Monday 28th November 2022

Ade dismantles again!Ade appeared on Wednesday morning with the aim of removing Caliban’s well-worn smokebox by the end of the day. Space is at a premium in the FRT shed but Ade managed to appear with a fork lift truck and the weltrol on which the boiler is mounted was shunted into position by pinch bar. At this point additional hands were summoned and, with assistance from Paul Balshaw, John Dixon and Ron Crowe, the job was done in time for elevenses to be taken!Caliban's boiler without smokebox

John Davis took up the job of cleaning up a heater guard from the west saloon of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5. It was only after he had applied some wire wool to it that it was revealed that the guard was made of brass which looked very regal once old paint and dirt had been removed and a little Brasso applied. John Davis cleaning the heater guard from GER No. 5Giving it a daily polish will be just another job for the train guard to do to keep the coach spick and span! And John now only has another couple of heater guards needing similar treatment! Of particular interest was last night’s Channel 5 programme on Queen Consort Alexandra for whom, at the time she was Princes of Wales in 1898, the coach was built. She seems to have been quite a character and the programme is worth a watch on MY 5 if you can spare the time. Here is a link to the programme. 

The ejector exhaust pipe mounted on Wootton HallWe mentioned last week that Keith has mounted the ejector exhaust pipe on GWR ‘Hall’ class No. 4979 Wootton Hall, so here is the promised photo.

Wootton Hall's safety valve bonnet in placeAnd the safety valve bonnet is also now in place.

Furness Railway No. 20 is due its 14-month boiler inspection shortly so Sam has been busy cleaning the firebox and smokebox. A boiler washout is planned or Friday when, hopefully, we will again hear the roar of the Coventry Climax fire pump.

We better not make this blog too long as Neil has to take the notes at this evening’s Trustees’ Meeting. Unfortunately, it will again be by Zoom so we will still be on virtual sandwiches (cue howls of dismay from Trustees missing Alison’s sarnies!).

Monday 21st November 2022

Just a short update this week after last week’s photo gallery edition!

Last remaining tubes in Caliban's boilerWe start with Peckett 0-4-0ST Caliban where the last tubes were
removed from the boiler last Wednesday by Ade. Alan and Sam had a trip to
Burscough that same day to retrieve the piston rods which have now been
ground to produce a nice shiny surface. Fred continued his work on cleaning
the outside of the boiler and firebox.

More new fabric in place in GER 5Once more there has been much work on Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon
No. 5 where Phil Bell has led the way in fitting the new fabric on the inside
walls below window level. Having completed the west saloon, apart from the
doors, a start has been made on fitting out the corridor where Tim is aiming to
complete the varnishing of the wooden panels later this week. John Davis has
been removing and sanding the skirting boards as part of the process ready for
painting. Given the rapid rate of progress in the fitting out of the fabric it is
hoped to start the fitting out of the kitchen before Christmas. This will require
some early presents for the team in the form of sinks, water heater, fridge,
water tank and hob plus a new work top. The internet is being searched to
identify suitable items at affordable prices.

Sam watches on whilst John Dixon repairs a window support for GER 5Meanwhile, John Dixon has been repairing one of the brass window supports
and freeing off windows that seem to have been glued stuck by varnish (!)
whilst Sam’s electrical work has enabled a welcome pre-Christmas switch on
of the existing lights in the coach. Phil and Anne Burton continued their work
on the chaise longue.

Elsewhere, Keith has been busy with Wootton Hall, fitting the new ejector
exhaust pipe and the dome cover (Ahem we must get pictures for next week! Ed.) whilst Matt has been undertaking some more welding on the tender tank.

Ade doing what he does best (other than demolishing things)!Finally, Alison kindly left us some of her tasty butterfly cakes on Wednesday, which were the left-overs from the RSR AGM the previous evening, where Ade had done his best to eat them! Needless to say, there were none left when Alison popped in to enquire on Friday lunchtime!!!

Monday 14th November 2022

Phil and Anne Burton working on the chaise longueWork has continued apace on Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5. Anne and Phil Burton are making progress on the chaise longue in the east saloon where repairs to the wooden frame have been necessary.

John Dixon painting a lamp bracket on GER No. 5John Dixon, seen here painting a lamp bracket, has just about completed painting the components on the exterior of the coach in a specially mixed shade of brown.

Ed working in the guard's compartment in GER No. 5Ed has continued to remove old paint and varnish from the guard’s compartment.

John Davis sprucing up the royal toiler roll holder from GER 5John Davis has been giving his attention to sprucing up the Royal toilet roll holder!

Phil Bell measuring the next piece of fabric to be fitted in GER 5Tim has been giving the interior woodwork a couple of coats of varnish. Once dried, the new fabric is fitted to the lower panels. Phil has been in charge of the scissors.

John Davis holds the fabric whilst Phil Bell tacks it into place.It’s a two-handed job to fit the fabric, with John Davis lending a hand here.

Fred with Caliban's boilerElsewhere, Fred has started to prepare Caliban’s boiler for an NDT inspection, cleaning off old rust and dirt.

The newly manufactured screw on top of the reverser body for Wootton HallFinally, the new screw for Wootton Hall’s reverser has now arrived, seen here on top of the fabricated reverser body. This opens up further work on this mechanism.

Monday 7th November 2022

We are pleased to be able to report that, after the hard work put in by Team 5643 at Bury over the past couple of weeks, 5643 passed its steam test in the presence of our boiler surveyor last Friday and has had its ten year boiler ticket extended by two months. This will be of particular help to the East Lancs Railway over the busy Christmas period as it has temporarily lost the use of the Standard Class 4 tank there because of a flue tube failure.

5643 is now provisionally scheduled to operate trains on the following dates: 26th and 27th November, 9th, 10th, 11th, 26th and 27th December. It will also be on standby on other dates.

Christmas dinner menuTalking of dates for your diary, Alison has arranged for this year’s FRT Christmas Dinner to be held at The Ribble Pilot pub on Preston’s dockside on the evening of Friday, 16th December.

Back in the FRT shed at Preston, Keith has continued his work in applying protective paint to Wootton Hall’s boiler cladding.

John Dixon caught off guard as he fits a lamp iron on GER No.5iWe have also seen further progress on the overhaul of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 where John Dixon has been replacing grab handles, lamp holders and the like to the exterior of the vehicle.

Phil Bell cutting backing sheets for the new fabric lining GER No. 5's interior walls.The fabric to line the interior sides of the coach has arrived and Phil Bell is seen here cutting some white backing sheets.

The first panel to be fitted with new fabricAnd here is the first panel to be fitted with the new fabric, with shiny varnished woodwork above, and a sneak preview of what the whole coach will look like when completed.