Monday 26th June 2023

The date for 5643’s boiler lift is now confirmed for this Friday, 30th June.

Keith sets up the gas torch, unless he's preparing for a night out?Not sure who/how Keith is identifying as this week, as the current vogue goes, but he (other pronouns are available) is seen here setting up the gas torch.

Another smokebox retaining nut gets the chopHe (They?!) then set about removing another stubborn smokebox retaining nut in readiness for the boiler lift.

John Dixon fits one of the lights in GER No. 5John Dixon has been fitting the remaining lights in Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5.

John Davis fits moquette in the guard's compartment of GER No.5Finally, the chaise longue in the east saloon of GER No. 5 is almost complete, courtesy of Anne and Phil Burton. Meanwhile, John Davis and Tim have been fitting moquette in the guard’s compartment of GER No. 5.

Monday 19th June 2023

Just a short update this week.

We are still waiting to receive confirmation of the method of repair to FR 20’s front right hand cylinder cover which is currently under assessment with Cast Iron Welding services at Coalville. However, the go-ahead has been given for the repair work to the motion, and this is being undertaken by the West Somerset Railway at Williton.

Back at Preston, the final pieces of concrete are being removed from GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643’s smokebox to enable the boiler to be lifted. This is now provisionally scheduled for Friday, 30th June.

Phil Bell was warmly welcomed back to the carriage restoration team on Friday after having been side-lined for essential care duties at home. A couple of the new light fittings for GER No.5The replacement light fittings and door handles for Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 have now been delivered, courtesy of 3D printing technology.

John Dixon working on one of the light fittingsJohn Dixon has been occupied making adjustments to the light holders to accommodate the slightly different sized glass that had to be used for a couple of the lights.

Three cushions down - two to go!The upholstery team of Anne and Phil Burton have been making good progress with the new cushions for the chaise longue. Only another two cushions to go!

Monday 12th June 2023

Apologies once again for another gap in blogs – yes, holidays have got in the way, a good time to have them given the very hot weather that we are experiencing!

FR 20 in the carriage shed at Blaenavon minus front buffer beamMany are naturally asking about Furness Railway No. 20 which suffered a mechanical failure on May 20th at the Pontypool & Blaenavon Railway. The damaged right hand cylinder cover has been despatched to Cast Iron Welding Services at Coalville for assessment and we await their verdict. Back at Blaenavon the front buffer beam of the locomotive has been removed to facilitate access and to enable the necessary motion repairs to be undertaken. We are grateful to the people at Blaenavon and the West Somerset Railway for their assistance in furthering the repairs. The above photograph of FR 20 minus its front beam was kindly supplied by the P&BR.

5643 minus cladding 10.06.23Back at Preston, the work to prepare GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643 for the removal of its boiler has proceeded apace. As the photo illustrates, all the cladding has been removed and most of the smokebox retaining nuts have now been removed.

Alen Johnson removing concrete from 5643's smokeboxAlen Johnson has started the uncomfortable job of removing the concrete from the smokebox.

Keith painting 5643's boiler crinolinesMeanwhile Keith has been busy re-painting the inside faces of the cladding and also the crinolines. All being well it is hoped to be able to arrange for a crane to remove the boiler in the next couple of weeks.

A new unmachined piston head (right) for Caliban alongside its future mateThere have been a couple of steps forward in the restoration of Peckett 0-4-0ST Caliban where a replacement piston head has appeared courtesy of Russell Walker. In addition, John Dixon and Sam recently had a fruitful visit to the National Railway Museum where they we able to obtain drawings for the missing motion brasses. It looks as if John is going to be busy making patterns in the coming weeks.

The first upholstered seat base for the chaise longue in GER No. 5.The first of the seat bases for the chaise longue in the east saloon of Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 has been re-upholstered by Phil and Anne Burton; only another four bases to go!

John Davis bottoming the royal toilet seatJohn Davis has been tackling the job of preparing the royal toilet fittings for a coat of varnish.

Finally, the ‘Money for Nothing’ programme on BBC TV has obviously set people thinking, with the result that RSR footplate crew Jack Davenport and Peter Liddle are seen here with their new barbeque on Saturday morning, all components having been retrieved from the scrap metal skip and surrounds. We suspect, though, that they won’t be selling on the barbeque to make money! And, yes, the sausages were very tasty!Jack Davenport and Peter Liddle cook sausages on the 'new' barbeque, converted from a scrap parts washer.