Monday 27th January 2020

Just a short update this week. Projects continue to tick along but still with some way to go to the finishing line for any of them!

John Dixon painting bracketsJohn Dixon has continued his quest to up-rate the quality of the vacuum system fixing brackets on FR 20, having now remade all of them from scratch from steel off-cuts. They are now in the process of being painted.

FR 20's tender changing colourTim has concentrated his time this week painting FR 20’s tender, which is now rapidly changing colour.

Alan removing the brass casting from the top of the domeAlan has continued the task of  preparing FR 20’s boiler for a hydraulic test and is seen here removing the brass safety valve casting from the top of the dome.

Ade has been working on Caliban‘s axleboxes and there has been further progress on Fluff.

Keith preparing the base plate for Wootton Hall's screw reverser for weldingKeith has been welding up the new pipe which stretches from Wootton Hall‘s four cone ejector to the smokebox and he has also been preparing the new screw reverse baseplate for welding by Ian Massey.

Finally, the proof copy of The Iron Horse magazine has now been read and corrected so the magazines will probably be with us later this week for posting out to members.

Monday 20th January 2020

Plenty of photographs this week as our working members get to grips with a variety of projects.

Phil Bell painting the underside of FR 20's tenderWork on FR 20 continued with Alan spending time preparing joints for the boiler blanks. Beneath FR 20’s tender, Roger and Phil Bell (seen here) have been cleaning and painting the underside of the frames and tank.

John Dixon prepares a piece of steel prior to forming it into a vacuum pipe bracketJohn Dixon has decided to upgrade the brackets which support the vacuum pipe which runs below the engine and the tender. This was put together rather hastily at the beginning of 1999 and is now being brought up to a standard befitting of such a venerable locomotive. John is seen here at work tidying a piece of steel  with a file….

John Dixon then shapes the steel into a new bracket…. before bending it into shape with the aid of some heat.

John Davis applies emery cloth to Fluff's journalsJohn Davis has been cleaning up the journals on Fluff‘s wheelsets with the aid of some emery cloth.

Fred paints one of Fluff's lubrication potsFred has been studiously painting Fluff‘s lubrication oil boxes.

John Dixon and Keith Brewer hand shunt Caliban's wheelsPaul and Martin from the Ribble Rail staff helpfully arranged to shunt FR 20’s boiler out of the heated part of the FRT shed on Friday which allowed Caliban‘s wheels to be hand shunted into position in front of the frames. Caliban's wheels in front of the frames after the shuntCaliban‘s own boiler on a lowmac was then positioned in front of the wheels so that work on it can commence when resources permit.

The new hydraulic lifting tableThe newly purchased hydraulic table lift was unpacked and, for once, needed little assembly before being tested in readiness for future use.

There were productive working parties over at Embsay on Thursday and Saturday. Keith, Fred and George attended on Thursday, dismantling and cleaning the areas that the boiler surveyor needed to access. Keith and Fred returned on Saturday to be joined by Mike and Ed.

Keith Brewer tests for play in 5643 valveKeith removed both valve covers in order to assess the play in the valves.

Ed Tatham polishes 5643's cab roofEd concentrated on cleaning the cab area.

Fred cleans one of 5643's brass number platesFred polished up the brightwork.

Mike Rigg polishes the coupling rodsMike gave the coupling rods a good clean.

The boiler surveyor conducted a formal 14 month examination of the boiler today and passed it fit for further use subject to an NDT examination of the bottom of the firebox tubeplate. Arrangements will be made for this to take place as soon as possible. In the meantime, thanks to all those of you who braved the January weather to prepare 5643 for the survey.

Monday 13th January 2020

A short update to let you know that the working members have still been hard at work this week.

Phil Bell, John Davis and Roger Benbow in the process for re-assembling the brake gear on FR 20's tenderFR 20’s brake gear has been re-assembled after the long job of cleaning off old paintwork and re-painting – and, of course, remembering how it all fitted together! It seems that there was a little difficulty in getting the final split pins to fit with the suspicion being that the latest layer of paint is thicker than the previous layer. However, with the assistance of clamps, the job was finally achieved.

John Dixon has finished his work in modifying the rear drawgear on FR 20’s tender and, now that the brake gear is also in place, this will enable the painting of the outside of the tender to take place. Tim got out the masking tape and made a start with the painting on Friday afternoon.

Alan has been busy cutting out jointing material for the boiler blanks which, when fitted, will enable the hydraulic test to take place. However, before this can happen, the boiler itself needs to be moved to an area where it can be accessed by a lifting device to enable the dome to be re-fitted. The first shunt move to enable this to happened took place on Thursday morning. It is to be hoped that the next moves, which will also involve the movement of Caliban‘s wheels to the front of the frames, will take place in the not too distant future.

John Davis at work painting FluffWork has continued to paint Fluff, with John Davis wielding the trusty brush.More paint on Fluff

With various smaller lifting tasks due to take place as projects progress, a 500kg lifting table has been purchased and is due to arrived this next week. It will be interesting to find out just how much assembly will be involved and just how soon we will have to resort to the instructions!

Fred (the giant!) watches Gavin Redshaw at workWe have been joined over the last couple of weeks by artist Gavin Redshaw, who is preparing some drawings to be put on show in the Harris Institute. Fred is seen watching over Gavin as he sketches Caliban‘s wheels, whilst we can give you a preview of the previous week’s sketch of Caliban‘s frames on blocks.The previous week's drawing of Caliban's frames

RMB 1812 lifted for maintenance workOver in the main RSR workshop, the FRT’s former RMB has been lifted for maintenance.

A reminder that there will be working parties will take place at Embsay this next week on Thursday, 16th and Saturday, 18th January. Keith, Fred and George will be present on Thursday and Keith would be grateful for any further assistance that can be offered on either day.

Monday 6th January 2020

A Happy New Year to all readers of the blog. We hope that you enjoyed the Christmas festivities and avoided the seasonal coughs, colds and ‘flu that are around at the moment.

We are pleased to be able to report that some of our members soon put such seasonal distractions to one side and turned out for the working parties over the Christmas period, so well done to them.

Christmas Day itself brought a surprise to those of you who watched Call the Midwife for there was an unexpected fleeting cameo appearance by 5643, allegedly hauling a train from London to Scotland!

John Dixon cleaning out FR 20's bootMost of us who own cars do occasionally take some time to clean out the boot, and Adrian managed to get a photo of a John Dixon applying the vacuum cleaner to FR 20’s own ‘boot’ in readiness for the New Year – just don’t tell Jean!

Keith makes the sparks fly on Wootton HallKeith has been continuing his work on Wootton Hall and is seen here making the sparks fly.

Fred attends to one of FR 20's couplingsMeanwhile Fred has been giving attention to one of FR 20’s couplings.

Phil Bell drills holes in Fluff's running boardIn between finishing the painting of FR 20’s tender brake gear, Phil Bell has been drilling more holes in Fluff‘s running board.

John Davis polishes up one of Fluff's lubrication boxesJohn Davis is seen polishing up one of Fluff‘s lubrication boxes.

Live Steam ready to see in the New Year at the Engine Inn at CarkLive Steam provided a marathon performance on New Year’s Eve at the Engine Inn at Cark, finally finishing at 00.37 for a much needed rest.

Finally, we had the sad task on the 2nd January of saying farewell to Howard Fletcher. It says much for Howard’s popularity that there was standing room only at Ingol Methodist Church as over one hundred friends and members of his family gathered together for the occasion.