Monday 26th February 2024

We are very sorry to have to start this week’s blog with the very sad news that Fred Jones, a long-time member of the Trust and regular volunteer at Preston, passed away peacefully in Lancaster Royal infirmary last night. As readers of this blog will be aware, Fred suffered a medical problem recently and we were all hoping that we would see him back again at Preston in the not-too-distant future. However, Fred was taken into Lancaster Royal Infirmary last week for tests after continuing to feel unwell.

Fred Jones about to start with a new wire brushFred loved railways and thoroughly enjoyed working both at Haverthwaite and at Preston, taking on board the many less glamourous jobs, particularly  of cleaning and painting components. He is pictured above after having worn out yet another cup wire brush. He will be very much missed by us all. Our thoughts are with daughter, Helen, son Andrew and family.

Ian Massey making the sparks flyWork on the overhaul of 5643 has continued this last week with Ian Massey paying us another visit on Wednesday when he completed his work on the tubeplate of 5643’s boiler. Ian is seen making sparks fly as he grinds off excess weld.

Keith and Jimmy with 5643's front right axleboxJimmy Dutton has re-metalled 5643’s front right axlebox and is seen here with Keith ready for the axlebox to be machined.

Dave Reynolds inspects wear on 5643's radial horn guidesElsewhere on 5643, Dave Reynolds has been inspecting the radial horn guides for wear.

The new baffle for GER No. 5's water boilerJohn Dixon has produced a baffle for the hot water boiler in the kitchen of Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 to prevent scalding hot water overtopping the urn. The coach is due to be in service for Mother’s Day so a number of winter jobs are now being completed for the occasion.

Tim finding some more imperfections on Wootton Hall's tenderFollowing last week’s photo of the first coat of green undercoat on the left-hand tender side of Great Western Railway ‘Hall’ class 4-6-0 No. 4979 Wootton Hall, Tim has been inspecting the surface closely to identify and fill any imperfections.

John Davies cleans the copper cap to Fluff's chimneyJohn Davies has been cleaning the copper cap for Fluff’s chimney.

Finally, there was concern this last week when we were unable to contact former Treasurer and Trustee David Rimmer. However, David has now been in touch to say that he has been in hospital. We wish David a speedy recovery.

Monday 19th February 2024

Things are getting back to normal now we hope with a more consistent publication of the blog following illness.

John Dixon applying grey undercoat paint to 5643's spring hanger boltsWork has continued on the overhaul of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643. John Dixon has been giving the spring hanger bolts a good clean and several coats of paint.

Sim and Jon Dixon applying high temperature black paint to 5643 steam chest and smokebox saddleSim (left) and Jon Dixon are seen here giving the exterior of the steam chest and smokebox saddle a coat of high temperature black paint.

Wootton Hall's chimney castingWe now have a first blog photo of the new chimney casting for Great Western Railway ‘Hall’ class 4-6-0 No. 4979 that was recently supplied by the Severn Valley Railway. The casting will need to be machined and the familiar GWR copper top fitted.

Wootton Hall's tender has received its first coat of undercoat greenMeanwhile Tim, after much filling and sanding, has been giving the left-hand side of Wootton Hall’s tender tank a coat of green undercoat paint. There is still more work to do though before the former ’ploughed field’ surface is ready to receive a top coat of paint.

Phil Burton giving one of the picture frames a polishWork on Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 continues with Phil Burton cleaning up the two bronze royal picture frames that will be fitted to the coach.

Half done, the top and left hand side of the picture frame can be seen gleaming.The top and left-hand side of the frame can be seen gleaming here.

John Dixon sampling some of the birthday cake on offerFinally, it has been a bumper week for cake in the mess room this week with both Keith and Alan celebrating birthdays. John Dixon is seen here tucking in to a portion of cake…

Alan enjoying some of his birthday cake… while Alan had a small birthday celebration at Preston on Saturday and is seen here with some of his own cake.

Monday 12th February 2024

Apologies once again for the inconsistent publication of the blog. We are hoping that the effects of the winter ailments are now mainly behind us!

First of all this week, a big thanks to all those of you who have made such generous donations to the Trust whilst renewing membership over the past couple of months. With so much potentially expensive work going on at the moment it is really very heartening to have such support from members. It is very much appreciated.

The overhaul of 5643 has continued apace with the coded welder Ian Massey paying a visit last Wednesday to commence work on 5643’s boiler, focussing on some wastage at the bottom of the front tubeplate. A further two visits are expected in the coming weeks to finish the tasks requested by the boiler surveyor.

Ron Crowe drills out one of the firebox staysRon Crowe is pictured here drilling out one of the firebox backplate stays, one of 300 stays to be renewed.

The newly purchased die chasersA set of special die chasers has been purchased for the purpose of manufacturing new stays.

Jon Dixon cleans 5643's smokebox saddleWork has also continued on cleaning and painting the frames and attachments with Jon Dixon seen here cleaning the bottom of the smokebox saddle prior to painting with high temperature paint.

Refurbished 'J' cock for 5643Finally, Keith has picked up from one of our machinists the refurbished ‘J’ cock, one of 5643’s cab fittings, the original body for which having been unfortunately damaged during the process of dismantling.