Monday 23rd December 2019

A quick update in what will be the last blog this year.

Firstly, Howard Fletcher’s funeral will take place at 11.00am at Ingol Methodist church on Thursday, 2nd January. It is understood that the wake will be held afterwards at the Ribble Steam Railway.

John Dixon repairing FR 20's tender drawgearThere has been a continued push to complete the overhaul of FR 20. John Dixon has carried on with his modification to the tender draw gear.

John Davis cleaning tender brake gearJohn Davis has been cleaning up more of the tender brake gear.

Paul Balshaw painting tender brake blocksEven the brake blocks are receiving a coat of paint, from Paul Balshaw.

Phil Bell painting under the tenderPhil Bell has been doing more painting under the tender.

FR 20's dome after cleaning and paintingFred has cleaned and painted the engine’s dome.

Alan fitting washout plugs to FR 20's boilerAlan has re-fitted the washout plugs in the boiler now that Andy Booth has inserted two new patch screws.

Keith working on one of Fluff's axleboxesMeanwhile, Keith has taken on board the work that Howard was doing to Fluff‘s axleboxes before his untimely death.

There is some good news in that the recently purchased CNC lathe, to which the FRT subscribed, has been successfully commissioned and programmed to produced some stay nuts and boiler stays for Walkden. This has been achieved with the assistance of a couple of people from UCLAN. Alan inspecting the new latheA Colchester lathe has also been purchased and is seen here being inspected by Alan. The cost is being shared with the Ribble Steam Railway and it will replace the lathe previously used by Bill Norcross. Bill has now retired from the workshop and we wish him the very best for the future.

Looking forward, working parties over the Christmas period will take place on Friday, 27th and Saturday, 28th December. These will be followed by working parties on Friday, 3rd and Saturday, 4th January.

Finally, a reminder that Live Steam will be performing their last gig of the year at the Engine Inn at Cark-in-Cartmel on New Year’s Eve.

Before we finish, we would like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday 16th December 2019

We are sorry to have to start this week’s blog with the very sad news that Howard Fletcher, one of our regular working members at Preston, passed away last night. Howard had been taken into hospital last week with a bad nose bleed and was diagnosed with blood pressure issues following which he suffered a stroke. We will publish any more details that we receive in future blogs but, in the meantime, we send our condolences to Howard’s family.

Howard had joined the FRT in recent years from the main RSR workshop and  quickly settled in to become part of the FRT team. He was happy to use his engineering background take on those many fiddly jobs and spent much of his time working on Caliban and Fluff.  We will very much miss him.

Just a short update on work at Preston this week.

Phil Bell painting FR20's tender brake gearPhil Bell is still ensconced with painting the brake gear for FR 20’s tender.

FR 20's boot lid painted at lastAfter 21 years, the underside of the lid for the locker at the rear of FR 20’s tender has finally been painted. Tim decided to line it out as a test piece for painting the rest of the tender.

John Davis painting the underside of FluffJohn Davis has again been painting the underside of Fluff‘s frames.

Keith preparing pipework for Wootton HallKeith has been preparing and test fitting some pipework to Wootton Hall‘s cab.Test fitting pipework on Wootton Hall

The annual FRT Christmas dinner took place at The Hungry Horse restaurant at Lea Gate last Friday and was enjoyed by 22 members and guests. Thanks as ever to Alison for making the arrangements and for reminding us all as to what we had ordered!

Monday 9th December 2019

Work has continued on FRT projects at Preston despite the call on labour to assist with the RSR’s Santa Specials.

John Dixon at work on FR 20's tender drawgearJohn Dixon has continued with repairs to the drawgear on FR 20’s tender.

Phil Bell painting one of FR 20's tender brake hangersTim has been preparing the tender for painting whilst Phil Bell has been busy painting more of the tender brake assembly.

Paul Balshaw, John Dixon and John Davis at work on FluffThere has been more work on Fluff with Paul Balshaw and John Davis painting the running boards and John Dixon making a small alteration to the steelwork.

David Rimmer painting Fluff's framesDavid Rimmer has been adding some more paint to the frames.

Keith painting the floor supports on Wootton Hall's tenderKeith Brewer has received the new floor supports for Wootton Hall‘s tender back from the forge after amendment and, after fitting them, has been applying some paint.

Jen and Alison in festive moodWith the Santa Specials in full swing, Jen, Alison and John Davis have been in festive mood and in charge of FRT sales over the last weekend.John Davis in festive mood

But… Ade not in festive moodSomeone apparently not in festive mood was Sunday’s steam driver, Ade!


Monday 2nd December 2019

A short update this time, just to let you all know that work is still progressing on all fronts, although with little massively new to report.

Tim has been rubbing down the weatherboard on FR 20’s tender, although the sudden news that the overhead wires on the West Coast main line had come down last Wednesday caused him to down tools and jump into Alison’s car for a lift to Carnforth – and what a good move that was with services only recovering the following morning! Work also continued on cleaning and painting the tender brake gear. John Dixon making the sparks fly whilst making a modification to FR 20's tender drawgearJohn Dixon has worked further on his modification to the rear tender drawhook arrangement and is seen here busy with his angle grinder.

John Davis bolting down Fluff's running boardsMore paint has gone on Fluff and John Davis is seen bolting down the running boards.

Finally, with the Ribble Steam Railway’s Santa Specials operating on Saturday and Sunday, Tim and Alan were busy entertaining the passengers on board the trains whilst Alison, Jen and Jim were busy staffing the FRT sales stand. Derek Milby and Jim Kay with the FRT sales stand. Wonder when Jim is due to give birth!Jim is seen along with Derek, who made an appearance on Saturday.