Monday 31st July 2017

The blog is back in business after a short break for holidays. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone has had time off!

First we return to the acquisition of the new portable office where, at last, we have been able to obtain the keys to be able to enter the building for the first time. There is a certain analogy here to the TV programme “Storage Hunters” (no, we don’t watch it either), where people bid to buy locked containers full of “stuff”, which may or may not have some value. Whilst the main point of purchasing the portable office was to provide future messing facilities for the Trust’s volunteers, we had no idea what may have been left inside, hence the appeal in the previous blog for tables and chairs etc. When the door was finally opened there was a pleasant surprise, for the office still contained chairs and melamine topped tables, as well as a filing cabinet and wipe boards. So thanks to those who answered the plea with the offer of chairs, but it appears that we are OK for the moment. Just to top everything off, one of our members has very generously donated a brand new fridge freezer to start off the acquisition of kitchen facilities. Fantastic! No doubt there will be plenty of space now to display Alison’s collection of fridge magnets!

But back to work. John happy at his workJohn has continued his lino laying in the RMB and should hopefully move into the servery area this next week, where the melamine panels and metal beading strips are now securely in place after attention from Mike and Paul. Mike screwing in beadingPaul fixing a door runnerAfter screwing in the beading, Paul has been cleaning up the corner cupboards and assisting Tim with replacing a sliding door runner and with refitting the door itself. David has also removed the buffet door and bottom runner ready for the new lino.

Alan, John H and Adrian have again been busy on Caliban, with Adrian continuing to find places on the frames to attack with the needle gun and angle grinder. Alan has been investigating the condition of the cylinders and Howard now has some steel bar to enable him to make up the sanding actuators.

Fred cleaning one of Wootton Hall's brake beamsFred has again been busy cleaning some of Wootton Hall‘s brake components…. Roger applying a die nut to one of Wootton hall's brake beams…whilst Roger has been cleaning up the threads on the end of the brake beams using a rather unconventional bench to support them! George has, amongst other things, been needle gunning the running plate. Matt has been cleaning up threads on the studs for the cylinder covers whilst Keith has continued to fit lubrication pipework.

Alan Ogden with Fluff's refurbished ammeterfluff's refurbished ammeter We mustn’t forget the continuing work on Fluff where Alan Ogden has finished refurbishing the ammeter.

Alison and Alan had a weekend away in West Cumbria and look what came along the street in Maryport a week last Saturday – the Ratty’s “Train from Spain” hauled by a showman’s engine with a familiar looking minder err doing the minding! Maryport street findLooking forward, Alan and Alison are due to head off to Shildon this next weekend for FR 20’s next steamings and a person has been engaged to sand blast Wootton Hall‘s tender frames on the 10th August.

Monday 17th July 2017

The FRT's new homeWe start this week with the news that the Trustees have agreed the purchase of the portable office on the Ribble Steam Railway site, close to the FRT shed, that was formerly used by the Amber Trains training company. The acquisition of such a building for a mess room had been planned for some time, but the project has been on hold waiting for space alongside the shed to be cleared. The fact that this building is already on site and would otherwise have been returned to the hirer meant that a deal beneficial to both parties, which saved on transport costs, could be done. David has now transferred across the money to complete the purchase, so all we need now are some tables, chairs, kitchen units and the hanging baskets..!

The AGM took place in the shed last week and lasted precisely 51 minutes according to our Secretary. All reports were given, accepted and resolutions duly passed without problem, much to the relief of the Chairman who was suffering from toothache! Despite the teaser in last week’s blog, our Treasurer escaped the meeting without having to answer a single question about the accounts – perhaps they just looked too complicated! Keith managed to be present, coughing and spluttering after his illness last week, but was on the way to recovery.  Thanks to Alan and Alison for the tea, coffee and cakes for the après AGM session, which gave members the chance to have a chat and look at progress on the current projects.

Lino laying in the RMB is making slow but steady progress. However, this may be interrupted this week by David’s discovery on Saturday of an unexpected small hole in the floor when removing old lino. Looks as if John might be back to using the welder again this week.

Paul Newton makes a welcome returnMike Rigg at work with an RMB window frame.There has, however, been considerable progress with the re-installation of the melamine panels in the RMB, assisted by the welcome return of Paul Newton on Friday. The photographs speak for themselves. There is, however, still plenty to do before this job is finished.

Alan was missing last Wednesday – something to do with mistakenly having put an angle grinder blade through the electric cables whilst repairing the long suffering rear bumper of his campervan. John H continued with grinding weld on Caliban‘s newly repaired running plate (quote: “you soon get tired whilst working when you get older”) whilst Adrian worked once more on the frames which are beginning to look as if someone cares about them.

Fred at work on Wootton HallFred and Roger appeared on Friday and continued their work on cleaning components. Fred is seen here using the needle gun on Wootton Hall‘s cylinder block. Keith and Matt have also been at work on the loco.

Alan Ogden at workAnd we mustn’t forget the continuing work on Fluff, where Alan Ogden has been refurbishing the electrical termination boxes.

School holidays arrive this next weekend, so there will be no blog next Monday.

Monday 10th July 2017

A shorter blog this week as attendances at Preston have been lower than usual with a bout of absenteeism due to sickness, home decoration and visits away.

However, progress was made on the RMB where David had removed more of the old lino and John, having finished repairing the door entrances, was coerced into lending a hand with (or taking charge of!) the laying of the new lino. John on his knees with the linoThere was much measuring and double checking of measurements on Wednesday and Friday as the lino was cut and it is hoped to be able to glue some of it down permanently this next week. Re-instatement of the panelling in the servery area has had to take a back seat during Mike’s absence but no doubt its time will come.

Elsewhere progress on Wootton Hall has been thwarted by Keith’s sickness, although Matt made an appearance of Saturday to shatter the peace. John Houghton grinding off weld on Caliban's running boardAdrian had a quiet day under Caliban with the paintbrush on Wednesday whilst Alan and John H continued their work on the running board repairs. Howard did further work on the sanding gear whilst Alan Ogden (who seems to be commuting between Lancashire and Devon) re-appeared to work on Fluff.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) sees the AGM in the shed at Preston at 7.30 pm. Please remember to bring along your copies of the agenda, minutes of the last AGM and the accounts – not to mention your detailed questions for David on such subjects as the reasons for movements in the Deferred Income account etc.! Alan says that he will be bringing along his large teapot for the occasion.

Monday 3rd July 2017

We’ve reached July already – where has the first half of the year gone?! Well there’s been quite a bit of progress on our projects during that time and that has continued in the last week.

Trial fitting of melamine panelsMike has been fitting more wood in the buffet car and arranged a trial fit of the melamine panels in the servery area to check the location of the securing holes for the ‘bum rest’ which has then to be fitted and aligned with suitable wooden backing pieces behind the melamine. Mike rivetting the gas box signMike also refitted the original sign back on to the old gas box door. Tim laying linoTim took the plunge and cut the first piece of lino to rough dimensions ready for detailed fitting whilst John continued his task of repairing the flooring at the door entrances and also started the task of setting the brass door treads into the floor.

Alan weldingThere has been more fitting and welding of new pieces for Caliban‘s new running board. Howard making a square holeStaying with Caliban, Howard has been preparing the tooling for creating a square hole in the new piece of sanding gear.

Fred cleaning the bracketFred has been busy again with the wire brush cleaning up a borrowed cylinder lubrication bracket which is to be used as a pattern for a new one for Wootton Hall. Matt painting Wootton Hall's cylindersMatt has again been busy with the paintbrush priming the Hall’s cylinders.

Don’t forget that the AGM will be held at 7.30 pm on Tuesday, 11th July at the new shed at Preston.

Cumbria badgeAnd finally, Alison has now received a new batch of Cumbria badges (sponsored by a member) to add to the 5643 badges displayed last week – why not buy one of each at £3.95 per badge?