Monday 29th September 2019

After an enforced break of a week, there is plenty to look back on over the past fortnight.

Further work has been carried out on FR 20’s boiler by Andy Booth and it is hoped to have the job of expanding and beading over the tubes finished this next week. The tender has received plenty of attention with John Dixon leading the task of examining and cleaning up the front drag box. John Dixon removing the fall plate on FR 20's tenderFirst it was necessary to remove the curved fall plate, the bridging piece between the tender and the engine.

Ade wields the sledgehammer on the recalcitrant buffer spring pinOnce the tender floor plate had been removed, there was then the more difficult task of removing the thick plate directly above the drag box which could not be moved until both the draw bar pin and the buffing spring pin had been removed. The latter was found to be seized in the lower base plate and so it was time to call in Ade, who has “previous” in taking apart those things that don’t want to come apart! With assistance from Tim also, the pin was finally extracted late last Wednesday afternoon after many applications of jack, heat and a sledgehammer. Ade is seen here at work with the latter, watched by John Dixon, Keith Brewer and Neil Glover.

It was then just a case of getting four pairs of hands to remove the main plate and to expose the drag box for the first time in over twenty years.

John Dixon and Roger cleaning the front drag box on FR 20's tenderOnce two of the buffer guides and the buffers had been removed, Roger then assisted John last Friday in the task of cleaning up the drag box.

John Dixon applies a coat of primer to FR 20's front tender drag boxA coat of bright orange primer was then applied.

Phil Bell cleaning under FR20's tenderMeanwhile Tim has been sanding down the one of the tender sides and Phil Bell has been cleaning the tender brake rigging.

Fred cleaning up FR20's tender springs and hangersFred has been busying himself cleaning the tender springs and hangers.

Keith cutting new steel plate for Fluff's running boardKeith has been cutting out new sheet metal for Fluff‘s running board.

A new running board plate is lifted into position on FluffThis was then successfully lifted into position and fitted.

Paul Balshaw commences the task of jacking up FluffPaul Balshaw commenced the task of jacking up Fluff last Wednesday so that the wheels could be removed and axleboxes examined.

Phil Bell moving one of Fluff's wheelsets once the frames were high enoughPhil Bell is seen moving the wheels once the frames had been jacked high enough.Fluff's wheels extracted from under the frames

New splashers for Wootton HallKeith has also been concentrating his time recently in manufacturing new splashers for Wootton Hall.

Over at Embsay, Cumbria passed its statutory cold boiler examination on 16th September and, after re-assembly of its fittings, was given a test steaming last Thursday. This confirmed that the recent efforts of Charles Adams and his team had been successful in resolving the passing of steam through the regulator valve when closed. Also tested was the brake valve which had undergone a rebuild by Barry Gambles of South Coast Steam. The end stop broken away from Cumbria's regulator quadrantDisappointingly, the newly acquired regulator quadrant fell at the first hurdle with the end stop coming adrift.

The repaired regulator quadrantThis has now been successfully repaired and re-fitted.

We now await the formal steam test with the boiler surveyor after which, all being well, there will be a carefully monitored return to service. Cumbria back in steam againIn the meantime we show a photo of Cumbria whilst shunting during its test steaming.

A reminder that the Ribble Steam Railway’s Diesel Gala takes place next Saturday and Sunday with a Folk Evening next Saturday evening.