Monday 27th February 2017

Work continues apace on the current projects at Preston.

Mike cleans one of the RMB's windowsBoth Wednesday and Friday saw efforts made to bring the RMB’s windows up to serviceable standard, with Tim, Mike (see above) and Paul brandishing scrapers and cleaning rags to get rid of paint and ingrained dirt.

John has been working on the final repairs to the steelwork at the north east end of the RMB, with the final sheet of new steel being positioned: John positions the final piece of steelwork on the RMB… and the finished welded job:The steelwork welded into placeSo So plenty of work for Tim next Wednesday with the filler and sander to remove all traces of the repair.

The successful mouldPaul and Mike have had a second attempt at creating a plaster of Paris mould for the plate to go on the new gas compartment door on the RMB. This time they were successful, and the next job is to use some casting resin to create the plate itself. Meanwhile, Paul has been creating a new letter ‘B’ to go on the door, and is seen here removing some of the waste metal with the aid of a pillar drill:Paul at work on the letter 'B'

Adrian has continued his paint treatment of Caliban‘s inner frames whilst Alan has been drilling more holes in the replacement steel for Caliban’s running board. The machined lubrication box for CalibanHoward has been making progress with one of the new lubrication boxes, with the machined casting seen here.Fred at work on Caliban's wheelsRoger still chipping away at Caliban's spokesFred and Roger have again been hard at work on the wheels – this week’s photos look very much like last week’s – did they ever go home? Alison's baking being enjoyed on Wednesday afternoonAlan, incidentally, brought in birthday cakes for everyone on Wednesday, and some of the gang can be seen seated around the table enjoying the results of Alison’s baking.

Keith holds one of Wootton Hall's new cylinder lubrication valvesKeith continues to gather together components for Wootton Hall, including the new cylinder lubrication valves seen here. Meanwhile George has again been working on the old tubes.

The Fluff gang continue with cleaning up components on the diminutive diesel and look forward to the day when they can get the engine removed.

Finally, our folk band Live Steam has its first practice of the year scheduled for tomorrow evening, Tuesday, in anticipation of a gig at Staining on the 8th April for a birthday party.

Monday 20th February 2017

More new plate required on the RMBJohn grinding down weldWith the RMB successfully varnished last Monday, work on the east corridor end has resumed in earnest with John tackling the repairs on the north east corner and Tim applying filler and sander to the south west corner. Most of the door frames are now painted and protective masking tape has been removed from door handles ready for them to be polished. Now that the surrounding paint has had chance to harden, work on cleaning the windows, both inside and outside, is expected to commence in earnest this next week.

Howard cleaning up a lubrication pot lidHoward has been preparing newly cast brass lubrication pots for use on Caliban. Adrian getting through lots of red paintThe dust curfew in the shed had to be unexpectedly maintained on Wednesday as Adrian had plans to paint the inside of Caliban‘s frames under the cab. An inspection on Friday revealed that Adrian had managed to put a liberal amount on the shed and pit floors and also the one of the pit boards! Fred making the dust fly againRoger chipping away at a spokeFred broke the dust curfew on Friday, cleaning up Caliban‘s wheels, whilst Roger continued his painstaking task of chipping paint from the wheel spokes.

Alan had the day off on Wednesday to recover from toothache and to prepare for his first weekend of the year at Locomotion, Shildon, where FR 20 was back in service. Alan celebrated his birthday on Friday preparing the loco and giving it a whirl on the new section of running line to the east of the platform, which has just been brought into use – video is available via our Facebook site and a photo is shown here with FR 20 alongside more modern traction, whose days are now numbered!FR 20 on the new east running line at Locomotion 190217 All went well over the weekend and Alison made some useful sales income as well as receiving some donated items from the Friends of the NRM’s north east branch – well done, and thanks also to the Friends!

This last weekend also saw another Wootton Hall working party as work progresses on its restoration.

Sunday 12th February 2017

The blog has been written a day early this week as a busy Monday awaits!

Firstly, we need to wish Keith a Happy Birthday for Monday. Keith is taking the day off, but the Preston Branch meeting on Tuesday evening (8 pm at The Ale Emporium, Fylde Road, Preston) will give you the opportunity to pass on your birthday wishes!

The new track completedThe trackwork out the shed has now been pronounced “complete”, with everything in place and ballasted. Again, well done to all concerned for completing this within a relatively short timescale and in some pretty cold weather at times.

Inside the shed, the lining and lettering on the RMB has now been completed and – in a late addition to this week’s blog – has now been varnished too. The RMB in varnishThe lack of dust from other projects in the shed whilst the RMB has been painted has been very much appreciated, but normal services can be resumed from Wednesday. More new platework on the RMBJohn has again been busy completing repairs to the bodywork and floor at the east end of the coach, and the paintwork here will be undertaken once the work has finished. Paul paints the last bogie side on the RMBPaul appeared on Friday and is seen here painting the side of one of the bogies in gloss black. It has to be reported, though, that the project to create a new plate for the side of the gas storage door suffered a setback for, when Paul removed the plaster of Paris mould, it was found that some of the lettering was unclear – perhaps the mould had been left in place for too long. Another attempt will be made when some proper release agent has been acquired.

Caliban's frames go pinkWork has continued apace on Caliban, with Adrian using the dust curfew to paint the frames with a fetching shade of pink undercoat. Likewise, Fred and Roger have been sorting out components in a dust free manner, and Alan has been drilling holes in a new section of running board.Alan drills holes in new running board for Caliban

Keith has been busy re-fixing the loose valve head on 5643 before heading over to Embsay with George yesterday to undertake some more winter maintenance on the loco.

Alan and Sam working on FR20Looking forward to next weekend, Furness Railway No. 20 is back in steam at Locomotion, Shildon, and Alan and Sam (seen here under FR 20) paid a flying visit there on Friday to prepare the loco with the assistance of Brian Goodfellow. He will no doubt be glad to see that the weather for the end of the week is forecast to warm up a little.

Monday 6th February 2017

Monday, 6th February 2017

The RMB changing colourMore paint has been added to the sides of the RMB this week as work has moved on to applying a gloss finish. A final coat of varnish will be added by John and Tim, hopefully next Monday.

Paul prepares the gas door plate prior to making a mouldMike and Paul, meanwhile, have been working on creating a sign for the RMB’s new gas door cover. This has involved delving back into likes of old Blue Peter annuals to re-discover the joys of using plaster of Paris to create a mould from the other door cover from which a new sign can be cast. We see here Paul preparing the existing sign with a release agent. News of success or failure on this particular project will be brought to you in future blogs!

The new parts washerWith a temporary dust ban in place in the shed this week, we were again spared the noise of the needle gun as Adrian resorted to using a paint brush instead. Alan and John were engaged in the dust-free project of assembling a new parts washer, which has been kindly donated to the FRT along with a supply of paraffin. This should make the cleaning of greasy/oily components much easier in the future. Fred and Roger appeared on Friday and also managed to find dust-free jobs on which to be engaged in progressing Caliban‘s overhaul.

There was a further working party on Wootton Hall on Saturday, with George making an appearance to prepare some more tubes for removal from the boiler and, with some help from David, cutting up some of the tubes already removed for loading into the metal skip.

Outside the shed, there has been some further tweaking of the alignment of the track into road four of the shed prior to the final packing of the ballast.

Finally, a first call now for the Preston Branch meeting next Tuesday 14th February. There will be some presentations of bygone rail traction and, as it’s St. Valentine’s night, it could be an excuse to bring along the other half for some steamy entertainment?! As usual, the meeting will be held at 8pm at the Ale Emporium, Fylde Road, Preston.