Monday 1st October 2018

We start this week’s blog with the breaking news that Charles Maher, former general manager and chairman of the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway died last night after a short illness. There are no further details at present. We offer our condolences to his wife, Barbara, and family.

There has been some reasonable weather this week which has enabled a couple of the outdoor jobs to be completed.

Alison and playgroundWe have a photo of Alison sitting on one of the picnic benches in the children’s playground where the ground works have at last been finished. It looks good!

Seven people and a gateThere was just the small matter of fixing the gate to the path alongside the playground where a total of seven people can be seen either watching or undertaking the job… (well twas ever thus on the big railway, so… )

Bill Croston at work on the muralOne final piece of the jigsaw to be fitted is the new mural which will be mounted on the back of the toilet block, which is adjacent to the playground. Bill Croston is seen here putting the finishing touches to the mural on Saturday.

Although the playground is due to be officially opened next Saturday by John Gilmour of BBC Radio Lancashire, that didn’t stop some children enjoying the new facility over the Steam Gala weekend this last Saturday and Sunday. Illingworth awaits its next turn of dutyAs previously reported, Stephen Middleton’s Hudswell Clark 0-6-0ST No. 1208 of 1916 Illingworth/Mitchell was the guest locomotive.

John Davis and Caliban's cabAnother job that was completed this week was a coat of undercoat on Caliban‘s cab. John Davis is seen here with the brush.

John Dixon has been busy preparing FR 20 for its boiler lift, working hard to remove the last stubborn nuts and bolts from the main steam pipe. We will spare you another photo of John’s rear end sticking out of the smokebox. Meanwhile, Fred has again been cleaning up the components removed from the loco and Tim has been giving them a fresh coat of paint.

Ade and a shrunken AlanRoger has been giving another coat of red oxide to Caliban‘s wheelsets whilst Ade has been trial fitting the axleboxes on Caliban and agreeing clearances with Alan. The latter pair are both seen here, but Alan seems to have shrunk in the wash!

tender stepsProgress continues on Wootton Hall with yet another riveting session taking place last Thursday, resulting in these footsteps for the tender.

George reamingGeorge made an appearance on Saturday and can be seen reaming a hole on the Hall’s tender, which will receive a fitted bolt manufactured by Bill Norcross to secure one of the hornguides.

Wootton Hall's new reverser handleProgress has also been made on the creation of a screw reverser handle for Wootton Hall; more machining is still required.

NS 601 ready to leave the RSRFinally, for the record, English Electric built Nederlandse Spoorwegan diesel electric shunter No. 601 left the RSR on Wednesday to be returned to Holland for industrial use.

Monday 24th September 2018

5643 on the 12.00 to Bolton AbbeyWe start this week’s blog with the welcome news that 5643 has at last re-entered service at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway following a lengthy lay off of nearly a year as a result of the need to renew the small tubes in the boiler. Keith attended to the safety valves last Tuesday and the boiler surveyor then gave the go-ahead for the loco to be used. A successful test train to Bolton Abbey was run on Friday following which 5643 operated the railway’s service on Saturday, seen here at Embsay with the 12.00 to Bolton Abbey.

Cumbria and 5643 at EmbsayThe following photo shows 5643 doing a yard shunt in between trains and also the FRT’s ‘Austerity’ 0-6-0ST Cumbria which was about to be tested following the replacement of the clack box on the backhead by Keith last Tuesday.

Paul Balshaw and John Davis put red oxide on Caliban's cabWednesday turned out to be a rare dry day at Preston which enabled John Davis and Paul Balshaw to put another coat of red oxide on Caliban‘s cab and we hope that the weather this week will enable a layer of undercoat to be applied to protect the recently shot-blasted metal.

FR 20 'undressed'FR 20 has been moved out of the RSR workshop which enabled both Ade, Tim and John Dixon to move the cab sides and spectacle plate to the FRT shed on a borrowed large supermarket trolley which did the job perfectly.Supermarket sweep

Howard took the angle grinder to Fluff to release some bolts and Ade continued his beautification of Caliban‘s inside frames by rubbing down the paintwork with wet and dry paper.

Thursday saw another riveting session take placed on Wootton Hall‘s tender frames, with Matt Gervis, Keith and John Dixon doing the work again.

Tim, John Dixon and John Davis removed the fibreglass insulation from FR 20’s boiler on Friday and stored it on top of the tender. There are not too many jobs now to undertake before the boiler is ready for lifting. It is intended to remove the ashpan next Wednesday and this will enable formers to be prepared for the future new brick arch before we demolish the existing arch.

Fred and Bob appeared on Friday with Fred cleaning up more of FR 20’s components whilst Bob concentrated on preparing drawings of components for Wootton Hall‘s tender. Mike Rigg continued his work of sorting the bar electrics in the former FRT buffet car.

The TPO coach makes a rare out door appearance 210918Friday also saw the RSR’s TPO coach make a rare appearance outside the museum, still glistening after its recent paint job in the FRT shed.

70 802 in the RSR running shedElsewhere at the RSR there was an unexpected visitor in the running shed  when Colas Class 70 No. 70 802 took up residence pending the rectification of a track fault on the Strand Road level crossing.

Nearly finished - the new children's playgroundThe children’s playground is nearly ready for use, much to Alison’s relief. Work was delayed due to rain so completion of the groundworks was put back until Saturday. An official opening by Radio Lancashire’s John Gilmour is now scheduled for Saturday, 6th October.

70013 at Locomotion, ShildonFinally, it has been traditional for some FRT members to attend Locomotion’s Autumn Steam Gala at Shildon. Although FR 20 wasn’t on show there this year, Alan, Alison, Tim, Dickon and Peter van Zeller still braved the A66 roadworks to meet up with the Locomotion team, assist operations and to make or renew their acquaintance with visiting National Collection ‘Britannia’ Pacific 4-6-0 No. 70013 Oliver Cromwell plus Peckett 0-6-0ST No. 1970 of 1939 Ashington No.5/JackieMilburn from the North Tyneside Railway. Ashington No. 5 at LocomotionFortunately the weather was better than originally forecast and a good time was had by all.

Monday 17th September 2018

There is plenty of news this week.

Firstly there has been some very welcome success at Embsay to report. Keith and Ade went there on Wednesday to re-fit the regulator box using a specially prepared copper gasket following the previous failure of a graphite foil gasket. Keith and Fred then went to Embsay on Saturday and, with the assistance of staff there, fitted the superheater elements and lit a warming fire. Keith was back there again on Sunday morning with steam successfully raised to working pressure. There is just one further piece of work to do to correct one of the safety valves which is lifting light which Keith will attend to on Tuesday. A formal steam test can then be arranged to take place in the presence of the boiler surveyor.

Keith also brought back Cumbria‘s fireman’s side injector from Embsay to Preston for attention. Bill Norton with Cumbria's fireman's side stem valveBill Norton is seen here preparing to machine the joint face which had developed some unevenness on the surface which, together with some pitting on the firebox backhead had caused a gasket to blow.

Further progress was made on Wednesday and Friday with the stripping down of FR 20 in readiness for a boiler lift. John Dixon at work in FR 20's smokeboxJohn Dixon released the blast pipe nuts on Wednesday. FR 20 with steel cladding removedThen on Friday the massed forces of John, Tim, Alan, Fred and Roger managed to removed the tightly fitted steel boiler cladding (or clothing as John has pointed out it was called by the LMS) and then the crinolines. This was all transferred from the RSR workshop to the FRT shed ready for cleaning and painting.

Fred cleans up one of FR 20's sand pipesFred also managed to find time to clean up one of FR 20’s sand pipes whilst Roger occupied himself by giving a set of Caliban’s wheels a second coat of red oxide.Roger gives another coat of red oxide to Caliban's wheels

John Davis gave FR 20’s tender coal space a coat of grey undercoat on Wednesday and then started the job of preparing GERs’s bogies for a repaint.

A ghostly Mike Rigg in the former FRT RMBMike Rigg has continued his work to get the fan behind the former FRT RMB counter re-fitted and working. This has entailed the fitting of fresh woodwork to support the fan and the installation of conduit and wiring. Also in his sights is the aim to get the counter lights to work again. Mike is seen here preparing the wood framework to receive the fan.

The corner posts on the cabin in the correct shade of yellowThe corner posts on the FRT’s mess cabin have been painted to a shade of yellow which has met with the satisfaction of John Dixon, who was keen that they blended in with the FRT shed situated behind the cabin. Tim reckoned that we needed some canary yellow and remembered painting the FRT kayak that colour some thirty years ago. Sure enough Tim found the remainder of that undercoat and gloss paint at the back of his garage, which turned out to be enough to cover the corner posts. It just underlines the male argument that you should never throw anything away that might be useful at some time in the future!

Finally, we reported last week the sad death of member Jeff Mimnagh. We have now been informed that his funeral will take place at 1 pm on Wednesday, 26th September at All Saints Church, New Longton.


Tuesday 11th September 2018

A day late this week, probably because there don’t appear to be enough hours in the day at the moment!

Unfortunately we start with the sad news that Jeff Mimnargh died in hospital last Saturday. Jeff was a member of the LRC and LRS in the very early days (membership number 0075) who lived at Leyland and was a regular at the Friday evening get-togethers in the Railway Inn at Lostock Hall. He rejoined the FRT after the purchase of Wootton Hall. We are also very sorry to have to record the death of RSR member Jimmy Gardner, who helped out the FRT with his white metalling skills. Jimmy’s funeral will take place at Blackpool Crematorium at 10.00 on Friday. We offer our condolences to both Jeff and Jimmy’s families.

Turning to FRT projects, there was further progress to report at Preston last week.

Tim finished off the gloss coat of grey on the mess cabin, which just awaits the yellow on the corner posts once the correct shade of yellow is found to John’s satisfaction! This is a project that has taken many weeks in between other pressing needs in the shed and has been thwarted by extremes of weather – either too hot or too wet! And many people have been involved, so thanks to all of them. It has been a job worth doing and certainly makes the place look tidier.

Turf being laid by Ed Tatham in the new gardenAlso making a welcome improvement to the local environment has been Ed Tatham who has been working to create a garden adjacent to the children’s playground and alongside the walking route to the FRT shed. Ed is seen here lying turf which would certainly not be out of place at Wembley.

John Dixon did a final clean up of FR 20’s tender coal space on Wednesday before applying a coat of red oxide. John Davis giving a second coat of primer to FR 20's tender coal spaceA second coat of red oxide was applied on Friday by John Davis, seen here with the paint brush.

Adrian and Howard have again been busy with Caliban, with Adrian tidying up the paintwork between the frames. He has also been doing some work on FR 20, undoing the boiler expansion bracket screws ready for the time when the boiler will be lifted.

Keith has continued to have a frustrating time at Embsay preparing the surface of 5643’s smokebox to receive the regulator box. Keith and Adrian are now due to go to Embsay this Wednesday to continue the work.

Fred with the newly cleaned up vacuum pipework from FR 20Fred made further progress with cleaning up the components removed from FR 20, this time cleaning up and priming the engine’s vacuum pipework. Mike and Paul Newton spent more time on Friday with the delinquent extractor fan in the former FRT RMB before casting another couple of resin plates.

Finally there was a good representation from Preston at Crewe Crematorium on Friday for Dave Manley’s funeral. There were also representatives there from Crewe Heritage Centre where Dave was also a member.

Monday 3rd September 2018

It has been another week of graft although we are yet to see some of the fruits of these efforts.

Keith has spent quite a lot more time over at Embsay in his efforts to achieve a satisfactory seating of the regulator box on the smokebox tubeplate. Some unevenness on the surface of the tubeplate is causing packings to be blown out at only 5 psi. Some Taylor (brass corrugated) sealing rings were ordered on Wednesday which will be used once Keith is happy with his work in the smokebox.

FR 20's cab spectacle plate now removedFR 20’s front spectacle plate was removed on Wednesday with the help of the workshop crane and John Dixon continued the process of removing both the boiler cladding and the hand rails on Friday. Fred cleaned up some of the components that had been removed on his appearance on Friday.

Adrian and Howard continued their work on Caliban and Roger painted the backs of the wheels.

The west side of the mess hut now paintedTim finished painting the west side of the mess hut and it is hoped that the south end and some of the protruding east side can be painted this next week.

John Davis and Paul Newton continued their work on the L&NWR bench seat, which was appreciated at the weekend by the daughter of the gentleman who had originally donated the bench to the RSR’s museum. She now looks forward to seeing the finished restoration when she returns in a couple of months – no pressure, then, chaps!

Mike and Paul Balshaw have been continuing their work on de-mystifying the electrics on the former FRT RMB with the aim of getting the fan and lights to come on at the flick of their respective switches.

Finally, those who have followed our locos around the country in campervans have long understood the necessity of taking along a stock of duct tape and WD40: the duct tape to be applied to things that move, but shouldn’t, and the WD40 to be applied to those items that should move but don’t. It was heartening, therefore, to learn that, when the International Space Station (ISS) sprang a life threatening leak after a collision with some galactic debris this week, the astronaut turned to their own supply of duct tape to seal the leak! Sometimes the simplest of solutions are the best.

Tuesday 28th August 2018

We start this week’s blog with the sad news that FRT member and RSR Board member Dave Manley died last Tuesday morning after a three year fight against cancer. Dave had been a key member of the Ribble team at Preston and could often be found driving the mobile plant to top up coal with the JCB, receive materials with the fork lift or move earth with the dumper truck. He was always helpful to us when there was a need to get things done and he will be very much missed by us all. The funeral will be at Crewe Crematorium on Friday, 7th September at 15.20, with donations to the Macmillan Nurses.

FR 20 being dismantled in the RSR workshop 240818John Dixon removing one of Fr 20's number platesWork continued last week on the job of dismantling FR 20 with John and Tim spending most of their time on the job on both Wednesday and Friday.  Neil came in on Saturday to clean the footplate around the reverser quadrant.

Tim also managed to carry out some paintwork round the mess cabin door on Wednesday but was then thwarted by the weather.

Fred and Roger cleaning up Caliban's wheelsAdrian and Howard have continued their work on Caliban and Fred and Roger appeared on Friday to clean up the insides of the wheels, which had been released from under the frames the previous Wednesday.

There was some considerable disappointment at Embsay on Friday when there were difficulties in raising the required pressure on 5643 and Keith returned there on Saturday and today to try and effect remedial work on the loco. The cause of the problem was a steam leak around the regulator box and this has been removed and brought back to Preston to be machined, hopefully on Wednesday.

Alan in 3 rail heavenAnd finally, the Friendly Engines event on the RSR over the Bank Holiday weekend was augmented by some model railways to keep visitors entertained. The weekend was deemed to be a success with visitor numbers higher than last year on all three days. Alan is seen here happily operating his three rail O gauge train set.


Monday 20th August 2018

There were six continuous days of working last week as members tackled the wide variety of work on hand at the moment.

Keith was back at Embsay last Tuesday with Embsay’s Roger re-assembling 5643 after the successful hydraulic test the previous week. He was then back there on Saturday and again on Sunday with Fred. The result of all this work is that 5643 is now ready for a formal steam test which is planned to take place this next Friday. Well done to all concerned for their efforts!

Alan inspects Cumbria's regulatorAlan and Tim went over to Embsay on Wednesday to examine Cumbria‘s regulator valve which was still passing large amounts of steam when supposedly shut. After much deliberation and wrestling with the valve it was concluded that there was still work to do to improve the seal between the valve faces.

Illingworth sets off from EmbsayAlso at Embsay was Russell Walker, who appeared with daughter Chloe and an Atkinson’s low loader to take Stephen Middleton’s 1916-built Hudswell Clarke 0-6-0ST Illingworth to Preston for attention to a hot right hand driving axle box, and then a booked appearance at the RSR’s Steam Gala at the end of September.

Russell also kindly brought over the regulator valves from both Respite and Shropshire for comparison with Cumbria‘s regulator. After further work by staff at Embsay, and with the help of Shropshire‘s regulator valve, Cumbria was passed fit on Sunday and should be back in traffic at Embsay this next weekend.

Back at Preston, FR 20 was shunted into the workshop on Wednesday and John Dixon made progress on removing the bolts from the chimney. With Mike Rigg and Paul Newton also in attendance there was also further progress on cleaning up FR 20’s tender.

Wheels out!Ade had a very  productive day on Wednesday, jacking Caliban further up in the air to allow both wheelsets to be rolled out from under the frames in readiness for machining of its journals. A key milestone in the project has been achieved so congratulations, Ade!

Keith, John and Matt Gervis were back in again at Preston on Thursday to continue the riveting of Wootton Hall‘s tender frames, but we’ll spare you another photo of rivets this week. They plan to be back again this next Thursday. Mike, Bob (welcome back from the high seas!), Fred and Roger appeared on Friday and there was further progress on cleaning up components and the painting of the exterior of the mess room.

FR 20's dome cover being swung away from the boilerAnd so to Saturday when there was an early start to enable Russell Walker to operate the crane to lift off FR 20’s chimney and dome cover before he set off for the control tower for the day. Alan, John, Tim and Sam spent the rest of the day dismantling and labelling pipework and cab fittings from FR 20 ready for cleaning and storage. John Dixon trims the studs for FR 20's dome coverJohn  is seen here removing excess thread from the dome studs in readiness for it to be lifted off also with the return of Russell at the end of the day.

Howard cleans up one of Claiban's axleboxesWith Howard (seen here cleaning one of Caliban’s axleboxes), David, Alison, Matthew, Derek and Neil (crewing Linda) also on site it was a good turnout of members.

Finally, Alan (driving Linda) and Alison were back on Sunday to round off another busy week. Yes, Sunday marked the first public run of Alison’s Cream Tea Specials, when 19 customers booked to travel on the RSR in the former FRT buffet car and sample Alison’s fare. It was a great success apparently and there are plans afoot for a further event in September.


Monday 13th August 2018

The pace of work and list of jobs to do seems to intensify whatever we do at the moment!

John Davis power washes FR 20's wheelsFR 20 was shunted out of the RSR’s running shed last Wednesday to enable the wheels to be power washed after having been coated with Jizer degreasing fluid. Although quite a time consuming process, the results so far have been heartening. The key issue was the need to avoid soaking those members who were also intent on removing components from the loco at the same time! John Davis is seen here with the power washer.

Alan Middleton dismantles pipework on FR 20Alan Middleton was one of those dodging the pressure washer to remove some pipework.

John Dixon panes new wood on one of GER No. 5's step boardsJohn Dixon spent some more time on repairs to the step boards on GER No. 5 and is seen here planing down the new wood inserts.

On Friday John Davis continued the task of needlegunning the inside of FR 20’s tender whilst Mike Rigg re-assembled the power washer which had done its best to shake itself to bits on Wednesday. Fred cleaning one of FR 20 injector steam valve handlesFred and Tim started the process of cleaning up the components removed from the loco before they are placed in store, with Fred here cleaning one of the injector steam valve handles.

New drain cock castings for FR 25Alan returned home from a short break away the previous weekend with a set of drain cock castings and coupling rod half bearing castings for FR 25 that he had picked up from Steve Andrews. Coupling rod half brasses for FR 25. Some old brasses also to be seen on the rightThese had been ordered by Bert Hitchen before his untimely death but we are now in a position to unite them with the loco.

FR 25's safety valvesFurther to this, Tim paid a visit to Crewe on Thursday to pick up the two safety valves for FR 25 from L&NWR where they had been found sitting on the shelves in the store. They were certainly too heavy for the luggage rack on the train journey home!

New rivets on Wootton Hall's tender framesAlso last Thursday, Keith, John Dixon and Matt Gervis had a productive day fitting more rivets on Wootton Hall’s tender frames.New rivets on Wootton Hall's tender drag box

Over at Embsay, Keith was on hand last Tuesday when 5643’s boiler was hydraulically tested to the satisfaction of the boiler surveyor after re-tubing and the fitting of some new patch screws. This opened the way for the re-assembly of the loco and a new brick arch was fitted on Saturday with further work programmed for yesterday.

Cumbria is still causing issues with the regulator continuing to pass steam when shut. This has caused an immense amount of frustration and bafflement. A working party visit to Embsay is provisionally planned for this next Wednesday to try and identify the cause of the problem.

The next stage in the  process of dismantling FR 20 is the removal of the chimney, dome and spectacle plate. It is planned for it to visit the RSR’s workshop this Saturday so that the overhead crane can be used to remove these items.

Looking forward to next weekend, Alison has her first Cream Tea Special booked for Sunday, 19th. There are still some seats available, so look at the RSR web site for details. You should also be able to view progress on the new playground at Preston where work on the final earthworks are due to commence tomorrow.


Monday 6th August 2018

The blog may have been off line for a holiday break for a couple of weeks but there has been plenty happening in the meantime.

Fr 25's boiler is lifted into position on the FR bogie bolster 010818Headline news has been the arrival at Preston last Wednesday of FR 25’s boiler, albeit as a kit of parts. Tim received news by email of the need to move the boiler from Stockton whilst he was out of telephone contact on holiday in Cornwall. It took three journeys to the top of the local hill to get reception and organise the move, which was done with great help from Jacqueline at Northern Steam Engineering who made the arrangement for a hi-ab to transport the components as a crane could not be guaranteed to be present at Preston. In the end, the boiler was loaded a day early last Tuesday and so made an early arrival at Preston on the Wednesday morning. Fortunately, the former Furness Railway bogie bolster had already been shunted into position and the hi-ab departed back off to the north east at 10.45.

Other parts of the FR 25 boiler jigsawThe other components were placed in the car park and will need to be moved this next Wednesday.

FR line up at PrestonDuring the ensuing shunt moves there was a rare sight captured with FR 20, the FR bogie bolster and two boilers which have adorned ex Furness Railway locos.

Dropping FR 20's waterWork has started on the overhaul of FR 20, with the ceremonial draining of the water from the boiler on the Wednesday the 18th July.

John Davis needlegunning FR 20's tender 030818Last Friday Tim started the job of cleaning down the driving wheels and John Davis commenced the task of de-scaling the coal space in the tender.

Fred in FR 20's smokeboxFred also took the opportunity to reprise his role as principal cleaner of FR 20’s smokebox!

John Dixon repairing the steps on GER 5John Dixon has continued to undertake woodwork repairs to the Great Eastern Royal Saloon and is seen here repairing one of the step boards.

Keith fettling the hanging plates for Wootton Hall's tender 010818Keith has made more progress with Wootton Hall‘s tender and has been fettling up the recently shot blasted tender hanging plates.

Keith sizes up the repairs to Wootton Hall's tender framesThere has been more riveting of the tender frames and Keith is seen here pondering the next move in the restoration.

Cumbria has been out of traffic at Embsay recently owing to excessive amounts of from steam passing through the regulator when it was closed. Many people have looked to solve the problem and Andy Booth appears to have come up with a likely answer requiring a small modification. Things were looking much better yesterday and it is hoped that it will be back in traffic soon. It is also hoped to undertake a formal hydraulic on 5643 this week. Keith and Fred paid a further visit yesterday and Keith is scheduled to return to Embsay tomorrow (Tuesday) to start the process of re-assembly.

Work has started on the new RSR playground 010818

Elsewhere at the Ribble Steam Railway a start was made last Wednesday on fitting out the new children’s playground. Groundworks are scheduled to take place from next Monday.

Sentinel wrapThe RSR’s Sentinel 0-4-0 Enterprise, which is in the museum as part of the Sentinel display, has received a wrap depicting  events over the last 50 years.

Glasshoughton's boiler returns from LlangollenThe boiler for Hunslet 0-6-0ST Glasshoughton No. 4 arrived back from Llangollen last Wednesday.

Tim moonlighting with the trams 050818Finally, an impressive 100ft long model tram layout returned to the RSR this last weekend and Tim is seen here doing some moonlighting, driving trams in between driving the steam service yesterday!


Monday 16th July 2018

The shot blasters returned to Preston last Wednesday to clean off some original angle steel for Wootton Hall and also to make a good start on two cabs, the first of which belongs to Caliban. Adrian paints Caliban's cabAdrian can be seen here starting the process of applying red oxide to the cleaned up cab.Aunt SallyMeanwhile Alan seemed pleased with the results of the shotblasting.

Roger painting Caliban's cabFred and Roger finished the job on Friday, but not before the cab had unfortunately been sprayed with the first rain in weeks! Fred working on Caliban's cabThe shotblasters should be returning this Wednesday to tackle the cab roof and also another cab that does not belong to the FRT.

The Great Eastern Railway Royal Saloon now has two coats of varnish on it as well as the initial coat of gold size. One of the next jobs to be undertaken will be the replacement of the canvas roof, which has been leaking for some time. Only then will it make sense for the upholstery to be tackled. In the meantime, John Dixon has been repairing more of the droplights.

With FR 20 now out of ticket, both Pauls and John Davis were engaged last Wednesday with the task of emptying the tender of coal, ready for the painting process to be commenced. It is planned to undertake an initial wash out of the boiler this next Wednesday.

Keith has been making more progress with Wootton Hall‘s tender frames, drilling holes to enable the front hornguides to be attached. The planned riveting exercise last Thursday didn’t materialise owing to Matt Gervis being under the weather.

Over at Embsay, Andy Booth has completed the re-tube of 5643 and also the fitting of eight more patch screws. It was planned yesterday to start the process of conducting a hydraulic test on the boiler after which the front end (superheaters and header etc) will need to be re-assembled. Re-tubing 5643 with the boiler still in the frames has been an extremely tricky task, the completion of which has apparently surprised the owners of other 56XX locos  who reckoned that it couldn’t be done with the boiler still in the frames.

Cumbria‘s regulator has been giving problems of late and, when removed, has shown signs of scoring. Fortunately, the FRT has a spare which was destined for FR 25 and this has been taken across to Embsay to see if it will effect an early return to traffic. New innards for the fireman’s side injector have also been purchased and sent across to Embsay.

Next week sees the start of the main school holidays so there will be a break in the publication of the blog whilst the team get some R&R. We will return in two weeks, unless something major needs reporting to you, in which case it’ll be sooner!