Monday 24th June 2024

Apologies for the lack of a blog last week. Unfortunately, Blog Towers 1 was hit by one of those viruses that seems to be doing the rounds and it’s now arrived at Blog Towers 2! Anyhow, that has not stopped others from carrying on the good work at Preston.

Ade positions the radial truck frames with the fork lift truckThe return of the reprofiled radial wheels for Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643 has allowed the truck to be re-assembled, ready for inserting under the frames at some point in the future.The completed job

Newly fitted drawer handles in the kitchen of GER No. 5Phil Bell has made a welcome return after his spell in main works and has fitted some new handles to the drawers in the kitchen of GER No. 5.

Phil Bell removing more stay heads from 5643's fireboxWith apparent renewed energy after his layoff, Phil has also been lending a hand to remove stay heads on the firebox of 5643.

Ade drives FR 20 on Father's DayFinally, Furness Railway No. 20 is due to appear in service at Preston next Saturday with Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 in connection with Armed Forces Day. Its last turn in operation was on Father’s Day on Sunday 16th June, with Ade driving.

Monday 10th June 2024

We start this week’s blog with the breaking news that Furness Railway locomotive No 20 will be visiting the West Somerset Railway from 16th to 21st July to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the opening of the line between Watchet and Minehead. Full details of the event can be found here. There will also be other visiting locomotives including the very recently outshopped Great Western Railway ‘Grange’ 4-6-0 locomotive No. 6880 Betton Grange. A press release is also available here. Let’s hope that we have some decent weather that week!

The mess room roof looking tidierSome of you who have visited Preston in recent times will have noticed that the paintwork on ‘FRT Towers’ (our portacabin mess room) has started to look jaded – probably because we have been giving priority to painting our rolling stock. However, with the odd gap in the rain appearing during our very British summer, Sim has made a start on cleaning the roof of muck and rust and has been giving it a coat of red oxide. Hopefully the weather will allow the job to be completed before winter!

5643's inner smokebox ring looking in better health after weldingBack inside the FRT shed, there has been more work on Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643. Ian Massey spent some time welding up the inner smokebox ring last Wednesday.

5643's firebox cladding plates in undercoat greyTim has been rubbing down the firebox cladding sheets which have now received grey undercoat on the inner faces.

John Dixon removes the vacuum pipe from 5643The next task will be to rub down and paint the outer sides of the frames. John Dixon is seen here removing the vacuum pipe to enable full access to the frames. The steam heat pipe on the other side has also been removed for that same purpose.

This next weekend will see Furness Railway No. 20 in service on the Ribble Steam Railway with Great Eastern Railway royal saloon No. 5 joining in on Sunday, Father’s Day.

Monday 3rd June 2024

With the May Bank Holiday holibobs now over, we suddenly seem to have found ourselves in June. Just a short update this week as several of our volunteers have been away seeking warm weather.

Counterweight rivets now obscured by a fresh coat of red oxideWork has again been concentrated on the overhaul of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643. The driving wheelset that had its balanceweight rivets secured is receiving a coat of paint.

Simeon Dixon cleans 5643's radial wheelset in readiness for paintingSimeon Dixon is seen cleaning the radial wheelset, which has recently returned from tyre turning at Bury, in readiness for a fresh coat of paint.

John Dixon enjoying cleaning 5643's oil bottle lockerJohn Dixon has continued his work outside the shed cleaning the bunker ready for painting, and has also been preparing the internal cab lockers for painting when external weather conditions have put a stop to the bunker work.

Keith has been preparing a new piece of angled steel to fit across the frames to replace some corroded steelwork that was formerly under the bunker.

We have also received the good news from Embsay that Hunslet ‘Austerity’ saddletank Cumbria has passed its fourteen months boiler examination and steam test. This should see it steaming well into 2025.