Monday 20th May 2024

5643's radial wheelset ready to go back under the frames.GWR 0-6-2T 5643’s radial wheelset, which returned from the East Lancashire Railway last Monday after its tyres had been re-profiled on the wheel lathe, was duly positioned behind 5643’s frames last Wednesday, ready for it to be returned to its rightful position.

John Davis grinding off more stay heads on 5643's fireboxJohn Davis has been busy grinding off more stay heads on 5643’s firebox, this time on the backhead.

Keith services 5643's manifoldKeith has been fettling up 5643’s manifold ready for re-fitting when required.

John Dixon cleaning 5643's bunker of rust and old paintMeanwhile, John Dixon has started work on cleaning up 5643’s bunker. We hope that the recent warm dry weather will continue to enable him to complete the work without too much down time.

The west end of RSR's BSK 35128 after repairOver in the Ribble Steam Railway running shed, several FRT members have been assisting the FRT’s Mike Rigg, who has for some time been in charge of the Mark 1 coach fleet. BSK 35128 has been undergoing intrusive investigation to its end crash pillars, which has meant removing corridor end platework. As can be seen, Tim has been using his creative skills with body filler to hide the joins in the new platework.

No blog next week, so we will see you again after the holidays.

Monday 13th May 2024

There was good representation from the Furness Railway Trust at former Treasurer David Rimmer’s funeral at Allerton a week last Wednesday. The family was very grateful for the opportunity to meet Davd’s friends afterwards at a local inn and to learn a little more of David’s many activities with the FRT.

Ed chips away at old rust and paint on one of one of 5643's tank filler apperturesThere has been more progress at Preston with the overhaul of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643, with a variety of jobs being tackled. Painting and cleaning of the inside motion is just about complete and Ed can be seen here cleaning rust and paint from one of the water tank filler apertures.

5643's radial wheelset finished and ready to go back to PrestonRe-profiling of 5643’s radial wheelset on the East Lancashire Railway wheel lathe at Bury has been completed with the wheelset arriving back at Preston today.

The ELR poster for FR 20's visit in OctoberTalking of the ELR, the railway has just announced that Furness Railway No. 20 will be visiting for their Autumn Steam Gala on the 11th to 13th October. FR 20 is also scheduled to be travelling elsewhere this summer, but details are still to be announced by the host railway. Last Wednesday saw FR 20 out of the running shed at Preston for its ashpan to be re-installed and a warming fire to be lit after its cold examination by the boiler surveyor. It was then successfully steamed for the boiler surveyor on Friday so is now back in ticket.

On a totally unrelated subject, last Saturday saw the launch of Live Steam guitarist Pete Skellon’s book “Bahamas” at the Kents Bank Station Library. This is Pete’s fourth book (the others all having sold out) and has taken him nine years to write, telling the tale of how Jubilee class 4-6-0 No. 45596 Bahamas was saved from the scrapyard, as well as describing its working life with the  LMS/BR and then its time in preservation, including its stints on the main line. Our folk group, Live Steam, first met up with Pete when they were invited to play in a marquee at Dinting in 1988 on the occasion of the first steaming of Bahamas after overhaul and also marking the 21st Anniversary of the Bahamas Locomotive Society. It was a memorable evening and we have been glad to be able to re-acquaint ourselves with the BLS volunteers on a number of occasions since then, including at Blaenavon last year. Back to the book, it is, as you would expect from Pete (he was a technical writer at the Barrow Shipyard), a high quality product which not only relates the history of the locomotive, but tells the story of the people who have preserved and looked after this splendid machine. Priced at £35, it can be obtained through the BLS web site for £39 including postage. However, Tim will be able to obtain copies direct from Pete (saving the postage) for delivery to Preston and, if there is enough interest, a batch will be purchased on trade terms. Please contact Tim in the first instance.

Monday 29th April 2024

Ade with 5643's radial wheelsetThe radial wheelset of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643 was
despatched to the East Lancashire Railway last Wednesday where the tyres
will be reprofiled on their lathe. Ade retrieved the wheels out of the Furness
Railway Trust’s shed at Preston through some neat manoeuvring with the fork
lift truck.

Neatly loaded on to the wagon next to Stewart Waugh's wheelsetsThe wheelset was then hoisted aboard the lorry which was handily equipped
with a hi-ab lift. The lorry also returned two springs to the ELR and picked up
two wheelsets belonging to FRT member Stewart Waugh which were also
going for re-profiling of the tyres.

Sam fits the new battery to GER No. 5Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 is due back in service on the RSR
this next Sunday for the serving of cream teas. It has previously been using a
battery borrowed from one of the Ribble Steam Railway’s carriage fleet but a
brand new battery has now been purchased for the vehicle which Sam fitted
last Wednesday.

Keith drilling holes in the new plate for Wootton Hall's tender tankSome further progress has been made by welding contractor Ian Massey on
replacing steelwork in the tender tank of Great Western Railway 4-6-0 No.
4979 Wootton Hall. Keith is seen here drilling a new piece of steel to be
welded in the floor of the coal space.

The coal space in Wootton Hall's tender tank with new steelwork ready to be welded inThe above photo illustrates that there are still some more areas to be tackled
on each side of the coal space.

Monday 22nd April 2024

Dave in action at Appleby on the 23rd March 2010We start this week’s blog with the very sad news that David Rimmer, former Membership Secretary and then (extremely) long time Treasurer of both the Lakeside Railway Society and the Furness Railway Trust, passed away at the age of 80 last Thursday, 18th April, after being diagnosed with cancer. David was a guard, booking office clerk and locomotive cleaner at Haverthwaite during the earlier days and became a stalwart of the Carriage and Wagon gang. He was also involved in the restorations of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643 and Furness Railway No. 20 as well as being a keen supporter of the Wootton Hall project. David’s presence at Preston was reduced in more recent times as he took on caring for his brother John who had suffered a stroke. However, although retiring from being Treasurer and a Trustee at the end of March 2022, he continued to look after the Gift Aid claims for the Trust. His loss will, we are sure, be keenly felt by all those who have worked with David over the best part of 50 years.

David’s funeral will be held at 2. 45 pm on Wednesday, 1st May at Springwood Crematorium, Springwood Avenue, Allerton L25 7UN. His family hopes that as many as possible of David’s friends will be able to attend. Our sincere condolences go to brother John, sister Judith, brother in law Mike and the rest of David’s family.

Sam in charge of the hose during FR 20's boiler washoutLast Wednesday saw FR 20 being given a boiler washout in preparation for its forthcoming cold inspection by the boiler surveyor on the 3rd May. Sam was in charge with the hose.

John and Jon in action with the hose and water pumpJohn Dixon fed the hose to Sam whilst Jon Dixon operated the fire pump which he had coaxed into action after giving it a full service.

Keith clearing stay debris from 5643's fireboxRon Crowe has been drilling out more studs on the firebox backhead of 5643 whilst Keith has been removing more stays, seen here clearing stay debris from the foundation ring of the firebox.

Jon Dixon painting 5643's buffer beam u/c redOnce he had finished his work with the fire pump, Jon Dixon took on painting 5643’s buffer beam with undercoat red.

Monday 15th April 2024

John Dixon fixes lifting chains below 5643's chimneyLast Wednesday saw Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643’s boiler being dragged out of the FRT shed during a gap in the rain showers in order to remove the chimney, manifold and safety valves. John Dixon went inside the smokebox to fix the chains below the chimney.

The chimney comes offKeith went on top to guide Paul Wood, Ribble’s RRV operator, using the microphone and earphones clamped to his head to communicate.

The manifold and safety valves followed without problems, but an attempt to remove the smokebox door failed when the locating pin in the hinges refused to move despite strenuous efforts by John with the lump hammer and a degree of nervousness from Tim who was holding the drift in place with his fingers! Another attempt will be made at a later date using a fork lift truck.

The new cylinder liners for 5643The two new cylinder liners for 5643 arrived at Preston on Wednesday and now await fitting.

Alan Middleton inspects Caliban's valve events on Wednesday, 10th April 2024Peckett 0-4-0ST Caliban was also moved a small distance last Wednesday in order for Alan to check its valve moments before the cylinder covers are re-fitted.

Finally, Sam and John have been working to prepare Furness Railway locomotive No. 20 for its annual boiler examination whilst Jon Dixon has been servicing the fire pump in anticipation of washing out the boiler.

Monday 8th April 2024

We start this week’s blog with the sad news that long time member and former Press and Publicity Officer of the Lakeside Railway Society (forerunner of the FRT) Michael Cooke has passed away recently at the age of 85. Despite suffering from ill health, Michael had kept in touch in recent years, sponsoring the purchase of some storage shelves and supplying the mess room with tea bags for the benefit of volunteers. The funeral will be private and we send our condolences to Michael’s family.

Sim Dixon cleans 5643's eccentrics in preparation for re-paintingThe overhaul of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643 is making steady progress with Sim Dixon alongside brother Jon (out of picture) cleaning the eccentrics prior to re-painting them.

Keith using gas to cut out old stays from 5643's fireboxKeith has been in the firebox using gas to cut out old stays.

Tim has applied yet another layer of undercoat green paint to the left hand tender tank side of GWR No. 4979 Wootton Hall whilst Sam Middleton and John Dixon dropped the water from Furness Railway No. 20’s boiler and cleaned the firebox, smokebox and ashpan in preparation for the boiler’s forthcoming 14 month examination by the boiler surveyor.

Monday 1st April 2024

It’s no joke! It’s the 1st April and we are already a quarter of the way through 2024!

Fred's collection of booksFirst of all, we would like to thank the family of the late Fred Jones who have generously donated Fred’s considerable collection of books to the FRT. The books have now been sorted into size and stored on the recently acquired shelves in the mess room whilst we take stock of what we have. A wonderful gift.

Ed working on 5643's cab roofThe overhaul of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643 continues with Ed taking the opportunity of some fine weather (is that really blue sky?) to work on 5643’s cab which is outside the workshop.

John Dixon busy with 5643's motionJohn Dixon unexpectedly finds himself the subject of yet another photo whilst attending to 5643’s motion.

Keith removes another stayMeanwhile Keith has been applying some heat to remove one of the firebox stays.

Sam preparing joints for Caliban's valve covers. That is quite some protrusion from his neck!Sam has been preparing new joints for Peckett 0-4-0ST Caliban’s valve covers.

Tim applying a second coat of undercoat to the left hand of Wootton Hall's tender tank.Tim has been applying a second coat of green undercoat to the left-hand side of Great Western Railway 4-6-0 No. 4979 Wootton Hall’s tender tank having, after the first coat, decided that the tank side needed considerably more work to repair indentations.

Second coat of undercoat green drying in the shedThe result looks far more acceptable.

Monday 25th March 2024

A short catch up this week. That is not to say that work is not continuing apace as usual.

Keith has been drilling out more stays in the firebox of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643 whilst John, Jon and Simeon Dixon have been working on cleaning and painting 5643’s frames.

The Ribble Steam Railway’s Spring Steam Gala took place on Saturday and Sunday which meant that some resources were deployed to clean Furness Railway No. 20 and prepare it for action. Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 was also in traffic over the weekend so it was given a good vacuuming, a polish of the internal woodwork and the battery charged up.

FR 20 and the cab and frames of FR 25 in the background during the RSR's Spring Steam GalaSaturday turned out to be a very cold and windy day that reminded Tim and his crew on FR 20 why locomotive cabs were invented! The weather took a turn for the better on Sunday, and all went to plan. FR 20 is pictured here during a lunch break with the cab and frames of the former FR 25 in the background.

Anne Burton with the FRT's sales stand on Saturday during the RSR's spring Steam Gala.Anne and Phil Burton staffed a FRT sales stand over the week and took some useful money for the Trust.

Monday 18th March 2024

Keith Brewer attends to 5643's right hand big endIt has been another week of steady progress on the overhaul of Great Western
Railway 0-6-2T locomotive No. 5643 at Preston. Keith was busy on
Wednesday making adjustments to the right hand big end, where unwanted
movement of the bearings had been detected during inspection.

John Dixon cleaning those parts of 5643 that others don't reachJohn Dixon has continued his quest to clean up and paint those areas of the
frames not usually visible to the public.

71 stay holes visible on the side of 5643's fireboxKeith has now started to drill out stays on the left hand side of the firebox; his
work on the right hand side so far can be seen here with 71 stay holes visible.

Anne and Phil Burton re-covering seats for GER 5 with horse chestnut leaf moquetteMore horse chestnut leaf patterned moquette for Great Eastern Railway royal
saloon No. 5 has arrived this week to enable Anne and Phil Burton to re-cover
all the wooden chair seats. These will match the chaise longue.

Elsewhere on the purchasing front, new cylinder liners for 5643 have been
sourced and ordered. They should be with us in late April if all goes to plan.

Photos of Fred Jones' lifeIt has been a sad day for the FRT as a good number of members gathered at a very full Crosscrake Church near Kendal for the funeral of long-standing volunteer Fred Jones. His family arranged a display of photos charting his life at the wake, including one of Fred with his favourite wire cup brushes.

Finally, on a brighter note, we are pleased to be able to report that former FRT Trustee and Treasurer David Rimmer is now out of hospital and is in temporary care at Huyton in preparation for moving home. We wish him well in his recovery.


Monday 11th March 2024

Keith Brewer scraping the white metal on one of 5643's axleboxesWork has continued with the overhaul of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643 with Keith seen here scraping in the white metal on one of the axleboxes.

Jon Dixon painting gloss black paint on to one of 5643's driving wheelsJon Dixon continued the beautification of the driving wheels which, after significant effort, are now rapidly becoming very black and shiny.

With the start of the Ribble Steam Railway’s operating season fast approaching, Ade transferred Furness Railway locomotive No. 20 and Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 to the RSR running shed last Wednesday. Sam fits one of FR 20's mudhole doorsSam used the opportunity to fit the mudhole doors on FR 20 whilst it was over the pit.

John Dixon adjusts the guard's window on GER No. 5GER No. 5 had been advertised for use on the Mother’s Day train service, being fully booked throughout the day for the occasion. John Dixon made some last-minute adjustments to the window of the guard’s door.

Phil Burton prepares one of GER 5's seats to receive a temporary brown coverPhil and Anne Burton worked hard to put some temporary brown covers on the chairs to make them look uniform in appearance. Some more horse chestnut leaf moquette is on the way which will then enable the chairs to match the chaise longue in the east saloon.

A new steam heat pipe is fitted to GER No. 5Just before the departure of the first train on Sunday morning the flexible steam heat pipe on the east end of the saloon announced to all that it had come to end of its working life. Fortunately, it was possible to remedy this fairly quickly, the steam crew and John Dixon engineering a swap in a very efficient pit stop. This was just as well as there was a cool moderate breeze and rain that day.

Bagnall 0-6-0ST Courageous leave Preston Riverside on Sunday, 10th March with GER No. 5 behind itGER No. 5 is seen leaving Riverside Station behind Courageous. After the furore yesterday over the editing of a Royal Family photo it was decided not to edit out the unsightly bucket from this photo!

Alison takes a moment off to pose for a photo taken by Ade, who was driving Courageous on Mother's DayAde managed to take this photo of Alison during a short break from preparing GER No.5 for its next set of customers.

Finally, the arrangements for the funeral of long term volunteer Fred Jones, who sadly passed away on the 25th February after a short illness, have been confirmed. The service will take place at St Thomas’ Church, Crosscrake on Monday 18th March at 12.45pm. All are welcome.