Monday 29th September 2019

After an enforced break of a week, there is plenty to look back on over the past fortnight.

Further work has been carried out on FR 20’s boiler by Andy Booth and it is hoped to have the job of expanding and beading over the tubes finished this next week. The tender has received plenty of attention with John Dixon leading the task of examining and cleaning up the front drag box. John Dixon removing the fall plate on FR 20's tenderFirst it was necessary to remove the curved fall plate, the bridging piece between the tender and the engine.

Ade wields the sledgehammer on the recalcitrant buffer spring pinOnce the tender floor plate had been removed, there was then the more difficult task of removing the thick plate directly above the drag box which could not be moved until both the draw bar pin and the buffing spring pin had been removed. The latter was found to be seized in the lower base plate and so it was time to call in Ade, who has “previous” in taking apart those things that don’t want to come apart! With assistance from Tim also, the pin was finally extracted late last Wednesday afternoon after many applications of jack, heat and a sledgehammer. Ade is seen here at work with the latter, watched by John Dixon, Keith Brewer and Neil Glover.

It was then just a case of getting four pairs of hands to remove the main plate and to expose the drag box for the first time in over twenty years.

John Dixon and Roger cleaning the front drag box on FR 20's tenderOnce two of the buffer guides and the buffers had been removed, Roger then assisted John last Friday in the task of cleaning up the drag box.

John Dixon applies a coat of primer to FR 20's front tender drag boxA coat of bright orange primer was then applied.

Phil Bell cleaning under FR20's tenderMeanwhile Tim has been sanding down the one of the tender sides and Phil Bell has been cleaning the tender brake rigging.

Fred cleaning up FR20's tender springs and hangersFred has been busying himself cleaning the tender springs and hangers.

Keith cutting new steel plate for Fluff's running boardKeith has been cutting out new sheet metal for Fluff‘s running board.

A new running board plate is lifted into position on FluffThis was then successfully lifted into position and fitted.

Paul Balshaw commences the task of jacking up FluffPaul Balshaw commenced the task of jacking up Fluff last Wednesday so that the wheels could be removed and axleboxes examined.

Phil Bell moving one of Fluff's wheelsets once the frames were high enoughPhil Bell is seen moving the wheels once the frames had been jacked high enough.Fluff's wheels extracted from under the frames

New splashers for Wootton HallKeith has also been concentrating his time recently in manufacturing new splashers for Wootton Hall.

Over at Embsay, Cumbria passed its statutory cold boiler examination on 16th September and, after re-assembly of its fittings, was given a test steaming last Thursday. This confirmed that the recent efforts of Charles Adams and his team had been successful in resolving the passing of steam through the regulator valve when closed. Also tested was the brake valve which had undergone a rebuild by Barry Gambles of South Coast Steam. The end stop broken away from Cumbria's regulator quadrantDisappointingly, the newly acquired regulator quadrant fell at the first hurdle with the end stop coming adrift.

The repaired regulator quadrantThis has now been successfully repaired and re-fitted.

We now await the formal steam test with the boiler surveyor after which, all being well, there will be a carefully monitored return to service. Cumbria back in steam againIn the meantime we show a photo of Cumbria whilst shunting during its test steaming.

A reminder that the Ribble Steam Railway’s Diesel Gala takes place next Saturday and Sunday with a Folk Evening next Saturday evening.

Monday 16th September 2019

Alan with one of Caliban's bearingsMore good progress was made with Caliban last Wednesday with Alan tackling the job of scraping in the newly re-metalled bearings.

Ade testing the fit of one of Caliban's spring support pinsWith the vision of the locomotive being lowered back on to its wheels in the not too distant future, Ade was checking the spring support pins.

One of Caliban's newly lined-out wheelsAlso achieved last Wednesday, in good time before the lowering of the loco, was the lining out of Caliban‘s wheels.

FR 20's frames make a rare appearance outside the shedAs forecast in last week’s blog, Ade conducted a shunt which enabled Fluff and FR 20, complete with tender, to be positioned on road three of the heated section of the FRT shed in readiness for the winter work programme. Fortunately it was possible to do the shunt whilst the rain held off and FR 20’s frames made a rare appearance out in the open.

New line up in the shedThe new line up in the shed is seen here.

Phil Bell, Fred and Roger soon got to grips on Friday with the task of cleaning up FR 20’s tender frames and brake gear.

5643 has been in operation at Embsay but unfortunately suffered a leaking mudhole gasket on Saturday. After a number of ‘phone calls and texts, fresh lead mudhole joints were supplied on Saturday evening from Tim’s strategic store in his garage. Mrs O was extremely surprised that the lead rings were found by Tim in a matter seconds whereas the more normal search for bicycle pumps, inner tubes and helmets always takes many times longer!

Monday 9th September 2019

FR 20's tender frames about to be lowered on to its wheelsFR 20’s tender chassis was duly reunited with its wheels last Wednesday although the blustery wind did its damndest to try and make life difficult for us.

FR 20's tender being shunted around to the FRT shedHowever, patience paid off and, after a successful struggle in damp conditions to re-fit the brake gear, the tender was shunted around to the FRT shed late afternoon after Ade had shunted around some more coaches for the RSR.

The good news is that the tender appeared to roll well after the work to convert its bearings from brass to white metal. We hope that this is a good omen for the future. Other news on FR 20 is that Andy Booth has made more progress in beading over the tubes in the boiler and hopes to complete the task this week.

With FR 20’s tender wheels now tucked under its frames, Ade wasted no time in bringing Caliban‘s wheels into the FRT shed for the newly white-metalled bearings to be scraped in.

It is now intended to rearrange the line up on road three of the FRT shed this coming Wednesday so most of Friday was spent in tidying up the shed in readiness for the shunt. Whilst you don’t get quite the same satisfaction from doing this kind of housework, it should make life much better for us as we move towards this winter’s work programme. FRT shed before shuntingWe show¬†here a last look at the FRT shed before items are moved around, with FR 20’s boiler (left), Fluff‘s frames (foreground), Caliban (distant left), FR 20’s engine frames and Wootton Hall‘s tender frames (distant right).

There is disappointing news this week in that Jim Hanmer and Alan Preston are having to abandon their current attempts to resurrect Fluff‘s engine, mainly because of the difficulty in tracing replacement components. The engine is being reassembled in its current state and we will have to consider whether it is worth further pursuing the repair of the existing engine or perhaps finding a suitable replacement. Phil Bell painting one of Fluff's cabs sidesIn the meantime work has continued in rebuilding the platework and assembling other components, with Phil Bell giving the newly fabricated cab sides a coat of red oxide.

New badge of CalibanFinally, on the sales side, Alison informs us that she now has a brand new badge depicting Caliban for sale. Please contact either Alison or Alan if you would like to purchase one, with a special members’ rate available.

Monday 2nd September 2019

As we head into the Autumn period there are signs of things starting to come together with some of our projects.

Axleboxes mounted on FR 20's tender wheelsWednesday saw FR 20’s tender axleboxes being re-assembled and mounted on the journals. This is in readiness for the arrival of a crane this next Wednesday morning when it is planned to place the tender back on its wheels.

This exercise will not only enable the cleaning down and re-painting of the tender and attention to the brake gear to take place in the coming weeks, but will also allow room in the shed for Caliban‘s wheels to be accommodated so that the bearings can be scraped in. Once this is achieved we can look towards lowering Caliban back on to its wheels as well. After that it will be the turn of Wootton Hall‘s tender wheels to come in for its axlebox bearings to be worked upon.

Keith silver solderingWe include a photo this week of Keith silver soldering a flange on to a piece of Wootton Hall‘s injector pipework.

Over at Embsay there has been significant progress with Cumbria. A new regulator gland has been cast and machined following the discovery of a fracture in the old regulator gland. This has now been fitted and packed along with a replacement regulator quadrant.New and old regulator glands for Cumbria

The regulator has been reassembled in the dome after much work to remove side play and to ensure that surfaces are compatible. The hole in the link rod has been opened up to receive a new pin and the main and pilot valves modified to suit. The boiler surveyor will be undertaking the cold inspection of the boiler on Thursday and, subject to a satisfactory report, the boiler will be reassembled for a steam test. Fingers crossed! We are indebted to Charles Adams and Andrew Hirst for their work on Cumbria in recent weeks.