Monday 31st October 2022

Firstly, apologies this week to Ed and Anne for an error in last week’s blog in which a photo of Anne was described as Ed! Well it proved that people do read the blog as the mistake was reported more than once! But sorry both!!

Keith annealiing pipework from 5643's smokeboxWe are however pleased to report that the working party at Bury last Monday was successful in removing most of the items from 5643’s smokebox in order for a full hydraulic test of the locomotive to take place on Friday. Keith also went across to Bury on Tuesday and Thursday to complete the job and apply the necessary blanks. Even better, the locomotive passed its test in front of the boiler surveyor and so a steam test has been scheduled for this coming Friday. This will require a further working party tomorrow, Tuesday, to reassemble the items in the smokebox. Unfortunately, the hostile environment of the smokebox had eaten away at the ejector exhaust pipe and so it came out in two pieces rather than one. Keith has since been busy at Preston cleaning up and annealing the pipework.

Keith with new ejector pipework for 5643He has also made up a new pipe for the ejector.

Interior doors from GER No. 5, those on the right having received their first coat of varnishThe first layer of varnish has been applied to the woodwork in the west saloon of Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 and also one side of the interior doors. The two doors on the right have received the varnish and those on the left await their turn. The end result looks good and is due reward for the all the effort that has been made to strip off previous layers of varnish. Work has also been going on behind the scenes by Andy Allthorn to produce replacement light fittings and obtain new glass bowls which will hopefully be arriving at Preston shortly along with the new LED light bulbs which have been procured.

Furness Railway No. 20 has appeared back in the FRT shed having completed its scheduled duties this year. Work will now turn to preparing it for a 14 month examination by the boiler surveyor.

Phil Burton, Ed and John Davis discussing football on Wednesday 26th October,Finally, those of you who attend working parties at Preston will be aware of the football rivalry within the FRT shed between Preston North End and Blackpool fans. The 4-2 home win by Blackpool the previous Saturday prompted Ed to turn up in his dayglo tangerine football shirt, much to the dismay of PNE supporters Phil Burton and John Davis!

Monday 24th October 2022

Ade works in Caliban's firebox to remove the remaining tubesAde and Alan made some good progress in removing the last of Caliban’s tubes from its boiler last Wednesday. Ade worked in the firebox to “encourage” each tube to move forward.

Ade and Alan haul out one of Caliban's tubesAde then joined Alan in hauling the tube out through the front tube plate. Inevitably some tubes were more reluctant than others to move!

Ed Tatham, Phil Burton and David Starkie work on the chaise longue in GER No. 5David Starkie made a welcome return to work last Wednesday after convalescence and is seen here on the right assisting Ed (left) and Phil Burton (middle) on repairs to the chaise longue in Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5. Varnishing of the exterior of the vehicle is now complete and all the brass work has been re-fitted. Phil Bell has repaired most of the interior mouldings and John Davis has been cleaning down woodwork in the west saloon ready for varnishing.

Finally, over at Bury, attempts to undertake a hydraulic test on 5643 in order to gain a short extension on its boiler ticket were thwarted by the regulator not holding at high pressure. Keith, John Dixon and Ade were due to go to Bury today to remove and blank off the regulator, a not inconsiderable task since it entails removing the superheater header and steam pipes. We hope that their efforts pay off.

Monday 17th October 2022

Apologies for the lack of a blog last week. The main blog computer decided that it had become tired of life and has had to be replaced. Needless to say, it is never as simple as that, with hours being spent re-loading and organising the software! However, this has not affected the work at Preston which (fortunately) tends to be a little less sophisticated!

Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 has again been devouring considerable labour as efforts are made to bring this lengthy project to a conclusion, hopefully at some point this winter.

Varnished door and polished fittingsMost of the interior mouldings are now back in place and repaired by Phil. John and Ed meanwhile continue to clean up the woodwork, John on hands and knees in the former royal lavatory (a posture which somehow feels appropriate?!) and Ed in the kitchen. A short planning meeting took place last Wednesday with Alison to determine the future catering requirements and fitments required to bring the kitchen are up to modern standards. A preference for the remainder of the internal fabric decoration has also been determined – needless to say, it was the most expensive in the catalogue. Another round of measuring is required to ensure that we do not over order!

Outside, Tim has completed the final coat of varnish apart from a couple of panels which need some further attention. The windows on the south side and both ends have been cleaned externally and the brass door trims polished for the first time in many many years.

John Dixon re-fitting the door brasswork on GER 5John Dixon has been fastidiously re-fitting the highly polished door knobs and handles, adjusting where necessary to ensure correct functioning of the door locks.

Sam wiring light fittingsSam has continued his work to re-install the lighting in the coach, seen here wiring up the light fittings.

Elsewhere, Keith has been applying some protective paint to the cladding on Wootton Hall, which has required some team working to remove and re-fit the pieces. Ade has been re-assembling the inside motion on Caliban.

Finally Live Steam had a successful gig at the Engine Inn at Cark a week last Friday and have been invited to perform there again at New Year’s Eve. Tim and Pete went on to perform the following day at the premises of the Ulverston Brewing Company for the exhibitors at the Barrow Model Railway Exhibition. Again, all seemed to go well and they already have a song request for next year!

Monday 3rd October 2022

The varnished north side of GER No.5Work has continued to progress well on the overhaul of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5. Having received the moquette for the chaise longue, it is now time to choose the rest of the material that will adorn the inside of the saloons and corridor below the windows. The first of the fabric samples have been received and examined. Naturally, the current preferred choice seems to be the most expensive! Meanwhile, Tim has been applying the final coat of vanish to the exterior of the vehicle.

John Dixon and Fred cleaning door knobs and handlesThere will soon be a need to re-fit the exterior fittings so John Dixon and Fred set about cleaning and polishing the door knobs and handles on Friday.

John Dixon working on Caliban's cabWork has also continued on Wootton Hall where Keith has been removing some very stubborn brackets from the insides of the engine’s frames. John Dixon has also been continuing his Saturday job of repairing Caliban’s cab.

FR 20 and Linda at Strand Road with probably FR 20's last train of the seasonThe weekend saw the operation of Ribble Steam Railway’s  very successful Steam Gala which featured five steam locomotives including Furness Railway No. 20 and visiting L&Y ‘Pug’ No. 19. The Pug with the former Preston Corporation wagonsThe latter will depart Preston on Wednesday after its month-long stay at the RSR.

Finally, this next Friday evening Live Steam are appearing once again at the Engine Inn, Cark-in-Cartmel, starting at 8.30 pm. With Alan unavailable on Saturday, Tim and Pete will then perform as a duo for the exhibitors of the Barrow Model Railway Exhibition at the Ulverston Brewery Company on Saturday evening.