Monday 27th March 2023

It has been another busy week at Preston with plenty of work to occupy everyone.

Neil Glover with the fire pump and Sam in the fireboxLast Wednesday morning saw Ade moving Caliban’s boiler around to the running shed for a washout, using the fire pump and water syphoned from FR 20’s tender. It took a little while this time to get the fire pump to start, but we had assistance from old friends Neil Glover and Jonathan Dixon to help us along.

Clear water at lastThe boiler had not seen any water for thirty years, so the first blast from the hose jet revealed some very dark brown fluid. However, after plenty of flushing out, the water finally became clear.

John Dixon draining off the remaining water from the side tankslWork on dismantling GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643 has continued apace. John Dixon is seen here draining off the last water from the side tanks, which took rather longer than anticipated.

Fred cleaning pipework from 5643Fred resumed his familiar role of cleaning pipework and other dirty components.

John Davis with the new work top in GER No. 5The second work top for the kitchen in Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 has been cut to shape and installed by John Davis (pictured) and Phil Bell. Meanwhile some structural work on the chaise longue has occupied Phil Burton. The toilet compartment has now received attention from Tim’s paintbrushes and is now ready for the lower woodwork to be varnished.

FR 20 with the demonstration freight at Preston on 26.03.23Furness Railway No. 20 took part in the Ribble Steam Railway’s Spring Steam Gala over the weekend along with three other locos from the RSR’s home fleet. FR 20 looked well with the demonstration freight train that was operated at the beginning of each day. Sam and John Dixon have kindly volunteered to work tomorrow to prepare FR 20 for its departure on Wednesday morning to Didcot Railway Centre, with Reid Freight due to arrive at 09.00.

Finally, the FRT’s ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria successfully underwent its 14 month cold inspection at Embsay and is due for the steam test tomorrow.

Monday 20th March 2023

Caliban out in the fresh airThere was another move of rolling stock in the FRT shed last Wednesday which saw Caliban temporarily basking in the outside fresh air for the first time in quite a while. Caliban’s boiler is now positioned near the exit to the shed and it is planned to bring it around to the RSR running shed on Wednesday for a washout using FR 20’s tender as a reservoir for the fire pump. Time is of the essence as FR 20 is due to take part in the RSR’s Spring Steam Gala this weekend before leaving Preston next Wednesday for Didcot Railway Centre.

Sam and John Dixon cleaning the shed floorWhilst road 2 of the shed was empty during the shunt operation, the opportunity was taken to clean up the accumulation of dust and other unwanted items that had built up on the track over the past few years.

Work continues to progress well on the overhaul of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5.

5643 starting to loose componentsThe other major task at the moment is of course the dismantling of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643 to enable its boiler to be lifted for overhaul. We will keep a photo log of the dismantling process. The observant will notice that the dome cover has been removed along with the clack feed pipes.

Waiting to be cleanedNeedless to say, whatever comes off the loco usually needs some cleaning. The above photo shows a small pile of components waiting to be cleaned.

John Dixon busy with the parts cleanerFinally, John Dixon has kindly bought us a replacement pump for the parts washer which had previously failed, and John is seen putting the revitalised kit to good use.

Monday 13th March 2023

Breaking news this week is that Furness Railway No. 20 is now scheduled to pay a visit to the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway as part of that railway’s 40th anniversary celebrations, once its steamings at Didcot Railway Centre have concluded. There will be two weekends when FR 20 will haul the scheduled passenger train whilst the loco will also be hauling a coal train over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend.

Home at last. 5643 in the FRT shedBack at Preston, 5643 was finally placed in the FRT shed on Wednesday, 8th March. No time was lost in starting the long job of undertaking the ten-year overhaul on the boiler.

Paul Balshaw shovel out coal dust from beneath 5643's cab floorThe cab floor was soon removed and Paul Balshaw is seen here cleaning up some of the coal dust that had fallen between the wooden floor planks.

Phil Bell at work with the revitalised table sawPhil Bell has been in his element since Keith, with his long experience of servicing industrial machines, managed to repair the table saw that had previously been donated to the FRT by the RSR joiners. Phil has been making up wooden mouldings for the kitchen in Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 that is currently being fitted out.

The back of the chaise longue fitted in GER No. 5Anne and Phil Burton have continued their work on the chaise longue in the east saloon of the royal coach, despite Anne having recently suffered a broken finger at home. The moquette for the back of the chaise longue has now been fitted, having been buttoned onto the backing material at home by Anne and Phil.

FR 20 getting a clean and polish before its steam testFinally, FR 20 successfully underwent its 14-month steam test examination by the boiler surveyor at Preston last Friday. John Dixon, Matthew and Sam are seen giving the loco a clean and polish whilst Alan kept an eye on the fire.