Monday 27th September 2021

This week we focus on Furness Railway No. 20 as its lengthy overhaul progresses towards a conclusion.

On Tuesday, the loco received its final formal cold inspection by the boiler surveyor when it was deemed to be ready for a steam test.

GER 5 back in the main FRT shedWith Adrian available on Wednesday, it was sensible to conduct a shunt of the FRT shed which saw FR 20 moved off the pit to be replaced by Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5.

Alan Middleton looks on as Alan Vernon coals up FR 20Once the remaining washout plugs and mudhole doors had been fitted to the firebox, FR 20 was sent around to the running shed for the tender to be filled with coal and the boiler with water.

There was then a trip to the water tower to fill the tender tank with water before the loco was returned to the front of the FRT shed. Most of Friday was spent on finishing jobs in the smokebox.

John Dixon mixes concrete for FR 20's smokebox floorFirst the blast pipe was lifted and fitted before John Dixon mixed some refractory concrete to seal the base of the smokebox. The completed smokeboxFinally, the new blower pipe was then fitted.

Tim lights the matchSaturday morning saw the engine pulled out of the shed by Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0ST Linda, prior to the first train of the RSR’s weekend Steam Gala. It was at this point that no one could come up with any more jobs that needed to be done and, at 10.12,  Tim duly struck a match to start the process of raising steam.

The burning rag is despatched into the firboxPlenty of time was spent in slowly warming the boiler, the fire being very gradually built up and spread around the firebox. Meanwhile Tim conducted a few tours of the FRT shed for those visitors to the RSR Gala who wanted a closer look at FR 20 and to view progress on Wootton Hall and Caliban.

Smoke emerges from the chimneyBy late afternoon both of FR 20’s injectors had been tested and the safety valves adjusted. Alan adjusts the safety valvesTime then to reverse FR 20 back into the shed and close the doors.

Sunday morning saw John Dixon, Alan and Tim reconvene to undertake some fettling jobs, including the fitting of a couple of new joints on the right hand injector delivery pipe, before raising steam once again. The remedial works appeared to be successful and, after a gentle trip up and down the yard, FR 20 was duly viewed as being ready for a formal ‘in steam’ inspection by the boiler surveyor.

A final reminder now that the Annual General Meeting of the Furness Railway Trust will take place in the FRT shed tomorrow night, Tuesday, at 7.30 pm. We have been promised cake once the contents of the Trustees’ Annual Report and Accounts have been digested and approved!

Monday 20th September 2021

A sparkling repainted works plateThe final jobs on Furness Railway No. 20 are gradually being knocked off the ‘to do’ list. The black paintwork on the works plates has been renewed by Neil and the plates were re-fitted on Wednesday.

Ron Crowe and Paul Balshaw at work on FR 20Ron Crowe refitted the sand pipes while Paul Balshaw gave the loco another clean in readiness for the forthcoming ‘volunteer open day’.

Alan and Sam at work on the main steam pipe in FR20's smokeboxAlan and Sam spent quite some time modifying and then fitting the main steam pipe in the smokebox.

John Dixon fits retaining clamps for the water gauge drain pipesJohn Dixon has made some clamps to retain the boiler water gauge drain pipes in place – another of those jobs that has taken over twenty years to achieve!

The boiler surveyor is due to give FR 20 what we hope will be a final cold boiler inspection on Tuesday before we light a fire in the firebox. Fingers crossed!

Phil Bell and John Davis at work on FluffAde caught Phil Bell and John Davis working on the right hand side of Fluff’s bonnet on Wednesday.

Alan and Keith putting together new steelwork for the new water take off box for Wootton Hall's tenderWe had a delivery of newly shaped steel plate on Friday from which Keith is going to construct a new water take off box which will sit below Wootton Hall’s tender tank when completed.

The aforementioned ‘volunteer open day’ attracted a number of prospective volunteers on Saturday. Tim and Ade were on hand to show them around plus quite a few other passengers who took the opportunity to visit the FRT shed and purchase some souvenirs. Both Tim and Alison had contributed to a two hour long BBC Radio Lancashire programme on Thursday evening, along with RSR’s Dave Watkins, Gary Severn and Steve Cain, which highlighted the work of volunteers at the RSR and FRT.

A reminder that the Annual General Meeting will take place next Tuesday evening, 28th September, at 7.30 pm in the FRT shed at Preston. We are informed that there will be cake on hand to tempt members to attend!


Monday 13th September 2021

As we head into the more comfortable autumn weather, work in the FRT has been progressing well.

New and old blower rings for FR 20FR 20’s new blower ring has been fabricated by John Dixon and is seen alongside the old ring which had certainly had its day.

John Dixon drills new holes in the upper side of the new blower ring for FR 20John then set about drilling the new holes which, at 1/8th”, are slightly smaller than the previous holes which had opened out naturally beyond their original size.

Sam opening out holes in one part of FR 20's steam pipeAlan and Sam have been working on modifying the main steam pipe. Sam is seen opening out the holes in one end of the pipe to accommodate the new studs on the steam chest.

Underneath FR 20's tenderTim has been putting the finishing touches to the paintwork underneath the tender which, along with some new pipework, looks very smart.

Up and away!Ade spent Wednesday raising Caliban‘s frames so that the wheels could be rolled underneath (hope the wheels are the right way round, Ade!), and then lowering the frames back down again.

Caliban's frames after loweringAfter some adjustment with the help of a traversing jack, the frames finally came down in the right place, between the wheels.

Fluff with left hand side assembledThe left hand side of Fluff‘s engine compartment bonnet is now visibly complete.

John Davis painting an angle for FluffJohn Davis has set about priming an angle to support the right hand side panels.

Lowering Wootton Hall's tender vacuum cylinder into the tender framesWootton Hall’s tender vacuum cylinder has been lowered into position.

Keith Brewer and tender brake shaftFinally, Keith has now manoeuvred the brake shaft adjacent to the cylinder into position ready for fitting.

Monday 6th September 2021

A short update this week.

John Dixon fabricating a new blower ring for FR 20The new water fittings and pipework underneath FR 20’s tender have now been fitted by John Dixon who has now been concentrating his attention on fabricating a new blower pipe for the engine.

The underside of the old blower ringThe corrosion on the underside of the old blower pipe can clearly be seen.

Phil Bell arranges more panels on Fluff's bonnetThe jigsaw that is Fluff‘s bonnet continues to come together with Phil Bell assembling some more panels.

There was a stamp licking session in the mess room last Friday so members should now be receiving their copy of The Iron Horse through the letterbox. The envelope will also contain the Trustees’ Annual Report and Accounts for 2020 plus an invitation to the Annual General Meeting on the evening of Tuesday, 28th September.

It has always been the intention to have a social gathering to celebrate the life of the late Derek Milby. This has now been arranged at the Ulverston Brewing Company’s premises in Derek’s home town of Ulverston on the evening of Saturday, 9th October. This event will coincide with the annual Barrow Model Railway Club exhibition when many of Derek’s friends will be in the area. The premises can only accommodate 50 people so it would be helpful if any readers who wish to attend can contact Tim Owen who will liaise with the Furness Model Railway Club regarding numbers. The event will close at 10.30 pm and Live Steam will be making their first scheduled post lock down appearance.