Monday 29th January 2018

Here we are, at the end of January already! But there seems to have been plenty of progress over the month and, indeed, last week.

Andy Morton works on the TPO watched by statutory onlookersWork has continued apace on the RSR’s TPO where Andy Morton paid a visit on Wednesday afternoon in preparation for giving a regular hand with the project from this next week. He is seen here with the statutory number of onlookers whilst he works.

John Davis and Paul Newton fit a new piece of wood above one of the TPO's sliding doorsJohn Davis and Paul fitted a new piece of wood above one of the TPO shutter doors on Friday and Tim has once again been busy with the filler and sanding machine. Roger appeared on Friday to continue painting the frames.

Ade cleaning Caliban's horguidesAde has been attacking the grime on Caliban with a needle gun, and can be seen here working on one of the hornguides.

Fred cleans up 5643's blastpipeFred has been making dust once more, this time cleaning up 5643’s blast pipe. Fortunately the weather was good so the dust stayed outside!

Sink in position and drains connectedJohn Dixon has continued his work on the new kitchen in the mess room where the sink unit has now been fitted and the drain connected. Will we see some running water next week?

Ade examines one of the NLR axle pads - and is Tim oiling Ade's ear or holding the brush?tFinally, the welding on Wootton Hall’s tender frames has been put back a week and is now scheduled to take place on the 9th and 10th February.

 

Monday 22nd January 2018

The main event last Wednesday was the installation of the drain for the kitchen in the new mess hut. Contrary to those offering pessimistic predictions, the weather wasn’t too cold and it was a welcome surprise to find that Alan Vernon had kindly excavated a trench with the JCB the previous day. However, it soon became clear that there was no time to waste as the only person on site who seemed to unaware of the plan to dig a trench in front of the side gates was Mike MacArthur, who had ordered a delivery of oil for Thursday! So John Dixon got to work with his drill, assuming that the wall of the manhole chamber could be penetrated with an 8″ long drill. However, once the 8″ had been reached it was necessary to attack with a chisel – and then an even longer chisel before a breakthrough was achieved at 12″ into the chamber. John checks that the new drain pipe stands trueThereafter John soon had the drain pipe installed and the trench was immediately filled in with the JCB.

The new worktop cut for the sinkFriday saw John doing the delicate task of cutting out the hole in the work top for the double sink to be fitted.

Part of the TPO nearly ready for painting.Work has continued on the RSR’s TPO where the initial assumption that the bodywork was in relatively good condition has been somewhat contradicted by the fact that Tim has now applied the best part of two large cans of filler and a can of fibreglass – and he hasn’t yet started on the south side of the vehicle!

John Davis and Paul working on the TPO's double doorsPaul and John Davis have just about finished their works on the south side double door and are seen here fitting a new retaining hole surround.

Roger paints the TPO framesMeanwhile Roger Benbow has continued to paint the bogies and frames.

Adrian, Howard and Alan have once again been busying themselves with jobs on Caliban whilst Alan Ogden and Anthony Jolly have done further work on Fluff.

Fred fills the shed with dust as he cleans 5643's superheater header.Fred filled the shed with dust on Friday as he cleaned up 5643’s superheater header ready for some machining.

George pulls a funny face as Keith cuts metal for Wootton Hall's tenderKeith and George spent Saturday cutting and trimming metal for the top of the tender frames for Wootton Hall whilst Derek recorded their work on video for posterity.

Further serious work on the tender frames will now have to wait until the appearance of a coded welder a week on Friday to stitch the new front sides to the existing frames.

David applies paint to a signal post that will be going in the RSR MuseumAnd finally for this week, David spent Saturday painting a signal post which will shortly become an exhibit in the RSR museum.

Monday 15th January 2018

We start this week’s blog with the news that one of our senior members, John Houghton, is in Preston Hospital after suffering a suspected mild heart attack earlier last week. John is expected to stay in care for a little while until he recovers fully and we send our best wishes to him.

Work in the shed continues on the RSR TPO vehicle where the double door featured last week continues to present stubborn resistance to attempts to improve its shape. It was decided that the profile could be improved by the insertion of a coach bolt through the outer metal skin and by tightening the nut against the interior wooden frame. Unfortunately, Mike didn’t reckon on the strength of the steel which appears to be of the hardened variety…! Drinking tea is the really hard workMike is seen here last Wednesday with the statutory assemble of onlookers drinking tea whilst he attempts, in vain, to drill a hole. This is how you drill a hole!Paul took up the cause on Friday and was more successful, only breaking one drill bit in the process!

The sanding and filling of the exterior of the TPO continues apace, although new holes in the bodywork seem to appear on a regular basis as rust is tackled. Fred at work on the TPO underframeGood progress is being made on the bogies and underframes and Fred is seen here in action with his paint brush.

Adrian and Howard, when not drinking tea (see above) have been making further progress on Caliban with a view to lifting it clear of the wheels in the not-too-distant future. Keith has received yet more new steel for Wootton Hall and it is planned to have the new tender frame sides welded on the 2nd and 3rd of February.

Meanwhile, and in the warmth of the new mess hut, John Dixon has continued his ongoing task of fitting out the kitchen area. The new kitchen units and worktop taking shapeThe new worktop is seen loosely in position awaiting adaptation to accommodate the double sink. It is planned on Wednesday to dig a trench outside for the drain, although the weather conditions look a little wintery this week!

Looking forward, the Ribble Steam Railway is receiving a visit from a Pathfinder Rail Tour on Saturday, 10th February. The Tour commences at Eastleigh in Hampshire and is planned to arrive at the RSR top and tailed with Class 66 and Class 57 locomotives. It will stay at Preston Riverside for an hour or so to allow passengers to stretch their legs and to visit the Preston site. The FRT has been requested to open up the shed to visitors and Alison is planning to have the sales stand there. Help to show visitors around the shed would be appreciated.

 

And finally, after what must clearly have been a successful New Year gig, our folk group, Live Steam, has been requested to appear back at the Engine Inn at Cark on Saturday, 17th March as part of some planned St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Monday 8th January 2018

A belated happy New Year to all our readers as we head into a fresh year. Who knows what it will bring?

There wasn’t much let up in the pace of work at Preston over the Christmas period with working parties continuing to take place on their usual days of the week; Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The concrete under the east end shed doors is now completeThe first photo shows the completed concreting under the east end shed doors which was laid just before Christmas. There is still plenty more to do in the east half of the shed, but the more immediate task has since been to continue the installation of the kitchen in the new mess room. As John Dixon is both our head of concreting and chief plumber, it is a case of one job at a time. More new kitchen units under construction in the new mess roomWe then need to dig a channel outside the mess room to allow a pipe to be laid to a nearby drain manhole. Once this is achieved, new tarmac can be laid there as part of the overall plan to create a new playground.

Inside the shed, work has continued on the repairs and painting of the RSR’s TPO vehicle. John Davis and Howard Fletcher inspect the RSR's TPO door which requires corrosion repairsJohn David and Howard Fletcher are seen here examining a corroded and ill fitting door whilst, below, Ade is seen demonstrating his method of fixing the problem – with a hammer! Adrian shows how C&W repairs should be carried out - with his hammerTim has continued with the filling and sanding, Paul with the renewal of rotted woodwork, and Fred and Roger have continued to clean and paint the headstocks and bogies.

Ade has spent the rest of his time moving on the project to restore Caliban including more sanding and painting .

Alan Ogden with Fluff's fuse boxAlan Ogden made a welcome re-appearance from Devon to refurbish Fluff‘s fuse box.

More steelwork has been added to the rear of Wootton Hall's tender chassisKeith has continued to assemble more steelwork on Wootton Hall‘s tender frames as can be seen from this view of the rear of the chassis. Some more components for the locomotive, which have become available recently, have been purchased, including these two rear valve head cover castings which cost £60 each.Two new rear valve head cover glands castings - £60 each.

Plus there are four castings which will make up two steam heat valves. Two new steam heat castings. £240 each in total.The smaller items cost £60 each whilst the larger casting cost £180 each.

Sponsorship of any of these items would be very greatly appreciated.

Live Steam in action on New Year's EveFinally, Live Steam played their last gig of 2017 at the Engine Inn at Cark-in-Cartmel. Both Alan and Tim were suffering for the excesses of singing on the Santa Special Trains at Preston but just about managed to sing without too much coughing and spluttering!

 

Monday 18th December 2017

The Christmas Dinner last Tuesday evening ensured that the gang was well fuelled on Wednesday morning to undertake the task of concreting the base of the eastern end doors to roads three and four of the shed. Concreting in full swingAfter more materials were requisitioned on Thursday, the job was finished on Friday morning and it should be possible to remove the shuttering this Wednesday. John Dixon levelling off the concreteThe photos show the gang concreting and John Dixon levelling off and then brushing off the finished concrete.John Dixon giving the concrete a brushed finish

One of the TPO bogie sides in grey undercoatTim continued the long task of filling and sanding the north side of the RSR’s TPO vehicle on Wednesday and then Fred and Roger spent Friday painting one of the headstocks and a bogie side.The new water filler cover fitted to the TPOStaying with the TPO, the new water filler cover has now been fitted.

Adrian working on Caliban's motionAdrian is continuing to work on Caliban‘s motion and Howard is seen here fettling one of the loco’s new sand box covers.Howard fettling one of Caliban's new sand box covers

Keith skimming metal from a new piece of steel plate for Wootton HallKeith has been undertaking some more metalwork on Wootton Hall and was joined on Saturday by George to prepare the new extension pieces for the tender frames for welding.

The next edition of The Iron Horse magazine has now been proof-read and will hopefully be back from the printer this next week. Plenty of good reading for members over Christmas!

With all the work currently in hand, the Christmas rest period at Preston is now planned to be rather short – just Christmas Day and Boxing Day..! Normal working parties will resume on the Wednesday after Christmas!

It only remains for us to wish all our members and supporters a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. (And talking of New Year, Alan, Tim and George will be hard at it with Live Steam playing music at the Engine Inn at Cark on New Year’s Eve!)

Monday 11th December 2017

The cold weather hasn’t yet deterred our working members although there was a slightly smaller attendance at the Friday working party with Fred and Roger missing.

Ash laid and compacted in the 6 footJohn Dixon was once again diverted from fitting out the mess room kitchen, with compacted ash having been laid in the six foot between roads 3 and 4 in the unheated part of the shed during the week. After a long discussion which eliminated many options, it was decided that there was no easy way to get ready mixed concrete in from a lorry. Therefore the best way forward was to mix it manually in the concrete mixer. Ed and John therefore got on with the job of making up the shuttering and cement, sand and aggregate have now arrived for mixing on Wednesday.John Dixon and Ed take a break from preparing shuttering to smile for the camera

Tim has once again been making dust as he attempts to improve the look of the north body side on the RSR’s TPO vehicle. New TPO filler cover (right) ready for fitting alongside the other coverMike and John Davis have created a replacement filler cover, seen here on the right.

Adrian and Alan have continued work on Caliban, and Wootton Hall‘s tender wheels have now received three coats of paint.Keith maiking sure that all areas of the tender wheels are covered with black paintKeith is seen here making sure that all areas have been adequately covered before they are put back outside.

Alan and Tim have reached the half way mark in playing Jingle Bells etc. on the RSR’s Santa Specials and Jen and Alison have again been braving the cold selling FRT souvenirs. Jen and Alison with the sales standAlan had a trying weekend as he managed to lock his keys in the car at Preston on Saturday (very late arrival home) and his central heating has packed up!

Thoughts are now turned to the FRT Christmas dinner tomorrow evening.

We hope to have finalised dates for working parties over the Christmas period in next week’s blog – and, no, we are not planning to publish a blog on Christmas Day.

Monday 4th December 2017

There has been no let up in work as we head towards the Christmas break – well, we might be allowed the one day off at least!

Visqueen applied to rails ready for concretingThe tracks at the east end of roads three and four in the shed have now been packed which has enabled John Dixon to lay some Visqueen against the rails to stop concrete sticking to them and causing cracks when drying. It also stops the concrete from seeping into the four foot, which isn’t going to be concreted. Ash has now been laid to top up the levels in the six foot and the job now moves on to the shuttering phase.

John has also been continuing his work in the new mess room and another trip to Wickes was planned.

Newly lettered gas compartment doorsMike has been lettering the gas compartment doors for the RMB, surely one of the very last jobs remaining on the project. The TPO coach receiving a rub downTim has been busy sanding the RSR’s TPO coach and Mike and John Davis have been tackling the replacement of one of the water filler covers. Fred and Roger have continued the job of cleaning and painting the headstocks and bogies. The proofs for the graphics have been received and approved. It was only during this process that it emerged that the dimension panels at the opposite ends of the coach differed, one stating that the width was 2.74m whilst the other showed 2.83m! We have plumped for 2.74m so at least they will be consistent in future, if incorrect!

Ade in motionAdrian has once again been working on the job of cleaning and painting Caliban‘s motion whilst Alan has achieved success at last in removing a stubborn pin from one of the motion retaining collars.Stubborn pin

Wootton Hall's tender wheels being grit blasted on Saturday, 2nd DecemberWootton Hall‘s tender wheels were grit blasted on Saturday and two of the wheelsets had received the attention of David’s paint brush by the end of the day. The Hall's tender wheels in the shed after grit blasting with red oxide having been applied to two wheelsetsWootton Hall's tender frames with new steel in place at the front prior to weldingKeith has continued to work on the replacement steel sections for the front of the tender which are now held in place prior to welding at some point in the future.

The latest in Christmas hats!The RSR’s Santa Specials started this last weekend with Alan and Tim providing the music and various other FRT members assisting. Alison and Jen staffed the sales stand and Alison took the opportunity to photograph Tim’s latest Christmas hat – we’re not sure that Father Christmas will approve of the two legs poking out of the top of the chimney which suggest that he (Santa, not Tim!) has feasted on too many mince pies!

Monday 27th November 2017

Work continues apace on the RSR’s TPO vehicle which is currently being repainted in the FRT shed. Mike Rigg attends to one of the water filler indents on the TPOTim has begun the task of sanding down the sides whilst Mike Rigg and John Davis have been attending to the end sockets which allow access to the water filler pipes. A new cover will be required for one of the sockets. Mike and John have also been removing the seals from around the sliding doors in order to allow access for painting. John Davis paints the gas holder door after the new warning sign has been attachedThe new replacement warning sign has been affixed to the new gas compartment door and the paint touched up. Fred removing a redundant foot step on the TPOFred has been cleaning up the bogies with a wire brush and has removed the redundant steps (the bogies came from a different vehicle) whilst Roger has begun the task of applying primer.Roger Benbow priming one of the TPO bogies

Keith has continued to work on the replacement steel ends to the Hall’s tender frames.Ade cleans out a hole ready to receive a pin in Caliban's motionAnd Ade has been attending to Caliban‘s motion, seen here cleaning out one of the holes.

A new kitchen unit made up in the mess roomJohn Dixon has continued the task of fitting out the kitchen area of the new mess room and has found that Wickes now have a kitchen sale as well as a 15% discount because they are reorganising the store! John the kitchen fitterCue the purchase of a new three metre work top!

New paint cabinetsTwo new cabinets for the storage of paint have arrived and been filled and lights have now appeared in the 1st class North London Railway coach which is currently being used to store materials.Mike Rigg and John Davis string up lights in the North London Coach storage area

Mike Rigg has kindly taken on the role of FRT Membership Secretary following the resignation of Peter Allcock. We would like to thank Peter for his hard work since taking on the job and wish him well for the future.

The Trust’s folk group, Live Steam, has had a busy weekend with the band appearing at the Old Friends in Ulverston on Saturday evening for a Lancashire Night, seen here under the Christmas decorations. Live Steam at the Old Friends on Saturday, 25th NovemberThey then performed for an hour and a half at Abbeyfield in Ulverston early Sunday afternoon before being joined by George on the out door Theatre Street stage at 4 pm to close down the Dickensian Festival in fine style!Live Steam with George present in full voice on Sunday afternoon at the Dickfest

Monday 20th November 2017

The work on the RMB is now all but wrapped up with only very minor jobs to do which won’t stop the vehicle being commissioned back into service. Mike reveals the newly produced RMB gas cover plateOne of the last tasks has been to cast a replacement fibreglass warning sign for the new gas compartment door underneath the frames. Mike and Paul set to on this job on Wednesday afternoon, using the mould that was created some weeks ago, and Mike is seen here on Friday with the results of their labours. Isn’t it great?!
Output from the replica fibreglass signs production unitIn fact they got carried away, and have also cast a new battery box sign and a replacement weight numeral for the North London Railway coach at the same time, so the replica signs production unit can be said to be well and truly up and running! John Davis and Paul had another production run with spare resin on Friday.

Fred attacks a TPO buffer beamTim completed the painting of the RSR TPO vehicle’s roof on Friday and Fred and Roger continued to clean the buffer beams  (picture above) and bogies (picture below) respectively. Roger cleans the TPO bogieThe replacement graphics for the sides have now been ordered by Karl Latham and should be ready in the next two to three weeks. We just need to rub down, repair and paint the body sides of the vehicle!

Adrian, Howard and Alan continued their work on Caliban, with Ade finding just a bit more to attack with the needle gun before adding some paint to the motion. Attention was also given to rectify some of the motion pins.

John Dixon has finished building the steps at the entrance to the new mess hut and has come up with a layout plan for the kitchen. John reads the instructionsFriday was spend trying to understand the instructions for a newly acquired base unit whilst testing the heating system in the mess room! The dreaded flat pack unitQuite conveniently, the local Wickes warehouse is having a 15% discount sale during alterations, so John is under incentive to complete all further purchases before the end of the sale on the 4th December!

Keith continues to make progress with Wootton Hall with George due to assist on Saturday. Keith and Fred were then due to go across to Embsay on Sunday to start dismantling pipework and equipment in 5643’s smokebox in readiness for the extraction of the small tubes.

Finally Alan, Pete and Tim will have a final Live Steam band practice this evening before the forthcoming gigs at the Old Friends, Ulverston, on Saturday evening and on the outdoor Theatre Street stage at the Dickensian Festival on Sunday. They might also be doing an extra gig at Abbeyfield House on the Sunday afternoon, so we hope that their voices are in good order!

 

Tuesday 14th November 2017

It has been a mixed week with both good and bad news.

We start with the good news in that FR20 passed its steam test in the presence of the boiler surveyor on Friday and it subsequently performed its last two booked steamings of the year at Locomotion, Shildon, over the weekend. A busy scene at locomotion, Shildon, on SaturdayThe occasion was a big Lego event featuring many, many, models and sale stands which certainly drew the crowds. In fact it was reckoned that the were more people there on Saturday than attended the Autumn Steam Gala with Flying Scotsman in steam and giving rides! It was bitterly cold, but FR20 was kept very busy hauling passengers  with Alan, Alison and Tim surviving the conditions, although Tim rues omitting to take the camper van fan heater with him and is still trying to thaw himself out!

Now for the bad news. 5643 has been stopped at Embsay following the discovery of two failed tubes. A site meeting was held on Sunday at which Keith attended and the matter was discussed at a meeting of the Trustees last night. The Trustees decided to order the replacement all the tubes in the boiler, rather than just those which have failed, to best ensure reliability in the future.

Work continues at Preston with Keith cutting the second piece of steel to replace wasted metal on the tender frames. When both sides have been drilled and lined up, the new pieces will need to be welded permanently into place. Adrian continued his work on sanding and painting Caliban‘s rods and Alan Ogden made some more progress with Fluff.

John Dixon has finished varnishing inside the RMB and has made a start on assembling some steps to the door of the mess room.  Mike Rigg tested the beer cooler in the RMB and found it to be in order and then he and John Davis mopped the floor, including the toilets. There is little now left to be done on the RMB.

Finally, Tim made a start on painting the RSR’s TPO vehicle roof and managed to cover two thirds of it with undercoat grey. Then on Friday, Fred and Roger then set about cleaning the buffer beams and bogies ready for painting.