Monday 9th September 2019

FR 20's tender frames about to be lowered on to its wheelsFR 20’s tender chassis was duly reunited with its wheels last Wednesday although the blustery wind did its damndest to try and make life difficult for us.

FR 20's tender being shunted around to the FRT shedHowever, patience paid off and, after a successful struggle in damp conditions to re-fit the brake gear, the tender was shunted around to the FRT shed late afternoon after Ade had shunted around some more coaches for the RSR.

The good news is that the tender appeared to roll well after the work to convert its bearings from brass to white metal. We hope that this is a good omen for the future. Other news on FR 20 is that Andy Booth has made more progress in beading over the tubes in the boiler and hopes to complete the task this week.

With FR 20’s tender wheels now tucked under its frames, Ade wasted no time in bringing Caliban‘s wheels into the FRT shed for the newly white-metalled bearings to be scraped in.

It is now intended to rearrange the line up on road three of the FRT shed this coming Wednesday so most of Friday was spent in tidying up the shed in readiness for the shunt. Whilst you don’t get quite the same satisfaction from doing this kind of housework, it should make life much better for us as we move towards this winter’s work programme. FRT shed before shuntingWe show here a last look at the FRT shed before items are moved around, with FR 20’s boiler (left), Fluff‘s frames (foreground), Caliban (distant left), FR 20’s engine frames and Wootton Hall‘s tender frames (distant right).

There is disappointing news this week in that Jim Hanmer and Alan Preston are having to abandon their current attempts to resurrect Fluff‘s engine, mainly because of the difficulty in tracing replacement components. The engine is being reassembled in its current state and we will have to consider whether it is worth further pursuing the repair of the existing engine or perhaps finding a suitable replacement. Phil Bell painting one of Fluff's cabs sidesIn the meantime work has continued in rebuilding the platework and assembling other components, with Phil Bell giving the newly fabricated cab sides a coat of red oxide.

New badge of CalibanFinally, on the sales side, Alison informs us that she now has a brand new badge depicting Caliban for sale. Please contact either Alison or Alan if you would like to purchase one, with a special members’ rate available.

Monday 2nd September 2019

As we head into the Autumn period there are signs of things starting to come together with some of our projects.

Axleboxes mounted on FR 20's tender wheelsWednesday saw FR 20’s tender axleboxes being re-assembled and mounted on the journals. This is in readiness for the arrival of a crane this next Wednesday morning when it is planned to place the tender back on its wheels.

This exercise will not only enable the cleaning down and re-painting of the tender and attention to the brake gear to take place in the coming weeks, but will also allow room in the shed for Caliban‘s wheels to be accommodated so that the bearings can be scraped in. Once this is achieved we can look towards lowering Caliban back on to its wheels as well. After that it will be the turn of Wootton Hall‘s tender wheels to come in for its axlebox bearings to be worked upon.

Keith silver solderingWe include a photo this week of Keith silver soldering a flange on to a piece of Wootton Hall‘s injector pipework.

Over at Embsay there has been significant progress with Cumbria. A new regulator gland has been cast and machined following the discovery of a fracture in the old regulator gland. This has now been fitted and packed along with a replacement regulator quadrant.New and old regulator glands for Cumbria

The regulator has been reassembled in the dome after much work to remove side play and to ensure that surfaces are compatible. The hole in the link rod has been opened up to receive a new pin and the main and pilot valves modified to suit. The boiler surveyor will be undertaking the cold inspection of the boiler on Thursday and, subject to a satisfactory report, the boiler will be reassembled for a steam test. Fingers crossed! We are indebted to Charles Adams and Andrew Hirst for their work on Cumbria in recent weeks.

Monday 26th August 2019

A quick Bank Holiday update before settling down on the sofa for the last time with Demelza this evening – last edition of Poldark for those that don’t watch it.

Fred painting FR 20's fireboxAndy Booth has completed the expansion of the tubes in the FR 20’s boiler and has been beading them over in the firebox. He will return to complete the job early in September. Meanwhile, Fred has started the job of giving the boiler a coat of paint.

FR 20’s brake rigging has received a couple of coats of paint and it is planned to reassemble the tender axleboxes shortly ready for the tender to be placed back on its wheels. Roger on his knees againRoger has again been on his knees painting the boiler cladding or, as we are assured by John Dixon the correct term is, clothing.

Machined bearing for CalibanAlan Vipond has been machining Caliban‘s newly white metalled bearings ready for them to be scraped in.

New spring hanger pin for CalibanAde, who spent most of last Wednesday shunting carriages, has fitted one of the spring hangers with one of the newly manufactured pins.

JD making new pipe bending vice benchJohn Dixon has been making a new bench for a pipe bending vice.

Phil Bell and one of Fluff's cab sidesAnd Phil Bell has continued his work on Fluff‘s cab platework.

Finally, over at Embsay a hydraulic test has been successfully completed on Cumbria to test the ‘J’ pipe and fireman’s side injector delivery pipe. A boiler washout was being carried out this last weekend in preparation for the loco’s boiler survey.


Monday 19th August 2019

Britannia speeds through LancasterWe arrived at Preston on Wednesday to hear the distant sound of a steam chime whistle and later found out that it was none other than 70000 Britannia on a northbound run through Preston to Carlisle. Just for the record, here is a photo of the loco heading back south through Lancaster at speed with The Lakelander just after 5 pm.

John Dixon paints FR 20's motionTim and John Dixon virtually completed the painting of FR 20’s frames, motion and wheels on Wednesday. John is seen here painting some of the motion.

Gleaming motion on FR 20The fresh gloss paint on the frames and motion now gives it a smart appearance.

FR 20 wheels painted and lined outFinally a painted and lined out wheel.

Roger painting the inside of FR 20's claddingRoger came in on Friday and started the task of cleaning and painting the internal surface of the boiler cladding sheets.

John Dixon fitting new wood to FR 20's front buffer beamJohn has been preparing some new wood to be inserted on top of the front buffer beam where previous area of oak had perished.

Fred taking a breatherFred has continued to work on cleaning up the smokebox and we have a rare photo here of him having a ten minute breather.

Andy Booth is expected to have started today the task of expending the tubes and beading over the ends in the smokebox.

John Davis drilling holes in Fluff's new frame stretcherWork continues apace on Fluff with John Davis drilling holes in the newly inserted steel stretcher plate between the frames.

Phil Bell drilling holes in one of Fluff's new cab sidesPhil Bell has continued the task of drilling holes in one of the new cab sides.

Ade hoisting one of Caliban's axleboxes into positionAde has been testing the fit of the first of his newly fabricated axlebox covers for Caliban. Ade makes mods to the axlebox coverFirst of all he hoisted a test axlebox into position before heading off to the bench with a file to start the process of modification!

Bill Norcross preparing to drill holes in a brass flange for Wootton HallWe are glad to be able to report that Bill Norcross is back from sick leave and he is seen here setting up to drill some holes in a brass flange for Wootton Hall.

Paul Newton continues his work on the L&NWR Preston bench seatPaul Newton came in on Friday to continue his work on the L&NWR seat from Preston station.

Finally, we have news from Charles Adams at Embsay that the machining of Cumbria‘s main and pilot valves is almost complete along with the lapping in of the ‘J’ pipe face.


Monday 12th August 2019

Anyone got a pillow?Work on FR 20 has this last week focused on completing the painting of the engine frames and wheels. Lining out the wheels can be an awkward job and Ade caught Tim trying to make himself comfortable on the floor before finishing off the right rear wheel – you can never find a pillow when you need one!! Meanwhile Alan has finished scraping in the white metalled tender bearings.

Some of Fluff's new metalwork in storeThere has been continuing good progress with Fluff as various components are freed off and prepared for re-fitting. Paul Balshaw has primed some more areas between the frames whilst Phil Bell has been preparing new cab sheets (seen here in store) as well as re-working an existing door sheet that can be re-used.Phil Bell conserving one of Fluff's existing doors

Ade has again been working on Caliban‘s axleboxes and preparing some new steel cover plates for them. Caliban's white metalled bearingsJimmy Dutton has completed the white metalling of the bearings which await machining once Alan has returned from sunning himself in the south of England.

Keith has continued his work on Wootton Hall‘s tender tank and preparing new platework. With a fair amount of welding work now building up, the Trust has purchased some new kit to comply with recent directives regarding weld fume. Stig's brother?Keith is seen here modelling the new welding mask complete with air blower.

Nellie being assembledAlan, John and Tim spent the latter part of Wednesday assembling the new mobile fume extractor. Delivery was certainly very prompt but, unlike a car which you expect to be able to drive away from a salesroom without having to fit the wheels, the same cannot be said for the supposedly mobile fume extractor which turned up with quite a number of subsidiary cardboard boxes containing wheels, tube, extending mechanism, nuts bolts and sealing rings plus (just to confuse) a few bits and pieces that you didn’t actually need. Added to that were various meaty booklets in a wide range of languages with complex diagrams explaining how your A level rated Meccano set should be constructed. Of particular note, there was an alarming warning sign illustrated with a set of teeth that indicated that you had to be careful when releasing the tensioned extending mechanism from tie wraps to prevent yourself receiving a blow in the mouth! Nellie ready for action - hold on to your wigs!We are pleased to be able to report that the extractor was successfully assembled without damage to either the equipment or the volunteers and that Nellie (with the extendable trunk) was tested without managing to inhale any loose wigs…

Over at Embsay, Cumbria is out of traffic for its 14 month boiler survey and also some attention to its regulator and left hand injector amongst other things. Charles Adams has become a member of the FRT and has kindly taken on the role as guardian of the loco whilst it is at Embsay. Charles has drawn up a maintenance list which is being ticked off as individual tasks are completed.

Monday 5th August 2019

Alan with the last bearing for FR 20's tenderThe overhaul of FR 20 continues to make steady progress with Alan working on the last of the newly white metalled bearings for the tender.

John Dixon painting FR 20's reverserJohn Dixon and Tim have been busy putting gloss Indian Red paint on the frames, and undertaking further cleaning and painting of the wheels now that the engine has been moved a few yards further forward.

We have the technology and the hammerWork has also continued on Fluff where components are now being re-fitted. Phil Bell is seen here giving the loco a well aimed hammering under the watchful gaze of Alan, Howard and Paul Balshaw.

Fluff's engine being lowered on to it's plinthhA jig has been made up to mount Fluff‘s engine which is seen here being lowered into place with assistance from Jim Hanmer and Alan Preston.

Howard blowing out his candlesIt was Howard’s birthday on Wednesday and he is seen blowing out the candles on his cake, made by Alison.

Ade trifling with a dessertAde enjoyed sampling one of the dozen trifles that Howard brought along to celebrate the occasion.

Alison's new roundabout being fittedAlison thought that it was her birthday as well when she saw the new roundabout being installed in the children’s playground.

Karen Penny with Wootton HallFred turned up on Friday with a lady whom he and Bob had met during their  usual visit to the Take 5 cafe en route to the RSR. Karen Penny is walking around the coast of Britain and Ireland to raise money for Alzeimer’s Research UK and was delighted to be shown around the FRT shed. You can follow Karen’s journey on her Facebook site.

Fred cleaning off FR 20's boilerFred then continued the task of cleaning FR 20’s boiler ready for painting.

Bob pondering over Wootton Hall's reverser handleBob spent more time working on the new reverser handle for Wootton Hall.

Tuesday 30th July 2019

We’re back from holiday after one half of the team being away (nice weather, thank you!) and a little late with the blog owing to the mass of things to do on return from a week of bliss!

The attendance at the AGM held on the 16th July showed a heartening increase on that of the previous year, so thanks to everyone who made the effort to attend. No changes to the Trustees to report and, after all reports had been read and duly received, the main item on the agenda was to try and clear Alison’ supper mountain, which we are glad to be able to report kept Ade very happy. Thanks, Alison. The only dampener on the evening was the discovery that someone had tried to enter the FRT mess hut without a key, which had resulted in a broken lock and a bent door frame. Unfortunately, that meant that none of the assembled throng were able to make entry either and, with due thanks to the RSR, everyone retired to the RSR’s Tea Room for the meeting, refreshments and food.

Alternative messing facilitiesMembers had to resort to a children’s playground  table for lunch at the following day’s working party, but we are pleased to be able to report that the man from Preston Locks managed to rectify matters at very reasonable cost in the afternoon and that members will be able to pick up a replacement key for the mess room on their next visit.

A bearing after attention from AlanBack in the workshop, the overhaul of FR 20 took another step forward with the machining of the tender bearings by Alan Vipond, which had been previously white metalled by Jimmy Dutton. Alan scraping a tender bearing for FR 20Alan has been busy scraping them in with only one left to do now.

John applies primer to one of FR 20's guard ironsOtherwise it has been business as usual with FR 20’s frames undercoated by John, Phil Bell and Roger whilst Fred has been cleaning up FR 20’s boiler for painting.

Keith has been making new baffles for Wootton Hall’s tender tank and work has again progressed on Fluff.

Monday 15th July 2019

A short blog this week to keep you updated before some of us join in the school holiday rush to the seaside.

Firstly, don’t forget the Annual General Meeting which takes place in the FRT shed at Preston tomorrow (Tuesday) evening commencing at 7.30. Don’t forget to bring your copy of the Trustees’ Annual report and Accounts and, even if you don’t fancy the agenda, it is worth turning up for Alison’s sandwiches and cakes!

It was more normal business last week in the shed at Preston, with further work on painting Caliban‘s wheelsets and also a start being made on the task of lining out FR 20’s driving wheels. A very studious Ade tapping out holes on Caliban's spring hangersAde can be see here studiously tapping holes on the top of Caliban‘s spring hangers to remove any traces of paint.

John Dixon continued his work on sorting the niggling loose bolts on FR 20’s running board whilst Phil Bell applied more undercoat paint to the motion. No doubt we’ll shortly have to move the engine forward a few feet in order to attend to those parts of the wheels and motion that cannot currently be reached. Alan in the frame for inspecting FR 20's 'J' pipeAlan took the opportunity to explore the ‘J’ pipe on FR 20’s boiler to evaluate whether there was any need to remove it.

Howard, John Davis and Phil Scales have continued work on Fluff, with more primer paint being applied to the inner frames and more progress on repairing some of the components. Keith has also been busy repairing Wootton Hall‘s tender tanks.

There is no plan for a blog next week owing to the aforementioned holidays. And talking of holidays, we include below a couple of snaps from Paul Balshaw who is visiting Minneapolis St. Paul. Not another rusty tender tank!He seems to have found a tender to bring back to Preston for repair (oh no!!) and a Q3 which is being re-built.Q3 under repair

Monday 8th July 2019

Phil Bell cleaning FR 20's motionWork on cleaning and painting FR 20’s frames and motion continued this week. Phil Bell made use of the pit to clean up under the motion.

John Dixon painting underneath FR 20's running boardJohn Dixon, the seemingly headless man, painted under the running board, with Roger continuing the process on Friday.

Newly lined out wheelset for FR 20's tenderTim lined out the tender wheels.

Jimmy Dutton pours white metal on to one of FR 20's tender bearingsJimmy Dutton took on the task of white metalling the tender bearings and is seen here pouring the white metal and with a finished bearing.Jimmy Dutton with a white metalled bearing ready for machining

We were hoping that Bill Norcross would be able to start machining the bearings, but he appeared on Wednesday to relate a sorry tale of falling down an embankment and into the river by the cricket ground at Sedbergh where Lancashire were playing Durham in the County Championship. Fortunately he survived the ordeal but will be off for a while whilst his cracked ribs recover..! We wish him a speedy rceovery.

Ade preparing Caliban's frames for mare another coat of paintAde continued to clean and prepare Caliban‘s frames for the next coat of paint.

Pacific Blue unveiledOutside, Fred and Tim unveiled on the wheelsets the ‘Pacific Blue’ paint shade that will adorn Caliban when completed.

John Davis with Fluff's re-installed clutch control mechanismFinally, some unexpected news this week is that some components have actually been put back on Fluff! John Davis can be seen here with the clutch control mechanism which has been re-fitted after attention.


Monday 2nd July 2019

We start this week’s blog with a couple of FRT projects which are being undertaken in the RSR’s workshop.

Alan Preston and Jim Hanmer have been busy overhauling Fluff‘s engine.

Fluff's pistons in the component wash bathAll the pistons have been removed from the liners and given a good soaking in the component wash bath. It is hoped that this process will release the piston rings which, like everything else on Fluff it seems, have seized.

Alan Preston with one of Fluff's piston rodsAlan is seen here with one of the piston rods.

Bill Norcross machining one of the bearingsBill Norcross has been machining out recesses in FR 20’s tender axle bearings in order that they can receive white metal.Bill Norcross with one of the machined bearings

Black gloss on FR20's dragbox Over to the FRT shed where work has continued on cleaning FR 20’s engine frames, and paint has been applied on Wednesday and Friday by Phil Bell, John Dixon, Roger Benbow and a rare visit on Friday from Neil.Red undercoat on the rear inner frames of FR20

Paul Balshaw and Howard have been working on Fluff‘s frames with Phil Bell also turning his hand (excuse the pun) to the handbrake control rod. Outside, John Davis and Keith have been working on Wootton Hall‘s new tender tank whilst Tim and Fred have been painting Caliban‘s wheelsets. The latter are now turning bright blue with undercoat paint.

Keith has been over to Embsay and reports that a problem with 5643’s vacuum pump has now been identified and fixed and that the loco should be back in traffic this next weekend.

10.46 Barrow to Manchester Airport on the first day of the new serviceIt would be remiss of us not to refer to the step change in train service that took place yesterday on the former Furness Railway. We show a photo of a brand new Class 195 waiting to be ceremonially waved away from Barrow station to Manchester Airport, one of what has doubled to eleven such weekday services that were introduced as part of the timetable change.

Finally, all members should have received an invitation to the Annual General Meeting on the 16th July. Let us know if you haven’t. Also, The Iron Horse has been proof read and is now back with the printer. Hopefully, they will be sent out in the next week.