Monday 27th July 2020

We’re back after a short holiday break – and, yes, for those of the team who were away, the weather was rather better way down in the south west, thank you. (Well, can’t have been much worse than some of what we have had in the last week! Ed.)

After three weeks of preparations, we’re pleased to be able to celebrate the return of normal working parties last week. Thanks go to everyone for turning up and also for completing the necessary paperwork to comply with the risk assessment.

Needless to say, with a big green engine standing ready and waiting over the pit in the FRT shed, there was plenty of work for everyone to get their teeth into and the cleaners got to work, suitably equipped with their PPE of course!

Fred examines 5643's smoke boxFred tackles the smoke box…

John Davis clean's 5643's left hand sideJohn Davis the left hand side…

Phil Bell cleans 5643's right hand guard ironand Phil the right hand guard iron.

There will be further working parties this next Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

You should be receiving your copy of the latest, lockdown edition of The Iron Horse, plus the Trustees’ Annual Report and Accounts for 2019. Please note that, due to Covid-19 restrictions, it has been decided to hold a virtual AGM this year on Tuesday, 8th September using Zoom, which allows access by telephone or online. Details are being sent to members with The Iron Horse.

A gleaming CumbriaFinally, we were also pleased to note the resumption of passenger services at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway on Saturday. A special effort was made to clean the FRT’s ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria for the occasion and the gleaming loco is seen here with a passenger train, courtesy of a photo from the Embsay Loco Dept Facebook page. Well done to all concerned for a great effort!

Monday 13th July 2020

5643 being shunted round to the FRT shedYet another blog, this time to let you know that 5643 arrived back at Preston this afternoon and is now tucked up in the FRT shed. 5643 over the pit in the FRT shedThanks to Adrian and Keith who oversaw the unloading and shunt for us. This is how the reorganised shed now looks:View of the re-organised FRT shed

A small group met last Wednesday to continue the preparations for re-opening the FRT and RSR workshops to volunteers. Keith had laid down some yellow markers in the FRA shed the previous Sunday. Phil hoovering the RSR workshopPhil joined us to hoover the RSR workshop and plant room.

Yellow distancing markers in the RSR workshopTim, working with John Dixon, painted a further eighty marking lines at 2 metres distance so completing the bulk of this work – or so Tim’s knees hope!

It is intended to mount a number of hand sanitisers around the site this next Wednesday and suitable signage is being prepared to emphasise the need to wash hands regularly and to maintain social distancing.

Alan returning after Covid-19We also had the welcome sight of Alan on Wednesday for the first time after his Covid-19 illness, also sporting a lockdown haircut. He has taken the copy for the latest edition of The Iron Horse to the printers so hopefully it should not be too long before one lands through members’ letterboxes.

Monday 6th July 2020

What’s this? Two blogs within the space of 14 days? Well something must be happening!

First of all we can reveal that the Trust’s former GWR 0-6-2 tank locomotive No. 5643 is now due to return to Preston from Embsay around the 14th July. A preparatory shunt of the FRT shed at Preston was due to take place today, Monday.

Secondly, we are sorry to hear that Roger Benbow has recently had a spell in main works, Furness General Hospital at Barrow. Happily Roger is now home and making a good recovery we hear. Best wishes to you, Roger, from us all.

Ade with his lockdown hairBack to the good news, Ade, John Dixon, Tim and Keith re-united at Preston last Wednesday after a gap of three and a half months. Keith also overdue a haircutTim had brought down with him various boxes containing PPE, hand gel, adhesive tape and floor paint. The plan was to lay markers at 2 metres distance in both the RSR and FRT sheds. It was decided to practice with the FRT shed where Ade (sporting a 100 day isolation hair style) hoovered the floor.Ade hoovering the floor

The floor was then cleaned with white spirit before John applied adhesive black/yellow tape.John Dixon laying adhesive tape

Unfortunately the tape didn’t like the concrete floor so Plan B was invoked. Tim with yellow paintOnce the time consuming option of masking tape had been ditched, John made up a wooden stencil to enable Tim to apply some yellow marking paint, which appeared to do the trick.Floor markings in place

Now that we have the technology it is hoped to make rather more progress this week. Once this is achieved, and signage and hand sanitisers are mounted, we will be well on the way to re-opening the workshops.