Monday 30th October 2023

FR20 and GER5 head off to the FRT shed for winterAde kindly performed the shunt that brought Furness Railway No. 20 and Great Eastern royal saloon No. 5 back into the FRT shed where winter maintenance can be undertaken.

A good clean of FR 20 would not go amiss and work is required to remove traces of burnt paintwork on the smokebox and smokebox door after its strenuous efforts at Blaenavon!

5643's frames Work continues on the cleaning and stripping down of 5643’s frames. The above photo indicates the progress being made with the paintbrushes.

Finally, arrangements are currently being made for a non-destructive test of the boiler which will assist with assessing the extent of work required during the overhaul. It is planned that a second wash out of the boiler will take place this Wednesday now that the small tubes have been removed.

Monday 23rd October 2023

The new driver's brake valve for Wootton HallKeith visited Tyseley Loco Works last Tuesday and picked up the long-awaited brand new driver’s brake valve for GWR ‘Hall’ class 4-6-0 No. 4979 Wootton Hall. This should just about complete the cab fittings required for the locomotive.

One of the two new steam heating valves for Wootton HallKeith had also arranged to pick up two new steam heat valves for Wootton Hall which had been machined up, one of them being seen here.

Saturday saw all the small tubes removed from GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643. Just the six flue tubes now remain, and these will be removed this Wednesday.

The eccentric strap from Cumbria which needed repairAnd there was good news from Embsay last Thursday in that ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria passed an in-steam test following the repair to one of its eccentric straps by Andy Booth. The above photo shows the strap with the side piece of metal that had fallen away.

Monday 16th October 2023

Anne Burton and John Davis working together on one of 5643's sandboxesIt was a down to earth week at Preston this last week as members spent much of their time working on 5643’s frames and components. Anne Burton and John Davis are seen cleaning up one of 5643’s sandboxes…

Phil Burton polishes one of 5643's coupling rods… while Phil Burton polished one of 5643’s coupling rods…

Ed Tatham chips rust off 5643's frames… and Ed chipped away at rust on the frames.

Finally for this week, over at Embsay, the eccentric strap on ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria that had been causing concern has been removed to reveal that a strip of the side metal had come adrift. However, the main bearing metal was still intact.  Andy Booth took the offending strap away to work some of his magic on it and it is now expected to be refitted to the locomotive during the next day or so. Thanks, Andy.

Monday 9th October 2023

Just a short update this week after last week’s lengthy blog.

Sam gingerly removes a washout plug from FR 20The boiler of Furness Railway No. 20 was successfully washed out on Friday as part of the process of winterising the locomotive. Sam had previously drained the boiler on Wednesday and loosened the plugs. Removing the bottom drain plug is quite a tricky task if you want to avoid an involuntary shower! The plug is located behind the injector which gets in the way of the rush of water and sprays it liberally in all directions. The photos show Sam gingerly removing the plug and then the aftermath!Sam trying to escape the rush of water from FR 20's boiler

4979's front right coupling rod looking all the better after some attention from Fred's cup wire brushFred gave the newly acquired front right coupling rod for 4979 Wootton Hall a good polishing with his trusty cup wire brush.

5643's cut off superheater element block ends ready to go to TyseleyKeith separated the superheater block ends from the rest of 5643’s elements in readiness to take them to Tyseley for the elements to be renewed.

Elsewhere, there has some tidying up in the shed and some more small finishing jobs tackled in the Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5.

Monday 2nd October 2023

There was no blog last Monday as many of us were busy attending the FRT’s Annual General Meeting at Preston on Monday evening. A full quorum was present, no doubt tempted by the last and main item on the agenda which was Alison’s catering! Needless to say, there were no long awkward questions that would have delayed us attending to the sandwiches, sausage rolls and cake. Thanks to all who attended and also to Alison for the food.

The west saloon with crockeryThis last weekend saw the Ribble Steam Railway’s Gala take place where Furness Railway No 20 and the Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 were scheduled to appear, the latter making its public debut after an in depth overhaul. The east saloonWednesday saw the tables laid out in GER No. 5 for the first time.

Final equipment loaded inThis was followed by a final loading of equipment on the Saturday morning.

Alison gives a waveOne or two of us felt quite emotional as the seats on the coach rapidly filled and it set off for its first journey. Alson gave us a wave as she went past.

The RSR catering crew dressed for the occasionRSR volunteers entered into the spirit of the occasion by dressing appropriately for the serving of drinks in the mornings and then cream teas in the afternoons.

A cake for FR 20's 160th birthdayA cake (yes, more cake) appeared at 12.50 on Saturday so that the 160th and 125th birthdays respectively of FR 20 and GER No. 5 could be celebrated. (And, yes, we did leave some for Ade who was driving on Sunday!)

Hudswelll Clarke 0-4-ST WaleswoodThe visiting engine for the Gala was Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0ST No. 750 Waleswood of 1906.

FR 20 and rayal saloon arrive at Preston Riverside on Sunday afternoonThe weather was variable, the heavy rain testing the stamina of those in the open cab of FR 20 on Saturday afternoon, but the crowds turned up and the royal coach was sold out on both days. Trains ran to time, despite it being deemed the RSR’s most complex Gala timetable, and there were many lovely comments received from satisfied customers. Well done to all those involved.

Fred cleans up an eccentric rod

Away from the public eye, work has continued on stripping Great Western Railway 0-6-2T locomotive No. 5643 as part of its overhaul, with Fred seen here cleaning up one of the eccentric rods.

The RRV lifts Caliban's saddle tankAnd there is good news for those followers of Peckett 0-4-0ST Caliban where the old saddle tank has finally been recovered by the Ribbe Rail Road Rail Vehicle and sent off to Bradshaw Sheet Metal for replacement, along with Caliban’s smokebox and the ashpan from 5643.All items were squeezed on board the lorry

Examining the saddle tank at Bradshaw'sAlan and Sam paid a visit to Bradshaw’s last Tuesday followed by Keith on Thursday.

Finally, over at Embsay, one of Cumbria’ eccentrics has been removed following the discovery that some of the white metal on it had come adrift. It is hoped to effect a repair in the not too distant future.