Monday 26th November 2018

As usual, there has been no shortage of things to do this week.

Almost finished - the CCT chassisJohn Dixon has carried on and completed the work of demolishing the body of the CCT. Disposing of the wood is more fun!This left only the task of disposing of the wood, which seemed to take a lot of labour – or perhaps it was just a case of people wanting to gather around a warm fire on a cold day!

Ade loosens the cylinder cover nutsAdrian did what he does best on Wednesday and started the job of dismantling the cylinder covers on FR 20.

Roger cleans FR 20's motionRoger and Tim have been cleaning the motion and running plate whilst Alan has been inspecting the loco for the jobs that need to be done.Alan inspects FR 20 frames

Fred cleans the outside of FR 20's fireboxFred has again been patiently cleaning down the exterior of FR 20’s firebox in order for it to be subjected to non destructive testing.

Heating up another rivetThere was yet another riveting session on Thursday when another 50 or so rivets were inserted into the tender frames. Matt and Keith finish another rivet while John gets the next one readyIt is reckoned that there are now less that 100 more rivets to be added before the tender is finished and a start can be made on the engine’s drag box. We suspect that Matt Gervis is hoping for a Christmas break before the latter is attempted to let his shoulder recover! Keith is seen here drilling yet another hole ready for a rivet.Keith drills yet another hole in Wotton Hall's tender frames

John Davis on the magic carpet with GER No. 5The job of removing the cantrails from GER No. 5 has continued and is now on the last lap. It appears that the north side cantrail has yielded rather more swiftly to John Davis’s attentions.

There was good news from Embsay on Saturday when 5643 passed its steam test in the presence of the boiler surveyor and hauled the first of the Santa Trains there on Sunday. Thanks go to Keith, George and Fred for their efforts in preparing the engine.

The band entertains the Abbeyfield House residentsLive Steam had a busy weekend playing three gigs in less than 24 hours during the Dickensian Festival at Ulverston. After another successful night at the Old Friends inn on Saturday evening, they went on to entertain the residents at Abbeyfield House after lunch on Sunday.

Tim joins the residents in the comfy seatsTim took advantage of an Alan Middleton solo to join the residents and try out the comfy chairs – Alison reckons that he settled in very well and has threatened to make him a reservation for the future!

Live Steam take to the outdoor stage on SundayThe band then went out in the cold to provide the Festival Finale on the Theatre Street stage later in the afternoon, attracting a good crowd in the process. This rather belied the rumour that they are always put on last to make sure that everyone goes home!

Looking forward, next Wednesday should see the arrival at Preston of the frames, cab, tank and wheels from the former Furness Railway No. 25. This should mark the completion of the task of gathering together all the known components from the engine.

Monday 19th November 2018

The Trustees met at Alison’s house last Tuesday where, once safety, cash flow forecasts and work schedules had been mulled over, the major item on the agenda was as usual the task of demolishing the piles of sandwiches and cakes provided. Thank you, Alison!

The following day 5643 passed its cold 14 months examination by the boiler surveyor and a steam test has been arranged for noon next Saturday. All being well 5643 will be hauling Santa Trains on the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway on Sunday.

Alan Middleton inspects the outside on FR 20's fireboxAnother big shunt took place at Preston last Wednesday which saw FR 20’s frames being placed in the unheated part of the FRT shed. Tim spent some time wire brushing the inside of the firebox while Alan went for the cleaner task of removing the external expansion brackets.

On Friday Fred started the task of wire-brushing the exterior of FR 20’s boiler and firebox whilst Roger undertook some cleaning of the frames and motion.

John Davis, with assistance from Paul Newton, removed the remainder of the south cantrail on GER No. 5 on Wednesday and then on Friday moved around  to commence work on the north side. There was also more work on Fluff and the riveting gang convened once again on Thursday.

John Dixon at work on the PMVOutside, at the end of Wednesday John Dixon had nearly finished the task of dismantling the body on the PMV, which will then be used to accommodate the frames of FR 25 on arrival.

Next weekend sees folk group Live Steam back in action, firstly performing a Lancashire Night set of songs at the Old Friends public house in Ulverston on Saturday evening. On Sunday afternoon they will be appearing at Ulverston’s Abbeyfield House before taking their place on the Theatre Street car park stage at 15.25 to start to bring to a close the weekend’s Dickensian Festival; unusually the weather forecast for Sunday looks relatively placid with no snow or hurricanes yet forecast! (Oh dear, now that will have tempted fate… Ed.)

Monday 12th November 2018

Ed and Alan move Caliban's wheelsThere was a productive shunt last Wednesday when FR 20’s boiler was moved into the FRT shed to enable work to commence under cover. At the same time it was possible to release Caliban‘s wheels which were moved out by hand, with Ed Tatham and Alan Middleton seen here with the driving set. Thanks to Phil, Matt B and Ade who moved the stock around to make it all happen.

John Davis still up in the airJohn Davis and Paul Balshaw spent more time this week in their efforts to release more of the south side cantrail on GER 5 while Paul Newton continued work on the L&NWR platform seat.

John Dixon and Ed continue the demolition of the PMVJohn Dixon and Ed spent time on Wednesday dismantling the body on the PMV.

Mike Rigg attempts to remove some of Fluff's footplateHoward, Alan Ogden and Mike Rigg concentrated their efforts on Fluff, with Mike seen here trying to remove a stubborn piece of the cab footplate.

Keith, George and Fred spent Wednesday over at Embsay preparing 5643 for its 14 month cold boiler exam, which is scheduled to take place at 10.00 on Friday, 16th November.

Roger attends to the water pump with assistance from FredFred was back at Preston on Friday with Roger and brought back from Embsay the high pressure water pump which was suffering from wobbly wheels! Roger set about making the necessary repairs and then subsequently also repaired the fan in the mess room which had disintegrated the previous week.

Keith bolts on the tender steps fixing plate.There was a further riveting session last Thursday although the absence of Matt G reduced the number of rivets fitted. There will be another session next Thursday. Keith is seen here fitting a step retaining bracket on the tender frames.

Bill Croston's new mural in place by the playgroundAnd finally, outside the FRT shed, Bill Croston’s new mural has been erected alongside the new children’s playground.

Monday 5th November 2018

Unlike last week’s blog, there is no headline news this week. Just lots of things to do!

Last Wednesday saw the start of a massive shunt devised by Matt Gervis which should see all the winter projects on site in their rightful places. Eventually this will see both FR 20’s frames and boiler undercover in the FRT shed so that the ten year overhaul can progress.

Ade and Andy Beswick with the Class 47 cab.The first part of the shunt involved the transfer of the Class 47 cab from the Ribble Rail shed to the workshop where it will be turned around with the crane before being put on display in the museum. Ade and Andy Beswick are seen here conducting the move of the Class 47 at an appropriate slow walking pace. Unfortunately, despite their patience, one set of wheels on the accommodation bogie ran hot and seized about 200 yards further down the line, which brought the shunt to a premature halt whilst things cooled down and oil was liberally applied to those parts that needed it. The tendency of diesel Stanlow to dump its air without notice also delayed matters so it is now anticipated that the next stage of the shunt will take place next Wednesday.

John Dixon prods a stubborn brick arch in FR 20's fireboxMeanwhile, John Dixon and Tim set about removing the brick arch from FR 20’s firebox. This, like the shunt above, turned out to be a rather longer job than anticipated owing to the fact that the arch did not appear to have deteriorated over the past ten years. However, two and a half hours later the final piece fell to the ground to be barrowed away and the weltrol tidied.

Keith and Alan with Cumbria's fireman's side clack boxCumbria‘s clackbox has recently been brought back to Preston for attention, it being replaced at Embsay by one of their own. Keith and Alan can been seen here dismantling the various items and it looks as if we will need to order a special, no doubt expensive, tap to clean up some of the threads inside the body.

Alan Ogden and Howard with FluffAlan Ogden has appeared again from the deep south west and was at work with Howard on Fluff.

John Davis works on GER 5John Davis has been continuing with the long and tedious task of removing the cantrails from the GER Royal Saloon as a prelude to the canvas roof being replaced. John achieved the removal of the middle section of the south cantrail this week. Well done!

The riveting gang met again on Thursday for a productive session during which another fifty or so rivets were fitted to Wootton Hall‘s tender frames.

Roger Benbow removing wood from the PMVVarious people have been assisting with the removal of the top of the PMV and John Dixon and Roger followed up their work on Friday by removing most of the remaining wood whilst Fred enjoyed a seasonal bonfire with the unwanted pieces of wood.Fred and his pre 5th November bonfire

Bob Thomson appeared on Friday to continue his work on drawings for Wootton Hall and Mike Rigg received some ribbing from fellow members for finding a nice warm office in which he has been sorting out a backlog of RSR membership forms.

Looking forward, Keith and Fred will be travelling over to Embsay on Wednesday to commence the task of preparing 5643 for its 14 month boiler survey which is booked to take place on the 16th November. Further working parties there are likely on either Friday of Saturday.