Monday 27th February 2023

Washing out 5643's boilerThe main job last Wednesday morning was the planned wash out of 5643’s boiler. Jonathan Dixon, who was a LRS member from many years ago and who has long experience with fire pumps, kindly joined us and managed to start the FRT’s own fire pump first time! Sam again volunteered to be the man on the hose and the job was completed in time for lunch. We are pleased to say that Jonathan has now joined the FRT and we hope to see him and his dog  Max again before too long.

Alan repairing Cumbria's regulator quadranrBack in the FRT shed, Alan has been repairing Cumbria’s regulator quadrant, making a new stop for it, which we hope will be more robust than the original.

Work has continued on Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5, although Phil Bell has been thwarted by the failure of the table saw which has temporarily prevented him from manufacturing some new wooden mouldings. John Dixon fitting a new set of window scissors to GER No. 5John Dixon has made strides with the task of inserting a set of window support scissors on one of the doors which, for some reason, were missing.

Cake at last!Finally, you will all be pleased to learn that Ade finally managed to get his hands on some of Alan’s birthday cake! (See last week’s blog if this doesn’t make any sense!)

Monday 20th February 2023

5643 negotiates the unloading ramp5643 finally arrived home to Preston on a very damp Thursday morning in anticipation of its 10-year boiler overhaul.

5643 safely inside the RSR running shedIt was  transferred into the RSR running shed where Keith soon set about removing the washout plugs and mudhole doors on Saturday in readiness for a planned washout of the boiler this Wednesday.

John Davis staining some new mouldings for GER No. 5Work continued this week on the overhaul of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5. John Davis is seen here staining some new mouldings created by Phil Bell. Meanwhile John Dixon worked on the tricky job of inserting a replacement set of window scissors, which had been found to be missing,  underneath one of the opening door windows.

Shed tidying in progressLast Wednesday saw a concerted effort to tidy the FRT shed in readiness for the forthcoming rearrangement of rolling stock. This necessitated the movement and safe storage of a spare engine for the RR Sentinel diesels. All in all, a very useful exercise.

Sam at work with the sand blasting boothSam has been cleaning up components from Caliban’s replacement manifold using the sand blasting booth.

The finished articleThe outcome of his work can be seen on one of the valves.

FRT members are now able to view the local tits flocking to John Davis's nuts whilst having their lunch.John Davis spied the opportunity to hang some bird feeders alongside one of the FRT messroom windows. Unfortunately, none of the local tits deigned to make an appearance for the photographer!

Alan and cakeFinally, Cake Watch: there were plenty of cakes in the mess room this week as both Keith and Alan celebrated birthdays. There was also a celebratory gathering at Longridge on Sunday with yet another cake. The engine number gives a clue as to Alan’s age.

A very content trailhound!Ade had to leave before the cake was cut to catch the last bus home. The good news is that Tim took some cake home to bring in on Wednesday. The bad news is that Tim’s trailhound, Della, found the cake in his rucksack where it had been placed ready for Wednesday!! (Don’t worry, Ade, Alison will see you right this Wednesday!)

Monday 13th February 2023

We are pleased to be able to start this week’s blog with the news that Furness Railway No. 20 will be visiting the Didcot Railway Centre for around five weeks,  with a programme of nine steamings planned starting with four days over Easter. It is due to leave Preston on Wednesday 29th March, after having taken part in the Ribble Steam Railway gala on the 25th and 26th March.

Sam works inside FR 20's smokebox on the 11th FebruaryThe boiler surveyor visited Preston last Thursday to undertake the 14 month dry examination of FR 20 and Sam is seen working in the smokebox on Saturday when the safety valves were also fitted in anticipation of a steam test in the coming weeks.

The other piece of news is that 5643 is now expected to return to Preston for its 10 year overhaul this Thursday morning, 16th February, its previously planned return having been postponed by the haulier.

First view of the new moquette on the chaise longueWork has continued at Preston on Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 where we have a first view of the new moquette being fitted to the chaise longue in the east saloon.

John Davis and Phil Bell fit a new ceiling in the guard's compartment of GER No. 5A new ceiling has been fitted to the guard’s compartment and the kitchen ceiling has been painted. Phil Bell has been re-fitting woodwork in the kitchen to marry up with the newly installed tiles whilst John Dixon has been re-installing panelling in the royal lavatory compartment. Tim has been scouring the internet to locate suitable sinks and a gas hob that will fit within the tight dimensions of the kitchen.

A red card for the old kettleFinally, talking of kitchen accessories, the FRT’s mess room suffered a near disaster (!)  recently when the PAT testing man condemned the kettle! Fortunately, John Dixon was on hand and kindly rushed off and purchased a new kettle to maintain this vital service to our volunteers, and it is to be hoped that this new piece of equipment will pass scrutiny when the PAT man visits again this Wednesday.

Tuesday 31st January 2023

Apologies for the lack of a blog since Christmas caused by post-Christmas
illness. However, that hasn’t stopped the rest of the troops from making good
progress over the last month.

We are pleased to report that our folk group formed of Alan, Tim, Pete and
George got the New Year off to a good start at the Engine Inn, Cark-in-Cartmel
with the audience seemingly having a good time.

John Davis fitting tiles in GER No. 5's kitchenPhil Bell and John Davis have been working hard in the kitchen of Great
Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 with John seen here fitting new tiles.

Phil Burton working on the chaise longuePhil and Anne Burton have continued their work on the chaise longue in the
east saloon with Phil pictured here.

One of the new window strapsThe new window straps have arrived and await fitting.

New cylinder lubrication pipework on Wootton HallSome new cylinder lubrication pipework has appeared on No. 4979 Wootton

Team 5643 have paid two visits to Bury to prepare 5643 for its return home to
Preston, it having successfully completed its last scheduled steaming on the
East Lancashire Railway on the 27th December; the extended ten year boiler
certificate officially expired on the 8th January. The guard irons have been
removed as well as the brick arch and the engine was steamed cleaned last

Caliban's boiler sprayed for NDT examCaliban’s boiler was subjected to non-destructive testing on Monday, 23rd
January. The initial results were encouraging and we await the final report.

Cumbria had been well used at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway
following its re-tube and subsequent return to traffic at the end of October.

Alan, Ade, Tim and John Dixon visited Embsay yesterday to discuss winter
maintenance. It was agreed that one of the eccentrics needs to be re-metalled
and this will be brought to Preston once it has been dismantled.

Needless to say, the opportunity was also taken to look at Stephen Middleton’’s collection of coaches, including the Great Eastern Railway royal saloon of 1877 built for the then Prince of Wales. It was fascinating to compare this early build coach with our own GER No. 5 which was built in 1898 for the Princess of

Finally, we have had to incur some unexpected expenditure in repairing the
entrance door to the FRT shed, which was completed today. Unfortunately
this has resulted in the replacement of the lock, so new keys will need to be