Monday 26th March 2018

Gothenburg departing with the first train on Saturday, 24th MarchAs mentioned in last week’s blog, the Ribble Steam Railway’s Spring Steam Gala took place on Saturday and Sunday with four locomotives in operation, including visiting Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0T Gothenburg from the East Lancashire Railway which is seen here departing from Riverside station with the first train on Saturday.

Ready to go. The buffet car waiting for its first tripThe Gala marked the introduction into service of the FRT’s former RMB buffet car No. 1812, which was placed in the centre of the three coach rake, and very smart it looked. Draught beer has been re-installed to the bar and Brent is seen here drawing off the first drink of the day.Brent draws the first drink of the day

The FRT’s sales stand at the Gala was augmented by the rolling stock from the late John Houghton’s railway layout, which the FRT is selling and will benefit from the proceeds. Alan sorting out the locos for sale

The overhaul of the RSR’s TPO coach bodywork is now reaching its final stages and a coat of red undercoat was applied on Friday. John painting the TPO coach on SaturdayJohn Dixon is pictured here in the process of applying gloss paint on Saturday and it is planned to put on another gloss coat on Wednesday, so a dust curfew is required in the shed for that day. John Davis, Fred and Roger have been continuing their task of painting the frames and bogies and are nearly at an end with this part of the project. Paul Balshaw has been attending to the missing rubbing plates on one of the corridor connections.

Howard and Adrian have continued the task of dismantling the spring hangers and supporting pins from Caliban, it being a slow process as split pins are removed piece by piece!

Keith has picked up two brand new brass snifting valve castings from a foundry in Blackburn for Wootton Hall, and is looking for sponsors of these – they cost 84 each.

We have had news that the new tubes for 5643 are currently being cut and swaged in readiness for transporting to Embsay at the end of the week. Andy Booth is programming in some time shortly after Easter to fit them.

Finally, Alan and Alison are off to Locomotion at Shildon again this next weekend for FR 20’s Easter steamings, although Alison will be at Preston on Good Friday with some of the unsold OO gauge model rolling stock whilst Alan is driving. We hope that the forecast ‘mini-beast from the east’ (wot, another one?!) won’t cause the A66 to be closed once again!

Monday 19th March 2018

It might have been yet another cold wind blowing outside our shed this week, however, within the relatively snugness of a well insulated and heated environment we have seen more progress this week on the three main projects.

John Dixon painting the corridor end of the TPO coachWork has now commenced in earnest on the painting of the RSR’s TPO coach, and John Dixon is seen here painting the corridor ends. The corridor ends going blackNow that this has been achieved, it is planned to start painting the body sides next Friday. Paul Newton and John Davis at work painting the TPO coachDown below, John Davis, Paul Newton, Fred and Roger have been continuing their work in painting the frames, headstocks and bogies. Fred painting one of the TPO headstocksRoger sees red with bogie springsPaul Balshaw also made a start on cleaning up the interior of the coach now that the filling and sanding has finished.

Alan and Howard at work on Caliban's axleboxesAde, Howard and Alan have been stripping the axleboxes on Caliban, although this has been a slow process as it is many years since they have been apart. Ade contemplating under Caliban

Ian Massey was back on Friday to continue his work on welding a new section to Wootton Hall‘s tender frames. Ian Massey at work on Wootton Hall's tender framesIt is planned that he will return again shortly to complete the job. The latest weld completedThe work is taking a little longer than anticipated owing to some distortion that occurred during the original welding and the need to adopt a different technique to prevent a recurrence.

The mess room is becoming better equipped as a result of the clearing of the late John Houghton’s kitchen, the contents of which have been made available to the Trust. Derek has kindly donated some pictures which are starting to go up on the walls.

Next weekend, the 24th and 25th March, will see the rolling stock from John Houghton’s model railway being put up for sale. A reminder here that FRT members will be allowed first pick from 09.00 on the Saturday morning. Videos, books and vinyls for saleA large selection of books, videos and vinyl LPs, seen here stacked in the mess room, will also be available for sale.

Groundworks outside the shedOutside our shed, work has started on preparing the ground ready for tarmac to be put down, probably this next week. This is in advance of the new children’s play area which will be created between the FRT shed and the museum.

FR 20 in the snow at ShildonAlan looked at the weather forecast and decided to delegate the role of owner’s representative for FR 20 at this weekend’s steamings at Locomotion to member Brian Goodfellow, who lives locally to Shildon. After a cold night at ShildonThis was a sensible decision as Alan was due to play at a St. Patrick’s Day gig with our folk band Live Steam at Cark on Saturday evening and, in the event, the local mountain rescue teams had to turn out to rescue people from the A66 on Saturday night!

Monday 12th March 2018

Breaking news this week is that the mess room has now been commissioned, the keynote moment being the transfer last Wednesday morning of the kettle and tea bags from the shed into our new accommodation for members. Keith had wired up the hot water system so John Dixon and Tim then set about re-arranging the tables, chairs, desk and filing cabinet into their new positions, setting up the oven and microwave, as well as selecting those tables which could go into store for use with the sales stand. With the permission of the executor of the late John Houghton’s estate, the FRT has been allowed to clear some household items from Garstang and some cooking pans and a camp bed have been installed in the mess room. These will be followed this next week by cups, plates and cutlery as well as the store of tinned food from John’s cupboards. We are setting up a mess room fund into which donations can be made for tea bags, coffee, milk and the food.

Back to the work place, there has been a continuing push to get the RSR’s TPO coach ready for painting, with Tim John, Dixon, John Davis, Paul Balshaw, Paul Newton, Mike, Fred and Roger all lending a hand. It is hoped to start painting the corridor ends this week before the rather larger task of painting the sides begins. The role of supervisor is obviously very pressured!Mike can be seen here offering suitable supervisory advice to John Davis from the comfort of his chair as John paints a bogie.

Ade and Howard have been making steady progress with Caliban, managing to remove all the pins which were holding the axlebox keeps in place.

Keith has also been making some progress with Wootton Hall and Wednesday saw the arrival of a new clack valve.. New clack valve for Wootton Halland an eccentric rod… Second hand eccentric rod for Wootton HallKeith is asking for expressions of interest to sponsor these items – the clack valve is £400 and the eccentric rod £375 .

With the roads almost clear of snow, Alan and Tim finally made it over to the north east for a meeting on Friday. Alan and Alison have been spending all their spare time this week at John Houghton’s house sorting out his possessions. The items from the train set are being catalogued and Alison is planning to have a sale of the rolling stock during the Ribble Steam Railway’s Steam Gala. A special preview session for FRT members will be held from 09.00 on Saturday, 24th March after which the sale will be open to members of the public. With a bit of luck, it is hoped to have a list of the main items available in time for next week’s blog.

Finally, this next weekend sees Alan and Alison heading over to Shildon for two more steamings with FR 20, with them beating a hasty return to Cark on the Saturday evening for a St. Patrick’s night gig at the Engine Inn with Live Steam.


Monday 5th March 2018

A short update this week.

Attendances at working parties were somewhat reduced owing to the arrival of the so-called “Beast from the East”, which caused travel problems throughout the week.

John Davis, Tim and John Dixon continued work on the RSR’s TPO coach on Wednesday, with both Johns and Paul doing the same on Friday. John Dixon preparing the west end of the TPO coach for paintingJohn Dixon is seen here working on the west corridor end before applying some primer to bare metal.

Alan and Ade continued work on Caliban. Ade attending to the hornstay bolts on CalibanAde is seen here attending to one of the hornstays.

Both Alan and Tim had been due to travel across the Pennines on Wednesday for a meeting, but this was cancelled on Tuesday with the expectation that the A66 snow gates would be down, which they were – for several days! However, Alan and Tim, chauffeured by Ade in the RSR’s pick-up truck, did manage to make a trip to Crewe on Thursday afternoon to bring back some loco parts. There were very cold gale force winds to endure, but the trip was successful.

Saturday saw Alan, Alison and Tim at John Houghton’s house where, at the request of the Executor of John’s estate, they started the sad task of collecting together the rolling stock on his extensive model railway. These items have been put into store and will be made available for purchase, with the FRT benefitting from the proceeds. Please let Alison know if you are interested in purchasing any of these models. Some of Caliban‘s components, which were also at John’s house, have also been removed for storage elsewhere.