Monday 22nd May 2017

The RMB at Preston is starting to look like its old self as work progresses to finish the remaining work on its overhaul.

One finished door entrance. Only another four to go.John finished his woodworking around one door entrance and then started to remove the rot from another entrance! John attacking the rot at another door entranceAs you can see, it has been necessary to rip up the lino in various places and it is intended to purchase some new floor covering for the vestibules and the servery area. David has contacted a couple of suppliers and should have some samples when he comes to Preston on Wednesday.

The paint cabinet receiving some, er, paintTim put a couple of coats of paint (primer and undercoat) on the secondhand paint cabinet that we have acquired. There has been some discussion as to the final colour scheme in that it seems to be the vogue to have them painted yellow. We’ll see what paint can be found!

Mike has continued to complete jobs inside the RMB and has also made up a frame so that a mould can be created for a metal number ‘9’. A NLR No. 9 - or was it a 6?The history behind this is that North London carriages carried a weight marker on the ends and the second class coach body that was purchased back in 1971, and which subsequently has been restored to operational condition, had a ‘9’ at each end – but one of them was broken. In fact, for some reason, neither was replaced on the vehicle during restoration and Tim came across them recently when moving various items to Preston from his garage. And so a replacement ‘9’ is being made and then both of them can be attached to our NLR coach. In fact, it may well be worth making another couple of ‘9’s in anticipation of restoring the other second class NLR coach body that is in store in Blackpool!

Caliban receiving attentiionWork continues on Caliban, with Adrian now cleaning off the running boards and Alan and John continuing to drill holes in the new plate.

Work also continues on Wootton Hall where the buffer beam is again receiving attention.

There will be no blog next week because of holidays – can we really believe the forecast of sunshine over a Bank Holiday?!

Monday 15th May 2017

Last Tuesday saw the Trustees meet to consider the 2016 Accounts and the Trustees’ Annual Report as part of an agenda that totalled 18 items. With the M6 closure between Lancaster and Preston looming at 10 pm, the agenda was rattled through in under two hours, which just left Alison’s pile of sandwiches and cakes to demolish before we all set off for home. (Thanks, Alison!) A decision that will affect all members is the setting of the date for the AGM, which will take place in the shed at Preston at 19.30 on Tuesday evening, 27th June.

The usual working parties took place at Preston on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with Keith also appearing on Sunday to take forward restoration on Wootton Hall. Wootton Hall's front end being stripped downAs can be seen, work has been progressing on stripping down the front end of the engine, and George has been needle gunning the buffer beam. Wootton Hall's front buffer beam after attention from the needle gunThe front buffers have also been cleaned up ready for painting.some old buffers

There has been more progress on the RMB where Tim has applied gloss black paint to the east end headstock and John has been attending to rotten wood floor at door entrances. How many tools does it take to repair a floor?This photo shows the nature of the problem together with the vast array of tools that John uses to remove the rot and to fashion up some replacement wood – only another four door entrances to go! Mike has again been attending to the interior.

Caliban's underframes after cleaning and paintingAdrian reckons to have removed the last areas of rust and old paint from beneath Caliban‘s frames and also given them a coat of red oxide. Adrian is now threatening to create even more dust when he sets about cleaning off the running boards. Howard has confessed to breaking yet another part of the sanding gear in his attempts to free it up, but is making amends by conjuring up some replacement parts.

Monday 8th May 2017

It has been another week of steady progress on our projects at Preston.

John has been preparing and fitting new step boards to the RMB, the RSR joinery dept having planed up some useful second hand wood to specification. John enjoying some woodworkingJust a case then of filling some old nail holes, chamfering off the edges and corners, and then fitting them. Fitting the finished articleA A couple of door rebates also needed rectification, and all the door grab handles have been polished and fitted. Mike has spent yet more time in the south side toilet but tells us that he feels a lot better now that he has managed to re-fit the door! David has been out with his sewing needle, repairing seat covers and Tim has started the job of painting the east end head stock, which somehow seems to have been omitted from previous painting operations.

Mike and Paul have again been busy experimenting with the creation of moulds for the replacement of missing plates on the RMB under the frames. Paul with his blancmangePaul is seen here pouring a substance which appears to have some resemblance to blancmange. Paul has also made more progress with cleaning down the new paint cabinet, which will no doubt be receiving a coat of red oxide very shortly.

Work has again continued on Caliban; yes there has been more dust from Adrian, Howard has broken another part of the sanding gear with his hammer, and work has progressed on the running board.

Keith, Fred and George have continued their labours on Wootton Hall where bits continue to be removed from around the front end for Fred to clean. There has also been a search for copper tube of the right specification for the lubrication system, but this has proved to be somewhat of a challenge for David, despite the power of the internet.

The Trustees are meeting tomorrow evening at Alison’s house to review the Annual Report and Accounts for 2016. On previous occasions Trustees have departed after the meeting to find either the M6 or the A590 has been closed – as a result one arrived home at 01.45 in the morning! Sure enough, this latest meeting has coincided with a planned closure of the M6 south of Lancaster, so there will be some pressure to get the meeting finished pronto!

Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Mike and John were busy last Wednesday in their efforts to complete outstanding jobs on the RMB. Mike spent even more time in one of the toilets (and they’re not tested yet!) whilst John attended to the replacement of grab handles, footboards and steps.

Adrian was again busy cleaning Caliban‘s frames, and Alan and John did more work on the running boards where corroded areas of steel are being cut out for replacement. Fred appeared on Friday to clean off the second of Wootton Hall‘s front buffers.

Tim and Mike Bailey of Ribble Steam Railway had a useful visit on Wednesday to Rochdale to see our joint solicitor, Richard Greenwood, in order to progress the sub-lease for the shed.

The Shildon Gang prepare FR 20 in double quick timeAlan and Alison went over to Locomotion, Shildon, last Friday in readiness for FR 20’s three days in steam, with Tim planning to join them on Sunday evening to crew FR 20 with Alan on Monday. This plan altered when it became apparent that there was a shortage of drivers at Preston, so Tim took the Sunday turn there and Keith agreed to move to the Monday slot so that all RSR days were covered. Tim then headed over to Shildon on Monday morning, with the family – no need to get there early, said Alan, we’re in light steam on the apron in the morning. When Tim got as far as Levens the phone rang: it was Alan to report that the other loco at Shildon, Beatrice, had failed (with a broken spring) and that FR 20 was now due to start operations at 10 am! After a rapid journey over the Pennines, Tim arrived just as the joint resources at Shildon had completed the swift preparation of FR 20 and in time to move the loco into the platform ready for service – phew!! FR 20 heads another busy demonstration trainWe are pleased to be able to report that FR 20 then performed faultlessly all day during six hours of continuous running on the demonstration line.

George called in at the Battlefield Line on Sunday to see how Cumbria was faring, but the winter maintenance work hadn’t quite been completed. A test run was being arranged for the Sunday evening, which the Battlefield Line report went well with the knocking from the bottom end “eliminated” thanks to the re-machined and refitted big end bearings. They say thank you all for providing the locomotive which has been a real workhorse for them.