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The Ribble Pilot The Journal of The Ribble Steam Railway - Issue No.44

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A remarkable shot showing the unloading point at Williamsons Oil terminal. Note at the left of the photo the new four track sidings. When the terminal was closed this area became Ribble Steam Railways station, museum and car park, along with the main running and repair sheds at extreme right. (Steven Brindley)

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Our brand new 2016 brochures are now out and available. There is a good stock in the museum shop. Please feel free to swap with other attractions on your visits. We are once again using NPD (Northern Print Distribution) to distribute and target our 2016 brochures across many areas. 40,000 are placed within travelling distance to ourselves, at Hotels, Supermarkets and Tourism outlets. Another 40,000 go into Schools summer info packs across the NW. The big trams are back for 2016 - 30/31 July will see the return of the Manchester Tram Group with their superb layout. We are proud to announce that we have once again passed our Visit England Attraction Accreditation for yet another year. We scored highly, right across many categories, and will be endeavouring to improve and develop areas in the report on their feedback suggestions.

Thanks to all those members who used the ‘Quick & Easy’ Renew for their 2016 Membership. More have taken up the offer of ‘Three Years’ saving a fiver, a couple have become Life Members. We welcome several new members to RSR - E Seddon, J Parker, T Holden, Mr Naylor, G Valentine, S Hutton, J Hill, P Evans, S Norris, C Rigby, A Bateson, R Lee, J Lockley, J Wicks. Membership info can be found on Pages 41 & 42.

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Secretary Report - March 2016 One issue I missed from my last article in the Autumn issue (it had been a long day) was the AGM we held on the 25th August last year. The main meeting was shorter than in many years although attendance at 41 members was a fairly typical number of recent times. Most of the formal business was passed with just a few questions but on this occasion we had an election for directors Phil McNamara having resigned his position. There were two nominations received from Dave Manley and Alan Vipond both volunteers of some years standing. A ballot was required there being only one vacancy and this also covered the directors retiring by rotation. Tim Owen and Dave Russell kindly acted as the tellars and the result in terms of votes cast was as follows: Wilf Helliwell 23 / Dave Manley 41 / Ed Tatham 38 / Alan Vipond 18 / Russell Walker 38 In consequence messrs Helliwell, Manley, Tatham and Walker were elected to serve. One unfortunate downside of the evening was we were supposed to have a filmshow after the meeting by our company solicitor and well known preservationist Richard Greenwood. Unfortunately Richard had been hurt in an accident a few days previously (since then fully repaired) so could not attend but the buffet and the bar kept most people occupied in any event. We ended the year with 7 days of Santa trains. This was reduced from the 8 days of running the previous year to reduce the workload imposed on the volunteers with such a big event. We also deliberately reduced the number of Santa visitors carried in 2015 by capping the number of children on each train to a maximum of 60. Thus the overall visitor total of customers we carried was lower than in 2014 but despite that all of our trains were in fact fully booked by the time of the first weekend. When we started running this event back in 2005 we managed the bookings and sending out of tickets ourselves. However it became more efficient to use the local visitor information centre to carry out most of the bookings as their offices were open during the day and they could take credit card bookings. The system worked relatively well for a number of years but we had been looking for some time into having an online booking system as used by many other heritage railways for their Santa events. The position became somewhat forced upon us when as a result of cutbacks in local government funding

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the VIC was going to be unable to offer the booking service so we appointed a company who provide the service to a number of other lines to set up an online system. It still required a degree of in house work to be done however notably sending out the actual tickets as managed by Liam Diamond. We intend to have a review of that during the spring as there were (as there always are) one or two lessons to be learned although in the main the system seemed to work very well. (Photo: Vanessa Watthey)

We had a couple of changes of staff over Christmas in 2015 as well. Our volunteers put in their usual hard work in all manner of roles and a big thank you to everyone who take part. As has been said before if you can put in just a day at that time of year it is a help so don't be put off if you cannot come every weekend. We had a new Santa in 2015 as our usual one "Jack" had retired after several years hard work. Our new one (for obvious reasons his real name is classified………) hadn't taken part in a railway type Christmas event before but took to it with gusto with excellent feedback from the customers. We also this year had some help from a local scout group that took part and that was a big help in covering all of the duties required.

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(Photo: Angela Smith)

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In terms of the rest of 2015 we ended it with just under 21,000 passengers carried excluding the Santa trains which is slightly up on 2014. It did however show a drop in midweek passenger numbers no doubt in part to a reduction to the number of midweek days operated in 2015 compared to the previous year so the weekend part of the overall figure was in the end a reasonable increase over 2014. I also as I have said in previous articles collate the figures for the hours our volunteers put in as noted through our signing on register. This is a requirement for our annual return we have to file each year with all of our operating data. The reason is so a calculation can be made as to the equivalent number of full time staff that would be required to do the same work. Our figures for 2015 were broadly similar to 2014 and they equate to us employing about 19 full time staff. Our business also involves moving a substantial amount of freight traffic each year on behalf of Total Bitumen UK. Notwithstanding the plummeting price of oil the bitumen traffic remains buoyant and in 2015 we renewed the contract with Total for a further five years. We have also had to renew the underlease Total have with us for their unloading siding and obtained approval from the Office of Rail & Road for the access agreement that we have with Colas who now operate the trains from the refinery to Preston on behalf of Total. As the year ended we were hoping we could finally sign the sublease for the Furness Railway Trust for their part of the new building but at the time of writing there are still a couple of niggling issues to resolve. To access the new building by trains requires using some land which is currently included in the lorry park Total Bitumen use to park their trailers. Total and the Council have agreed to sublease this land to us and completing that process is now underway so that we can start work hopefully during 2016. As we moved into 2016 some other projects have been going forward. We continue to need to renew parts of the railway infrastructure due to wear and tear and this winter the level crossing at Maritime Way has had a significant amount of work done by a contractor and our paid employees to replace part of the road and the fastenings securing one of the rails. At Strand Road level crossing Lancashire County Council have recently replaced a large area of road markings as well.

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We also have in hand replacing both of the catch points either side of the swing bridge with completely new fittings which have arrived and are now being assembled to be installed later in the year. All of these jobs are inevitably by their nature expensive but necessary to maintain the railway in a safe and reliable condition. Unfortunately the list is almost endless! As someone said the permanent way is anything but permanent. Away from the tracks the museum has also seen a lot of work done over the winter to get it ready for next running season including the flooring in the cafĂŠ & shop being completely replaced as they were both becoming extremely worn. In terms of growing our income as well as some changes to our usual events a programme has been set up to operate schools visits under the national curriculum. Those who were members in our previous guise at Southport will recall we can events for schools even then indeed I did a few guided tours on them when not at University (it was that long ago). These days like everything the requirements imposed by the authorities are far more onerous than they were in the past and so a fully planned scheme has been put together in association with two of our advisors John Meredith & Lou Booth. It seems to have worked well with the parties who have passed through it so far and further visits are expected. The visit by the school includes both some hands on activities to better understand railways & their history combined with a train ride on the railbus. If you would like to get involved please contact Terri Hearty our assistant curator. To take part does involve some training as a presenter first plus a DBS check but if you feel you could bring something to it let Terri know.

Finally thank you to all those who helped out in whatever capacity in 2015 and hopefully we will see you all again during the year ahead.

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BLS Ribble Ramble 24th October 2015 On behalf of the BLS and all our participants I would like to convey an "official" expression of our thanks and appreciation to you, as our contact point, and to everyone involved in planning, on the operational side, and in providing the catering for your welcome and for the excellent day we enjoyed on the Railway. I have received some wonderful feedback from our participants, a succinct example of which is "most enjoyable and successful visit to the very friendly and accommodating Ribble Steam Railway, they looked after us really well in all respects." It was clear that everyone wanted us to enjoy our time with you and no effort was spared to ensure that the railbus ride went well and that we had the opportunity to see the stock in the secure areas. For me, the highlight was the run over Strand Road crossing and the bemusement of the vehicle drivers when we came back again. The marvellous efforts of your catering team gave us both an enjoyable meal and an opportunity for a social get-together. I suspect that when the rest of the members read our report of the day there will be a number who will have wished they could have come along. Again, very many thanks for everything which was achieved for our visit to the railway, and I look forward to contacting you again when the time is right for another visit. Very best wishes to all your colleagues, John Williamson. BLS Chairman.

Branch Line Society The Society is a UK-based voluntary association for railway enthusiasts. It is a nationally spread organisation with a membership of approaching 1000. It was established in 1955 and is widely recognised as Britain's leading amateur group for the study of railway infrastructure and history of networks (and not nowadays, despite its title, just minor lines). It pursues its aims by a news service, tours and visits, and the production and distribution of publications. http://www.branchline.org.uk /

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Diesel Gala Review Well It only seemed like two minutes ago we were in the middle of our October Diesel Gala but March soon came and it was once again time to give the steamer a break and get our diesel locos out for an action packed, clag fuelled weekend. As with most events at RSR there is a lot of planning and preparation. This Gala was going to have an unusual trip on the Saturday, Ribble Rail Ltd's very own TRAMM (DR98404) track maintenance vehicle came out of the shed to bath in the Lancashire sunshine and even ran a special charter trip with Passengers for the first time. The rest of the timetable was going to involve the remaining home fleet of BR Class 14 D9539, BR Class 03 D2148, BR Class 05 D2595, RR Sentinel 'Enterprise', Railbus and everybody's favourite (!!!) 'Stanlow No 4'. Friday saw myself and Matt Burke preparing the TRAMM and assembling a Freight Train ready for Sunday morning (Always easier on my 00 layout). Then it was a quick check over of the locos and we switched Enterprise and Stanlow with each other for the weekend to make it quicker and easier during the gala. Saturday Morning came, Lots of running around and shunting. The TRAMM charter was a success, lots of interest line side and the charter passengers we're really enthusiastic and enjoyed the trip (It was also my first trip on the TRAMM). The rest of the timetable went smoothly; the trip with one of the RR Sentinels always seems a popular one as is the Stanlow No 4 trip (Still known as the 'Hell Fire Express' by its loyal fans). Sunday Morning and we assembled the Freight Train which involved placing Enterprise down at Strand Road to be collected on the first passenger run of the day. We had more of a mixture of Top and Tail and single loco workings this gala. The Last trip on the Sunday we always try something different (Suggestion of running the 'Ballast Packer' with the 3 mark 1 coaches didn't go down well with the crews). The Last train involved the 3 British Rail Locos on one train. Class 14 D9539 on one end with Class 03 D2148 and Class 05 D2595 double heading on the other. A Big thank you to all the staff that helped to make the gala a success. Thanks also to the Crews of the locos (Matt Burke, Matthew Darbyshire, Mike Macarthur, Paul Rudge and Stuart Gibbs) who stayed behind late on the Sunday putting the stock away. Planning is now underway for the October Gala. Compiled by Michael Garnett.

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Diesel Shunters Weekend - 5th & 6th March

Ribble Rail Permaquip Tramm DR98404

Thomas Hill 160V/1966 'Stanlow No. 4' A Special feature at the Gala was a 'Unique Opportunity' to travel on the Ribble Rail Permaquip Tramm DR98404 (ex- LIVERPOOL TUG MTU 001) for one return trip along our line on Saturday 5th March - departing approx 10am. Only 6 persons would get this rare opportunity. The cost was £20 each, which included your £8 Day Rover and a 'Special Guided Tour' behind the scenes in the usually off-limits Ribble Rail Shed with one of our diesel team. As always the ‘Diesel Crew’ were trying to be inventive in bringing new ideas forward for inclusion in our events. Looking forward to more surprises in October !

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Class 03 D2148/1960

Class 05 D2595/1959

A special Timetable ran over the weekend Saturday 5th March 2016. 10:00 - TRAMM (non-passenger) 11:00 - D9539 + D2595 (Top and Tail) 11:45 - D9539 + D2148 (Top and Tail) 12:30 - D2148 + Enterprise (Top and Tail) 13:15 - Stanlow No. 4. (Out and Return) 14:15 - D9539 (Out and Return) 15:15 - D2595 + D2148 (Top and Tail) 16:15 - Railbus.

Sunday 6th March 2016. 10:00 - Enterprise + D9539 Out, D9539 return (Freight) 11:00 - D2148 out, Enterprise + D2148 return. 11:45 - D2148 (Out and Return) 12:30 - Stanlow No. 4 (Out and Return) 13:30 - D9539 (Out and Return) 14:30 - D9539 + D2595 (Top and Tail) 15:15 - D2148 + D2595 (Top and Tail) 16:10 - D9539 + D2148 and D2595 (Top and Tail) Photos : John McClenaghan

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Work In Progress (Photos: Dave Manley)

Grant Ritchie 272/1894

Ed Tatham's 10 ton Aveling & Porter steam roller 'Fusilier' in the process of re-assembly after extensive work on the boiler.

No 272, was built in 1894, and was the 14th locomotive built by Grant Ritchie, it is the manufacturer’s sole surviving 0-4-0ST

Work on Borrows 53/1909 'Windle' continues.

The loco arrived at Preston on 22nd July 2004 and is now getting nearer to full restoration.

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Permanent Way news Apart from the Ribble Rail lads continuing their ongoing sleeper replacement program and general tidying of the lineside vegetation, the winter period has again seen the contractors from Pyes of Longridge, working on the railway. The work to be undertaken this time was scheduled to be packing the rails in the road at Maritime Way. These had become very loose and the road surface was breaking up around them. This is the level crossing that leads to the group of houses on the Bullnose by the outer basin. Unlike the previous work that Pyes had done for us, in this case the rails could not be removed in order to complete the work. It also meant that they could only work on one side of the road at a time as traffic was constantly coming and going. For those that don't know the area, Maritime Way is the only way in and out of the housing estate. The original plan agreed with Pyes, after a few site visits, was that they would spend four days digging out all materials on one side of the road, both between and below the rails and two foot either side, pack the rails on shims, level and gauge the track, concrete round the work and then tarmac this area. They were then to spend the next four days doing a similar job on the other side of the road. We had originally hoped to have the work done in March, after the Diesel Gala and prior to the Easter steamings, and Pyes were happy to accommodate us in this period. We thought we had also tentatively agreed the same with Total Fina. However at the last minute Total decreed that they would only allow us one of two weeks in February; the first or third weeks, and under no circumstances any downtime in March. As at this point it was only a week to go before February, we had to make several calls to Pyes to check that they could get the staff in place to do the work. Fortunately they were able to sort this out, and we agreed that they could start work on Friday 29th Jan but they had to have the work completed by Sunday 7th February at the latest. They duly started work as scheduled, after putting the road signage in place. As an aside, getting the signage sorted isn't straight forward, as I had to have several discussions and a lengthy site visit with both Lancs County Council Highways dept. and Pyes in order to

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get agreement on what signage was needed and where it was to be placed. Things didn't really go according to plan from day one when the 'pecker' on Pye's mini-digger snapped in two. They were originally scheduled to work on the Saturday but due to family commitments the main mini-digger operator was unavailable, so no work was done. Ditto for Sunday. I then get a call on Monday morning from Pyes, who had been discussing the work with our Ribble Rail staff, saying that they really needed to fix down and concrete in the rails leading up to Maritime Way, prior to sorting out the rails in the road. They reckoned if they did the rails in the road without fixing these rails down first, the job in the road wouldn't last for any appreciable time. I therefore popped over to meet them. After a brief discussion I had to agree with them. I've got to hold my hand up here, I should have realised beforehand that this would need doing first. To cut a long story short they did dig out the concrete on the western approach (the Swing bridge side) to Maritime Way and the adjacent half of the road. There were added complications which included having the Ribble Rail lads assisting in cutting out and temporarily removing the check rails, but they were overcome. The work on the concrete pad and the one half of the road wasn't completed until Saturday 6th Feb, so we had to abandon doing the work on the other side of the road. However it appears that the rails that have been concreted in are rock solid, so I don't expect the other untouched side of the road to give us any problems in the near future. There are a few photos attached showing the work as it neared completion. We have a few major projects in the pipeline at the moment which includes changing both sets of switches on the North and south catchpoints, as well as hopefully putting a turnout in alongside the north side of the Ribble Rail shed. This will allow the FRT lads to have access to both roads of their shed without us having to slew the track inside the shed. This is dependent on us securing some land off the Total Fina lorry park. Total have agreed to us having the land we require, it's just a matter of sorting the legalities out before we can get cracking. Ed Tatham.

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Brake Van Restoration

Shark (993782) British Rail's ballast plough brake vans were known as Sharks: 993782 was built in 1956 and based at BR Chester. It is currently undergoing an extensive overhaul to replace a lot of the woodwork. (Photos: Dave Manley)

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Ribble Steam Railway's Education Programme Goes Full Steam Ahead Compiled by Jaquie Wicks

Ribble Steam Railway is fast becoming alive with the sound children, as our exciting new education programme rolls out to schools across Lancashire. Aiming to inspire a new generation of railway enthusiasts, the museum provides the perfect backdrop for an interactive, immersive and fully hands on educational visit. Here at the museum, we have been thrilled to welcome pupils from three local schools: Ribby with Wrea Endowed CE Primary School, St. Peter's C of E School from Burnley and Longshaw Infant School from Blackburn. Met by the friendly Station Master, Mr Ribble, aka volunteer Jeff, and under the expert guidance of professional educational role-play leaders, John, Jules, and Jan, the children were treated to an unforgettable experience of Lancashire's Industrial heritage. A trip round the museum introduced the young explorers to the museum's collection of steam, diesel, battery and electric locomotives. On their tour, they discovered the best and the worst jobs on the railways, found about the social and environmental impact of the railways and even had a go at wheel tapping! In the second of two workshops, the children became engineers and navvies in order to discover how the railways were built. Using Lego, the young apprentices were challenged to design and build their own railway to discover how a locomotive actually works and why trains don't fall off the tracks. A visit to a heritage railway wouldn't be complete without a ride on a train, and this trip didn't disappoint! A lunchtime ride on the museum's 1958 Diesel Railbus allowed the pupil's to witness panoramic views of Preston's industrial landscape and natural riverside scenery. "The children loved going on the train - it was their favourite part of the day!" Ribby with Wrea Endowed CE Primary School With many more school visits in the offing, we'd love to hear from members who are interested in getting involved with our education programme. If you'd like to join in the fun please contact Terri Hearty on 01772 728800 or e-mail terri.hearty@ribblesteam.org.uk

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Furness Railway Trust News The closing weeks of 2015 brought its usual list of activities and engagements for the Trust. The FRT's folk group, Live Steam, was again called into action at the Ulverston Dickensian Festival at the end of November, performing a traditional Lancashire Night gig at the Old Friends public house and then doing what it does best, closing down the Festival on one of the outdoor stages! The Old Friends, a smallish pub, was full to bursting for the occasion and the band's line up was bolstered to six members by guest appearances, which gave a very exuberant feel to the performance. Following this, Alan and Tim again entertained passengers on the RSR's Santa Specials before hanging up their instruments for winter. We are sorry to have to say goodbye to our guitarist, Peter Birtwistle, who has now moved to Church Stretton after having done sterling work for the band over the past six years. Thank you, Peter. We are hoping to plug the gap in the band's line up with a replacement guitarist by the next booked outing for the band, which is for a birthday party at Littleborough in May. Enough of the music side of the FRT - what has been happening with regards its railway preservation activities? Well, with rolling stock hire operations having mostly come to a halt after the Christmas commitments, attention has been concentrated on moving forward the four ongoing projects that are taking place at Preston. The RMB is keeping the new MIG welding machine busy as John Dixon works his way around the exterior of the coach, stripping out rusted metal and welding in new. One of the door pillars was condemned after the outer skin of the vehicle was removed and a replacement pillar, recycled from the former horse box, has been welded into position and then covered up with a new strip of outer steel. This all sounds a relatively simple job until you take into account that this particular pillar was one that supported the door hinges, which had to be removed and refitted before the door could be re-hung. We were all delighted for John when the door closed sweetly and locked after his fastidious labours to get everything back in its rightful position. The western end of the coach

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Mike Rigg prepares a bogie on the RMB for painting

Fred Jones prepares Caliban’s reverser quadrant for painting

Caliban’s left hand side stripped of rods and pistons for overhaul

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has now been refurbished, including the corridor connection, and it is hoped that the eastern end will present a lesser workload. Work is now continuing on replacing corroded steelwork along the sides and also to reseal all the windows and to fill and prime the many blemishes on the steel panels. Down below, Mike Rigg has taken on board the task of de-scaling the headstocks and bogies before giving them preparatory coats of primer and undercoat. We have missed the input from the Blackpool duo of Tom and Trevor Bradshaw following Trevor's unexpected sojourn in hospital. However, Trevor is now back on his feet and we hope to see them both back at work once the weather has improved.

Alan Middleton warms up retaining nuts prior to removing one of Caliban’s valve covers

George Fletcher removes nuts on Wootton Hall’s smokebox saddle and Bob Thomson prepares Wootton Hall’s regulator valve for a hydraulic test

John Dixon with the newly fitted RMB door Much time has been expended on dismantling Peckett 0-4-0ST Caliban, now that it is under cover in the shed. There has been a regular Wednesday working party attended by Adrian Tomkinson, Alan Middleton and John Houghton, supplemented by visits from Sam Middleton. Amongst the many items removed have been the reverser, piston covers and pistons along with the valve covers and valve rods. The rust and scale is being attended to and most of the

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components are being handed over to the Friday team of Fred Jones and Roger Benbow for cleaning and priming. Freeing up rusted components that haven't been used for thirty years can be challenging and tedious work, but that is fairly common in railway preservation and the gang is making steady progress. Once this task has been achieved, it will be possible to move on to replacing corroded steel, mainly the running plates, and refitting the newly refurbished components. No timescales for completion have yet been aired! Wootton Hall is presenting a similar challenge, albeit on a far larger scale. One of the first tasks that has been undertaken since the locomotive arrived at Preston late 2014 has been the dismantling of the rear engine drag box and the front tender dragbox. These, being located under the locomotive's footplate where coal dust and water from the degging hose tend to accumulate, were in pretty poor condition. Various deliveries of new steel plate and angle have been received and Keith Brewer has made good progress in assembling new drag boxes for both the engine and tender, with assistance from John Stewart who has been cutting the plate. The latter task has been assisted by the purchase of a brand new portable gas cutting machine which moves along a piece of track at slow speed whilst cutting the steel plate. This new bit of kit has been generously sponsored by one of the FRT's members. Once the new steelwork for the drag boxes has been fully assembled using temporary bolts, it will then be riveted together on to the engine and tender respectively. It is hoped to complete this task later this year. In the meantime, George Fletcher has removed the nuts from the bolts that hold the smokebox on to the saddle at the front of the engine. Having achieved this, the next task is to remove the stubbornly fast bolts! Another job that has been tackled is the regulator valve, which Bob Thomson has been lapping in and also preparing the valve for a hydraulic test.

Mike Rigg offers up a new smokebox number plate for Wootton Hall

Keith Brewer and John Stewart watch the FRT’s new gas cutter at work – (photo David Rimmer)

The final project being taken forward at Preston is the restoration of Fluff, the FRT's small Fowler 0-4-0DM shunting locomotive. Like Wootton Hall, poor old Fluff has been standing outside, exposed to the elements in the Lake District and then the North East, for many

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Roger Benbow primes one of Caliban’s rods

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years. Some of the younger RSR members, led by Anthony Jolly, have been examining the engine and dismantling the bonnet and cab. Anthony has fortunately managed to obtain a manual for the engine through the power of the internet.

A gang has been over to Embsay to give 5643 a clean, although it was reported back that the locomotive has been kept there in good external condition. Cumbria's handbrake has developed a tendency to unwind itself unless the handle is chocked, so it has been dismantled and despatched to Preston so that the screw thread, which has become worn, can be replaced. This is an issue that had previously been experienced with 5643 and a similar successful repair was undertaken in the workshop at Preston. FR 20 also had a wintertime visit by FRT members to change the water in the boiler, re-joint the front valve cover and to give the locomotive a clean.

Fluff with engine bonnet removed It is anticipated that most of the upper steelwork for the locomotive will have to be replaced as rust has taken hold in many places. Fluff was, in 1970, the first locomotive to be acquired by the Furness Branch of the Lakeside Railway Society, which then handed it over to the FRT on its formation in 1991. It was also the only instant form of traction at in the early preservation period at Haverthwaite until Class 03 0-60DM D2117 was purchased in 1972. The locomotive, therefore, is viewed with some considerable affection by the older members of the FRT and the efforts to put it back into running order are to be commended. All the FRT's operational locomotives have firm commitments for 2016. GWR 0-6-0T No. 5643 is to continue its stay at the Embsay & Bolton Abbey Steam Railway until the end of the year and the Battlefield Line in Leicestershire has likewise extended its hire of Austerity 0-6-0ST Cumbria until December. Furness Railway No. 20 will continue to be resident operational locomotive at Locomotion, Shildon, although a second locomotive, Peckett 0-4-0ST locomotive No. 2012 Teddy, will be covering operations from May until early August to make a change to the visitor offer there. Teddy, of course, will also be appearing at the RSR's Steam Gala in April.

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One final piece of restoration to be recorded is the renovation of the Furness Railway bench seat, which was arranged for the FRT by Ken Mahaffey. It was purchased for the FRT many years ago by former trustee, the late Norman Gard, and it is good to see this artefact back in use outside the cafe at Preston, being a reminder to FRT members of Norman's work and support for the Trust. As ever, thanks go to everyone for their help and support over the winter months. (Tim Owen)

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Gala Guest Loco

Teddy is perhaps best-known for its associations with the famous Reverend E R 'Teddy' Boston and his equally well-known Cadeby Light Railway in Leicestershire. However, in spite of this connection to a 'man of the cloth', the Peckett's origins lie in the Second World War and the manufacture of munitions. No. 2012 was built for the Ministry of Supply in 1941; celebrating her 75th birthday this year. It was the third of a batch of six 'Yorktowns' built for the Ministry (Nos. 20102015) and was sent new to the Royal Ordnance Factory at Creekmoor, near Poole in Dorset. It did not stay for long, and by 1944 it had moved to another ROF at Llanishen, Cardiff, where it joined sister No. 2013. Its work at Llanishen involved the movement of wagons around the factory site, and transfer to and from the Great Western line at Birch Grove. For this it was registered to work onto GWR metals in 1945, receiving the number 257.

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By the late 1950s the two Pecketts were surplus to requirements, No. 2013 being sold to the dealer Fred Watkins in 1957, and No. 2012 to J W Hardwick & Sons (dealers) of Surrey in 1959. Here it remained until acquired for preservation by Bill Lees of Godalming in 1967, although by this time it had lost part of its cab and buffers. It was from Godalming that Teddy Boston bought it in 1972, moving it to the then Market Bosworth Light Railway at Shackerstone. Coincidentally the Peckett shared tracks at Shackerstone with Nechells No. 4, and it was the big 0-6-0T's former owner, the late Dennis Labram, who began restoring No. 2012 in 1973. The project was taken over by the Lutterworth Railway Society and the Peckett returned to steam the following year. At some point it was fitted with 'Herbert' nameplates from an old machine tool, and the engine saw occasional use running around the Shackerstone site with occasional forays beyond. However as the railway grew the Peckett was deemed too small to be of practical use, and was removed to Cadeby Rectory in July 1982. There was a plan to lay a few yards of 4ft 8½in gauge at Cadeby for the loco to run on, but it came to nought and instead No. 2012

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sat as a gate guardian for the next 24 years. Following the closure of the CLR in 2005, the Peckett was sold by Audrey Boston for restoration, and it left Cadeby on April 4th 2006. After an initial spell at Hollycombe, its first official home was at the Lavender Line where it made its first moves in late 2007. Here it received the name Teddy after its former owner, and for a while it was the mainstay of Lavender Line operations (even visiting the Mid Hants Railway). Once again though its small size eventually saw it displaced by larger engines, and the owners offered it for sale to Gary Boyd-Hope, a former Cadeby volunteer, who bought it in early 2011. Teddy then spent the next three years on hire to the National Railway Museum at York, with a visit to Beamish thrown in, before eventually coming to Chasewater. Since then it has proved to be a popular little attraction in its own right as well as an ambassador to Chasewater, having visited the Bristol Harbour Railway, the Great Central Railway and also the new Mountsorrel Railway during 2015.

In February of last year, the diminutive Peckett 'Yorktown' class 0-4-0ST Teddy (Works No. 2012) made its debut as the principle guest loco at the Chasewater Railway's Winter Steam Gala. At the time there were those who questioned the wisdom of hiring in such a small and apparently limited engine, but the doubters were soon silenced. Consequently that weekend visit has resulted in Chasewater becoming Teddy's official home, and the 'Pocket Peckett' has been making its presence known ever since. Teddy's small cylinders and large (by comparison) boiler, together with the small wheels, makes for a powerful combination. Far from being limited by its size, this plucky little loco continues to surprise and delight many. Thanks to Gary Boyd-Hope.

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Mystery Museum Object

Earlier in the year we were given a pair of benches by the National Railway Museum for use in our museum. One was a long L.N.W.R. platform bench. The other was far more intriguing. Labelled only as 'Platform Bench-Provenance Unknown' the bench has cast metal legs designed to look like tree branches, which are painted dark brown, and a two plank seat with a single plank back which is light brown. More than one person has commented that it looks familiar but cannot work out how.

There are no railway company markings on it anywhere. I am looking for any information on where benches like this were used, why they were designed this way, how old our bench is and anything else that could add to it being more than just a bench. If you have any information please email the assistant curator at terri.hearty@ribblesteam.org.uk

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‘Waleswood’ A Step Nearer Steaming (maybe?) A Steamport member, Colin Stott, has secured the start of a journey of restoration for a once favourite Hudswell Clarke locomotive which was a regular steamer at the Steamport Museum in Southport.

The question was neither unusual nor unexpected, in fact it arises repeatedly with rhythmic punctuality. It might be reasonable to assume that I would, therefore, be prepared for it but this, like every year, delivered the unanswerable "What would you like for Christmas?" It was either Bob or Eugene, I can't exactly recall, but one or the other posed an altogether different question on some quiet, sunny, summer's Saturday afternoon when all of the potential visitors were otherwise engaged at the fun fair or on the prom. "Would you like a go?" We were on the footplate of ‘Lucy’ and I was being given my first experience of driving a steam locomotive, a rare treat for a twelve year old. How times have changed!

of the Waleswood crew, summers on the footplate, and winters in the firebox knocking out boiler tubes with a lump hammer and permanently ruining my left thumb joint in the process. Chris was a great mentor and generous owner and my teenage years were hugely rewarding and educational. Subconsciously, I had collected some leaflets from Quainton in the summer when Nick and I had been rallying our 4" Burrell, since when they had resided on the corner of my desk. "Steam Railway Locomotive Driving Experience", was this the answer to the impossible question? After all, it was more than thirty years since I had last driven ‘Waleswood’ or any other steam locomotive. There were options at Quainton and also at Princess Risborough & Chinnor. The people I spoke to promised a really good day out and a full trip at the controls along the line and back. Actually I rather fancied lighting-up and oiling around and maybe a bit of shunting……… Something was nagging at the back of my mind and I didn't realise what it was until it surprised all five of us over the Sunday evening roast. "I wonder where ‘Waleswood. is." The internet told me that it was at Shackerstone, undergoing a full and long term restoration. Fabulous news, I could visit and hopefully in the near future see her in steam again. There was conflicting information, however, Hudswell Clarke No. 750 did not appear on the stock list for the Battlefield line and then a low resolution image came up. An engine with a badly rusting cab, no boiler and the saddle tank, decrepit and perforated, upside down on the frames. Surely this could not be ‘Waleswood’. The caption for the photograph, however, was "Waleswood at Statfold Barn".

By the time I was fourteen I was a regular part

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There were rather more people than we had expected at the Statfold Enthusiast's day and we were impressed by what was going on there as we proceeded 'under-cover' to locate ‘Waleswood’. I am not sure what Nick was expecting but I was taken aback by the devastating impact of fifteen years exposure to the elements.

We wish Colin and his team all the best on the road to ‘Waleswood’s’ restoration and maybe one day she can return to Preston Docklands....

Biblical rain lashed us all day long, loading at Statfold was completed in ninety minutes, handballing it off at Ironstone took rather longer. After months of negotiation it all happened rather quickly. The new tank and smoke box will take care of much of the damage from the weather and an awful lot of good restoration work has already been done by Paul so we are targeting Christmas 2017 for a return to steam. I wonder what mischief the inevitable question is going to stimulate next Christmas? 'Waleswood' is now at the Northamptonshire Ironstone Railway. The Northamptonshire Ironstone Railway Trust operates a 1 ¹/2-mile long heritage railway line at Hunsbury Hill, south-west of Northampton. www.facebook.com/NorthantsIronstoneRailway/

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Waleswood Colliery was a coal mine near Rotherham, South Yorkshire. In 1906 the company bought 0-4-0ST from Hudswell Clarke & Company (Works No.750). The "Waleswood" name plates were removed from the original locomotive, a Yorkshire Engine Company 0-4-0 Saddle Tank built in 1878, Works No. 323, when it was sold and these were attached to the saddle tanks of this locomotive. The locomotive was rebuilt by the original builders in the early 1930s. It was moved to Kiveton Park Colliery in 1962, preserved in 1972 and moved to Staveley, Derbyshire. It was later moved to Steamport Railway Museum at Southport.

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Steam Loco Stock List A full list of all our Steam locomotives. Some are currently off site, awaiting arrival or away on loan at other Heritage Railway sites. Andrew Barclay 1147/1908 'John Howe' Andrew Barclay 1598/1918 'Efficient' Andrew Barclay 1833/1924 'Niddrie' Andrew Barclay 1865/1926 'Alexander' Andrew Barclay 1950/1928 'Heysham No.2' (Fireless) Andrew Barclay 1969/1929 'JN Derbyshire' Andrew Barclay 2261/1949 'No. 6' (Due to leave RSR soon) Andrew Barclay 2343/1953 'British Gypsum No4' Andrew Barclay 880/1902 0-4-0CT Crane 'Glenfield No1' Avonside 1568/1909 'Lucy' Avonside 1810/1918 'M.D.H.B. No. 26' Avonside 1883/1922 Bagnall 2680/1942 'Courageous' (In service at RSR) Borrows 48/1906 'The King' Borrows 53/1909 'Windle' BR Ivatt 46441/1950 * Furness Railway No.20 (currently based at NRM Shildon) Grant Ritchie 272/1894 * GWR 0-6-2T 5643 (FRT - on loan at the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway) GWR 4-6-0 4979 Wootton Hall (FRT Collection) Hawthorn Leslie 3931/1938 'Linda' (In service at RSR) Hunslet 1954/1939 'Kinsley' Hunslet 2890 0-6-0 'Douglas' * Hunslet 3155/1944 'Walkden' (currently on loan at The Spa Valley Railway) Hunslet 3696/1950 'Respite' Hunslet 3793/1953 'Shropshire' Hunslet 3855/1955 'Glasshoughton No.4' * Hunslet WD194/1953 ‘Cumbria’ (FRT Collection - on loan at The Battlefield Line) * L&Y Aspinall 1300/12322 - 1896 (currently on loan at ELR) L&Y Pug 1097/1910 ‘No. 19' (on loan from the L&Y Trust) LNWR Ramsbottom 1439/1865 (on loan from NRM) Peckett 1925/1937 'Caliban' (FRT Collection) Peckett 1935/1937 'Hornet' Peckett 1999/1941 'North Western Gas Board' Peckett 2003/1941 'John Blenkinsop' (on loan from Middleton Railway Trust) Peckett 737/1899 'Daphne' RSH 7485/1948 'Agecroft No.2' Sentinel 8024/1929 'Gasbag' Sentinel 9373/1947 'St Monans' Visit: www.ribblesteam.org.uk/exhibits/locomotive-check-list

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Diesel Loco Stock List A full list of all our Diesel, Electric & Battery locomotives. BR Class 03 03189/1960 BR Class 03 D2148/1960 BR Class 05 D2595/1959 BR Class 14 D9539/1965 Diesel Railbus - 79960/1958 (Available for Private Hire / School Trips) English Electric EE2098/1955 '671' DIESEL LOCO MILEAGES 2015. English Electric EE788/1930 English Electric VF2160/D350/1956 '663' ENTERPRISE 1136 Fowler 0-4-0DM 21999/1937 "Fluff" (FRT Collection) D9539 760 * Fowler 4160001/1952 'Persil' STANLOW 229 D2595 152 Greenwood Batley 2000/1945 'Greenbat' RAILBUS 141 Howard 965/1930 'Hotto' ENERGY 96 Hudswell Clarke 0-4-0 DM D629 'Sparky' 663 93 Hudswell Clarke 1031/1956 'Margaret' D2148 74 Hudswell Clarke D628/1943 'Mighty Atom' TOTAL MILAGE - 2681 / 2014 MILEAGE 2614 North British 27653/1957 BICC Sentinel 10226/1965 'Energy' ex MSC DH23 *D9539 Ran some 500 at the Spa Valley and Epping & Ongar Railways. Sentinel 10282/1968 'Enterprise' Sentinel 10283/1968 'Progress' Thomas Hill 160V/1966 'Stanlow No. 4' Yorkshire 2677/1960 D2870

Railbus at Riverside platform on Thursday 18th February running the Half Term Specials (Photo: Adam Kean)

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The "Niddrie� No.6 Saga by Bill Roberton

Once upon a time a group of Strathspey Railway volunteers resolved to buy an industrial locomotive for use on the railway. The intention was to seek a tank engine that was in working order and could be used on the planned passenger service. At that time (1975) the railway had only 5025 and 'Clyde' in working order, with 46464 undergoing an overhaul, so such a machine was very desirable. I drew up a list of suitable candidates in the Scottish and North East Areas of the National Coal Board and made contact with the NCB authorities. Stephen Wood handled negotiations in his home area of the north-east. The first disposal was made from Dawdon Colliery, Co. Durham, being Hunslet 'Austerity' 0-6-0 ST No. 60, closely followed by another Hunslet, No. 48 and Robert Stephenson and Hawthorn No. 9 from Backworth. 48 and 60 have already served the railway well and No. 9 should do likewise. That could have been the end of the story had my name not remained on Scottish Area files. In mid-1977 I received a disposal list of four steam locomotives located around the Lady Victoria Pit, Newtongrange, Midlothian. There were two 0-6-0 tanks, one 0-4-0 ST and an 0-4-2 ST which had its trailing axle missing! Closure of the last stub of the

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of the Waverley route had made them redundant. The two 0-6-0 STs Nos. 3 and 20, were the best candidates in terms of size; the former was complete and seemingly in fair shape, while No. 20 had been partially stripped. A telephone to Eric Cooper provided the authority to approach the NCB about acquiring No. 3 which seemed the better bet, provided there was no call on the company funds! An approach was made to the Director of the Scottish Area, NCB for a permanent loan agreement. The response was favourable, but No. 3 was spoken for and No. 20 was offered, subject to final confirmation. It subsequently transpired that a mix-up had been made at NCB headquarters, but No. 3 was presented to the S.R.P.S. The company's insurers inspected No. 20 and reported favourably, but about six months passed before confirmation came from the Coal Board. At the end of 1977 No. 20 was donated outright to the Edinburgh Area Group of the Association by Mr. James Cowan. The Group was flushed with the success of acquiring and moving the Gorgie sidings and it was hoped that a locomotive restoration project would attract new members and enable others to participate. No. 20 was an appropriate choice since it had been delivered in 1924 to the Niddrie and Benhar Coal

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Co. for use on their line to Woolmet Colliery, south-east of Edinburgh. It was built by Andrew Barclay and Sons Co. Ltd., Kilmarnock, works No. 1833. Livery was dark olive green, fully lined and lettered `Niddrie No. 6'. Her task was to push empty coal wagons up the steep gradient to the pit and bring full loads down to the L.N.E.R. exchange sidings. Sometimes three pugs would be needed on each uphill run! In 1959 the weight of one such train was too much for the loco, by now renumbered NCB Lothians No. 20. After smashing through a set of level crossing gates (shades of Speyside!) she jumped the track on a sharp curve and was badly damaged. Repairs were carried out at Barclays, and amounted to a complete rebuild. Included in the repairs were a new fire box, smoke box, tube plate, tubes, throat plate, dome, saddle-tank, cab, bunker, tvres, axle boxes, motion and more! Woolmet closed in 1966 and with it most of the railway. Locomotive work declined and No. 20 moved to Meadow-mill Washer, Tranent in 1968. A year later she was transferred to Newtongrange (a previous home to No. 9 some years previously). When we first inspected the engine it was apparent that an unsuccessful hydraulic test had been carried out, tube failure being very evident, and our work. was to be concentrated on the boiler. The first task however was to find a workshop. Donald Cattanach had been in touch with Scottish Agricultural Industries about a diesel shunter at their Leith plant. This had not been available, but their engine shed was vacant. Enquiries were made and the shed was offered. Unfortunately, while awaiting confirmation from the NCB of the donation of the engine the road vehicle department of SAI claimed the shed and we were left homeless, thus the locomotive had to be left in a derelict coal yard for two years. A long search started for an alternative site, including the engine sheds at Bath-gate, Dolphinton (NBR) and Inveresk Paper Mill at Musselburgh. Eventually SAI had a change of heart and again the shed was offered free of charge, the rates to be met by the group. We made immediate plans to move the engine, using a road crane and a low loader. On the 16th October 1979, No. 20 was transported past the route of the Niddrie railway to Leith South Freight Depot where she was unloaded onto BR metals. Diesel shunter 08 571 coupled on and pushed the engine into her new home. Nine days later the group held a 'wine and cheese' party to celebrate the return of steam to Edinburgh

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(albeit dead) and the start of the restoration project. The wine at the Edinburgh Group's inaugural meeting at Leith shed must have gone to my head as my attention was diverted from the engine to Ms Esther Lumsden, a new recruit. I am glad to say that she changed her name to Roberton not long afterwards, and that story is a much happier one than that which follows. Having congratulated ourselves on acquiring a steam locomotive and a shed to keep it in the group set about discovering how much work was involved in bringing No.6 back into working order. One team set about stripping the boiler and preparing for the removal of the saddle tank while a second team dismantled the motion to examine it for wear and facilitate access to the axle-boxes. At the same time research was undertaken to locate drawings, specifications, details of the original livery and other background information. A great deal of Barclay's archived records are held by the University of Glasgow and from this source we were able to obtain copies of works' photographs. Unfortunately the initial enthusiasm for the project waned after a few weekends and progress was considerably slowed by this and the absence of skilled assistance. We were grateful for advice from Malcolm Sterry who was occupied by work on the railway. Towards the end of 1980 the B.R. Leith South pilot coupled up to Niddrie and drew her out of the shed to enable the yard crane to lift off the cab roof and the saddle tank. By now any resemblance to the 'Rocket' was more than coincidental! Work was now concentrated on preparing the boiler for examination by the boiler inspector. This involved the removal of the cladding, regulator valve and tubes. The tubes were particularly difficult to take out because they had been expanded between the tubeplates. The worst affected tubes had to be cut in half and drawn out through the dome. The boiler inspector was able to report that there were no structural problems but repairs would include building-up wastage with weld and the replacement of some defective rivets and studs. Malcolm Sterry visited us shortly afterwards and during his inspection of the loco pushed his finger through the main steam pipe! `Tinny' Wallace of Port Glasgow has fabricated a replacement amongst other things. With a substantial sum of money expected from the sale of the copper and brass tubes that had been removed we placed an order for new welded replacements. The shortfall of cash was largely

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largely filled by individuals 'buying' tubes at £5 each and receiving a certificate to acknowledge their generosity. Over £200 was raised in this way. The scrap tubes had been sold to a well established firm who had offered the best price and having delivered them we waited for a cheque to arrive. After a few weeks, with an outstanding invoice for the new tubes burning a hole in our pockets, we discovered that the scrap dealers had gone into receivership. To cut a long and painful story short we found that we had lost the entire £622.78 which was due to us. Thankfully the Association came to our rescue when the committee agreed to meet the bill for the new tubes. Other work progressed, the engine being lifted on jacks (borrowed from the SRPS) to enable the springs and journals to be removed. Malcolm had recommended mechanical lubrication and that the journals be white metalled. A suitable lubricator had been obtained and the necessary pipe work installed and the leading and driving axle journals were machined for pockets of white metal. Two broken coil springs were replaced by new items purchased from Barclays. A full set of boiler fittings was assembled and we are indebted to Phil Wainwright, of the Midland Railway, and the Ayrshire Railway Preservation Group for their assistance in the acquisition of these items. Unfortunately the slow progress and setbacks undermined the morale of those involved and the work parties dwindled to two or three people. It became clear that the rates bill of £30 per month which was being subsidised by the Association had become difficult to justify in view of the limited use being made of the Leith shed and soundings were made to assess the advantages of moving the engine to Aviemore where it would take its place in the queue for overhaul. Although Malcolm's report was favourable the Motive Power Department made its feelings clear. As they believed the engine to be of little use to the railway it was decided to press on at Leith with funds raised by our local 'Railfairs' and assistance from the Association. The boiler was given a coat of heat-resistant paint and Craig and Rose (of Forth Bridge fame) supplied primer and a specially mixed green top coat. While slow progress was being made it was obvious that we were not making economic use of the facilities we were paying for while the engine was kept in Edinburgh and towards the end of 1982 our hand was forced when S.A.I. asked us to vacate the shed to make way for new rail loading facilities.

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We had little time to arrange removal and prepare Niddrie for her sojourn 'up north'. However, the stalwarts managed to fill a lorry with parts and a Hewden Stewart crane did the necessary lifting some three years after their previous visit. I must admit I was glad to see the engine go. Once again the Association gave financial assistance with the removal and it was agreed that Niddrie be transferred to the Association in recognition of this. So another episode in the saga had ended. The scheme to involve fresh faces in a restoration project had fallen flat, but there are two people, Andrew 'Smuts' Smith and Douglas Gibson who performed beyond the call of duty. Thanks are also due to those who bought tubes and or helped out at the shed. What of the future? Quite rightly 5025,828,9 and the working locos take a higher priority in the queue for repair and overhaul. The question remains, is No.6 suitable for passenger services on the Strathspey? I believe the statistics and past experience suggest the engine is capable of handling all but the heaviest trains. Similar locomotives regularly work on the North Norfolk, the Great Central, the Yorkshire Dales and Nene Valley rail-ways. 'Clyde' much smaller than No.6, has given valuable service to the Strathspey with no overheating problems with the axle-boxes now that white metalling has been undertaken. No.6 has the advantage of sufficient coal capacity for a day's service and has the same wheelbase as the austerities. Oil firing has been suggested and this would further enhance the engine's usefulness. Allan Garraway has considerable experience of oil firing so we would not be crossing uncharted water. The major task is the repair of the boiler and 5025 and 828 have shown the way in this area. Only money (!?*) is needed. In most other respects No.6 may be regarded as a 1960 built locomotive incorporating parts of an older machine and should be capable of long service. ‘Niddrie’ is currently being restored at RSR.

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Preston Timber firm closes after 144 years service Timber merchants Page and Taylor survived two world wars and the depression in-between, but one of Preston’s 10 oldest firms, which was established back in 1872 and spanned three centuries, could not weather the tough trading climate of 2015/16. The company’s Blackpool-based owners announced in January they have sold up in Watery Lane - home to Page and Taylor since 1903 - with neighbouring Bowker BMW acquiring the 6.5 acre site. Page and Taylor was founded in 1872 when Queen Victoria was on the throne, Gladstone was Prime Minister and outlaw Jesse James was robbing banks in the Wild West. The first premises were in Deepdale Mill Street, but the company moved to Watery Lane in Ashton just after the turn of the century to be closer to the thriving Port of Preston.

Page and Taylors sawmills were located just north of the dock estate in Ashton. The yard was served by a private railway siding that led out of the dock railway complex across Watery Lane, now Riversway. The company had a second yard at Deepdale near the coal terminus, this was also served by a siding that led from the Longridge railway line. The company supplied the district with a large amount of rough construction timber. They also had their own milling sheds producing a large variety of mouldings, including banisters, doors and gates.

Page and Taylor imported timber from Russia, Canada and Scandinavia, using the company’s own railway to carry it from the quayside to its sawmill across the road. During World War Two the firm took on 50 women to replace men who had been called up for military service. They helped the war effort by producing wooden ammunition and first aid boxes. In 1985, in its 112th year, the company was taken over by new owners Graham and Kevan Smart from S & S Timber in Blackpool.

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Down To The Docks 2 - Photos by Steven Brindley

"Enterprise" still in red livery alongside newly painted "Energy". Note although "Energy" has been repainted it still has not received it's air brakes, Early 1980's.

56021 has coupled up to it's empty tanks while Progress & Enterprise deal with the loaded tanks. Early 1980's photo, taken on the old exchange sidings.

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56095 arrives at Preston Docks and is heading for the old exchange sidings. On the right one of the Sentinels waits for the train to pass & will also pick up the crew who would have flagged the train across Strand Road, no barriers yet at this time !! mid 1980's photo.

'Energy' sits on the quayside next to the ship Manxman. This area has changed out of all recognition with a road & car park here now, also various superstores, etc. Early 1980's.

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Bitumen Trains - The Story So Far

The 6M32 (loaded) and 6E32 (empty) bitumen trains between Lindsey Oil Refinery and Preston Docks always attract attention as they cross the country from coast to coast - not least because it is one of the few regular freight workings over the Copy Pit line. Just two days before Christmas 2004, the mothballed Preston Docks branch saw the return of regular rail freight operations after a nine year absence in the form of a 10 year contract to move 110,000 tonnes of bitumen a year from Total's Lindsey Oil Refinery in North Lincolnshire to Preston's (ex-Lanfina) facility for tar production. Damage to an overbridge on the branch in 1995 initially looked like it had brought the curtain down on the 149-year-old rail service to the docks, with the bitumen tankers diverted to the Total (ex-Kelbit) site on the Haydock branch, near Ashton-in-Makerfield. Happily, 1999 saw trains head back to the redeveloped remains of the once extensive Preston Docks rail system in the form of the Ribble Steam Railway (RSR), which was formed from the ashes of the Steamport Southport group. Significant repairs to the line followed over the next few years, including replacement of the busy level crossing on Strand Road with automatic half barriers, a new pipeline gantry over Leeward Road, and unloading equipment to connect the Total refinery after it had been severed from the railway. Four years later, in 2003, the first of two trials ran on September 29 as EWS machine No. 66084 brought a loaded set of TEAs from Lindsey. This test train was not without its problems, with the GM Type 5 struggling on the infamous 1-in-29 incline from the exchange sidings up to Preston station, resulting in Class 60s being diagrammed to power the heavy 1400 tonne trains when

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services restarted the following year. The load had proved difficult in BR days, with double-headed Class 31s and 37s mixing it with Class 47s in the 1980s on the heavier workings. The much more capable Class 56s took over in the early 1990s and continued after the changeover on Ashton services right up to the end of operations on the Haydock branch. A second trial took place on October 1, 2003, with No. 60012 providing the power for a set of the VTG-owned bogie bitumen tankers between Wigan Springs Branch and Preston Docks. Final approval to run freight trains was provided in August 2004. A series of route learning locos then visited the branch, and who could forget the surprising visit of Ian Riley 'Tractor' No. 37197 with fire-damaged Corradia No.175008 to the docks for onward road movement in November 2004. However, it was the turn of Brush heavy hauler No.60026 to kick-start Preston Docks' rail-freight renaissance on December 23. Unfortunately, things did not go quite to plan, with malfunctioning discharge equipment resulting in the diversion of the loaded tanks to Ashton-in-Makerfield after Nos. 60088 (Mainline Freight grey) and 60091 (Trainload Coal) were sent to recover the motley collection of TEAs six days later. The return of bitumen trains to the docks had been intended to replace the services to Ashton, which was closed the following year and taken over by Hanson Aggregates. The service from North Lincolnshire quickly settled down to a two or three times weekly operation, operating as a loaded 6M32 westbound train and a corresponding 6E32 return, the latter powering its way over the Copy Pit route during daylight hours with a photographer-friendly departure in the morning. On the Preston Docks branch, Ribble Rail, a subsidiary of the RSR, worked the loaded set of 14 TEAs in two portions over the 1.5 miles frorn the small bank of exchange sidings to the refinery (the siding can only accommodate seven wagons), having left the discharged vehicles for the Colas (previously DB Schenker and EWS) locomotive to collect. This approach ensures a fast turnaround time for the main line engine of less than an hour. Ribble Rail often employs RSR Sentinels Enterprise or Progress on these trains, which traverse the well known dual-use road and rail swing bridge. Built in 1968, the 0-4-0 shunters are long-term residents of the northwest town, three of the locos having been purchased by the Preston Corporation

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for working freight on the dock system. There is a 1965-built sister, Energy, a former Manchester Ship Canal rnachine that arrived in Preston in March 2004 (assuming the identity of the third Preston Corporation Sentinel), while other members of the extensive RSR fleet of former BR and industrial diesels have also seen use on the trains. While Class 66s showed their limitations during the trials in 2003, the enforced run-down of their Brush rivals in 2009 saw DB Schenker turn to the GM locos to cover the heavy trains as the Class 60 fleet was slashed to just a handful of working examples. The 'Sheds' monopolised 6E32 and 6M32 for the following couple of years, except in the autumn leaf-fall season when they were transferred to 51-ITT duties. But in 2011, the sight and sound of the eight-cylinder Mirrlees -powered machines returned to regular all-yearround bitumen train operation over the Pennines.

07:36hrs on 23/12/2004 after an absence of rail traffic since 1995 60026 delivers the first loaded 6M32 Lindsey Oil Refinery - Preston Docks .

60088+60091 - After a few teething troubles on the new discharge plant at Total Preston the plan was to move 14 loaded 102 ton tanks from Preston Docks to Ashton-in-Makerfield for discharge. Just the 1-29 to Preston station lay in the way...

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The next big change took place in November 2010, with a radical overhaul of the appearance of the train. Out went the ageing batch of Metro Cammell -designed CAIB/VTG 825xx and VTG 83xxx 102tonne bitumen tankers, replaced by an impressive fleet of new ICA-G bogie wagons (UIC code Zaefns, Nos. 35 70 7790 000-29) assembled by Axiom Rail at the former Marcroft Engineering site in Stoke-on-Trent. Designed by Lloyds Register Rail with the tank barrels and underframes manufactured by Clayton Commercials, the contract for the new tankers was signed in the summer of 2008, with delivery originally being planned from April 2009. The long delay was an embarrassment to the operator Total and the owner, VTG Rail UK. The wagon lessor had specified an innovative design that would offer a higher level of insulation to keep the bitumen between 160-180° more efficiently, as well as a new design of external heating coils that make cleaning the interiors a simpler and safer process. The design also called for TF25 track-friendly bogies, a new valve system, which meant that workers no longer had to access the tops of the wagons to open the 'manlids', and a package of weight saving measures that would increase the payload to 74 tonnes. The wait was worthwhile, however, as the stylish black tanks - with silver strapping and yellow saddles - instantly became one of the most attractive freight trains on the network. The last revenue-earning run of the life-expired TEAs took place on November 26, 2010, as 'Tug' No. 60019 Pathfinder Tours worked the 6E32 empties back to the refinery at Lindsey.

60004 Hebden Bridge 26/08/2009 6M32 08:55 Preston Docks - Lindsey Oil Refinery. It's only a few years ago but this rake of tanks are long gone and 004 is not a runner anymore.

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The ICAs took over the following week, with both Class 60s and 66s powering the new wagons over their first month or so, with sometimes as few as seven vehicles forming a train. The usual maximum number of wagons is 14, although 15 (thus a 1500 tonne train) have been formed occasionally, testing the GM power to the limit. Currently, one of the Brush machines, usually one of Immingham's 'Super Tugs', is just as likely to be in charge of the bitumen workings, which now run as often as four times weekly. However, there was a notable change from the norm on July 11, 2011, when route learner Class 59/2 No. 59205 L Keith McNair visited the Preston Docks branch with the 6M32 service some four-and-ahalf-hours late after rescuing No. 66061, which had failed on the climb to Copy Pit summit.

the Blackburn, Burnley, Accrington & Colne Extension Railway. By this date both companies had been absorbed by the East Lancashire Railway. With plenty of overbridges along the route to Burnley there are numerous chances to catch the empties in action. 6E32 is usually recessed in the loop at Blackburn Bolton Junction for around 45 minutes, while it can also be looped at Gannow Junction in Burnley to allow Northern Rail passenger services to pass.

60085 at Coote Lane bridge, which is between Farrington Curve Jn and Lostock Hall, on 6E32 0855 Preston Dock - Lindsey. 1 July 2015 (photo: John Balaam) The return service is the most favourable towards photographers. This departs the exchange sidings with the Ribble Railway in Preston at about eight o'clock in the morning. Shots of the eastern end of the sidings are available from the A59 Guild Way overbridge. Views along the rest of the branch are difficult, but not impossible. The first obstacle for 6E32 is the long crossing at Strand Road (A5072), which is passed after a call to Preston power box. After the steep climb to Preston station, where the RSR shunter jumps off, the bitumen empties join the West Coast Main One. The trip under the 25kV wires is short and none of the overbridges afford outstanding views. After the run to Farington Curve Junction, where the service climbs over the WCML to join the line to Blackburn at Lostock Hall Junction, there is a feast of opportunities for photographers for the remainder of 6E32's journey east. This route was opened by the Blackburn & Preston Railway in the summer of 1846, with the line extending to Burnley in September 1848 under the auspices of

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Opened on November 12, 1849, by the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway (previously known as the Manchester & Leeds Railway), the Burnley to Todmorden line over Copy Pit summit connected the L&YR with the ELR, creating a direct route from Preston through Blackburn and Accrington to the Calder Valley route via Summit Tunnel, a few miles west of Hebden Bridge. A decade later, the LYR swallowed the East Lancs, creating an extensive empire north of Manchester that stretched from Blackpool and Liverpool in the west to Leeds, Hull and Doncaster in the east. In its heyday, Copy Pit featured six stations at Burnley Manchester Road, Townley, Holme, Portsmouth, Cornholme and Stansfield Hall, all closing, with the exception of the Burnley halt, between 1930 and 1958. While Copy Pit itself is steeply graded, with a punishing three-mile section of 1-in-65 to the 749ft summit, the Calder Valley actually features better gradients overall than the competing London & North Western Railway Standedge route via Huddersfield. There are three tunnels, at Townley (398 yards), Holme (265 yards) and Kitsonwood (290 yards).

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In the dark days of the early 1980s, Copy Pit, the northernmost branch of the Calder Valley line and one of three remaining routes across the Pennines, almost joined the Woodhead in oblivion. Local passenger services between Todmorden and Rose Grove had been withdrawn in the mid-1960s, while regular freight traffic had almost disappeared by the end of 1982 - by which time just a Preston Deepdale Speedlink service used the line. The move of the National & Provincial Building Society (which became part of Abbey National in 1996) from Burnley to Bradford saw a passenger service reintroduced, and the diversion of freight off the Settle & Carlisle route (also then slated for the axe) meant the threat of closure was lifted. Nowadays the passenger services over Copy Pit are supported by West Yorkshire Metro east of Hebden Bridge. The eastbound DMU between York and Blackpool North stops at Burnley Manchester Road at around 52 minutes past the hour, while the corresponding return makes its halt at 35 minutes past the hour. The eastbound climb to Copy Pit is couch easier than the opposite direction and 6E32 traverses the line at just the right time to take advantage of several classic shots, none more so than the view of Lydgate Viaduct. There are also good views available of the early-morning 6F70 cement service from Clitheroe, as well as the loaded 6M32 bitumen service in the summer months. Other freight trains do run, but the operation of most of them is subject to frequent changes and irregular service.

60096 6E32 Preston Docks-Lindsey, Stainforth Junction 13.05.2015 (Mick Page) Visit our Facebook page for 6e32/6m32 www.facebook.com/prestonribblerail

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The train joins the Calder Valley at Hall Boyd Junction, which has several good road bridges providing excellent vantage points in both directions. This location is set to change dramatically as Network Rail is reinstating the north to west curve as part of its Northern Hub project, allowing direct Burnley to Manchester Airport services. After a booked stop in the loop at Heaton Lodge Junction (west of Mirfield), the train completes the first stage of its journey to Healey Mills, still in former L&YR territory. Both the stations at Hebden Bridge and Sowerby Bridge are good for photography, but it is the area around Mirfield that has the most notable opportunities to record the progress of the empties. Crew changes used to take place at the now-closed Healey Mills yard, but these are now done at Wakefield Kirkgate station instead. 6E32 passes the former hump yard just after midday, with the road bridge at the east end and several bridges down the line in Horbury still enabling iconic shots of the transformation of trans-Pennine motive power and trains over the years. Taking the Knottingley line at Wakefield Kirkgate (Calder Bridge Junction) and the main line to Doncaster at Crofton West Junction, the bitumen service then joins the former Great Northern Railway at Adwick Junction to bypass Doncaster, where it meets the Great Central (ex-Manchester Sheffield & Lincs Railway) at Hatfield & Stainforth. This far east, with the clock nearing 13.30, photography of the train becomes difficult. The most popular view of 6E32 is paralleling the wide Stainforth Keadby Canal at Crowle, in North Lincolnshire. There are other locations, especially where the line turns south east, but the flat landscape and paucity of overbridges makes life difficult. East of Scunthorpe, the empties from Preston Docks are on the freight 'racetrack' to Immingham Dock, ticking off the popular enthusiast hotspots at Barnetby, Melton Ross and Brocklesby in quick succession before finally completing its journey to the huge Lindsey Oil Refinery just before three o'clock in the afternoon.

With a snow covered Pendle Hill in the background to the right, Colas Rail Freight Class 60 No. 60076 passes Walk Mill, near Burnley in charge of the 6E32 Preston Docks - Lindsey empty bitumen tanks. 30/01/2015. (Paul Manley)

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Free Ride to the Asylum Some called it 'Little Annie, some called it 'The Nurses' special' and to some it was ‘Sylum Billy. It was possibly the strangest little railway in Britain, a single track just over one and a half miles long, on which a wheezy old steam locomotive would haul coal, provisions, staff and patients to the country's largest mental hospital, Whittingham. For some who would spend the rest of their lives there, it was a one-way trip. Historian and retired policeman David Hindle, who worked for a time at Whittingham, takes his readers back to those days in his book ‘Victorian Preston and the Whittingham Hospital Railway’. In the 19th century Preston was a grim place, a dirty industrial town that inspired Charles Dickens for his novel 'Hard Times: Poverty, disease and alcoholism were rife. Despite its reputation as a Catholic town, boosted by an influx of Irish workers, Preston was a fairly godless place. In 1851, it is reported, church attendance was only half that of other cotton towns. One newspaper correspondent observed: "In another beer house, fiddling and singing is the order of the night; in every one it is vice with the paint off, for most, if not all, of the men are thieves or worse, and the women, without exception, are prostitutes of the lowest and most depraved class. Here they are unmistakably plying their horrid vocation, drinking almost fiercely. The Preston Chronicle reported on the 'thieves kitchens' with which Dickens was familiar: "In these places lads, women, men, girls, beggars, thieves, tramps, vagabonds, cripples and prostitutes sleep together, without any respect to age or any distinction of sex, huddling in imperfectly ventilated rooms, and taking off their clothing before retiring to rest on account of the vermin:' Conditions were ripe for physical mental illness. For the poorest and the sick, the workhouse was their fate, and when the workhouses were prohibited by law from physically restraining the lunatics, the

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authorities agreed such people should be housed in purpose-built institutions. And so plans for the County Asylum at Whittingham came about. The Chronicle reported, unsympathetically: "One large workhouse would have more of a deterrent effect than the honeysuckle-fronted places we now have. It would be a bigger and more tremendous embodiment of pauperism that repulsive idea that we associate with workhouses would be more tangible:' It was to be a 1,000-bed asylum, centred on a grand-looking building called St Luke's, which could have passed for a stately home. The first patients were admitted in 1873. Further annexes were added, and by 1915 the asylum, by now renamed Whittingham Mental Hospital, had more than 3,500 patients, making it the largest in the country.

The hospital's little railway came into being in the 1880s, the intention being to replace the horse-drawn carts that initially carried provisions to the asylum from Preston or Longridge stations. It would cost £12,000, and would save about £1,000 a year compared to road haulage. Work began in 1887 at the Grimsargh railway station, on the Preston-Longridge branch line, and a new little tank locomotive was bought from the Andrew Barclay company of Kilmarnock. The first trains ran in June 1889, and right from the start, the railway was a curiosity. Although it was intended to carry goods only, the hospital authorities decided on carrying staff and patients and bought a passenger carriage from the Lancaster Carriage and Wagon Company, the only one ever to be bought new. This was followed by an assortment of second-hand carriages from the London and North Western Railway and later the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. Carriages first carried the lettering 'CAW' for County Asylum Whittingham then later CMHW for County Mental Hospital Whittingham. The compartments were marked first, second and third (class) but this was merely a legacy of the previous owners, for no money was ever exchanged for tickets on the

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railway. A second tank engine was bought in 1904 from Barclays, and the two little engines ran the trains from early morning to late at night with two teams of enginemen. In the line's heyday in the early 20th century, the trains carried 3,000 passengers a week and 12,000 tons of freight a year. In 1930, the Preston-Longridge line was closed to passenger traffic, but the little line soldiered on, still carrying goods and passengers. By 1946, the first Barclay tank engine was worn out, and the hospital authorities paid £750 in 1947 for an old Southern Railway 0-4-2 tank engine named `Riddlesdown', which was renamed `James Fryars' in honour of the chairman of the hospital's visiting committee.

Barclay No 2 died in 1952 so the hospital then bought an odd-looking Sentinel 0-4-0 steam shunting engine from Bolton gasworks and renamed it ‘Gradwell’, After 'James Fryars' finally gave up the ghost in 1955 and went for scrap to Wigan, the vertical-boilered `Gradwell' became the railway's only motive power. In its declining years, after the old passenger carriages became unusable, passengers were carried in three ex-LNWR brake vans that were converted by the hospital's own carpenters. They looked like cattle trucks, but they did the job until the railway eventually closed in 1957, and ‘Gradwell' was sold to contractors at Bishop Auckland.

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Throughout the line's life, the engine crews had to take special precautions as they eased the trains along the unfenced line through the hospital's immaculately-kept grounds.

Even so, there were casualties. A male patient died in 1894 when he was struck near the hospital station, and four years later another patient committed suicide by laying his head on the track. The local paper reported: "Before the driver could apply his brakes the engine had passed over the neck, shockingly mutilating the body:' The casualties weren't just human, either. As the line ran through fields to the hospital, farm livestock sometimes came to grief. After one accident, a court ruled that the engines must no longer push the trains from the back, which restricted the driver's sight, but had to run round the train and pull it on every trip. The fame of the peculiar Whittingham Hospital line spread far beyond Lancashire, even to the United States, where the San Francisco Examiner in its 'Believe it or not' feature by Mr Ripley carried a picture of 'The no-fare train' and declared: 'You can travel 50 miles a day for nothing on the GrimsarghWhittingham line, England. Mr Hindle recalls his own memories of a visit during 1953: "On arrival at Grimsargh Station, we discovered that the entire operational staff on the railway comprised only two separate teams of drivers and firemen. Hence there was no ticket office and anyone could travel. All they provided at Grimsargh was a waiting room, complete with a roaring coal fire and a single electric light bulb. "It was rather like the 'Marie Celeste', a ghost station with no staff. Beneath considerable smoke emissions, an ancient steam engine suddenly appeared around the curve close to Dixon's Farm. As the apparition drew nearer, along rails deeply submerged in a weedy single track, the sight

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and sound of steam was perceived with a sense of yearning and nostalgia. Upon arrival and after running round its train, I stood in awe at the sight of a truly antiquated steam engine named James Fryars and witnessed the early shift of hospital workers slamming the doors of three green carriages, which had been converted from LNWR guard vans by the hospital's joiners. "The kindly engine crew allowed me on the footplate to look at the controls of the clapped out old veteran, affectionately known by them as 'Jimmy Fryar. To my astonishment, fireman Bennett produced a coal shovel, which was placed above the roaring fire to fry bacon, eggs and field mushrooms for breakfast, washed down with tea from the driver's billy can. I am not too sure about the coal dust, but giant field mushrooms on toast, washed down with tea from the driver's billy can, tasted delicious.

The patented coaches bore an uncanny resemblance to cattle trucks. They even had the luxury of wooden seats around the sides of the carriage and gas central heating provided by a Calor Gas bottle, which was locked away inside the coaches. Suddenly and unannounced there was a jolt and a lurch followed by a blow on the engine's whistle, as the train eased off from the platform to commence the journey to Whittingham. The tiniest of windows allowed us to savour the pleasant countryside during the six-minute journey to Whittingham, which was a fairly comfortable ride as I recall. From Grimsargh Station, the line curved in a north-westerly direction away from the Longridge line, past an exchange siding used to stable British Railway's coal trucks, before reducing to a single track approaching Dixon's Farm. Here, at the first footpath crossing over the line, a family group gave us a friendly wave from lush green fields

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and the driver gave a reciprocal toot on the engine's whistle. I was totally mesmerized by the whole experience of the Whittingham line. Riding past tumbling lapwings with the exhaust beat and shrill whistle of the engine competing with joyful chirruping swallows and the evocative calls of curlews echoing over the meadows, not to mention the galloping heifers. The latter had a clear lead over the engine and seemed to be winning an impromptu race. After crossing Savick Brook the train veered slightly right and entered a cutting about thirty to forty feet deep, gloriously festooned with colourful ox-eye daisies and purple orchids to emerge on a high embankment while crossing over Blundell Brook and Brabiner Lane bridge, the largest bridge on the line. After crossing over the stone Dell Brow bridge, the familiar water tower landmark at Whittingham hospital and the black smoke rising from the boiler-house chimney came into view. One suddenly felt a feeling of deja vu on behalf of successive generations of patients who euphemistically had held a one-way ticket for the journey to the Victorian asylum that the railway line had served since 1889. As the train trundled on towards Whittingham Station it seemed to acquire an unnerving swaying motion whilst negotiating a left-hand curve on a high embankment. Alighting from the train on to the narrow platform we walked past the engine-shed and around an ornamental lake in the hospital grounds. Then, after being attacked by a busking mute swan and watching a cricket match, it was time to walk back to the railway station and experience the return journey, but on this occasion with 'Jimmy Fryar' propelling the train from the rear all the way back to Grimsargh. Maybe the driver had X-ray vision but then in those days who had heard of something called health and safety? It could only have happened on the Whittingham Very little survives of the old hospital line, apart from a bridge at Dell Brow, overgrown embankment and cutting and odd lengths of iron railings. Whittingham Hospital itself closed in 1995 and most of the buildings have been demolished......

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Nostalgia Corner

Who would ever imagine that something as simple as a spring could become one of the most enduring toys of the 50's, 60's and beyond? The origin of the famous "walking" spring toy actually begins in 1945. Richard James, a naval engineer, was working with tension springs while trying to create a horsepower monitor for naval battleships. Richard watched intently as one of the springs fall to the floor; he was amazed at how it continued to "walk" along the floor. At that moment, the idea for creating the Slinky was born. For 2 years, Richard and his wife, Betty, experimented with different combinations of steel gauges and coils before coming up with the optimal design. It was Betty who actually christened their new creation "Slinky," after see the word (meaning "sleek and graceful") in the dictionary. The Slinky was an instant success. In 1956, the James's created their own company to produce the Slinky. Today as then, every Slinky was made out of 80 feet of wire.

In 1960, Betty took over the reins of the company. She continued to expand the line of Slinky toys (Slinky Junior, Slinky pets, plastic Slinkys, to name a few.) It was during this time that Betty also revamped their advertising campaign; and yes, if you were around in the 60's, you can probably still sing the Slinky jingle…: “What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs, and makes a slinkity sound? A spring, a spring, a marvellous thing, everyone knows it's Slinky! …..” And a lot of us did. Today over a quarter of a billion Slinky's have been sold. Not bad for a modest little spring that learned to "walk!"

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There are many toys I remember from my youth. One of them is Mr. Potato Head. Mr. Potato Head was invented by George Lerner in the late 1940's. Lerner's idea of a toy made up of plastic face parts that could be stuck into a potato didn't catch on at first. Then, in the early 1950's, Lerner sold the idea to the Hassenfeld brothers and their Pawtucket, Rhode Island Company, a company that became Hasbro, Inc. (Hasbro being short for Hassenfeld Brothers).

Under the Hassenfeld's marketing Mr. Potato Head became a big success. It was the first toy to be advertised on network television, and in 1952, its first year of production, it made over $4 million. A plastic body was added to the kit in 1964, eliminating the need of a real potatoes and other fruits and vegetables. For more than a decade Mr. Potato Head was sold as separate plastic face parts – noses, mouths, eyes, ears, spectacles, hats and moustaches, for example. These parts could be stuck into real potatoes or into other vegetables and fruits. It was a fun toy where children could create silly faces by using face parts in different ways – i.e. putting a nose on top of the head, using unmatching eyes, etc. A plastic body was added to the kit in 1964, eliminating the need of a real potatoes and other fruits and vegetables. Changes continued to occur in the toy over the next couple of decades. One of these changes included the elimination of one part – a pipe – in 1987. Elimination of the pipe was due to the growing concern about smoking among young people. More recently Mr. Potato Head has appeared in comic strips and has been used in play sets, puzzles and video games. He has been a character on TV and has appeared in movies such as Toy Story. He has also been used to market potatoes as a healthy food. But most of all, Mr. Potato Head continues to be what it always was - a toy.

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Finish With Engines S/S Tilapa Arriving at Preston for Breaking. July 8th 1959. Images provided by Chris Morant courtesy of the D. Cochrane Collection

Built in 1928 by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead, The SS Tilapa was famous for carrying the first cargo of bananas (with ten million on board) to the UK after World War 2, arriving at Avonmouth on December 30th 1945. Pathe News carried the story in thousands of cinemas all over the world. Children eating the first fruits on arrival had to be shown how to peel a banana and that you did not eat the skin! (Many a Banana came out of the dock gate that day under the Dockers shirt) The SS Tilapa was also involved in the Battle of the Atlantic being part of the convoys. She was in Convoy HX 188 and departed Halifax on May 3 -1942 and arrived Liverpool on the 15th (Arnold Hague's "The Allied Convoy System" says with 28 ships). She was the Commodore's vessel for Convoy HX188. Commodore was Captain W E B Magee DSO. RN. The ships left in the following order (according to the diary): At 11:05 the British freighter Tilapa went out (Flagship), followed at 11:10 by the British Catapult freighter Empire Rainbow (LUM on Hurricane), then with a few minutes between

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each ship these went out: Empire Moonbeam (2 bombers on deck), Gdynia, Cymbula, Cairnesk, Gallia, Ocean Valour (2 bombers on deck), Sourabaya (whale oil factory. Tanks and crated aircraft), Kollbjørg, Empire Jet, Ville de Tamatave, Charles F. Meyer, Norvik, Belgian Gulf, Emma Bakke, Emile Francqui, Jamaica Planter (2 open decks [short]), British Zeal, Modavia, Beaverhill (airmen on decks), Tai Shan, Empire Explorer, Norefjord, Ulysses, Ocean Justice, Ocean Peace, Fort Nipigon (at 1:05).

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On the trip from Garston to Preston she beat her trial speed by two knots. At the time of this photo her engines were stopped and never turned again. Finished with engines really did mean finished with engines ! S/S Tilapa, ended her life at T.W. Wards Ship breakers, Preston 1959.

Fyffes Line was the name given to the fleet of passenger-carrying banana boats owned and operated by the UK banana importer Elders & Fyffes Limited. With the formation of Elders & Fyffes Ltd in 1901 it was necessary to procure suitable ships on which to transport their bananas from the West Indies to the UK. Therefore, in 1902 when the Furness Line was anxious to sell three steamships each of 2,875 gross register tons (GRT), the new company raised the necessary funds to buy them. Named Appomattox, Chickahominy and Greenbriar, they were all refitted in Newcastle upon Tyne and a special cooling system installed to keep the fruit firm in the crossing. The first of these entered service later the same year as a banana boat and a fourth vessel, the Oracabessa, was also added to the fleet. In 1904, three purpose built banana boats were ordered, each of 3,760 GRT. In 1910 the company came under the control of the United Fruit Company but retained its identity. The new ships also carried a small number of passengers in relative comfort, especially when compared to the Royal Mail steamers of that

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era. As such they have been acknowledged as playing a significant part in bringing the first tourists to Jamaica. By the start of World War I, the Fyffes fleet had grown to 18 ships, but almost all were then requisitioned by the UK Government for war work. In the next four years ten ships were sunk by torpedoes or mines. The company recovered quickly and less than five years after the war had achieved an even stronger position than it occupied in 1914. Then major problems arose; the 1923 dock strike and the Great Depression in the United Kingdom, a series of floods and hurricanes in Jamaica and the Spanish Civil War all produced their own difficulties. By 1938 the Fyffes fleet which had numbered 36 ships in 1932 was down to 21. By September 1939 there had been 56 ships which had flown the Fyffes flag in the previous 38 years. In the next six years of World War II, 14 ships were lost at sea. In November 1940 the UK Government imposed a total ban on the import of bananas, having decided that the only fruit that could be imported for the duration of the war was oranges. This ban continued until 30 December 1945 when the SS Tilapa, flying the Fyffes Line flag, arrived in the UK with the first cargo of bananas to be seen for over five years.

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Membership Application Form *Annual Membership runs 1st January to 31st December

Full Name: ............................................................................................................................. Address: ............................................................................................................................. .......... Town/City: ............................................................................................................................. .......... Postcode: ............................................................................................................................. .......... Email: ................................................................................ Tel: .................................................................................... Mobile: .............................................................................. Date of Birth / Age at next birthday ............................... Membership Type: Adult (Annual) - £15 / Adult (3 Years) - £40 Family (2 + 2) - £30 Adult (Life) - £150 / Adult (Senior) - £90 Cheques are payable to "Ribble Steam Railway" (Cash/Card transactions can be made via the Museum Shop)

Send your completed form together with your cheque and a stamped self addressed envelope to: RSR Membership Secretary, 34 Tag Croft, Ingol, Preston, PR2 7AQ

Gift Aid - The Ribble Steam Railway can use Gift Aid as a tax relief on monies donated. If you are a UK tax payer and are willing for us to use your membership subscription as a gift aid donation, please x here .............

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2016 Membership 2016 RSR Membership is valid until December 2016 - Membership rates have remained the same for the fourth year running.

RIBBLE STEAM RAILWAY LIMITED (A company limited by guarantee) Registered Address - 3 Lincoln Drive, Liverpool, L10 3LJ Company Number-1112880 / Charity Number-507266 Vat Number-703965428

Please include a stamped, self-addressed envelope in all communications. Membership rates for 2016 (Applicable to December 31st 2016) Adults £15 (3 year offer £40) Family £30 (Children under 16 must be accompanied by parent / guardian at all times)

Chairman - David Watkins Company Secretary - Michael Bailey Directors:Michael Bailey, Matthew Burke, Matthew Darbyshire, Wilfred Helliwell, Ken Mahaffey, Dave Manley, Frank Masson, Christopher Mills, Edward Tatham, Alan Vernon, Russell Walker, David Watkins Company Officers including those of Ribble Rail Ltd:-

Adult Life £150 Senior Life £90

Chairman & Finance Director - David Watkins

2016 Quick & Easy Membership

Company Secretary - Michael Bailey

Send your completed form * together with your cheque and a stamped self addressed envelope to:

Membership Secretary / Magazine editor - Chris Mills

RSR Membership Secretary, 34 Tag Croft, Ingol, Preston, PR2 7AQ

Diesel locomotives - Matthew Burke

Cheques should be made payable to ‘Ribble Steam Railway’

Carriage & Wagon - Alan Vernon

Operating - Russell Walker, David Billington

Steam locomotives - Russell Walker

Train guards - Matthew Darbyshire

Your new 2016 card will be sent by return within 7 days (or as soon as humanly possible !)

Permanent Way - Edward Tatham Health & Safety - Michael Bailey

All volunteers need to be fully paid up RSR Members.

Staff health & safety representative - Jason Finerty Marketing, Publicity & Advertising - Chris Mills, Ken Philcox

If you're simply wanting to visit the site and enjoy a train ride, your membership also entitles you to half price admission on most operating days, on production of your membership card. On some special events this facility may be restricted. Life members enjoy free admission at all times, except Santa Special Weekends (this latter restriction applies to all classes of membership). Members also receive 3 issues of 'The Ribble Pilot Magazine' per year.

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Shop Sales - Liam Diamond Buffet Car - Eunice Mahaffey, Chris Mills Website / Social Media - Matt Burke, Chris Mills Museum - Terri Hearty General Enquiries Email: ribblesteamrailway@gmail.com Phone: (01772) 728800 (Answer phone out of hours)

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Do NOT PRINT

With "Energy" leading & about to cross the swing bridge "Progress" pushes on the rear of a loaded oil train heading for the Fina plant. Note that this was one the earliest runs using the new line and clearly shows the old boiler house, yet to be demolished, and the general lack of any other new development work yet to be started, mid 1980's. (Steven Brindley)

See “Cover� attachment

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Ribble Pilot is printed by Ashton Print, 5-7 Plungington Rd, Preston PR1 7EN RSR Publications © RSR 2016 (Photo: John McClenaghan)

Do NOT PRINT

See “Cover” attachment

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Profile for Chris Mills

Ribble Pilot - Issue 44  

Spring 2016 Journal of the Ribble Steam Railway

Ribble Pilot - Issue 44  

Spring 2016 Journal of the Ribble Steam Railway

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