Monday 26th September 2022

Apologies for the lack of a blog last week. Tim was under the weather and of course there was the distraction of the Queen’s funeral.

John Dixon re-fits a ceiling vent in GER 5However, there has been plenty going on at Preston where the team working on Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 is finally beginning to see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. John Dixon is seen here replacing one of the ceiling vents that he has been fettling and polishing.

New moquette for GER 5The new moquette for the chaise longue has arrived after a delay and now will enable us to search for a suitable shade of matching material for the lower side panels in the saloon. Anne & Phil busy with the chaise longue in GER 5Anne and Phil have been stripping down the chaise longue ready for new materials to be fitted.

Phil Bell applying a first coat of varnish to a new veneer panelPhil has been applying a first coat of varnish to the new veneer panels.

John Davis cleaning up one of the internal doors in GER 5John Davis and Ed continue to clean up the remaining woodwork; it’s John’s turn for a photo this week.

Replacement 3D light fitting component for GER 5Inevitably during this restoration we have discovered missing components that will be difficult to replace. However, we were visited on Wednesday, 14th, by 3D printing expert Andy Allthorn from Cark-in-Cartmel who kindly came down to demonstrate how this modern technology can used in re-creating such items and has already produced a new part for the light fittings.

Image of door handle fittingAndy has also now set about re-creating handles for two of the internal sliding doors.

Keith with new oil pot for Wootton HallDave Watkins has been able to supply a replacement cast brass oil box (no 3D printing here) for Wootton Hall’s tender which Keith has been working on.

Fred cleaning a brake shaft trunnion for Wootton HallFred has been polishing one of the trunnions for a brake shaft for Wootton Hall.

Bob working on Wootton Hall's regulator valveBob has been visiting regularly to work on Wootton Hall‘s regulator valve.

Alan with Caliban's piston rodsAlan and Sam have taken Caliban’s piston rods to Burscough for them to be metal spayed and ground in order to repair corrosion.

We are pleased to be able to report that the Annual General Meeting passed off successfully on the 13th September and we were able to welcome Paul Balshaw and Sam Middleton on board as Trustees – congratulations both! Thanks as ever go to Alison for preparing a super spread of sandwiches and cakes for the occasion.

Over at Embsay Andy Booth has completed the fitting of Cumbria’s new tubes and the boiler has been successfully hydraulically tested by Matt Anderson in the presence of our boiler surveyor, Andy Wright. Indian Red paint has been sent across to enable John Furness to smarten up the appearance of the saddle tank and the refractory concrete has arrived there in order for a new brick arch to be constructed. Hopefully it won’t be too long now before Cumbria is back in traffic.

Finally, this last weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the historic return to steam specials on the Furness Line which were operated by Carnforth 10A Black 5s 44871 and 44932 on Saturday, 23rd September 1972. British Rail had previously banned all steam trains after August 1968 (apart from those hauled by 4472 Flying Scotsman which had a contract) but the ban was finally lifted in 1972, a major win for the world of railway preservation. Those at West Coast hadn’t forgotten the significance of the date and so quietly turned out newly overhauled 44932 this last Saturday to haul the Cumbrian Coast Express railtour – very well done to them! Watch it at Grange and Arnside here.

Monday 12th September 2022

Ade leans out of No.19's cab as it heads away from Riverside station on Saturday, 10th September 2022This last Saturday saw the Furness Railway Trust shed open to the public as part of the national Heritage Open Days scheme. We were delighted to welcome so many visitors and Tim admitted to having to keep up his tea uptake in order to avoid a dry throat during his many guided tours around the shed. The work on restoring GWR ‘Hall’ class 4-6-0 Wootton Hall and the overhaul of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5  proved to be of particular interest and it is to be hoped that some of the visitors will become members to support this work. Outside the shed Ade was driving recently restored Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway ‘Pug’ 0-4-0ST No. 19 of 1910, courtesy of the L&Y Trust. At the other end of the trains was the FRT’s very own Furness Railway No. 20 with Alan and Sam Middleton on the footplate – not often you get locomotives with sequential numbers powering a train!

This video which was sent to us shows both Nos 19 and 20 in action – and also what was on show inside the shed, as well as a look round the RSR Museum and the operation of the swingbridge over Preston docks.

Another reminder now to members that this year’s AGM will take place tomorrow evening, Tuesday, 13th September, in the Furness Railway Trust shed at Preston at 7.30 pm. Alison is planning the post meeting refreshments so we hope that as many as possible of you will be able to attend.

Monday 5th September 2022

Another short update this week.

Anne and Phil Burton working on the chaise longue in GER No. 5More good progress has been made on the Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon this week with Phil Bell having now replaced most of the damaged veneer. Anne and Phil Burton have been attending to the chaise longue in the larger saloon. We are still awaiting delivery of the new moquette which is being chased up. Attention is also being turned to replacing some missing light fittings and door straps.

Looking ahead, the Furness Railway Trust shed will be opened up to the public this coming Saturday, 10th September. Assistance from members in engaging with visitors and showing them around would be very much appreciated. It is a golden opportunity to publicise the work of our volunteer workforce and to recruit new members.

Tim and Alan in full voice at FleetwoodDoing their best to publicise the FRT this last weekend were Tim and Alan, in a reduced Live Steam formation, who performed an impromptu half hour set of mainly railway songs at Fleetwood Folk Club’s second Folk Festival on Sunday afternoon.

Next Tuesday evening, 13th September, will see the Furness Railway Trust AGM taking place in the Furness Railway Trust shed at Preston at 7.30 pm. Please remember, if possible, to bring along the paperwork which was circulated to members with the recent edition of The Iron Horse. It is a chance for members to view the shed and it is hoped that as many as possible will be able to attend. Alison has promised us some refreshments which will need to be eaten!!