North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Wednesday 1st February

A fatality to report from yesterday's working party. Not sure whether it was Mickey or Minnie, but it was certainly a very dead mouse! Ian Pearson was brave and put it in the skip before the rest of us - Jon Bradley, Nigel Bill, Steve Hyman and myself - arrived. The traps have been reset with more Mars Bar.

On the work front, and after a restorative cup of tea, I got stuck in chiselling the concrete from the smoke box but quickly found it very tough going. The concrete is so hard, sparks were flying from the chisel as I tried to break it up - hard as concrete in fact! Ian then gave me a hand until lunch time, and we concentrated on the area round the blast pipe, thinking that if we could get the base and studs exposed so that we could get it out to give access to the remaining bottom elements, we could leave the rest of the concrete for later. By lunch time, we reckoned we had remove a couple of buckets full. In the meantime, Jon and Nigel were under the locomotive removing the valve followers to access the gland packing, and Steve was busy cleaning the smoke box door dart and then cleaning the smoke box spark arrester frame: he has made a great job. There are a few bits left to clean.

After lunch, Ian borrowed a windy gun and chisel from Mark O'Brien at the shed, started the compressor up, and with Nigel, started hammering away at the concrete. After a couple of false starts, it worked OK and a fair amount was removed, but there's still lots to go at on Saturday and it is still hard work. Mark gave us permission to keep the windy tools and these are in the workshop.

I went with Jon under the locomotive to dig out the old gland packing and he also removed both cotters from the valve rods. The valve rod cotters and follower nuts, plus 2 oil pipes are labelled up on the left hand bench in the workshop. Ian also removed the broken dome stud from the vice outside the workshop and that is now in the box with the mud hole doors.

Because the Grosmont car parks (NYMR and National Park) were being taken over by a film crew who were filming today (so 80136 and 44806 were having steam tests yesterday and adding to the general fog and mist shrouding the moors) we had to finish early to get our cars out of the car park. As a result, no start was made on removing the valves, nor were any of the remaining mud hole doors cleaned. So, with the rest of the concrete and the blast pipe, all jobs ready for the Saturday team.

If anyone wants to join the Wednesday team, they would be most welcome - lots of tea and biscuits available, and plenty of work to do. If you are coming though, please give Ian Pearson a ring or drop him anĀ  so we can get out sufficient tea mugs.