Monday 24th June 2019

We can announce this week that the Annual General Meeting of the Furness Railway Trust will be held in the FRT shed at Chain Caul Road, Preston at 7.30 pm on Tuesday, 16th July 2019. The Accounts for 2018 have been passed by the Independent Examiner and the Annual Report duly approved by the Trustees. Printing of these is currently in full swing and should be sent out before the end of this week. It is taking up a lot of time so consequently the blog is somewhat shorter in detail this week! In addition, we can report that the latest edition of The Iron Horse is also in the course of being printed but will be sent out separately a little later.

Phil Bell cleaning FR 20's framesWork has continued at Preston on the overhaul of FR 20 with further preparation for painting. Phil Bell is seen here cleaning the inside of the frames.

John Dixon cleaning under supervision by AdeJohn Dixon (supervised by Ade) has been cleaning the rear running plate around the reverser and also underneath the engine’s drag box and the latter was duly painted with Roger’s help on Friday. Fred and Tim have been cleaning and preparing Caliban‘s wheels for painting.

Howard with the seized clutch control assembly for FluffVarious components from Fluff are still receiving attention including the seized clutch control assembly which has been presenting a challenge to Howard.

Finally for this week, outside John Davis has continued his work cleaning up the metal on the new tender tank for Wootton Hall.

Monday 17th June 2019

Alan removes a burr from FR 20's piston rodFR 20’s overhaul continues with Alan carrying out work to reduce the ‘clatter’ from the right hand crosshead. He is seen here removing a burr from the piston rod end. John has continued to clean up components and paint them ready for fitting, including the hornstays whilst Phil Bell has been cleaning the frames and reverser quadrant and Tim has applied gloss Indian Red to the wheels.

Jim Hanmer with Fluff's engineJim Hanmer and Alan Preston have made a prompt start to overhauling Fluff‘s engine in the RSR workshop. Jim is seen here with the engine where all the pistons and liners have been removed.

The first piston removed from Fluff's engineExtracting the pistons from the liners has proved to be a challenge with something like four tons of force being required to remove the first. The piston rings were found to have seized solid.

Three of Fluff's pistons to be removed from their linersThe other pistons and liners await their turn.

Paul Balshaw and Phil Scales under FluffiPaul Bradshaw and Phil Scales have continued their work on Fluff’s frames.

Ade paints Caliban's framesAde has finally found time away from helping others to apply some gloss paint to Caliban’s frames.

Finally, Keith went back over to Embsay on Saturday to find 5643 chuffing away happily but Cumbria suffering from another bout of injectoritis and issues with the steam brake. A plan has been formed which hopefully will see Cumbria back in traffic soon.


Monday 10th June 2019

Line up of wheelsetsAs reported in last week’s blog, the seven wheelsets that were sent away for machining have returned and the photo shows a grand line up outside the FRT shed with the new tender tank for Wootton Hall in the background.

Left to right are the three wheelsets from the Hall’s tender, Caliban’s two wheelsets and then those for FR 25 which weren’t sent away.

FR 20's tender whelsets being readied for paintingInside the shed were FR 20’s newly machined tender wheelsets which were being readied for painting.

Alan Vernon squeezes Fluff's engine out of the shedWednesday saw Fluff’s engine removed from its frames to the RSR workshop for overhaul. It was a tricky operation in confined spaces so hats off to Alan Vernon who is seen here reversing the fork lift truck back down the shed after the successful lift.

Fluff enginelessThe engine-less frames looked pretty rusty but it wasn’t long before members started to attack the rust ready for preventative paintwork to be applied.

Phil Scales attacking Fluff's frames with a needle gunPhil Scales was attacking the rust on the outside of the frames with a needle gun on Wednesday.

Phil Bell cleaning FR 20's motionMeanwhile Phil Bell was to be seen cleaning FR 20’s motion.

Steve Davies and Japanese partySteve Davies, former director of the National Railway Museum paid us a visit on Wednesday with a Japanese party who are in the process of building a old replica train back in Japan. They had spent the previous day at Embsay and been hauled there by the Trust’s ‘Austerity’ Cumbria.

Keith with a new plate for Wootton Hall's tender tank.Keith was busy making up a new piece of plate for Wootton Hall‘s tender tank.

Bob Thomson working on Wootton Hall's reverserOn Friday Bob Thomson was working on a component for Wootton Hall‘s new reverser.

Roger Benbow and FR 20's crinolinesRoger Benbow is seen here continuing his work on painting the crinolines for FR 20.

Over at Embsay the washout and maintenance work for 5643 has been proceeding. Keith and Fred completed the main washout work on Saturday, which itself proved to be a washout and caused our volunteers to get very wet! 5643’s boiler has now been boxed up and filled with water, but Keith will be heading back to Embsay again on Thursday to attend to some maintenance issues in the smokebox.

Whilst at Embsay this week, Keith learned the sad news of the death in April of Charles Boylan at the age of 65. ‘Big Charlie’ as he was affectionately known came to Haverthwaite in the late 1970s with a group from Embsay and subsequently went on to be employed at Haverthwaite before working at the Dolly Blue Mill. He then joined the Cumbria Police up the west coast before transferring to the British Transport Police at Preston. On retirement he became a teaching assistant. Charles had continued to volunteer at Embsay, with the P Way Gang, but also confessed to having played Father Christmas on the Santa Specials. Charles was a big affable guy with a great sense of humour and we are sure that he will be missed at Embsay. Our condolences go to his wife Christine and family.

Monday 3rd June 2019

We are back after the Bank Holiday break with a short update.

Work has continued on the various ongoing projects at Preston.

John Davis attacking the rivetsJohn Davis is seen here driving out rivets on the shovel plate in the new tender tank for Wootton Hall.

Howard measures up Caliban's axle boxes for new lidsHoward has been measuring up for new axle box lids for Caliban.

Paul Balshaw scrapes rust from Fluff's framesPaul Balshaw is seen scraping rust from Fluff‘s frames.

Examination of FR 20’s cylinders and piston rings has continued with some debate now as to whether the rings actually need changing. Underneath, the job of cleaning frames and motion continues.

Alison's cakesAlison provided us with some leftover cakes a week last Wednesday from the previous night’s Trustees’ meeting, a photo of which we include for Adrian’s benefit(!).

The seven wheelsets that were sent away for machining were finally delivered back to Preston last Friday afternoon, which will open the way for further work on Wootton Hall‘s tender, FR 20’s tender and Caliban.

Finally, over at Embsay, Keith and Fred have been undertaking a wash-out on 5643. Keith will also be going back this Thursday and next weekend to attend to a leaking gasket on one of the superheater elements and to prepare 5643 for traffic again. Meanwhile, as locomotives do when they know that you are dependent on them, Cumbria broke a spring which took two days of hard labour for Embsay’s gang to sort over the last weekend.


Monday 20th May 2019

With Cumbria now safely delivered to the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway last Monday, it was time this week for the Trust’s working members to concentrate on other jobs at Preston. The following photos give a flavour of what has been going on.

Phil Bell reassembles Fluff's handbrakeFluff‘s brake shaft, which controls the brake rods that apply the brake shoes, has been proving difficult to rotate. In short, it has seized up because of lack of use. The application of a 14lb sledge hammer proved to be fruitless so Phil Bell decided that it would be helpful to re-mount the hand brake handle and pedestal to apply pressure and we are pleased to be able to report that this was a success.

John Dixon cleans the underside of FR 20's tenderThe seven wheelsets that were sent away for machining are due to be picked up from Coalville next Wednesday and are likely to be delivered to Preston the following Wednesday. In anticipation of this, John Dixon has been cleaning the underside of FR 20’s tender so that it can be painted before the wheelsets are fitted.

Keith cuts up the remains of Wootton Hall's old tender tankKeith has been cutting up the last portions of the base from Wootton Hall‘s old tender tank….

Fred paints the inside of Wootton Hall's new tender tank…. while Fred has been applying black gloss paint to the upper inside parts of the new tender tank….

John Davis removes rivets from Wootton Hall's tender tank.…. meanwhile, John Davis has been removing rivets from the bottom of the tender tank coal space so that new plate can be fitted….

The new water hose connectors for Wootton Hall's tender…. finally, the new water hose connectors for Wootton Hall‘s tender have been made up and await silver soldering of the flanges.

The Trustees meet tomorrow evening at Alison’s house in order to tackle the usual mountain of refreshments as well as to agree and approve the Trustees’ Annual Report and Accounts for 2018. Hopefully it will also be possible to set a date for the Annual General Meeting.

Advance notice here that there won’t be a blog next week because the editorial team is taken up with other duties during the Bank Holiday and half term week – OK there’s a holiday beckoning!

Monday 13th May 2019

Alan inspects Cumbria's left hand piston glandAde got up bright and early again last Wednesday to put Cumbria over the pit at Preston before putting a small fire in the firebox ready for a test steaming. Alan and Tim then dismantled the left hand piston rod gland and found the metallic packings to have fragmented, confirming this as the cause of a steam leak when the loco was under load. Soft packing material was located and fitted prior to steam being raised to maximum. Tim and then Ade took Cumbria for trips up and down the yard in order to test the new packings and the steam brake before Ade loaded up the spare springs.

Friday saw John Davis and Phil Bell descend on Cumbria to clear the coal bunker and to give it a final clean and polish. Tim meanwhile removed the lubrication pipes to the piston rod and valve spindles to be cleaned out. The oil pots were replenished with fresh oil and the trimmings cleaned, primed with oil and replaced to give a steady satisfying drip of oil over the rods and spindles.

Fred with paint brushWork has again continued on Fluff, FR 20 and Wootton Hall. Fred is seen here painting Wootton Hall‘s tender tank in between heavy showers of rain. News from Leicestershire is that machining work on the wheelsets for Caliban and the tenders for Wootton Hall and FR20 has been completed and arrangements are now being made for their return to Preston. One of the additional tasks undertaken was removing a score from one of the crank pins on Caliban‘s wheels. Jeff at CMS Cepcor kindly sent us this short video of the crank pin being machined – click on this link to view.

Cumbria heading for Embsay 130519Today saw Cumbria loaded and despatched to Embsay where it will join the Trust’s GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643. We show here a photo of 5643 double heading with Illingworth, also a recent temporary resident at Preston, courtesy of the Embsay Locomotive Department Facebook page.


Monday 6th May 2019

Just a very brief Bank Holiday update for you.

More work was carried out on FR 20’s engine frames, including the chipping away of loose concrete on the cylinder block by Phil Scales.

Alan spent some more time investigating Cumbria‘s left hand clackbox to try and eliminate any showing of steam at the injector tail pipe. It is proposed on Wednesday to re-pack the left hand piston gland, which started to blow over the RSR’s Steam Gala, before conducting another steam test. It is expected that Cumbria will be then heading off to Embsay shortly to join the FRT’s 0-6-2T 5643 for the season.

Stanlow doing the businessAde and Mike set about moving 0-4-0DM Fluff last Wednesday afternoon in order to position it over the pit. Stanlow was brought around from the running shed and, after a complicated set of moves, Caliban‘s boiler was moved out of the shed and then Fluff took its place. The frames of Fluff and Caliban (left rear) in the FRT shed formerly nos. 2 and 1 respectivelyThis should enable the engine to be lifted for overhaul.

Keith working in Wootton Hall's cabAs ever, Keith has been busy with Wootton Hall and is seen here measuring up the cab.

We must mention the sad news that Fylde based folk singer, Alan Bell, passed away a week last Thursday at the age of 84. Alan wrote many fine songs, including the much-covered “Bread and Fishes”, and was Director of the long running Fylde Folk Festival, to which the FRT supplied sound personnel and equipment for 17 years, which in turn helped the Trust’s coffers. Alan’s funeral is at Carlton crematorium at 10.30 this Friday.

Mystery photoFinally we cannot go without resolving the mystery photo from 7 days ago!

Mike Rigg’s shot was taken through one of the holes made in Caliban‘s buffer beam to enable the cylinders to be re-bored.


Monday 29th April 2019

The job of re-boring Caliban’s cylinders was finished last Tuesday by Team Marrow, which marks the completion of another important stage in its overhaul.

Cumbria being prepared on Sunday, 28th AprilAde got himself out of bed at an early hour to light up Cumbria (thank you, Ade) so that it could undergo a pre-hire inspection in steam by Tony Wright of the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway. All went well and Cumbria then went on to appear at the RSR’s Spring Steam Gala on Saturday and Sunday. It is seen here being prepared on Sunday morning and also at the head of the 11.30 train from Riverside station on Saturday with Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST No. 1208 Illingworth (also bound for Embsay in the near future) on the rear.Cumbria on the 11.30 train at Riverside Saturday 27th April

A myriad of jobs have been taking place at Preston. John Dixon measuring one of Wottoon Hall's axleboxes in order to make a pattern for a missing piece.John Dixon has been measuring up one of Wootton Hall‘s tender axleboxes so that he can make a pattern for a casting to repair some damage.

John Davis at work on Wootton hall's tender tankJohn Davis has been spending more time working on Wootton Hall‘s new tender tank.

Roger Benbow getting down to work on Fr 20's boiler crinolinesTim has again been cleaning up FR 20’s frames whilst Roger Benbow set to work on cleaning up the crinolines for FR 20’s boiler.

Fred has cleaned up the platform ticket machine pedestal ready for it to be re-painted.

The new running board support on FluffWork has also continued on Fowler 0-4-0DM Fluff where a replacement running board support, fabricated by John Stewart, has been fitted.

5643 at work at EmbsayOver at Embsay, 5643 has been busy turning its wheels again and we have an Instagram photo here of it on a dining train there.

Mystery photoAlso, Mike Rigg has submitted a mystery photo for you identify. Answer next week.

Finally the fruits of our Treasurer’s work on the 2018 accounts have been delivered today to the Independent Examiner for scrutiny. We shall no doubt have to fix up an AGM soon.

Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Just a brief post-Easter update this week for you…

Alan peers into the fireman's side clackbox on CumbriaWork at Preston last Wednesday concentrated on following up issues brought to light from the test steaming of Cumbria two days earlier. Alan is seen here peering into the fireman’s side clackbox to try and identify the cause of a small steam pass.

John Dixon spent an uncomfortable time underneath the loco on replacing cotters which hold the ashpan in place. He then set about cleaning out the slide bar trimmings on Friday. Cumbria is due for another steam test tomorrow (Wednesday) and is then due to take part in the RSR’s Spring Steam Gala this weekend. After that, if all is well, it should shortly be heading off to Embsay to join the FRT’s GWR 0-6-2T No. 5643 which is currently holding the fort there until reinforcements arrive.

Work on our Fowler 0-4-0DM Fluff continues and it is hoped to lift out the engine in the not-too-distant future, assuming that a shunt can be arranged.

Phil Scales and John Davis at work on Wootton Hall's tender tankFinally, outside the shed, work has continued on cleaning off and painting of Wootton Hall‘s recently purchased tender tank. In action on this are Phil Scales and John Davis (above) and Ed Tatham (below).Ed paints Wootton Hall's tender tank


Monday 15th April 2019

John Dixon fits the drivers side water valve on CumbriaThe Trust’s ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria was once again the centre of attention this last week as final preparations were made for a test steaming. The loco had a second washout on Wednesday and the mudhole doors and washout plugs were refitted. Alan finished fitting the regulator quadrant and John Dixon is seen here fitting the driver’s side water valve.

Phil Bell touches up the paint on Cumbria's nameplatePhil Scales and Phil Bell continued the task of sprucing up the appearance of the loco with the latter touching up the black paint on the nameplates.

On Friday Ed pulled Cumbria out of the shed, cleaned the firebox and emptied the ashpan. The boiler was also filled but it was decided to delay the test steaming until today when there would be more people to assist and more time for testing.

Cumbria back in steam with members Keith, Ade and Dave StarkieAde appeared bright and early this morning and had Cumbria lit up by 8.15. Steam was raised just after 1.oo and the pressure brought up slowly. Tim and Matt Jervis were looking at the drain cocks closely with fingers crossed as steam built up, to detect whether the regulator or ‘J’ pipe were passing steam, but all was well. The afternoon was spent chasing up steam leaks on cab fittings and then moving the loco to test the regulator and brakes. Tim tightens the steam brake pipe to Cumbria's manifoldTim is seen here tightening up the brake steam pipe to the manifold whilst Alan looks on.

On the whole the exercise was deemed to be a success although there is a list of things to follow up on Wednesday when the engine has cooled down.

Wootton Hall's new gauge frame castingsA notable arrival this week has a package with the castings for Wootton Hall’s gauge frame.

Part of the historic collection?Finally, when Tim went to the NRM at Shildon on Saturday for a training day, he came across an upstand advert inviting volunteers to work with the NRM’s historic collection featuring none other than Alan – is he now officially part of the NRM’s historic collection, we wonder?!