Monday 26th

So, it’s only five months to Boxing Day – no we haven’t actually mentioned the ‘C’ word yet, but it’s a sobering thought that time is marching on!

It has been a quieter time for us this week as the hot weather has either dissuaded people from coming to Preston this last week or slowed down those who did turn up. Or they were away on holiday (and see below..).

Tim spent his time cleaning off the muck deposited by the seagulls of Barrow on FR 20 when it was on display. He then turned to removing loose scale from the tender coal space in readiness for a coat of paint.

Neil working on the first works plateNeil appeared on Saturday to paint the inlaid sections of the works plates. These have been taken home so that a full two coats of paint can be applied.

Fred painting the water column in the heat of the sunFred manfully braved the heat on Friday and is seen here adding further paint to the water column.

Keith and the new section of ashpan for Wootton HallKeith has been busy manufacturing a new back lower section for Wootton Hall‘s ashpan.

Following on from last week’s sad news, John Dixon informs us that Jean’s funeral will be held at 2.30 pm on this Wednesday, 28th July, at St. Mary Magdalene Church at Ribbleton, Preston. The committal will take place afterwards at Preston crematorium.

Finally,  back to the promised mention of holidays. Alan has been away in the far South West, and found a giant deck chair to his liking at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway….

Stuck.... not that he knows it yet...

Now, it would be cruel to suggest that “pride comes before a fall”, because actually “falling” was that last thing that poor Alan could do.  When he tried to stand up he quite simply could not.  He was stuck and couldn’t get out of the darned thing….
There is video evidence, and if there is sufficient demand, money may be changing hands and we may post it on here….

Monday 19th July 2021

It is with great sadness that we start this week’s blog with the news that Jean Dixon, wife of John, passed away on Friday afternoon after losing her fight with cancer. Jean was Membership Secretary of the Lakeside Railway Society in the early days and has always since been part of our wider family. We offer our sincere condolences to John, Andrew, Linda and Sam. Funeral arrangements will be published when available.

Last week was the run up to the Festival of Transport at Barrow, which this year was celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Furness Railway and at which at which Furness Railway No. 20 was due to make its first public appearance for three years.

FR 20 departs from Preston on Friday afternoonSimon Reid of Reid Freight was keen that this should be one of his more leisurely moves, as he had arranged for his family to be with him at Barrow over the weekend – rather a busman’s holiday! Simon appeared at Preston after lunch by which time Adrian had shunted FR 20 on to the loading road, which had been helpfully cleared by the Ribble Rail staff. The loco departed at 16.10 for its journey to Barrow and an overnight stopover at a secure location there – thanks to David Stubbins of the FR 175 committee, Wicks Waste Management and the Barrow Transport Group for their help.

Neil, Jim and Andrew, with Tom Jones and Peter van Zeller in the backgroundFR 20 was skilfully reversed to its allotted position behind the Dock Museum at 08.45 on Saturday morning with the sales team of Jim Kay, Andrew Furness and part time assistant Neil Smith turning up to set up the stall nearby the loco and with Peter van Zeller also making the trip down from Ravenglass to join in the fun.

FR 20 in position at the Dock Museum on Saturday morningThere wasn’t a cloud in the sky and everyone agreed that FR20 looked splendid in this historic and picturesque setting nearby the old Barrow graving dock. Certainly sun tan lotion was the order of the day!

Simon Reid gives his lorry a polishWith such a sparkling loco on his rig, Simon was to be seen giving his lorry some TLC of its own!

One of the preserved buses operating the free bus serviceThere was a well organised free bus service operated by preserved vehicles which brought new visitors to the site every 20 minutes throughout the day so, without being overrun, there was a steady flow of people who came to take photographs, chatted to us and bought souvenirs from the stall.

Seeing double!Tom Jones brought his beautiful 5″ gauge working model of FR 20 for it to be displayed alongside the 12″ to the foot version and which received many accolades.

Tim reprises the Iron roadNearby there were also stalls operated by the FR 175 committee, Community Rail Cumbria and the Lakes Line Rail User Group amongst others. There were children’s entertainers and, in the afternoon, Tim took the opportunity to reprise some of the songs from the FR 150 road show The Iron Road.

One of the great things about the day was the opportunity to meet up again outside and also to catch up with the many friends who came to visit throughout the day, most of whom we hadn’t seen since before the first lock down. FR 20 departs with the backdrop of the DDHAll too soon though, 16.00 hrs arrived and it was time to pack up and then wave goodbye to FR 20 as, with a farewell toot on the Reid Freight horn, it left the site by the towering Devonshire Dock Hall of the shipyard, where FR 20’s restoration took place from 1996 to 1998. All in all, a very successful and memorable day at a very well organised event.

We are pleased to be able to report that Ade was once again on hand at Preston on Sunday to shunt FR 20 back into the FRT shed. It only remains to thank everyone who prepared the loco for exhibition, special thanks to Ade for undertaking the shunting, Simon Reid, and also the sales team for their efforts. We leave you with a topical photo taken by Ade last Wednesday which we hope you will like:Yes, it came home!

Monday 12th July 2021

It’s holiday time again so, apologies, we missed a blog last week.

Anyhow, back home now to dry out (from the rain, not the alcohol!?!) and to issue a short reminder to everyone that Furness Railway No. 20 is due to appear on the back of a Reid Freight low loader at the Festival of Transport in Barrow-in-Furness next Saturday, 17th July. Whilst the Festival is an annual event, usually orientated towards vintage cars, it is this year also celebrating the 175th anniversary of the Furness Railway, hence the appearance of FR 20.

Old CoppernobThose of you with good memories will recall that 25 years ago, at the 150th anniversary of the Furness Railway, Furness Railway Number 3, aka Old Coppernob was brought “home”, posing outside Barrow station where it had stood for over 4o years in a glass building after retirement, and visiting the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway (above).

It was also announced at that same event that the Heritage Lottery Fund and the PRISM Fund of the Science Museum had both made grants to enable FR 20 to be restored to its original engine and tender configuration from the incomplete remains of a Barrow Iron & Steel Works tank locomotive.

It therefore seems doubly appropriate that FR 20 should return to Barrow this year, if only for a day, as part of the 175 celebrations.

Festival posterFR 20 will be exhibited at the Dock Museum in Barrow and the FRT will have a stall there to sell souvenirs and to explain the work of the Furness Railway Trust. Volunteers to assist would be most welcome. Please contact Tim Owen so that arrangements can be made.