Monday 29th October 2018

We start with the news that FR 20’s boiler was successfully lifted out of the frames at Preston on Saturday afternoon. John Dixon, Ade and Tim had spent time on Wednesday clearing the chosen weltrol wagon of springs and other miscellaneous items and then loading old sleepers which would support the boiler when loaded. The threesome returned on Saturday when rail entry to the workshop was easier with the service rake of coaches absent and in use.

John and Ade arrange the lifting straps on FR 20's boilerAndy Murphy offered to operate the crane and, after fitting the lifting straps a few test lifts were made to adjust the positions after which a perfectly level lift was achieved.

A perfect liftThe boiler was turned around to enable easier extraction of the tubes when the weltrol is finally shunted into road two of the FRT shed.

John waiting for the weltrolAfter some re-arrangement of the sleepers, the boiler was finally lowered on to the weltrol. A key milestone in the overhaul of FR 20 had been achieved.FR 20's boiler on the weltrol

Andy Murphy lights the gas axeWednesday saw the start of the removal of the body from the newly acquired PMV. Andy Murphy is seen here preparing to light the gas axe.

The JCB at workOnce some of the stanchions had been cut through the JCB was brought in to pull the components apart.

PMV looking a bit sadJohn Dixon and Chris Rycroft achieved some further destruction on Friday with a jig saw and, being the thrifty fellow that he is, John retrieved some of the wooden panelling for further use.

There was no riveting session on Wootton Hall‘s tender on Thursday owing to the indisposition of Matt Gervis. However, there has been good progress on painting the newly riveted front section of the frames. Keith with the rear buffer beam for Wootton Hall's tender ready for rivetingKeith is seen here with the rear buffer beam which is now ready for riveting into place.

Alien called George at workWe had another ‘Dr Who’ invasion on Saturday, but this alien, named George, was happy to be put to productive work removing rivet heads.

There has been some further progress by Ade with the decoration of Caliban‘s frames. Fred painting Fluff's framesFluff has received more attention from Howard, Alan Ogden and Fred, who applied some primer paint to the frames.

John Davis at work on GER 5Some further progress as made on Friday by Mike and John Davis on removing the cantrails from GER Royal Saloon No. 5.

Finally, Alison and Alan appeared on Friday to set up the FRT sales stand which Alison staffed over the Spooky Trains weekend.


Monday 22nd October 2018

With Tim taking a short walking break in the Scottish Lowlands this week, the blog has been compiled from notes and photos provided by Mike.

Ade and John Dixon continued work on Caliban and FR 20 respectively last Wednesday whilst Howard, John Davis and Mike worked on Fluff, removing part of the footplate and also some of the gear linkages which are stiff.

Newly riveted foot steps for Wootton Hall's tenderKeith was busy preparing for another riveting session on Thursday. The footsteps shown in last week’s blog have now had the steps riveted into place permanently.

Matt Gervis and Keith Brewer riveting Wootton Hall's tender framesMatt Gervis and Keith are seen here riveting whilst an aerial shot shows Wootton Hall’s tender frames and also Chris Rycroft, who was cutting the rivets to size.Aeirial view of Matt Gervis, Keith and Chris Rycroft during riveting operations

John Dixon heating up a rivetJohn Dixon is seen here heating up one of the rivets; a total of around 50 were fitted last Thursday.

John Davis and Paul Newton emptying the PMVThe main event on Friday was the emptying of the newly acquired PMV in readiness for the body to be removed.PMV ready for body removal

The chassis will eventually be used for the second class North London Railway coach body which is currently in store at Blackpool. In the shorter term it may well be used to store the frames for FR 25 when they arrive from Carnforth.

Fred and Bob were also present on Friday with Fred cleaning FR 20’s components and Bob preparing drawings for Wootton Hall.

Newly manufactured cog for Wootton Hall's reverserIn the main workshop Bill Norton has machined up a cog which will eventually form part of Wootton Hall‘s reverser – it is seen here with the reverser handle.

Saturday saw the removal of some Sentinel wheels from the Weltrol which is planned to be used to accommodate FR 20’s boiler. Hopefully a boiler lift can be arranged this week.

Looking forward, there are Spooky Trains at the Ribble Steam Railway this next weekend and it won’t be too long before the Santa Specials in December. Alison is looking for help for anyone who can assist with the latter trains.

Monday 15th October 2018

FR 20’s boiler is now ready for lifting after more concerted work by our friendly alien who answers to the name of John – see last week’s blog. Ade is on standby to do the necessary shunt with the receiving wagon and we await further details as to when the lift can be arranged.

Meanwhile, work continues on cleaning up and painting the various components that have been removed from FR 20, with Fred and Tim making further progress. Once painted, the labelled components are placed into store.

Paul Balshaw painting Caliban's cabAde has once again been prettying Caliban‘s frames with his paint brush whilst Paul Balshaw and John Davis have been making the most of some decent weather by putting more undercoat paint on the cab. John Davis painting Caliban's cabRoger has continued his work on cleaning and painting the eccentrics.

Wootton Hall's tender cab steps ready for rivetingThere has been more work on Wootton Hall including the behind the scenes preparation of drawings by Bob who was present on Friday. The Thursday riveting gang of Keith, John Dixon and Matt Gervis has again convened. This photo taken last Wednesday shows the steps which give access to the cab ready for attention from the rivet gun.

There was good news on the former FRT RMB’s electrics, which had been causing heads to be scratched when the batteries wouldn’t charge. Russ Walker found a faulty fuse – but one which had supposedly already been checked and found to be OK! Anyhow, this success should enable Mike to get up off his knees and attend to other things. Incidentally, Mike and Dave Starkie attended a carriage workshop at the East Lancashire railway last Wednesday which Mike says was very useful.

Howard and Keith with FluffThere has been further progress with Fluff – Howard and Keith are seen here discussing the work in hand. John Davis also did some work on cleaning the footplate on Friday.

Paul Newton at work with the L&NWR platform seatWork on the L&NWR platform seat from Preston station has also continued and Paul Newton is seen here doing some woodwork.

Richard Greenwood's photo of Wootton Hall south of Eastliegh on 3rd November 1961Finally, we wanted to share a photo from British Railways days of the FRT’s GWR ‘Hall’ Class 4-6-0 No. 4979 Wootton Hall which has been kindly sent to us today by Richard Greenwood. It shows the locomotive heading south from Eastleigh with what was presumably an inter-regional train, probably heading for Southampton and Bournemouth, on the 3rd November 1961. Thanks, Richard.

Monday 8th October 2018

There has been a wide variety of progress on the various tasks at Preston this week.

John Dixon prepares to do battle in FR 20'a smokeboxDr Who returned on TV last night, but this photo is not of an invading alien creature but of John Dixon readying himself to remove more stubborn bolts from inside FR 20’s smokebox! We are pleased to be able to record that John won the battle with the bolts and that, subject to the removal of some concrete on Wednesday, the boiler should then be ready for lifting.

Fred has been cleaning up more of FR 20’s components whilst Tim has been painting them ready for storage.

John Davis working on the gutter of the GER Royal SaloonWith the weather turning inclement, John Davis and Paul Balshaw commenced the task of removing the steel screws that hold the gutter on Royal Saloon GER No. 5 in place. This is to enable the canvas to be removed and replaced. Unfortunately, the screws have probably been in place for some sixty years so they are proving to be extremely stubborn to extract!

Ade attending to the paintwork on Caliban's framesRoger has been preparing and painting the eccentrics on Caliban‘s driving wheelset whilst Ade has continued the task of preparing and painting Caliban’s underframes a very bright red.

Jim Hanmer removing a bolt holding Fluff's engineThere has been some welcome movement forward in the overhaul of Fluff. Anthony has been joined by Howard, Alan Preston and Jim Hanmer. Their combined efforts have released the engine mounting bolts which will enable it to be lifted out. Alan Preston with FluffIt is planned that this will take place when FR 20 is shunted into the FRT shed after its boiler lift.

Mike peers into the RMB's regulator boxMike has continued his work to track down electrical faults on the former FRT RMB. He is seen here investigating the regulator box.

Ted finishing the paintwork around the new gardenOutside, Ted has made good progress with the garden adjacent to the path to the FRT shed and alongside the new playground.

The new children’s playground was successfully opened on Saturday afternoon by John Gilmour of Radio Lancashire. This coincided with the RSR’s Autumn Diesel Gala and was followed by a successful Folk Evening with Fleetwood Folk Club in the new Exploration Room.

Finally, we have received confirmation that the funeral of Charles Maher will take place at Crosscrake Church at 1 pm this Wednesday, 10th October.

Monday 1st October 2018

We start this week’s blog with the breaking news that Charles Maher, former general manager and chairman of the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway died last night after a short illness. There are no further details at present. We offer our condolences to his wife, Barbara, and family.

There has been some reasonable weather this week which has enabled a couple of the outdoor jobs to be completed.

Alison and playgroundWe have a photo of Alison sitting on one of the picnic benches in the children’s playground where the ground works have at last been finished. It looks good!

Seven people and a gateThere was just the small matter of fixing the gate to the path alongside the playground where a total of seven people can be seen either watching or undertaking the job… (well twas ever thus on the big railway, so… )

Bill Croston at work on the muralOne final piece of the jigsaw to be fitted is the new mural which will be mounted on the back of the toilet block, which is adjacent to the playground. Bill Croston is seen here putting the finishing touches to the mural on Saturday.

Although the playground is due to be officially opened next Saturday by John Gilmour of BBC Radio Lancashire, that didn’t stop some children enjoying the new facility over the Steam Gala weekend this last Saturday and Sunday. Illingworth awaits its next turn of dutyAs previously reported, Stephen Middleton’s Hudswell Clark 0-6-0ST No. 1208 of 1916 Illingworth/Mitchell was the guest locomotive.

John Davis and Caliban's cabAnother job that was completed this week was a coat of undercoat on Caliban‘s cab. John Davis is seen here with the brush.

John Dixon has been busy preparing FR 20 for its boiler lift, working hard to remove the last stubborn nuts and bolts from the main steam pipe. We will spare you another photo of John’s rear end sticking out of the smokebox. Meanwhile, Fred has again been cleaning up the components removed from the loco and Tim has been giving them a fresh coat of paint.

Ade and a shrunken AlanRoger has been giving another coat of red oxide to Caliban‘s wheelsets whilst Ade has been trial fitting the axleboxes on Caliban and agreeing clearances with Alan. The latter pair are both seen here, but Alan seems to have shrunk in the wash!

tender stepsProgress continues on Wootton Hall with yet another riveting session taking place last Thursday, resulting in these footsteps for the tender.

George reamingGeorge made an appearance on Saturday and can be seen reaming a hole on the Hall’s tender, which will receive a fitted bolt manufactured by Bill Norcross to secure one of the hornguides.

Wootton Hall's new reverser handleProgress has also been made on the creation of a screw reverser handle for Wootton Hall; more machining is still required.

NS 601 ready to leave the RSRFinally, for the record, English Electric built Nederlandse Spoorwegan diesel electric shunter No. 601 left the RSR on Wednesday to be returned to Holland for industrial use.