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The Springfield Agricultural Railway
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2009 Updates and News

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January 2010  

A harsh winter so far has meant that very little maintenance of the line has been carried out as planned. Most work has focused on the overhaul/restoration of No.10 and it is hoped that the loco will be completed in the next 3 months.

 

Date: December 2009

Date: December 2009

Date: December 2009

Prolonged snow over December and January gave an opportunity for some seasonal photographs of the railway, although no serious work was attempted.

On the same day the W&R loco was photographed moving back into the shed.

About a week before the snow came, the W&R is pictured coming back from tipping what is a long train by Springfied standards.

 

Date: December 2009

Date: December 2009

Date: January 2010

Once the wheels were returned for No.10, the brake rods required turning down by a couple of inches on each side. Once these were ready, the wheels, brake gear, and drive chains, were all reassembled while the loco was still jacked up.

The engine cover from No.10 was pressed back into shape, and various dents knocked out. A rectangle has been sawn out of the front to add a perforated steel grille, and the whole structure required a lot of attention from the angle grinder and wire wheel to prepare for painting.

The current result after 2 coats of primer, 2 layers of undercoat, and the first topcoat, is very slowly taking shape.

 

Date: December 2009

Date: December 2009

Date: December 2009

At the start of December the usual muck run was carried out by No.12 seen here coupling up to the last wagon that had been left out for field clearance. Twist is looking on, and takes all this in his stride now.

The 2 newly constructed timber open wagons have been very well used and allows the heaver U profile mine tub to be used only as a last resourt.

No.12 was pictured leaving the muck pile at the end of the line.


 
October 2009: Summer continues  

The continuing dry weather, a contrast to last year, is allowing much more work outside, although a lot of work is now focussed on getting MoŽs No.10 restoration completed.

 

Date: October 2009

Date: September 2009

Date: September 2009

MoŽs No.10: Cleaning the layers of grime and Wire brushing the frame, followed by degreasing, has allowed the first coat of primer to be started. Gearbox oil has been cleaned out, new gaskets made, and many smaller fittings either sandblasted or wire brushed with the small angle grinder.Axleboxes, springs, and horn guides all painted and ready for reassembly when the brake hangers have been rewelded to adjust the gauge.

As usual in the summer months, most of the wagons are filled out in the fields, and a plank up to the wagon helps this process.

About 3 skips are filled this way each week, and so one of the locos are used once or twice per week to then push the wagons to the manure pile for unloading.

 

Date: September 2009

Date: September 2009

Date: September 2009

On another occasion, a load of a couple of wagons has been pushed to the manure heap and some manual forking out helps before tipping the wagons.

A 4ft jack is always carried on top the loco in case of derailments, but fortunately derailments are quite rare.

Although the ex-Force Crag tipping mine tub is a far heaver wagon than the Hudson skip, it has a very easy tipping action with the foot operated catch seen between the wheels in the picture.


 
August 2009: Many smaller jobs going on  

No further major tracklaying has been carried out, but stocks of rail and sleepers have been built up so that work can begin once further pointwork is obtained.

 

Date: June 2009

Date: August 2009

Date: August 2009

A village 'Open Gardens' event gave the excuse for a big tidy up, and information signs were placed everywhere ready for the visitors and fortunately the weather stayed dry for the event.

The second side tipping wagon was completed in July, and both the new wagons are seem here behind MoŽs No.12.

On the way past the stables to collect a couple more wagons for emptying

 

Date: August 2009

Date: August 2009

Date: August 2009

A layer of earth had to be dug out from the stables to the first paddock so hardcore could be laid to provide a better path from the stables. Over wintertime this had a tendancy to become very muddy. The wagons were used to dispose of the waste.

A view of the field shelter for some of the stock with the W&R loco coming back to the loco shed.

A service is carried out on the W&R loco yearly. Bearing in mind the small amount of use the loco gets here compared with the intensive mines work previously, more frequent attention is probably not required. The battery is hoisted from the loco, to allow access to the wormboxes for topping up oil. All grease points are attended to, and all joints oiled. The cells in the battery box also need topping up which is done 3-4 times per year.


 
Spring 2009: Work in Progress  

Work has continued on many fronts this spring, even with the poor weather until recently. This includes work on the track, on the locos, and the rolling stock.

 

Date: December 2008

Date: February 2009

Date: April 2009

Further skips for use on the railway have been difficult to get hold of. Therefore a couple of skip chassis were purchased via Andrew Neale, with the intention of building a timber side-opening body.

After cleaning up, a wooden runner was bolted to the length of the frame, and then a slatted platform, was built on both the frames.

The first wagon was completed and in use by April. The strapping and steel angle used was quite lightwieght as these wagons typically will be use for the transport of manure.


 

Date: April 2009

Date: April 2009

Date: May 2009

The size of the manure pit had grown considerably over the winter with the horses overnighting in the stables. This increases the volume of waste, especially with the use of staw for bedding rather than wood chippings. The rails had only just reached the pit used for disposal, so further tracklaying was required, first along the edge of the pit.

Once the sleepers had been dug and levelled as usual, the next set of rails were spiked down. Fortunately as per much of the ground, the footing was quite firm with a hard clay soil, giving support to the sleepers and hopefully preventling any sinking of track.

The next couple of panels of rails required an 'S' bend to bring the alignment back to the edge of field, so some hard work was needed with the jimcrow rail bender. By early May this had been completed. A further panel will be laid to allow storage of stock at the end of line when needed just past the tipping point, but that will be as far at operationally needed at present.

Date: March 2009

Date: March 2009

Date: April 2009

The wheels were finally removed from No.10 by loosening the horn guides, and disconnecting the drive chains, and losening off the brakegear. The loco was jacked right up to allow the wheels to be rolled out from under the loco.

After cleaning up, and with the certainty that a significant wheel press would be required to bring in each of the wheels 3 inches on the axle, these wheel sets have been sent of to Alan Keef Ltd for regauging to 2ft. An amount of work is also required on the brake gear to align with the new gauge once the wheels are returned.

Fortunately No.12 the other MoŽs loco has continued to perfrom well thoughout the winter and spring. It is seen here outside the stables with the newly constructed side tipping wagon.


 
February 2009: Winter Conditions at Springfield  

It was always accepted that there would be short periods where bad weather would prevent operation of the railway. Continual rain over winter causes some parts of the fields to get water logged, and when particularly bad it is left to dry out a little. Not only did we have appauling rain for months on end, but in February we had the worst snow experienced for many years. This lay around for over a week, and the subsequent thaw also then caused further problems with excess water again.

 

Date: February 2009

Date: February 2009

Date: February 2009

Two of the skips had been marooned by the stables for several weeks, and the waste from the stables was piled up on the hardstanding, and eventually removed with the help of a local farmer.

Although the flat wagon with the water tank had been last used only a week before, water had been left in it and it would be days before the water finally thawed out.

A view along the field. The tracks follow the line of the fence to the tree line at the end, but with upto 5 inches of snow at one point, no trains were even attempted.


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