Friday 24rd December 2022

Courageous in the snow with the first of Saturday's Santa SpecialsWell, the last of the RSR’s Santa Specials has run and some of us are now
trying to get over the coughs and colds that we have gathered during the
December operations. We also hope that Anne and Phil Burton will soon
recover from Covid for which they have unfortunately tested positive.

Work continues on the Hall's tenderWhilst the Santa Specials have been a distraction from other activities, Matt
Crabtree has continued his work in welding new steel into the top of Wootton
Hall’s tender tank, including the new water filler pipes that can be seen above.

Christmas dinner and some very clean looking plates!Last Friday evening, 16th December, saw a gathering of FRT members and
guests for a very successful Christmas Dinner at The Ribble Pilot inn, a mile
away alongside Preston Dock. Thanks go to Alison for making all the
arrangements and for reminding us all of what we had ordered!

There will be a further gathering of members at the East Lancashire Railway
next Tuesday, 27th December, to say farewell to 5643’s second stint in service
during its preservation era. Thanks go to our friends at the ELR for the offer of
a private coach behind the loco for the occasion.

If you are looking to work off the effects of the Christmas festivities then
please note that the normal working parties are scheduled to take place on
Wednesday, 28th and Friday, 30th December.

Saturday evening, 31st December, will see Live Steam sing out 2022 and bring
in the New Year at the Engine Inn, Cark-in-Cartmel, assuming that Alan and
Tim have recovered from playing the 872 Christmas songs on the recent Santa

Finally, we are able to inform you that the next edition of The Iron Horse is
well on its way and should be with you all early in the New Year.

It only remains for us to thank everyone for their fantastic hard work and
support during 2022 and to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New
Year! We are sure that 2023 will bring much more work and many challenges
as 5643 returns to Preston for overhaul!

Monday 12th December 2022

Courageous in the snow with the first of Saturday's Santa SpecialsWell, it’s certainly turned cold this week and everyone was appreciative of the
air source heat pump working away in the FRT shed. Outside there was falling
snow for the RSR’s Santa Specials which were again fully booked for the

Keith working to construct a new cab floor for Wootton HallKeith has now turned his attention to Wootton Hall’s cab floor which needs
building up from scratch.

Cab floor supports in placeThe supports for the floor can be seen here.

Phil Bell and John Davis putting up the new ceiling in the kitchen compartmentPhil Bell and John Davis have started to erect the new ceiling in the kitchen
compartment of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5. Phil, John and Tim
went on a shopping expedition on Friday afternoon for some new work tops
for the kitchen. It took until the third kitchen showroom before suitable work
tops could be found that matched Alison’s desired colour scheme and Phil’s
in-built Yorkshireman’s desire for value for money. It was a good job that
Howdens had the right colour scheme on special offer or the search could have
taken forever!

Anne and Phil Burton at work with the sewing machineFinally, Anne and Phil Burton have been busy with the sewing machine in
their efforts to refurbish the saloon’s chaise longue.

Tuesday 6th December 2022

Here we are, a day late due to Christmas demands on our time, and into the last month of the year!

Phil Bell cuts new Moulding strips for GER 5A key step forward with the restoration of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 was achieved on Friday when the fabric on the walls of the west end saloon was completed with the remainder of the missing wooden mouldings being made by Phil Bell and then fitted.

John Davis at work in the west saloon in GER 5The saloon was then cleared of materials and the carpet vacuumed by John Davis – just don’t tell Mrs D. that he has been passed out on the vacuum cleaner!

The kitchen beforeWith Anne and Phil Burton still busy on the chaise longue in the east saloon, Phil Bell and John Davis will now turn their attention to the kitchen area. We show therefore a ‘before’ photo that we will eventually be able to compare with the finished job.

Ed at work in the guard's compartmentEd has meanwhile continued his lone work on the woodwork in the guard’s compartment – we let him out for lunch!

Sam cleaning FR 20's fireboxSam has been doing the majority of the dirty work in FR 20 and is seen here busy cleaning the firebox.

Jon Dixon, Neil Glover and Sam Middleton during FR 20's washout on Friday, 2nd DecemberFriday saw FR 20 receiving its boiler washout prior to its 14-month boiler inspection. Jon Dixon and Neil Glover travelled down from Lancaster to give us a hand and can be seen here with Sam aiming water down one of the firebox washout plug holes in the cab.

Sam seeing the funny side of getting a drenchingSam seemed to get rather wet during the process but saw the funny side of it.

Sam removing the ring below Caliban's smokebox chimney holeSam has also been working on Caliban, seen here in the process of removing the ring underneath the chimney hole in the old smokebox ready for re-use. And John Dixon has been preparing new sections of metal for Caliban’s cab.

Keith with Wootton Hall's steampipe flangesAnd Keith has been working on the flanges that connect the main steam pipes to Wootton Hall’s smokebox.