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.

Monday 8th May 2017

It has been another week of steady progress on our projects at Preston.

John has been preparing and fitting new step boards to the RMB, the RSR joinery dept having planed up some useful second hand wood to specification. John enjoying some woodworkingJust a case then of filling some old nail holes, chamfering off the edges and corners, and then fitting them. Fitting the finished articleA A couple of door rebates also needed rectification, and all the door grab handles have been polished and fitted. Mike has spent yet more time in the south side toilet but tells us that he feels a lot better now that he has managed to re-fit the door! David has been out with his sewing needle, repairing seat covers and Tim has started the job of painting the east end head stock, which somehow seems to have been omitted from previous painting operations.

Mike and Paul have again been busy experimenting with the creation of moulds for the replacement of missing plates on the RMB under the frames. Paul with his blancmangePaul is seen here pouring a substance which appears to have some resemblance to blancmange. Paul has also made more progress with cleaning down the new paint cabinet, which will no doubt be receiving a coat of red oxide very shortly.

Work has again continued on Caliban; yes there has been more dust from Adrian, Howard has broken another part of the sanding gear with his hammer, and work has progressed on the running board.

Keith, Fred and George have continued their labours on Wootton Hall where bits continue to be removed from around the front end for Fred to clean. There has also been a search for copper tube of the right specification for the lubrication system, but this has proved to be somewhat of a challenge for David, despite the power of the internet.

The Trustees are meeting tomorrow evening at Alison’s house to review the Annual Report and Accounts for 2016. On previous occasions Trustees have departed after the meeting to find either the M6 or the A590 has been closed – as a result one arrived home at 01.45 in the morning! Sure enough, this latest meeting has coincided with a planned closure of the M6 south of Lancaster, so there will be some pressure to get the meeting finished pronto!

Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Mike and John were busy last Wednesday in their efforts to complete outstanding jobs on the RMB. Mike spent even more time in one of the toilets (and they’re not tested yet!) whilst John attended to the replacement of grab handles, footboards and steps.

Adrian was again busy cleaning Caliban‘s frames, and Alan and John did more work on the running boards where corroded areas of steel are being cut out for replacement. Fred appeared on Friday to clean off the second of Wootton Hall‘s front buffers.

Tim and Mike Bailey of Ribble Steam Railway had a useful visit on Wednesday to Rochdale to see our joint solicitor, Richard Greenwood, in order to progress the sub-lease for the shed.

The Shildon Gang prepare FR 20 in double quick timeAlan and Alison went over to Locomotion, Shildon, last Friday in readiness for FR 20’s three days in steam, with Tim planning to join them on Sunday evening to crew FR 20 with Alan on Monday. This plan altered when it became apparent that there was a shortage of drivers at Preston, so Tim took the Sunday turn there and Keith agreed to move to the Monday slot so that all RSR days were covered. Tim then headed over to Shildon on Monday morning, with the family – no need to get there early, said Alan, we’re in light steam on the apron in the morning. When Tim got as far as Levens the phone rang: it was Alan to report that the other loco at Shildon, Beatrice, had failed (with a broken spring) and that FR 20 was now due to start operations at 10 am! After a rapid journey over the Pennines, Tim arrived just as the joint resources at Shildon had completed the swift preparation of FR 20 and in time to move the loco into the platform ready for service – phew!! FR 20 heads another busy demonstration trainWe are pleased to be able to report that FR 20 then performed faultlessly all day during six hours of continuous running on the demonstration line.

George called in at the Battlefield Line on Sunday to see how Cumbria was faring, but the winter maintenance work hadn’t quite been completed. A test run was being arranged for the Sunday evening, which the Battlefield Line report went well with the knocking from the bottom end “eliminated” thanks to the re-machined and refitted big end bearings. They say thank you all for providing the locomotive which has been a real workhorse for them.