North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

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.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

So much for the weather forecast that today would be the best day of the week - dry albeit cloudy! In the words of the Geordie anthem, 'The rain it poured down all the day and made the ground quite muddy' (in a suitable Geordie accent of course which my computer cannot replicate! - but no coffee Johnny, (it was tea), no white hat, and no-one yelled 'who stole the cuddy?'). As a result it took continuous running of the pump from 9.30am until about 1pm to get the swimmimg pool water down to a level that you could actually get underneath the engine, and we had to keep it going during the afternoon as it was coming in as fast as the pump could get shot of it. However, thanks to Trevor's work last Saturday, the pump kept going and we had no blockages.

However, in spite of all the difficulties, the 5 of us present (Ian, Les, Derek, Jon Bradley and myself) had a reasonably successful day. The brick arch remnants have been removed from the cab, the concrete has been removed from the smokebox except for two small pieces in the back corners behind the steam pipes, where it will need someone thinner and more flexible than me to get them out (James?), the bottom row of small tubes and the two lower flue tubes on the LHS were blown through from the smokebox end (they will need doing from the firebox as well), and Derek continued his sterling work on cleaning the wheels and frames, having started to tackle the right hand, and very dirty, side. Both piston valves were also removed successfully and have been chocked and placed on the workshop bench. No visible broken rings, but it was not possible in the time left to knock out the split pins and loosen the nut on the valve spindle - the pins proved very resistant, preferring to simply bend, and will need more attention on Saturday.

Because of the physical size of members of the working party, we were not able to do any more cleaning of the inner firebox, nor remove the compacted ash from both ends of the grate. Sorry: looks like Andy or James for those ones!


Saturday 2 January 2016

Andy reports that Saturday was a very frustrating day with the continuing presence of the Deviation Shed swimming pool. The pump kept picking up stones and other rubbish which blocked it up and meant that the water never got cleared from the pit the whole day. As a result, no progress was made under the Q6. Trevor has made a mesh to fit over the base of the pump to try and overcome these problems, and is also going to make a new fitting for the outlet pipe next Saturday.

However, some progress was made in that the big ends on both sides have been closed up to .003". Both secondary cotters are loose. Ian and Trevor have removed both connecting rods. As decided by James at the previous working party, Andy was given the privilege of knocking out the brick arch and started to clean the inner fire box with a wire brush. The bottom row of small tubes and 2 lower flue tubes on the LHS require blowing through, and compacted ash to be removed from both ends of the grate.

Other jobs for this Wednesday include

  • removing the remains of the brick arch from the cab
  • continue wire brushing the inner fire box
  • emoving the concrete from the firebox
  • And of course, there is always a need to continue with cleaning of the frames and wheels!

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Andy has reported that it was a really good day at Deviation Shed on Wednesday: everything is starting to come apart and get re-furbished. What a difference having a few extra people helping out, so a big thank you to all 5 who worked with me.

At long last a start has been made cleaning the frames. Derek just quietly gets stuck in, to the point that I forgot to tell him we were knocking off for lunch - sorry!

Trevor has continued to work on the fire hole door and has sorted all the parts for the flap hinge. He will get some 10mm plate and 1/2" rivets and put it all together - just like that.

James really enjoyed his day while he was clean. His task was to clean the smoke box ready for the insurance exam. I suggested a long handled brush which he used but he remembered last year's comments from the inspector about blocked tubes. Are you ahead of the story? Yes, he then blew out all the tubes with an air lance. I was pleased because, for obvious reasons, we did not want to take the valve and cylinder covers off until all the soot was cleaned up. We then, as a team, removed all the covers in a very professional manner.

Ian finished off the clack valve squares. They are both the same size now and there is a spanner in the locker to fit them! The slacker pipe valve was taken off and returned to NYMR. The original that M-Machine repaired would not fit as some fittings were missing. I made enquiries at the shed and was told Owen took it off, but he is on holiday until next week. The steam reverser was piped up to the air main and more steam oil put into the steam cylinder. The reverser was put into full forward and reverse several times until no more water came out of the exhaust.

The Railway had reported the lubricator using excessive amount of steam oil. The valves and pistons have a nice coating of oil on them, but some of the lubrication pipes are leaking. Peter has made a good start by removing pipes, cleaning, repairing where necessary, annealing and blowing them out with compressed air.


Saturday 19 December 2015

No sooner had I pressed the send button on Thursday, than I heard that the Q6 washout had been completed and it had been moved into Deviation Shed, on the back of the pit road next to the workshop. The curse of the email system and having to work remotely last week!

So Saturday's working party, small but beautifully formed, comprised as it was of Andy Lowes, Ian Pearson and Trevor Wilford, were able to get their work done without having to trail up and down to the Running Shed in the heat. Indeed, it was such a lovely warm day, far too nice to be working inside, that they had to keep popping outside to wave at Santa trains.

Andy got both cylinder covers to a point where they are ready to lift off. Also the pipework to the front covers of the valves has been removed in readiness to take the covers off.

Ian was busy in the cab, removing the mouth piece from the fire hole, the gauge frames were put in the fireman's side locker on the tender and both gauge frames rodded out. Cab gauges have been packed in a cardboard box with bubble wrap and put above the workshop for safe keeping. The plan is for Paul to take them with the K1 gauges to get calibrated at Guisborough early in the New Year.

The steam reverser was piped up to compressed air: this was very long winded affair (ouch! Sorry for the pun). The plan was to lubricate the steam cylinder with steam oil through the valve on the top and work the cylinder to remove any water. Sounds easy until you try it. Long story short - when the air supply was turned on it blew the flexible pipe off, so this will have to wait until next time when another pipe is made up.

Trevor was on his first working party at Deviation Shed so he had a quick safety briefing, was acquainted with the facilities available and then got stuck into some fabrication work. This included welding the right clack square on the isolation valve spindle. He also made a steam heat drip valve protector which is ready to weld on. The fire hole door flap was also removed. This fought back to the point where Trevor burnt the bolts off: we take no prisoners, we win in the end! With the door removed both hinges were also found to need replacing as they are worn right through on the door side.

Unfortunately, no RO is available for next Wednesday (23rd), so there will be no working party, although if anyone has finished their Christmas shopping and wants to get rid of any surplus energy, the Q6 still needs cleaning under the running plate - particularly frames and wheels. With no working party on Boxing Day, the next ones will be on Wednesday 30 December for which Andy Lowes will RO and then Saturday 2 January which Andy will again lead, and Wednesday 6 January for which an RO will be required.


17 December 2015

With the arrival of Ian Riley's Black Five on the NYMR at the end of last week, the Q6 has now officially (and barring any last minute crisis) come to the end of its 2015 operating season. Whether the wash out and move into Deviation Shed will have been completed by this weekend is not yet certain, but regardless, Andy Lowes is going to lead a working party on Saturday (19th) at Grosmont. He would love to be joined by others, so if you are available and wanting to bask in the current mild weather, please either drop him a note to let him know you will be there (email address above), or just turn up and join in the fun.

Dependent on the outcome of Saturday's activities, there should be a working party next Wednesday, but then a break for Christmas before returning to the regular Wednesday/Saturday routine in the hope that the work can be completed by the start of the main operating season.



As you will have seen from the latest issue of News, the Q6 was working over the weekend 5/6 December. James Pearcy rode out as owners rep on Sunday, and with Paul carried out a static functional test at Grosmont when it returned. That revealed very little in the way of additional winter work, with most of the defects found being either already on the winter work list or relatively minor in nature. The most significant was that the regulator is passing a little bit more than it should and needs attention. The brick arch also needs replacement. The work list is being updated to reflect these additions.

I understand that a broken spring was also found. That was replaced by the MPD on Monday when the Q6 was spotted on the wheeldrop. It is now back in the running shed, and subject to the satisfactory arrival of Ian Riley's Black Five on the NYMR this evening and it being available for the rest of the Santas, then the Q6 running season has come to an end for 2015. The MPD plan to do the washout and unbox it next week, and Paul Middleton hopes to have it in Deviation Shed by Saturday 19 December. The serious winter maintenance work can then begin, with the intention to run Wednesday and Saturday working parties as last winter - we might give Boxing Day a miss though!

I will confirm that next week once we know whether the Q6 has gone/is going into Deviation Shed in time for the 19th. In the meantime it is intended to hold a working party this Wednesday (16th) which will concentrate on giving the engine a thorough clean under the running plate - frames, wheels and underneath - before getting stuck into maintenance jobs. That will also not interfere with wash outs or the (remote) possibility that the NYMR might want to use the engine again that weekend. Stocks of biscuits and tea bags have been checked and topped up, and there is now a fridge (thanks to Bryan Orange's efforts) in the upstairs store on the table next to the microwave, so the milk should last a bit longer. We also have access to Darrin Crone's A4 cabin if required, which even has heating! So, no excuse not to get involved and help get the Q6 back in traffic as early as possible in 2016, our 50th anniversary year.



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