Monday 30th January 2017

Road 4 rails in situDrilling the last fishplate bolt holeThe big news this week is that road four of the shed is now connected to the rest of the RSR’s network. The photographs show the newly-laid rails on the right hand side and also the Ribble Rail staff drilling the final bolt hole to enable fishplates to be attached. The lead into road four still needs more ballast and packing, but the job is well on the way to being completed. Congratulations all round to those who have worked so hard to achieve this.

The RMB in undercoatInside the shed, work has continued on the RMB, with John still coming up with solutions to repair the floor at the east end of the coach. There has also been further work on the new gas holder door and the new paint store by Mike and Paul. Tim has been busy masking off and painting the sides in undercoat.

Adrian appeared on Wednesday to find that the compressor was out of action (“peace on earth,” we all muttered), but Adrian then went into action with his electric wire brush to produce a plume of dust from Caliban‘s running board that was likened to Vesuvius in full eruption! We’re hoping for a week off from this on Wednesday as it now seems to be the date on which a coat of gloss paint will be applied to the RMB.

Howard at workFred and Roger appeared on Friday to continue their works on cleaning up components. We welcomed Howard as a new member on Wednesday when he took advantage of the January transfer window to move across and help us with Caliban. Howard is pictured here working on the 0-4-0ST’s right-hand cylinder end studs.

The 5643 gang has once again been across to Embsay this last Saturday – we hope that it wasn’t too cold for them. Keith tells us that he examined the vacuum pump and found that the piston head had worked loose again – a good job that it was found in time before serious damage was done. Other time was spent in cleaning between the frames.

And finally, our friends over at the RCTS Furness, Lakes and Lune Branch have a European Video Night this Friday evening (at the Royal Station Hotel at Carnforth starting at 7.30pm) given by Colin Kennington. In two parts, it first features diesels in North Germany and Denmark, including diverted freight trains, the Sylt car shuttles and a surprising narrow gauge line. Although this was filmed in 2015, much has already gone. And in part 2, East Germany in 2010, including narrow gauge steam on the Harz and Selketalbahn, the Rubelandbahn, mainline action and an electrified narrow gauge industrial line. They request a “small contribution” to cover costs. They are also seeking people to help run this group to avoid it having to close later this year – so use it or lose it!

Monday 23rd January 2017

After last week’s marathon we have a slightly shorter blog for you this week. It’s also the first to be published directly into the new home of this blog, using new software that not only speeds up the production process (hurrah say the blog team members) but also  makes it better for you the reader, especially if you view the blog on a mobile phone or tablet (hopefully, hurrah say you the readers).

John welding the gas box handlesWork continues apace at Preston on the RMB as the finishing line is now just about in sight, even if it is still somewhat in the distance. John has been welding door handles on to the new gas box which Mike and Paul have been working on during the last month or so. The handles allow the door to be locked into place on the vehicle.

John's former unknown unknown - a hole in the floorJohn working on his holeJohn has also been busy making a hole in the floor of the south facing doorway at the east end of the coach. John came across the rot in the wood floor whilst repairing the steel ribs at the corridor end. When the subject of this unexpected additional work being found so late on in the repair process was raised, John became very philosophical, repeating Donald Rumsfeld’s famous quote, when he was US Secretary of State for Defense (sorry, but we had better use the US spelling!) in February 2002, that ‘there are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know.’ That only leaves us to hope that there aren’t too many more unknown unknowns left on this particular coach!

Tim with his 'custard'Meanwhile, with John still engaged on looking into the unexpected hole in the floor, Tim has started in earnest the process of painting the sides of the carriage, with some of the sliding windows and door window edges now sporting the final gloss colour of cream. On learning that some serious painting sessions were imminent, both Adrian and Fred have enquired as to whether they can have a few days off from making dust, with Fred rather fancying some extended time in the mess room brewing tea! Needless to say, it is to be hoped that there will be as little disruption to the dust making processes on Caliban as possible. The following photos show both Adrian and Fred hard at work on the frames and the eccentric straps.

Adrian making more dustFred making more dust, cleaning Caliban's eccentrics

Alan with his die nutAlan, John H and Sam have also been at work on the loco, with Alan pictured here running a die nut over the some of the cylinder end studs.

Mike cleaning up the new paint storeOutside, Mike has been cleaning up the steel cabinet which we intend to use as a paint store – this will become necessary as we move out the various cans of paint that have been stored in the RMB in recent years.

Further work on removing the tubes from Wootton Hall‘s boiler by George was planned for this last Saturday and it was also hoped to make further progress on the track outside the shed – we’ll report back next week. Looking forward to next weekend, Keith is planning another trip across to Embsay to work on 5643 and, therefore, Tim might well take advantage of an empty shed to get some more paint on the RMB.


Monday 16th January 2017

Here we are again, after a long festive break, with the first blog of the New Year.
Whilst the blog team has been taking a rest from writing over the Christmas and New Year period, the guys at Preston have been busy on all of our current projects.

The trackworks progressing outside the shedThe trackworks progressing outside the shedThe track work outside the shed has made good progress, as can be seen from the above photos, with road three of the shed now re-connected to the rest of the RSR and, therefore, the national network and thenceforth the line to Russia! The sleepers for road four are also now in position. Well done to all concerned (Russ, Ed, Keith, George, Phil and Mike McA), for the weather has sometimes been bitterly cold, not to mention very wet.

John working on the end of the RMBInside the warmth of the shed, John has again been working on repairs to the east end of the RMB, which has required replacing some of the floor and various areas of steelwork. Tim has finished sanding and filling the sides of the RMB and has embarked on applying some undercoat in readiness for the main paint job, which he hopes to commence shortly.

Sticking on the "frosting"The finished toilet windowOne job on the RMB that has lingered on the ‘jobs to do’ list for far too long has been the replacement of the south side toilet window. Trevor had constructed a template some while ago, but no-one had got around to sourcing the new glass. However, with the list other jobs now diminishing, it was decided that the new window must be sourced. A search through the RSR’s spares failed to find a second hand pane that would fit and so a final examination of the FRT’s CCT store was made and, much to our surprise, Mike found a sheet of toughened glass to the correct size, although it did not have the required ‘frosted’ opaque finish that gives the necessary privacy to those using the loo. A quick search of the internet enabled a plastic film to be acquired for the princely sum of £6, and Mike and Paul are seen here fitting the film to the newly cleaned sheet of glass, which is now securely fitted to the RMB. So, another job crossed off the list.

Roger working on Caliban's wheelsFred removing another bit of CalibanAlan and Ade at work on CalibanAlan, John H, Adrian, Sam, Fred and Roger have continued their labours to clean up the frames, wheels and components on Caliban and to free up parts that have seized through lack of use over the past thirty years. Roger can be seen chipping paint off the wheels, Fred removing another component, and Alan and Adrian at work on the frames.

Alan and Sam working to remove an eccentric strap on CalibanFred cleaning up an eccentric strapThis last Wednesday saw Caliban‘s eccentric straps being removed leaving Fred the job of cleaning them up on Friday.

Ben and Alan O have continued work on Fluff in Anthony’s absence and are hoping to get the loco within reach of a crane in the next month or so in order that the engine can be removed.

The new tender water collection tank for Wootton HallAnd so we come to Wootton Hall where Keith has been constructing a replacement water collection tank that is fitted beneath the tender tank and contains the two filters, one for each delivery pipe to the injectors.

George has also been able to spend several days at Preston over the Christmas period and has been able to remove more of the Hall’s old small tubes. Keith reckons that he has only around another 50 tubes to remove. More good news is that two of our working members have very kindly sponsored the two reverser mechanism castings that were acquired before Christmas. Well done!

The King was in his counting house... Alison very kindly provided the Wednesday Gang on the  4th January with a fresh supply of mince pies (yum, yum) and also brought in the December takings from the sales stand, which David is seen counting here. There were also vanilla slices on hand last Friday to celebrate Tim’s birthday.

Tim met up with some old faces when he gave a talk on the FRT’s activities to the Marsh History Group in Lancaster on Thursday afternoon. Ken Nuttall and Tommy Rawlings were present at the meeting and enjoyed seeing some of the more up-to-date images of the FRT’s rolling stock both under restoration and in action around the UK.

A working party was convened at Embsay last Saturday to examine 5643 after its busy period hauling Santa Specials. Efforts are being made to procure a new ejector ring to replace the original, which developed an unplanned hole at Christmas.

Welcome to the FRT blog

Welcome to the part of the FRT website where you can keep bang up to date with the latest news and goings on! We hope you like it!

The aim is to report on the latest activities of our locomotives and rolling stock, and what our volunteers are getting up to. A lot of the activity is at our main base at the Ribble Steam Railway where we have completed a new shared workshop building, but we are also active wherever our engines and carriages are working!

Some of the items mentioned here will appear before we have had a chance to update the main website. For obvious reasons we will not post here any confidential discussions about hire agreements, planned steaming dates etc. until the hiring party has publicised those themselves, which is in line with our general policy. So please come back to this page regularly. Alternatively, you can keep up to date by following us on Twitter or Facebook.

You can see past postings in the archives listed on the right hand side of this page.  For older blogs (which were hosted directly within the FRT website rather than this WordPress blog) please see the 2016, 2015 and  2014 archives.