Monday 21st May 2018

Ade, John Dixon and Alan with one of FR20's axleboxesAs mentioned in last week’s blog, the main task at this last Wednesday’s working party was the jacking up of FR 20’s tender to attend to an axlebox which had been showing signs of warming up during the latter days of its operation at Locomotion, Shildon. Once the axlebox had been dismantled it became clear that both the bearing and the journal had, for some reason, become scored. Also, the bearing had become too good a fit, not enabling oil to circulate and lubricate the interface between bearing and journal.

Tim set to and did his best to take out the roughened surface on the journal by the painstaking method of applying varying grades of abrasives, with John Dixon carrying on the task on Friday. Alan attends to the axlebox bearingAlan, meanwhile, took the bearing aside to remove some of the brass in order to give some more lead towards the top of the bearing, so allowing more oil to circulate. Alan tests the surface of the bearing with engineer's blueThe oil pad showed signs of wear to the rivets, which suggested that these had come into contact with the journal. Some horsehair was retrieved from store with a view to substituting this instead of the oil pad when the axlebox is reassembled. The engine, incidentally, already has horsehair in its axleboxes and this seems to have worked well in the past. All being well, FR 20’s tender will be back on its feet on Wednesday and it is proposed that it will be in service on the RSR over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Howard trys to free off another spring hangerWork also progressed on Caliban where a further spring hanger has been freed off, much against its will. Only another five to go! Howard is seen here tackling the next one.

More new metal in Wootton Hall's tender framesKeith has been making the most of his retirement, as can be seen from this photo of new steelwork between Wootton Hall‘s tender frames.

John Davis, assisted on Friday by Mike Rigg (taking a break from his holidays!) has continued the long task of sanding down the Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon. Well done John!

Finally, we have positive news from Embsay in that Cumbria has passed its steam test in the presence of the boiler surveyor and, after a change of brake blocks, should be back in service this next weekend.

Monday 14th May 2018

Last week we left you in suspense as to whether Alan’s failed campervan would get to Preston before midnight last Tuesday after its breakdown on the A66 at Stainmore early afternoon. We can now report that the AA finally delivered Alan and his campervan to the RSR at 00. 45 Wednesday morning. Needless to say that, after an 02.00 arrival at his bed, Alan wasn’t back with us at Preston until rather later on that day.

John David and Paul Newton sanding down GER No. 5 090518Meanwhile, Tim, Paul Newton and John Davis continued the job of sanding down Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 whilst John Dixon filled and sanded down the various cracks in the teak panels. One of the worst cracks in the teak panels on GER No. 5The job continued on Friday when Fred and Roger joined Paul and the two Johns, with the task now well on the way to completion. John Dixon re-assembling a door after repairing a crack in the front teak panelThat’s just as well for the work really does take it toll, numbing both fingers and mind!

Howard and Adrian continued their efforts to remove Caliban‘s springs – three on the ground are pictured here last Wednesday. Adrian put in a little more time on both Thursday and Friday (he must be getting better!) and the fourth spring was off by the time that he retired from the fray. Ade is back to work this week, we hear.

Keith at work with a drill.We forgot last week to congratulate Keith on his retirement from his job with Ribble Rail on the 4th May. Needless to say, Keith is making the most of his new found leisure time to progress the tender frames for Wootton Hall. He is seen here drilling a brace section that will support the vacuum cylinder.

This next Wednesday should see some work to examine one of FR 20’s tender axleboxes which was found to be warming up during its final steamings at Locomotion. Some attention to the brass bearing looks likely in order to solve the problem.

Finally this week, the FRT’s ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria has been taken out of traffic at Embsay and washed out in readiness for it cold inspection by the boiler surveyor today. If all goes well, there will be a formal steam test early next week.

Tuesday 8th May 2018

FR 20 ready for its Last Hurrah at Shildon on Monday, 7th MayThis last weekend saw Furness Railway No. 20’s last three days of operation at Locomotion, Shildon before returning to Preston this week in readiness for its ten year boiler overhaul. Eustace Forth at Shildon which will take over from FR 20 at LocomotionLocomotion had arranged a Festival of Steam, which included the first appearance of replacement locomotive, RS&H 0-4-0ST Eustace Forth plus some road steam engines. Line up of road steam power st LocomotionThat Sentinel steam lorry was certainly an impressive beast! John and Jean Dixon, Sam Middleton and Keith Brewer visited on Sunday to enjoy the sunshine and steam.Alan and Tim with two ladies from Same Difference ArtsAlan and Tim had their photo taken with two young ladies from the Same Difference Arts who were performing street theatre in Steam Punk attire.

Staff and volunteers at Locomotion attack the cakes before FR 20's final two runs at Shildon on Monday, 7th MayFR 20 ran the last three hours on Monday on its own, with a pause at 15.30 to enable the NRM’s Anthony Coulls to make a lovely speech on behalf of Locomotion to mark the nine years that FR 20 had been based there. There then followed the cutting of two large cakes before staff and volunteers boarded the train, along with visitors, for the final two departures of the day. Needless to say, there was some loud whistling from the locomotive on the final journey (by guess who) followed by some goodbyes from Alan, Alison and Tim to the Locomotion family of staff and volunteers, some of whom had turned up on Monday to have a last go on the regulator. All in all, a fitting if not rather nostalgic occasion. Hopefully, FR 20 will be back in the not too distant future.

As of tonight, FR 20 is standing on the apron at Locomotion waiting to be loaded at 09.00 on Wednesday morning and, at the time of writing (just before 8pm) poor Alan is at Killington service station waiting for the second AA breakdown truck of the evening to take him onwards to Preston following a clutch failure on his campervan at 14.30 hrs going over Stainmore on the A66. Alison has arrived at Killington to keep him company and he hopes to be at Preston before midnight!

More synchronised sanding from John Dixon and John DavisWork has continued at Preston on sanding down the weathered sections of woodwork on GER Royal Saloon No.5, although fingers are now becoming rather numb from the effort! The worse side has now been tackled so a start has been made on one of the ends. The second side should just require a light sand to allow new varnish to key to the existing varnished surface. John Dixon and John Davis are seen here in synchronised sanding action.

Howard and Ade hard at it with CalibanAdrian made a welcome return on Wednesday after a visit to works for repairs and is seen here giving moral support to Howard as he battles with the dismantling of Caliban‘s springs.Dvid Rimmer lending a hand with Caliban on the 5th MayDavid Rimmer joined in the action on Saturday and a second spring has now been removed.

Mike Rigg and David Rimmer hard at it in the mess room stuffing envelopes with the GDPR infoMike Rigg spent most of Wednesday in the mess room, assisted by David, stuffing envelopes with GDPR correspondence, which should now have landed with members – in fact two consent forms were already back through the post on Friday, even though second class post had been used in both directions. If you haven’t already done so, please return the consent forms as quickly as possible so that the FRT can remain in full contact with you.

Progress with assembling Wootton Hall's frames after the recent welding can be seen hereAnd we leave you with a view of progress on Wootton Hall‘s tender frames, which are now gaining additional metal following the recent completion of the welding work on the side plates.