North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Saturday 9th February 2019

Ian Pearson reports a very windy but milder morning at Grosmont yesterday with James Pearcy, Neal Woods, Trevor Wilford, Nigel Hall and Ian in attendance. The stove was lit and a cup of tea made before starting work - mainly on the J27 and based on a list of jobs given to Ian by Barney on Friday to help get it ready for steaming on Monday.

James fitted the two oil boxes to the back of the cylinders that feed cylinder oil to the valve spindles: these now have brass labels on stating CYLINDER OIL. He then built up the gauge frames with new Klinger packings, new gauge glasses and rubbers. Neal fitted both injector caps before connecting both water hoses to the injectors and then the water supply from the MPD via a large hose onto the loco overflow pipe to fill the tender and boiler. With help from Trevor who annealed the piston cover oil pipes, Neal fitted them and primed the system. Ian cleaned the remains of the old gasket material from the safety valve bases on top of the boiler, then made another new gasket to match the one that was made the previous day. These were then assembled onto the boiler with the safety valves and secured. Neal could only fit the steam heat gauge in the cab of the J27 as the others were not ready, but he also fitted the steam heat and boiler pressure gauges on the Q6.

Nigel painted both sides of the Q6 tender frames in black gloss. Other jobs done on the J27 were fitting of the cab floor and coal divider, while the storm sheet was cleaned with water and Fairy Liquid, dried in the wind and sunshine, folded up, and stored in the tender locker. Three drain holes were drilled in the bottom of the tool locker that sits on the back of the tender, due to the fact that it fills with water.

Lunch was had in Deviation Shed round the stove with cups of tea all round. Trevor did the honours of washing up all the dirty pots afterwards as there were quite few. The fish fryer and side guards were removed from the tender and are now stored in our workshop pending fitting at some other time. With the J27 all boxed up and the boiler and tender each half full of water, a small warming fire was lit about 3pm.

A couple of jobs have been noted for attention on Wednesday - one on the

Q6 intermediate R/H coupling rod where the cork is being sheared off, and one on the J27 where the right hand handrail has a loose fitting where it fits into the smoke box. There will also be a need to check were we are with the cab gauges.



Friday 8th February 2019

Yet another day of activity at Grosmont. Ian reports a small working party attended yesterday on a wet and windy, albeit slightly milder, day, and was made up of Bill and himself.

The Q6 had been pulled outside and shunted round the back of Deviation Shed with Robson Hewitson, Jamie Lazenby and Andrew Jeffery working as instructed by the MPD foreman, with a little help from Ian. The engine and tender were coupled together, then brought back into Deviation Shed where the big draw bar nut was tightened up and secured with the locking plate cotter and split pin. They also coupled up water hoses and vacuum pipes. Finally they fitted the cotter and split pin to the main draw bar pin, and also split pinned both safety links. Many thanks to them for a job well done. The brake linkage is still to fit but a bush is awaited which Owain should have ready on Sunday. Barney is going to put a team on finishing the Q6 part rocking grate on Monday.

Otherwise, Bill and Ian worked mainly on the J27 safety valves. Bill ground in the seats and rebuilt both valves, while Ian cleaned the old gasket material off the bases and made two new gaskets. However, he commented "I must say we need to buy some new tools for cutting and punching holes on this type of material. I borrowed a pair of cutters from Andrew Jeffery which made this job 10 time easier than struggling with some of our old gear we have". A pair of Stanley metal cutters is wanted! The J27 had been taken down to the MPD outside No 4 Road, where the boiler shop staff altered the ash pan spray and re-fitted the grate. The boiler was partly filled with water, but seeing as the gauge frames still require fitting you can only go so far! The gauge frames will be assembled today, along with the boiler to fill, water hoses to connect and a small warming fire to put in at the end of the day. The J27 has been given priority over the Q6 by the NYMR for the Railway's steam test on Monday and the insurance company steam test on Tuesday.


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.


Friday 19th January 2019

Ian Pearson reports a fine, cold, frosty morning, with evidence of Thursday's snow still laid around at Grosmont (it has been in the mid 30sC in Sydney all week), with a small working party today consisting of Bill Dobson, Richard De Sadeleer, Nigel Hall, and Ian himself, all clocking on about 9am. Bill could only stop for a couple of hours so, with the stove still alight from Thursday, it didn't need much to get roaring away again, keeping the chill and condensation off the tender tank. Nigel got stuck in on the tender tank, and, by the end of the day, the whole tank had its first coat of gloss paint. Bill, Richard and Ian removed the right hand con rod with the aid of the hydraulic trolley, a strop and timber packing. As it was removed, the big end brasses were taken out of the rod and stored on the running plate and the rod lowered to the floor on some packing. Now it was time for the first cuppa and a well earned biscuit!

After the break, it was time to attack the dreaded right hand crosshead cotter! With two of us in the pit, one on the hammer the other holding the bar, and one outside holding the bar onto the cotter, after several attempts and no movement of the cotter, defeat was about to be admitted, when to the rescue came William Parrish and Martin Ashburner. After explaining to them what was required, Will said he would have a go on the hammer. There was a little repositioning of the access of the bar, and Martin put a wooden wedge in between the bottom of the cotter and the bar to keep it firm. Then, with Richard holding the bar, Will began to hit it with considerable force and it started to move. Another couple of hits and it came out: alleluia! Many thanks to William and Martin for their time and effort to help out.

Now it was time to split the crosshead. Richard and Ian set up the splitting gear, and with Richard on the ratchet this was soon split and the back cover removed, cleaned by Richard, and taken down to Owain who has the other side cover at the MPD for skimming. These should be done by Monday, ready for us to refit next Wednesday. All the splitting equipment was returned to the lockers at the side of No 5 road at the MPD. Paul Hutchinson called in for a few minutes to see how we were getting on. Then lunch around the stove.

After lunch, Ian and Richard cleaned all the old gasket material from the casting. It was very stubborn and took the rest of the day, but may still need a little more cleaning next Wednesday.

No more work on the J27. It was stood on No 2 road waiting to go into No 5 road for washing out which will be next week, possibly Monday.


Wednesday 16th January 2019

Ian Pearson reports a cool overcast morning with the odd shower at Grosmont yesterday with Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Steve Hyman, Ian McCall, Roy Marshall, Dave Donegan, Jon Bradley, Nigel Hall, Derek Shorten and Ian himself - a good turnout! When Ian P arrived at Deviation Shed, Martin Ashburner informed him that there was a smell of gas coming from our propane bottle. He got Ian McCall to check this out: Ian M put some liquid soap around the fittings and found a leak between the regulator and the propane bottle connection. The regulator was disconnected for inspection and found to be defective, with two small slight grooves on the cone fitting . After consultation with Mark O' Brien, a new propane regulator and a new propane nozzle were obtained from the MPD stores by Ian P. The nozzle had been condemned by Trevor Wilford last Saturday. The regulator expiry date is 2022. Ian M fitted the Regulator and nozzle and it is now working satisfactorily with no leaks.

After all that it was tea all round, with the stove burning nicely and some fresh new packets of biscuits to munch at - Trevor please note! Out in the yard, the steam crane was in action with Piglet driving and Barney and Nick supervising the lift of the S15 boiler, first fitting the ashpan, then, later in the afternoon, the boiler into the frames (see photo). Back in Deviation Shed the crosshead splitting gear was brought up from the MPD by Steve. All the small cotters and nuts were removed from both crossheads, then the task of removing the crosshead cotter (the big one) was started. The left hand cotter was tackled first, but it was a struggle until Nick Proctor, a volunteer at the MPD, came in and, with his suggestion of a long bar and a big hammer, that cotter was finally removed. Roy was employed all day cleaning the frames ready for Nigel Hall to paint.

Lunch was had in Deviation Shed around the stove - at least for some. As there was a working party of 10, a couple had to sit on the bench at the top of the shed where it was a lot colder. After lunch, it was clear that the crosshead splitter would not fit in with the con rod in situ. So this had to be taken down and laid on the floor, and then the crosshead was split and the left hand back cover was removed for skimming. Then it was round to the right hand side, where the loco was moved slightly to get the rods in the right position and a start was made in dismantling the crosshead with the removal of the gudgeon pin. Efforts to then remove the large crosshead cotter with a long solid round bar and a big hammer were unsuccessful - it would not move. It is a bad angle to get a straight hit at the cotter and blame was laid on the design - 'Bloody Raven!'. Some device will need to be designed to sit on the end of the cotter so a better hit can be made.

Bill and some of the others started to dismantle the right hand con rod: this will be completed next time. Other jobs done were the removal of the shut off valves from the gauge frames by NB and IM . DS continued to brew tea wash up and clean mud hole doors. NH continued prepping the tender for painting.

The J27 at the moment is sat outside the running shed on No 5 road road waiting for its wash out (see photo).

Please note the next working party will, unusually, be on FRIDAY 18 January.


Saturday 12th January 2019

In my absence in Australia, Ian reports a mild and overcast day at Grosmont today (only in the low 30s in Sydney!), the first Saturday Working Party for a long time, with James Pearcy, Andy Lowes, Nigel Bill, Trevor Wilford, Peter Ellis, Ian himself, and Gordon Wells later on. Nigel Hall couldn't make it today - vehicle problems. After lighting the stove, a brew was made along with a critical comment from Trevor regarding our biscuit stocks! Apparently I have gone off to OZ and left us in a depleted biscuit situation. Trevor will be having words with me when I get back! Apologies for this culinary disaster. However, he still managed to munch through some rather soft ginger snaps, so it can't have been too bad!

After his wingeing, Ian gave him and Peter one of only two jobs belonging to the Q6 today, which was on the tender. This was to remove the loose studs from the front stretcher plate on the right hand side which they did. Andy then fitted some new bolts, but these are only temporary until we get some new fitted bolt made. James and Nigel removed the fire grate from the J27's firebox after clearing out the leftover ash. This has been done to allow the ash pan sprinkler to be adjusted. Quite a heavy job lifting those grate sections out through the fire hole door! The grate sections are stacked at the side of No 6 road and marked 1 to 7, 1 being at the front of the box. Ian and Nigel B removed both tender water valves, but as some of the flange bolts had to be burnt off it was a good job Trevor was present today. James has taken the valves to Hopetown where he is going to overhaul them and return them before the steam test on 12 February. Andy and James removed both piston covers and these are now stored in the work shop. Lunch was had around the stove again, very cosy.

After lunch, Peter stripped down both Q6 safety valves which are ready for inspection and, with new springs, are in a red plastic box on the work bench. Gordon called in for his conduit, which is now stored in the electrical store. He also repaired one of our stand up lights. Trevor was not pleased with the state of the burning torch nozzle. He said it had been misused and damaged. Ian is going to have a word with Mark O'Brien at the shed who is responsible for these items. He will also let Mark know that Trevor is going to make the tender draw bar pin covers.

The next working party is on Wednesday 16 January - just don't forget the biscuits!


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