Monday 30th August 2021

Sam drills a new hole in FR 20's cab spectacle plateWork has progressed on fitting the controls to the new injector steam valves on FR 20. It has been possible to fit the right hand control through an existing hole in the cab spectacle plate but for some reason a new hole was required on the left hand side which was drilled by Sam.

Phil Bell trying to make the engine compartment sheets on Fluff fitPhil is still working his way towards fitting the panels on Fluff‘s engine compartment.

Ade fitting felt pads to Caliban's axleboxesAde has been fitting felt pads to Caliban‘s axlebox keeps. He managed to find some horse hair to provide extra cushioning under the pads, which saved the need for him to cut off his own locks!

Paul Newton with a shiny bench seatPaul Newton is now in the final stages of restoring the former L&NWR platform seat from Preston station.

Ron Crowe cutting more steel from Wootton Hall's tender tankRon has been cutting out more corroded steel from Wootton Hall‘s tender tank.

Wootton Hall's vacuum cylinder being set up for a testKeith has completed the assembly of Wootton Hall’s tender vacuum cylinder and it is being set up for a test.

Finally, the Annual General Meeting will be held this year at the FRT shed at Preston at 7.30 pm on Tuesday evening, 28th September; please put this in your diary. The formal invitations to members will go out with the latest edition of The Iron Horse magazine, which is now in production with the proofs being returned to the printer last week.

Monday 23rd August 2021

There are still some outstanding areas of work to complete before Furness Railway No. 20 can be steamed. Ron Crowe refitted the front guard irons, which had been removed for the engine’s recent trip to Barrow, and Tim has taken on board cleaning out the lockers in the tender – yes the clear-out was long overdue with a fair amount of rubbish found and disposed of! The lockers are receiving a fresh coat of paint before they are refilled with useful content! Alan and Sam have been concentrating on fitting the controls to the new injector steam valves, with the refitting of the main steam pipe also on their ‘to do’ list. John Dixon preparing the 2 pack paintJohn Dixon has been continuing his expeditions into the tender tank, seen here mixing the two pack paint…

John Dixon busy in the tender tank…and then applying it.

Paul Balshaw applying primer to Fluff's panelsThe Fluff gang has been busy test fitting side panels to the engine compartment. Paul Balshaw is seen here applying primer to one of the panels…

Phil Bell removing accumulated paint on one of the panels…whilst Phil Bell has been removing paint to make the panels fit correctly!

Ade has been test fitting Caliban‘s axleboxes.

G clamps galore!Keith has been renovating and assembling Wootton Hall‘s tender vacuum cylinder. First a new slipping band had to be fitted to the piston. This can be a frustrating exercise: the holes in the piston, the band and the steel band that keeps the slipping band in place have all to be lined up. ‘G’ clamps are the preferred method to achieve this and the FRT’s full complement of clamps were deployed to the task on Wednesday morning.

Keith tightening up the vacuum tender cylinder for Wootton HallBy Friday Keith had fitted the rubbing band, inserted the piston, fitted the sealing rings and was to be seen tightening up the top and bottom parts of the vacuum cylinder.

Keith reports that 5643 has again been busy at the East Lancs Railway, hauling ten coaches on Thursday. It is seen here leaving Bury on Friday with the dining train of six coaches.

Finally, when Tim was in an Ulverston bookshop this week he spotted a book entitled Ulverston, Festival town, with a very familiar face grinning at him from the front cover!Alan has become a front cover man at last!

Monday 16th August 2021

Give him a long enough lever and Ade will move the earth!Last Wednesday saw yet another working party convene at Embsay in an effort to improve the performance of Cumbria‘s left hand injector. New parts had been fitted during the previous visit but the bottom cone had proved to be a tight fit and it had been decided not to put too much weight on it whilst being screwed into position. This time, on examination, there was far less resistance and, with the assistance of a length of pipe, Adrian was able to screw it until it reached the end of its thread.

Well, that took all of ten minutes, so it was agreed to give Cumbria a steam test so that the effect of this tweak to the injector could be assessed. Needless to say, there was then a break of some hours whilst steam was raised which allowed time for cups of tea, lunch, more tea, cleaning of the engine and the taking of some photographs.Alan taking a carriage photo?Tim caught Alan apparently taking a photo of the lovely L&NWR saloon.

Ade's artistic effortMeanwhile Ade contented himself with one of his artistic cab spectacle photos of Welsh Guardsman departing Embsay with a train to Bolton Abbey.

The outcome of all this was that, when pressure reached 115 psi, Ade lost patience and put the injector on with no problem. This then led to Cumbria being put into service for a short stint before being withdrawn for a scheduled boiler washout.

Planning the day's activitiesBack at Preston, the Fluff gang has again been busy. We see here a planning meeting on Friday – is this a new concept?!

Test fitting more bits on FluffPhil and John Davis then set about test fitting the first side panel to the new angle support piece.

Fred in familiar poseFred then set about cleaning more of Fluff’s panels for painting.

Roger lying down on the jobMeanwhile Roger took advantage of some better weather by continuing the paint job on the former Foxfield water column.

John Dixon heading into self isolationWork also continued on FR 20 where Stewart Waugh had applied some anti-corrosion solution to the tender coal space after which Tim added some grey undercoat. Having finished (and won!) his long running battle with fitting the engine’s vacuum pipe, John Dixon was busy on the inside of the tender tank applying some two pack paint, again to prevent future corrosion.

Monday 9th August 2021

A short update this week.

John Dixon working under FR 20's R/H valance.Further work has taken place on FR 20 with Tim tidying up some of the corrosion and paintwork on top of the tender and John Dixon still finding work to do on the engine’s vacuum pipe which is located under the right hand valance.

John Dixon fabricating a new vacuum pipe support bracketJohn has been fabricating two brackets to retain the vacuum pipe in place and is seen here removing sharp edges that could potentially cause harm to those working underneath the loco.

John Davis drilling holes in the new angles above Fluff's engine compartmentWork has also continued on Fluff with Phil Bell making some adjustments to the cab spectacle plate and John Davis drilling holes in the new angles which support the engine compartment roof.

Keith reports that 5643’s valves have been refitted after some work on them at Bury and that the loco was then sent out on a test run on Friday. We see it here making a highly unusual combination double-heading on Friday with LNER ‘A4’ Union of South Africa!!

Finally for this week, news from Embsay is that the work to improve the performance of Cumbria‘s driver’s side injector has been successful but that there is still some way to go on the fireman’s side injector, which does not want to pick up at lower pressure. Another working party is being convened at Embsay on Wednesday.

Monday 2nd August 2021

It has been a full week. Wednesday saw a good gathering at St. Mary Magdalene’s Church in Ribbleton for a lovely service to remember the life of Jean Dixon, followed by the opportunity to have a more informal chat and  a chance to look at photos at the White Bull near Longridge.

Ade, Alan, Tim and Sam went to Embsay on Thursday to refit Cumbria’s right hand injector clack box, hand brake and new parts for the left hand injector. As ever, you always meet up with the unexpected! Ade tapped out the holes in the backhead of the firebox for the new studs.

Alan fitting new studs for the clack boxAlan then fitted the studs and until then, all was going well…..

Tim came to lift the clack box on to the studs and found that the holes in the clack box weren’t aligned with the studs! There was a pause whilst the old studs were examined and some of them were found to be bent. The only solution to obtaining a good fit was then to open out the holes in the clack box after which Ade is seen here tightening the retaining nuts.Ade tightening the nuts

Fitting the new parts to the left hand injector wasn’t all plan sailing either but was finally accomplished with a bit of oooomph!

That left the re-fitting of the hand brake shaft. Sam watching Ade fit the handbrake linksSam is seen watching Ade under the engine during the process of fitting the links to the shaft.

A steam test for Cumbria is now scheduled for tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Keith headed over to Bury on Thursday to look at 5643’s valves which had been removed for examination following reports of excessive water consumption by the engine. Fortunately the ELR has Dave Reynolds, formerly of the Severn Valley Railway and somewhat of an expert on GWR locos, to render advice and a plan of action has been agreed to complete a repair.

Wootton Hall's sand boxes repaired and paintedBack at Preston we have a photo of two repaired and painted sand boxes for Wootton Hall.

John doing some filingWe were very pleased to welcome back John on Saturday who is seen here filing a new bracket to carry FR 20’s engine vacuum pipe.

FR 20 sports the new headboardThose of you who read the blog a fortnight ago might have spotted a new locomotive headboard with the words “The Furness Railway Trust”. Sponsored by one of our members, this is now at Preston with a view to promoting the FRT and is seen on the front of FR 20.

Finally, we leave you with news that a CGI version of Furness Railway No. 20 has been produced for Train Simulator. The product looks pretty convincing to us, and all credit to them.