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.

Monday 24th June 2019

We can announce this week that the Annual General Meeting of the Furness Railway Trust will be held in the FRT shed at Chain Caul Road, Preston at 7.30 pm on Tuesday, 16th July 2019. The Accounts for 2018 have been passed by the Independent Examiner and the Annual Report duly approved by the Trustees. Printing of these is currently in full swing and should be sent out before the end of this week. It is taking up a lot of time so consequently the blog is somewhat shorter in detail this week! In addition, we can report that the latest edition of The Iron Horse is also in the course of being printed but will be sent out separately a little later.

Phil Bell cleaning FR 20's framesWork has continued at Preston on the overhaul of FR 20 with further preparation for painting. Phil Bell is seen here cleaning the inside of the frames.

John Dixon cleaning under supervision by AdeJohn Dixon (supervised by Ade) has been cleaning the rear running plate around the reverser and also underneath the engine’s drag box and the latter was duly painted with Roger’s help on Friday. Fred and Tim have been cleaning and preparing Caliban‘s wheels for painting.

Howard with the seized clutch control assembly for FluffVarious components from Fluff are still receiving attention including the seized clutch control assembly which has been presenting a challenge to Howard.

Finally for this week, outside John Davis has continued his work cleaning up the metal on the new tender tank for Wootton Hall.

Monday 17th June 2019

Alan removes a burr from FR 20's piston rodFR 20’s overhaul continues with Alan carrying out work to reduce the ‘clatter’ from the right hand crosshead. He is seen here removing a burr from the piston rod end. John has continued to clean up components and paint them ready for fitting, including the hornstays whilst Phil Bell has been cleaning the frames and reverser quadrant and Tim has applied gloss Indian Red to the wheels.

Jim Hanmer with Fluff's engineJim Hanmer and Alan Preston have made a prompt start to overhauling Fluff‘s engine in the RSR workshop. Jim is seen here with the engine where all the pistons and liners have been removed.

The first piston removed from Fluff's engineExtracting the pistons from the liners has proved to be a challenge with something like four tons of force being required to remove the first. The piston rings were found to have seized solid.

Three of Fluff's pistons to be removed from their linersThe other pistons and liners await their turn.

Paul Balshaw and Phil Scales under FluffiPaul Bradshaw and Phil Scales have continued their work on Fluff’s frames.

Ade paints Caliban's framesAde has finally found time away from helping others to apply some gloss paint to Caliban’s frames.

Finally, Keith went back over to Embsay on Saturday to find 5643 chuffing away happily but Cumbria suffering from another bout of injectoritis and issues with the steam brake. A plan has been formed which hopefully will see Cumbria back in traffic soon.


Monday 10th June 2019

Line up of wheelsetsAs reported in last week’s blog, the seven wheelsets that were sent away for machining have returned and the photo shows a grand line up outside the FRT shed with the new tender tank for Wootton Hall┬áin the background.

Left to right are the three wheelsets from the Hall’s tender, Caliban’s two wheelsets and then those for FR 25 which weren’t sent away.

FR 20's tender whelsets being readied for paintingInside the shed were FR 20’s newly machined tender wheelsets which were being readied for painting.

Alan Vernon squeezes Fluff's engine out of the shedWednesday saw Fluff’s engine removed from its frames to the RSR workshop for overhaul. It was a tricky operation in confined spaces so hats off to Alan Vernon who is seen here reversing the fork lift truck back down the shed after the successful lift.

Fluff enginelessThe engine-less frames looked pretty rusty but it wasn’t long before members started to attack the rust ready for preventative paintwork to be applied.

Phil Scales attacking Fluff's frames with a needle gunPhil Scales was attacking the rust on the outside of the frames with a needle gun on Wednesday.

Phil Bell cleaning FR 20's motionMeanwhile Phil Bell was to be seen cleaning FR 20’s motion.

Steve Davies and Japanese partySteve Davies, former director of the National Railway Museum paid us a visit on Wednesday with a Japanese party who are in the process of building a old replica train back in Japan. They had spent the previous day at Embsay and been hauled there by the Trust’s ‘Austerity’ Cumbria.

Keith with a new plate for Wootton Hall's tender tank.Keith was busy making up a new piece of plate for Wootton Hall‘s tender tank.

Bob Thomson working on Wootton Hall's reverserOn Friday Bob Thomson was working on a component for Wootton Hall‘s new reverser.

Roger Benbow and FR 20's crinolinesRoger Benbow is seen here continuing his work on painting the crinolines for FR 20.

Over at Embsay the washout and maintenance work for 5643 has been proceeding. Keith and Fred completed the main washout work on Saturday, which itself proved to be a washout and caused our volunteers to get very wet! 5643’s boiler has now been boxed up and filled with water, but Keith will be heading back to Embsay again on Thursday to attend to some maintenance issues in the smokebox.

Whilst at Embsay this week, Keith learned the sad news of the death in April of Charles Boylan at the age of 65. ‘Big Charlie’ as he was affectionately known came to Haverthwaite in the late 1970s with a group from Embsay and subsequently went on to be employed at Haverthwaite before working at the Dolly Blue Mill. He then joined the Cumbria Police up the west coast before transferring to the British Transport Police at Preston. On retirement he became a teaching assistant. Charles had continued to volunteer at Embsay, with the P Way Gang, but also confessed to having played Father Christmas on the Santa Specials. Charles was a big affable guy with a great sense of humour and we are sure that he will be missed at Embsay. Our condolences go to his wife Christine and family.

Monday 3rd June 2019

We are back after the Bank Holiday break with a short update.

Work has continued on the various ongoing projects at Preston.

John Davis attacking the rivetsJohn Davis is seen here driving out rivets on the shovel plate in the new tender tank for Wootton Hall.

Howard measures up Caliban's axle boxes for new lidsHoward has been measuring up for new axle box lids for Caliban.

Paul Balshaw scrapes rust from Fluff's framesPaul Balshaw is seen scraping rust from Fluff‘s frames.

Examination of FR 20’s cylinders and piston rings has continued with some debate now as to whether the rings actually need changing. Underneath, the job of cleaning frames and motion continues.

Alison's cakesAlison provided us with some leftover cakes a week last Wednesday from the previous night’s Trustees’ meeting, a photo of which we include for Adrian’s benefit(!).

The seven wheelsets that were sent away for machining were finally delivered back to Preston last Friday afternoon, which will open the way for further work on Wootton Hall‘s tender, FR 20’s tender and Caliban.

Finally, over at Embsay, Keith and Fred have been undertaking a wash-out on 5643. Keith will also be going back this Thursday and next weekend to attend to a leaking gasket on one of the superheater elements and to prepare 5643 for traffic again. Meanwhile, as locomotives do when they know that you are dependent on them, Cumbria broke a spring which took two days of hard labour for Embsay’s gang to sort over the last weekend.


Monday 20th May 2019

With Cumbria now safely delivered to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway last Monday, it was time this week for the Trust’s working members to concentrate on other jobs at Preston. The following photos give a flavour of what has been going on.

Phil Bell reassembles Fluff's handbrakeFluff‘s brake shaft, which controls the brake rods that apply the brake shoes, has been proving difficult to rotate. In short, it has seized up because of lack of use. The application of a 14lb sledge hammer proved to be fruitless so Phil Bell decided that it would be helpful to re-mount the hand brake handle and pedestal to apply pressure and we are pleased to be able to report that this was a success.

John Dixon cleans the underside of FR 20's tenderThe seven wheelsets that were sent away for machining are due to be picked up from Coalville next Wednesday and are likely to be delivered to Preston the following Wednesday. In anticipation of this, John Dixon has been cleaning the underside of FR 20’s tender so that it can be painted before the wheelsets are fitted.

Keith cuts up the remains of Wootton Hall's old tender tankKeith has been cutting up the last portions of the base from Wootton Hall‘s old tender tank….

Fred paints the inside of Wootton Hall's new tender tank…. while Fred has been applying black gloss paint to the upper inside parts of the new tender tank….

John Davis removes rivets from Wootton Hall's tender tank.…. meanwhile, John Davis has been removing rivets from the bottom of the tender tank coal space so that new plate can be fitted….

The new water hose connectors for Wootton Hall's tender…. finally, the new water hose connectors for Wootton Hall‘s tender have been made up and await silver soldering of the flanges.

The Trustees meet tomorrow evening at Alison’s house in order to tackle the usual mountain of refreshments as well as to agree and approve the Trustees’ Annual Report and Accounts for 2018. Hopefully it will also be possible to set a date for the Annual General Meeting.

Advance notice here that there won’t be a blog next week because the editorial team is taken up with other duties during the Bank Holiday and half term week – OK there’s a holiday beckoning!

Monday 13th May 2019

Alan inspects Cumbria's left hand piston glandAde got up bright and early again last Wednesday to put Cumbria over the pit at Preston before putting a small fire in the firebox ready for a test steaming. Alan and Tim then dismantled the left hand piston rod gland and found the metallic packings to have fragmented, confirming this as the cause of a steam leak when the loco was under load. Soft packing material was located and fitted prior to steam being raised to maximum. Tim and then Ade took Cumbria for trips up and down the yard in order to test the new packings and the steam brake before Ade loaded up the spare springs.

Friday saw John Davis and Phil Bell descend on Cumbria to clear the coal bunker and to give it a final clean and polish. Tim meanwhile removed the lubrication pipes to the piston rod and valve spindles to be cleaned out. The oil pots were replenished with fresh oil and the trimmings cleaned, primed with oil and replaced to give a steady satisfying drip of oil over the rods and spindles.

Fred with paint brushWork has again continued on Fluff, FR 20 and Wootton Hall. Fred is seen here painting Wootton Hall‘s tender tank in between heavy showers of rain. News from Leicestershire is that machining work on the wheelsets for Caliban and the tenders for Wootton Hall and FR20 has been completed and arrangements are now being made for their return to Preston. One of the additional tasks undertaken was removing a score from one of the crank pins on Caliban‘s wheels. Jeff at CMS Cepcor kindly sent us this short video of the crank pin being machined – click on this link to view.

Cumbria heading for Embsay 130519Today saw Cumbria loaded and despatched to Embsay where it will join the Trust’s GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643. We show here a photo of 5643 double heading with Illingworth, also a recent temporary resident at Preston, courtesy of the Embsay Locomotive Department Facebook page.


Monday 6th May 2019

Just a very brief Bank Holiday update for you.

More work was carried out on FR 20’s engine frames, including the chipping away of loose concrete on the cylinder block by Phil Scales.

Alan spent some more time investigating Cumbria‘s left hand clackbox to try and eliminate any showing of steam at the injector tail pipe. It is proposed on Wednesday to re-pack the left hand piston gland, which started to blow over the RSR’s Steam Gala, before conducting another steam test. It is expected that Cumbria will be then heading off to Embsay shortly to join the FRT’s 0-6-2T 5643 for the season.

Stanlow doing the businessAde and Mike set about moving 0-4-0DM Fluff last Wednesday afternoon in order to position it over the pit. Stanlow was brought around from the running shed and, after a complicated set of moves, Caliban‘s boiler was moved out of the shed and then Fluff took its place. The frames of Fluff and Caliban (left rear) in the FRT shed formerly nos. 2 and 1 respectivelyThis should enable the engine to be lifted for overhaul.

Keith working in Wootton Hall's cabAs ever, Keith has been busy with Wootton Hall and is seen here measuring up the cab.

We must mention the sad news that Fylde based folk singer, Alan Bell, passed away a week last Thursday at the age of 84. Alan wrote many fine songs, including the much-covered “Bread and Fishes”, and was Director of the long running Fylde Folk Festival, to which the FRT supplied sound personnel and equipment for 17 years, which in turn helped the Trust’s coffers. Alan’s funeral is at Carlton crematorium at 10.30 this Friday.

Mystery photoFinally we cannot go without resolving the mystery photo from 7 days ago!

Mike Rigg’s shot was taken through one of the holes made in Caliban‘s buffer beam to enable the cylinders to be re-bored.