Monday 28th September 2020

Keith measures one of 5643's valvesThe maintenance work on 5643 has continued with the valves now removed for cleaning. Keith has been measuring them to ensure that they are still a good fit with the valve liners.

Phil Bell reaching into the voids that are 5643's motionElsewhere the less glamorous work of cleaning has made more headway with Phil Bell trying to get to the far distant parts in the motion.

John Davis cleaning 5643John Davis also found himself doing some cleaning, probably wishing he hadn’t chosen to wear such a light-coloured T shirt!

Keith and Phil Bell preparing to cut new steel for FluffWhilst Fluff has temporarily been banished to the unheated part of the FRT shed during 5643’s stay, the little diesel hasn’t been forgotten and Keith and Phil are seen preparing to cut a new piece of steel to replace this old rather moth-eaten relic.

John Dixon cleaning up FR 20's ashpanThe weather last Friday was pretty good so John Dixon took the opportunity to clean out FR 20’s ashpan prior to giving it a new coat of paint.

Fred cleaning paint from Fr 20's right hand valanceFred came in on Friday again wielding his trusty angle grinder with cup wire brush. This time he joined Tim in removing old brittle paint from FR 20’s right hand valance.

Ade, Keith and Tim had the chance on Saturday to reacquaint themselves with the controls of steam locomotive Courageous as the Ribble Steam Railway ran some proving trains which were also used to recertify train crew in anticipation of operating some train services in October. The day also saw the introduction of temperature testing of volunteers in order to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19. There was general approval of this initiative by FRT volunteers last Friday and so the FRT has acquired a similar testing device which will be brought into use this week.

Monday 21st September 2020

Ade getting up pressure on FR 20's boilerAlan and Ade conducted a further hydraulic test on FR 20’s boiler on Wednesday after successfully making a new dome cover joint last week and Ade can be seen here working up some pressure. A formal test for the boiler surveyor has been booked for the 12th October.

John Dixon with his die nutJohn Dixon finished finding or making the new studs for FR 20’s steam and blast pipes and had them fitted on Wednesday. He is seen here applying a die nut to one of the studs.

Matthew and John Dixon fit one of FR 20's new springsFriday saw young Matthew join the gang having started a fabrication and welding course at college. He was quickly put to good use operating the hoist to lift one of the new engine springs into position for another test fit.

Keith removes a valve cover on 5643Keith has removed 5643’s valve and cylinder covers as he starts the valve and piston examination.5643's valves and pistons exposed

Fred painting some of 5643's cab floor metalworkFinally, Fred was with us on Friday to continue his work cleaning up and painting the cab floor metalwork.

Monday 14th September 2020

First of all we can report that the Annual General Meeting successfully took place last Tuesday evening with the participants able to attend from the comfort of their homes using Zoom technology. The essential business was conducted without fuss in a record time of 20 minutes and the draft minutes produced before bedtime! Thanks go to all of you who attended.

Ade and Alan preparing a new dome cover jointAlan and Ade removed the dome cover from FR 20’s boiler with the assistance of Ribble Rail staff and the hi-ab.¬†They then prepared a new joint before the dome cover was replaced and fastened down.

John Dixon drilling out steam pipe studsJohn Dixon continued and completed his work drilling out wasted or broken studs which secure the blastpipe and main steam pipe.

Caliban's valve spindlesAlan had picked up Caliban‘s valve spindles from IRS Surfacing Technologies at Burscough. They had been metal sprayed to counter corrosion and then ground back to size. From the finished job they looked brand new.

Paul Balshaw cleaning 5643's rodsThere has been more attention given to 5643 with Paul Balshaw cleaning up the rods.

Phil Bell cleaning below 5643's cab floorPhil Bell focussed his attention beneath the cab floor, which has been removed to allow access.

Fred cleaning up 5643's cab floor steelworkFred came in on Friday to clean up some of the cab floor steelwork

John Dixon with yet another job to completeKeith has given John Dixon the job of refurbishing a second-hand GWR cab seat and then creating another for Wootton Hall.

Spaced out at lunch Lunchtimes these days are a little strange with members spacing themselves out either in the mess room or the shed. Here we see John Davis, Paul Newton and Phil Bell suitably socially distanced (no, we didn’t say spaced out!).

Monday 7th September 2020

Another couple of weeks of steady progress at Preston to report.

Alan attending to FR 20's front endThe steam chest cover and tail rod bushes for the valve spindles have been re-fitted to FR 20, with Alan seen here at work on the matter.

All the spring hangers have now been machined and painted prior to fitting along with the new springs. The tender spectacle plate has also received a new coat of paint.

John Dixon applying heat to one of FR 20's blast pipe studsA number of steam pipe and blast pipe studs need to be replaced either through wastage or breakage. John Dixon tried to remove one of the blast pipe studs using some heat.

John Dixon resorting to drilling out a blast pipe stud on FR 20Unfortunately, the heat treatment failed to make any difference so John is seen here (successfully) drilling out one of the broken studs.

Ade drilling out one of Caliban's smokebox rivetsThe magnetic drill was much in demand last Wednesday when Ade also took the opportunity to start drilling out smokebox rivets on Caliban‘s boiler.

Keith cleaning 5643's framesThere has been further cleaning of 5643’s motion and frames.

5643's main brake shaft5643’s main brake shaft was removed by team Bell and Davis with a little help from Keith and the lifting table. It is a sizeable chunk of metal that has to be respected!

Keith shaping one of Wootton Hall's injector delivery pipesContinuing Great Western news, Keith has been spending more time shaping the new injector delivery pipework for Wootton Hall.

A final reminder to members that the virtual AGM is scheduled for tomorrow evening (Tuesday, 8th September) with signing in commencing at 19.15 for a 19.30 start. We still hope to see or hear from as many members as possible.