North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Wednesday 9th January 2018

Well, with a Happy New Year to all our readers, we started again yesterday on a cold slightly oveccast morning, with Ian Pearson, Bill Dobson, Ian McCall, Steve Hyman, Nigel Bill, Derek Shorten, and Nigel Hall. I called in briefly to drop off some electricity conduit for Gordon Wells and collect the signal arms which are to go to auction later this year. Bill and I also had a meeting with Piglet and Barney to discuss operational requirements for the Q6 at the start of the operating season, bearing in mind that Nigel Hall is starting preparation work on the Q6 for its re-paint into temporary NER livery for its centenary launch, planned for 1 May. The NYMR requires it for February half term, when it will run in plain black, but thereafter, Nigel and Peter Whitaker will be finishing off and doing the lining and lettering. It has been agreed therefore that the Q6 will not be available for use by the NYMR until its press and media launch on 1 May.

Back at Deviation Shed, the pot bellied stove was lit and cups of tea brewed as we discussed our plan of action for the day. Nigel B and Ian M set about removing the front cylinder covers so Bill can measure up and order two new copper rings. Ian P and Steve removed the front section of fire grate to allow Mark O' Brien to fit one section of rocking grate to make life easier for the crews on disposal. The grate components are on order and are due to arrive today, 10 January. All the washout plugs and doors from the Q6 have been removed by the NYMR boilersmith, James Newton. Derek cleaned all the washout plugs and has made a start on the mudhole doors.

Ideparted around 11.15 to go and get packed for my 6 monthly trip to Australia today (currently waiting for my delayed flight, although TPE managed to run on time!). Nigel Hall arrived around 12 noon and lunch was had around the stove - very cosy . After lunch, Ian P and Steve started to remove split pins and cotters in order to split the tender from the locomotive. This needed considerable effort from us all in order to loosen the big drawbar nut, with Ian P and Steve on the big spanner and large hammer, while the others were on the rope between Nos7 & 6 road, pulling with all their might. It was very tight but eventually it came loose. The pins were removed and stored in the cab: the locking plate and cotter have been put in the tender locker. The brake connection from loco to tender was also removed. This is now on the floor between Nos 8 & 7 roads. Nigel Hall set up some new lights he had purchased around the tender sides and got started on cleaning the tender frames. James Newton has made a start removing the washout plugs and doors from the J27/P3. Both locomotives are still to wash out this but this may be done today.


Wednesday 5th December 2018

Because it clashed with a meeting of the Fundraising Sub Committee I was unable to get to Grosmont yesterday, which, in view of the weather, was probably a good thing. However, in spite of the wet and miserable conditions - it apparently never stopped raining - Ian reports that Bryan Orange, Jon Bradley, Nigel Bill, Steve Hyman, Derek Shorten, and Ian himself braved the conditions at Grosmont. Bryan opened up Deviation Shed, lit the stove and got the kettle boiling. Tea and biscuits all round, with Jon bringing some biscuits, although I must say that those on offer at Hopetown on a Thursday take some beating thanks to Derek Norris! Bryan came in mainly to show Arthur Jenkins, who came with John Midcalf, round the machine shop area of the MPD, as Arthur has volunteered to train some of our NELPG JV's on workshop skills in succession to the late Chris Parrish. No mice to report, and Derek was brewing the tea, keeping the stove going, and getting rid of some old timber.

On the Q6, with the left hand crosshead re-metalled and machined on the Tuesday, Barney Casey and Nick Simpson had re-assembled the crosshead and put up the little and big ends. So all that had to be done was tighten up the locking studs on the big end taper wedge and fit the small cotter at the lower end of the wedge. This latter required a new cotter making, which Nigel Bill did - a job that took quite some time. Ian fitted the little end oil box to the crosshead. Steve took off the left hand slide bar lubricator pot to re-profile the delivery pipe, which was annealed and slightly re shaped to allow a better oil flow onto the slide bar. The trimming was also adjusted. The opportunity was taken to adjust the trimming on the right hand side slide bar oil pot as well. We now have 4 strands of wool on each trimming at both sides. All eight studs that secure the oil boxes and rear piston cover were split pinned. Jon and Ian opened out the small cotter that secures the large cotter that secures the crosshead to the piston rod. Jon cleared the firebox grate ash from Tuesday's warming fire and set another warming fire on the grate which he lit during the afternoon. The Q6 was due to be in steam today, running just around the yard to check out the left hand crosshead. Assuming that is successful, it will be working the Santas from Pickering over the weekend.

Lunch was had around the stove, nice and cosy.

Bill called in briefly to see how things were progressing on his way to York Railway Museum that morning, to try and obtain some drawings of safety valves, safety valve springs and atomisers.

The next working party will be on Wednesday 12 December.


Tuesday 4th December 2014

On returning from the Santa specials on Sunday, both crossheads were found to be hot. The LHS was stripped down yesterday and the white metal on the bottom slipper was found to be worn. It is being re-mettaled in time for the Santa's next visit.

The RHS will be done next week.

The cause is unknown , but a lack of lubrication is obvious. The design, 100 years old as it is, supplies good lubrication to the top slipper, less to the bottom one.


Q6 100th Birthday Train


With bottle of brown ale on the front running board, and John Midcalf attempting to sell raffle tickets to the crew, the Q6 awaits departure with its birthday train - Nigel Bill


Wednesday 28th November 2018

A wet and windy but milder day than of late at Grosmont on Wednesday, with Ian Pearson, Steve Hyman, Derek Shorten, Dave Donegan and, eventually, for the late morning only, myself. The day started with the usual cuppa, after going to the Co-op to get some tea bags, then the stove was lit and the pots washed by Derek (whose special mug had been broken since our last attendance:'().

The Q6 was on steam test, with the shed fitters getting ready for this coming weekend's Santas and Dining trains. The Santa locomotives have all been temporarily named after reindeer - the Q6 is now Prancer and the J27 Comet (see photos). 5428 Eric Treacy has been re-named Rudolph and is rumoured will also be fitted with a red nose. Ian helped the fitters out by moving the Q6 onto the pit so they could continue with their checks on the locomotive. This gave Ian and Steve the opportunity to oil up the tops of the leading, intermediate, and driving axle boxes which feed oil to the horn blocks - not a very pleasant job. Dave siphoned all the brass lubrication boxes which were contaminated with water, and replenished them with fresh oil, along with the slide bar lubricators which had the trimmings renewed. A new trimming was also made for the left hand brass box that feeds the valve spindle on that side. The Q6 passed its steam exam and is ready for the weekend. The fire was disposed, and Ian moved the engine back to the shed outside No 4 Road.

The Q6 with its name board - Chris Lawson

Lunch was had on the bench in Deviation Shed. As it was mild it would have been too hot to sit round the fire! In the short time I was present, I managed to carry out the monthly check on the defibrillator.

The J27 with its name board - Chris Lawson

The J27 just about finished its washout, prior going onto the wheel drops for the L/H broken driving spring to be changed. This was completed during the afternoon and it was due to have its steam test yesterday. The safety valves on the J27 have been cleaned and refitted, but it was reported that they are in very poor condition and will need replacing in the New Year. Discussions are under way with the MPD about the best way of achieving this. Barney is also going to order some new safety valve springs for the Q6.


Wednesday 21st November 2018

As I was away in Northumberland all day, Ian reports a cold wet morning, but much brighter afternoon at Grosmont yesterday, initially with Derek Shorten and Ian, but then Jon Bradley and Nigel Bill, both of whom had been stuck in traffic queues on the A19, and, after lunch, by Nigel Hall. Martin Ashburner and William Parrish had opened up Deviation Shed and were busy removing the header on the S15 No 825, as they were not happy with the way it was sitting in the smokebox. The kettle was put on and a brew made. After tea, Derek washed up all the pots and then cleaned the ash from the stove, lit it up, and soon had a cosy corner to keep everyone warm. Two mice were caught earlier in the week, but none yesterday, although the traps remain set.

Barney gave the team a few jobs to be getting on with, mainly on the J27, as the Q6 was having its 28 day exam and boiler washout - the J27 will be having its today. So the only job to be done on the Q6 was to fit the number and shed plates, which was done by Ian. Nigel Bill fitted the number and shed plates to the J27, and, after this, removed five barrow loads of ash from the J27 smokebox which remained from last Wednesday's steaming for a film company. Jon Bradley brought the J27 cab floor up to Deviation Shed for repairs and returned it before the end of the day - it will need some new timbers underneath but is OK for the present. That will be dealt with after the Christmas/New Year running.

Lunch was had around the stove in Deviation Shed, and afterwards the J27 safety valves were removed, ready for refurbishment by the MPD staff. The seats on top of the boiler have had the old gaskets removed, the bases cleaned and the bases of the valves themselves cleaned. They are now stored in the Foreman's Office awaiting attention. In the meantime, Nigel Hall was successfully sorting out a problem with Barney's computer, which had left him unable to send emails to addresses.

The next working party will be on Wednesday 28 November.


Q6 failure

I have just had a phone call from Piglet who is at New Bridge. The Q6 was being prepared this morning when the blowdown valve stuck open, due to a fracture of the shaft. This may have been caused by a foreign body in the valve.

Mark O'Brien is present and reports no visible damage to the fusible plugs. The plan is to move the engine back to Grosmont and make and fit a new stainless steel shaft.

A photo charter using the Q6 is still planned for Monday.

Uodate 8/11/2018:
A blanking plate has been fitted to the boiler and a steam test is due tomorrow, prior to filming starting Monday. One of the springs had lodged in the valve opening, causing the shaft to fracture. A new Stainless shaft has been made and a new spring is on order. The spare valve in stock is too large.


Wednesday 24th October 2018

A fine mild day at Grosmont yesterday with Ian Pearson, Jon Bradley, Nigel Bill and (eventually) myself. After the usual washing up of lots of cups tea was served all round. There was quite a lot going on at the MPD with the steam crane in action lifting S15 No. 825's boiler from a well wagon into the area outside No3 road ready for its out of frames steam test next week. It certainly was of great interest to the visitors, as well as those walking the Rail Trail.

The Q6 was in the Running Shed on No 5 road waiting for a few minor repairs in preparation for its involvement with the NELPG diner on Saturday. The work was being organised by Barney, and two shed fitters, Dougie and Duncan, were given the job of dismantling and repacking both piston glands, while we were given the job of checking out the R/H cylinder non return valve which was leaking oil and steam. We set about by taking out some of the cylinder cladding bolts and removing the oil soaked insulation, finding out later that it wasn't necessary. This was because, when the non return valve was unscrewed from the bottom part (which is screwed into the top of the cylinder where it delivers oil), as Jon started to unscrew the top of the valve it sheared off. Looking at the piece that had come off it was evident that this had been broken for a long time, causing the highly visible steam leakage for many weeks, and it was not the result of any rough handling on our part! After consulting Barney we were told to see Barry Nesom, a volunteer machinist, to make a new bottom fitting with the broken one as a pattern. He did that within the hour. Our thanks to him and the other MPD staff involved for their help during the day.

Q6 RH cylinder non return valave with new body fitted into cylinder - Ian Pearson

Lunch was had alfresco on the picnic benches outside Deviation Shed, possibly for the last time this year in view of the forecast for wintry weather this weekend. After lunch the non return valve was refitted, with the new bottom end into the cylinder (see photo). It was then primed with the bleed screw opened to check oil was flowing through. This was satisfactory, and the bleed screw tightened back down. The insulation was repacked and the cladding bolted back up. Other jobs completed were the tightening of the L/H trailing brass oil box feed pipe, and fitting of a thicker shim on the trailing L/H coupling rod bush. We then spent the rest of the day cleaning the running plate, oiling the axle boxes, and cleaning the inside motion. While Nigel Bill was cleaning round the lubricator, he found an outstanding defect - a loose lubricator fixing stud which he removed. It had a defective thread, so he obtained a new stud and fitted it. Our work was all signed off by the MPD.

Elsewhere, the J27 was working on the, now 4 coach, teak set diagram. With the removal of the S15 boiler for 825, the tender and frames for Hartland have gone onto No 8 road in its place. Once a successful boiler inspector steam test has been carried out on the boiler (provisionally planned for the end of next week), the S15 frames and tender will move out of No 7 road for the boiler to be dropped in. Lucie has also moved out of Deviation Shed, and is now in the Fitting Shop waiting to be rewheeled and the boiler to be completed. Putting it back together should then be a relatively quick job, but will it be ready for Santa steam heating duties at Pickering in time.......?

Nigel and I also had a walk up the headshunt to see what we thought was the Group's V2 tender underframe, which is a possible candidate to replace the existing K1 tender in due course. We also moved a bench from the side of the Running Shed up to the viewing area outside Deviation Shed. After restoration, this is planned to be a memorial bench for the late Alan Toomer.


Wdnesday 17th October 2018

Ian and I were at Grosmont today.

The Q6 was out of traffic with another broken bracket on the fall plate, which occurred on Saturday. That had since been repaired and was refitted by the MPD during the day, along with the regulator gland being repacked. The piston packing has also been repacked and a water change will be carried out before it returns to service on the diners over the weekend. It was also being cleaned. In the meantime, the J27 was in service on the teaks, and sounded fine as it went past Deviation Shed on the 12.30 from Grosmont.

At Deviation Shed, Ian washed up all the dirty tea mugs, while I did the monthly check on the defibrillator and then trained Ian on the checking protocol. There were also a number of visitors who were happy to chat. With little more that could be done, we both left in mid-afternoon.

Elsewhere, the boiler for 825 is due to have its out of frames steam test on Wednesday next week and its tender and frames are now sitting on No 7 road, with the Weltrol carrying Lucie moved to the south end. The boiler for Hartland has been delivered from South Devon, and is in the boiler shop where there is further work to be done by the MPD boiler smiths.


Q6 pulls LNER Coach Association Members Special

In Autum Sun, the Q6 pulls the LNERCA Members Special at Green End - Maurice Burns

The LNER Coach Association's annual special train today used the Gresley Teaks and was hauled by the Q6.The phpotograph shows the 3.30 return from Grosmont in the low autumn sun with Terry Newman at the controls The trees and the bracken are just starting to turn colour.


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