North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Wednesday 7th February 2019


Sorry for the delay in circulating this report, but the gremlins got in to Ian's email system and his notes got lost somewhere in the ether. However, he reports that work started on Monday this week with a small working party of just Bill and Ian at 11am on a very frosty morning.The Q6 safety valves were reassembled, and the old gaskets from the bases on top of the boiler removed so the studs and bases could be cleaned. The safety valves were then refitted, as was the steam heat valve in the cab. The pit pump kept playing up during the day and finally stopped working later that afternoon. There has been quite an amount of ash spillage into the pit due to fire box work. This material keeps getting lodged in the pump, so the pump was switched off for repairs on Tuesday.

On Tuesday another small working party, with Bill, Jon Bradley and Ian, and a 9am start on another very cold morning with freezing fog. Stove lit and a cuppa straight away. First job was to connect the right hand con rod to the cross head, fit the little end pin and secure. Then round to the left hand side to fit the con rod big end bearing and all its securing fittings. This required moving the Q6 with pinch bars. Some of this work was achieved with help from Will Parrish and Martin Ashburner from the Essex Loco Society, and also Barney Casey, shed foreman. Bill had to leave early due a pre-arranged engagement. Lunch was had around the stove, then it was back to finish off fitting the little end. This meant some more movement of the loco with a pinch bar and, eventually, the rod was set right in the crosshead and the little end pin fitted and secured. The last hour or so was spent sorting the pit water pump out, taking off the outlet pipe and finding lumps of ash blocking it - Ian McCall where were you! These were removed and the pipe refitted and, thankfully, it worked as there was quite a build up of water in the pit to get rid off. That was it for Tuesday, and the stove was banked up hoping it would be still alight next morning.

Wednesday was a slightly milder day with Jon Bradley, Bill, Ian McCall, Steve Hyman, Roy Marshall, Nigel Hall, Gordon Wells and Ian. The stove was re-energised and a cuppa made, then down to work on the right hand cylinder cover which was put on last week but not seated properly. It was removed, turned and fitted correctly. Roy had found out from his photographic collection of Q6's with cylinder covers not having cosmetic covers, that the casting crosses had to be at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock. Jon started cleaning the hand hole and mud hole doors on the boiler. Ian fitted the Klinger packings and the rest of the gauge frame components, including glasses and rubbers. Shaun Bowler's torque wrench was borrowed to tighten up the cylinder nuts. After the right hand side was secured, it was realised that the left cylinder cover needed moving into the same position as the right one, so it was decided to reposition the cover. First though, lunch was had round the stove.

After lunch, Jon had to leave as he had an appointment during the afternoon. Ian McCall completed cleaning the hand hole and mud hole doors. He also fitted the mechanical lubricator drive to the big end crank pin and the little end oil boxes. Nigel had to give up painting the frames due to condensation.He tried to clear it with meths but it remained wet, so then helped Steve and Roy to rotate the left hand cylinder cover in position with the aid of the lifting table, and it was fitted onto the studs. Steve tightened all the nuts up with torque wrench. Gordon Wells came in later to repair a faulty wall socket just outside the workshop .

After afternoon tea, a couple of jobs were done on the J27. Both valve covers were fitted but the oil pipes are still to connect. The right hand side water hose was connected to the water valve flange and bracket fitted to the frames. Also a start was made on cleaning the hand hole door on the top right hand side of the boiler, but time ran out so all hand hole and mud hole doors are still to do on the J27.

On the Railway, ballast is being brought in by road via Esk Valley Cottages, tipped opposite Deviation Shed and also in the ash compound, then loaded using the JCB onto a train of hopper wagons hauled by an 08 shunter and taken to the newly relaid track site at Esk Valley, tipped and brought back for more.


Wednesday 30th January 2019


Ian reports beautiful blue skies and sunshine at Grosmont yesterday "but oh dear" minus 2 degrees (sounds wonderful compared to the 35C we are having to cope with this week!), with Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Derek Shorten, Ian McCall, Dave Donegan, Roy Marshall, Steve Hyman, and Ian himself. Quite a bit of water in the pit first thing so it was pump out as priority job, then the stove was lit and Derek brewed up. Round the stove with cups of tea and discuss the jobs.

The new copper rings for the piston covers had arrived on site on Tuesday, so it was decided to have a collective effort fitting the piston covers, and also the piston back covers which had been machined last week, and maybe the con rods, big and little ends - ever the optimists! Derek was given the job of cleaning the gauge frame fittings, in between washing up, going for water and cooking eggs and bacon on the stove at lunch time. In spite of all the other demands on his time, he managed to complete the Q6 ones and got a start on the J27 fittings. By lunch time both rear piston packings and covers had been fitted and secured. Also, the left hand cylinder cover was fitted and tightened up with the aid of Shaun Bowler's torque wrench. Bill had brought eggs and bacon, and, in passing, Derek mentioned he had been a cook in the Army, so that's why he got the job of cooking lunch - bacon and egg butties all round.

Afterwards, Ian P did some work on the J27 by fitting the left hand water hose to the water valve, and its securing bracket to the tender frame, with the aid of Steve and Derek. Steve then tried to remove the right hand water valve handle but the small taper pin that holds it in position would not move at all: it looks as if it will have to be drilled out. Bill and the team fitted the right hand cover but for some reason it was reluctant to be pushed flush to the outside of the cylinder. Even when the nuts were being screwed up it was showing signs of resistance, so it was removed twice but still would not screw up. It will be taken off next week and checked out. The right hand con rod was lifted on to the crank pin, and the big end bearing fitted and secured - the little end is still to fit. The left hand con rod and bearings are still to fit next week.

Mark O' Brien spent some time in the fire box measuring up the new Q6 front gate side bearer fittings. These will have to be shortened a little and the boss faces ground off. He also was welding brackets into the ash pan. Our compressor is back in action: the inspector was there yesterday and it is now OK. Ian P spoke to Barney during the afternoon and asked about the J27 valves and ash pan sprinkler. Barney reported that the valve covers can go back on as Piglet has inspected them and says they are OK. He was going to have a look at the sprinkler today.

Nigel rubbed down the frames on the left hand side only, but had a business appointment at home so he had to leave just after lunch.

The next working Party is arranged for Saturday 2 February with James Pearcy, Trevor Wilford (make sure there is a good selection of biscuits for him!) and Roy Marshall, plus anyone else that would like to join them. This will be mainly J27 work. But check the weather reports before setting off as there may be some bad road conditions due to snow! Ian P will not be at Grosmont as he is on an MIC course at Pickering if the weather is OK. Enjoy!


Saturday 26th January 2019


Ian reports a mild, dull day at Grosmont (43C where we were in Newcastle NSW!), with James Pearcy, Neal Woods, Jon Bradley and Ian himself. Also present was Bryan Orange plus 10 Junior Volunteers, with Arthur Jenkins and Andy Lowes training some of the JV's in workshop skills down in the MPD workshop. And not forgetting Mrs Joan Lowes helping out in Deviation Shed with shovelling ash into the barrow recovered from the pit after it had been dropped from the Q6 ash pan, and various other tasks. She also kept everyone going with pots of tea.

Most of the mechanical work was on the J27 with James and Neal fitting the refurbished water valves with a little assistance from Ian. The JV's were split up, as some were doing workshop training and some were with us in Deviation. We had six young lads: one assisted Neal bringing the water valves from Neal's car and also a heavy piece of cast iron in a barrow, another cleared ash from the pit and disposed of it on the ash tip outside Deviation Shed. Then they cleaned all the motion inside the frames on both engines, three on each locomotive. They did a brilliant job as the red paint can be seen again. Arthur and Andy were training the other four down at the workshop. Jon did some cleaning in the Q6 cab and also started to make a list of all oiling points on the locomotive, so an aide-memoire can be made to help drivers when preparing the Q6 for traffic. Then he lagged some copper pipes on the J27 which were potential hazards if touched, causing burns to the driver or fireman.

After James and Neal had fitted the water valves on to the tender delivery pipes, the main job was to get the valve handles secured so they would not lift off, as they had done in the past causing problems of operation for the train crews. The idea was to remove the handle and shaft by removing the four nuts that hold a flange on the top of the tender tank, but not all the nuts would come off and some had to be held from within the tender tank. So poor old James had to go inside and hold the bolt with a spanner while Ian undid the nuts - what a messy job! Working on the L/H first, when the flange was loose it was thought the handle and rod would pull up and out, but no, it would only pull out about a couple of feet or so and then jam. It was back to the drawing board. The flange was screwed back in place, the operating rod put onto the valve square, two holes drilled into the rod square, tapped, and bolts put in to secure it. It is now quite firm but there is still a some work to do on the left hand side which will be completed on Wednesday, and hopefully get a start made on the R/H side.

Bill came in about 3pm to see everyone. Ian mentioned that a bush on the Q6 tender brake linkage was damaged and needed a new one making, so the bush and pin were removed and the hole in the link measured. The pin and bush are in a vice in the workshop. Bill will see about getting a new one made on Monday.

A good day was had by all the Junior Volunteers. Lunch was had in Deviation Shed, but the JV's had theirs down at the MPD. Jon has taken the J27 floor and coal divider home for repair.


Thursday 24th January 2019


Ian reports on a bonus day at Grosmont today, on a cold drab morning with a snow covering on the moors. But brighter later on. With Trevor Wilford, Nigel Hall and Ian. As Trevor couldn't make it any other day this week, Ian went to Grosmont to assist him with some welding Jobs.

The stove was lit when we arrived as Martin Ashburner had got in early. So a brew was made and a warm up round the stove.

Trevor had manufactured 3 plates to cover the J27 safety link pins and tender draw bar pin. The draw bar pin cover needed a piece of 3 1/2" diameter tube welding to the underside of the plate. Ian found a piece near the scrap bin which Trevor cut to size and welded it to the plate: it was a perfect fit. The other 2 plates had to be tack welded in position because there was not enough depth for a tube fitting under the plate. Then to the Q6, where the right trailing spring over bracket was found to be coming away from the tender frame. The old weld was ground out and then re-welded (see photo).

The over bracket weld repair - Ian Pearson

It had been intended to weld some chain on the inside door of the J27 locker to stop it crashing down on to the water valve handle. Having found some chain and cut it to length we could not weld it as the welder would not reach. The whole welding machine needed lifting about a foot off the ground and, as Trevor wanted to be away home by 3pm and we needed a few bodies to lift the welder high enough to do the job, Trevor will do it next time. Ian also completed NDT crack test for the Q6 and J27 safety valve bodies and sent photos to Barney.

Nigel completed glossing the left hand side of the frames and also the hand rails.

Lunch was had around the stove, and there is more room now the white cabinet  and box has been moved out.


Wednesday 23rd January 2019


Ian reports an extremely cold but fine morning (minus 3 degrees C) at Grosmont on Wednesday (sounds great, and cheaper than having the air conditioning on here!), with Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Derek Shorten, Ian McCall, Nigel Hall, Nigel Bill and Ian himself. First job was cleaning out the stove ready for lighting and putting the kettle on.

The main jobs were getting all the components ready for the cold boiler exam tomorrow (Friday), so, after the usual cuppa, Derek started cleaning hand hole and mud hole doors, Nigel Bill removing the gauge frame components, rodding out the holes into the boiler, and also removing the old Klinger packings - this was done on both the Q6 and J27. Steve removed, dismantled, and cleaned the steam heat valve from the Q6. Bill checked the dimensions of the safety valve seats. As has been previously reported, there was quite an accumulation of water in the pit and the pump kept failing, so Ian M spent nearly all morning trying to get it working: it would go for a while then stop. After removing lots of cinders and other foreign bodies it began to work again. Then it gave up the ghost, resulting in Ian M taking the pump to bits once more and finding lots of small plastic ties accumulated in the workings. Eventually, with these removed, it worked perfectly all day.

A Locomotive Engineering Manager brings home the bacon - Nigel Hall

During this time there was a strong smell of bacon cooking. Bill had brought his frying pan and a pound of bacon and some buns, and set to with producing some bacon butties (see photo). So it was round the stove and butties 'aal roond' (and I am missing out yet again :'(). After we got the water removed from the pit, the two Ian's set about blowing compressed air through the reverser to get rid of any water that had accumulated in the steam side, and eliminate the chance of frost damage to the reverser. An air line was set up and connected to the reverser using the new compressor in Deviation Shed . Ours is currently out of action and awaiting a new inspection door. Once quite a bit of water had been blown out using the reverser forwards and back a couple of times, the airline was disconnected and the steam pipe re-fitted to the reverser. As a result of having bacon butties mid morning, a later lunch was had around the stove.

Both piston back covers have been machined and brought back to our workshop to be fitted next week. Ian M completed cleaning the faces for these covers on the cylinders using some heat and a scraper, and finishing off with emery paper. Nigel Hall completed cleaning and priming the right hand side of the Q6 tender frames: both sides of the frames are now in primer.

The J27/P3 has been washed out and is in Deviation Shed on No 7 road.


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