Tuesday 28th August 2018

We start this week’s blog with the sad news that FRT member and RSR Board member Dave Manley died last Tuesday morning after a three year fight against cancer. Dave had been a key member of the Ribble team at Preston and could often be found driving the mobile plant to top up coal with the JCB, receive materials with the fork lift or move earth with the dumper truck. He was always helpful to us when there was a need to get things done and he will be very much missed by us all. The funeral will be at Crewe Crematorium on Friday, 7th September at 15.20, with donations to the Macmillan Nurses.

FR 20 being dismantled in the RSR workshop 240818John Dixon removing one of Fr 20's number platesWork continued last week on the job of dismantling FR 20 with John and Tim spending most of their time on the job on both Wednesday and Friday.  Neil came in on Saturday to clean the footplate around the reverser quadrant.

Tim also managed to carry out some paintwork round the mess cabin door on Wednesday but was then thwarted by the weather.

Fred and Roger cleaning up Caliban's wheelsAdrian and Howard have continued their work on Caliban and Fred and Roger appeared on Friday to clean up the insides of the wheels, which had been released from under the frames the previous Wednesday.

There was some considerable disappointment at Embsay on Friday when there were difficulties in raising the required pressure on 5643 and Keith returned there on Saturday and today to try and effect remedial work on the loco. The cause of the problem was a steam leak around the regulator box and this has been removed and brought back to Preston to be machined, hopefully on Wednesday.

Alan in 3 rail heavenAnd finally, the Friendly Engines event on the RSR over the Bank Holiday weekend was augmented by some model railways to keep visitors entertained. The weekend was deemed to be a success with visitor numbers higher than last year on all three days. Alan is seen here happily operating his three rail O gauge train set.


Monday 20th August 2018

There were six continuous days of working last week as members tackled the wide variety of work on hand at the moment.

Keith was back at Embsay last Tuesday with Embsay’s Roger re-assembling 5643 after the successful hydraulic test the previous week. He was then back there on Saturday and again on Sunday with Fred. The result of all this work is that 5643 is now ready for a formal steam test which is planned to take place this next Friday. Well done to all concerned for their efforts!

Alan inspects Cumbria's regulatorAlan and Tim went over to Embsay on Wednesday to examine Cumbria‘s regulator valve which was still passing large amounts of steam when supposedly shut. After much deliberation and wrestling with the valve it was concluded that there was still work to do to improve the seal between the valve faces.

Illingworth sets off from EmbsayAlso at Embsay was Russell Walker, who appeared with daughter Chloe and an Atkinson’s low loader to take Stephen Middleton’s 1916-built Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Illingworth to Preston for attention to a hot right hand driving axle box, and then a booked appearance at the RSR’s Steam Gala at the end of September.

Russell also kindly brought over the regulator valves from both Respite and Shropshire for comparison with Cumbria‘s regulator. After further work by staff at Embsay, and with the help of Shropshire‘s regulator valve, Cumbria was passed fit on Sunday and should be back in traffic at Embsay this next weekend.

Back at Preston, FR 20 was shunted into the workshop on Wednesday and John Dixon made progress on removing the bolts from the chimney. With Mike Rigg and Paul Newton also in attendance there was also further progress on cleaning up FR 20’s tender.

Wheels out!Ade had a very  productive day on Wednesday, jacking Caliban further up in the air to allow both wheelsets to be rolled out from under the frames in readiness for machining of its journals. A key milestone in the project has been achieved so congratulations, Ade!

Keith, John and Matt Gervis were back in again at Preston on Thursday to continue the riveting of Wootton Hall‘s tender frames, but we’ll spare you another photo of rivets this week. They plan to be back again this next Thursday. Mike, Bob (welcome back from the high seas!), Fred and Roger appeared on Friday and there was further progress on cleaning up components and the painting of the exterior of the mess room.

FR 20's dome cover being swung away from the boilerAnd so to Saturday when there was an early start to enable Russell Walker to operate the crane to lift off FR 20’s chimney and dome cover before he set off for the control tower for the day. Alan, John, Tim and Sam spent the rest of the day dismantling and labelling pipework and cab fittings from FR 20 ready for cleaning and storage. John Dixon trims the studs for FR 20's dome coverJohn  is seen here removing excess thread from the dome studs in readiness for it to be lifted off also with the return of Russell at the end of the day.

Howard cleans up one of Claiban's axleboxesWith Howard (seen here cleaning one of Caliban’s axleboxes), David, Alison, Matthew, Derek and Neil (crewing Linda) also on site it was a good turnout of members.

Finally, Alan (driving Linda) and Alison were back on Sunday to round off another busy week. Yes, Sunday marked the first public run of Alison’s Cream Tea Specials, when 19 customers booked to travel on the RSR in the former FRT buffet car and sample Alison’s fare. It was a great success apparently and there are plans afoot for a further event in September.


Monday 13th August 2018

The pace of work and list of jobs to do seems to intensify whatever we do at the moment!

John Davis power washes FR 20's wheelsFR 20 was shunted out of the RSR’s running shed last Wednesday to enable the wheels to be power washed after having been coated with Jizer degreasing fluid. Although quite a time consuming process, the results so far have been heartening. The key issue was the need to avoid soaking those members who were also intent on removing components from the loco at the same time! John Davis is seen here with the power washer.

Alan Middleton dismantles pipework on FR 20Alan Middleton was one of those dodging the pressure washer to remove some pipework.

John Dixon panes new wood on one of GER No. 5's step boardsJohn Dixon spent some more time on repairs to the step boards on GER No. 5 and is seen here planing down the new wood inserts.

On Friday John Davis continued the task of needlegunning the inside of FR 20’s tender whilst Mike Rigg re-assembled the power washer which had done its best to shake itself to bits on Wednesday. Fred cleaning one of FR 20 injector steam valve handlesFred and Tim started the process of cleaning up the components removed from the loco before they are placed in store, with Fred here cleaning one of the injector steam valve handles.

New drain cock castings for FR 25Alan returned home from a short break away the previous weekend with a set of drain cock castings and coupling rod half bearing castings for FR 25 that he had picked up from Steve Andrews. Coupling rod half brasses for FR 25. Some old brasses also to be seen on the rightThese had been ordered by Bert Hitchen before his untimely death but we are now in a position to unite them with the loco.

FR 25's safety valvesFurther to this, Tim paid a visit to Crewe on Thursday to pick up the two safety valves for FR 25 from L&NWR where they had been found sitting on the shelves in the store. They were certainly too heavy for the luggage rack on the train journey home!

New rivets on Wootton Hall's tender framesAlso last Thursday, Keith, John Dixon and Matt Gervis had a productive day fitting more rivets on Wootton Hall’s tender frames.New rivets on Wootton Hall's tender drag box

Over at Embsay, Keith was on hand last Tuesday when 5643’s boiler was hydraulically tested to the satisfaction of the boiler surveyor after re-tubing and the fitting of some new patch screws. This opened the way for the re-assembly of the loco and a new brick arch was fitted on Saturday with further work programmed for yesterday.

Cumbria is still causing issues with the regulator continuing to pass steam when shut. This has caused an immense amount of frustration and bafflement. A working party visit to Embsay is provisionally planned for this next Wednesday to try and identify the cause of the problem.

The next stage in the  process of dismantling FR 20 is the removal of the chimney, dome and spectacle plate. It is planned for it to visit the RSR’s workshop this Saturday so that the overhead crane can be used to remove these items.

Looking forward to next weekend, Alison has her first Cream Tea Special booked for Sunday, 19th. There are still some seats available, so look at the RSR web site for details. You should also be able to view progress on the new playground at Preston where work on the final earthworks are due to commence tomorrow.


Monday 6th August 2018

The blog may have been off line for a holiday break for a couple of weeks but there has been plenty happening in the meantime.

Fr 25's boiler is lifted into position on the FR bogie bolster 010818Headline news has been the arrival at Preston last Wednesday of FR 25’s boiler, albeit as a kit of parts. Tim received news by email of the need to move the boiler from Stockton whilst he was out of telephone contact on holiday in Cornwall. It took three journeys to the top of the local hill to get reception and organise the move, which was done with great help from Jacqueline at Northern Steam Engineering who made the arrangement for a hi-ab to transport the components as a crane could not be guaranteed to be present at Preston. In the end, the boiler was loaded a day early last Tuesday and so made an early arrival at Preston on the Wednesday morning. Fortunately, the former Furness Railway bogie bolster had already been shunted into position and the hi-ab departed back off to the north east at 10.45.

Other parts of the FR 25 boiler jigsawThe other components were placed in the car park and will need to be moved this next Wednesday.

FR line up at PrestonDuring the ensuing shunt moves there was a rare sight captured with FR 20, the FR bogie bolster and two boilers which have adorned ex Furness Railway locos.

Dropping FR 20's waterWork has started on the overhaul of FR 20, with the ceremonial draining of the water from the boiler on the Wednesday the 18th July.

John Davis needlegunning FR 20's tender 030818Last Friday Tim started the job of cleaning down the driving wheels and John Davis commenced the task of de-scaling the coal space in the tender.

Fred in FR 20's smokeboxFred also took the opportunity to reprise his role as principal cleaner of FR 20’s smokebox!

John Dixon repairing the steps on GER 5John Dixon has continued to undertake woodwork repairs to the Great Eastern Royal Saloon and is seen here repairing one of the step boards.

Keith fettling the hanging plates for Wootton Hall's tender 010818Keith has made more progress with Wootton Hall‘s tender and has been fettling up the recently shot blasted tender hanging plates.

Keith sizes up the repairs to Wootton Hall's tender framesThere has been more riveting of the tender frames and Keith is seen here pondering the next move in the restoration.

Cumbria has been out of traffic at Embsay recently owing to excessive amounts of from steam passing through the regulator when it was closed. Many people have looked to solve the problem and Andy Booth appears to have come up with a likely answer requiring a small modification. Things were looking much better yesterday and it is hoped that it will be back in traffic soon. It is also hoped to undertake a formal hydraulic on 5643 this week. Keith and Fred paid a further visit yesterday and Keith is scheduled to return to Embsay tomorrow (Tuesday) to start the process of re-assembly.

Work has started on the new RSR playground 010818

Elsewhere at the Ribble Steam Railway a start was made last Wednesday on fitting out the new children’s playground. Groundworks are scheduled to take place from next Monday.

Sentinel wrapThe RSR’s Sentinel 0-4-0 Enterprise, which is in the museum as part of the Sentinel display, has received a wrap depicting  events over the last 50 years.

Glasshoughton's boiler returns from LlangollenThe boiler for Hunslet 0-6-0ST Glasshoughton No. 4 arrived back from Llangollen last Wednesday.

Tim moonlighting with the trams 050818Finally, an impressive 100ft long model tram layout returned to the RSR this last weekend and Tim is seen here doing some moonlighting, driving trams in between driving the steam service yesterday!