Monday 24th February 2020

We’ve been busy again…!

Phil Bell fits one of Fluff's cab windowsKeith has cut out the holes in Fluff‘s rear upper cab plate and Phil Bell has been busy making the final adjustments and fitting the brass-rimmed windows.

Fred wielding a hammer to a stubborn sand box linkageFred has been cleaning up the sand box linkage and is seen here persuading a stubborn nut to move.

John Davis cleans up one of the sand box outletsJohn Davis has been cleaning up the sand box outlet flanges.

The search for a replacement engine for Fluff continues and Nigel Harris kindly put out a plea on Twitter for people to let us know of any that might be available. One respondent helpfully suggested that we  look at barn sales for agricultural machinery that might possess a suitable Fowler Sanders engine, in particular a gyrotiller. Let us know if you see anything that might be of use…

John Dixon checks for rivet head dribbles of varnishFR 20’s boiler is now ready to receive some water when we can get it close to the water pipe in the Ribble Rail shed. Tim and John Dixon varnished FR 20’s tender water tank on Friday and John is seen checking for any stray varnish dribbles from the many rivet heads, which are undoubtedly the bane of any painter’s life!

Ade unloads the fire pumpWednesday saw Keith and Ade head off to Leyland to pick up the newly acquired fire pump and accessories. The RSR, which ran a half term steam service that day, had an overwhelming response from the public, so it took some time to find space for Ade to unload the kit with the forklift truck.

There is no news yet as to the date for 5643’s steam test at Embsay. Please note that there may not be a working party at Preston this Saturday as Keith is otherwise engaged on a steam trip.

Alan watches as David Rimmer cuts one of the birthday cakesThere seems to have been a spate of birthdays lately and Alison kindly provided celebratory cakes for Keith and Alan. David Rimmer is seen wielding a knife to one of them under Alan’s watchful eye.


Monday 17th February 2020

Up and awayA landmark stage in the overhaul of FR 20 was achieved when the dome was finally lifted into position by the Ribble Steam Railway’s track maintenance vehicle’s hi-ab.

Ade fits the dome into positionAde is seen making sure that the dome fits neatly into position.

Santa emerging from another chimney...Alan looks as if he has just popped up out of the boiler as he attends to the securing nuts.

John Dixon drills some holes in a blank for FR 20's boilerJohn has been preparing the last of the boiler blanks in readiness for some water to be put into the boiler.

A shiny new coat of paint for the tender tankPainting of the tender has continued with the left hand side of the tank now showing off its new coat of paint.

Fred and Alan Ogden wrestle with Fluff's sand boxFred and Alan Ogden have been wrestling to free the mechanism on the second of Fluff‘s sand boxes.

Phil Bell drills some more holesMore new platework for Fluff‘s rear cab sheet has been cut out and Phil Bell has been drilling some more holes.

Ready for the skipWith the new steel cut, Keith prepares to chop the old cab plate ready for the skip.

Finally, the steam test for 5643, originally scheduled for last Friday, has been postponed pending the acquisition of some replacement firebars. Colleagues at Embsay have this is in hand and the steam test should be carried out shortly.

Monday 10th February 2020

We start this week with the good news that the NDT on 5643’s firebox tubeplate, required by the boiler surveyor as part of the 14 month dry examination, revealed no traces of cracking and preparations are well in hand for the second part of the examination, the steam test, to take place at Embsay this Friday, 14th February. New fusible plugs and stay nuts have been acquired from South Coast Steam and it is planned that these will be fitted tomorrow, Tuesday.

Much sadder news from Embsay has been the passing of Charles Adams last Monday, 10th February, after a brave fight against cancer. Charles had been a stalwart of the Yorkshire Dales Railway (as it was previously known) for around 45 years and was in recent times the railway’s Footplate Standards Manager. Charles joined the Furness Railway Trust last year and became the guardian of ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria which is currently on hire to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. With assistance from others, Charles successfully worked to cure the leaking regulator valve which was very much appreciated. Our condolences go to Charles’ family.

Alan and Ade at work on FR 20's boilerBack at Preston Alan and Ade have been fitting a new dome joint on FR 20’s boiler in readiness for its forthcoming hydraulic test.

"I thought the engine was at the other end..."Underneath FR 20’s tender, John Dixon and Roger have re-fitted the vacuum pipe with its new custom made brackets. John is seen making use of the new access hole in the “boot”.

John at work on the stop cocks from FR 20's tenderAnother job on the list of things to do was to look at the two water shut-off cocks located on the sumps below the tender tank, the problem being that they have stiffened up with rust over time and are now impossible to do the job for which they were intended and actually shut. They have been removed and are undergoing attention from John.

Phil Bell fastening Fluff's plateworkThere has been more assembly of Fluff and Phil Bell has been fastening down more of its platework.

Fred cleaning up one of Fluff's sand boxesMore bits of Fluff have been dragged out from store in the outer shed area and Fred is seen making the best of the brighter weather on Friday cleaning up a sand box.

The interior of TSO 5036 looks bareThe FRT seems to be getting more and more involved with the RSR’s coaching stock, with Mike Rigg having taking on the C&W role. Seats on TSO 5036 have been removed for re-covering.

The seats are back!The professionally refurbished seats are now returning and John Davis and Mike Rigg are seen busy loading them aboard ready for re-fitting.

Keith and new pipework for Wootton HallAs ever, work has also continued on Wootton Hall and Keith is seen here fitting some newly formed copper pipe.

The previous week's drawing of Caliban's framesFinally, avid readers will remember the visits to our shed by local artist Gavin Redshaw, who has been preparing sketches of Caliban in preparation for a forthcoming exhibition at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery. That full exhibition opens this weekend – and full details are available here.

Monday 3rd February 2020

Work continues apace on the Trust’s projects at Preston.

FR 20’s tender is steadily changing colour as Tim progresses with the Furness Railway paint scheme. John Dixon drills holes beneath FR 20's tenderUnderneath, John Dixon has been drilling holes to fix  the new vacuum pipe carrying brackets.

Ade and Alan in the process of removing the valve seats from FR 20's domeAde and Alan spent some time on Wednesday removing the valve seats from FR 20’s dome for machining. The seats had previously been pressed into the dome so it took some persuasion to remove them, but with ace dismantler Ade to hand, we shouldn’t have worried!

Ade in the process of fitting one of Caliban's springsJust to demonstrate that dismantling isn’t Ade’s only talent, we include a welcome photo of him fitting one of Caliban‘s springs.

John Davis cleaning one of Fluff's window framesWork continues on Fluff and here we see John Davis cleaning up one of the window frames, with the trunk from ‘Nellie’ the fume extractor in close proximity.

Keith fitting a new vacuum pipe beneath Wootton Hall's cab floorKeith has been busy fitting more pipework to Wootton Hall. He is seen here under the cab floor with the vacuum pipe that links the brake valve to the tender vacuum cylinder.

Finally, the NDT examination of 5643’s tubeplate was carried out last Wednesday and, at the time of writing, we await the boiler surveyor’s prognosis.