Monday 28th March 2022

Unfortunately the blog team has been hit by Covid this week, so we have a reduced service operating at this time (does that remind you of a big railway?!).

Keith picked up the refurbished valves for 5643 from Tyseley last Monday and Duncan has been machining the spindle bearings to suit the new spindle sizes. Newly re-fitted splasher on 5643A working party was convened at Bury last Tuesday when one of the splashers was re-fitted.

FR 20 getting some coalLast Wednesday and Friday were spent in getting FR 20 ready (including coaling up) for the RSR’s Spring Steam Gala at the weekend. FRT volunteers also spent time giving the RSR’s Museum a much needed spring clean in readiness for the start of the new season. Thanks go to all those who assisted in making the weekend a success.

A spotless FR 20 ready for the GalaWe have a photo here of a spotless FR 20 taken by Sam.

For those unable to be at Preston over the weekend, the following video gives an impressive view of proceedings.

Monday 21st March 2022

The bridging plate in placeLast Tuesday’s working party at Bury saw the bridge plate above 5643’s piston rods and valve spindles fitted back into place. A rear view of 5643 on blocks at Bury during winter maintenanceKeith is planning to pick up the refurbished valves from Tyseley this week after which it will be necessary to turn down the valve spindle glands to suit the newly machined spindles.

Ade cleaning out Caliban's valve spindle glandsAde has continued his work on Caliban, seen here cleaning out its valve spindle glands.

Sam fitting a washout plug on FR 20Furness Railway No. 20 is due to appear at next weekend’s Ribble Steam Railway Gala. Sam Middleton was given the task of re-fitting the washout plugs.

Engine and tender of FF 20 being coupled upNews was received that trackwork was due to take place in the RSR’s yard at Preston this week which meant that FR 20 had to be transferred to the RSR’s running shed rather sooner than planned, before this trackwork is started. Ade kindly came in on Friday to assist with the shunt and FR 20’s engine and tender are seen here in the process of being coupled up after winter maintenance.

FR 20 in the RSR running shed with the other locos for the GalaFR 20 is pictured with the other three locomotives expected to take part in the Gala.

Finally, work has continued on Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 this week with Roger, Fred and John Davis doing a great job in cleaning the corridor woodwork of the old varnish whilst Phil has been fitting new hardboard to the corridor roof.

Monday 14th March 2022

Cumbria showing its safety valves lifting last Wednesday - with thanks to Embsay's facebook pageWe start with the news that the FRT’s ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria passed its formal 14 month steam test last Wednesday and successfully operated a test train in readiness for traffic this year at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. Thanks to Matt Anderson at Embsay for making this happen.

John Dixon working on the gas lamp housings for GER 5Back at Preston, work continued on the overhaul of GER Royal Saloon No. 5. John Dixon has been checking over each of the repaired gas lamp housings and ensuring that tops and bottoms of each housing fit sweetly when paired up.

Roger and Fred at work in the corridor of GER 5There has been more work inside the coach to remove old varnish, undertaken by Roger and Fred (pictured here) plus Ed and John Davis. Phil Bell has been attending to the doors and associated fittings to ensure that they all work satisfactorily.

Keith has welcomed the arrival of three sheets of steel which will keep him busy repairing Wootton Hall‘s tender tank whilst Ade has been working on Caliban’s pistons.Ade with Caliban's pistons

Sam vacuums the foundation ring on FR 20Sam and Tim had a productive time on Friday cleaning out scale from FR 20’s foundation ring using an air line and even the vacuum cleaner, which accessed the ring through the mudholes. We will be starting to put FR 20 back together this week in readiness for its appearance at the RSR’s Steam Gala on the 26th and 27th March.

The newly welded smokebox door refitted to 5643Finally, work has continued on 5643 at Bury with last Tuesday’s working party re-fitting the smokebox door which has had its inner plate patched up.

Motion gas been refitted to 5643 in anticipation of receiving the valves.The motion has also been re-fitted in anticipation of receiving the valves back from Tyseley Loco Works, where the valve spindles are being skimmed to rectify wear.

Monday 7th March 2022

Apologies for the lack of a blog last week – we just ran out of time, partly due to illness. However, there has been plenty going on, so a quick synopsis here.

5643's left hand piston being re-fittedThere have been further working parties to Bury to remove 5643’s pistons so that any swarf resulting from the valve re-bores could be removed. John Dixon coaxing a piston into positionThe pistons have now been re-fitted, with John Dixon seen coaxing one of the pistons into position.

The smokebox door has been removed so that corroded platework (seen above) can be replaced.

Work has continued on Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 where Phil Bell has been doing preliminary work to replace some of the corridor ceiling. John Davis and Roger have been removing more old varnish from the corridor veneer. Tim repairing the gas light housing turrets for GER5Tim has been working with John Dixon to repair the gas light housing turrets prior to re-fitting.

Ade with Caliban's left hand from buffer ready for fittingAde has refitted the second of Caliban’s front buffers, which had to be removed to enable the re-bore of the cylinders to take place.Buffer fitted

Sam applying emery paper to Caliban's regulator handleSam has been cleaning up Caliban’s regulator handle with emery paper.

Paul Newton working on the Furness Railway benchPaul Newton has set about restoring the Furness Railway bench that was brought to Preston recently by Jim Kay.

Wootton Hall's reverser assemblyKeith has been progressing the fabrication of Wootton Hall’s reverser control.

There has been good news from Embsay in that Cumbria’s safety valves and blower/sanding valve have both returned from South Coast Steam after repair and been fitted. The locomotive has now been steamed and the valves set, ready for a visit from the boiler surveyor this Wednesday.

Vickers Gun Range Signal Box at ScrutonFinally, a visit to Scruton on the Wensleydale Railway on Saturday found the  former Vickers Gun Range signalbox (previously donated by the FRT) looking in good shape. It is planned to site this permanently at Leyburn to control a loop that is being installed.

Monday 21st February 2022

Keith discussing progressAnother very short update this week, but one that reflects in picture style (thanks, Sam) the important work that has been carried out on 5643 at Bury in the past weeks.

The valve liner bore is adjusted by a technicianLast week saw the valve liners being re-bored to cure anomalies. As you will see, it has been necessary to remove the front buffer beam and bridge plate above the slide bars.

View of the borer in placeA view of the other end of the borerDetails of the new diameters of the valve liners have been conveyed to Tyseley Locomotive Works where the valves, with newly fitted rings, should be ready at the end of next week.

That’s all for now – we hope a more normal service will be resumed next week!

Monday 14th February 2022

A very short update this week.

The canvas ready to be unpackagedThe most noticeable progress is with GER Royal Saloon No. 5 where the new canvas was magically uplifted on to the roof.

Once liberated from its packaging, the canvas was carefully spread the length of the roof, whereupon it was discovered that it was the wrong way up!?! After a certain amount of cursing (!), the issue was rectified and the canvas length trimmed roughly to size here. The canvas spread over the roofThe idea is that the canvas should be allowed to settle for a few days before being bonded to the roof with bonding paste – perhaps a week on Wednesday when we have all the necessary implements assembled.

The other noticeable progress is on Caliban‘s boiler where Russ, with assistance from others, has removed around two thirds of the tubes.

Another working party took place at Bury last Thursday when George joined Keith, John and Sam where work included splitting the crossheads on 5643. Keith (Happy Birthday, today!) is going to Bury tomorrow to undertake some more work on the locomotive. Incidentally, some of you will no doubt have seen a feature on BBC’s North West Tonight last Friday evening regarding a new young engineer being taken on by the East Lancashire Railway – and prominent during the filming was none other than 5643!

Monday 7th February 2022

There has been further progress on the overhaul of Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon No. 5 in the last week. The roof received a coat of grey primer on Wednesday, in readiness for the new canvas to be laid on the roof. John Dixon with upper and lower sections of one of GER 5's gas lamp housingsThe gas lamp housings have received further attention with John Dixon seen here marrying a restored top to the lower turret section which inserts through the roof from below. Like the upper element of the housing, the turrets are also in need of repairs, which are now in hand.

John Davis removing paint from GER 5's corridor ceilingInside the coach John Davis has been removing old paint from the corridor ceiling.

Fred removing paint from one of the rain stripsFred has continued with the job of removing paint from the roof rain strips.

Roger giving Fluff's horn a coat of paintElsewhere, Roger is seen giving Fluff‘s horn a coat of paint. Keith has been making lots of noise inside Wootton Hall’s tender tank and finding a few additional holes in the process! Ade has also been competing for noise levels whilst modifying Caliban’s brake blocks.

Matt Anderson at Embsay has provided an update on some of the running repairs that are being undertaken on Cumbria during its period out of traffic whilst undergoing its statutory boiler examination:

old and new start platesNew star plates have been made and fitted to the big ends; the previous star plates had come to the end of their lives and were allowing the big end wedge bolt to loosen when in service.Newly fitted star plate

New taper pin in fireman's side water valveA new taper pin has been fitted to the fireman’s side injector water handle.

New and old smokebox door cross barsThe smokebox door cross bar has been replaced after the original had become warped.

Cumbria's smokebox door receiving attentionThe smokebox door has been removed and is seen being sanded down by Embsay’s chairman, Rob Shaw, before being given a fresh coat of paint.

Finally, one of the cab windows has been repaired and the windows have been made to fit properly.

Thanks to Matt for the above detail and for the photos.

Finally, last Thursday Keith delivered 5643’s valves to Tyseley Locomotive works in readiness for new rings to be fitted once the valve liners have been re-bored. Keith is heading to Bury this next Thursday where a working party will take place to split the crossheads and remove the pistons for examination.

Monday 31st January 2022

We’ve arrived at the end of the first month of the year already, but with some excellent progress achieved on the FRT’s current projects.

Ade adjusting Caliban's brake blocksAde has spent time this week adjusting Caliban’s brake blocks to enable a better fit on the wheels,

Ron Crowe setting up the drillRon Crowe is seen here setting up the drill in order to put some holes in brass flanges for Wootton Hall.

GER No. 5's roof, now repaired and clear of all obstructionsJohn Dixon has completed the final repairs to the roof of GER Royal Saloon No. 5 which is now clear of all obstructions and ready for painting. Phil Bell has finished splicing new wood into the damaged areas of the wooden canvas retaining strips that run at cantrail height along the coach.

Gas lamp housing before repairOne of the final roof jobs to be undertaken is the repair of the gas lamp housings. Seven of the eight housings require a visit to the FRT’s very own Repair Shop where Tim has been attending to the ‘tin worm’ – the first of the housings is seen here on Friday before and after treatment.Gas lamp housing after repair

Mike Rigg and Tim paid a visit to St. Annes last Tuesday to assist Vernon Smith with an investigation into the health of the FRT’s sales trailer which has been standing unused in a leaking garage for some years. Some of the sales stock has been removed to Preston whilst some old books and magazines are now destined for recycling, being deemed to damp to retrieve. The trailer, although suffering from a couple of flat tyres, is still capable of further use and the Trustees have decided to offer it for sale for a reasonable sum to anyone who might have a use for it. The trailer is 8 feet by 4 feet internally and comes with a cover. Please let Tim know if you are interested.

Finally, we are pleased to be able to report that the FRT’s ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria passed its cold boiler exam last Monday. As previously arranged with the staff at Embsay, the safety valves and the combined blower/sander control casting have been sent away for some fettling, the latter unable to shut off the sanders.

Monday 24th January 2022

Yet another busy week at the workface to report.

Last Tuesday another working party took place at Bury and 5643’s valves were duly delivered by Keith to the FRT shed on Wednesday morning. It is expected that these will be delivered to Tyseley shortly for new rings to be fitted once the re-bore of the valve liners has taken place at the end of the month.

John Dixon repairing the roof of GER 5John Dixon has been undertaking final repairs to the roof of GER Royal Saloon No. 5.

Down below, Tim has been filling and sanding the old, recently plugged, screw holes in the wooden side canvas retaining strips.

Phil Bell drilling new screw holes in the wooden roof canvas retaining stripsMeanwhile Phil has been busy drilling more screw holes in them!

John Davis cleaning paint off the gas lamp housingsJohn Davis has been cleaning paint off the gas lamp housings.

Roger cleaning the gas lamp housing rimsRoger has been cleaning the gas lamp housing rims.

The stripped roof of GER No. 5 ready for paintingThe roof is now totally stripped and a coat of primer is planned over the coming week.

Keith cleaning inside Wootton Hall's tender tankThe damp inside Wootton Hall’s tender tank has dissipated now that it is situated inside the heated shed. Keith has been cleaning out the inside of the tank in preparation for welding repairs.

The bottom angle on Wootton Hall's tender tank receiving attentionOn the outside of the tank. Tim has been cleaning corrosion on the bottom angle of the tank and filling and sanding where necessary.

One of Caliban's brake blocks which will need machiningFinally, Ade has been assembling the brake gear on Caliban and has found that the brake blocks now need machining to give a good fit following the tyre turning that took place many years ago.

Monday 17th January 2022

We start this week’s blog with the sad news that life member Tommy Rawlings of Lancaster passed away suddenly last Wednesday aged 80. Tommy was a regular attendee of working parties at Haverthwaite in the early years of the Lakeside Railway Society and very much a larger than life character who will be fondly  remembered by those that knew him. Tommy worked with Royal Mail for many years and then, on early retirement, followed his father in becoming a coach driver. There are as yet no funeral details pending a post mortem examination. We offer our sincere condolences to Tommy’s wife, Margaret, son John and daughter Wendy.

We do also have some happier news – FRT Trustee Jim Kay married Jean last Monday. We are told that it was not a ‘shotgun wedding’, even though they wore masks!?! We wish Jim and Jean the very best for a long and happy marriage.

Sam Middleton busy with a jack at BuryBack to current activities and we can report that a successful working party was held at Bury last Tuesday to prepare 5643 for the re-bore of its valve liners, which is due to take place at the end of this month.

5643 at Bury minus bufferbeamAs can be seen, it has been necessary to remove the front buffer beam.

John Dixon, Sam Middleton, Keith Brewer and Ade Tomkinson with 5643 at BuryJohn Dixon, Sam Middleton, Keith Brewer and Adrian Tomkinson pose for the camera, which appears to have been ‘photo bombed’ by the gas cylinders.

5643 has also undergone its last cold boiler exam before its ten year boiler certificate expires at the end of the year. Arrangements are being made to renew a couple of stays which are relatively easy to access on the backhead of the boiler.

Back at Preston we are sorry to have to report that Anne Burton, who has been working on the upholstery on Royal Saloon GER No. 5,  has suffered a broken arm when slipping on mud whilst out walking. We wish her a speedy recovery. The old lincrusta wallpaper discovered in GER No. 5Meanwhile John Dixon has uncovered some lincrusta wallpaper on the ceiling of the kitchen compartment in GER No. 5 whilst removing the water tank. It was suggested that this may be an opportunity to reinstate the lincrusta, but it has to be said that John didn’t seem too keen on reviving his lincrusta papering skills  that he learned when the North London Railway carriage was restored at Appleby!

Finally, it is confirmed that Furness Railway locomotive No. 20 will be visiting the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre to appear at its Spring Steam Gala on Sunday, 1st and Monday, 2nd May this year.