kept reminding us to ensure our foot wear was clean before stepping on the newly cleaned platforms. Phil and a group of pressed volunteers managed to get the rest of the signals and gantries out and plugged in and Phil managed to test most of them where a power supply existed. June and Dave MB can be seen taking drastic action against the weeds that have sprung up with the wet then warm climate, whilst Heather disappeared into the carriage shed to make the wagons more accessible, especially as we have freight day at the beginning of June. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes, there seemed to be some specialities as usual from Phil and David D. Thanks to Dave MB and Jamie for photo contributions.

Level crossing

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The level crossing project continued apace with Alan S, Dave M and David G bonding the new rails. Alan S and Dave M concentrated on fixing wooden boards to in fill the 4 foot and either side of the lines. The wood used either side of the lines will eventually be replaced when the drive is resurface, but that is a long way off as the other line requires similar treatment, maybe next year. More concrete was found to be in the way, requiring the use of the power cutter again with Alan S at the helm although it is difficult to see him as usual.

Rewiring project

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Alan A continued quietly in Spinney box connecting the new wiring to the connector board and says he is nearly 98% complete. The wiring is being done in parallel with the existing wiring and when the time comes we should be able to swap over from old to new without issues, fingers crossed. Jamie and Henry assembled a new location box a the top of the branch which will feed out to the branch track circuits when wired. The Spinney trench has been infilled and embankment cut back, hopefully the vegetation will grow back to bind it together otherwise netting or grass seed will be required to contain it. Picture also shows another electrical box fixed to the external Spinney signal box. I took several pictures of Robin and here we see him with his bedtime reading, but I was unable to catch him asleep, not sure how much progress was made at this location box but he was there most of the day and only have space to include one picture.

Limited clearance

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These pictures show a post has moved towards the line reducing the clearance and the other with a branch covering the entrance to the second tunnel which was cut up and removed.

At the end of the day


Just as most of us had packed up and exhausted, Old Oak point number 8 was being investigated as it would not throw. Fault found to be with the external lever mechanism and will have to be dealt with next time as the fixing bolts will need to be ground off and bearing lubricated etc. David G and Phil had the point mechanism dismantled several times before fault found to be outside the point box. Other issues on detection are apparent and will require a lot of time and effort to rectify. Picture shows the many giving advice. This is now planned to be dismantled and repaired at the next meeting, hopefully we remember to bring the appropriate tooling. David D and G have stated they will not be able to attend.

20th April: Editor David Daines

Well, with Tim and Heather away galivanting on the ‘Great, Little Bit Bigger than Ours, Trains of Wales’, I’m afraid it’s me writing the News again. Please let me know of any errors, omission, bloopers or typos, please be kind.

Present today were, in no particular order, Alan and June, Robin, Alan S, Andy, David G, Mick, Phil, Jamie and Henry, and me, David D.

Alan A wiring Robin wiring

Alan A and Robin continued with the ‘grand re-wiring project’ and it appears to be going well. Robin gave me a glance inside one of the new boxes and it looked, well, one word if I can spell it, ‘exquisite’ (thank you spell-checker). The new system is not yet ready for commissioning, but all the existing wiring is still in place and so this should not affect our planned ‘start of running’.

Gate Crossing Levels at gate

Alan S, Mick and Andy continued work on the track across the driveway, and the new heavy duty plastic frames on which the rails are fixed look substantial and resilient. Work was done to correct the levels here and this should result in a better ride. By ‘close of play’ this new panel was cemented in and looking very good.

Bay Tree fault

David G continued with sorting out the track circuits that were disturbed when the track was re-laid at Baytree. Much consulting of wiring diagrams, prodding with a multi-meter and scratching of head was observed, but I think this was successfully completed, despite confusing wire colour codes. Of course, all the signal boxes remain to be fully tested before we can start running.

Phil planting signals

Phil completed the re-installation of the signals, with the two gantries remaining, ‘many hands to assist’ being the order with those. The railway always ‘comes alive’ each year when the signals go out, it looks so bleak without them.

Jamie and Henry with post

Jamie and Henry were involved in concrete post moving and installation, but also found time to help me, for which I am grateful. Mick also helped me pack away, thanks.

Me, well I had got fed up with just sitting around watching others work, as at my last visits, and I am feeling a lot better just now (thanks for your good wishes), so I set out to clean the station platforms with my high-pressure patio washer. After a slow start getting water and power organised (once again thanks to Jamie and Henry for your help) I managed to clean the Baytree platform. Now, wipe your boots please before walking on it and no sitting there in dirty jeans. I did also manage to do the Dingly short platform, but I’m afraid I then ran out of time, and more seriously ‘puff’, so the rest will have to wait until next time.
Despite several absences this time, I think it could be said that much useful work was carried out today.
Many thanks to June for the refreshments, and to David G, who will have the task of adding the photographs he took, and knocking this into a readable format.

15th April Extra working day

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An extra working day was organised amongst the rewiring team with the aim of getting the railway up and running as soon as possible. Don't want to be the subject of over running engineering works. Robin, Dave MB and Peter met and fed cables into some 44mm and 3 x 25mm conduit. Dave had to go out to buy some more twin cable. After early morning deluge it turned out fine the rest of the day. Thanks to June for teas and biscuits, very unexpected as it was a working day.

6th April

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The winter work continued at a good pace and it is a race against time if we are to run at the beginning of May, or will it be over running engineering works!!!. Present today were June, Alan, plus Dirty dozen, Tim, Heather, Dave MB, David G, Alan S, Mick, Dave M, Andy, Peter, Robin, Nick and Phil. Jamie is still in Sweden so would have been too late back had he attended and unfortunately, David D is still feeling poorly and we wish him well and Paul sent his apologies for not being available. Phil managed to get in this time as level crossing work had not started. Andy arrived and shortly afterwards we stopped for lunch, has he taken Cliffs spot???

Today’s works involved:-

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The weather has turned warmer and with quite a few of us not available next time, it was decided to set out the signals and clean the signal boxes and platforms earlier than planned. Heather took on the cleaning and clearing whilst Phil put out nearly all the signals, just those on gantries still require putting out but this will involve many people as heavy and needs to be manoeuvred carefully. Nick has produced two position light signals which took 6 hours each to manufacture on his 3D printer. The larger of the two has been chosen and will form Spinney number 10 signal. It comes with the light covers, which can be seen in the container along with the LED lights. David G can be seen spot re sleeping which was David D old job.

Level crossing

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Sleepers were removed with the intention of replacing with plastic sleepers, but this plan was changed and Alan S can once again be seen creating a sand storm as the track cement was cut out to make out what looked like a canal. This, it is planned, will be fitted with longitudinal plastic sleepers and cemented into place. Picture above shows Alan S and Mick keeping their distance from Dave M for some reason. Originally I was going to take a picture as Mick was holding a shovel and Dave M was holding the entrance gate in case they fell over. Next time will involve more concreting.

Rewiring project

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Robin is continuing to work from home and make up the wiring connections in the electrical boxes and Alan A continued with wiring in Spinney signal box which involved connecting existing track circuit wiring to be ready for new external wiring infrastructure. Signals and points to follow with some comms.

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Robin supervised whilst Peter and Dave MB pulled cables through the conduit which proved difficult at times but they got there and the conduit was passed through the new tubing under the level crossing and to the appropriate site for the electrical box. I continued to dig outside Spinney signal box where I had to cut through concrete and also came across other conduit in the way.

Next time

A few of us are unable to be present, however there should be enough to continue with the level crossing and laying the conduit in the ground.

23rd March - A hole days work


I have called it a ‘hole days work' because we spent most of our time digging holes / trenches. Present today were June, plus Tim, Robin, Alan S, Mick, Dave M, Peter and Andy. Dave MB, and David D said they were unable to attend, David G on ANOTHER holiday, whilst Phil arrived very soon after the gates were closed to start digging the drive and with my car across and blocking the entrance as I had to leave early, so he went back home, probably a wise decision as we had two hail storms to shelter from. Apart from that, weather was OK for the jobs to be done.

Today’s works involved:-

Picture above shows Peter replacing the electrical cable and fitting a new connector to signal BE 8. A new cable is required because the socket has been moved to a new location on the water tower base and also re wired which meant for a longer cable.

Level crossing

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Main project was the digging and infilling with the pipe and cement at the level crossing. With Alan S in charge and doing most of the work he was helped by his elfs, Andy, Dave and Mick.

First picture shows the marking out using a line and chalk, unfortunately, when Alan S started cutting, he could not see the chalk line for the dust. Third picture shows Mick holding back Dave M or he has two heads, whilst Andy and Alan S dig out the trench. When digging, three pipes were uncovered when only two were expected. The fourth picture shows Mick on his own with everyone deserting him. You will notice my car turned as I did a trip out to buy some more cement, working on the ‘just in time’ railway policy of providing the commodities to do the job. Once concreting had been completed, the task of bridge building was put into place. Unfortunately I had left before a vehicle test had been made but have not heard of any failures.

Rewiring project

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I continued to install two more concrete posts, which support the new electrical boxes which Robin can be seen holding in the last news. Two more holes dug and postcrete to set into the ground and these will be ready for Robin to attach the electrical boxes next time. Robin has drilled holes (more holes) in two of the electrical boxes and checked they fitted, one was a bit tight and holes will require enlarging. I started to dig a trench at Spinney signal box where the tubing and cables will surface and enter the signal box. Avoiding buried cables again, I also came across a concrete signal base, which was larger than required and in the way. Once again Alan to the rescue armed with his cutter and helped make another sand storm, this time, cutting the corner from the signal post base, which was approximately one foot thick, well over engineered. Two hail storms - two sand storms. The new black socket cover that Peter had recently fitted, is now white.

Right hand picture shows Robin and Peter preparing to run cables through the new conduit / tubing in readiness to be placed into the ground, hopefully next time.

9th March


Both Peter and Robin have been busy at home and can be seen showing their homework. Peter has made a new signal post for Spinney number 10 shunt signal, although when originally explaining I am sure he mentioned Old Oak shunt signal number 10, a totally different location. Robin has been making the electrical connector panels that fit in the new boxes which will appear around the railway as part of the re wiring scheme. A good turnout today and were:- Alan, June plus Tim, Peter, Robin, Phil, Mick, Alan S, David G, Jamie, Henry, Paul and David D who had to leave early (I feel this could become a winter catch phrase) before the level crossing became impassable. We checked that he had left the flap jack before leaving, unlike last time when he took them back home. Thanks to June for the teas and the cakes.

Level crossing

With both supervisors back, we were able to watch the progression of the level crossing.

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Left hand picture (above) shows Mick doing his bit to hold the tree up so it did not fall on the invaluable worker. Righthand picture shows A & A pointing to point 'B' and Robin looking into it, whilst the picture on the left shows the worker to supervisor requirement 8 to 1 (including me behind the camera). These pictures illustrate the progress made today with blocks marking the boundary of the level crossing and the infill of concrete up to a level where tarmac will be laid once all the construction work has been completed. After this picture was taken, a bridge had to be constructed in order for us to leave. Bridge building skills are getting better and a ramp was made to assist vehicles over the wet cement and blocks.

Signalling and trackwork

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Robin can be seen looking into something (getting pictures of him looking at things) whilst David has a lie down and connects the cables for the track circuits. These will require testing next time now that the block joint has been reconnected, hopefully there will be no problems. Alan is making a new electrical connection board for Spinney Signalbox which is all part of the re wiring scheme. Baytree relaying project is now complete and all with the help from Henry who has quite a load in the wheelbarrow considering his height. Peter also removed the old signal connecter from where the distant used to be on the Old Oak branch. The signal has been moved and will need to be electrically connected when the new wires reach the signal area. Peter also inserted his new signal post into the ground and after a bit of discussion, Spinney shunt signal number 10 has been moved and is now a right hand signal. It can easily be seen and avoids people clashing with it when walking in that area. Phil and I have drilled the remaining hole for BE 8 signal and will be ready for Peter to connect with new and longer cables next time. Also Phil, Jamie, Henry and I dug holes and postcreted in three concrete posts for the electrical boxes which Robin is working on.

2nd March - Mick's railway

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Mick kindly invited us to visit his railway which he has spent the last two and a half years constructing and consists of an oval with a terminus in the centre of the room which made for good and interesting railway operations. The whole set up is DCC so included sound on the locomotives. As can be seen in the pictures, a good turnout and included:- Mick (Hosting), Tim, Heather, Robin, Nick, Paul, Phil, Dave MB, Jamie and Henry with guests Mike and Anne. Those of us who are taller than others did manage to hit the ceiling a few times, sorry Mick, hope roof not damaged. Thanks to the chefs Heather and Nicks wife Robyn who made excellent cakes (fruit and a lemon cake).

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The 08 shunter appears to run out of track (Won't say who was driving) but I can't say too much as I crashed the MPV several times, but in my defence either the controller was not working correctly or I just could not stop the train until it hit something else (That's the other way to stop something). Mick had tested the railway during the week and said all had performed as it should but today we had a few shorts which stopped everything, another job for Mick to keep him busy. Otherwise all went well and everyone had a go at driving a train around the layout. Interesting to note was that my MPV did get in the way of the other trains, just like the main line railway.

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Many photos were taken but as usual I have to limit them for the web site. Jamie took his class 33 and I took my MPV. Unfortunately I only have a video of the 33 and no still pictures, however Jamie has sent in a picture of his 33 hauling wagons. Unfortunately the 33 broke down and Mick has held on to it to find out what the problem is. I have included these pictures because they highlight the attention to detail Mick has put into the layout I.e. ballast, gradients and back drops. You could be forgiven for forgetting it is a model.

Thanks Mick, a great day and good banter as well.

24th February


After a cold start and forecast of rain, it turned out to be a good working day. The A3 was shut for bridge removal so some of us had to make detours. With Alan A away, Alan S sick, David D and Dave M and Dave MB all the D's suffering from hospital visits, this left nine friends, who were Tim, Phil, Peter, Robin, Mick, David G, Paul, Jamie and Henry. Dave M attended for a short period to deliver the cement as did David D but was not well enough to stay, we wish them all well. Projects continued to move at a good pace and were mainly:- Installation of signal post and electrical connectors and mounting posts, Level crossing, Baytree replacement track and bridge repair. The posts shown on the left were placed in storage and will be used to mount electrical boxes when the re wiring commences. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes.

Level Crossing

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Continuing with the level crossing project, lefthand picture shows Robin, Paul and Mick performing their version of the sand dance before laying in the trench. Righthand picture shows the group waiting for the mix or waiting for it to be switched on.

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With Alan A and Alan S both missing from the project today we were left with out the technical guidance required but hopefully the right decisions have been made and that they will both be pleased with the result.

Paul said 5 to 1 and I thought he was referring to lunch but actually referred to the mix. The pictures show the trench being filled and Robin looking into it.

The pipe ends were covered over to prevent rain water from filling the pipe and a bridge was built and tested using Paul's car, all worked well.

Baytree relaying and Old Oak

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After Peter had repaired the bridge with new pop rivets, he continued with his project of replacing and renewing the signal connectors and mounting posts, securing in post Crete. Lefthand picture shows Peter working on Old Oak platform signals 11 and 12. Righthand picture also shows Peter working on the Baytree platform signal BE 8. Phil made a wooden backing piece from wood and painted at home, then mounted it to the base of the water tower, which is helping to smarten the place and tidy the cabling. Righthand picture also shows Robin keeping an eye on the workers (can you spot the worker). Paul collected more ballast and Jaime and Henry spread it out whilst Robin checked the levels.

Next time

Hopefully next time we will have the level crossing project managers back and able to move the project forward.

10th February, a very productive day

Now that the daylight hours are getting longer and good weather, we were able to make good progress. A very good turnout with fourteen friends who were:- Alan, June plus Tim, Mick, Alan S, David G, David D, Dave M, Robin, Nick, Peter, Phil, Andy, Paul, Jamie and Henry. Thanks to David G and Alan A for news contribution and June for the teas and cakes. Projects moved at a good pace and were mainly:- Installation of two signal posts, Level crossing, Baytree replacement track, Baytree number 14 point and spot resleepering.

Level crossing

This project will see two trenches dug, one for each line, to insert a tube for planned railway rewiring. The level crossing will be resurfaced once these services have been installed. I have added quite a few pictures as I will be monitoring this project for the news.

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Left hand picture shows Michael showing his strength with the grinder used to cut through the concrete and tarmac. Right hand picture shows the ratio of one worker to seven supervisors all with their own ideas.

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Right hand picture shows Dave M incorrectly wearing his ear defenders although we did not notice any difference in his work.

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Unfortunately there was a communications break down and the cement for infilling the trench was not ordered and this did not become apparent until it was needed. With a deep trench across the drive, this meant that all vehicles were trapped on site. The solution was to build a bridge using bricks, sand and paving slabs. Right hand picture shows David D driving the first car over the bridged trench. Unfortunately one slab broke but was easily replaced so the rest of us could get home.

Baytree track panel relaying

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Robin remembered to bring the sleepers this time and the remaining track panel was assembled very quickly and lowered into place. Ballast was transported by electric wheelbarrow, which, if you have never used one before can catch you out as it takes you for a ride. Peter had a go whist removing the old platform signal post, and said it is lethal!!!! David G came and said the track circuits are down and Robin politely showed him the disconnected and replacement wires as that will be the last thing to be done. Phil and I installed the Baytree starter signal post whilst Jamie and Henry did a bit of spot resleepering which used to be a favourite for David D.

Baytree number 14 point

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This is the third day of investigation as to why Baytree point will not work. The point itself failed quite a while ago but as it is not used very much it was low priority, but now we have the resources to fix. Today, David G and Alan A systematically worked their way through wiring diagrams and testing but still not resolved by the time David G had to leave. Alan A continued to diagnose and managed to find the problem that had eluded us. It turned out to be a bad crimp on the common side of the point motor return - the connection to the big power supply unit. Positive side was open - It seems to have been re-routed at some time, no idea why, so Alan A shortened the run and with new crimps all is OK. Next time attention required on the detection as the indicator in the signal box only shows on NORMAL, not REVERSE, Alan A suspects that is simply the microswitch in the motor. Pictures show David G looking for the pound coin he dropped in the point machine, although some say he would have caught it on the way down and the right hand picture shows both David G and Alan A fault finding.

Next time

Hopefully the level crossing will have all the components it needs and continue with projects.

27th January, a forgetful day

A cold start to the day with ice on the windscreen of our vehicles and maybe this was to blame for the amount of forgetfulness. Robin forgot the important sleepers, Dave MB forgot his drill, Mick forgot the traverser has wheels and I forgot to bring the post crete to use on the signal bases. However plenty of banter to get us through the day and it warmed up a bit. Ten friends made it to the railway today and were:-Alan, June, plus Tim, Robin, Alan S, Mick, Peter, Dave M, Dave MB, Phil, Andy, and David D. Thanks to Peter for photos for this news and June for the teas and cakes. Apologies from Jamie and Paul who have been ill and David G, probably on holiday again. It was good to see David D again who has been under the weather a bit lately but good to have a chat. Not pictured was the activity of mounting three new signal posts, whilst I forgot the post Crete, Dave MB kindly went and purchased some so we could continue. Phil helped me with the project and signal sighting which was part of his job before retirement and then continued with leaf clearing before the next storm.

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Due to forgetfulness, there was plenty of time for planning discussions. Lefthand picture shows planning for the next meeting where the trench will be dug across the level crossing to carry the new cable runs which will progress in tubes around the railway as time permits. The righthand picture shows Alan A in Spinney signal box looking at the existing wiring and planning the route and boxes required for the new wiring.

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The bay tree relaying project progressed but not as much as hoped as someone forgot the sleepers, Robin also managed to drop a box of bolts on the stoney part of the drive, but this helped fill the time picking them all out of the stones, what else could we do to fill the time!

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Andy can be seen testing the track bed but says it is too long but strangely comfortable, but then a driver can sleep anywhere. Righthand picture shows Dave M highlighting that Andy is working.... -

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With one panel already constructed, it was laid in situ and checked for alignment and track bed ballasted.

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The railway saw a little bit of movement in the form of two ballast wagons and Micks class 20 which he has taken home. This is where forgetfulness or old age crept in and The wrong track panel was inserted into the traverser and when the class 20 loco sat on the track, nobody could move it despite several comments relating to the fact that the traverser has wheels and this track does not. Picture shows the wrong track used, leaning up against the wall in the background, whilst the correct traverser was located in the engine shed and put in place, early signs of dementia or just cold weather as already mentioned.....

Next time

The Baytree project will progress with another panel constructed and ballasted into place whilst others help dig up the drive / level crossing.

13th January, start of new year.

robinbranchsignal deepinthought

As this is the first meeting and news of the year, I would like to wish our reader a very Happy New Year. The first meeting was a cold one but it did not dampen our spirits or humour. Ten friends made it to the railway today and were:-Alan, June, plus Tim, Robin, Nick, Peter, David G, Dave M, Dave MB, Phil, Andy, and Paul. Thanks to Dave MB and Phil for photos for this news and June for the teas and cakes, Teas doubling up as hand warmers. Nick has used his plastic three D printer to make a signal identification plate to Robins design and can be seen in the left hand picture. The branch line banner repeater has been removed from the bridge and placed on the back of the down distant signal. The corresponding block joint has also been moved to the Spinney side of the Old Oak crossing and therefore Old Oak signal number 2 will clear earlier when routed into the Old Oak sidings saving the panic braking as it used to be a short section. Right hand picture shows the group deep in thought about nothing. Whilst it was forecast to be a cold day, we managed to keep warm by moving about except for Robin and Nick who had battery powered heated jackets.

Site clearance

oooturntablepic1 oooturntablepic3

The railway was still covered with leaves etc, especially after the recent storm at the beginning of January called Henk which brought damaging winds and persistent rain. Again I was out in it as I was in the 1987 storm when Michael Fish said a woman had reported a storm was on its way but do not worry!!!!! Both times the main line railway shut down due to flooding and fallen trees. Pictures show Phil clearing the turntable at Dingly, before and after and also he cleared around the Old Oak signal box and Dingly turntable. Not pictured are Dave MB and Paul who tasked themselves with clearing the tunnels and Spinney areas.

Baytree relaying

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baytreerelaypic2 timrobinlookingintoit

A major project which grew in length then Andy lifted some track and it was still connected with fish pates. After resleepering a panel, Robin said the rails required rolling, no clues as to the reply, but I can't place this on the web site. The new track alignment to remove a slight dog leg joint meant that the cotoneaster bush had to be removed as it was already touching passing trains. Pictures show the developments today. I have placed a new tube under the track to carry the track circuit cables as the existing cables are too short. A trench was dug for the new tube and Tim and Robin can be seen looking into it.

Baytree point investigation


David G and Peter worked on investigating the reason why the Baytree point number 14 will not work. A battery was used to bypass the supply but there seemed to be no improvement. After much testing it has been concluded that there maybe a power supply problem from the signal box. More work required.

I have set OO2 signal ground brackets in post Crete but I have had to take the signal back home as one of the holes did not line up.


lunch130124 davesophie

No one called lunch, we just knew we needed a hot soup or something. It was thought that eating outside would be just as warm as eating in the engine shed. Pictures show the group feasting and Sophie giving Dave M a lot of attention.

Next time

Signal BE18 and OO2 will be installed using new brackets and the Baytree relaying will continue.

9th December, Start of winter maintenance

grouptoday signalidplates

Another wet forecast for the morning but dry for the afternoon, but the main stumbling point was getting there. With the M3 closed for a foot bridge to be removed and the M25 closed temporarily, roads were grid locked and even I thought about turning round again and going home, but I am glad I persevered as it was a good day at a leisurely pace. Nine friends made it to the railway today and were:-Alan, June, plus Tim, Robin, Peter, David D, Dave M, Phil, Andy, Jamie and Henry, a good attendance. Unfortunately I was unable to capture everyone together as no one would stand still long enough and there was always someone missing, hence only six in the picture. Task for today was primarily leaf clearing and start to projects. Peter has finished labelling all the signals. Robin pointed to his watch so we stopped for lunch in the engine shed. Thanks to June for the teas, cakes and mince pies.

Tree pruning

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With guidance from Alan, Dave M and Andy set about pruning trees which were causing problems, especially to those which were scratching our vans when we arrived. These have been cut right back as well as others which caused clearance problems along the railway, notably by the level crossing. Pictures show Andy hanging about before removal (The tree that is).

David D removed a track panel at Baytree and this has had all the old sleepers removed. The old ballast has been taken down to behind the carriage shed in readiness to be washed before reuse. Also the ground will need to be dug deeper as the new sleepers are thicker and of course a new membrane needs to be added.

Other work

dinglyleafclearing baytreepanellifted

Phil spent all day clearing leaves from Dingly, I can only think it must have been therapeutic, he did a great job. Jamie and Henry all got involved and cleared the tunnel area, before working on his locomotive. Unfortunately that raised another problem as a bolt sheered despite using Plus Gas and WD 40 to free it, locomotives will always give grief. Peter has taken the block instrument home which was stored in the toilet and will attempt to replace the faded block markings back ground and has also fitted the new covers over the signal sockets. I removed the concrete base for Old Oak signal number 2 in readiness to replace with the new style fixings next time. I was amazed at the amount of concrete used to hold the signal up and took two of us to lift it.

At lunch, two friends admitted to reading the news, so I am glad my readership has gone up 300%!!! I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year, see you in 2024.

18th November, Clean and put away signals


Another shaky weather forecast but in the end the rain stopped at lunchtime and just a damp day. Thirteen friends made it to the railway today and were:-Tim, Heather, Robin, Nick, Peter, Mick, Alan S, David G, David D, Dave MB, Dave M, (All the D's again), Phil and Paul, a good attendance. Task for today was primarily cleaning the signals and putting them away.

Picture on the left shows Heather washing a signal whilst the managers, supervisors, Quality Control and observers stand by and watch in readiness to spot an error, all that is missing is the clip boards..... Thanks to June for the teas and cakes.

davenicksignal paulcleaning


The signals were unbolted and some signals were showing signs of decay (sounds like my dentist). Spinney signal 11 (loop platform starter) has had its base buried in soil and ballast and has rotted and should be on the winter list for repair.

Putting the gantries away in the engine shed proved difficult as no one could remember which way they stacked despite us doing it every year. We are gradually converting all signals to be attached to the base using wing nuts but we still have some with ordinary nuts, which proved at times to be difficult to undo.

peteridsign daveblowing

Cliff left some signal identification plates and Peter went round and fitted them to their respective signal posts. However he informs that seven signals are still without signal identification plates and plans to make them over the winter. Dave MB can also be seen with his leaf blower however I feel this time of year, it is a never ending job and will require repeating at the next meeting. The water tanks were drained and the hydraulic arm from the unloading ramp was removed and stored in the Old Oak signal box. The hydraulic ram proved to be difficult to unbolt (more grease next time) and Dave M used my hammer and bent the hammer, he doesn't know his own strength.

locosteam mickdave

David G got Eileen ready for winter and drained the water tanks. Alan S and Mick steamed their locomotives, Alan to check all was free before getting it ready for winter whilst Mick towed Dave MB on 1420 from the shed to the loading ramp as both have taken their locomotives home for maintenance.

For homework, Robin has taken away Dingly point number 4 to convert to a new style of actuator and its performance will be monitored next year and if fault free, other point machines will be considered for conversion. Robin also took the branch banner away for an overhaul. Peter took away Spinney number 1 signal (tunnel exit) to repair as one of the white lights is not working. He has also taken the Old Oak name board. The day ended approx 15.30 as all tasks had been completed as well as discussion about the maintenance projects.

Postscript on the storage of the gantry signals in the engine shed


We couldn't remember how the gantries should be stored hence this photo from David D to remind us next year.

The SHORT gantry goes in first.

Notice that the distant signal from the short gantry is behind.

4th November, final running day

leafclearingoldoak railheadtreatment


Today should have been the pack up day with fish / pie and chips to round off the season but due to bad weather the previous meeting was cancelled and it was decided to run for the last time today and Alan A had invited some guests. Today also almost did not happen as the weather forecast also looked miserable with heavy rain at the start of the day, but luckily by 11.00 the rain stopped and we were able to run trains. Thanks to Cliff who returned the signal identification plates, these will need to be attached to their corresponding signals as part of the winter maintenance programme. Leaves are coming down in abundance and the leaf blowers were busy as well as clearing the gutters on the carriage shed roof. As the rails were damp, it was decided to treat them to allow the locomotives to get a grip. The picture shows me driving backwards (after checking line clear) and laying the sandy mixture from an ice cream tub with a hole cut in it. I just had to remember where the bends were so that I did not over balance and fall off. Paul did not run 1470 locomotive but did spend a lot of time repairing the hand water pump which broke last time. Ten friends today and were Alan, June, plus Tim, Heather, Dave MB, David D, Phil, Robin, Jamie, Henry, Peter and Paul, a good turnout considering the original weather forecast. The signal boxes were operated by the usual suspects:- Old Oak – David D, Baytree – Phil, Dingly – Peter, Spinney - Robin and they remained in their signal boxes after tea as we only ran for a short time. Peter mentioned that the crib sheet at Dingly had an error on it, maybe this can be checked prior to putting the signals away. A few points played up, the usual Spinney 7 and 9 points which then worked perfectly without touching them and 5B points at Dingly were not throwing fully across in reverse and therefore no detection. Thanks to Phil for sending me a photo which I have included in this news and to June for the teas and cakes and organising the fish / pie and chips. Alan June, Phil. David D and Sue D, Peter, Heather and myself stayed for the food afterwards with plenty to talk about.


visitorspic1 visitorspic2

visitorspic3 visitorspic4


Four locomotives seen out today and were:- Scott Line, 1420, Brunel and Spinney electric. As can be seen in the pictures, the atmospheric conditions made driving a steam locomotive very difficult at times as visibility was very poor. Dave MB did several laps and hauled the freight stock from Spinney to Dingly and return at the end of the day. The visitors came from Winchester area and were impressed by the railway and had a good time including having a drive of Scott Line and the Spinney electric. They also had a look in Dingly signal box but I was unable to get a picture, apparently it was quite crowded as they all tried to get in at once.

Next time

Hopefully with weather permitting we can wash and put away the signals. It will also be a good idea to discuss the winter plan.


I forgot to mention that Peter was controller for the day and his most important job was to call for LUNCH.... Under his leadership, all went well and he informs me that he has chosen Dave MB to be controller for the first time we run in 2024, whether we remember that will be another thing or if Dave MB knows this.

21st October Cancelled

Unfortunately with only six friends available this meeting has had to be cancelled as it was decided not enough friends to be able to run a railway. Next meeting will be 4th November and fish and chips afterwards.

7th October more visitors

A hot day to start with then cooled down, but not enough to stop trains and with 19 visitors booked, a good time had by all. Twelve friends today and were Alan, June, Eric, Louise and baby plus Tim, Heather, Mick, Alan S, Dave MB, David G, Phil, Robin, Jamie, Henry, Peter and Paul. Leaves are beginning to fall this time of year so leaf blowing was in order and site tidy up as usual as well as fix repairs. Good to see the signal box check lists being used and all signal boxes ready for when we start running, good planning and it also gets the new signallers used to the individual characteristics of each signal box. I was controller and we ran the first train at 12.40, is this a record even if it was only a transit move with Scott Line hauling Jamie's loco from Old Oak to the loco shed. Henry can be seen driving Scott Line. However, at least we were ready for the guests when they promptly arrived. Most of them did not know what to expect and were amazed at what you can fit into a garden. Thanks to June for the teas, cakes and BBQ where Alan A could be seen walking around like a cinema usherette trying to give away ice creams.

Loco news

henryjamiebaytree l94loadedspinney

davespinney alanscotbaytree

mickleavingoldoak alankarenbaytree

Seven locomotives on track today and were:- L94, Scott Line, Royal Scot 1420, 1470, Kate and Karen, as the pictures show, unfortunately I was unable to capture Paul on his 1470 as he retired early due to a broken part on his water pump, nor did I get young Matthew driving the Royal Scot. Dave managed to fix his water gauge glass after much frustration and then enjoyed the fact that he was able to steam his 1420 locomotive and trundle around the railway. As mentioned above, we did a transit move, towing Jamie's locomotive up to the loco shed where he prepared it for a boiler hydraulic test, unfortunately his whistle valve stuck open so was unable to progress any further. L94 can be seen at Spinney with a full load and it worked hard on the gradients. Mick allowed a visitor to drive Kate as can be seen leaving Old Oak and was also spotted in Baytree siding which has not been used for a very long time. (Picture in pictures section).

S & T news and Visitors

mikeandrobinspinney petershowingoldoak

davidmatthewdingly visitorsdingly

Robin fixed the track circuit problem from last time by re bonding with new cable and Peter replaced the missing L' from the Old Oak name plate which he found buried in the vegetation below the sign. In the signal boxes today were:- Old Oak – Peter (Resident David D not available today), Baytree – Phil, Dingly – David G, Spinney - Robin and Mike and they remained in their signal boxes after tea. Mike has visited before and was tempted back to try signalling, with Robin showing him the ropes, sorry, levers. As can be seen, the visitors spent more time in the signal boxes than driving which is unusual.

Next time

Please check the web site and emails regarding the next booked meeting.

23rd September Wimbourne visitors


The weather stayed fine to make an enjoyable day with many trains running to keep the signallers busy. Fourteen friends today and were Alan, June, plus Tim, Heather, Mick, Alan S, Dave M, Dave MB, David D, Phil, Robin, Nick, Andy, Jamie, Henry and Paul, a good turnout as we had visitors to entertain. Before running, the site was tidied as usual and the coaching stock moved into Old Oak platforms. Dave M exhibited his Ivatt which he has been working on for the past five years, excellent progress. Picture shows Dave M testing that it goes through the points. Unfortunately the springs will require adjusting as the leading wheels rode up, look forward to seeing it next time. As no controller was chosen Robin the default controller took on the responsibilities. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes.

Loco news

heather1105loco mickoo

davenickoo paulbaytree


Six locomotives on track today and were:- L94, Class 20, 1105, 1470, Royal Scot and Dave M locomotive. As the pictures show, plenty of trains hauling coaches which is a good sight to see.Paul was pleased with his 1470 locomotive and I have not seen it out for so long before. My repairs to my driving wagon were unsuccessful and I had to substitute and use David G driving truck. However the injectors became troublesome and I dropped the fire before teatime. Dave MB can be seen having his 1420 locomotive having a boiler test. Class 20 derailed at Dingly but no further information on that.

S & T News


Only one picture as the signal boxes were operated by usual crowd and I could just use pictures from last time, also the friends remained in the same signal boxes after tea. In the signal boxes today were:- Old Oak – David D, Baytree – Phil, Dingly – Henry and Jamie, Spinney - Robin. Next time will be different as David is not available and Old Oak will require manning. Hopefully I have a visitor who can help, he has been with Robin in Spinney and seems interested. Old Oak signal box identification sign has lost an 'O' and now reads 'O D OAK', job for someone. Spinney and Baytree both reported track circuit problems and Spinney was traced to a broken wire, amazing that Robin can operate Spinney box with all the bells sounding and still find time to look for a broken wire. Henry under supervision from Jamie did a good job in Dingly as the picture shows. Sorry I did not get more pictures or information but was looking after the visitors.


benscotbaytree jamesl94oo

benl94spinney andybenjamesspinney

Eight visitors from the Wimbourne club who run a 5 inch gauge railway were on the books to attend today but only four turned up which gave them more time to drive and enjoy the railway. One has been before and is someone I communicate with at work whilst another is full time staff at the Swanage railway. We are more than welcome to visit and dates can be found on their web site in due course. There was another visitor not associated with Wimbourne who was observed taking many photographs. All said how much they enjoyed the day and a thank you to everyone at Spinney.

Next time

Next meeting will be 7th October where I expect the weather to be getting colder.

9th September Sweltering hot day.



A sweltering hot day and with road closures and heavy traffic, most of us had extended journey times with Alan S and David G taking three and a half hours, what an endurance test. Photo above shows almost everyone, not David G as he took too long to join us. In the picture are:- Nick, Robin, Dave M, June, Henry, Jamie, Heather, Peter, Dave MB, Alan A, Alan S, Matt, Richard (Guest), David D and myself behind the camera, totalling 15 friends and one guest. A good number and with David D as controller, we had enough signallers and were in steam and running by 14.00. We did do some shunting using Scott Line to get the coaches out at Old Oak and place in the platform ready for start time. Thanks to Heather and Jamie for the photos they sent and to June for the teas, cold drinks, ice creams, cakes and the BBQ at the end of the day. The right hand picture shows steaming up at Old Oak, I wonder how this would comply if we were in the ULEZ area which has just come in!!! I have included many pictures as so as to capture as many people as possible.

Davids fault

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We are constantly saying the phrase (Davids fault) but here is evidence that the saying is correct.

Loco news

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listerspinney dave73115spinney

davidwatercan heatherbaytree

Six locomotives ventured out today and were:- L94, Scott Line, 1420, 73115, Lister and 33029. Dave MB has persevered and progress meant he was able to run 1420 for most of the afternoon, good to see it running. Alan A had a drive on Eileen Grant locomotive and also in the pictures, David G can be seen driving with a watering can, unusual thing to do! Dave M ran his standard 73115 but retired early due to steaming issues. Alan S worked on Karen but did not steam. L94 reversed down the branch at the end of the day and unfortunately I turned round to speak to Jamie, lost my balance causing the driving wagon to derail and throw me off. Wagon stripped down for rebuild as there is a lot of damage. Hopefully repaired for next time.

S & T News

peterjamiehenrybaytree nickricharddingly

robinspinney spinneybusy

In the signal boxes today were:- Old Oak – David D, Baytree – Peter, Henry and Jamie, Dingly – Richard (Guest), Spinney - Robin, after tea - Old Oak – David D, Baytree – Robin, Dingly – Peter, Spinney - Matthew. No problems finding signallers today which made life easy for David D who was controller for the first time. The new signal box check sheets were used and worked extremely well. Pictures show as many signallers as I could capture and the Spinney track diagram from when Robin was operating there. It shows a back log of trains due to no response from Baytree causing every thing to come to a stand at Spinney. Botton left hand picture shows Robin at Spinney and L94 in the little used siding. Also to note, Old Oak signal box was down to zero tokens in the machine whilst Spinney token machine was full. This occurred because more locomotives started from Old Oak today, possibly a first time this has happened and what would we have done had there been another train to go up the branch?

Next time

We have visitors from the Wimbourne club (possibly 9), some of whom have been before, so hopefully we can have another day like today but without the road traffic problems and my derailment.

12th August friends and families day.

After a short lunchtime shower it was a dry / warmish day. In order to capture as many people as possible, I have included more pictures than normal in this news and they also show how busy we were. They say a picture paints a thousand words. It was good to see so many coaches out and being used. Being friends and families day, we had 24 visitors which included:- Hugh B-D, Marian Baigent plus her daughter, Helen and husband. Also it was good to see Tom Z and his better half (don't leave it so long before your next visit). Ten friends today and were Alan, June, Hayden plus Tim, Heather, Peter W, Dave D, David G, Robin, Alan S, Mick, Phil, Matt. Matt came by train from Birmingham and walked from Farnham station, dedication or couldn't remember who to phone for a lift. David G was controller and got things moving and with lunch on the go whilst we steamed up, the first train left Old Oak at 13.18. Thanks to June for the teas, cakes and BBQ and a special mention to Hayden who helped June enormously.

Loco news

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Eight locomotives appeared today and were:- L94, Scott Line, Royal Scot, Kate, Karen, George the fifth 2663, class 20 and Spinney electric for brief movements between loco shed and Dingly. All visitors managed to have rides and worth noting is that L94 was first off the starting line at 13.18 (OK Heather steamed it).

S & T News

mickdavidoldoak heatherrobinspinney

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The new check list is still in the making as David D found more information at add. When completed this document will allow anyone to follow step by step instructions as to how to power up and check all points and signals. Some checks involve track circuit clips to simulate a train in section. In the signal boxes were, Old Oak - David D, Baytree - Phil then Robin, Dingly - Matt then Phil and Spinney - Robin then Matt. All signallers were happy except for David D who was ecstatic at remaining in his resident signal box. Phil moved to Dingly after tea as he said it was a quieter signal box, however it turned out to be busier than normal with so many trains and shunting required (Picture shows all roads in use which is very unusual). Pictures show all the signallers and visitor Mike who can be seen exchanging the token with Alan and enjoyed operating the Spinney signal box, under instructions from Robin. Matt enjoyed himself and hopes to visit again this year, work permitting. Thankfully the signalling worked as expected however we need to check all the spring points as some are showing signs of wear and in need of adjusting or levelling.

After running trains


A very good turnout for the BBQ with as many visitors as friends, 20 in total. David D will be controller for the next meeting.

29th July, Warm and Sunny

The attendance website indicated that only a few members would attend. Tim and Heather had Covid and Alan S had his wedding anniversary. However, as it turned out, there were lots of visitors and with three visiting engines they made the day worthwhile. Most of us were present before 11:00 but it was almost 14:00 before any engine ventured out. But so what if we all were happy!

All lined up

Here are the visiting engines all lined up at Old Oak (at 11:58 by my camera). Nearest the camera is "County of Chester - a loco of some age, built in the 1950s (!) but rebuilt since and looking very good in its pristine paintwork. Next is an Adams Radial 30583 and finally a loco we have seen several times, 31873 a Maunsell N Class.

There were no S & T or track failures to fix, but a shower of rain intervened and lunch took place mostly in the engine shed.


Mick's first job was to explore a leak in his vacuum brake pipework and the picture shows him busy at his task outside the shed. He was greatly helped by Ian, one of our visitors who was immediately able to identify all the parts of the brake system and point Mick in the right direction.

The visitors were Andy, Alan and Rich Gelson and Ian Allen, all from Tree Tops.

During tea Peter rewired SY102 so the single yellow now shows correctly. Alan A. sorted a points problem at Dingly.

e mail from Tim :
Hi David, After three days in bed I am now up and about waiting for a negative result. Heather now feeling ill, we will both test again tomorrow. Yesterday there was a heavy downpour and I thought it might be cancelled, but it turned out to be a glorious day. Hope you all had a good time and ran without too many issues. Looking forward to friends and family day.Tim

Several other pictures reached me (thank you) and I have put them in Summer Running

15th July 2023 - Cancelled

Rain stopped play. Due to the forecast stating heavy rain showers and high winds, the decision was made to cancel as it can be a long journey to get wet. Hopefully better luck next time.

1st July 2023 - Alan's visitors


Alan A invited some work colleagues, so we hoped for good weather and a working railway and we got both. Although it rained when setting off from home, it became a very pleasant day and Andrew had been working on the railway signalling during the week ensuring we did not have a re run of the previous two running days where we were plagued with signalling issues. The day began as usual with a tidy up and various jobs (mentioned later) and Jamie found the slow worm shown in the picture, between the two tunnels. We also have a resident mouse in that area and it has a small cave in the brick work. I saw it and so has June. Slow-worms (Anguis fragilis) can live for up to 30 years and feed on a variety of invertebrates but are especially partial to slugs (Educational news). Ten friends today and were `Alan, June, Andrew, Hayden plus Tim, Heather, Peter W, Dave D, David G, Robin, Alan S, Mick, Phil and Jamie. We also had a visit by Amanda and Nick, with Olivia and Jack, plus Louise and Eric with a first visit by baby Zachary who is only 12 weeks old. An early introduction to railways, long may it last. Lunch was called but because Cliff was not coming, our timing was out and Jamie and Peter W had lunch as we finished ours - disjointed. Robin, the default controller was nominated for the day, hence another reason things ran smoothly. Alan A work colleagues arrived from 13.30 and we had trains in steam and all hauling passenger coaches. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes. This was probably the best running day we have had this year.


alanamick2001 alandavidd2001

At tea, June produced these two pictures showing Alan A, Alan S, Mick and David G, memories.... How times have changed on all of us. It is good to cover a historical record of socialising as well as working or running a railway.

Locomotive News

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Mick returned Kate to the railway, unfortunately when filling up with water, the locomotive developed a leak which was traced to a broken joint. Alan S managed to replace an olive and silver solder and the locomotive performed effortlessly for the rest of the day. Mick had spent many hours polishing the brass work and replaced the wooden flooring in the cab. Six locomotives on track today and were:- L94, Scott Line, Karen, Kate, Royal Scot and Spinney electric and four can be seen in the loco line up at Baytree whilst we had tea.

S & T News

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David D and Phil have been working on a signal box check list so that all signallers can take on the role of checking the signalling prior to running as required. After todays run through, a few alterations require to be added but good work and a good idea and these check lists need to be available in each signal box. In the signal boxes today were:- Old Oak – David D, Baytree – David G then Phil after tea, Dingly – Phil then David G and visitors after tea, Spinney – Robin, all reported that things ran smoothly. Phil was given a brief introduction to Baytree then left to self learn. Spinney signal SY102 on approach to the first tunnel can be seen displaying a single yellow. Other friends did not notice the yellow is displayed in the wrong aperture, but when showing Peter who wired it, he said he would swap the red and the green and see if anyone noticed!!!! We had a surprise visit by Malcolm – grandson of Joseph and Mary Ballantine-Dykes – who can be seen in the Dingley box picture with David G in a full Dingly signal box showing the intricacies of the box, no room to move around.

Next time

Back to a quiet normal running session and hopefully good weather.

17th June 2023 - Pimlico visitors

robinbriefing foilageremoval


In readiness for our visitors, we had a big tidy up as can be seen. Visitors today were from Pimlico railway in Northamptonshire (not the Victoria line area) who turned out to be very interesting and a delightful group of visitors. They also brought the weather with them as it was a scorching hot day, we were lucky with the weather as thunder storms forecast for Sunday. Fourteen friends today and were June, Andrew, Hayden plus Tim, Heather, Peter S, Peter W, Dave D, Dave MB, David G, Cliff, Robin, Nick, Alan S, Mick, Andy and Phil. Lunch was called approx 12.50 in order to be ready for our visitors and ironically the only person missing was Cliff as he was attending to his locomotive and arrived as we finished. I was controller again up until 16.00 where upon David G took over.

As mentioned in the last news, Robin briefed those who wish to signal, the checks required for each signal box to ensure all is or is not working correctly. David D has produced a check list but not sure how this transpired. With this weather, the shrubbery has grown so much that it is starting to cover or encroach onto the track so pruning was required with strict instructions as to what could or must not be cut. The picture on the left shows Heather cleaning the Spinney signal box and the others checking all the points and removing debris which was preventing full movement. Unfortunately I had to leave at 16.00 so cannot report on later activities. Thanks to Nick for pictures and to June for the teas and cakes.

Pimlico visitors


As mentioned earlier, six visitors came to visit and their history is very similar to ours where one of them has a house with land and a 5 inch gauge railway within it. They were very interested so see how we managed and ran the railway and infrastructure. I gave those that wanted a guided tour of the railway whilst one of them remained with Dave MB as he is interested in 14XX locomotives. During the tour, they were impressed with the infrastructure and the cutting stating how they had tried but gave up even though it was smaller. One of them is a signaller and took to operating Dingly Dell very easily which was just as well as after 16.00 we were short of signallers. They also managed a ride and thanks to Mick for allowing a visitor to drive his class 20 locomotive. It turned out that he was new to the hobby and knew very little so it was a good morale booster.

Loco news

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Six locomotives ventured out today and were:- 30089, 1420, Karen, Clan Line, class 20 and Spinney electric although Dave MB is still struggling with injector problems on his 1420.

Mick and Cliff hauled coaches so that our visitors could have a ride as all others were freight or light locomotive.

Nick ran with wagons that looked pristine and he has just finished building them from scratch with more in the pipe line. Look forward to seeing more wagons.

S & T News

In the signal boxes were, Old Oak - David D, Baytree - Peter S, Dingly - Phil and Spinney - Robin and Andy who is learning. Unfortunately we suffered signalling issues again and this meant David G was fault finding and for most trains, it was stop start and for some reason trains were not being sent to Dingly making that area very quiet. Phil did enjoy signalling the shunting which was required when Nick arrived with his freight stock and the brake van had to be marshalled to the rear of the train. At Old Oak, the outer home signal (002) did not work when the route was set to the yard and it appears to be linked to a timer which we do not really need.

Next time

Next time we have visitors again and will require more than one train hauling coaching stock to give rides. Hopefully the signalling can be fixed for better running.

3rd June 2023 - Glorious sunny day


The weather was glorious with sun and heat, should not complain if summer has arrived. Firstly I must thank David D for taking on writing the news last time, it just shows it is sometimes difficult to capture all the events and include everyone, well done. Twelve friends today and were Alan, June, plus Tim, Heather, Peter S, Peter W, Dave D, Dave MB, David G, Cliff, Robin, Alan S, Phil and Jamie. Cliff arrived at 12.30, so should we make this the new lunchtime, especially if we have visitors, as we do at the next two events? Jobs in the morning included, Alan S refitting the locating bolt into the concrete for the heavier bridge. Also in progress was clearing the line in and between the tunnels, clearing the turntables and any other debris found on the line. I was nominated to be Controller. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes. Unusually we did not stop for afternoon tea and kept going until we packed up from about 17.15 having started with the first train at 13.57 (Scott Line, although L97 was in steam).

Four locomotives on track today and were:- L94, Scott Line, Clan Line and Karen. Whilst Karen is not pictured in this sub heading, Alan S can be seen in through the vegetation in the garden heading. All locomotives ran well except Clan Line which had a brake problem when the brake handle came off in his hand. Unfortunately two SPADs to report and by the same person, is he Cliffs apprentice!! Possible cause was probably distraction through relaxing and chatting.

S & T News

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A lot of action to report in this section and in the signal boxes were, Old Oak - Peter W, Baytree - Peter S, Dingly - Phil and Spinney - Robin. All except Robin are self learning the quirks of the signal boxes and today was no exception as they went through periods of no trains then all trains arriving at once. We had signalling issues at the start because the signal boxes had not been checked. With this in mind, I have asked Robin to check each signal box next time and if you are a signaller, please join him and learn what needs to be done before lunchtime so we do not rely on one person. As the signal boxes were not checked, we had to revert to using flags as can be seen in the picture above.

A special mention must be made to Alan A and David G who worked tirelessly all morning and afternoon trying to fix major signalling issues. David G report as follows:- Spinney signal 18 - The signals beyond the gate depend on miniature relays in the cable boxes by the track. The relay for signal 18 had failed. Replacing it fixed that signal. Unfortunately disturbing the relay for signal 18 disturbed the relay for signal 17 which subsequently failed. Alan A hopes to replace that relay during the evening. The track circuit for the up line between Bay Tree and Spinney failed and was fixed by re-terminating a corroded joint at the rail. The down line Track Circuit after Spinney signal 6 failed. This was fixed by Andrew in April but failed again today. The feed to it is by a series of joined wires which we were unable to trace today. It remains an outstanding job. Several points at Dingly stuck or went into oscillation. Providing there is power to the point these faults are possible to correct by adjusting the limit switches. Hopefully more friends can be trained to make such adjustments or assessment of the problem.

Garden pictures

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I have added these pictures as it shows a sunny day and the garden in splendour, Alan S can be seen through the bush. Both Clan Line and L94 look good in the sun, hopefully more of the same next time.

Next time

As mentioned in the S & T news, Robin will be checking signal boxes work prior to lunch and if you are interested in signalling, please tag along with him to see what needs to be done before running trains.

Next time we need to have everything checked and working as we have Pimlico visiting us. Therefore a prompt start after lunch.

13th May 2023 - News Editor : David Daines

A new ‘news editor’ this time, Tim and Heather were off away enjoying themselves, and I drew the ‘short straw’ to attempt to write the news (that’s my penance for proof reading). I apologise in advance if I have missed anyone, or not reported on any important work carried out. I am sure I can only aspire to reach the high standard Tim has set.

The day started quite cloudy and rather cold but, as we were having lunch, the sun broke through and it turned out to be a very pleasant Spring day.

Friends present were:- June and Alan, plus, Mike, Robin and Nick, Alan S, Cliff, Peter Sturt, Peter W, Dave M, Dave MB, David G and Me, David D.

The morning had friends tidying up generally, as well as looking into challenges and concerns carried over from our first running day last time.

Getting Ready Mick and Class 20

Loco news

The following engines were in action today; Karen, Clan Line, (did Cliff have a steaming problem?) 1420, the Class 20 and the Dave Marsh’s Class 08. Dave Mowat’s 1420 had problems, very sad, as it had appeared to be going so well, (running on oil?), last time.

Clan Line The temp wire

S & T News

In the signal boxes today were:- Old Oak – Peter W, Baytree – Nick, Dingly – Peter Sturt, Spinney – Robin and me until 3:00, but then, as Peter W had to leave, I took over in OO from him.

There were a number of signalling ‘challenges’ this time, some carried over from our last meeting.

Peter W looked into the failed colour light at Spinney. He was able to rig up a temporary signal while he worked on replacing the failed LED, to be restored to position next time.

David G and Alan A set to to fix problems with Baytree BE1 and BE10. BE1 was easily fixed, but BE10 was much more intransigent and appears to be associated with the wiring running via the point BE4. A temporary fix has been made, take care not to disturb exposed wiring, final resolution of this may be deferred until end of season. You can (just) see the wire in the pictures above. David and Alan then moved on to the persistent problem with the TC on the engine shed road giving constant ‘line occupied’. This also seemed to be a wiring problem and was fixed, though another TC problem at Dingly may persist. SY18 was still out of action, and this set a particular situation in Spinney box where caution was required not to have trains simultaneously accepted from both Baytree and the branch. One or two other minor ‘glitches’ occurred during the day including a weird situation with the single line instrument in OO where the plunger did not quite return fully out to its rest position after making a stroke and this completely locked up the instruments and stopped the branch. Once the fault was identified it was possible to resume.

Alan and Karen Nick and 08

29th April 2023 First running day of the season

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A splendid warm day and plenty of activity, attended by fourteen friends who were:- June, Andrew, Hayden plus Tim, Heather, Alan S, Mick, David D, David G, Dave M, Dave MB, Andy, Peter S, Robin, Nick, Phil and not forgetting Cliff who turned up earlier than expected (as he did last time) so we had to wait a bit longer for lunch. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes and to David G for the S & T update.

A lot of work required to get the railway up and running, signalling issues (see S & T News), removing debris from the track, erecting a garden storage box and installation of the second step at the loco shed. Pictures show Alan S who has made the second step out of metal and removable for the winter. The only thing missing is the yellow and black hazard stripes!!!!!! Nick is inspecting the work. June had purchased a garden storage box which Andy and Dave M constructed. This was placed on the paving slabs near the loco shed area which Alan S had laid the the previous meeting. Picture shows the storage box being constructed by the hard working duo and this will be used to store locomotive lighting equipment i.e. wood etc.

Today was our first run of the season and we had enough signallers and locomotives to have a good day.

Loco news

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Eight locomotives on track today and were:- L94, Scott Line, Karen, Dave M tank, Nick dock tank, class 20, 1420 and Spinney electric. I was the first on the track with Scott Line so took it cautiously and stopped several times to remove branches from the line, however I must have missed one as I derailed on the approach to Spinney signal box. Bricks and metal bar used to re rail. I also derailed when on my steam L94 locomotive when the branch line points decided to change underneath me. This was traced to the bearing bolt becoming loose. Once fully tightened there was no re occurrence of the oscillating points. Nick somehow derailed after leaving the first tunnel and unbeknown at the time, he had severed a wire causing the signal between the two tunnels (SY 101) to remain at red. Nick later made a temporary repair by twisting wires together and signal SY 101 worked after that. Hayden was seen out with the Spinney locomotive. Cliff tried to steam Clan Line but it never ventured out on to the running line, don't know what the problem was. It was good to see Dave MB out with his 1420 and he has spent a lot of time adjusting the hydrostatic lubricator and this time it had certainly worked, judging by the colour of his arms and face.

S & T News

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Before running, point 7 at Spinney (Branch) was mechanically stuck and debris in blades - fixed. Point 20 at Dingly was also mechanically stuck - nudged and now free and fixed - but wet inside needs to be dried out. Bay Tree track circuits on the down main - long standing issue from last year. This took most of the time as wiring was made up of several cables between distribution boxes. Any identity labels on the cables put there in 2001 had long since gone. Problem was found to be a short length of cable between two distribution boxes with broken cores. One spare core was intact and used to fix. Whilst fixing the Track Circuit, wires for the colour light signals on the down main were disturbed, failing the signals. Outstanding - Bay Tree 10 signal was working but stopped working during the day, Spinney 17 signal did not work and was not fixed.

I have made new ground posts for Baytree 18 and Old Oak number 2 signal, which will be installed, either later this year or part of the winter project. These signals now have aluminium sieves for the bolts to pass through and wing nuts so no spanners required when removing.

A lot of action to report in the signal boxes, Old Oak - David D and Peter S, Baytree - David G, Dingly - Phil and Spinney - Robin, Andy and David D. David D taught Peter S the operation of Old Oak before letting him loose on his own and venturing up to Spinney and joining Robin and Andy. Robin was teaching Andy and David D and can be seen pulling his hair out!!!! It was good to see they managed to adopt main line standards and stop every train they could at a signal or two. It didn't help that SY 18 signal was not working and all drivers instructed to pass at danger plus other operational problems already mentioned. Pictures also show, Peter S in Old Oak and Phil in Dingly.

Next time

Only one running day due to all the public Bank Holidays and on going signalling issues require attention.

End of Current News

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