North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

A record of events, activities and our work with the Q6

Wednesday 27 January 2016


Not the best of days yesterday. With the recent rain, the pit was quite full of water and the morning was spent trying to keep the pump operating and clearing the sludge and stones which kept blocking it up. With it also raining outside, the water was coming in as fast as we could get it pumped out! However, with Ian Pearson and Jon Bradley's skill, persistence, and willingness to plunge their hands into the murky water (not even the frog that we found was too keen on staying in it) the pit was eventually sufficiently empty to enable Derek to sweep it out, clear the central channel, and remove a considerable quantity of filth into a barrow for disposal. Hopefully though, that will make it easier in future to empty out the pit and enable work on the Q6 to be got on with rather earlier in the day than we managed to achieve.

So far as the engine itself was concerned, Mike Oliver continued his work on the cab valve maintenance, and the outside front and rear, and the inside front, cylinder drain cocks were taken off, cleaned and checked - they are now on the workshop bench in the appropriate places next to the rods which Les had previously removed. The inside rear ones await removal and cleaning. In between pump clearing activity, Jon managed to get some more work done on the mudhole doors, and these are now estimated at 99% complete. They are on the running plate.

No work was done however, on the slide bars or on cleaning the frames and wheels.

There is therefore plenty to be getting on with for this Saturday's working party, which Andy Lowes will be leading. Any one planning to attend of whom he is not already aware, please let him know. The NELPG car will not be available as it will be at Carnforth for the weekend, with a two day working party planned.

As an aside, No 29 was moved out of Deviation Shed to enable the cab roof to be removed. The side tanks are next, as part of the work required to extract the cracked cylinder block which the pattern maker wishes to check. That will involve also the removal of the boiler, for which Chris Cubitt is looking for some strong men (or women) to do the lifting - although he may have to make do with a crane!

The out of date (December 2015) defibrillator pads were also changed.

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 March 2016 22:29

Saturday 23 January 2016


What a difference the weather makes: no problem this Saturday getting into Grosmont. Another good day getting lots of work done and, more importantly, the Junior Volunteers (JVs) had some two to one training on hand tools with Chris Parrish in the NYMR workshops. Hope the K1 working party had as good a day at Carnforth!

Peter, Brian Armstrong and Andy Lowes went on the NYMR safety briefing to work in the shed yard which they all passed, and have now been invited to do the NYMR PTS course on Sunday 14 February. James Pearcy, Trevor Wilford, Bryan Orange and 4 JVs were working in Deviation Shed while the others were getting educated.

There was though lots of trouble with the pump this time due to rubbish in the pit. Trevor and Peter have cured the leaking joint on the underground sewer pipe, but a non return valve in the bottom of the flexible pipe would be helpful to keep the pump primed.

Progress was made with the proposed new pipes for the axle boxes. James and Andy found the top of the boxes have a ferrule screwed into the top. If the thread is BSP, a nipple can just be screwed in and hopefully the new pipe fitted to this. The right piston was removed before lunch and dimensions recorded. Both piston back faces have been cleaned along with the cylinder studs and faces. The JVs have, when available to work on the locomotive, tapped the cylinder and valve cover nuts and cleaned the washers. The valve packing was removed from the glands and everything cleaned up ready for reassembly.

Bryan Orange, while keeping an eye on the JVs and giving helpful tips and advice, cleaned the valve covers. It was discovered only one has a copper sealing ring fitted: this was annealed by Peter while he was on with the lubrication pipes. The safety valves were removed, being very careful not to pull too hard on the spanner.

In addition, Trevor carried out some burning and welding on No 29 to help out Chris Cubitt.

Lots of bits are now off the engine and ready for the next stage - clean up, decide plan of action and method of repair.

So jobs for Wednesday :-

  • Sweep pit and clear centre drainage channel, also remove stones from pump if necessary;
  • Remove cylinder drain cocks, checking the screw threads and valves;
  • Remove side bar nuts and shims, check clearance with feeler gauge and record on side of rod;
  • Continue with the cab valve maintenance;
  • Boiler doors to clean and mating faces inside the boiler; and
  • Continue frame and wheel cleaning.
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 March 2016 22:34

Wednesday 20 January 2016


A small but perfectly formed working party on Wednesday - Derek Shorten, Mike Oliver, Jon Bradley and led by Ian Pearson.

Derek continued with cleaning the frames outside and inside when the water in the pit allowed - the pump wasn't working 100%. Jon cleaned all the wash out plugs, down at the MPD, and then made a start on the mudhole/ washout doors. They still require a lot of work and he is planning to come in on Tuesday and Wednesday to continue cleaning the doors. Mike took out both injector steam and stop valves, and also the steam heat valve, and these are now all laid out on the bench in workshop. The valve spindle heads require light machining, and Barry Nesham has agreed to do the machining next week. Ian got back into firebox took out the fusible plugs and cleaned all the grime down from last weeks blow through with compressed air. Subsequently the water hoses were put together, and, with the help of Jon and Derek, the flues were washed out: they are now clear. Finally, the ash was removed from the ashpan and water removed from the smokebox.

Andy will be leading another working party on Saturday to continue the work. Bryan Orange and some of the Junior Volunteers will be attending: could anyone else intending to be present please let Andy know. Remember also that Richard Jackson is planning to hold a safety briefing at 9.30am in the MIC cabin - anyone planning to attend who has not already let Martin Lloyd know, could they please do so as soon as possible.



Saturday 16 January 2016 and Wednesday 13 January 2016


On Wednesday two old fresh faces joined the team in Mike Oliver and Brian Armstrong - a warm welcome back - with Les Harper, Jon Bradley, Derek Shorten, and Ian Pearson. Mike cleaned the right hand piston valve, and Brian cleaned the left hand one: both now done. Jon worked on cleaning and clearing the rest of the concrete from the smoke box - another job completed. Les removed the taper pin from the right hand trailing side rod, but then it was realised that the loco would have to be moved to get the other pins out, plus there was packing under the left hand slide bars, so that job was abandoned. Les then removed all the cylinder cock linkages and these are now on the bench in the workshop all marked up. The valves are still to remove.

Derek carried on cleaning the outside frames and also made a start underneath. Ian got the short straw again and continued cleaning the firebox. All of the front grate had to be removed with Brian's help, and these bars are now stacked in the tender. A large build up of ash had accumulated behind the grate bearer and foundation ring, and this has been removed to the ash pan.

There is still ash in the two blocked flue tubes although some more blowing out with compressed air was tried towards the end of the day. No water was available to wash these flues as it was turned off at the shed and the main tank on the tunnel top was empty.

The pit pump worked fine all day, but the angle grinder was not found and the valves were cleaned manually. New oxygen cylinders were delivered to the Railway about 2pm, but one has still to be moved to Deviation Shed.

For today (Saturday), Neal, James, Peter and Andy Lowes all made it to Grosmont in very slippery conditions. The commitment shown by those present in getting there was very much appreciated, especially as Andy had left his keys for the workshop at home! A big thank you to Andrew, the duty fitter, for allowing us to use some of the MPD gear. The pit was cleaned out by Peter who then assisted with stripping the cross head.

A new bottle of oxygen was obtained and put on our bottle stand in Deviation Shed, along with some new strops and shackles. Neal, James and Andy removed the left piston that had been released last week from the cross head and stood it up safely next to the locomotive. A start was then made on removing the one on the right side - this will be completed next week. A dimensional survey was done on both cylinders and slide bars so a plan can be put in place to continue the winter maintenance to a speedy conclusion.

There will be another working party on Wednesday, for which the jobs are:

  • Continue with cab valve refurbishment (Mike Oliver?).
  • Continue with cylinder drain cocks check fit to cylinders/steam chest and refurbish (Les Harper?).
  • Continue with side rod bush clearances using feeler gauges and record on side of rod (the taper pins have been loosened in readiness - Les Harper?)
  • Finish anything left on the boiler clean out.
  • All boiler plugs and doors to clean: use wire brush on grinding machine in the MPD running shed where boiler washouts are done (use new full face screen & gloves)
  • Left side piston packing and spring to clean off carbon (left on slide bar): try and remove bush (still in gland) carefully.
  • Clean both cylinder and valve front faces and wire brush and grease studs.
  • Remove all carbon from ports on valves & cylinders.
  • Remove all carbon from left piston head.
  • Clean all valve & cylinder covers but take care not to damage the copper ring on cylinder covers.


Saturday 9 January 2016


Andy Lowes reports that five stalwarts, plus himself, enjoyed the challenges of the Q6 at Deviation shed yesterday - all progress was hard fought for.

The oxygen bottle ran out and the Railway had just ordered more bottles on Friday so no burning or heating could be done. A hand barrier cream dispenser has been put up in the workshop so we don't have to go all the way down to the sheds for some in future. The pump played up early on but after removing stones etc. there was no more trouble all day. A set of lights has also been installed along the edge of the pit to illuminate it and the underside of the locomotive so, hopefully, no more banged heads! A two step ladder has also been purchased to ease access to the underside of the locomotive from the pit.

After a lot of difficulty, the crosshead was split from the right hand piston rod. It was nowhere as simple as on the K1 as the clamp did not fit. With help and advice from the MPD, and also the use of their splitter as the NELPG and B1 cross head splitters had different and larger sized drives than required, it was all got apart and then the slide bars and crossheads re-assembled. The lessons learned should make the removal of the left piston next Saturday a bit less of a challenge!

Ian drew the short straw and set to with a new improved face mask to clean the fire box and tubes and intends continuing with this at the Wednesday working party. Peter continued with lubricator pipework and cleaning under the valve chest. Trevor Wilford fitted the steam heat drip valve protector with help from Peter. The new fire hole door flap was shaped to fit using the angle grinder and the hinges were welded together, so it is now ready for it all to be riveted together next Saturday. The pipework to lubricate the axle boxes has been removed on the right leading so new flexible pipes can be fitted as recommended by the Railway.

There will be a working party on Wednesday, whose jobs will include:

  • all the rubbish to be cleaned out of the pit, including the central drainage channel, once the pit has been emptied of water.
  • if the Railway has had a delivery of oxygen bottles, arrange to put one on our trolley (the old bottle was put into the empty oxygen bottle store).
  • clean the locomotive frames now they are well lit, so it should be possible to clearly see the muck inside the frames.
  • the piston valves are to clean, using the bench outside workshop - not the one inside - but the rings are not to be cleaned. These should be left as they are.
  • the cylinder and valve covers are also to clean, but care will be needed not to damage the copper washer on the cylinder covers.
  • continue getting the boiler ready for the insurance exam (clean for the inspector, need to impress him as it will be his first time in the Q6 boiler).
  • the smoke box concrete at the back of the steam pipes still needs to be removed.
  • the drain cocks to be removed and checked, marked up for ease of refitting.
  • side rod caps to be removed and clearances checked with feeler gauges: size to be marked up on side of rod.
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 March 2016 22:34

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