Monday 29th March 2021

Today, at long last, sees the end of the third lock down “stay at home” message that commenced almost three months ago on the 5th January. We are therefore looking forward to being able to welcome back this week all those working members who feel able to return to working parties in the FRT shed, although of course all the safety measures, including sanitising and social distancing, remain in place.

Alan making new steam joints for FR 20's injectorsAs previously reported, it has been possible to make some progress over the past three months on the priority project of returning Furness Railway No. 20 to steam this summer. It is hoped to start mounting pipework and fittings over the next few weeks and Alan has made a start on making new steam joints for the injectors.

John Dixon constructing the new formwork to enable FR 20's new brick arch to be madeJohn has continued his work in making up formers to enable a new brick arch to be fitted.

Stewart Waugh refitting FR 20's vacuum cylinderThere was a successful effort on Friday morning to lift the lower part of FR 20’s vacuum cylinder back into position after it had been serviced. The lifting table that was purchased last year has certainly proved its worth and Stewart Waugh is seen here fitting the retaining nuts on to the vacuum cylinder.

The refreshed paintwork on FR 20's dome coverTim has again been busy with the paintbrush and the paintwork on the dome cover has been refreshed. We are now ready to lift the cab spectacle plate and the dome cover into place using the Ribble Rail hi-ab when a date can be arranged.

Elsewhere, Ade has again been busy drilling out rivets in Caliban‘s smokebox and Keith has been continuing his work on Wootton Hall.

Monday 22nd March 2021

Whilst numbers of volunteers at Preston have been restricted since the start of the third lockdown, there has nevertheless been some continuing progress on projects in recent times.

Ed trimming a bushEd has been sanding down the interior of FR 20’s cab sides but, with plans for visitors to return to the RSR site in May, he also took to his shears to trim the garden near the FRT shed.

The finished jobThe results of the post winter tidy up can be seen here.

John woodworking to make a new former for FR 20's brick archJohn Dixon has been preparing the wooden formwork required to construct a brick arch in FR 20’s firebox.

One of the new formersOne of the new formers can be seen here.

Alan with new manifold jointAlan made a new joint for FR 20’s main manifold valve last Wednesday.

Alan in FR 20's firebox - but don't tell Alison!!Once Tim had removed the firebars from FR 20’s firebox, Alan fitted two new fusible plugs. He smiled for the camera but asked that we didn’t show the “after” photo to Alison!   Alison will never know that I've been in a firebox(However, we guess that she might have got a clue when she went to her washing  basket….)

Tim's overalls showing signs of being in a bad placeTim also had to take his overalls home for a wash after rolling in spent ash underneath the firebox!

Keith with a new piece of cladding for 4979There has been a recent delivery of rolled steel sheet for Wootton Hall’s cylinder cladding. Keith was busy painting one of the smaller items.

New cladding sheet on Wootton Hall's r/h cylinderThis larger piece, once fitted, fitted transforms the look of one of the cylinders.

FR 20's tender vacuum cylinder in the process of being loweredFriday saw Stewart Waugh make his FRT working party debut to assist in the removal of FR 20’s tender vacuum cylinder for servicing, using the lifting table. The cylinder has now been stripped down, cleaned and reassembled. We just need to lift it back into position on the tender when people are feeling strong!

Monday 8th March 2021

This is another of our intermittent lockdown blogs to keep you in touch with the activities of the Furness Railway Trust.

Firstly, it is heartening to be able to see the end of the ‘stay at home’ lockdown message which is due be revoked on the 29th March. This should, if things don’t change, enable all working members to return if they wish to working parties scheduled for Wednesday, 31st March and Friday, 2nd April.

In the meantime, apart from regular security checks, it has been possible to make some progress in recent weeks on projects which respect the Heritage Railway Association lockdown guidelines, although the lack of larger gatherings of working members has been very much missed by all concerned.

Ed Tatham rubs down FR 20's cab spectacle plateThe main thrust of lockdown work has been on the ongoing ten year overhaul of Furness Railway No. 20, which is scheduled to steam again this summer. The aim is to complete its statutory in-frames steam test as soon possible and the very small gang involved on this project has been making steady progress. Fortunately, the current workload has enabled individual tasks to be carried out with members suitably socially distanced. With a full repaint of the locomotive under way, much of the work has involved rubbing down components and building up the new paint finish. Ed is seen here sanding the cab spectacle plate.

The boiler bands ready for fittingThe boiler bands have been re-painted and lined ready for fitting.

John Dixon refurbishing FR 20's vacuum pipeworkMeanwhile John Dixon has been refurbishing some of the vacuum pipework.

Adrian has been continuing his work on Caliban‘s axlebox lubrication to a point where he says that he is satisfied. He has also re-started the task of drilling out the smokebox rivets. Ade sets up the magnetic drill on Caliban's smokeboxHe is seen here setting up a magnetic drill for the job.

Finally, whilst the restoration of Fluff has regrettably had to be temporarily put to one side during the lockdown, enquiries are still being made to find the locomotive a new engine.