Monday 16th October 2017

It has been another full week of activity to keep us busy.

The Preston Branch meeting on Tuesday turned out to be an unfortunate catalogue of cancellations. Ade’s train from the Pleasure Beach was cancelled so he had to find an alternative means of getting to the meeting. Then it was found that the landlord of The Ale Emporium had changed and the usual room had been hired out to a ladies’ dance group(!). The evening then became an opportunity for members to have a beer or two whilst having an enjoyable discussion. Alan’s new ‘phone became the source of the evening’s photos, the main feature being the X-Ray of Alison’s knee (see last week’s blog) and bruised legs! Others continued to chat, with a break out party to the Vic, whilst Tim had to hurry home after discovering that the later Furness Line train had been cancelled as well…!

There was a good turn out at Preston on Wednesday. John Davis and Mike with the water boiler in the RMBJohn Dixon continued with his woodwork on the RMB door beading, whilst Mike and John Davis cleaned the servery area and re-fitted the water boiler. Fred cleaning the TPO roofTim spent the day cleaning the south side of the TPO vehicle roof, which was finished on Friday with the assistance of Fred. Paul has been vacuuming the seats, which now look much better after his attention. Only another 200 feet of tape to go!Howard continued the challenge of removing the yellow tape from the sides of the TPO and on Saturday Howard and David between them managed to finish removing both yellow stripes from the north side of the TPO – as Howard said, parking restrictions have now been removed!

Which way does it go tother?Ade was busy re-assembling the reverser gear on Caliban after some deliberation with Alan as to how it fitted together.It fits now!

Sam at work cleaning stud threadsMeanwhile Sam spent a considerable time cleaning up the threads of the studs for Caliban‘s valve covers.

Keith removing the rivetsJohn H is seen here giving Keith a hand, who was removing old rivets from the Hall’s tender frames. JH at work on a GWR loco!We had to remind John H that he had been caught red handed working on a GWR loco! John Stewart welding Wootton Hall's tender framesJohn Stewart came in on Saturday to do some welding on the frames, seen here, and the buffer beam was then temporarily fitted on to the frames.The new buffer beam temporarily fitted.to Wootton Hall's tender frames

5643 at Bo'ness waiting to take the 14.10 train to ManuelAs you will recall, 5643 was due to be transported up to the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway on Monday, but when Alan and Alison arrived there on Thursday afternoon it was nowhere to be seen. It finally arrived on Thursday evening to be offloaded on Friday morning. The causes of the delay were driver sickness, a fault with the trailer, flooding on the A65 on Wednesday and a crane fire near Kendal on the M6 on Thursday morning, which caused the northbound carriageway to the closed.

5643 being prepared at Bo'ness on SaturdayHowever, having said all that, Alan reports that 5643 ran well on Saturday and Sunday on the B&KR’s service train with barely a slip on that bank past Birkhill. It seems that some of the people attending the photo charter next Friday were trying out South Wales headcode targets (eg Abercynon to Merthyr Tydfil) on the loco to make sure that they would fit. Alison set up a souvenir sales stand in the buffet car as well as taking some photos for us to enjoy.5643 ready for the right away on Saturday morning.

Moving on, no sooner have we finished completing the 14 month boiler strip down and examination on 5643 than it is the turn of Furness Railway No. 20 to undergo the same process. A working party at Locomotion, Shildon, has been scheduled for Tuesday, 31st October with a cold examination by the boiler surveyor booked for Friday, 3rd November. A formal steam test has been provisionally booked for Friday, 10th November, in advance of two further booked steamings on the 11th and 12th in connection with a Lego event.

Monday 9th October 2017

The principal task last week was the completion of the work required to put 5643 into an operable condition after its firebox work and subsequent cold examination by the boiler surveyor.

Old and new blower rings for 5643A working party took place at Embsay on Wednesday with Keith, John Dixon and John Davis travelling across with the newly machined blower ring, refractory concrete and formers for the brick arch together with a variety of tools. The new and old blower rings are pictured above. Alan had also travelled down and the gang were successful in installing the new blower ring before 5643 was drawn out of the shed to allow Alan to put in a warming fire. Alan and John Dixon returned to Embsay on Thursday to fire up the loco for its scheduled steam test at 14.30 which it duly passed.

There was another gathering at Embsay when the new brick arch was cast and Fred and Keith cleaned up the exterior of 5643, a task which Keith continued on Sunday. 5643 is due to be transported to Bo’ness today (Monday) and Alan is planning to drive up to Scotland on Thursday with a test steaming at Bo’ness planned for Friday. The loco is then planned to be in normal service on Saturday and Sunday, then the following Friday (Photo Charter and evening Fish & Chip Special), and Saturday and Sunday for the Gala.

The process of getting 5643 through its annual boiler survey and steam test, together with the associated works, in time for its trip to Scotland, devoured much time and effort from the Trust’s volunteers and also that of Steve Shearing who machined the new blower ring. Hearty thanks go to all those involved and also to our boiler surveyor for arranging his diary to fit into our schedule.

Howard at work with scraper on the TPOAs promised in last week’s blog, the RMB has moved out of the heated part of the shed with its place being taken by the RSR’s Post Office Sorting Vehicle No. 80377. Tim and David took plenty of measurements and photographs before the graphics are removed to allow painting to take place. Tim then started to remove loose paintwork on the roof whilst, on Saturday, David and Howard commenced the task of removing the two 2″ wide yellow lines which had been taped on to the bodywork. It had been thought that a heat gun would assist in the removal of the tape, but the fact that there are two layers of tape defeated these efforts and so it was necessary to resort to scrapers to make progress.

With Mike away it was left to Paul and John Davis to continue the remaining jobs on the RMB on Friday including a clean up of the old water boiler and more shining of the brass work. Ade at workAdrian made further progress with painting up Caliban‘s components, seen here with one of the pins. There is also a view of a sparkling brake beam.Caliban's sparkling brake beam

Alan and Alison were at Locomotion, Shildon over the weekend for two more steamings of FR 20. Unfortunately, Alison’s knee, which she injured in a fall at Preston last weekend whilst preparing for the Folk Evening, flared up on the Saturday resulting in an unexpected trip to both Bishop Auckland and Darlington hospitals before doctors were able to declare that the problem was severe bruising, which would require Alison to rest. And there lies the problem, for it is a well known fact that Alison doesn’t do ‘resting’! We all wish her well for a speedy recovery.

FR 20’s boiler certificate will expire before its next planned steamings on the 11th and 12th November, so it will be necessary to prepare the locomotive for a cold examination by the boiler surveyor. It is provisionally planned that a working party will visit Shildon on Tuesday, 31st October, depending on the availability of our usual loyal volunteers.

Finally, it is that time of year again when we start the winter season of Preston branch meetings. The first will take place tomorrow, Tuesday 10th October, at 8 pm at The Ale Emporium, Fylde Road, Preston when, no doubt, more steamy videos will be shown.

With the RMB almost ready to be passed over for operation on the Ribble Steam Railway, we leave you with a ‘blast from the past’ photo of Carriage and Wagon stalwarts David Rimmer and John Dixon behind the counter on a visit to Cowlairs, Glasgow, to inspect the new acquisition on Saturday, 15th January 1982. Can it really be 35 years since it was purchased?!Mine's a pint!

Monday 2nd October 2017

Yet another busy week has passed by – well we don’t really want too many quiet times, but the occasional rest would be useful…!

5643 passed its cold inspection with the boiler surveyor on  Thursday, and Keith and George were planning to head over to Embsay yesterday (Sunday) to refit the safety valves, washout plugs and mudhole doors. Steve Shearing machines the new blower ring for 5643Meanwhile, Steve Shearing has been spending many hours in the workshop at Preston machining the new blower ring and elbow in readiness for fitting before the steam test. This has been quite a challenge to accomplish in time and it is hoped that it will be ready to fit on Wednesday before the fire is lit! A steam test has been scheduled for Thursday afternoon after which a new brick arch will have to be fitted before the loco leaves Embsay on Monday morning for its visit to the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway over the following two weekends.

The RMB has been spending its last week in the heated part of the shed as a move into the unheated part has been arranged for today, Monday. The TPO coach waiting a move into the FRT shedIts place will be taken by the RSR’s Post Office Sorting vehicle No. 80377 which was recently purchased from the Kirklees Light Railway and is planned to be used as an exhibit in the museum. Built in 1972, the vehicle was withdrawn from service in 2004. Whilst, on the surface, it does not appear to be in too bad a condition, there will be plenty of tidying up to do on the bodywork before it can be painted.

The various snagging jobs on the RMB were the subject of further work this week, and here we have to confess that a previous blog report that John Dixon had nearly finished replacing the panelling and beading around the doors was proven to be incorrect. John was keen to point out that such jobs take rather longer than people think and the blog team profusely apologises for belittling the task!

Mike making the RMB light upA shore electrical supply was  connected to the RMB so that the lights could be tested. Although many of them were not working initially, this was mainly because of dirty contacts. By the time that Mike Rigg had finished his work only one light bulb actually had to be changed. John Davis cleaning the metalwork in the RMBJohn Davis (seen here) and Paul carried on the other jobs inside the RMB including polishing the brasswork, which had obviously not seen a cleaning rag for many a year.

Adrian continued his work with a paintbrush on Caliban, giving a coat of black to the reverser quadrant whilst John H and Alan attended to other important jobs such as making a decision on the main colour scheme for the loco. The trouble with having so many choices is that you can't make up your mind!At Adrian’s request Tim had brought in a pile of colour charts as Ade has hopes of painting the wheels in the not too distant future. Having brought the number of shades of blue down to a choice of three, Alan and John finally opted to be contrary by choosing ‘Pacific Blue’ for a 0-4-0 saddle tank loco!

Wootton Hall‘s tender frames are now perched on a custom built steel stand constructed by Keith from some scrap RSJs which had been acquired. Roger and Fred turned up very late on Friday having been stuck on the M6 for a couple of hours north of Preston. Roger put a coat of grey undercoat on Wootton Hall‘s brake beams whilst Fred went cleaning up the former Foxfield water column.

The RSR’s Autumn Diesel Gala was successful and was augmented by the addition of a visiting DRS Class 37, which came down from Kingmoor at Carlisle. There was also some evening running in conjunction with a Folk Evening in the cafe which Alison had organised to raise funds for the new children’s playground, with music being provided by Fleetwood Folk Club. The whole event turned out to be a great success, so well done to Alison, to all those who provided the music, the front of house staff and, of course, the diesel gang who ran the trains. There is already talk of another similar event next year.

Last Thursday afternoon Tim went across to Locomotion at Shildon on behalf of the FRT to attend a Stakeholder Reception to mark the takeover of Locomotion by the Science Museum Group (SMG). The museum had previously been run as a partnership between Durham County Council and the National Railway Museum. It was announced that Durham County Council is to fund the conservation of the Grade 1 listed coal drops, which have been fenced off because of a deterioration in their condition. Ian Blatchford, Director of the SMG, then confirmed that the SMG is going to spend £1.6m on conserving the historic buildings at the Hackworth end of the site and that he had aspirations to spend more money on telling the story of Shildon’s contribution to the early days of railway operation. It was all very uplifting!

Next weekend sees Alan and Alison also head once again over the Pennines to Locomotion at Shildon for a couple more FR 20 steamings in connection with the Shildon Model Railway Exhibition.