Monday 25th April 2022

Back to our regular Monday blog spot.

Keith arrived on Wednesday with some bent lubrication pipework from 5643 for John Dixon to rectify after a visit to Bury the previous day. For the second time a couple of the pipes had snagged with the crosshead link to the vacuum pump which hadn’t done them any good! They should be re-fitted tomorrow and then 5643 will be given a test run to check the effects of some fine tuning to the valve gear. Dave Reynolds at the East Lancashire Railway had calculated that the eccentric rods needed shortening by between 1/4″ and 3/16″. Keith will be going to Bury this Thursday to witness the outcome of this work.

Keith continues to fabricate the new screw reverser for Wootton HallBack at Preston Keith has been progressing the manufacture of the new reverser for former GWR 4-6-0 No. 4979 Wootton Hall.

Phil Bell and John Davis with seats of the week.Work has continued with the removal of varnish from the interior of  Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5, with Phil Bell and John Davis taking advantage of the good weather last Wednesday lunchtime to have a seats of the week photo taken!

John Dixon working on the replacement step boards for GER No. 5John Dixon has been making up some replacement step boards for GER No. 5 with wood provided by Fred Jones.

Paul Newton removing paint from the Furness Railway bench castingsPaul Newton has been removing old paint from the metal castings on the former Furness Railway bench.

FR 20 taking water at Preston RiversideFurness Railway No. 20 operated the Ribble Steam Railway’s train service on Saturday coincident with a visit from the Industrial Railway Society which was holding its AGM at the Railway that day. We are pleased to report that, after the previous adjustments to the right hand crosshead and big end, the loco performed very well. It is seen here taking a drop of water at the column to see it through to the end of the day. Alan and Sam have been back on site today to prepare the loco for the low loader that will transport it to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre on Wednesday. FR 20 will be taking part in the BRC’s Spring Steam gala this next Sunday and Monday along with four other steam locos and is due to be back at Preston the following Wednesday.

Spot the FRT memberSam was missing at Preston on Saturday having taken advantage of an invitation to travel on the Festiniog Railway’s famous gravity slate train. Here it is with no less than three FRT members on board!

Tim on FR 20 with the FRT headboardFinally, it has been commented that the blog rarely contains a photo of Tim, mainly because he is usually the one taking photos of others! However, Diane Muldowney caught Tim on camera on Saturday and kindly sent us this picture of him holding the FRT headboard on FR 20 at the end of the day.

Tuesday 19th April 2022

We are back with a blog after a short holiday break.

5643 ready to leave Bury Bolton street on the 7th April 2022We are pleased to report that former GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643 has been back in service and operated successfully at the East Lancashire Railway after its winter maintenance programme. A view inside 5643's cabWe have a couple of photos here courtesy of Sam Middleton who had a ride on the locomotive as owner’s representative on Thursday, 7th April.

Cumbria in full flightThe Trust’s ‘Austerity 0-6-0ST locomotive Cumbria has also been back in action at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway after having had a failed tube replaced. Thanks to the Embsay Shed News Facebook page for the photo.

Clear road ahead for FR 20Back at Preston, Alan and Sam have been adjusting the cotter pin that holds the right hand piston rod into the crosshead on Furness Railway locomotive No. 20, after which it double-headed one service train on the Ribble Steam Railway on Sunday and took two service trains on its own. Sam cleaning FR 20It is planned to be operating the RSR’s service this next Saturday, when the Railway will be hosting the Annual General Meeting of the Industrial Railway Society.

Paul Balshaw placing the stodgy yellow peril on the roof of GER No. 5There has been a key step forward with the overhaul of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 with the gluing down of the new canvas onto the wooden roof. Firstly, one half of the canvas was rolled back to allow John Dixon, Paul Balshaw and Tim to spread the ‘yellow peril’ glue onto the southern side of the roof on Wednesday, 6th April. Ready to roll back the canvas on GER No. 5After a pause for lunch, the canvas was then pressed down onto the glue using John’s hand made wooden tamping blocks. The second side was then glued down the following Wednesday by John, Ed and Tim. John pinning down the end of the canvasThe next job, which John has also started, is to prepare to refit the end and side beading strips.

Roger removing varnish from a door on GER 5Inside the coach there has been further progress on the removal of old varnish from the woodwork by  Roger, John Davis working in the corridor of GER No. 5John Davis, Fred finishing what Roger startedFred and Neil (but we only have photos of the first three!).

Work has continued on Caliban with Ade removing the piston heads from the piston rods. A quote for a new saddle tank has been accepted and the next job will be to liberate the old tank from the weeds near the RSR’s running shed so that it can be used as a pattern.

Finally there has been more welding on Wootton Hall’s tender and Tim has been hiding some of the new side patches with filler and paint. Ian Massey from Stoke-on-Trent has also been to do some welding on the new screw reverse mechanism which is being made for 4979, with Keith then taking that project further forward.

Monday 4th April 2022

Well we’re back to normal this week after recovery from the virus, and there’s plenty to report.

Fitting the new valvesFirst of all we head off to Bury where the Tuesday Gang has been putting 5643 back together after the receipt of the refurbished valves back from Tyseley and the subsequent machining of the valve spindle bearings to suit. The photo shows Keith at work with the refitting of the valves, which fitted very snugly we are told.

Valves fittedOnce fitted it was time to fit the valve covers and then the front buffer beam. Keith took the loco for a short test run up the sidings before the formal steam test which took place on Friday. 5643 is now scheduled to operate on the East Lancs Railway later this week. Well done to all those involved in the winter work programme.

Andy Booth cutting out the failed tube on CumbriaMoving over to Embsay, we were surprised and sorry to have learnt that one of Cumbria‘s tubes had shown signs of leakage a week last Friday. However, we have some spare unused tubes at Preston from the same batch, a couple of which were picked up by Matt Anderson on Wednesday and fitted by Andy Booth on Thursday. Cumbria is scheduled to be back in service at Embsay tomorrow. Thanks to everyone for the quick remedial action taken to get the loco back in service.

Repaired and painted torpedo vents ready for re-fittingBack at Preston work has continued on Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 to the point that we cannot find any more excuses to delay gluing down the new canvas onto the roof. The torpedo vents have been repaired and painted.

GER No. 5's gas lamp housings reay for re-fittingSimilarly, the former gas lamp housings are also lined up in the shed ready for use.

John Davis taking time off from his work in the royal saloon to enjoy a cup of teaWe may all be very busy with all the work going on but John Davis took a little time off from cleaning old varnish from the interior of GER No. 5 to enjoy a cuppa!

Two of the new wooden tamping blocks ready for actionJohn Dixon has been manufacturing four wooden tamping blocks which will be used to seal the canvas on to the glued roof surface. All being well we will be gluing down the southern half of the canvas on GER No. 5 this Wednesday.

New steel plates welded into the side of Wootton Hall's tender tankFinally, Ribble Rail full timer Matt Crabtree, who is currently undertaking a Level 2 welding course, is very usefully taking the opportunity to weld new plates into Wootton Hall’s tender tank to keep his hand in on the practical side of welding.

A view of future repairs required on Wootton Hall's tender tank!This photo shows that there will be plenty of opportunity for further practice!