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The Springfield Agricultural Railway
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Operation

The map shows the current extent of the railway, and the next stage of track laying. On the left hand side there is thew converted stable block in use as the loco shed, with a siding alongside. Going through a 5 bar gate into the next field, it runs through the loading area alongside the current stables. There is one further siding into the stock shed at present. Further along, a sharp 90 degree turn takes the line alonside a new fence constructed to divide up the field into paddocks. Finally through a field gate it terminates after a few meters in the next field.

Date: August 2008

Date: August 2008

Date: August 2008

Looking away from the loco shed the rails are barely visible as they curve round the corner and out of the garden.

Through the gate a gradient was profiled to reach the stables and after reseeding, this has grassed over well.

Fencing will eventually be put around the stable block to contain the horses.

Date: August 2008

Date: August 2008

Date: August 2008

The track leading past the stock shelter is also on a slight gradient before it reaches a tight 90 degree bend by the fence.

Where the tracks pass infront of any field gates, crossing timbers have been put in between the rails mainly to prevent the ground getting chewed up and muddy in the winter.

The long straight track to the end of the field typically has a skip left, so wheelbarrows can be emptied from the 'poo picking' in the fields.


 
The first trains  

As the line had been built in two separate sections, by the time they had been joined up, the movement of rail and sleepers required the use of the railway to transport the heavier items to the end of the line. So from March to May 2008 the battery loco was in use typically most evenings and each weekend moving supplies.

 

Date: March 2008

Date: March 2008

Date: March 2008

On the 19th March the two separate stretches of completed track were joined up, and after a first tentative test with just the battery loco along the line, and initial small train was loaded up to take to the end of line.

The tracks had not been bedded in properly by the stables yet, but a stop was made to collect hay to distribute to the horses in the paddocks. Immediately after this the train derailed on a poor rail joint. The loaded skip was jacked back on without too much of a problem.

The end of the railway at this stage, and where the sleepers and fencing were unloaded.

Date: May 2008

Date: May 2008

Date: May 2008

In a little of what sunshine we had this year, a couple of the Hudson flats were loaded up with a few sleepers as tracklaying progressed.

Just past the stock shelter a couple of rails were then taken from the rapidly diminishing stockpile to continue the journey.

It was good to see at this stage that the railway here had quickly blended into the surroundings with the undergrowth quickly restablishing itself around the trackwork.


 
 
Current Operation  

Since the end of May 2008, the railway has been in regular use assisting with the cleaning out of the stable bedding, and also allowing wheelbarrows of horse manue to be dumped into a skip left out on the line to simplify the process of 'poo picking' (an activity enjoyed(!) by all horse owners, to keep the fields clear of horse manure).
Regular use typically means one or two trips midweek, and one or two trips on Saturday and Sunday, all depending on the weather of course.
Other uses of the railway at the moment are the movement of weedkiller spray to the far fields, the movement of horse jumps from one field to another, and transport of cut timber, and also other hedge cuttings for burning. A large water tank has also been obtained for attachment to a skip chassis and water troughs will be filled from this eventually.

 

Date: July 2008

Date: July 2008

Date: July 2008

One of the skips are left by the stables when the they need cleaning out. However, in the summer the horses ar normally left out all the time.

Then all the waste is transferred from the wheelbarrows to be taken to the end of the line by one of the locos.

The job would be easier if smaller 'v' skips were available but hopefully more will be obtained over time.

Date: July 2008

Date: July 2008

Date: July 2008

The MoŽs loco now in working order sees regular use as well as the battery loco.

With one partial load from the stable, a second wagon is also pushed out to the fields to receive further waste.

It does not need much vegetation on the rails for the loco to start slipping a little on the gradients. The sandboxes on the loco are not in use yet, so it's fortunate that the trains do not get any longer than this!

Date: July 2008

Date: July 2008

Date: July 2008

Stopping at the first field gate to load a couple of more wheebarrows of waste.

A long plank as a loading ramp would make lighter work of this when more lower profile skips are obtained.

This is the present end of the line about to tip the skips.

Date: July 2008

Date: July 2008

Date: July 2008

On another occasion this time with the battery loco, the manure has just been tipped into the trench.

After the skip had been sandblasted and repainted the inside was given a coat of the rubberised roofing paint which protects it from the corrosive nature of the manure.

After tidying up, the skip is attached to the short train and pulled back to the middle of the line to await the next load.


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© Steve Thomason 2008
Upgraded site relaunched 1st January 2004

Introduction | Construction | Operation | Locos | Updates | Contact
Industrial Narrow Gauge Railways