Tuesday 17th November 2020

It has been another hectic week at Preston.

There was an urgent need to put GWR 0-6-0T No. 5643 back together in time for yesterday, Monday, when a Reid Freight transporter was due to take it to Bury for a period of hire to the East Lancashire Railway.

Phil inspects the brake turnbuckle on 5643The re-assembly of the brake gear was finally completed and Phil Bell is seen here giving the turnbuckle an inspection.

Keith fastens the right hand valve cover on 5643Keith assembled the front right hand valve cladding.

Keith fitting the new cab floor in 5643He then tackled the installation of the new cab floor

Paul Newton cleans some of 5643's copper pipeworkPaul Newton cleaned the copper pipework.

Phil touches up the black paintwork on 5643's brass numberplatesPhil Bell then touched up the black paint on the brass numberplates.

Finally, Keith put back the cab fittings which had been removed to allow the fitting of three new stays. All that was necessary now was to oil around and assist Adrian in shunting the locomotive to the front of the FRT shed. 5643 being loaded5643 was moved around to the unloading road on Monday morning ready for loading on to the transporter, which arrived just after 10.30.

5643 ready for the roadA couple of hours later 5643 was ready for the road, but shortly before departure a consignment of castings arrived from the Severn Valley Railway, and it was possible to load 5643’s new replacement brake blocks on to the well of the transporter. They call it ‘just in time’ in industry, but this was rather close to call!

Time then to turn attention to Furness Railway No. 20’s boiler. A test steaming had taken place last Wednesday which was satisfactory apart from the fact that some priming out of the safety valves took place because the boiler was tilted forward on the lowmac.

The alignment of the boiler was corrected last Friday, but this meant that the safety valves could only be erected after the boiler had left the running shed on the day of the steaming for the boiler surveyor in order to avoid a conflict with the shed door! Ade feeding FR 20's firebox during the test steaming on Wednesday, 11th.Adrian duly left his bed well before daylight yesterday to arrive at Preston at 07.10 to draw the boiler out of the shed and to light the fire.

Alan at workAlan, John Dixon, and Sam Crawley duly appeared to assist which mostly consisting of breaking up wood from the RSR’s huge wood pile in order to feed FR 20’s voracious firebox.

Blowing off for the boiler surveyorWe are pleased to be able to report that 120 psi was achieved just before 2 pm and in good time for boiler surveyor to conduct his inspection…. Alan Bennett inspects the firebox on FR 20's boilerbefore giving it the thumbs up.

Alan Bennett, Adrian Tomkinson, Alan Middleton, Sam Crawley and John Dixon smiling behind their masks after a successful testThe gang is seen here in celebratory move with Alan Bennett.

Amongst the castings received from the Severn Valley Railway was a new vacuum cylinder for Wootton Hall’s tender which will now need to be machined.

Finally, there has been good news from Embsay today in that Cumbria passed its annual steam test for the boiler surveyor.

Tonight the Trustees are meeting virtually by Zoom. The biggest issue will be how to devour Alison’s virtual sandwiches!