North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Q6 Blog

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

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.


Wednesday 3rd October 2018

Yesterday at Grosmont was grey and cool first thing, but got milder later on with even a touch of sun. During the morning, Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Jon Bradley and myself gathered at Deviation Shed. First thing, Bill washed up all the dirty pots, some with cultures growing in them.Not a lot to do early on, so it was cups of tea all round and a gossip for a while. We found out from the shed staff that the Q6, which was on its way from Pickering with the teak set, was to be swapped with the Standard tank so that attention could be given to the repair of the L/H front valve cover and both piston packings which were leaking steam quite badly.

So we had an early lunch, and when the Q6 arrived on the pit outside Deviation Shed, we set about removing the valve cover and two oil pipes.

This took ages due to the fact it was very hot and the difficulties in finding the right size sockets. Ours turned out to be either AF or Metric, so we borrowed a 7/8 Whitworth  socket from  Andrew Jeffery. Our ratchet had also gone missing, so we borrowed one from William Parrish.

We do have some old box spanners which do fit, but they were awkward to use due to the limited access to get at the nuts. Eventually the cover was removed with a rope attached to the cover, supported by Bill above on front of the locomotive, then lowered to the ground. We found the copper sealing ring had broken. The cover was cleaned up pending NDT testing which was to be done today (Thursday).

Both sets of piston packings are to be replaced. The L/H side was dismantled by Bill to see if any of our old packings would do but they were too small. Owain was going to machine replacements from old BR standard packings today.  Barney gave us an assurance that both jobs - piston packing and valve cover - will be repaired by Friday afternoon and that the Q6 will be available for its booked turn on the LNERCA special train on Saturday.

Away from the Q6, Jon fitted two jubilee clips on the J27's steam brake lagging to make a more secure job.


Q6 returns to NYMR

Today the Q6 arrived back at New Bridge after its holiday on the Severn Valley Railway.

J27 and Q6 approach Pickeringby the flood water control measures - Andrew Scott

During Wednesday morning, Nigel Bill, Steve Hyman, Ian Pearson, Derek Shorten and myself, gathered at Deviation Shed. There was of course no Q6. I had called in at New Bridge on the way and found Allelys had just finished unloading the engine, and I was told that the tender had been loaded at the Severn Valley the previous tea time, and was expected by lunch time.

We agreed with Barney therefore that we would go back to New Bridge after an early lunch and wait for the tender's arrival and unloading, before setting to, joining the two together, and putting in a warming fire for overnight, before it reurned to Grosmont on Thursday. At Deviation Shed therefore, Derek kindly dealt with the washing up and made a pot of tea, and we sat and put the world to rights whilst watching the trains go by.

Lunch was taken on the picnic tables at Grosmont Station, and Nigel, Steve, Ian and I then made our way to New Bridge to await the arrival of the tender. That turned up within ten minutes of our arrival, but we had to wait about an hour for unloading to be completed and the wagon to clear the yard before we could get started. Having joined the engine and tender with the links, the locomotive was them moved on to the pit using the PW 08 diesel with Ian at the controls and Nigel as shunter. Once there, the hose was used to put sufficient water in the boiler, the guard irons were refitted and all the remaining connections completed.

The worst job was getting the sheets of plywood out of the coal shute in the tender. These had been put in to stop the coal falling out while it was being transported, but with the coal having been drawn forward, the boards were jammed in tight against the tender coal boards. Only by hammering these up were we able to, eventually, get the plywood out - and the coal duly poured forth all over the cab floor. There are also two long scratch marks down the left hand side of the tender as a result of a close brush with some vegetation at some stage of the journey.

Fortunately, they are not too deep and should be able to be rubbed out fairly easily.

However, Steve lit a warming fire and we left the site at 5.45. The Q6 was then returned to Grosmont the next day, with the smokebox now facing south, and on Friday was in traffic with the J27 for the first day of the Gala. It will continue in operation today and tomorrow, and will then be on the roster for service as required, along with the J27, until the end of the season.

While all this activity was underway at Pickering, Derek remained at Deviation Shed and cleaned the outside bench and the area around it, along with door to the shed.

No more working parties therefore for the moment, but if anyone wants to go down to Deviation Shed to do some cleaning, tidying and sorting, or just to watch the trains go by and chat to visitors, they will be most welcome.

In the meantime, many thanks to all those who have been down and working on the Q6 for the last 18 months. It has been a long time, but it made it in the end, and yesterday's photo of the J27 and Q6 double heading on the approach to New Bridge makes it all worthwhile.


Q6 at the Severn Valley Railway Gala

The Q6 made it to the Severn Valley Railway Gala. Here are some photographs of it in action.

Q6 crosses Victoria Bridge with the 15.15 ex Kidderminster to Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway. 21 September 2018 - Paul Jameson

Q6 approaching Hay Bridge to begin the climb of Eardington Bank with the 15.15 ex Kidderminster to Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway. 21 September 2018 - Phil Waterfield.

Q6 leaving Bridgnorth MPD in the rain, ready to take the 13.00 departure to Kidderminster on the Severn Valley Railway. 20 September 2018 - Neil Young.

Q6 leaving Bewdley on the Severn Valley with the 15.15 ex Kidderminster to Bridgnorth. 21 September 2018 - Phil Waterfield.

Q6 crossing the River Stour on Falling Sands viaduct with the 10.00 ex Kidderminster to Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway. 21 September 2018 - Paul Jameson.

Q6 at Arley on the Severn Valley Railway with the 13.15 Bridgnorth to Kidderminster service. 23 September 2018 - Neil Young


Page 6 of 24