Monday 31st July 2017

The blog is back in business after a short break for holidays. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone has had time off!

First we return to the acquisition of the new portable office where, at last, we have been able to obtain the keys to be able to enter the building for the first time. There is a certain analogy here to the TV programme “Storage Hunters” (no, we don’t watch it either), where people bid to buy locked containers full of “stuff”, which may or may not have some value. Whilst the main point of purchasing the portable office was to provide future messing facilities for the Trust’s volunteers, we had no idea what may have been left inside, hence the appeal in the previous blog for tables and chairs etc. When the door was finally opened there was a pleasant surprise, for the office still contained chairs and melamine topped tables, as well as a filing cabinet and wipe boards. So thanks to those who answered the plea with the offer of chairs, but it appears that we are OK for the moment. Just to top everything off, one of our members has very generously donated a brand new fridge freezer to start off the acquisition of kitchen facilities. Fantastic! No doubt there will be plenty of space now to display Alison’s collection of fridge magnets!

But back to work. John happy at his workJohn has continued his lino laying in the RMB and should hopefully move into the servery area this next week, where the melamine panels and metal beading strips are now securely in place after attention from Mike and Paul. Mike screwing in beadingPaul fixing a door runnerAfter screwing in the beading, Paul has been cleaning up the corner cupboards and assisting Tim with replacing a sliding door runner and with refitting the door itself. David has also removed the buffet door and bottom runner ready for the new lino.

Alan, John H and Adrian have again been busy on Caliban, with Adrian continuing to find places on the frames to attack with the needle gun and angle grinder. Alan has been investigating the condition of the cylinders and Howard now has some steel bar to enable him to make up the sanding actuators.

Fred cleaning one of Wootton Hall's brake beamsFred has again been busy cleaning some of Wootton Hall‘s brake components…. Roger applying a die nut to one of Wootton hall's brake beams…whilst Roger has been cleaning up the threads on the end of the brake beams using a rather unconventional bench to support them! George has, amongst other things, been needle gunning the running plate. Matt has been cleaning up threads on the studs for the cylinder covers whilst Keith has continued to fit lubrication pipework.

Alan Ogden with Fluff's refurbished ammeterfluff's refurbished ammeter We mustn’t forget the continuing work on Fluff where Alan Ogden has finished refurbishing the ammeter.

Alison and Alan had a weekend away in West Cumbria and look what came along the street in Maryport a week last Saturday – the Ratty’s “Train from Spain” hauled by a showman’s engine with a familiar looking minder err doing the minding! Maryport street findLooking forward, Alan and Alison are due to head off to Shildon this next weekend for FR 20’s next steamings and a person has been engaged to sand blast Wootton Hall‘s tender frames on the 10th August.

Monday 17th July 2017

The FRT's new homeWe start this week with the news that the Trustees have agreed the purchase of the portable office on the Ribble Steam Railway site, close to the FRT shed, that was formerly used by the Amber Trains training company. The acquisition of such a building for a mess room had been planned for some time, but the project has been on hold waiting for space alongside the shed to be cleared. The fact that this building is already on site and would otherwise have been returned to the hirer meant that a deal beneficial to both parties, which saved on transport costs, could be done. David has now transferred across the money to complete the purchase, so all we need now are some tables, chairs, kitchen units and the hanging baskets..!

The AGM took place in the shed last week and lasted precisely 51 minutes according to our Secretary. All reports were given, accepted and resolutions duly passed without problem, much to the relief of the Chairman who was suffering from toothache! Despite the teaser in last week’s blog, our Treasurer escaped the meeting without having to answer a single question about the accounts – perhaps they just looked too complicated! Keith managed to be present, coughing and spluttering after his illness last week, but was on the way to recovery.  Thanks to Alan and Alison for the tea, coffee and cakes for the après AGM session, which gave members the chance to have a chat and look at progress on the current projects.

Lino laying in the RMB is making slow but steady progress. However, this may be interrupted this week by David’s discovery on Saturday of an unexpected small hole in the floor when removing old lino. Looks as if John might be back to using the welder again this week.

Paul Newton makes a welcome returnMike Rigg at work with an RMB window frame.There has, however, been considerable progress with the re-installation of the melamine panels in the RMB, assisted by the welcome return of Paul Newton on Friday. The photographs speak for themselves. There is, however, still plenty to do before this job is finished.

Alan was missing last Wednesday – something to do with mistakenly having put an angle grinder blade through the electric cables whilst repairing the long suffering rear bumper of his campervan. John H continued with grinding weld on Caliban‘s newly repaired running plate (quote: “you soon get tired whilst working when you get older”) whilst Adrian worked once more on the frames which are beginning to look as if someone cares about them.

Fred at work on Wootton HallFred and Roger appeared on Friday and continued their work on cleaning components. Fred is seen here using the needle gun on Wootton Hall‘s cylinder block. Keith and Matt have also been at work on the loco.

Alan Ogden at workAnd we mustn’t forget the continuing work on Fluff, where Alan Ogden has been refurbishing the electrical termination boxes.

School holidays arrive this next weekend, so there will be no blog next Monday.

Monday 10th July 2017

A shorter blog this week as attendances at Preston have been lower than usual with a bout of absenteeism due to sickness, home decoration and visits away.

However, progress was made on the RMB where David had removed more of the old lino and John, having finished repairing the door entrances, was coerced into lending a hand with (or taking charge of!) the laying of the new lino. John on his knees with the linoThere was much measuring and double checking of measurements on Wednesday and Friday as the lino was cut and it is hoped to be able to glue some of it down permanently this next week. Re-instatement of the panelling in the servery area has had to take a back seat during Mike’s absence but no doubt its time will come.

Elsewhere progress on Wootton Hall has been thwarted by Keith’s sickness, although Matt made an appearance of Saturday to shatter the peace. John Houghton grinding off weld on Caliban's running boardAdrian had a quiet day under Caliban with the paintbrush on Wednesday whilst Alan and John H continued their work on the running board repairs. Howard did further work on the sanding gear whilst Alan Ogden (who seems to be commuting between Lancashire and Devon) re-appeared to work on Fluff.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) sees the AGM in the shed at Preston at 7.30 pm. Please remember to bring along your copies of the agenda, minutes of the last AGM and the accounts – not to mention your detailed questions for David on such subjects as the reasons for movements in the Deferred Income account etc.! Alan says that he will be bringing along his large teapot for the occasion.

Monday 3rd July 2017

We’ve reached July already – where has the first half of the year gone?! Well there’s been quite a bit of progress on our projects during that time and that has continued in the last week.

Trial fitting of melamine panelsMike has been fitting more wood in the buffet car and arranged a trial fit of the melamine panels in the servery area to check the location of the securing holes for the ‘bum rest’ which has then to be fitted and aligned with suitable wooden backing pieces behind the melamine. Mike rivetting the gas box signMike also refitted the original sign back on to the old gas box door. Tim laying linoTim took the plunge and cut the first piece of lino to rough dimensions ready for detailed fitting whilst John continued his task of repairing the flooring at the door entrances and also started the task of setting the brass door treads into the floor.

Alan weldingThere has been more fitting and welding of new pieces for Caliban‘s new running board. Howard making a square holeStaying with Caliban, Howard has been preparing the tooling for creating a square hole in the new piece of sanding gear.

Fred cleaning the bracketFred has been busy again with the wire brush cleaning up a borrowed cylinder lubrication bracket which is to be used as a pattern for a new one for Wootton Hall. Matt painting Wootton Hall's cylindersMatt has again been busy with the paintbrush priming the Hall’s cylinders.

Don’t forget that the AGM will be held at 7.30 pm on Tuesday, 11th July at the new shed at Preston.

Cumbria badgeAnd finally, Alison has now received a new batch of Cumbria badges (sponsored by a member) to add to the 5643 badges displayed last week – why not buy one of each at £3.95 per badge?

Monday 27th June 2017

Members should by now have received the latest edition of The Iron Horse along with the Trustees’ report and Accounts for 2016 and an invitation to attend the forthcoming AGM on the evening of the 11th July. Let us know if by chance there has been a hitch in the despatch system for your documents.

John was away visiting a carriage on another railway (is there no limit to his love of carriages?!) last Wednesday and Adrian was tied up with work, so we could all breathe without ear defenders and dust masks!

Mike at work in the RMBMike and Tim continued on the job of piecing together panelling and wood for the servery area of the RMB. All a bit confusing as they have found some bits of window frame which don’t seem to have a home! However, there is a plan to get more of the jigsaw back in place this next Wednesday and it won’t be too long before it will be time to lay some lino.

New piece of sanding gear for CalibanAbsent from the blog for a few weeks have been reports of Howard breaking bits of Caliban‘s sanding gear. Just for once we have a photo of a new component (which Howard has made) alongside its mate and the broken piece.

Tim working on Wootton Hall's buffer beamFurther red oxide has been applied to the front frames of Wootton Hall and Tim has taken some time out from the RMB to start applying a layer of filler on the front buffer beam to cover up dimples in the metalwork caused by corrosion over the years. Keith has been busy with some of the new copper tube for the lubrication runs and it is planned to have a photo of some of this work in a future blog. Meanwhile, on a slightly smaller loco, Anthony Jolly reappeared on Wednesday after the birth of his daughter to recommence work on Fluff.

Away with the spoilOutside the shed, a Pete Marquis lorry has been steadily removing the large pile of spoil where the future FRT mess hut is to be sited. But we are told that even more spoil might land there before the mess hut can appear…!

The weekend saw some of our members in action in different locations.

Peter and Dickon with the soon-to-be-unveiled plaqueTrustee Peter van Zeller and member Dickon Chaplin-Brice are seen here on Saturday with the soon to be unveiled plaque to mark the re-opening of the railway museum at Ravenglass. Paul Atterbury unveiling the plaqueThe official opening was performed by Antiques Roadshow expert and railway author Paul Atterbury prior to a buffet lunch and a return trip to Dalegarth behind River Irt. The special was, incidentally, driven by David Moseley who was responsible for the manufacture of FR 20’s new chimney back in 1998.

Big boy with toysAlan and Alison were to be found at the preserved Kirby Stephen East Station on the Stainmore Railway which was holding a model railway event on Saturday and Sunday. As can be seen from the photo, Alan was in his element in the Station Master’s office where he was able to display his tinplate ‘o’ gauge railway in public for the first time. Appropriately, a Furness Railway train of six-wheeled coaches can be seen rounding the bend on the left hand side of the picture. Watch out - Matthew at the wheel!Alison occupied herself with the sales stand whilst young Matthew tried his hand at driving a traction engine!

5643 badgeAnd finally, whilst on the subject of the sales stand, Alison now has a splendid badge of 5643 which can be seen here. They are available at £3.95 each.

Monday 19th June 2017

There has been plenty more action this week at Preston where work on the RMB has resumed in earnest after the return of some of the gang who had defected to take holidays. John with his last door entrance to fixJohn is now sorting out the rotten floor on the last of the door entrances, although he has also indented for a day’s absence this next Wednesday. David has continued his efforts to spruce up the lino on the floor whilst Mike has repaired the last two melamine panels for the servery area by gluing new plywood on to the areas where previous strengthening had rotted. Tim has cut the first of the remaining support wood to be fastened to the frames and this work should continue this next week in preparation for fitting the melamine panels. A trial fit of various components has taken place so there is reasonable confidence that things will go back together in the right order – or are we being too optimistic? Come back Trevor!!!

Staying with the RMB, remember the ongoing battle to create a new warning sign for the new gas bottle compartment cover?
Mike unscrewing the mould frameMike unscrewed the wooden frame to reveal the mould, in fetching pink.. The successful mould revealed

Further work has taken place on Caliban where Adrian has found more rust and dust to fly around the shed – surely there must be an end in sight to this? Alan and John have continued to work on the running boards which are looking much better now.

Following the success last week of removing the rear cover on the right hand cylinder of Wootton Hall, the left hand cover has now been removed and can be seen here being cleaned up by Fred. Fred cleaning the left hand cylinder coverThere are also a couple of ‘before and after’ photos to show you what has been achieved.Before:The beforeAnd after:The after
Following the cleaning up of the front of Wootton Hall‘s frames, Matt has covered some acreage with red oxide as a prelude to further coats of paint being applied. Wootton Hall's new look at the front endAnd a £700 order for copper tube has arrived (fortunately not at David’s home this time!) to enable Keith to make up the lubrication pipework on the loco.Lots of work for Keith has arrived!

The anticipated steamings at Shildon did not in fact take place over last weekend, although this was not due to any fault with FR 20. It did, however, allow Alan and Alison the opportunity to visit Tanfield and see member Jimmy Dutton’s Hawthorn Leslie 0-6-0ST Linda in action at their Gala on Saturday.

The Iron Horse is expected back from the printer this Wednesday when it is expected to be placed in envelopes along with the paperwork for the forthcoming AGM on the evening of Tuesday, 11th July. So members should expect a fairly heavy thud on their doormats in the coming days, courtesy of the postman.

Monday 12th June 2017

The final jobs on the RMB are still being whittled away, with John now down to repairing the floors at just two door entrances and David continuing to try and bring a shine to the lino that will be retained.

Alan and Tim were also missing from Preston on Wednesday as they had a meeting at Locomotion, Shildon to discuss future operations there. Alan is back up at Shildon with Alison this next weekend for FR 20’s next two steamings and Tim will join them for Sunday.

Adrian was able to undertake some more work on Caliban on Wednesday before joining Keith in trying to remove the rear cover on the right hand cylinder of Wootton Hall. The job was eventually completed, although Keith reckons it was only as a result of the supervisory assistance offered by a certain John H!

Finally, George paid a visit to The Battlefield Line yesterday and reports that Cumbria was running satisfactorily with no signs of any steam leakage from anywhere.

Monday 5th June 2017

This is the first blog for two weeks, having given the Blog Team a break over the half term holiday. It seems as if some others have also had a break as well for attendance at the working parties last week was on the low side.

First we are able to report that Alan and Alison had a successful time at Locomotion, Shildon, over the Bank Holiday weekend. Alan changed FR 20’s water on the Saturday and also took the opportunity to attend to the driver’s side clack valve which has been ground in to stop leakage.

Back at Preston, John has continued his task of repairing the wooden floor at the RMB’s door entrances. The replacement floor covering and glue was ordered by David to arrive at Preston  for a week last Wednesday. Nothing appeared, but on arrival at home David found that the glue had been left at a neighbour’s house (instead of Preston!). Fortunately, much to David’s relief, the floor covering itself was actually delivered to Preston a day later; at two metres wide, it would have been a struggle to get it into David’s car!

Despite Adrian having last Wednesday off, Fred, Roger and Matt Bedford have been doing their best to maintain the level of dust output whilst working on Wootton Hall. Will we manage to finish the RMB before it finally disappears from sight under a layer of said dust?

Alan tells us that the next edition of The Iron Horse magazine is being despatched to the printer today. As this contains official notification of the AGM, the meeting has now been delayed from its original date of the 27th June until 7.30 pm on Tuesday, 11th July. The accounts have been signed off by the Trust’s Independent Examiner and, once they have been picked up, they will be duplicated and sent out along with the Trustees’ Annual Report. So, plenty of reading for our members on the horizon!

Monday 22nd May 2017

The RMB at Preston is starting to look like its old self as work progresses to finish the remaining work on its overhaul.

One finished door entrance. Only another four to go.John finished his woodworking around one door entrance and then started to remove the rot from another entrance! John attacking the rot at another door entranceAs you can see, it has been necessary to rip up the lino in various places and it is intended to purchase some new floor covering for the vestibules and the servery area. David has contacted a couple of suppliers and should have some samples when he comes to Preston on Wednesday.

The paint cabinet receiving some, er, paintTim put a couple of coats of paint (primer and undercoat) on the secondhand paint cabinet that we have acquired. There has been some discussion as to the final colour scheme in that it seems to be the vogue to have them painted yellow. We’ll see what paint can be found!

Mike has continued to complete jobs inside the RMB and has also made up a frame so that a mould can be created for a metal number ‘9’. A NLR No. 9 - or was it a 6?The history behind this is that North London carriages carried a weight marker on the ends and the second class coach body that was purchased back in 1971, and which subsequently has been restored to operational condition, had a ‘9’ at each end – but one of them was broken. In fact, for some reason, neither was replaced on the vehicle during restoration and Tim came across them recently when moving various items to Preston from his garage. And so a replacement ‘9’ is being made and then both of them can be attached to our NLR coach. In fact, it may well be worth making another couple of ‘9’s in anticipation of restoring the other second class NLR coach body that is in store in Blackpool!

Caliban receiving attentiionWork continues on Caliban, with Adrian now cleaning off the running boards and Alan and John continuing to drill holes in the new plate.

Work also continues on Wootton Hall where the buffer beam is again receiving attention.

There will be no blog next week because of holidays – can we really believe the forecast of sunshine over a Bank Holiday?!

Monday 15th May 2017

Last Tuesday saw the Trustees meet to consider the 2016 Accounts and the Trustees’ Annual Report as part of an agenda that totalled 18 items. With the M6 closure between Lancaster and Preston looming at 10 pm, the agenda was rattled through in under two hours, which just left Alison’s pile of sandwiches and cakes to demolish before we all set off for home. (Thanks, Alison!) A decision that will affect all members is the setting of the date for the AGM, which will take place in the shed at Preston at 19.30 on Tuesday evening, 27th June.

The usual working parties took place at Preston on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, with Keith also appearing on Sunday to take forward restoration on Wootton Hall. Wootton Hall's front end being stripped downAs can be seen, work has been progressing on stripping down the front end of the engine, and George has been needle gunning the buffer beam. Wootton Hall's front buffer beam after attention from the needle gunThe front buffers have also been cleaned up ready for painting.some old buffers

There has been more progress on the RMB where Tim has applied gloss black paint to the east end headstock and John has been attending to rotten wood floor at door entrances. How many tools does it take to repair a floor?This photo shows the nature of the problem together with the vast array of tools that John uses to remove the rot and to fashion up some replacement wood – only another four door entrances to go! Mike has again been attending to the interior.

Caliban's underframes after cleaning and paintingAdrian reckons to have removed the last areas of rust and old paint from beneath Caliban‘s frames and also given them a coat of red oxide. Adrian is now threatening to create even more dust when he sets about cleaning off the running boards. Howard has confessed to breaking yet another part of the sanding gear in his attempts to free it up, but is making amends by conjuring up some replacement parts.