Monday 23rd March 2022

A young Andy MacGregorWe are sorry to have to start this week’s blog with the sad news that Andy MacGregor passed way last Tuesday night, having been in care for some years after having suffered a stroke. Andy was a prominent working member of the Lakeside Railway Society, becoming a fireman and tackling all sorts of jobs during his time at Haverthwaite. He also joined in the busy social life that we had in those days. He joined British Rail’s S&T department and, after living at Crewe, Shirley and Timperley, finally returned “home” with his family to Kendal. We send our heartfelt condolences to wife Gill and sons James and Robert. We have not yet received details of Andy’s funeral.

GER No. 5's roof with the rain strips being re-fittedWork has continued at Preston on the overhaul of Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5.  John Dixon has bee re-fitting the rain strips on the roof.

Ed, John Davis and Roger have continued their work in cleaning old varnish from interior woodwork whilst Phil has replaced some of the corridor ceiling which had been damaged by water ingress. Fred painting a gas lamp housing lid for GER No. 5Fred has started the process of painting the gas lamp housing lids ready for them to be re-fitted.

The Trustees held a short meeting last Tuesday evening (yes, it lasted less than thirty minutes) at which they approved expenditure on a new dustless sanding machine, new filters for the fume extractors and also the machining of a new screw and nut for Wootton Hall’s reverser.

Sam cleaning up the Jubilee Queen headboard - hope he doesn't wake up Alan!Finally, there has been a request for Furness Railway No. 20 to haul Ribble Steam Railway’s trains over the Jubilee weekend and so time was taken by Sam last Wednesday to clean up a headboard dating back to L&HR days made for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.

Monday 16th May 2022

Another short update this week.

GER 5 roof painted with yellow peril and boiled linseed oil mix and with gas lamp housing bases fitted.John Dixon has now completed the re-fitting of the cornice mouldings on the upper sides of Great Eastern Royal Saloon No. 5 which meant the he and Tim were able to apply a 50:50 mix of canvas bonding paste and boiled linseed oil to the whole of the canvas on the roof last Wednesday. Friday then saw the gas lamp bases being fitted from under the roof in readiness for the upper sections to be fitted at a future date.

John Dixon fitting the rain strips on GER No. 5John has since been assembling the roof rain strips for fitting.

The torpedo vents painted whiteThe torpedo vents have been painted undercoat white, again in readiness for fitting.

Keith paid a visit to an engineering firm in Halifax that used to supply the all important screw for screw reversers to British railways in steam days. A new screw has now been commissioned for former GWR 4-6-0 locomotive No. 4979 Wooton Hall.

Finally, this being a short and sweet update leaves room for the following treat! Local film maker Gary Cunliffe has been putting together a short historical documentary telling the story of Furness Railway No. 20. He has used recent film footage taken at the Ribble Steam Railway and referred to The Iron Horse and the publication The Great Survivor which detailed FR 20’s history and restoration. It really is lovely and well worth a watch!

Monday 9th May 2022

A short update this week.

FR 20 viewed from the cab of shunter StanlowFurness Railway locomotive No, 20 arrived back at Preston safe and sound last Thursday morning after its successful visit to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. Ade was on hand to shunt it around to the FRT shed where it now requires a clean to remove the inevitable road film gained on its journey. The opportunity has been taken to remove the water from the boiler and a full washout may be carried out depending upon what is found when removing the bottom wash out plugs. The observant will notice that the locomotive is now facing west rather than east, the outcome of having to re-route the low loader under a low bridge to avoid using the overbridge at Quainton which has now had a 3 ton limit imposed. The chimney of the loco therefore needed to be placed adjacent to the neck on the low loader instead of above the rear wheels.

John Dixon fitting the gutters on GER No.5Work has continued both inside and outside Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5. Work is progressing well on removing old varnish from the interior woodwork and those concerned are to be congratulated on their perseverance. John Dixon has been fitting and sealing the upper wooden gutters which also help to retain the roof canvas in place. The next job will be to apply a mix of bonding paste and boiled linseed oil to the canvas on the roof.

Wootton Hall's tender tank being prepared for eventual painting.Tim is making slow but steady progress on preparing the outside of Wootton Hall‘s tender tank for eventual painting.

Finally, a quote has been accepted by the Trustees for the manufacture of a new saddle tank for Caliban. Unfortunately, the RSR’s rail crane is still being overhauled so a visit from a hi-ab operator has been arranged for Wednesday to assess the feasibility of retrieving the locomotive’s old tank from the undergrowth near the RSR running shed, to allow it to be used as a pattern for the replacement.

Tuesday 3rd May 2022

Some of the FRT team have been away on a trip south so the blog is a day late this week.

Firstly, we mentioned in last week’s blog that the Trust’s GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643 was being lit up last Thursday for a test run at the East Lancashire Railway following adjustments to the length of its eccentric rods. Keith has reported back that the adjustments have been a success and that the locomotive performed well as a result of this work. Well done to those concerned.

FR 20 with the BRC's vintage carriages.Furness Railway 0-4-0 No. 20 set off from Preston last Wednesday morning for a trip south to the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre for the Spring Steam Gala there. Alan and Alison departed the following day, Tim on Friday morning and then Ade early on Saturday morning, all staying at the Premier Inn at Aylesbury. Alan spent Friday with our long term friend Frank Boait ensuring that the locomotive was back in one piece after the re-fitting of the sand pipes and guard irons and then Saturday saw steam being raised on FR 20 and the usual fitness to run examination. There was then time to shunt the three vintage carriages to be used and to take some photographs in the sunshine.

The Ffos-y-Fran ovoids in FR 20's tenderOne of the most notable things when boarding the footplate was the presence of black ovoids in the tender, made from compressed coal dust from the Ffos-y-Fran surface mine in Wales. There were warnings that a good wood fire was necessary as a base to getting the ovoids to burn, but in fact there were no problems as long as the ovoids were given time ‘to cook’ before heat was required. There was, however, some clinker on the fire grate at the end of each operating day, but that did not appear to affect FR 20’s ability to steam!

Alison tucked away in the waiting room at QuaintonSunday was the quieter of the two day Gala and Alison, who had brought down some FRT merchandise with her, needed to shelter from the fresh breeze and showers in the waiting room.

Alison and Alan outside with the FRT sales stand on Monday at QuaintonHowever, warmer weather on the Monday brought out more visitors and there was a constant steam of passengers for FR 20’s vintage train rides. People seemed very impressed with the appearance of the locomotive and Alison, now in a prominent place on the platform, was able to take a tidy sum for the FRT.

Ade, John and Tim taking a seat on the miniature railway at QuaintonAde, Alan and Tim took in turns to assist on the footplate which allowed a chance to explore the extensive site and view the other four locomotives in steam. Sam and John Dixon visited on Sunday and we have yet another of our Seats of the Week photographs when Ade, John and Tim sampled the splendid miniature railway which has a home on the site.

As far as the domestic arrangements were concerned, the Premier Inn was adjacent to the Horse and Jockey pub which provided excellent food and real ale each night over the weekend – something perhaps to remember for the future! All too soon it was time to start packing up and, with a full team available on Monday evening, it didn’t take long to prepare FR 20 for its homeward journey before saying a goodbye to friends old and new at Quainton and having a final dinner at the pub. FR 20 is due back at Preston on Wednesday.