Tuesday 24th April 2018

Mike Rigg drills holes so that the brush strips alongside the TPO doors can be fixedThe RSR’s TPO spent its last week in the FRT’s shed as Mike (above) and Paul (below) fitted the brush strips alongside the sliding doors and John Dixon cleaned the windows and touched up some of the paintwork. Paul Newton screws in a brush strip on the TPO

Finished job with brush strip fixedIt It is planned that the TPO coach will be moved out of the shed today and replaced by the Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 which will need a little TLC to its upholstery and exterior varnish after being in use at Beamish for eight years. And, of course, there are still some jobs that we never finished off in the first place!

Chris Rycroft and Howard Fletcher line up the jack hammer to try and remove one of Caliban's spring hanger pins. 180418Chris Rycroft and Howard Fletcher are seen here between Caliban‘s frames last Wednesday manoeuvring a jack hammer into position in order to try and remove another of the very stubborn spring hanger pins. One pin was removed on Wednesday but it looks as if it will be necessary to drill out the other pins, which will no doubt take some considerable time and effort.

Laying tarmac outside the FRT shed. 200418Outside the shed, tarmac was laid on Friday in preparation for the creation of the Ribble Steam Railway’s new children’s playground. John and Fred fixing a new aerial above the mess room 200418John and Fred were on the mess room roof in order to fix a new outside aerial, and the completed tarmac and aerial can be seen here. Tarmac laid and aerial fitted 200418Inside the mess room John has fitted a much needed new towel rail.

Keith has taken delivery of two new sheets of steel as he proceeds with the re-building of the top of the tender frames. With the TPO coach finished, Mike reverted to chasing up electrical faults on the FRT’s former RMB and discovered new fuses that didn’t actually contain any fuse wire..!

Cumbria at Embsay on Saturday waiting to depart with the 13.30 to Bolton AbbeyCumbria arrived at Embsay as scheduled last Thursday and was pressed into traffic straight away on Saturday and Sunday. Alan and Tim each went for a footplate ride on the old ‘Red Rocket’ on Saturday and proclaimed that it was good to see it back in action closer to home. Cumbria is seen here at Embsay on Saturday ready to depart with the 13.30 train to Bolton Abbey.

The new tubes for 5643 in the loco shed at Embsay waiting to be fitted by Andy BoothAlso seen here at Embsay are the new small boiler tubes for 5643 which had arrived and are now waiting to be fitted by Andy Booth.

Finally there was a very long meeting of, the Trustees last night, which finished at 11.45 pm, having been on the go since 8 pm. It seems  that the forthcoming challenges of the new General Data Protection Regulation were of rather more interest to everyone than might have been anticipated! Members should expect a letter on the subject in the post over the next week or so.

Monday 16th April 2018

It has been another busy week for us at Preston which has seen the restoration of the RSR’s Travelling Post Office Sorting Vehicle almost complete.

The vinyls being applied by PPSThe people from PPS Graphics from nearby Anchorage Business Park turned up as scheduled on Wednesday morning and, with Tim’s assistance, applied the fantastic graphics to the bodysides of the TPO.

The job took over three hours, but the care given to getting things right was well rewarded in terms of the finished product. Having checked that the yellow stripes painted on the bottom panels were a good match to the graphics, the masking tape was duly removed and the vehicle readied for varnishing on the Friday. Meanwhile, John Dixon and John Davis had been busy painting below the frames, applying the ‘electric orange’ paint to the various electrical cabinets and electric train heat equipment.

The main task on Friday, to varnish the coach both sides from end to end, was completed without incident by John Dixon and Tim whilst John Davis prepared and cleaned the brush strips which will be refitted to the sides of the sliding doors – these were presumably designed to prevent draughts whilst the TPO train was travelling at speed. It is intended to refit these brush strips this next week before the TPO is moved into the RSR’s Museum to become the centrepiece of a feature on Mail by Rail. Varnished and nearly ready to goThe TPO coach is seen here after varnishing had been completed.

Howard has had a frustrating time in trying to remove the spring hanger pins on Caliban, the application of heat by John Stewart the previous Saturday having seemingly had little effect. Alan Ogden appeared on Wednesday to continue his work on Fluff but, in Adrian’s absence, took pity on Howard and lent a hand. Adrian – it looks as if there will still be plenty of work for you to do when you return from your convalescence!

Ian Massey returned on Friday to continue the task of welding the new front steel plates on to Wootton Hall‘s tender frames. A screen was rigged up to prevent sparks from affecting the nearby work on the RMB. (It’s in the background of the picture of the almost-completed TPO van.) The completion of this welding is a key milestone in the project to re-build the tender, so well done to all concerned.

Mike Rigg turned up on Friday with his electrical gear to do some work on the FRT’s former RMB, No. 1812. It appears that the lighting system has been causing some problems, but Mike informs us that things seemed to have improved when he called in to check during the RSR’s Diesel Gala on Saturday.

Cumbria‘s successful stint of over two years at The Battlefield Line concluded this last weekend and the loco is scheduled to be transferred to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway on Thursday. All being well, it should be in steam there next weekend.

The travails of the FRT’s support vehicles (the campervans) continue as the now 46 years old VW owned by Tim finished up arriving at Morecambe for its MoT and service on the back of an AA truck, having failed during its journey there on the A590 through a fuel pump failure. The good news is that it is now back home and ready for action, although the mackerel tin lid that is held in place over a hole in the exhaust tail pipe by three jubilee clips is still in position as it was deemed by all concerned to be an adequate repair!

Finally, there is a meeting of the Trustees next Monday evening at Alison’s house when the 2017 Accounts and Trustees’ Annual Report will be reviewed followed by a discussion on Mike’s proposed action plan for the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations. And then there will no doubt be the little matter of making suitable inroads into Alison’s sandwiches before we are allowed to go home!

Monday 9th April 2018

Only a brief update this week following the late publication of last week’s blog.

John Dixon concentrates on applying the yellow undercoatThe paintwork on the RSR’s TPO is almost complete following the working parties on Wednesday and Friday. Ready for the vinylsThe yellow stripes along the lower panels of the body were added as was the orange electrical warning line on the gutter edges. One of Roger's brightly coloured bogiesThe painting of the bogies was completed on Friday with Roger adding the final touches of colour before he disappears on holiday. The vinyls should be added on Wednesday followed by a final coat of varnish on Friday.

Howard has been working alone on Caliban in Adrian’s absence. Ade before the knifeWe are pleased to be able to report that Ade should now be back at home after going under the knife during a four hour operation on Thursday. He tells us that the hospital food was OK but that he couldn’t find the mini-bar! He is still feeling rather sore and reckons that it will be a little while before he will be able to continue his efforts to dismantle Caliban‘s springs.

Keith continues his work on making cylinder covers for Wootton Hall and is expecting Ian Massey back this next Friday and Saturday to do more work on the Hall’s tender frames.

Fred tries to make the TV workFinally, in the mess room, Fred brought in an inside aerial to try out on the TV but was unable to get much of a picture with it. It looks as if we will have to invest in a proper outdoor aerial sometime.

 

Wednesday 4th April 2018

The blog has been significantly delayed this week by a combination of factors, including the need to crew steam engines and the school holidays which place demands on writing time!

However, work has continued apace at Preston on the RSR’s TPO coach, the cosmetic restoration of which is now well down the home straight. John and Tim have now applied three coats of paint to the body sides and the lining should be finished by the end of this week. The TPO coach ready for lining paintThe photo shows the coach in Royal Mail red masked up ready to receive the yellow stripes along the lower panels. As can be seen from the shining bogies, Fred, Roger and John Davis have also been hard at work down below. It is planned that the vinyl Travelling Post Office lettering will be applied to the body sides next Wednesday, after which a finishing coat of varnish is scheduled for the Friday. It shouldn’t be too long after that before the coach is transferred into the museum.

Howard with a stubborn spring hangerAde and Howard have finally managed to release the first of Caliban‘s spring hangers, where the steel pins are proving to be well and truly seized up. Howard is seen here attempting to remove the second of the spring hangers. Howard is also looking to call in reinforcements as chief dismantler Adrian is due to go under the knife in Preston Royal Infirmary tomorrow so will be on light duties for a while after that. Good luck Ade!

Newly acquired second hand clack valve for Wootton HallKeith continues to be on the look out for components for Wootton Hall and has been fortunate to obtain a second hand clack valve courtesy of Andy Booth. Please see Keith if you would like to contribute to the purchase of this or the two new snifting valve castings which were mentioned in last week’s blog.The new snifting valve castings for Wootton Hall

A new top cylinder cover plate on Wootton HallKeith has also been fabricating two plates to cover the cylinders on Wootton Hall, one of which is seen in position here.

Finally, Alan and Alison braved the cold and wet weather to go over to Locomotion, Shildon, last weekend. Alison raised some more funds whilst Alan looked after FR 20 on its penultimate set of steamings at Locomotion this year. The loco is provisionally due to leave Shildon for Preston on the 9th May.