Monday 18th December 2023

Keith looks on as Adam Wright inspects 5643's boilerOur boiler surveyor, Adam Wright, visited the FRT shed at Preston on Friday to inspect the boilers of Great Western Railway 0-6-2T No. 5643 and Peckett 0-4-0ST Caliban. There was good news and bad news with the verdict on 5643 being pretty positive. It had already been planned to renew the 5/8” boiler stays, which was agreed with Adam along with some protective surface welding of the front tubeplate and a few sections of the boiler barrel. Adam is seen above inspecting the interior of the firebox through one of the large mudholes.

Unfortunately, the platework on Caliban’s inner firebox was deemed to be too thin to allow a ten year boiler certificate to be issued and the options for a new inner firebox will now be investigated.

Fortunately, this news didn’t spoil the FRT’s annual Christmas dinner that evening at the Ribble Pilot pub alongside Preston’s Dock. Our thanks go to Alison for organising it.

John Dixon paints one of the suction hose hangersElsewhere, John Dixon has been catching up with a couple of jobs. Firstly, he has been preparing some steel hangers for the fire pump suction pipes, which should help to keep them safe and away from potential damage.

John Dixon attending to heat damage on FR20's wooden boxSecondly, John has been attending to the wooden box which sits on FR 20’s running plate alongside the right hand smokebox. The box had sustained some heat damage whilst the locomotive was running up the steep gradients at Blaenavon, which is now being rectified. For similar reasons, Tim has now completed the re-painting of the smokebox door and the right hand side of the smokebox.

Sam cleaning the inside of one of 5643's wheels.The lifting of 5643’s frames has allowed access for cleaning the back of the wheels. Sam is seen here busy cleaning one of the wheels.

Alan is wheeled away from one of the Santa Specials by AlisonTim and Alan had hoped for some relief from the playing of Christmas songs on the RSR’s Santa Specials through the offer of help from Graham and Bernadette Dixon. Unfortunately, both Graham and Bernadette both went down with ‘flu after the second weekend and so Tim and Alan had to complete the final weekend on their own. Alan is seen here being wheeled away for recovery by Alison after performing on the second train on Sunday.

Sam on top of Courageous's' cab after the last train on Sunday, 17th DecemberFinally, Sam (pictured right) had his first firing turn on a Santa Special and is seen here with the rest of the crew waiting for a group photo to be taken.

With both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day taking place on Mondays, it has been decided to continue with the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday format for working parties over the Christmas and New Year period – so no let up there!

We leave you this week with very best wishes to all our readers for a great Christmas and New Year. (No, there won’t be a blog next Monday!!) A reminder here that, folk group Live Steam will be playing at the Engine Inn, Cark-in-Cartmel, on New Year’s Eve.