North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

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


Friday 14th September, Q6 enters traffic

Q6 working hard near Levisham on the 4pm from Pickering - Bill Dobson

Thursday's test run up the bank had to be aborted after a problem with the brakes. Today, after a light engine run up the bank and back during the morning, the Q6 was attached to the rear of the 14.30 departure from Grosmont to Pickering. All went well, so with Ian Pearson on the regulator it headed the 16.00 departure from Pickering. All bearings ran cool and the locomotive ran without problems.

On the Friday, the necessary work having been completed, Ian Pearson was the driver, and he managed a run up the bank to near Goathland in the morning. Again all was fine. It was therefore decided to put the Q6 on the back of the 1430 departure from Grosmont for a run to Pickering, with 76079 leading at the front (see photo). On arrival at Pickering, Ian reported again that following checks of the axleboxes and motion, all was well, and the Q6 then did all the work on the return journey, leading from the front, with 76079 reportedly making no contribution on the rear. The Q6 then retired back to the shed and was disposed with another clean bill of health.

Q6 on the rear of the 1430 NYMR service train from Grosmont passing Moorgates - Jon Bradley

The move to the Severn Valley for their Gala over the 20th - 23rd September was therefore confirmed, and today the Q6 ran light engine to New Bridge, Pickering, with Ian Pearson again driving and Richard de Sadeleer as his fireman. The opportunity was also taken to turn it on the Pickering turntable so the smokebox faces south once more (see photo). The engine and tender will be split tomorrow, and be collected by lorry on Monday. Barney Casey, the senior NYMR fitter will be accompanying the Q6 and will be able to fix any problems should they arise while the Q6 is away. It is then due back in the first couple of days of the week beginning 25 September so it will be available to star in the NYMR Gala on the 28th - 30th September, along with the J27.

Q6 at New Bridge, Pickering after turning to face south - Richard de Sadeleer.

Although, as a result, there will be no Q6 working party next Wednesday, there is clearing and tidying up to be done in Deviation Shed, and also a J27 to clean if it is not in service. So any volunteers wanting a day out in Grosmont on Wednesday will be very welcome.


Thursday 13th September 2018, Q6 meets J27

After disposal, the Q6 met the J27 in the running shed. The J27 had a warming fire for a post washout and repair steam test. This must be the first time that the two locomotives have met, in steam, and in the same BR livery, since the end of steam on BR.

Q6 and J27 meet in the running shed -Terry Newman

Q6 and J27 meet in the running shed -Terry Newman

Q6 and J27 meet in the running shed -Terry Newman

Q6 and J27 meet in the running shed -Terry Newman

However, such sights were at the end of a rather frustrating day.

Nigel Bill reports that he arrived Grosmont MPD with Terry Newman for an 8am sign on for a days running in on the Q6. The weather was glorious blue sky, sun shining, and a light breeze - perfect for running in trials.

He helped Terry prep the engine and do some cleaning whilst the MPD staff refitted the cylinder drain cocks and linkages. However, the front R/H drain cock in the steam chest could not be fitted tightly as the male to female connection threads were badly worn and would not seal. A temporary fix with wire fastening was done to allow some running in, so the locomotive was coaled and the tender filled with water before dropping down to Platform 4 at Grosmont around midday, with Adrian Dennis from the MPD on the footplate as fireman and travelling fitter, ready for a run to Goathland. However, the signalman only allowed 15 minutes in the section, so the run went up past Green End where there was a stop for a check round. No signs of anything running hot or squealing out for required lubrication, so it returned to Grosmont Station where the engine was checked again and nothing untoward was found.

They were then given 40 minutes in section to get some further running in done, but when Terry opened the regulator to set off, the engine would not budge either in reverse or forwards - fighting to the end!

Adrian and Terry set about identifying the fault which was found to be the steam brake not releasing the brakes: nor would it with the ejector.

The locomotive steam brake piston had bottomed out on the cylinder, and would not release as the linkage had gone past the vertical and could not be released by steam. Adrian had to get his bag of tools out therefore, and set about resetting the linkage which allowed the brakes to release. It was then decided to return to the shed as a R/H side drain cock was blowing by. Back on shed, it was found the drain cock that had the temporary fix had failed to hold in the Station whilst the regulator had been opened and shut a few times to try and get the engine moving before the brake fault was found.

As a consequence, it was decided to call it a day, as a permanent repair was required for the drain cock and the brake linkages could be adjusted to prevent the piston sticking at the bottom of the cylinder. So, after 2 days of trying to get miles under her belt it was reckoned that about 4 had been achieved. Not what had been expected, and the shed staff were left with work to do on the Friday morning to hopefully enable some more running in to be done.

The day's events were also filmed by the Channel 5 documentary team, including interviews with Terry, so the day of frustration should appear in the new series when it is aired next year.


Wednesday 12th September 2018

A bright and breezy day at Grosmont yesterday, with Nigel Bill, Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Nigel Hall and myself, along with a Q6 raising steam outside the MPD on No 5 road, prior to moving to the coaling plant pit under its own power for the first time in 18 months.

Q6 on No 1 road pit at Grosmont for drain cock removal - Chris Lawson

Here it was oiled up, a replacement front shackle found for the one that was missing, and Nigel Bill went over to Teesside to fetch some sealing rope for the smokebox door. Meanwhile the MPD staff were wrestling with a leaking vacuum, fitted the smokebox door seal, and completed a number of other small jobs before we broke for lunch. The previously welded bracket on the fall plate was then found to be broken again and was rewelded, but this will be only a temporary fix as the fall plate itself is badly twisted and will need to be replaced. The injectors were tested and were working fine, but as the locomotive was put into reverse to move up the headshunt for some running in (it is currently smokebox facing north), the isolater valve on the reverser pipework between the frames fractured. Quick work by the shed fitters saw the multi union pipework replaced, along with the now redundant isolater valve, and the original pipework run restored after it had been annealed. Moving the engine then revealed that the drain cocks were not working as they were full of dirt, so the Q6 was moved down to the pit on No 1 road for the drain cocks to be removed (see photo). That done, the engine then finally did some running up and down the yard for about an hour with Ian Pearson driving and Nigel Bill on the shovel (see photos), before the day was finally drawn to a close with tea and cake, and the engine disposed. All the axleboxes remained cool.

Q6 on the move, without drain cocks! Deviation Shed, Grosmont - Nigel Hall.

Today (Thursday 13th), the plan is, first thing, for the drain cocks to be cleaned and replaced, along with the vacuum diaphragm in the hope that this will cure the leak. The Q6 will then spend the day running up and down the bank with Terry Newman driving. If that goes without problem, it will then spend tomorrow running to Pickering on the back of service trains, and, if that is OK, Saturday will see it on the front of service trains, with the aim of getting about 200 miles of running in successfully completed. Assuming all goes well, Sunday will see it at New Bridge, Pickering for splitting the engine and tender, ready for loading first thing on Monday morning for the move to the Severn Valley for their Gala at the following weekend. If it goes, and it is still an if, then Barney Casey, the senior fitter at the MPD, will be going with the Q6 to make sure all is well, and that if any problems arise, they are dealt with.

Q6 at Deviation Shed during first running in - Chris Lawson

It will then return in the week beginning 24 September, ready for the NYMR's own Gala over the final weekend of the month. This should see both the Q6 and J27 in action.


Monday 10th September 2018

Ian reports a day with a difference yesterday at Grosmont, on a grey cool morning, with Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Nigel Bill, and Ian attending for this extra Q6 working party.

No usual cups of tea but straight to see Mark O' Brien with his job list. We were all very busy with various tasks - lagging and fitting the dome; disconnecting the ejector steam pipe and resealing; fitting a new copper washer to the chamber side of the drain valve; tightening up the regulator (although that may need some more adjustment); fitting both cylinder cosmetic covers; and tightening up the drawbar nut with the big ratchet spanner, with our team on the rope pulling up the nut and then fitting the locking disc and cotter and split pin. The ratchet spanner is now on the back of the tender. One job that took all day, which looked to be a very simple job at first sight, was the fitting of the sealing ring around the anti vacuum valve. This was started by cleaning up the 3/8"studs and finding the right size packing. Then, when the ring was put in place, it would not line up with the holes in the smoke box. So it was taken away to have the holes drilled slightly larger, but it still would not fit and needed about a 1/16" of an inch removing from the inner circumference. This was done by the shed fitter with an angle grinder, then returned back to the engine and finally fitted. But that was not the end, as all the bolts fitted, bar one on the left side which would not tighten. A slightly longer bolt was then obtained and fitted through the smoke box. However, daylight could still be seen between the sealing ring and the anti vacuum valve into the smoke box. This will mean removal of the sealing ring and more packing being put in. The boilersmiths are aware of the problem and will be sorting it out today. It was also noted that the tender water valves were leaking quite badly, so another job on the carrot valves.

It was intended to put a warming fire in and have the loco in steam today, but this has had to be abandoned as there is still some other work to finish off. Subject to that being completed successfully, the plan is then to start running in with some trips up the bank to Goathland as with the J27, then, if all is well, the next day trips to Pickering on the back of a service train, and then possibly taking a train on its own. The intention is to get 200 miles of successful running in completed, in the light of which a decision will be made about whether it goes to the Severn Valley or not for its Gala over the 22/23 September weekend. If not, the NYMR has a Plan B agreed with the Severn Valley, but, regardless, the Q6 and the J27 should both be running at the NYMR Gala the following weekend, 28/29/30 September.


Q6 has successful steam test

Ian Pearson reports that the Q6 had a successful steam test today with the boiler inspector present to observe. The vacuum ejector has also been refitted.

Q6 successful boiler inspector steam test at Grosmont, 8 September 2018 - Ian Pearson

Looks like there may be some running in next week, but the working party on Wednesday will still go ahead in case there are any last minute jobs, and to do a tidy up in Deviation Shed. There will also be a cake to, hopefully, celebrate the Q6 's return to operation at long last.

With the J27 also likely to be back in traffic by the end of next week following its 28 day wash out, and the K1 working in Scotland, we could have three locomotives at work next week - or is that tempting fate?!



Wednesday 5th September 2018

In my absence in mid Wales, Ian reports a cooler grey day at Grosmont today with Jon Bradley, Derek Shorten, Steve Hyman, Nigel Bill, Nigel Hall and Ian himself.

After the usual cuppa and chit chat, Ian, Jon, Nigel B, and Steve went to assist MPD fitter Andrew Jeffery and two other shed staff to weigh the locomotive and also dismantle the weighing gear later on. The tender had been weighed yesterday (Tuesday). Derek washed up all the dirty pots and then set about sweeping out the workshop and Deviation Shed walkways. Nigel H arrived with his van laden with scrap and rubbish from Hopetown and this material was put in the skips at the MPD with permission from the Railway. Following completion of the fitting and expanding of the elements over the previous few days, Mark O'Brien and his men hydraulic tested the header and the elements to 100 psi. All was OK with no leaks. Steve took the gauge glass protectors off for cleaning and found that one of the back plates was in poor condition, as the black and white markings were virtually non existent. This was swapped for another one which was found upstairs in Deviation Shed, and the one in poor condition has been sent back to Hopetown for re-painting via Nigel H. The cleaned and repaired gauge protectors were refitted back on the engine, now looking very smart. The vacuum ejector is in the process of being re-built by Keith Pardey, although there are still a few components to install. Tomorrow, Thursday, will see the start of the valve setting by Sean Bowler and Andrew Jeffery of the MPD staff.

The broken pilot valve from the regulator has been replaced and machined up, along with the faces on the regulator. This will be fitted shortly. We measured up the recess on the smokebox for a new graphite door seal which Mark will order. The main steam pipes will be fitted tomorrow, following the sealing rings that sit inside being ground in by Mark O'Brien this afternoon. So what's left to fit are the chimney, smoke box door, spark arrester and concrete arch. We may have it in steam by the end of next week -fimgrers crossed!

Lunch today was in Deviation shed with quite a few visitors. Roy Marshall and Les Harper assisted the MPD fitters at New Bridge, Pickering to couple up the J27 which is ready to travel back to Grosmont tomorrow.


Wednesday 29th August 2018

Just three of us - Ian Pearson, Steve Hyman and myself - gathered at Grosmont yesterday on a grey morning.

After the usual cups of tea, and a chat with Barney Casey of the MPD about the jobs to be done, the three of us set to on the vacuum ejector down in the machine shop. The day was spent sorting out the various parts of the jigsaw puzzle that needs to be put back together with the aid of the railway equivalent of the garage mechanics manual, locating a replacement for the apparently missing clack, and lapping in the various valves. This took us all day, albeit a shorter one than normal, and, as requested by Barney, we left all the parts ready for Keith Pardy to put the ejector back together on Monday when he returns from his weeks holiday.

Elsewhere, the Q6 has now been moved back into the running shed, along with the elements. The top row of elements have now been installed (see photo), with a one eigth of an inch projection into the header, and Chris Kelly was working on their expansion (see photo) using the tube expanders from the upstairs store in Deviation Shed. Progress is slow, but Mark O'Brien is reportedly going to spend the weekend working on the elements, so hopefully completion of their installation and hydraulic testing of the header will be completed very soon.


Top row of elements in Q6 smokebox. - Chris Lawson

Top row of elements in Q6 smokebox - Chris Lawson

Earlier in the week, examination of the regulator pilot valve, preparatory to cleaning, found that it was cracked and then it broke in two (see photo). It was despatched to Lanes for a new one to be cast, which was done yesterday, and it is due to be returned to Grosmont today for machining ready for fitting. The other part of the regulator mechanism into which it slots was also being machined yesterday.


Q6 broken regulator pilot valve. - Barney Casey


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