Monday 29th January 2018

Here we are, at the end of January already! But there seems to have been plenty of progress over the month and, indeed, last week.

Andy Morton works on the TPO watched by statutory onlookersWork has continued apace on the RSR’s TPO where Andy Morton paid a visit on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for giving a regular hand with the project from this next week. He is seen here with the statutory number of onlookers whilst he works.

John Davis and Paul Newton fit a new piece of wood above one of the TPO's sliding doorsJohn Davis and Paul fitted a new piece of wood above one of the TPO shutter doors on Friday and Tim has once again been busy with the filler and sanding machine. Roger appeared on Friday to continue painting the frames.

Ade cleaning Caliban's horguidesAde has been attacking the grime on Caliban with a needle gun, and can be seen here working on one of the hornguides.

Fred cleans up 5643's blastpipeFred has been making dust once more, this time cleaning up 5643’s blast pipe. Fortunately the weather was good so the dust stayed outside!

Sink in position and drains connectedJohn Dixon has continued his work on the new kitchen in the mess room where the sink unit has now been fitted and the drain connected. Will we see some running water next week?

Ade examines one of the NLR axle pads - and is Tim oiling Ade's ear or holding the brush?tFinally, the welding on Wootton Hall’s tender frames has been put back a week and is now scheduled to take place on the 9th and 10th February.


Monday 22nd January 2018

The main event last Wednesday was the installation of the drain for the kitchen in the new mess hut. Contrary to those offering pessimistic predictions, the weather wasn’t too cold and it was a welcome surprise to find that Alan Vernon had kindly excavated a trench with the JCB the previous day. However, it soon became clear that there was no time to waste as the only person on site who seemed to unaware of the plan to dig a trench in front of the side gates was Mike MacArthur, who had ordered a delivery of oil for Thursday! So John Dixon got to work with his drill, assuming that the wall of the manhole chamber could be penetrated with an 8″ long drill. However, once the 8″ had been reached it was necessary to attack with a chisel – and then an even longer chisel before a breakthrough was achieved at 12″ into the chamber. John checks that the new drain pipe stands trueThereafter John soon had the drain pipe installed and the trench was immediately filled in with the JCB.

The new worktop cut for the sinkFriday saw John doing the delicate task of cutting out the hole in the work top for the double sink to be fitted.

Part of the TPO nearly ready for painting.Work has continued on the RSR’s TPO where the initial assumption that the bodywork was in relatively good condition has been somewhat contradicted by the fact that Tim has now applied the best part of two large cans of filler and a can of fibreglass – and he hasn’t yet started on the south side of the vehicle!

John Davis and Paul working on the TPO's double doorsPaul and John Davis have just about finished their works on the south side double door and are seen here fitting a new retaining hole surround.

Roger paints the TPO framesMeanwhile Roger Benbow has continued to paint the bogies and frames.

Adrian, Howard and Alan have once again been busying themselves with jobs on Caliban whilst Alan Ogden and Anthony Jolly have done further work on Fluff.

Fred fills the shed with dust as he cleans 5643's superheater header.Fred filled the shed with dust on Friday as he cleaned up 5643’s superheater header ready for some machining.

George pulls a funny face as Keith cuts metal for Wootton Hall's tenderKeith and George spent Saturday cutting and trimming metal for the top of the tender frames for Wootton Hall whilst Derek recorded their work on video for posterity.

Further serious work on the tender frames will now have to wait until the appearance of a coded welder a week on Friday to stitch the new front sides to the existing frames.

David applies paint to a signal post that will be going in the RSR MuseumAnd finally for this week, David spent Saturday painting a signal post which will shortly become an exhibit in the RSR museum.

Monday 15th January 2018

We start this week’s blog with the news that one of our senior members, John Houghton, is in Preston Hospital after suffering a suspected mild heart attack earlier last week. John is expected to stay in care for a little while until he recovers fully and we send our best wishes to him.

Work in the shed continues on the RSR TPO vehicle where the double door featured last week continues to present stubborn resistance to attempts to improve its shape. It was decided that the profile could be improved by the insertion of a coach bolt through the outer metal skin and by tightening the nut against the interior wooden frame. Unfortunately, Mike didn’t reckon on the strength of the steel which appears to be of the hardened variety…! Drinking tea is the really hard workMike is seen here last Wednesday with the statutory assemble of onlookers drinking tea whilst he attempts, in vain, to drill a hole. This is how you drill a hole!Paul took up the cause on Friday and was more successful, only breaking one drill bit in the process!

The sanding and filling of the exterior of the TPO continues apace, although new holes in the bodywork seem to appear on a regular basis as rust is tackled. Fred at work on the TPO underframeGood progress is being made on the bogies and underframes and Fred is seen here in action with his paint brush.

Adrian and Howard, when not drinking tea (see above) have been making further progress on Caliban with a view to lifting it clear of the wheels in the not-too-distant future. Keith has received yet more new steel for Wootton Hall and it is planned to have the new tender frame sides welded on the 2nd and 3rd of February.

Meanwhile, and in the warmth of the new mess hut, John Dixon has continued his ongoing task of fitting out the kitchen area. The new kitchen units and worktop taking shapeThe new worktop is seen loosely in position awaiting adaptation to accommodate the double sink. It is planned on Wednesday to dig a trench outside for the drain, although the weather conditions look a little wintery this week!

Looking forward, the Ribble Steam Railway is receiving a visit from a Pathfinder Rail Tour on Saturday, 10th February. The Tour commences at Eastleigh in Hampshire and is planned to arrive at the RSR top and tailed with Class 66 and Class 57 locomotives. It will stay at Preston Riverside for an hour or so to allow passengers to stretch their legs and to visit the Preston site. The FRT has been requested to open up the shed to visitors and Alison is planning to have the sales stand there. Help to show visitors around the shed would be appreciated.


And finally, after what must clearly have been a successful New Year gig, our folk group, Live Steam, has been requested to appear back at the Engine Inn at Cark on Saturday, 17th March as part of some planned St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Monday 8th January 2018

A belated happy New Year to all our readers as we head into a fresh year. Who knows what it will bring?

There wasn’t much let up in the pace of work at Preston over the Christmas period with working parties continuing to take place on their usual days of the week; Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The concrete under the east end shed doors is now completeThe first photo shows the completed concreting under the east end shed doors which was laid just before Christmas. There is still plenty more to do in the east half of the shed, but the more immediate task has since been to continue the installation of the kitchen in the new mess room. As John Dixon is both our head of concreting and chief plumber, it is a case of one job at a time. More new kitchen units under construction in the new mess roomWe then need to dig a channel outside the mess room to allow a pipe to be laid to a nearby drain manhole. Once this is achieved, new tarmac can be laid there as part of the overall plan to create a new playground.

Inside the shed, work has continued on the repairs and painting of the RSR’s TPO vehicle. John Davis and Howard Fletcher inspect the RSR's TPO door which requires corrosion repairsJohn David and Howard Fletcher are seen here examining a corroded and ill fitting door whilst, below, Ade is seen demonstrating his method of fixing the problem – with a hammer! Adrian shows how C&W repairs should be carried out - with his hammerTim has continued with the filling and sanding, Paul with the renewal of rotted woodwork, and Fred and Roger have continued to clean and paint the headstocks and bogies.

Ade has spent the rest of his time moving on the project to restore Caliban including more sanding and painting .

Alan Ogden with Fluff's fuse boxAlan Ogden made a welcome re-appearance from Devon to refurbish Fluff‘s fuse box.

More steelwork has been added to the rear of Wootton Hall's tender chassisKeith has continued to assemble more steelwork on Wootton Hall‘s tender frames as can be seen from this view of the rear of the chassis. Some more components for the locomotive, which have become available recently, have been purchased, including these two rear valve head cover castings which cost £60 each.Two new rear valve head cover glands castings - £60 each.

Plus there are four castings which will make up two steam heat valves. Two new steam heat castings. £240 each in total.The smaller items cost £60 each whilst the larger casting cost £180 each.

Sponsorship of any of these items would be very greatly appreciated.

Live Steam in action on New Year's EveFinally, Live Steam played their last gig of 2017 at the Engine Inn at Cark-in-Cartmel. Both Alan and Tim were suffering for the excesses of singing on the Santa Special Trains at Preston but just about managed to sing without too much coughing and spluttering!