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. First it was necessary to remove the curved fall plate, the bridging piece between the tender and the engine.
Once 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.
Once 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.
A coat of bright orange primer was then applied.
Meanwhile Tim has been sanding down the one of the tender sides and Phil Bell has been cleaning the tender brake rigging.
Fred has been busying himself cleaning the tender springs and hangers.
Keith has been cutting out new sheet metal for Fluff‘s running board.
This was then successfully lifted into position and fitted.
Paul Balshaw commenced the task of jacking up Fluff last Wednesday so that the wheels could be removed and axleboxes examined.
Phil Bell is seen moving the wheels once the frames had been jacked high enough.
Keith 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. Disappointingly, the newly acquired regulator quadrant fell at the first hurdle with the end stop coming adrift.
This 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. In 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.