Monday 24th April 2023

Phil Bell cutting the sink holes in one of the new kitchen worktopsWork has continued apace on fitting the new kitchen in Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5, with Phil taking a deep breath before cutting the all-important holes in the one of the worktops.

The new sinks and gas hob in placeThe good news is that the new sinks fitted beautifully. Phil is now off to find a tap!

John Davis replacing veneer in the guard's compartmentJohn Davis has been working in the guard’s compartment, seen here fitting some veneer to replace that which had previously been water damaged. It is to be hoped that we can soon arrange for some carpets to be fitted in the saloons, although this will have to wait until the chaise longue upholstery has been completed.

Cleaned, annealed and ready for some polishingMost of the work to release the cab, tanks and bunker on 5643 has been accomplished and arrangements are being made for lifting equipment to remove them in the not too distant future. Injector pipework has been cleaned up, annealed and is now ready to be polished.

Ed cleaning 5643's balance pipesEd has been cleaning the water balance pipes, which had proved to be a challenge to remove.

The new long pipe linking 4979's engine vacuum cylinder to the dump valveAfter Keith’s visit to Didcot over Easter, where he was able to examine two ‘Hall’ class locos there, he has been forming new copper pipework to connect 4979’s dump valve with the engine’s vacuum cylinder. As can be seen, it is a very long pipe with twist and turn! Keith was also delighted to find a spare ‘Hall’ class coupling rod for which a deal was done. It must be a ‘fit’ as it is actually marked ‘4979’! Just need to get it back to Preston.

John Dixon and Ade in the process of releasing Caliban's cab roofOutside, the recent better weather has allowed John Dixon and Ade to remove Caliban’s cab roof, which was definitely the worse for wear through rust.

Finally, away from Preston, this next weekend sees Furness Railway No. 20’s final steamings at Didcot Railway Centre before it moves on to the Pontypool and Blaenavon Railway early in May.

Wednesday 19th April 2023

Apologies for the absence of a blog recently. As many of you will be aware, FR
20 has been away on its holiday to Didcot and that has consumed many hours
of our time.

So, for those of you who haven’t been following social media elsewhere we
have the following photos taken over the last weekend.

Coaling up at DidcotFirst of all, FR 20 was coaled up in the old fashioned way from the Didcot
coaling stage on Saturday for the second time. Difference here is that the coal
was watered before despatch to prevent dust. There is video elsewhere of the
first un-watered effort!!

FR 20 with Fire FlyFR 20 worked the “Branch” on Sunday, offering the opportunity for a photo alongside the broad gauge replica Fire Fly.

Inside the trainshed with vintage coachThe trainshed also produced an atmospheric shot of days gone by.

Photographers at workSunday afternoon and evening was taken up by an organised photo charter.

Tim breaks out a sweatThis involved some physical exertion for Tim!

FR 20 in lights after the photographers had goneAs can be seen, FR 20 looked very much at home in the shed.

Kitchen tiles grouted in GER No. 5's kitchenBack at Preston, John Davis has grouted the tiles in the kitchen of Great
Eastern Royal Saloon No. 5.

John Dixon busting a gut to release nuts on the balance pipe. Work is well advanced on preparations to enable 5643’s tanks, cab and bunker
to be lifted as part of the 10 year boiler overhaul. John Dixon is seen giving his
all in releasing the nuts securing the right hand balance pipe.

Monday 3rd April 2023

FR 20 ready to head southAs planned, Furness Railway No. 20 was loaded onto a Reid Freight transporter on Wednesday morning before setting off on its journey to Didcot Railway Centre, stopping off at Stoke overnight. After unloading at Didcot yard on Thursday morning the loco was the subject of an ultrasonic examination of its axles and a fitness to run examination before being shunted across the main line into the Didcot Railway Centre on Friday.

FR 20 with 4079 Pendennis CastleThere was just time to take a photo of FR 20 posed alongside Great Western Railway ‘Castle’ Class 4-6-0 Pendennis Castle before it was shunted under cover. Alan and Alison have set off to Didcot from Preston today as the advance party although departure was somewhat delayed owing to the failure of the car battery. We hope that their luck improves! Sam, John Dixon and Keith are also heading south to Didcot this weekend.

John Dixon at work with 5643's steam heating pipeworkMeanwhile, the work to dismantle GWR 0-6-2 No. 5643 continues. John Dixon has been uncoupling the steam heat pipework under the bunker.

The six superheater elements extractedSam went into the smokebox before attending to the superheater elements. We are pleased to be able to report that, after a bit of a struggle with one of them, the elements were successfully removed.

Keith at work with one of the injector water valvesKeith is pictured at work with one of the injector water valves.

Matthew cleaning the royal sinkWork has also continued in Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 where Matthew gave the toilet sink a much needed clean.

Finally, good news from Embsay: the FRT’s ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria passed its 14 month steam test last Tuesday and has had a broken spring changed.