Monday 31st January 2022

We’ve arrived at the end of the first month of the year already, but with some excellent progress achieved on the FRT’s current projects.

Ade adjusting Caliban's brake blocksAde has spent time this week adjusting Caliban’s brake blocks to enable a better fit on the wheels,

Ron Crowe setting up the drillRon Crowe is seen here setting up the drill in order to put some holes in brass flanges for Wootton Hall.

GER No. 5's roof, now repaired and clear of all obstructionsJohn Dixon has completed the final repairs to the roof of GER Royal Saloon No. 5 which is now clear of all obstructions and ready for painting. Phil Bell has finished splicing new wood into the damaged areas of the wooden canvas retaining strips that run at cantrail height along the coach.

Gas lamp housing before repairOne of the final roof jobs to be undertaken is the repair of the gas lamp housings. Seven of the eight housings require a visit to the FRT’s very own Repair Shop where Tim has been attending to the ‘tin worm’ – the first of the housings is seen here on Friday before and after treatment.Gas lamp housing after repair

Mike Rigg and Tim paid a visit to St. Annes last Tuesday to assist Vernon Smith with an investigation into the health of the FRT’s sales trailer which has been standing unused in a leaking garage for some years. Some of the sales stock has been removed to Preston whilst some old books and magazines are now destined for recycling, being deemed to damp to retrieve. The trailer, although suffering from a couple of flat tyres, is still capable of further use and the Trustees have decided to offer it for sale for a reasonable sum to anyone who might have a use for it. The trailer is 8 feet by 4 feet internally and comes with a cover. Please let Tim know if you are interested.

Finally, we are pleased to be able to report that the FRT’s ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria passed its cold boiler exam last Monday. As previously arranged with the staff at Embsay, the safety valves and the combined blower/sander control casting have been sent away for some fettling, the latter unable to shut off the sanders.

Monday 24th January 2022

Yet another busy week at the workface to report.

Last Tuesday another working party took place at Bury and 5643’s valves were duly delivered by Keith to the FRT shed on Wednesday morning. It is expected that these will be delivered to Tyseley shortly for new rings to be fitted once the re-bore of the valve liners has taken place at the end of the month.

John Dixon repairing the roof of GER 5John Dixon has been undertaking final repairs to the roof of GER Royal Saloon No. 5.

Down below, Tim has been filling and sanding the old, recently plugged, screw holes in the wooden side canvas retaining strips.

Phil Bell drilling new screw holes in the wooden roof canvas retaining stripsMeanwhile Phil has been busy drilling more screw holes in them!

John Davis cleaning paint off the gas lamp housingsJohn Davis has been cleaning paint off the gas lamp housings.

Roger cleaning the gas lamp housing rimsRoger has been cleaning the gas lamp housing rims.

The stripped roof of GER No. 5 ready for paintingThe roof is now totally stripped and a coat of primer is planned over the coming week.

Keith cleaning inside Wootton Hall's tender tankThe damp inside Wootton Hall’s tender tank has dissipated now that it is situated inside the heated shed. Keith has been cleaning out the inside of the tank in preparation for welding repairs.

The bottom angle on Wootton Hall's tender tank receiving attentionOn the outside of the tank. Tim has been cleaning corrosion on the bottom angle of the tank and filling and sanding where necessary.

One of Caliban's brake blocks which will need machiningFinally, Ade has been assembling the brake gear on Caliban and has found that the brake blocks now need machining to give a good fit following the tyre turning that took place many years ago.

Monday 17th January 2022

We start this week’s blog with the sad news that life member Tommy Rawlings of Lancaster passed away suddenly last Wednesday aged 80. Tommy was a regular attendee of working parties at Haverthwaite in the early years of the Lakeside Railway Society and very much a larger than life character who will be fondly  remembered by those that knew him. Tommy worked with Royal Mail for many years and then, on early retirement, followed his father in becoming a coach driver. There are as yet no funeral details pending a post mortem examination. We offer our sincere condolences to Tommy’s wife, Margaret, son John and daughter Wendy.

We do also have some happier news – FRT Trustee Jim Kay married Jean last Monday. We are told that it was not a ‘shotgun wedding’, even though they wore masks!?! We wish Jim and Jean the very best for a long and happy marriage.

Sam Middleton busy with a jack at BuryBack to current activities and we can report that a successful working party was held at Bury last Tuesday to prepare 5643 for the re-bore of its valve liners, which is due to take place at the end of this month.

5643 at Bury minus bufferbeamAs can be seen, it has been necessary to remove the front buffer beam.

John Dixon, Sam Middleton, Keith Brewer and Ade Tomkinson with 5643 at BuryJohn Dixon, Sam Middleton, Keith Brewer and Adrian Tomkinson pose for the camera, which appears to have been ‘photo bombed’ by the gas cylinders.

5643 has also undergone its last cold boiler exam before its ten year boiler certificate expires at the end of the year. Arrangements are being made to renew a couple of stays which are relatively easy to access on the backhead of the boiler.

Back at Preston we are sorry to have to report that Anne Burton, who has been working on the upholstery on Royal Saloon GER No. 5,  has suffered a broken arm when slipping on mud whilst out walking. We wish her a speedy recovery. The old lincrusta wallpaper discovered in GER No. 5Meanwhile John Dixon has uncovered some lincrusta wallpaper on the ceiling of the kitchen compartment in GER No. 5 whilst removing the water tank. It was suggested that this may be an opportunity to reinstate the lincrusta, but it has to be said that John didn’t seem too keen on reviving his lincrusta papering skills  that he learned when the North London Railway carriage was restored at Appleby!

Finally, it is confirmed that Furness Railway locomotive No. 20 will be visiting the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre to appear at its Spring Steam Gala on Sunday, 1st and Monday, 2nd May this year.

Monday 10th January 2022

A belated Happy New Year to all our readers.

There has been no blog for two weeks so there is plenty to report.

The most notable occurrence has been the fitting of Wootton Hall’s tender tank to its chassis last Wednesday. A hi-ab had been procured for the morning to undertake a number of jobs around the RSR’s site and the tender tank was number two on the list.

Up she goesThe tanks was lifted from supporting blocks.

In comes the chassisThen the Ribble Rail lads ensured that the tender chassis was quickly moved underneath.

Down goes the tankThe fitting went every smoothly and the whole job was completed safely in less than 15 minutes. Well done to all.

Keith fitting temporary boltsOnce back inside the shed Keith was busy fitting temporary bolts to hold down the tank.

Caitlin stripping rain stripsThere has been good progress with GER Royal Saloon GER No. 5. Neil and Caitlin came in on the 31st December, Neil to clean the inside of the coach of debris deposited when items were removed from the roof, and Caitlin to strip paint from roof rain strips.

Phil Burton sets up his planerRemoving paint from the wooden side retaining strips has also devoured a great deal of time with Phil Burton seen here setting up a planing machine to clean the straight edges.

John Davis removing paint from retaining stripMeanwhile John Davis used a heat gun on the process.

The corroded gas lamp housingsThe gas lamp housings are being cleaned up by Ed and the corrosion revealed now needs some attention as can be seen here.

Phil Bell plugging old screw holes in the wood retaining piecesPhil Bell has been employed making plugs to fill old screw holes in the retaining strips. Meanwhile Tim has completed the sanding of the roof boards.

Ade cleaning Caliban's chassisNow that Caliban has been lowered on to its wheels, Ade has been undertaking some early spring cleaning.

Sam with the results of excavations in Alan's garageAlan has been emptying his garage and has located some of Caliban’s brass items which Sam brought in for cleaning and storage. Alan and Sam have also been taking measurements of Caliban’s smokebox in order that a quote for a replacement can be obtained.

Finally, Live Steam carried out their New Year’s Eve engagement at the Engine Inn at Cark-in-Cartmel earning the FRT some welcome funds.

A working party is being held tomorrow, Tuesday, to strip the valves from 5643 in anticipation of a re-bore that is due to take place at the end of the month.

A further rearrangement of rolling stock is expected on Wednesday when FR 20 will be brought over the pit in the main shed to enable Alan and Sam to give further attention to the right hand little end.