North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Tuesday 6th June 2017

D Day!

The South Devon Railway continue to make progress with the wheels. These photographs are of the first wheelset in the lathe for cleaning up the wheel centre. unfortunately there seems to be a lot to clean up.

The first Q6 wheelset in the lathe at Buckfastleigh - Rob Le Chevalier

The first Q6 wheelset in the lathe at Buckfastleigh - Rob Le Chevalier

The first Q6 wheelset in the lathe at Buckfastleigh - Rob Le Chevalier

The first Q6 wheelset in the lathe at Buckfastleigh - Rob Le Chevalier


Monday 5th June 2017

The Q6 wheelsets at the South Devon Railway have had their old tyres removed. See SDR Railway Wheels page for background concerning railway wheel assembly.

Q6 whelset at the SDR with the tyres removed and the Gibson rings shown - Rob Le Chevalier

A Q6 wheel set with tyres removed - Rob Le Chevalier

8 off scrap tyres - Rob Le Chevalier


Saturday 3rd June 2017

First I would like to mention last Wednesdays report where the steam reverser requires new rings. I was quite shocked to find that after 6 months working on the loco all of a sudden extra work has been found. The glands have already been tightened & lock nuts fitted to the followers, so I marked it off as complete months ago. Good news though, the shed mechanical foreman has volunteered to remove the piston ring & have a new one made. As he had the reverser in bits last year he knows what is required so I took up his offer to do the job.

So to today’s work party Colin Foxton, Ian Pearson, Peter Ellis, Andy & Joan Lowes were in attendance. Nigel Hall sent his apologies as granddad duties were required elsewhere. Mark O’Brian under contract has removed the stub ends to the flue tube bottle ends & we installed the guide into the front tube plate to tap the fire box tube plate holes tomorrow.

Joan Lowes washing up the tea cups after lunch - Andy Lowes

The driver axle boxes have had the old ferrules removed for the oil feed. The new pipes with bushes attached have been put with the boxes ready for when the boxes go back onto the axles. The trailing axle lubrication is staying as it is due to the ash pan; there is very little room to fit anything different to what is there already.

A laminated copy of our Armstrong oiler pads for all NELPG locos has been stuck to the side of the cupboard above the workshop where the stock of pads are kept, just for reference.

The right piston valve has been stripped again to try & get the rings to slide up & down. We have moved 2 shims (.016”) from the back to the front to try & achieve this. It worked until the nut was tightened up fully so the cotter would go into the hole. Both valve rings nipped up solid so will have to be looked at again by someone with more knowledge of this type of valve.

So to the left valve, this is where our problems really did start! When stripping the valve down everything has been laid out on the bench in the order that it came off (please do not move anything). The last piece of the head has a piece of broken key in it that looks as if it has twisted!

The twisted key in the left valve - Andy Lowes

We tried giving it a tap with a copper mallet, no movement. After soaking the joint in penetrating oil & digging out more carbon we tried again with the mallet, you guessed it no movement! This called for drastic action, with the aid of a tape measure we worked out it would just fit into the press in the running shed. (See photo 4894) So the valve rod was set up in the press & 3 then 4 then 5 ton of force was applied I stopped at 10 ton, you are ahead of me now yes no movement!! I then had a word with our friendly MPD manager who was duty fitter this afternoon. He recommended using between 3 & 4 ton of force with a little heat, yet again no movement. The rod was still warm when it was time to leave for home so we could not repeat the procedure again. Having told Paul Middleton what we had done, he said if he had time, he would give it another go later. I hope he has more luck than we did.

Colin Foxton alignes the valve in the running shed press - Andy Lowes

Also today the right side outer frames have been cleaned, well about half were. The grime that has stuck to them is really difficult to remove, to be continued on Wednesday.

Joan Lowes cleaning the RHS frames - Andy Lowes

The gauge frames have been stripped, cleaned & roded through, new packing & stainless steel balls will be fitted to them after the threads have been examined for wear.

I discussed with Paul Middleton the problems we are having with the spring hanger adjusters; I asked him if he could get them NDT inspected, he said he knows someone who comes over a couple of times a week. I asked him to get them checked for us and also all the horn stays as last time the driving wheels were out one was cracked. I also asked about the springs, Paul told me these will be going away to be repaired soon.

The springs - Andy Lowes

Next Wednesday 7-6-17 Ian Pearson will be RO as usual but he is not available next Saturday 10-6-17.This will be my last winter maintenance report, as it is now June it must be summer by now! So as Paul Hutchinson Q6 caretaker called in two weeks ago to Deviation shed to find out where we were up to. I leave the project at a turning point where the loco is stripped & some items refurbished ready for re-assembly. Watch this space for what is happening next Saturday.

It just leaves me to thank everyone who has been involved with the Q6 winter maintenance in whatever capacity whether a one off or most weeks I appreciate your efforts & I hope you enjoyed the experience.

One last thing, Joan & I will try & get over to Deviation shed to work on the Q6 when we can. The next Saturday we have free is 24-6-17, see you all there for mid summer madness!


Wednesday 31st May 2017

Another fine sunny day at Grosmont yesterday, although not as warm as last Saturday which made for a better temperature for working. Only Derek Shorten and Ian at the start of the day, although Nigel joined later on, having been stuck in traffic jams, one involving lots of blue lights in Middlesbrough and one at Scaling Dam where they are resurfacing the road with those"dreaded chippings", and I called in to join them for lunch on the bench outside Deviation Shed between other business in the area.

After the usual first cup of tea, Derek set about cleaning the inside of the cab, especially both bottom sides where the wooden floor sits. Ian cleaned the blower valve on the bead blaster and got Owain to skim the valve head. After lunch, Nigel started on the frames preparing them for painting, while Ian cleaned the blow down valve, again with the bead blaster.  Both valves are on the bench, with the  blow down valve requiring a new gasket. Mark O'Brien advised that the NYMR was using copper rings for this, but they did not have one our size in the stores although one can be ordered if they are given the dimensions. Barney also asked if we were going to remove the reverser, or whether he was to do it, as the broad gauge piston ring at the back needed replacing.

There were also rumours floating around that the K1 had failed in Scotland earlier in the week. Checks with the team at Fort William have now confirmed that there are no problems and the K1 is fine.

Working party as usual on Saturday when Paul the weather man is forecasting sunshine but fresher temperatures, so ideal weather for working on the Q6 and watching the trains go by.


Sarurday 27th May 2017

On an extremely hot sunny day Ian Pearson, Peter Ellis, Colin Foxton, Joan & Andy Lowes were at Deviation shed working on the Q6. Trevor Wilford called in to catch up with the banter before he had a trip to Pickering on the train so we could wave at him! Gordon Wells called in to progress the pit lighting but requires some conduit now, he did get one of the lights above the workshop working so we have a little more light now up there.

Ian enquired at Armstrong oilers about the pads we use on our locos & was given a list of all the numbers on the pads; I will send a copy to all the loco caretakers etc. for reference.

A number of 110v lamps were repaired & or new tubes/bulbs fitted, all now work.

A spare spring hanger adjuster was found in a box above the workshop, thanks to Nigel Hall who sent an email through the week with a photo showing this.

The end caps were fitted to the injectors; the blower valve & blow down valves have both been removed for refurbishment on the bench.

The axle box pipe work is progressing with the trailing copper lubrication pipes being annealed & the new flexible pipes fitted to the bushes ready for the driving axle.

The tender tank sides & back have been cleaned with kerosene & a survey has been completed on the loco brake gear.

Wednesday 31-5-17

  • Continue with back head fitting refurbishment
  • Both gauge frames to strip, clean & build back up
  • Clean loco & prepare frames for painting

Next weekend Mark O’Brian will be working on the boiler tapping the fire box flue tube holes. This will enable him to measure the threads & order the flue tube bottle ends that are welded onto the tubes. There is about three week lead in time from placing the order to delivery. He uses a supplier who does all the work & includes all the certification job done; all he then has to do is fit them into our boiler.


Wednesday 24 May 2017

Glorious summer weather at Grosmont yesterday day with Ian, myself and Nigel Hall a little later. After the usual cup of tea, Ian and I took scrapers, brushes and paraffin cleaning equipment down to the running shed and got stuck into cleaning the left hand side of the frames. We also took two upright lighting stands as the far end of No4 road is just a little dark, even in the noon day sun - and it was also a bit cooler than outside! The most difficult bits were removing the ingrained rail dust, which, after cleaning off the loose material, Nigel advised he would clean up with an orbital sander, and getting behind the slide bars. After lunch, which we had on the bench outside Deviation shed, Nigel suggested we should have a go with the NYMR steam cleaner as there were no underkeeps to trap water. After a lesson (aka training!) on how to use it from Charlie Wood, we completed the left side then did the whole of the right side.


Ian Pearson steam cleaning Q6 frames at Grosmont - Nigel Hall

Chris Parrish is going to sort the damaged threads out on the spring hanger bolts and nuts, but the defective one is back in the workshop. A hunt is on for a spare replacement which is thought might be at Hopetown or upstairs in Deviation. If not, then a new one will have to be made which will not be cheap.

Loading up Q6 wheel sets at Grosmont for transport to South Devon Engineering - Chris Lawson

The Q6 wheels were also collected late yesterday afternoon and are now on the way to South Devon Engineering on an eight week turnround.

Q6 wheel sets loaded up and ready to go to South Devon Engineering - Chris Lawson


Saturday 20th May 2017

A lot going on at Grosmont today with NYMR" Behind the Scenes Family Weekend" , and the Grosmont Co-op 150 Anniversary, held in the cricket field with a Marquee, stalls , displays, children's races and much more.

Well on board today , Joan & Andy Lowes, Peter Ellis, Colin Foxton, Ian Pearson & Paul Hutchinson. Plus Bryan Orange and the Junior volunteers. All remaining Spring hanger bolts and fittings have been shot blasted. JV's ran the nuts down each one to check the threads were ok, about 4 will need some attention to the thread and one bolt may need replacing.

All left hand motion , chimney and L/H eccentric rods have been moved from walkway into the 4 foot on 6 road.

Q6 wheels, all Crank pins and Journals have been greased and covered in cling film ready for dispatch to the SDR.

Some of the brake gear has been laid out for measuring, new bushes and pins.

Lunch outside Deviation while the sun was shining, about an hour later it poured down - and a great day was had by all.


Wednesday 17th May 2017

In my absence in the very wet Lake District this week, Ian reports that there were four present at Grosmont yesterday - Derek Shorten, Alan Whitehouse, Dave Donegan, and Ian himself.

The locomotive is now set on bogies on No 4 road in the running shed.

After the usual cup of tea, all the remaining locomotive fittings from the Q6 were brought to Deviation Shed for cleaning - vacuum and steam heat pipe connections, guard irons and various brackets. These were all cleaned and are now stored behind the bench in the Shed. Alan set about blast cleaning some of the spring hanger bolts. Lunch was taken in the

A4 cabin due to heavy rain (so just like the Lake District then!): no picnics yesterday. After lunch, Derek and Dave got on with cleaning the tender frames.

John Graham arrived around lunch time to measure the Q6 tyres. When the wheel sets were removed and checked by the MPD last week, they were found to show evidence of tread wear, which was not apparent from the regular tyre measurement. John concluded that, as the tyres are at scrapping size, the tread wear could not be corrected and the tyres should therefore be replaced. Precautionary enquiries of South Devon Engineering established that should retyring be found necessary, if the wheelsets could be got to them quickly, the new tyres we already have in store with them could be fitted on an eight week turn round. In the light of this, the Committee has approved the expenditure and the wheel sets will go to South Devon next week.

John also took the measurements of all journals and crank pins.

Terry Newman called in for a chat between his driving turns.

Working party on Saturday, but note that the NYMR is holding a 'Behind the Scenes' event over the weekend. We have not been told whether Deviation Shed is being included, but it is likely that, regardless, there will be a large number of visitors around the MPD.  The JVs will also be present for the latest of their MPD Workshop training sessions and may take on Deviation Shed tours if necessary.


Saturday 13th May 2017

A mild fine day at Grosmont with Peter Ellis, Colin Foxton and Myself with assistance from some junior volunteers under the leadership of Mr Bryan Orange. All the wheel sets have been removed to the wheel compound and axle boxes taken off by the NYMR fitters and stored in the workshop. The loco is sitting on combination bogies in the wheel drop shed at the moment.

The junior volunteers were set to work cleaning the frames, while Peter, Colin and Myself started on the on the remaining spring hanger bolts - about 14 of them.  A few needed some heat to remove, also the big adjustable spanner with a long pipe. All have had the gung and nuts removed which took most of the day. After drying the paraffin off I took the spring hangers down to the NYMR grit blaster to give them a good clean up, managed to get 5 done today. We will continue with these on Wednesday. It was noticed that the Left leading intermediate spring hanger bolt has some damage on the thread.

We had lunch outside Deviation Shed today watching the trains go by - what more could you want! Andy and Joan Lowes with their grandchildren called in later to see us for a chat and a cup of tea with Hobnob biscuits, they had been to Pickering on the train.



Wednesday 10th May 20117

Just Derek Shorten and myself took advantage of the glorious summer weather at Costa del Grosmont today.

The Q6 was still on the wheel drop, but with all the wheel sets now out. These are sat on the short length of track next to the wheel drop, along with the springs - one of which is broken. The aim was to move the Q6 onto No 4 road in the running shed during the day, but first the accomodation bogie under the cab had to be moved so it was under the frame rather than the rear hornstay, and the temporary bogie at the front had to be swapped as it was not far enough under the front buffer beam to stop it tipping and the front of the engine falling to the ground as soon as it hit anything but straight level track. We agreed this would not be a very good outcome, especially with the Channel 5 documentary film team around! This involved removing the guard irons and the remaining cylinder cock linkage, and, in the end, it took all day to get everything nearly into position, with the final work due to be completed first thing tomorrow. That will then enable the Q6 to leave the wheel drop and go into the running shed where there is a good enough air supply to enable Mark O'Brien to do his required work on the firebox tube plate flue tube threads (the compressor in Deviation Shed was not considered powerful enough for the job).

We were asked not to do any work on cleaning the wheel sets, so, after the required cup of tea and dark chocolate HobNobs, ace frame cleaner Derek set to work for the day on removing the vast quantities of gunge (technical term) revealed by removal of the wheelsets. In spite of his efforts, there is still plenty left for others to have a go at. For my part, I started on cleaning the four trailing spring hangers that Ian had left on the bench in the workshop. Only a 50% success rate with these, in spite of attacking them with increasingly heavier sledge hammers to try and get the nuts free. Flushed with this level of success and a lot of sweat, I collected another pair of spring hangers from the Q6 running plate and achieved a similar outcome. The three cleaned hangers with freed nuts are on the workbench to the right of the vice, while the three seized ones were consigned to a bucket of paraffin to try and free them up for another attack on Saturday. There are also another ten hangers waiting for similar treatment. They are all clearly marked up as to where they have come from on the locomotive, linked to the identification marks on the wheelsets and springs.

Ian popped in to see how we were getting on, in between waving at us as he went past on his driving turn, but there were very few visitors today, and still no more dead mice. There is a fresh bottle of milk in the fridge, the JVs are due on Saturday, and there is plenty of work for anyone else who wants a day out in the countryside. So do come down and join Andy and the rest of the Saturday team - the weather forecast is not too bad.


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