26th September 2017
Apologies of absence received from David D and Dave MB AKA Lord Lucan, good weather until the pack up and several visiting guests. David D and Sue are at Foxton Lock where there is a festival. Heather and I met David and Sue on the Friday on our way home from Nottingham, showing us around his 1935 narrow boat and the area. David MB once again cited work as the reason for not being able to attend and hopefully one day his bosses will allow him a weekend off, I will include a picture next time so that we can remember what you look like. We had guests from London Underground and East Herts Railway. Alan A & S, Jamie, Dave M, Heather and Robin helped clear the leaves from the rails and I expect there will be more next time as it is the season for it. Richard and Adrian tested the signals were in working order. Thanks to Alan A for the many pictures which can be viewed here and in the pictures section and June for the teas. Picture above also shows that Cliff was so busy steaming up when he arrived, he had to have lunch on the move. The picture on the left shows the excitement that today bought to some. The weather was good until we packed up when the heavens opened up and hail made us find shelter.
Dave M has built a new locomotive called Bobside which is a Holmside chassis with a doubled Robroy boiler. He made it up in his head and had help from Jamie who converted his sketch into a pdf drawing so Tom could water jet the tanks and cab. The tanks, cab and other fittings ect. were made to fit the chassis. We look forward to seeing it steam around Spinney. Also Dave had his Std5 locomotive 73115 steam tested which was successful.
Seven locomotives on track today were, L94,L33, Jesse, Scot 6109, Spinney electric No1, Charlie 33029 and D4092 (350 shunter). Jamie worked on his LMS 7163 loco, replacing the gasket to the turret. This like all engineering projects was not straight forward and a screw had to be drilled out, thanks to Tom for his assistance. Class 20 sound system failed and Alan A assisted Mick with diagnosing the fault, results not known. Robin bought along his class 350 shunter number D4092 but unfortunately, after one trip from Old Oak to Baytree, that too failed and was taken home for investigation. L33 battery electric London Underground locomotive had a good run and had a lot of interest.
S & T news
Spinney 9B points have been secured in the reverse position and will need to be placed on the winter maintenance list. It may be a voltage problem but will need investigating and rectifing. David G invited some guests from London Underground. They all have been or are signallers on the underground and Tim left LU to become a university professor and was most taken, spending most of the day in Spinney, where the experience brought back memories of his younger days. Two of the guests had a drive of the Scot and a picture has been added to the pictures section.
News extra 8th & 9th September 2017
This weekend has seen the Cockcrow annual gala, East Herts railway and continuation on the carriage shed project.
Top lefthand picture shows Heather at Hardwick with Dave M in the background. As can be seen it was a wet start to the day but the weather improved and made a nice day, forecast was worse than that. Not many locomotives on the Friday which meant a good run round each time. Also present on the Friday was David G, Richard and Jamie. I believe Nick attended on the Saturday. David G seems to have all track circuits occupied, a busy station. Also on Saturday, Mick C took his class 20 to the East Herts railway at Ware where he ran it for the afternoon, completing about 20 circuits with about 10 people a time. Whilst we were playing trains, Alan A and Peter were working at Spinney, starting to add the roofing felt tiles to the carriage shed.
19th August 2017
During the week leading up to the meeting, I met someone who said his father used to own a garden railway. To cut a long story short, I was speaking to Josh who works for Balfour Beatty and is the son of Hugh - small world as we had met at Effingham MPV depot. We had twenty one guests today, fourteen from a Marlow society and some of their members live nearby. One guest came in his Riley car and it was interesting to observe how different it was to drive compared to modern vehicles. The owner was also able to provide us with its history and demonstrated the method to pressurise the fuel tank, just so it could get to the engine. How things have changed. Very good weather, plenty of trains followed by a BBQ. Thanks to June and Andrew for the refreshments, Alan A for the many pictures and Robin as the controller for the day.
We had a very successful day, it was one of the busiest we've had in recent times. There were as many trains as signals, because at some stages we seemed to have a train at each one and nearly every track circuit occupied at Spinney.
The four pictures above show that we had a record number of guest 'trainee' drivers and still managed to run enough passenger trains to keep everyone happy. Robin knew my guest Phil, as they both previously worked for Eurostar, another chance meeting.
Nine locomotives on track today and were:- Scott Line, L94, Kate, Class 20, Spinney electric loco, George V 4-4-0, Scot 6109, LMS 7163, Clan Line. George V derailed on points leaving Old Oak run round siding, cause unknown.
S & T news
With so many trains out and about, it became a juggling act for the signallers who were all kept very busy especially Spinney and Old Oak as Old Oak suffered from power supply fault causing the supply MCB to trip numerous times. This caused signals to revert to danger, sometimes whilst trains were approaching them. Andrew and David G were at hand to trace the fault to a timer. Old Oak also had a derailment (see above) so David D was very busy. If it gets any busier, he may need a booking boy.
Carriage shed news
Between meetings, Alan A had mostly covered the carriage shed roof with felt leaving one more strip as can be seen in the picture. The roof became slippery so a baton was fixed allowing us to get some grip (just remember where the camera man is). Right hand picture shows David D fixing some sleepers to the new point and Robin pointing out that he has missed one. Point will lead into the new shed. Robin and Nick have taken away some rail to form into point blades. Good progress.
As a result of shuffling around of dates and Cockcrow Gala we have a 4 week gap and I have volunteered to be controller.
5th August 2017 Friends and Families day
Another wet forecast (and no I am not starting with fake news again) with thundery showers. Some of you said that as they were not at the last meeting they started to believe the fake news until reading further on. Mick C was once again the controller as he had nothing to do last time. The two pictures above show the general start to the proceedings but it did clear up. Thankfully only two major showers with thunder and lightning and then a reasonable day for running trains followed by a BBQ. Today was Friends and Families day and 21 guests were signed in the visitors book, a good turn out. Alan A treated the Old Oak signal box and as per the first line, it was heavily tested against the elements. Alan S wanted to start the fitting the roofing felt to the carriage shed roof but with the downpours this made the wood wet and progress could not be made. Hopefully next time the weather will be suitable for progress. Not a good summer so far. Pictures show that the signal boxes were the best places to be and were quite full at times. Robin added some new sleepers to the track as can be seen in the picture. Thanks to June for the refreshments.
Seven locomotives on track today and were:- L94, Scott Line, 33029, Eileen Grant, Clan Line, King Jack, Class 20. All did driver experiences so many of the guests managed to drive. One SPaD today, my fault, as both my drivers and my glasses steamed up and by the time I had wiped them sufficiently to see, it was too late so we proceeded at caution. The guests seemed to have enjoyed themselves despite the weather and were observed having picnics under the trees.
From the good number of guests, at least half of them stayed for at the BBQ so a good attendance all round. The two dogs, Millie and Sophie were kept entertained all day by three young boys who never seemed to run out of energy. Alan A showed Hugh and wife around especially the new carriage shed project.
David managed to get himself and Sue pictured in the newspaper for inland waterways called Towpath and was pictured at the annual rally and festival held at Braunston (same name as a steam locomotive).
Next time, better weather please.
22nd July 2017
Whilst the weather forecast looked grim, the Spinney avoided the heavy rain and had summer blue skies for most of the time. For those that braved the weather forecast, had a really enjoyable time and thanks to June for the tea and cakes. Mick C was controller and had an easy time.
Locomotives on track today were Jesse, L94, Scott Line, and Kate. No visitors today as they all cancelled so it was a quiet afternoon.
No shortage of signallers and no faults reported.
OK enough of the fake news - It rained, rained and rained - British summer time.
22nd July 2017 a wet day
A very wet summers day where all guest had cancelled and no trains ran. Dave MB e mailed to say he would not be present as he was going on holiday, I hope it is not camping in tents. We constantly checked the weather forecast on our mobiles but the outlook remained the same - rain, rain and more rain. I did suggest we sit in the BBQ area and I write the news stating we had a BBQ (fake news) but in reality we spent most of the time in the Old Oak carriage shed which was used as a meeting / tea room. Mick C was in charge today and group opinion was not to run so we advised Mick he would have an easy day, Mick is good at decision making - it just happens. Cliff arrived so we had lunch in the carriage shed, which must be a first, difference being that we did not stop for lunch as we had not started anything, except for Peter who pruned a bush and re installed the guttering to Old Oak signal box. June, Eric and Louise were involved with the tea and cake duties, thanks to them and we could not be further away from the house if we tried. Thanks to Eric for taking the group picture, the only person missing is Cliff who was working on Clan Line at the time. This is the second time this year where we have had enough signallers but no trains and I cannot remember this happening - not once or even twice in previous years. I remember running in the pouring rain when High Wycombe made a visit a few years ago. Signallers and controller Mick C reported no operating problems which goes to show that it is easier not to run trains. Richard fixed an intermittent fault at Dingly. After a good social meeting full of chat we departed at approx 14.00.
Next time is friends and families day
8th July 2017
Sorry for the delay in writing this but I have been out driving steam trains and therefore, relying on memory more than usual, so sorry if I have missed something. Robin was controller for the day and organised the usual requirements to run the railway but had to leave after tea. The day started with finishing the reroofing of Old Oak signal box and was completed using the felt strips made to look like tiles. Thanks to June (pictured delivering the tea) and Robin for submitting material for the news. Pictures left and below show the usual Worker to onlooker / supervisor ratio. The day ended with a BBQ where we all had a chat with a bit of humour thrown in even if it was by mobile phone from one table to another, good one Mick.
Six locomotives on track today and were Clan Line, L94, Scott line, Kate, Standard 5 (73115) and Class 20 and all ran well. Charlie 33029 steamed but suffered boiler clack problems so never ventured out from the loco shed. Old Oak had a water supply problem resulting in a temporary hose passing over the track at Dingly down to Old Oak. David G set upon trying to fix the problem and believes the water butt at Dingly has silted up blocking the pipe to Old Oak. Lefthand picture shows Laurie driving Scott Line and is the first time I have seen Laurie drive. Obviously driven well and dare Tom to say it was down to his excellent instructions!!
S & T news
Picture shows Robin and wife Jenny in Baytree box, perhaps another time we could have Nick in the frame as well to make it a family run signal box. Signalling ran fairly well but did have the following fault, Baytree junction point, BE4 has been playing up and in the process of making adjustments the set screw in the block that operates the normal detection microswitch sheared off. However, it worked ok on Saturday and hopefully it will last the rest of the season but it will need attention in the winter. The detection unreliability is mainly due to the switch blades being loose on the tie bar and Robin has put this on his list of jobs to do next time he attends which will now be friends and families day (5th August). As they are facing points, hopefully the blades are not too loose to cause a derailment.
Carriage Shed Project
Alan S with help from Tom continued to progress with the carriage shed and now has three upper roads installed. These are slightly inclined so that the wagons will roll to the front to make unloading easier. Alan S said he will design a stop device to prevent the wagons from rolling too far. It is planned that the roof will have the same appearance as the Old Oak signal box. The carriage shed is looking very good and it will not be long before Robin gets the chance to connect the rails to the unloading ramp line, then David D will be busy, shunting wagons. Robin has already reduced the curvature on the existing point which was noticeably easier to pass locomotives over.
Some vegetation has taken advantage of the sun and rain and now fouls the running line and restricts the view of some signals. It would be a good idea to walk the track and prune where necessary. We also have some visitors. Mick C will be controller next time.
17th June 2017 The hottest day of the year
Today clashed with Cockcrow friends and families day which meant some could not be in two places at once whilst others had various reasons for not attending on this glorious fine hot day (hottest this year). I suffered the roads, more like car parks (45 mins on the Staines by pass) whilst I endeavoured to get Heather to Heathrow Airport then make a return trip. Eight friends managed to attend and concentrated on maintenance and no loco running. Thanks to Robin, Adrian, Dave MB and Peter for sending me pictures (so many, that I cannot use them all and unfortunately some were a bit dark) and brief over view of todays events and thanks also to June who supplied tea and orange on this very hot day. Robin was controller and had the very unusual situation where he had enough signallers but no trains!!!! Don’t think this situation has arisen before and I reminisce my BR days during the 80’s train driver strikes. As usual, Cliff arrived so everyone stopped for lunch as per customary practice.
Robin moved the new shed points towards the loading bay to ease the curvature and hopefully eliminate some of the problems that some big engines have had, this should also help Clan Line negotiate this area. If anyone needs to load locos before next meeting this should be used with care as there are still some sleepers to fit and ballasting to do.
Today started with Peter hitching up the small trailer (Alan A), and a group transferred a pallet of roofing felt rolls to near the rear of the carriage shed.
Alan A and Peter worked on re-roofing Old Oak signal box and Peter gave the outside a coat of stain. David D won't know himself next time! Alan A started to remove the roof felt and chipboard from Old Oak S.B. Peter assisted with this and completed it as Alan A. treated T & G.V. boards ready for re-roofing, Peter tidied up and applied as far as possible clear preservative to all exposed roof timbers, followed by red cedar preservative to the rest of Old Oak signal box. Next, 2 x 2 planed timber was secured to each end of the roof, Alan and Peter then proceeded to clad the roof with the T & G V, completing one side. Alan A will complete and will probably throw a tarpaulin over the roof, ready to felt next time.
Richard, Adrian and Bob did signalling repairs and alterations and Adrian reports that the yellow lamp in SY6R was OK, but the cabling wasn't; it works now!.
Although we didn't have any engines in operation several members were gently steaming - it was said to be the hottest day of the year. Alan S aided by Dave MB carried on with the carriage shed, fitting the verticals to give the roof added support and provide a structure for the upper deck.
Normal service is expected to resume next time.
3rd June 2017 Derby Day
Various jobs completed in the morning, pruning of vegetation which was much needed, wood all cleared from drive and stored in carriage shed and continuation of project to add more boarding to the roof. Not quite finished but nearly there. Alan S sent me two unusual views as they were taken from the carriage shed roof which I have added above and in the pictures section. My lifting trolley has failed so I was unable to bring a loco but thanks to Jamie and Peter for offering to help but as it is Derby Day there was no chance of getting anywhere near my place. Jamie would have repeated a journey experience that he had a few weeks ago. David G was controller and I took over whilst he steamed Eileen to keep things going. We had a slight water issue as the drain pipe did not align with the water container so all the rain that we have recently had, just washed the outside of the water container. This meant the container had to be filled which took some time and for the water to feed Dingly Dell and Old Oak. David G tried his syphoning skills by sucking the Old Oak water pipe and eventually got the water to flow. Several jokes made at what could have been in the water but not repeatable here. June as usual kept us fed and watered on this fine weathered day. We had 12 guests comprising of friends of Peter and the Marlow Railway Society, so we provided passenger trains which they used and then took to photographing the days movements. Mike H e mailed some of us explaining he is getting old and may not be able to visit as often as he does. We really hope he gets bored at home and visits us as much as he can so we can listen to his yarns and have a good chat without the pressure of feeling that he has to do something.
Six locomotives on track today and were LMS 7163, Royal Scot, Kate, Class 20, 33029 Charlie and Eileen. A good number of locomotive providing rides for our guests. After the guests had left, the class 20 ran with the freight wagons and a picture of this has been added to the pictures section. Nick has adjusted his suspension on 33029 and today it ran fault free so a good job done. Cliff collected Clan Line on Friday so as to run at the Clan Line AGM held at Mizens Farm near Woking where it created a lot of interest. Cliff returned the locomotive at the end of the day.
S & T news
Signallers today were, Dingy Dell - Peter and David D, Baytree - Richard, Spinney - Robin then David G after tea and Old Oak - Heather and myself then closed after tea as we were driving Kate after that. Thanks to Robin for his guidance via mobile phone and David D who I can only say was promoted to Signalling supervisor and kept a check on both Peter and I, well done to both of you for your patience. Despite that, trains ran quite well and the whole railway was operational. A points failure was reported at Spinney and rectified by Richard and David G and the yellow aspect at Spinney 6R failed and Richard has removed it for repair or renewal. Bob and Mike H not present today as they were enjoying a model exhibition, spending money I expect.
Please can you show your attendance status on the web site as the next meeting clashes with the Cockcrow friends and family plus usual things that get in the way, such as holidays and it will be nice to see how many of us will attend. Robin will be the controller next time.
20th May 2017
M3 closed again for the weekend, but this time we were prepared and we all made it in via various routes. Looking through the e mails, Jamie was advised to leave the night before (see previous news). After a few rain showers at midday the sun shone and made it a very good day to run the railway and entertain the guests. Mick C was the controller and invited seven guests from work who all had rides, with some having the chance to drive adding to their enjoyment. A good turnout of friends and along with the guests, resulted with a drive full of vehicles. Naturally those people that wanted to leave after tea were parked at the wrong end and a lot of vehicle shunting was required to get them out. Richard Smoothy from Cockcrow also visited and was seen driving the Royal Scot.
Both Royal Scot and L94 had their hydraulic and steam tests which both passed successfully. Seven locomotives out on track during the day and were:- L94, Clan Line, Kate, Eileen Grant, LMS 7163, Royal Scot 6109 and Class 20. Jamie had to brake hard when a signal reverted to danger in front of him and unfortunately he did not know his own strength and sheared the pin connecting the brake lever to the brake mechanism therefore leaving him with no mechanical braking. Tom drove Kate for about 50 feet then had the enviable task of cleaning the loco. All other locomotives ran well.
S & T news
The signal boxes were operated by: Dingly Dell - Peter and Mike H, Baytree – Bob, Old Oak – David D, Spinney – Richard, Adrian and guests. Richard’s two guests took part in operating Spinney signal box under supervision from Richard or Adrian and the right hand picture shows the team in action. Spinney signal number 1 would not clear to route trains into the loop, Adrian advised that cause was a connection in the signal box and fixed. Baytree number 5 signal would not clear and this was traced to number 4 points not detected due to a slightly bent rail, Bob investigated and fixed, shows detection worked. Left hand picture shows Tom’s better half (have to say that) doing an extremely good job operating Old Oak signal box under the supervision of David D and shows Laurie handing the token to Heather. David D says it will be a two person’s job when the carriage shed opens as traffic flow will increase by 200 percent!!! Cliff e mailed to admit he had his first SPaD for at least 5 years, and analysis shows that Clan Line has done more trips in that time than any other loco, so he must be close to the driver with the most miles, therefore more at risk of having a SPaD. Incident was at Spinney signals 12 & 14 approaching the station. Various excuses were given in an e mail but could have added, smoke obscured signals / view, wrong place wrong time, trying to catch him out, poor rail head conditions (even though it was sunny), brake failure, steam in super heaters so loco took off etc.
A debate started about the use of the Spinney loop line. If a train is to be stood for a lengthy time perhaps communication between signalman and driver could avert any bad issues and agree what course of action would be best for all.
There will be 8 members of the Marlow and District Railway Society (MDRS) visiting and Bob and Mike H will not be attending so can we have some signallers please, David Grant will be the controller.
6th May 2017
M3 closed due to bridge replacement, causing traffic to clog up other roads such as the A3, A31 and M25 to mention a few, adding journey times to those of us that have to use those roads. Those that use these roads felt the traffic chaos and Jamie, after two and a half hours driving, turned around and went home as he could not get to the Spinney. Also not attending were Richard and Alec otherwise a very good turnout and pleasant weather - no rain.
We had another visit from Myke Baigent accompanied by his wife Marion and son Andy and this time they got to see the trains running, again it was good to see them.
Jobs completed before running were, getting the stock out, cleaning signal box windows, track alignment checks using the mirror between the tunnels and making the final instalment of the Old Oak point machine. Once again, thanks go to June for keeping us fed and watered (Tea and cakes).
The picture on the right shows the unusual situation where Dave M took a picture of me taking a picture of him riding behind the N class locomotive. The picture I took can be seen below right.
Eight locomotives on track today and were:-L94, Scott Line, Clan line, Jesse, Standard 5 number 73115, N class 31873, Charlie 33029 and class 20. Slow start to the day and two locomotives suffered damage caused by derailments. Dave M standard 5 derailed and damaged a drain cock (know the situation well), whilst Nicks Charlie 33029 derailed with all wheels off on the bridge. This could have been a lot worse than it was and Nick has taken the locomotive home to investigate and alter as necessary the suspension whilst Dave is working on the drain cock situation. Otherwise the other locomotives ran faultlessly. Due to Old Oak out of use, the loco shed was busier than usual with all locomotives requiring to water, steam up and share limited track space. The top left picture shows a fine line up of Southern locomotives being prepared for running whilst the top right hand picture shows the N Class in operation and the bottom picture shows Cliff on Jesse captured between the SW sign and the signal.
S & T news
Mike H in Baytree, Bob in Dingly (signalling and fixing power supply problem) and Robin and Dave MB in Spinney. Picture shows Dave MB yawning, either from jet lag the previous day, lack of trains, impending disaster or over worked!!!! Robin’s response can be seen on the pictures section Summer running 2017 image 445. As mentioned, Bob continued to fix the power supply problem which materialised due to the power supply being left on for several days - no one knows who left it on!! This initially affected the block instruments and telephones were used widely to communicate. The branch to Old Oak was again out of use due to the building work except for the movement of locomotives to and from the unloading bay. As mentioned previously, the Old Oak point was finally installed at Number 7B points, adjusted and tested to be in full working order.
Carriage shed project
Alan A & S, David G and Andrew worked tirelessly all day on this project and the pictures show the advancement with the addition of a roof. This will help keep the area water tight although we have not had much rain lately.
Carriage shed project on hold and full running expected including use of Old Oak which will be a first for this year. Mick has approximately seven guests and Mick C has volunteered to be the controller.
22nd April First Running day 2017
A very pleasant and sunny day, trains ran, railway tidied up, carriage shed progressed and we had a visitor. As usual, thanks to June for the Teas and cakes to keep us going. A group managed to clear the railway from leaves and other obstructions prior to lunch. A bird's nest was found in the first tunnel but no birds spotted whilst the trains ran. The day's events started with a surprise visit from Myke Baigent accompanied by his wife Marion and daughter Alison and it was good to see them again, however they did not stay long enough to see the trains running - maybe next time.
A new pictures section has been started and additional pictures can be viewed there.
Group photo 2017
Group photo this year was taken at the carriage shed at Old Oak which is the location where the bulk of the winter work has been. Photo shows left to right, inside carriage shed - Alan A, Alan S, David G, Middle row - Tim, David D, Nick, Robin, Mike H, Dave MB, Peter, Cliff, June, Dave M (with cup) Mick C, Front row, Jamie, Henry, Bob, Millie and Sophie. Not available were Adrian, Alec, Heather, Richard (although on site) and Tom. It is good to keep an annual historic record of the work and the team involved.
Six locomotives on track today and were L94, Clan Line, Kate, 33029, 1369 Pannier tank and finally at the end of the day, class 20. Nick and Robin bought along their new locomotive, Charlie 33029 which aroused a lot of interest. Nick ran it as a light locomotive to test its performance but unfortunately Nick had an issue in maintaining pressure and thought this may be due to the smoke box door seal. Nick has taken the locomotive home to investigate, 33029 ran loco first and tender first, L94 ran with freight wagons and the others ran with the passenger coaches. Clan Line returned from Winter maintenance and this loco, once in steam, proved to work well.
S & T news
Mike H continued with the installation and testing of the signal post telephones, whilst the signal boxes were operated by:- Dingy Dell - David D, Baytree - Bob, Spinney - Robin then Richard and Old Oak line was shut to assist the carriage shed project. Richard tested the signals prior to running and installed a temporary wire to signal 10 at Old Oak due to a fault. Running trains today helped check the railway signalling and at the beginning there were some teething problems with a few of the signals, mainly due to plugs not being fully inserted. Once they had been fixed no other problems were encountered.
Carriage shed project
As can be seen by the pictures, the three slaves (workers) have progressed with the carriage shed, measuring cutting and assembling the roof timbers. The roof structure is now nearing completion and more wood is required to be ordered to strengthen the structure prior to getting a roof over the building. Thanks to Alan A & S and David G for committing their time and effort into this project today.
Alan S has made a lid for the point machine for Old Oak point 7B which I will paint, alter internal mechanism and install at the next meeting. Some of the old concrete signal support foundations still need to be moved to the scrap area.
1st April Fool's Day 2017
Dry day to start with and then towards the end rain dampened activities a bit, thanks to June for the Teas and cakes to keep us going. Special cakes today to mark a special day.
Bob did not attend as it was his Wedding Anniversary which took precedence, Peter was away, Dave MB said work got in the way and Jamie was unable to attend but e mailed to say, there are two wagons within the freight stock which have three bags full of the muck (inc ballast) they require emptying down at Old Oak, however, One of the bags has several Fifty Pound notes at the bottom, whoever empties the bags can keep what they find...........(just think about what date is), plus none of us would recognise a £50 note!!!! You could have sent me a few so I would know what to look for. Mick was one day short of 70 years so we rallied round and bought him a card and two Birthday cakes. Unfortunately none of us had anything of value to donate so it was just a card and cake event and hopefully Mick was surprised. David D continued with the cutting project between the tunnels and now says that we must wipe our feet before entering that area. It looks like it will be our next winter project, to remove the track and relay on new ballast that will enable drainage. The ballast has been removed from the cess to allow the concrete base to show and hopefully this will aid the drainage situation. Cliff continued with leaf blowing but I am sure there will be more to do before we run our first train next time.
S & T news
As can be seen by the pictures, the signals have been put out and where possible, tested. Just like full size - pressure on. The Spinney point from the main line to the branch, number 7 points, needed tender loving care and the S & T team gave it an overhaul. This however needed the rails to be re-aligned (bent using a tin wedge) as they had been run through in the wrong direction and caused deflection. All now working perfectly. The token machine at Old Oak received some paint.
Carriage shed project
Dave M pruned the trees next to the new carriage shed as can be seen in the lefthand picture. The carriage shed team made very good progress today despite having to leave early (Mick in celebration mode) and the heavy down pour of rain (weather forecast was light showers). The carriage shed is really taking shape now.
Next time it is planned to start running and hopefully test the railway. A few jobs still need to be finished. Please wear your Spinney shirts for a group photograph.
18th March 2017
Dry day where we were able to progress with a few odd jobs. Thanks to Dave MB for his contribution and June for the Teas and cakes.
At the last meeting, Jamie and Dave MB started to remove ballast from between the tunnels and this time took it by wagon down to Old Oak where it can be seen being washed. The amount of sludge that came out showed that the track between the tunnels was heavily contaminated and not draining at all which has caused a few sleepers to deteriorate. The track between the tunnels sits on a concrete slab which along with the gradient is designed to allow any water to drain away via the tunnels. Tom bought along his large hole cutter to cut through the concrete slab and then dug down using his home made hole borer (right hand picture). This worked very well and a drainage hole 22 inches deep was dug. The hole was filled with a plastic tube filled with small ballast stones and wrapped in membrane - It is awaiting a top to be attached. Part of the concrete slab has been washed to remove the sludge and at one point David D was in his element standing on a railway and watching water pass him as if he was on his canal boat. Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch (naturally) and after that Cliff became chief leaf blower and tidied up the site. With the recent changes to track alignment between loco shed and Dingly Dell, this has meant that the foot crossing has had to be reconstructed and can be seen in the left hand picture being concreted - Dave M is supporting a piece of wood in case it falls over. Comments were made as to whether there will be a foot print in it. Nick and Robin fitted the new loco shed point with an operating lever and the point is now fully operational and just needs to be tested using a locomotive.
S & T news
Bob was again in Spinney box. He has been wiring the block instrument with a connector so that it can be unplugged and stored for the winter months. This task is proving difficult and Bob is pulling his hair out as the block instrument will not function correctly with the connector. This has taken a lot of Bob’s time and he has therefore not progressed with Dingly Dell which means Dingly will not be operational at the beginning of the season. David and Richard wired up the new point machine at Old Oak (7B points) and this has now been taken home by Alan S to have a lid made. As the motor is slightly different, it has had a knock on affect with the mechanism and I have taken some parts home to remake. Mike H has re-installed the refurbished and now working trackside phone in the cutting, it has been tested and works well. Mike H has also found a phone which will hopefully be ok for the trackside position by the splitting homes on the main line. This also would have been installed had it not been for the fact that he accidentally left it at home.
Carriage shed project
The carriage shed is really taking shape and progress can be seen. The timber roof frame is currently under construction and the top centre roof timber required many hands to get it into position. Alan A made a joint held by wedges and unfortunately when this was manoeuvred into place, proved too much and the wood split. Wood was turned and another joint made and then put together in situ. Alan S used the power saw to cut the many angles required and had great fun using Alan A’s nail gun.
Bob will not be present as it is his Wedding Anniversary (congratulations), Mike H will not be present so the telephone at the junction signals will have to wait, signals can be put out and tested, clean signal boxes and using a wagon, remove all the concrete (ex signal supports) from around the railway.
4th March 2017
The Hertfordshire contingency were not present and Dave MB phoned in with man flu. Odd jobs day and it is not far away to our earlier than usual start date. Projects on the go were Old Oak point machine, carriage shed, track drainage between tunnels, buffer stops and signalling alterations. Thanks to Jamie, Adrian, Peter for their contributions and June for the Teas and cakes.
Strong winds during the week which bought chaos to main line railways also affected Spinney with fallen branches (lefthand picture), all removed and placed on the bonfire. Jamie worked on the area between the two tunnels, removing ballast that looked more like sludge. This will be washed and sieved, however the area needs some decision making regarding drainage, a smelly and mucky job. After a lunch time discussion, it was agreed that the new exit road would temporarily continue to be a siding accessed from the Dingly Dell end due to signalling requirements. Dave M and I set about installing the temporary buffer stops to mark the boundary. Other ideas of marking the boundary included lifting out a track panel, which seemed a lot of work and placement of a concrete block over the line, but this was considered unsightly and could cause damage to a loco if the two came together.
Peter and Robin cleared the earth away from the front of the new carriage shed and the picture shows the earth being transported to plant bedding near the level crossing, however the rope at the front seems a little slack!!!! Alan A continued to work on fixing the wood to the brick wall and can be seen framed by previous work.
S & T news
Adrian, Bob and Richard continued to work in Spinney signal box, initially to add a connector to the block instrument which communicates with Baytree signal box. Up to now this has been permanently wired but now it has a connector allowing it to be removed for maintenance and winter storage. The block instrument was then tested between Spinney and Baytree and all worked well. I have been working on the new point machine for Old Oak point number 7B and this is now at a stage where it needs a lid, connecting to the electrical circuits and testing.
Cliff arranged to take Clan Line home with the help from Peter and his trailer. Some difficulty experienced navigating the new point work at Old Oak and was then secured onto the trailer. Jamie was going to move his locomotive to check that it still moved and had not seized, but to get Clan Line out of the engine shed, Jamie’s loco had to be moved and all wheels rotated successfully.
With weather permitting, it is hoped to reinstate the foot path across the siding that has been slewed across and this will involve concreting a new slab and constructing wooden formers to mark the edges. Carriage shed project will continue with construction of the wooden frame.
18th February 2017
A fair weathered day and projects included, converting siding to running line, signal support brackets installed, Point motor started and carriage shed continued. No Cliff, Robin, Richard or Jamie but we still managed lunch. Dave MB unfortunately had to visit A&E at Royal Surrey (Guildford) and missed most of the day but it was good to see him, I know only too well the joys of spending a minimum of 4 hours in A & E last year and not once for myself. I have hopefully captured all those who attended either on camera or in the text. Thanks to June for the Teas and cakes.
One of the sidings from Dingly Dell has been slewed over 6 inches and connected via a point to the loco shed. It is intended that once the carriage shed has been completed, this siding will not be required and can be used as an exit road from the loco shed. Adrian and Bob worked on moving block joints, signal post and burying signal cabling whilst others ballasted and tamped the new line to bring it up to running line standards. Two wagons were used, initially to transport wood from Old Oak up to Spinney (David D and David G) then as the picture shows conveying ballast to the upgrade work. In the left hand picture above, Nick concentrates on the point lever mechanism whilst Alec (in orange) seems to have seen something of possible interest (only he knows)!!!!
At Old Oak, Peter and I started work on replacing the old point machine for points Number 7b and the picture shows the extra long sleepers being inserted, however one has a severe bow and may need to be replaced. David G bought a new point motor which turns out to be too large to fit the box and after many ideas as to how to overcome this problem I have decided to take the old point machine home to take out the old motor and put it into the new point machine box ready for next time. We also cemented new signal support brackets for Baytree junction signals 3 & 5 and the associated distant signals (2 & 6).
Carriage shed project
Alan A, Alan S and Andrew continued with the carriage shed project and with the brick laying now finished, efforts turned to carpentry skills and their results can be seen in the picture. Instead of being covered in brick dust, Alan S was covered in saw dust. A damp course membrane has been placed between the brick structure and the wooden frame and all screwed together. The amount of wood required can be seen on the Old Oak platforms.
Discuss working arrangement for the new line between loco shed and Dingly Dell, fit point motor at Old Oak and continue with carriage shed project.
4th February 2017
Present : Alan A, June, Mick C, David D, David G, Jamie H, Dave Marsh, Dave Mowat, Robin S, Alan S, Peter W.
Cliff did not arrive, so we had lunch and then he arrived!
If I have missed anyone let me know. (me = DG who is responsible for today's ramblings.)
The taper on the carriage shed gable had been built up with whole bricks, so the sloping edges were a series of steps at each course of bricks.
The task was to make this a smooth slope.
Alan A bought a large, HEAVY, petrol driven angle grinder to cut the bricks to this line.
Alan S was the hero who clambered on the scaffold and cut the bricks with the moral support of Alan A and David G.
Thank you Alan - we hope your back did not ache too much next day.
It was hard to believe the amount of ballast mixed with black Yuk that the team (pictured above) found in the cutting whilst re-sleepering there.
Much of it was perfectly good ballast. The repulsive mixture has been deposited on plastic sheet by the new carriage shed and it is hoped we can hose it down to recover the ballast.
Dave MB started making the journey with a wheelbarrow (another sore back?) but later the team realised there was a railway method and a truck was pressed into service.
The railway in the tunnel and cutting is laid on a smooth concrete base so there is a question about whether we should bother with any ballast there in future.
Robin has been hard at work at home making replacement point parts.
Most significantly the 'nose' where the main wear occurs. The 'nose' is a vee shaped piece of metal which wheels strike after being unsupported.
The picture shows Robin and Richard near the tunnel mouth, installing the new parts and adjusting check rails etc.
As ever, lots of folk gathered and were prepared to offer advice (left picture) but Dave Marsh did manage to get the
right-hand picture with Mick C actually working.
Apologies for the blurred picture, but the gathering of advisers was too good to miss
We look to some imaginative shunting on the new facility next summer.
Photos offered and not used are added to the Current Picture Page linked here.
Contact DG re any errors and omissions on this time's news.
Do not be afraid to point out errors of grammar and spelling. Be aware that after he passed O-Level English in 1960, his teacher was kind enough to comment : "I didn't expect you to pass Grant".
21st January 2017
A cold day but still a good turnout, everything frozen and slippery but projects continued except for the carriage shed project where no work took place. Apologies for absence received from Mike H, David G and Alan S.
The top two pictures show the main project of the day and as can be seen a large number of friends available to offer their views. This picture shows the group making a decision as to which way round the point should go and which way up!!! (difficult). The point has been inserted to allow locomotives to enter and leave the yard on separate lines. One drawback is that departing locomotives will only be able to access platform one at Dingly and the signalman will have to keep platform free for this move. Mick C led the way and this involved removing a track panel, digging out and inserting the new point which was difficult as the ground was frozen. It is also intended to add an extra water filling location which involves ground work for running pipes under the track. Hopefully this will be remembered before the track is laid. Also the departure signal will need to be re located and wired and another signal post to be constructed. Right-hand picture shows Peter and me trialling the new support bracket at Baytree, both this one and Old Oak did their job.
I bought along another signal support bracket which Peter and I were going to concrete into the ground for Baytree Junction 3 & 5 signals, however, it needed re-alignment to match the distant signals for clearance and when we dug down we found buried cabling in the way. With some extra digging, this was moved and the embankment built up with more earth. This will be allowed to settle until we meet next time. The distant signals (signals 2 and 6) also need the same treatment, so the old base was dug out and ground works built up. Peter has taken the signal home to modify as per the others and I will construct some new support brackets. Dave MB was busy between the tunnels clearing leaves and later digging out some rotten sleepers and discussed with Alan A about improving the drainage in that area.
Bob reported that none of the points would operate as they were all frozen, no such luxury as point heaters as on the full size. Bob was once again back in Dingly this time replacing the temporary wiring with more temporary wiring for the new track diagram which can be viewed in the pictures section. Bob was also working in cramped spaces again. Jamie cleared away moss from the track between Baytree and Spinney and started to build a stone edge from the bridge to retain the ballast. Cliff did not arrive which meant we had a late lunch at about 13.30. Due to the cold weather we left at 16.00.
Thanks to June for the tea and cakes especially in this cold weather (Did I mention it was cold?).
7th January 2017
Firstly, a Happy New Year to you all, it was a mild day and a lot of projects were worked on. A big thank you to Mike H and Peter for supplying the pictures which can be viewed here and in the pictures section and to all of you that submitted your efforts so that I could write this news piece. Also to June for the tea and cakes. Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch (had to say that), nice to know old habits don’t die and we do not need a watch or sundial. Talking of Cliff, in the picture on the right, you will see that Cliff is showing us his Dads Army training skills and along with Dave MB cleared all the leaves away from Dingly - there can't be any left now! Cliff also demonstrated the Teflon effect leaves have on rails and promptly fell over, once Dave MB had stopped laughing Cliff was helped to his feet. Cliff has also e mailed all of us a link to train mountain which is very interesting. I have made some new signal post support brackets which with the help of Peter, have been cemented in at Old Oak number 10 signal and Baytree numbers 12 & 13 signals. We have now dug out Baytree number 3 & 5 junction signal and also trimmed the end from the bottom of the signal to remove the rot. Holes will be re aligned to make it vertical. Right-hand picture above shows Robin refurbishing the broken tie bar on one of the yard points and all done under the supervision of………. Spinney point number 5B had been a cause of concern last year as a locomotive (long green one) had several derailments on it. Last meeting, Robin took away part of the point and refurbished it. Today this was reinserted back into its correct position whilst the adjacent trailing spring point was dismantled for the same treatment.
Left-hand picture shows Bob again working in cramped spaces; he must like that, but this time he has moved to Spinney box for a change of scenery. The order of the day was to rewire the block instruments in Spinney box. Richard carried on bonding rails and Adrian carried out June’s wishes and continued to bury exposed cabling / trunking (picture in picture section). Mike H is working on testing and repairing the signal post telephones and today has got the SPT to work at Baytree signals number 3 and 5 (junction) and placed in a new position.
Also in the pictures section is the refurbished Dingly Dell signalbox track diagram. This will hopefully be fitted next time and I will report how it has fitted.
Pictures above show Millie assisting both David D and Jamie with their track repairs, not sure if it was help or hindrance. Rotten sleepers were identified, dug out and replaced between Baytree bridge & driveway (heading towards Spinney). All ballast was sieved, washed & recycled around replacement new sleepers.
Carriage shed project
At the start of the day, David G and Alan A made a trip to collect some more sand so the team could mix some mortar. Alec also was able to join us and provided useful labour to Alan A and S by cleaning bricks, moving bricks, stacking bricks, moving cement and handling bricks, whilst David G mixed mortar, carried mortar, spilled mortar and finally disposed of excess mortar. Both now sick of the sight of bricks and mortar. The more skilful, laid the bricks and another 8 rows were constructed at the front of the building to complete the A shape. An angle grinder will be used to trim the edges to complete the final design to match roof profile. As the air was damp the mortar was not setting quick enough so Alan A said he will finish the pointing on Sunday. Dave MB also assisted as assistant brush holder.
Continue with the carriage shed project and hopefully start on the wooden roof structure, install the signal support bracket for Baytree numbers 3 and 5 junction signals plus continuation of wiring upgrade at Spinney box.
17th December 2016
I normally state that Cliff arrived and we stopped for lunch, but Cliff e mailed to say there was illness running in the family, we wish full recovery for Christmas however Tom took his place today. This was beaten by Dave MB who arrived and we all went home….. Dave did manage to look around, assess our work and get a cup of tea. I have removed the old signal bases at Old Oak number 10 shunt signal and Baytree number 12 and 13 signals. These will have new support brackets made and hopefully if the weather is good enough next time, they will be concreted in place. Both lines between Baytree and Dingly have had the ballast scrapped back to reveal the sleepers and allow them to dry as they have been covered for some time, thanks to Peter for helping me. Robin worked on point maintenance and has brought back a rail and re inserted it into the Old Oak siding point 7B. Also points at the loco shed received attention.
Alan A, Alan S and Dave concentrated their efforts to the carriage shed project. As can be seen a roof profile was made and more layers of bricks added at the front to match, Dave M is holding a very important piece of wood. Mick and David G used a Cromer coach and transported all the roof timbers down to Old Oak and stored on the platform as can be seen in the lunch picture. The coach was also used by David G for his own personal dining train. Bob worked in Spinney signal box and came out just as a point had been laid on the loco shed exit road and joined in with the discussion about its viability to providing a different and safer operating arrangement for trains entering and leaving the loco area, which I think were the words Bob was looking for when explaining to Alan A. This may progress this winter. The idea is to convert one of the Dingly sidings to be the loco shed exit road and do away with the reversible running on the current line. This apparently used to be the arrangement many years ago, how things go full circle. If this goes ahead I will have to re draw the track plans!!!
Thanks also to June for supplying the tea, cake, mince pies and mulled wine.
Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year, hope to see you in 2017.
3rd December 2016 First working party day
Dry day, good turnout of friends and winter maintenance started. Main areas of work were the carriage shed, points and Dingly Dell signal box, a good start to the winter maintenance programme, a productive day.
Only one train ran today - wood was delivered during the week and then today it was loaded onto two wagons and transported from Spinney down to Old Oak and placed inside the carriage shed. Cement was mixed and more bricks were laid. I was going to take a picture of the end of day's work but it was covered up so no one could see it - or to protect it from the frost which is more likely. Richard and Bob hid in Dingly Dell signal box and continued to make wiring alterations. Left hand picture shows the group having lunch at Old Oak, normally held in the engine shed but it was decided that it would be nice to sit outside, Mick tried to hide by covering his face - can you spot him!!!!
Robin worked on the trailing point tunnel end of Spinney station, removed the rails and has taken these home for alteration and repair. Picture shows Mick helping free two screws which originally refused to move, but with a bit of brute force and ignorance were successfully removed - hammer helped. Old Oak number 7B point is going to be fitted with a new point machine and this has so far involved removing the old point machine and replacing sleepers. Peter, our carpenter expert, has cut two long length sleepers to accommodate the new point machine and can be seen in the picture deliberating the machining process. These will be fitted when the new point machine is ready, currently needs a new lid and motor. I have taken Old Oak number 10 subsidiary signal home to make new ground bracket as the new point machine will not be a straight swap but involve movement of signal securing posts.
19th November 2016
David D not well, Alan S had to work and the M3 was partially closed causing extra journey times.
David D e mailed to state he was unwell and we wish him a speedy recovery. Bob was able to attend after his illness and provided his sought after cake, was it that he could not afford the postage!!! The M3 was partially closed due to bridge works and this meant traffic was diverted onto the A3 and M25. Everyone was subject to long delays getting to the Spinney with Mick and David G taking three hours - hopefully the return journey was better. A very relaxing day with plenty of chit chat plus tidying up the site. Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch, some eating in the loco shed whilst others braved it at Baytree. Peter once again came to the rescue with his trailer and made two trips to collect some ballast sand, helped by June and Dave MB - Sand shovelled into storage bags at the Spinney. All signals have now been washed and put away and Dingly Dell signals placed elsewhere so that Bob has space to continue with his Dingly Dell upgrading project. The whole railway was cleared of leaves using brooms and leaf blowers and a lot of mischief. Picture shows Mick with a broom a bit high and leaves being directed at people, a lot of fun had by all.
Cliff’s car had a puncture and with no spare wheel fitted, the RAC had to be called to take the defective wheel away and return with a repaired wheel from a local garage. Just as well the garage was open, not normal to have an orange van at the Spinney. Mick C helped clean the loco shed under the supervision of June and comments were made if we could photo shop Mick to include a piny etc - just the thought of it!!!. Next time we can start with the planned winter maintenance programme and progress with the carriage shed project. Thank you to June for the tea and cakes.
5th November 2016
Cold (as everyone will vouch for) but dry day, traditional end of running season marked with Fish and Chips followed by Fireworks.
Everyone felt the cold and if possible huddled around a steam locomotive or hands around a cup of tea just to thaw out a bit, a day for wearing thermal and fleece lined clothing. Thank you June, Louise and Eric for helping in the catering department and for assisting with lighting during the fireworks. The railway was tidied up as can be seen in the pictures and Scott Line encountered a leaf or two on the line (suffering as per full size). Dave MB and M successfully cleared the line using leaf blowers whilst Peter made many trips to the bonfire. Alan S, Peter and Dave MB cleared the carriage shed floor, moving bricks and brushing out the water that had accumulated. Hopefully this year's winter project will involve getting the roof built and this will keep the floor area dry. Plan was to run trains to 4pm where we would have tea, clear up then have the usual end of season fish and chips followed by fireworks. Bob T was unable to visit due to illness (we wish him a speedy recovery) and at tea his cakes from previous visit proved to be very popular (if you cannot make next time, can you send more in the post?). David D also went home early due to not feeling well and the cold (sitting next to a nice warm fire sounds the answer). Mike H was nominated controller for the day, which he did not relish until informed there would only be one train running for most of the time and that could look after itself (easy job). David G was away sunning himself - did I mention the cold!!!
Four locomotives on track today and were Standard 78054, Scott line, Class 20 and LMS 7163, two steam and two electric. Scot Line ran for the first two hours as ‘one engine in steam’ and therefore was given free running before being joined by the others at 3pm. Picture shows Dave M daughter, Elise driving which she thoroughly enjoyed apart from Dave who sat there and got cold (no train heating!). With only four trains on the railway, we were able to run longer trains, and Scott Line ran with four coaches and 78054 had three.
S & T news
Four signal boxes, three signalmen (sometimes two) - Richard covered Baytree and sometimes Dingly whilst Mike H had a drive, Mike H was in Dingly and Robin covered Spinney. Old Oak became TMO (Train Man Operated - full size terminology) where the driver would operate the levers to run the train round the coaches then gave two on the token instrument machine to let Spinney know they were on their way back. This worked very well, and used the large token for this purpose. At the previous running day, Richard took home the banner repeater usually found between the two tunnels for maintenance, did any driver notice it was missing or even report it missing?
Picture shows Tom welding together a wagon chassis for Nick, using the back of his pick up as a work bench, an unusual working practice. When finished, the wagons will be a six wheeled tank variety and will hopefully complement the Spinney wagon fleet and the wagons Dave M is constructing. Looks like the carriage / wagon shed needs extending before it is built!!!
End of summer season
Picture shows red signals at Baytree which I thought summed up the end of the running season, all stop. It is very rare to see the railway operating in the dark and therefore rarely see the signals lit up. The last two years have seen rain on this day, but thankfully rain fell the previous day and we were able to have the usual end of season fish / pie with chips and fireworks, although all sat there bearing the cold elements, (possibly a taste of future maintenance weeks). Some of the fireworks were a bit bland and we had to watch ours and listen to the fireworks from neighbours to gain full effect, however, Peter bought along a firework called ‘Empire’ and this was a true firework packed with action and noise. Well done Peter for that one, more of those next year please.
Start of winter maintenance, clean and pack away signals so many hands please to make light work as they say, then start winter projects. June and Robin have produced a list of items that need maintenance / renewing.