Monday 27th March 2017

John sandingIt was a quieter day at Preston on Wednesday with Alan braving the snow to go to Shildon once the snow gates on the A66 had been lifted. Tim was also away which left John working away sanding gangway metalwork at the east end of the RMB whilst Mike continued the reassembly of the toilets. The newly erected shelvesDavid has now finished the assembly of the new shelving in the first class North London Railway coach body and he and Tim spent some time on Saturday stacking paint cans and other C&W consumables from the interior of the RMB.

Adrian at workHowever, Adrian broke the silence in the shed with the needlegun around Caliban‘s valve chest. One of Caliban's new lubrication pots on its new standHoward is still busy with Caliban‘s new lubrication boxes, making stands for them, and happy that his precious knife and fork survived the fall of the North London Carriage door on his tool box last week, which didn’t fare as well.

More work for Fred and RogerKeith has been removing more platework and also the vacuum reservoir from Wootton Hall in readiness for Fred and Roger to clean and apply primer paint. Last week's output from FredLast week’s output from Fred is seen here.

Alan and Alison had good weather up at Shildon over the weekend and Alan and Tim were successfully re-assessed for driving there on Thursday and Friday. Alan on the footplate with fellow Shildon volunteer Terry Newman during assessmentsTim and Martin in the brake van during driver assessmentsAlan is seen here on the footplate on Thursday whilst Tim is seen acting as guard with Martin Clark on Friday whilst Anthony Coulls is assessed.

Guest locomotive for the RSR Diesel GalaThe Ribble Steam Railway’s Diesel gala took place over last Saturday and Sunday and the photo of visiting Colas locomotive 60047 shows it outside the RSR running shed during the driver’s lunch break on Saturday. This next weekend will see the RSR’s Steam Gala with four engines in steam, which will keep Keith, Alan and Tim busy.

A first reminder here that the final Preston Branch meeting of this season will take place at 8 pm on Tuesday evening, 11th April, at The Ale Emporium, Preston. No doubt more steamy videos to watch.

Monday 20th March 2017

This week we start by reporting the passing of our 110 volt Makita hand drill, which was purchased as long ago at 2001. Sixteen years of hard use can’t be bad and, after some discussion about the characteristics required of its successor,  it has been replaced by a new, slightly more powerful, Makita drill which arrived on Friday. We look forward to another sixteen years of productive use…..

Ready for paintingThe seemingly never ending work on the RMB continued again this week. John has just about finished his endeavours at the east end of the coach and it is seen here ready for the final coats of paint – the view rather belies the amount of work that John has put in to bring the metalwork back up to standard. John is aiming to get around to the west end next week in order to re-instate the passenger operated brake mechanism, otherwise known as the communication cord. This will enable the panelling on the south side toilet to be completed after the communication cord has been permanently re-attached to the frame of the coach. Mike contemplatingMike Rigg has been busy completing the re-installation of fittings in the north side toilet and can be seen here contemplating his next move. Paul cleans the toilet doorPaul is seen cleaning the door ready for fitting.

The new shelving on the 1st Class NLR coach bodyWith a need to start emptying the RMB, which has acted as a store in recent years, David has been erecting the shelving, kindly donated by Michael Cook, in the first class North London Railway coach body. It is seen here in partially constructed condition. David has now finished the job and some of the equipment has already been moved over. However, at Adrian’s suggestion, David took it upon himself to clean the windows of our new store so that we can see our way around only to find that most of the muck removed was Adrian’s dust! Just need now to replace the exterior door which fell off on Saturday..

Adrian continues to create that cloud of dust above Caliban as he cleans up the frames with both needle gun and cup wire brush. Alan at work with a paint brushAlan is seen here with paint brush in hand putting red oxide on what will be the underside of the new piece of Caliban‘s running board after having received tips of the trade on painting from none other than Adrian! Some grey undercoat was subsequently applied on Friday by the C&W team.

Work has also continued on Wootton Hall where some of the firebox back head cladding has been attached in order to mount some of the fittings temporarily on a test basis. Keith removing the front platework on Wootton HallThe front platework on Wootton Hall removedKeith has also removed some of the engine’s platework adjacent to the front bufferbeam so that it can be cleaned up and painted. Fred at work cleaning up the plateworkFred took on the challenge of wire brushing the plate on Friday and can be seen at work here.

This next weekend sees the opening event in the RSR’s operating calendar with the Diesel Gala on the 25th and 26th. A Colas locomotive is due to attend on the Saturday.

Over the Pennines, Alan will be looking after FR 20 during four days of steaming, starting on Thursday for two days of driver assessments (Tim also attending Friday) and then two days in traffic.

Monday 13th March 2017

Ballast being dropped on road fourRoad four in the unheated area of the new shed received ballast up to the top of the sleepers, as can be seen in this photo where Keith is watching Phil Preston operate the hydraulic grab on the RSR TRAM. The day when we will be concreting (or the ‘C’ word as John termed it last week) again draws ever closer.

John has been busying himself completing floor repairs at the east end of the RMB and Tim has applied a first coat of primer over the recently completed body repairs around the corridor connection. Toilet taking shapeMike Rigg has almost completed the re-installation of panelling in the first of the RMB toilets. A clear out of the vast amount of paraphernalia in the RMB – some useful and some for the skip – has started and David Rimmer is clearing a space in the first class North London Railway coach body to accommodate the useful items. Michael Cook kindly donated some shelving a little while ago and it is planned to erect this in the coming week or so.

Paul and the paint cupboardIn addition, Paul Newton is breathing new life into the old RSR paint cupboard in readiness to receive the paint cans that are currently stored in the RMB.

Elsewhere, Adrian has been making more dust (Wednesday) on cleaning up Caliban‘s frames followed by Fred on Friday. Alan was also busy on the project on Wednesday, when we had a visitation from long term member, Neil Glover.

Wootton Hall's water collection chamberKeith has also been busy with the new water collection chamber which will eventually be fastened under the new tender tank for Wootton Hall, when commissioned. As can be seen from the photo, it is now getting to the paint stage.

Monday 6th March 2017

Paul and Mike cleaning brass carriage grab handlesMike and Tim finished cleaning the windows on the RMB last Wednesday and Mike and Paul are seen here making a start on cleaning up the brass handles ready for fitting. The new letter 'B'Paul has also been filing the new letter B for the gas compartment cover. Re-assembling the inside of the RMBThe temporary absence of Tom and Trevor has been felt in that it is now time to re-assemble the internal panelling and Mike started the work by cleaning down the various components in the south side toilet – not a job to be relished. He is seen here re-installing a pelmet for one of the saloon compartment doors.

The dust curfew is definitely over, with Adrian creating both noise and dust with the needle gun and cup wire brush on Wednesday as he worked on Caliban‘s frames. Adrian has also recently celebrated a birthday and duly arranged for Alison to bake some cakes to share on Wednesday – this run of birthday cakes isn’t doing productivity in the afternoon any good! Drilling holes in the new piece of Caliban's running boardAlan continued to drill holes in the new piece of running board. We refrained from including yet more photos of Fred and Roger at work on Caliban‘s wheels although it can be reported that they have recently changed sides!

The new lubrication valves fitted on the smokebox of Wootton HallThe newly acquired lubrication valves for Wootton Hall have now been fitted in position on the smokebox. This view of the right hand side shows the sole regulator lubrication valve above one of the two cylinder lubrication valves -the other being fitted to the left hand side of the smokebox.

Keith reports to us that the track on road four of the unheated part of the shed has now been levelled and awaits some more ballast and crush and run filling in readiness for concreting. There may still be a need to level some of the track on road three, so there is a potential stay of execution before we all have to start wheeling heavy wheelbarrows of concrete around the shed.

News from The Battlefield Line is that Cumbria is expected to undergo its annual cold exam for the boiler surveyor next week. One of the clacks is being refurbished and the big ends are being taken down for white metalling before it goes back into service at Easter.

Latest local transport news – for those wanting to travel to the FRT’s home at the Ribble Steam Railway from Preston station and wishing to forego the ten minutes walk from McDonalds, there is good news in that there is now almost an hourly 75/75A service from the station, commencing at 07.10, then 09.25 and 25 minutes past the hour until it starts to vary at 16.31, Mondays to Fridays. On Saturdays it is 07.25, 09.25 and then 25 minutes past the hour until 17.40.