10th August 2019
Cliff was the controller for today and emailed us all with a timetable plan. Visitors from London Underground signalling once again joined us and guests of Peter joined us for an enjoyable day. Weather started with rain but became a nice day. Thanks to June for the tea and cakes.
Cliff e mailed to say that he would leave home aprox 10.30 to pick Adrian up. This meant we all knew what time we had to leave in order to beat Cliff (BC = Before Cliff time) and arrive before him at Spinney. David G was unable to visit as he was not allowed out due to his Wife's Birthday. Goes without saying.....
Also more e mails to say they could not make it were, David D who has undergone surgery and we wish him a full and speedy recovery. David MD who is in Sydney (spelt right), Paul, Robin and Jamie who are both at their continental retreats. Unfortunately Bob was unable to join us and his normal position was covered by Adrian.
Cliff e mailed everyone a timetable which he hoped would work (hint - look at the full size railway), S & T news contains more details.
Six locomotives on track today and were L94, Scott Line, Scot 6109, Kate, King Jack, Brunel whilst Spinney electric made some movements within the loco shed with a very young trainee. Once the signalling issues were rectified, good running ensued comprising of both freight and passenger trains. As a typical driver, I did not know what time it was and went when the the signal cleared. On two occasions I was 4 minutes early at Baytree so I said I would wait and be one minute late to keep the norm.
I think I now hold the record for over carrying the branch line token, I travelled from Old Oak through Spinney and the tunnels, arriving at Dingly. Turning on the turntable to the water point where I discovered I STILL had the token. Thanks to Alan S who kindly returned it for me. It could also be classed as a signalling test to ensure that no trains could be signalled down to Old Oak - my excuse andI am sticking to it....... Unfortunately we had a slight mishap and Scott Line went over the edge of the turntable at Dingly by one bogie. No one injured and no damage, just a dent in the young lad's pride.
Richard started the day by relabelling all the signal box relays as the old labelling was wearing a bit thin. The signal boxes were manned as follows:-Spinney - Richard, Dingly - Adrian, Baytree - Rob and Old Oak Peter W and this remained the same after tea. At the start of the running Spinney developed a signalling fault and this was traced to number 7 points and possible an error occurred when moving empty stock to start the day. Also at Spinney, point detection on 5B points, caused an issue with Spinney number 1 signal as you leave the tunnel. The return spring had become dislodged and could have been caused by rolling stock movement or if walked on. Once cleared no more problems were reported. Dingly platform 1 (DG) track circuit had an intermittent fault - ironic really that David G (DG) was not here and that was the track circuit to play up - must be telepathic.
Adrian decided to draw up a signal box register / log and this can be seen in the pictures above. It appears the turn round times on Cliff's timetable were a bit optimistic. Adrian said he kept a departing train on the same line as its arrival. Locos: 16 = Brunel, 808 = King Jack, 6109 = Royal Engineer, K = Kate, LT = Tim's LT Tank, SL = Scott Line. 'PB' this means Permissive Block. The signallers report that the time table did not work due to factors such as, early start, signalling problems and short turn rounds to name a few.
Pictures show the guests driving both electric and steam locomotives. The guests also took time to visit the signal boxes and appeared to have a really enjoyable time. This is not their first visit and they were really friendly as were Peters guests who all said they thoroughly enjoyed their day. Unfortunately some guests had to leave early as a taxi was booked to whisk them away to the railway station for a long journey home. We look forward to seeing them again.
Cliff says his timetable did not run to time but some interesting points were learnt from it.
No controller has yet to be nominated, so will it be the Default controller????? Next time we are holding the friends and families day so see if you have any friends!!!
27th July 2019
Did you spot the errors from last edition? I have amended the text as Peter BROUGHT his daughter and did not purchase her (no internet in those days) and Scott was pictured driving L94 and NOT Scott Line as mentioned, thank you to the proof readers or those that can read, text has been altered. What started out to be a slow news day, actually became relaxing and enjoyable with everyone doing something different to the norm due to the wet start. Fourteen friends:- Alan A, June, plus Tim, Heather, Bob, Robin, David D, Alan S, David G, Peter, Adrian, Richard, Cliff, Paul and friend Dave. E mails received from Rob, Dave MB and Jamie to say they have fled the country in pursuit of better things!!! Thanks to June and Alan for the tea's, cakes and BBQ to end the day. Tom emailed to inform us it was raining and looking out of the window he was right. Mick was controller for today.
Adrian is without a vehicle and so emailed asking for transport. Cliff kindly offered to pick him up and return after the running, this nearly worked, Adrian was picked up and later in the evening whilst having tea with his good lady, Cliff remembered that he was supposed to give Adrian a lift back as he had departed on his own. All worked out well as Adrian stayed for the BBQ and someone else provided him with a lift home. So to start the day, the site was cleared and the water pipe trench was completed, pipe laid and trench filled in. Then Cliff arrived so we stopped for lunch.
Three locomotives made it out onto the railway today and were:- Scott Line, Royal Scot 6109 and Brunel. Bob enjoyed himself driving Scot line and did several trips around the railway, I don't think I have ever seen Bob drive so much, maybe he can be converted!!! Another major milestone was the steaming of Brunel after possibly three or four years of no running. Brunel was steamed by Cliff and driven by Cliff and Alan A. Naturally a few teething problems but as can be seen in the picture below, Alan A cleaned the wheels to assist with rail adhesion. The loco then did several trips around the railway, towing one coach. Paul has recently purchased a new ride on wagon to be used as a driving truck. Paul tested the wagon for clearance through Baytree and Dingly and I believe there are no clearance issues, however the signallers were surprised when their track circuits lit up and knowing that there was not a train due.
With a very wet start to the day, there was no shortage of volunteer signallers, although the weather improved so they could come out of the signal box. The pictures above show the start of the running when only Scott line was running and therefore the signallers had a lot of down time. Mick had time to read a magazine whilst David D read the rulebook.
The signal boxes were manned as follows:-Spinney - Peter / Richard / Robin then Adrian after tea, Dingly - Bob / Adrian then Peter after tea, Baytree - Mick then Robin after tea and Old Oak David D.
Picture above shows three signallers at Spinney signal box, and were briefly joined by Heather and myself. During this time there was a category 'D' SPaD. Richard noticed a track circuit light up and all the signals that were cleared in the opposite direction, correctly returned to danger - a good signalling test. Problem traced to Scott line, whose parking brake failed and the train rolled towards the Spinney headshunt with no one on board passing S8 signal at danger. Adrian refreshed himself in Dingly and soon noticed that his crib sheet is out of date due to all the changes that have been made recently and also noticed that it was possible to set up a conflicting move so this will need to be added to the project list.
This picture has been added as June said this was very rare event - Alan cleaning. We obviously can't believe that.
Next time, we have visitors from LUL and David G is not allowed out due to birthdays so will not be able to show them around.
6th July 2019
A summer's day, good running and guests. As usual many e mails, starting from the controller, Jamie, to enquire who was attending. Jamie need not have worried as everything ran smoothly. Sixteen friends:- Alan A, June, Andrew and Hayden plus Tim, Heather, Scott, Bob, Robin, David D, Alan S, David G, Peter, Laura, Richard, Cliff, Dave MB, Jamie, Paul and friend Dave. E mails received from Adrian and Tom to say they had better things to do. Over the past few news items I have tried to capture every one and this time there was so much to record that it has led to a greater number of pictures than usual. I unfortunately did not capture the guests driving and nor did anyone else.
The day started as per usual with a site tidy up. I had an appointment and emailed to say I would not be there until 12.00 BC (Before Cliff) however I managed to get there earlier so Cliff had no chance. David G made a brief appearance with his better half, Eileen, and at first we did not recognise him as he was wearing clean clothes, however it was pointed out to us that there was a mark on the back of his shirt, then we knew it was David G. It was good to see Eileen at the railway, a rare visit. June invited some guests from work and they were all surprised by the scale of the railway and enjoyed themselves riding on the railway and driving steam and electric locomotives. The day ended with another fine BBQ where I counted at least sixteen people including the guests, a good turnout. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes.
Seven locomotives made it out onto the railway today and were:- L94, Scott Line, Karen, King Jack, LMS 7163, Kate, whilst Spinney electric number 1, and 1470 only made it as far as the Loco yard exit road. LMS 7163 made rare outing, found it hard work, made a squeak and returned back to depot very quickly. To correct my humour, Jamie cleaned both clacks and lubricator pipe, and re-fitted that afternoon. It squeaked once as it first moved. However, oil was flowing very well and no steam/water made its way into the oil. It ran very well, used some oil as expected. Brunel was also spotted outside the shed receiving a clean and oiling. Paul said his 1407 locomotive required repairs and was also getting used to the locomotives characteristics. The seven locomotives on the track all had a good run.
Richard did the usual signalling tests prior to running. Old Oak number 7B points were failing to operate correctly and this was due to expansion of the rail in the glorious sun. Robin was able to file away the offending rail flange and allow the point to function. Baytree number 4 points was expected to give rise for concern but actually operated flawlessly. The signal boxes were manned as follows:-Spinney - Cliff / Richard, Dingly - Bob / Laura / David D, Baytree - Robin / Bob and Old Oak David D / Peter, changing over after tea. Robin left at teatime which meant a reshuffle of signallers. It was unusual to see Bob and David D out of their usual homes. Cliff learnt how to be a signalman by showing us many red signals. The following text is from Cliff:-
Robin obligingly swapped boxes with me at my request so I could have a go at Spinney on a quiet day. It was my intention to do this for an hour or so at the most, but events kind of took over. I suspect that few trains did the full trip, and some locos had long layovers, but I was overwhelmed at times and appreciated the silent "interference" of Richard who appeared at key moments when he would spot what I had not done and did a few branch transactions literally behind my back while I worked on making mistakes at the panel. I am now practised at making mistakes. Forgetting I had accepted a train, forgetting to send TOS (Train Out of Section) to Baytree, forgetting to clear SY6 while I had "Line Clear" from Baytree so that the train sits there instead of passing (Sorry Tim), putting signals back before the train had passed them, requesting impossible tasks from the interlocking, sending the wrong train description when offering the train, being late with the token, not holding the token instrument while the Old Oak signaller extracts the token at Old Oak, etc. etc. As for answering SPT's which needs an apprenticeship level skill on its own - no chance!
It was nice to see friends taking on different roles and learning new tasks, which invariable means mistakes / errors are sometimes made (not too serious ones) until proficient, learning by repetition. It also means we have more cross cover when there is a shortage of friends able to operate the railway. However I nearly stopped at Spinney signal box when I received a green signal when leaving the tunnel, I did not know the green bulb was working!!!
As mentioned, June invited work colleagues for an afternoon at the railway and the pictures capture some of them taking an interest in the signalling with Robin explaining how it all works. Mick and Andrew ran passenger trains then along with Scott Line, King Jack and Kate were used for driver experience, allowing the visitors to drive around the railway. It is a shame I did not manage to get any photos of them driving.
It was good to see many of the guests stay for the BBQ and a chat.
Son and Daughter
Peter brought along his daughter, Laura who took charge of Dingly Dell signal box under the instruction from Bob, it wasn't long before Laura got the hang of it. At one point it sounded like signalling by numbers, I.E. Bob called out the number whilst Laura operated the associated lever. Laura was also seen driving Kate. Our son, Scott returned after many years absence (University) and can be seen driving L94 but said he prefers driving Scott Line which as he said it was easier and less to do. Hope they both make return visits, however our son took a lot of persuading but joined in when he got there.
No controller has yet been appointed, so if you wish to volunteer, please let us know. Hopefully another good running day.
22nd June 2019
A really good summer's day, good weather, good running and a very enjoyable relaxing day. Usual start to the day involved clearing debris from the line, lunch then running trains with Adrian at the helm as the controller for the day. Twelve friends:- Alan A, June plus Tim, Heather, Bob, Robin, Alan S, David G, Peter, Adrian, Richard, Rob, Cliff, Jamie and Henry. E mails received from Dave MB who is not well, David D, Mick (on another holiday) and Paul stating their absence.
Adrian was controller and initially had doubts as to whether we would have enough signallers and locomotives to run the railway and therefore started early by e mailing everyone to rally up support. He need not have worried as there were enough signallers and locomotives to run trains for Cliffs' guests. Adrian did such a good job we managed to run trains at 13.45, not done for a long while. As he did so well I suggested he take the mantra of being the default controller which Robin did not object to but Adrian for some reason declined!!! Alan S reattached the Old Oak water crane slab to the base, which had come loose and also the edging coping stones which are next to the loading ramp, after Heather took a tumble.
As can be seen in the adjoining pictures, we ran six locomotives:-L94, Scott Line, Jesse, Karen and Eileen Grant and I have managed to get a picture of each, whilst Spinney electric number 1 did a circuit. Cliff had guests who can beat Bob for distance to travel home coming from Ontario, Canada. They had been reading the Spinney web site so had a good idea what to expect and with the good sunshine and atmosphere they thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Guests were observed riding trains and taking an interest in the signal boxes.
We ran a mixture of freight, passenger trains and light locomotives to add variety to the railway operations.
The signal boxes were manned as follows:-Spinney - Robin / Adrian, Dingly - Bob, Baytree - Rob / Robin and Old Oak Jamie and Peter, changing over after tea. On one occasion, Spinney signals 17 and 18 (signals can be viewed on the track maps), converging junction before the level crossing when travelling towards Spinney, both showed a proceed indication. Adrian investigated and found on number 18 signal, the rod from the solenoid to the signal arm had become detached and thus the lower quadrant signal arm dropped giving a false indication. Adrian said that this was one of the draw backs of lower quadrant signals and one contributing reason to get rid of them even though some do still exist on the main line railway (GWR - enough said). Baytree point number 4 gave reason for concern as it failed to operate on a number of occasions. This will need further investigation and I believe the motor securing bolts are working loose, I will have a look next time. Bob has glued the new stop boards on the locomotive shed roads and were covered by wood and clamps, however, they will be in operation next time. Richard also checked all the signals prior to running.
End of the day
To end the relaxing and enjoyable day, June set up the first BBQ of the year with eleven of us around the table. As usual plenty of chat and banter. Thanks to June for the tea, cakes and BBQ.
Jamie has been volunteered to be controller next time and hopefully (weather permitting) we have another enjoyable day running trains.
1st June 2019
Glorious weather, some work and some running of trains, first this year and a new locomotive arrives. Fifteen friends:- Alan A, June plus Tim, Heather, Bob, Robin, Nick, Alan S, Mick, David G, Peter, Adrian, Richard, Rob, Cliff, Paul and friend Dave. Robin was the default controller. Dave MB, David D unable to attend as other events clashed. A good day.
I arrived after Cliff so will take the flack for calling lunch. Morning work included an earth spike installed at the carriage shed and this means that the carriage shed and Old Oak signal box are now correctly earthed. Work completed by Peter. Alan S cut and cemented the water crane base at Old Oak and we all predicted that one individual would stand on it during the afternoon. Glad to say there were no reports of this and the cement was allowed to set. Clearance test using the Spinney wagons also proved successful. Mick lead a team to check the vacuum brakes on the Cromer coaches and the coaches can be seen upturned on Baytree platform receiving attention. One coach has a vacuum problem and this will need more time to fully investigate. We had visitors today, some have been before and they had plenty of trains to observe and managed a ride around the railway.
Five locomotives on track today and were Scott Line, Scot 6109. Jesse, Charlie 33029 and Kate. Nick pulled a freight train and performed shunt moves at Old Oak, Dingly and Baytree, which added interest to the railway operations. With Scott Line I helped the shunt move at Baytree which involved shunting two wagons from the up line to the down line platform and sit and wait for Nick to finish his manoeuvres. During this time Cliff accidentally passed number 7 signal and we sat there looking at each other, not ideal. Another rarity was Robin at the controls of a locomotive and as evidence I took the picture of him shunting wagons at Old Oak. Not sure what Robin is pointing to or whether he is indicating where he wants to go. Paul bought along his new 14xx locomotive and 1470 can be seen being propelled by Scott Line to Dingly then to the Yard where it was boiler tested.
Mixture of passenger and freight trains made it an interesting day and in addition David G could be heard anywhere on the railway, giving instructions to a learner who drove the royal Scot 6109. Picture shows the trainee passing Mick in what should have been a photo stop.
The signal boxes were manned as follows:-Spinney - Richard and Robin, Dingly - Bob, Baytree - Adrian and Old Oak Rob and Peter who were finding their feet with the procedures and getting the token out of the machine. Bob now has a stop board sign but could not find his black paint for the post, so this will not be installed until next time. No issues were reported other than mentioned above.
The trench for the water feed to the water crane needs completing and I am now unable to lift or dig (hopefully short term) so help required for that please. The faulty Cromer coach braking system needs some more investigation then run trains. Adrian has been volunteered to be controller next time.
11th May 2019
Temperamental weather, 14 friends and regarding running trains, the bucket of enthusiasm was left at home - in other words a slow news day, however a lot of progress made around the site. Those that attended were, Tim, Heather, Robin, Alan S, Mick, Bob, Richard, Adrian, Rob, Jamie, Henry, Dave MB, David D and Andrew. David G reported sick (probably caught Bob's cold), Peter not available and Cliff stated he would not attend so we had to remember to have lunch without our usual reminder.
Jamie, Henry and Dave MB continued their usual task of clearing the site of debris whilst David D collected a bucket full of pine cones, they are everywhere or were. I have dug a trench round the carriage shed which will be for the water pipe that will connect the new water container to the Old Oak platform water crane. The trench was difficult to dig as there was plenty of rubble buried and some wire. The trench requires approximately another 8 feet to be dug to complete - nows the time to think if anything else needs to be buried around the carriage shed and any volunteers!. Heather cleaned Spinney signal box and gave the coaches a wipe over so as to be presentable next time when we have quests. Picture above shows Robin sitting down on the job - the signal post ground fixing had become detached from the wall so Robin made a temporary repair. Thanks to June for the teas and cakes.
The pictures above show the progress on the carriage shed project today where Alan S and Mick mixed cement and fixed the coping stones to the roof edge. Andrew did some wiring inside the carriage shed and this is for the pump which will push the water up from the new water container at Old Oak, to the water crane which will soon be erected at the turntable end of Old Oak platform.
With a severe lack of train movements, Richard, Adrian and Rob after testing the signals from all the signal boxes, decided it would be a good time to investigate why Spinney 9B points failed last year. Fortunately they failed in the reverse direction so we were able to run trains over them. It turned out to be a mechanical problem and not electrical and after tweaking and adjusting the point is now fully working. It was good to see Bob back again after his illness and he continued to work in Dingly signal box where he was investigating a track circuit problem, again, fortunately no trains so he could work uninterrupted. We hope the track circuit problem has been fixed or will not affect the running of trains for next time.Scott Line locomotive was the only locomotive to venture out and was used to shunt the rolling stock in and out of the tunnels plus a trip round the main line with Henry and Haden taking it in turns to drive and even that was not much. No steam locomotives were steamed due to rain at lunchtime and a shower in the afternoon. The picture shows Dave MB trying out his new driving truck.
We have visitors so we need to run some trains and it will be half way through the year.