North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Wednesday 13th June 2018

An overcast but warm day with bursts of sunshine at Grosmont yesterday, with Bill Dobson (suffering from a very heavy cold claimed to have been picked up from the Committee meeting on Monday night) in charge, and Nigel Bill, Jon Bradley (in the morning only), Dave Donegan, Roy Marshall and myself in support.

The Q6 had been moved down to immediately outside the boiler shop, along with the flue tubes, for them to be fitted. As they have to be screwed in, and then trimmed, it is a much more difficult and time consuming job than with the small tubes which have now all been placed in position. By the end of the day, five of the flue tubes had been installed and another was well on the way (see photo).

Q6 flue tubes being fitted. Small tubes are all in - Chris Lawson

After the usual cuppa therefore, Nigel Bill and Jon Bradley went off to the running shed to do some preparatory work on the J27 for its special train on 21 June, I changed the pads on the defibrillator and gave it its monthly test (it has been suggested that we should carry it on the train on the 21st!), and Roy gave the Q6 regulator handle a degrease and light rub down with wet and dry before applying white undercoat. Bill and Dave started work on the regulator stuffing box.

Lunch was held on the benches overlooking the MPD, and, afterwards, Bill and Nigel fitted the shims for the left hand side big end bearing, while Dave fitted a blank to the J pipe. Bill also put in some extra packing to the regulator stuffing box. In between making more cups of tea, Roy also got a second undercoat onto the regulator handle. While all that was under way, I took advantage of an almost empty, and continuing to be dry, pit road to brush out the pit floor and clean out the central gulley down as far as the weltrol with Lucie - that produced a wheelbarrow full of dirt.

Elsewhere, trains were fairly fully loaded and we had a number of interested visitors round the Shed. Some even put money in the box. The 825 team continue their work on the boiler on No 8 road, although the tender has now moved into the MPD workshop to be with the frames. The bunker of No 29 was being painted but the cylinder block is still away being machined. 76079 had a successful steam test and run up the bank to Goathland on the back of a service train, but, on return to Grosmont, was retired to the wheeldrop in disgrace for examination.


Saturday 9th June 2018

Bill reports a select band of volunteers at Grosmont yesterday. With Ian on his Caribbean Cruise, it was left to Trevor and Bill to progress the overhaul. The good news is that the NYMR have fitted all but 24 of the small tubes, and are racing ahead to meet a self-set target date of having the boiler ready for the insurance company hydraulic test on 26th June.

The work of cutting the tubes to length and fitting them is being done just outside Deviation Shed, so the first task was to move the temporary scaffolding and shunt the engine over the pit so that Trevor could modify the hanger bracket that supports the two through pipes. Bill modified the regulator blanking plate to enable the internal steam pipe and joint to the header to be tested later. The regulator gland packing was fitted and tightened. Maurice Johnston paid a rare visit to Deviation Shed, and, over a cup of tea, said that he would like to retain the use of the cupboards he has had for the time being.

Eventually the sun broke through, and became rather hot. The last task of the day was to re-position the engine and scaffolding to enable the boiler work to continue on Monday morning.

In other news, it has been reported that it was raining at Fort William last night (and apparently had been for some time) and the K1 was in the platform at Fort William this morning, ready to depart for Mallaig on its first trip of the Jacobite season.


Wednesday 6th June 2018 (D-Day)

Cool, damp and grey at Grosmont with thick fog on the Moor tops from either direction yesterday, although it cleared up in the afternoon and the sun briefly broke through. Steve Hyman, Bill Dobson, Chris Wakefield after his cleaning turn at the MPD, and myself were in time for the morning brew, and we were joined by a late running Ian Pearson who arrived just in time for lunch which was had in Deviation Shed.

Mark Obrien and Chris cutting tubes to size and fitting into the Q6 boiler - Chris Lawson

The Q6 had been pulled outside the shed so that Mark O'Brien and the boiler staff could make a start on retubing the boiler. The long running copper ferrule saga had finally concluded and it had already been fitted. By the end of the day, 55 small tubes had been cut to size and installed (see photo) - final fitting and beading over will come later. Now that Eric Treacy's boiler is back in the frames, the bulk of the boiler work is finished with it becoming a fitting job, and the boiler shop priority is now the Q6. The boier inspector is on holiday until 24 June and he has been booked in for the Q6 hydraulic on Tuesday 26 June. So Mark and his team have until then to get the boiler retubed before the official hydraulic is carried out. Expect to see some rapid progress! If that is successful, then the header and elements will be hydraulic'd, followed by a steam test and then hopefully back in service for the Gold timetable peak season which is the target.

In the meantime, as we could not get anything done underneath the engine, Steve fitted the steam heat safety valve in the cab, with assistance from Chris Wakefield, after I had cleaned up the threads. I then fitted the new regulator stuffing box with assistance from Bill. Steve was in the process of fitting the vacuum gauge when it unfortunately fell accidentally onto the cab floor and broke the glass. It was returned to Andrew Jeffery for repair and will hopefully be back for next Wednesday. Ian got the job of removing the old paint from the regulator handle and giving it a coat of primer. With his permission, the padlocks on Maurice Johnston's lockers in the workshop have been removed to find lots of tools and various pieces of steel . We will need to speak to Maurice to sort out what he wants to do with all these items, as the lockers are full.

Steve also took Martin Ashburner's dog for a walk around the site during the afternoon much to Martin's consternation - he thought one of the many visitors we had round yesterday had dognapped it!

The J27 was running yesterday, but is being taken out of traffic today for a while for a boiler washout, water change and general health check after its nearly three weeks of regular running.

The next working party will be on Saturday 9 June.


Saturday 2nd June 20218

Ian reports a dull, mild and muggy morning at Grosmont yesterday with Bill Dobson, Trevor Wilford, Alan Hardie, Ian himself, and, a little later, Bryan Orange and Luke Perry who came in to fit some of the new Deviation Shed signage.

After the usual cups of tea, Alan was in the smoke box with a drill and flapper wheel cleaning the rust off the large and small tube plate holes as requested by Mark O'Brien. This job has been done several times in the past by members of our working team, but the chemistry of dampness and time on steel creates rust! Alan did a great job and completed cleaning all the small holes and 21 large holes leaving 3 large ones to clean. Hopefully this will be for the last time. Bill and Ian fitted the cab flooring and the blow down cover, and also a box that fits on to the front of the driver's foot step. An old piece of flooring was removed from the tender and has been put aside, near the stove, as it was not known where it belongs. Ian and Bill then fitted a clamp bracket to the vacuum and steam heat pipes but could not initially find the other bracket which is fastened to the ash pan. Trevor had just started to make a new one when Ian found the original one behind the bench seat in Deviation Shed. This was then fitted, but will require some alteration as it catches a grease nipple on a brake rod pin. Bill will have to get Trevor to alter the bracket slightly next Saturday. Bill and Ian also continued to washer and split pin the remaining brake pins on the loco: some pins may need opening out a little more! Trevor completed the fabrication of the stove chimney with a cowl attached, and it is now ready for fitting on top of the flue along with the lead seal. Bill will get Andy Wiffin to do this.

Lunch was had alfresco again as the weather had turned fine and very warm, even though the dark clouds were gathering! Lots of visitors today at the Shed with the J27 running with 5 and 6 coach trains, also the B1 No 1264, Repton No 926 , Standard Tank No 80136 and Class 26 diesel Tom Clift. The rain came down later on about 2.30 pm with visitors sheltering in our Shed.


Wednesday 30th May 2018

A cold dank day at Grosmont today with very dense fog on the Moors making driving very difficult. In spite of that, Jon Bradley (who forgot the Hobnobs), Steve Hyman, Nigel Hall, Paul Jameson (on holiday at Levisham and travelling on the train), Bill Dobson and myself managed to make it. Roy Marshall delivered the adjusted storm sheet for the J27 which was put to immediate use as it had started to rain just before its booked departure on the 1130 from Grosmont. Ian Pearson called in before his afternoon driving turn to let Bill know where the chuck and tools for the new milling machine had been put for safekeeping, and we also had a welcome visit from Derek Norris.

After the usual cuppa, and a prolonged period of train watching, the NER style dome for the J27 was moved on to a shelf upstairs in the workshop, and, with the help of Phil and the JCB, the Q6 header moved from by the wheeldrop to the south end of No 6 road at Deviation Shed. The blanking plates from the ends have been removed and also moved on to a shelf upstairs in the workshop, tagged and entered in the parts log. The new milling machine was moved into the workshop, set up on the bench at the south end and, with Paul's help, made operational. More thanks are due to Sean for the additional tools and parts he has provided.

In view of the bad weather, lunch was held on the bench in Deviation Shed with a few visitors to chat to and show round. Afterwards, the brake gear between engine and tender was refitted, followed by the steam heat and vacuum through pipes and the brake rigging. The cab floor parts were trial fitted and repaired where necessary: the left and right hand boxes were left in place but the central section removed to provide access to the firebox for retubing. In the meantime, Nigel spent the day cleaning the studs and flange face for the header, in preparation for its refitting once the retubing has been completed.

Elsewhere, preparations were being made for lifting the boiler for Eric Treacy back into the frames tomorrow. Once that has been done, we have been assured that the boilersmith's priority will be the Q6, with the aim of getting the boiler ready for its hydraulic and steam tests once the boiler inspector returns from his holiday in the last week of June.

Repton also had a broken spring, which occurred last night, replaced in the morning and the locomotive returned to service in the afternoon.


Saturday 26th May 2018

Ian reports a mild morning at Grosmont yesterday with the odd shower, just after our usual cuppa.

He reckoned though that Bill and his day really started on Thursday morning with a couple of unsuccessful attempts to complete the hydraulic test on the header, with the rubber seal failing behind the cover plate. New, thicker, rubber sheet was obtained from Hopetown works on Thursday afternoon to make a new gasket.

Q6 header is hydraulically tested successfully at last.

On Saturday, with Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, and Ian at the helm, success at last! Ian and Bill removed the cover plate and the old rubber seals, while Nigel made a new gasket. This was then fitted and secured, the header was filled with water, a doggy ball was fitted, and the top plate screwed down. Bill then pumped up the pressure to 270psi and no leaks! Paul Middleton was on site, so he inspected the header and passed it as OK (see photo of the happy team).

That's 270 psi.

By now the sun was shining, so lunch was had alfresco on the picnic tables near Deviation Shed. After lunch, Bill wanted to complete a job on the left hand piston travel, so it was Ian and Nigel on pinch bars moving the loco a short distance to remove the little end pin, and identify whether any adjustment was needed to the big end bearing. Bill marked the distance of travel with punch marks on the bottom slide bar with the con rod on back dead centre, and found the big end requires some shims to the right side of the bearing, but this will be done on Wednesday.

Not many people round the Shed yesterday, bearing in mind it was a Bank Holiday weekend. The J27 was at the back of No 5 road having a water change. B1 1264 was a spare engine, and was also on No 5 road.

Next working party will be on Wednesday 30th May - another month nearly over - although Ian will not be available as he has a driving turn that day.


Wednesday 23rd May 2018

Ian reports a cool overcast morning at Grosmont with Dave Donegan, Steve Hyman, Roy Marshall, Bill Dobson (who was a little late due to a hospital appointment) and Ian himself. Quite a contrast with the Lake District where we are basking in wall to wall sunshine from a cloudless blue sky! Back at Grosmont though, it was tea as usual then all hands on the header and main steam pipes.

The two main steam pipes were hydraulically tested and are OK. But the header continues to be very frustrating. After filling with water and all the doggy balls secured, the pressure was pumped up to around a hundred pounds, but the main rubber seal behind the front plate started to pass water into the other chambers of the header, so no pressure could be retained. By the time it was stripped down it was getting late.

So Bill and Ian are going down this morning (Thursday) to re-fit the seal and box it up again and complete hopefully another hydraulic test .

By lunch time the weather had picked up a bit and, with the sun shining, it was lunch alfresco on the picnic benches.

New milling and drilling machine for Deviation Shed from Sean Bowler - Ian Pearson

Sean Bowler has given NELPG a drilling/milling machine to be installed in Deviation workshop (see photo) for which an enormous thank you is owed to Sean. It is apparently quite a heavy piece of kit and will need at least three strong lads to lift into position. Bill would like it at the south end of the workshop, which needs a good clearing out, as there are lots of old scrap items but, among them, some good material to sort out!


Saturday 18th May 2018

Royal Wedding Day today, blistering hot, so the thought was no work today - but no such luck! Trevor Wilford, Bill Dobson, and Ian Pearson (who was a late starter so missed out on the usual cuppa) decided to forego the attractions of both the Royal Wedding and the FA Cup Final in favour of the delights of Grosmont. Peter Ellis also called in for some copper pipe for SNG (60007) and then legged it to York.

Bill and Trevor started boxing up the Q6 header on the saturated steam side, while Ian went down to the J27 to sort out the oil locker and put some loco tools on board - IE gauge glass spanner and a spanner for the steam oil reservoir and a screw driver, along with an adjustable spanner. He also removed a bag of large bolts which are now upstairs in Deviation Shed: does any one know what they are for?

Lunch was had alfresco on the bench outside Deviation Shed. After lunch, all three worked on the header. It was lifted higher on the bench so the water hose could be connected. It was then filled with water but the three outside plug holes would not seal, so it is back to the drawing board for now! The job was abandoned at 15.45 and home everyone went.

The next working party will be on Wednesday 23 May, when hopefully the hydraulic on the header will be successfully completed.

The J27 was not out today, but will be on a running in turn tomorrow. All being well, it will go to Pickering on the 1630 and then formally enter service, working the 3 coach teak set on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.



Wendesday 9th May 2018

Well....not everything went as forecast yesterday. First, it was a lovely sunny and warm day so no need to fire up Bill's new stove after all. Then it turned out that Ian had had a fall over the weekend and damaged his shoulder so he was unable to be present - and had even had to cancel a driving turn the previous day! As a consequence, and because of my late arrival following car problems over the weekend, there were no cups of tea to start the day - except for Bill, who was there really early and managed to sneak one in. A disastrous start for what was a big team, particularly from Hartlepool, consisting of Bill Dobson, Roy Marshall, Dave Whitfield, Dave Donegan, Nigel Bill, Jon Bradley, Steve Hyman, Nigel Hall and, eventually, myself. We also had visits from Bob Grey and Derek Norris who had been for a ride out to Pickering, and Terry Newman who was on Repton for the day.

Work concentrated on the header, which Mark O'Brien had managed to remove the previous week - never in a long time had so much effort been concentrated on that large lump of metal in such a relatively short time. Jon Bradley and Roy Marshall took various parts away to be glassblasted down at the MPD, while Nigel Bill and Dave Whitfield cleaned up the header itself. The holes where the elements fit in the header were NDT'd by myself and showed no evidence of any problems. Then it was a case of all hands to prepare blanking plates and seals to prepare the header for a hydraulic which Bill had hoped to carry out by the end of the day. What an optimist! Rubber sealant sheet had to be obtained from the MPD store, cut to shape, along with holes for the many studs, the studs themselves had to have the thread cutter run down them while those that came out with the nuts received attention from Steve Hyman in the workshop, and nuts, bolts and washers of varying shapes and sizes had to be found from the workshop to secure the blanking plates to the header. A long and frustrating job, but by the end of the day, and fortified by cups of tea, the header was all boxed up, apart from the 6 plugs needed to test the saturated side of the header. Bill is going to try to get it taken down to the boiler shop today, clamped on the swaging block and filled with water for the hydraulic test. However, we all know what happens to the best laid plans ......

In between times we did manage to get lunch, with some dining in the sun at the picnic tables up by the wheeldrop, while others stayed back in the shade on the bench in Deviation Shed.

Because of a commercial filming project, services appeared to be running to the Green rather than Red timetable, with 80136 top and tailed with the Class 26 on the Gresley teaks for the filming people, and the normal service trains, which were generally very busy, in the hands of 76079 and Repton, while the B1 came in for wash out.

Working party on Saturday as usual, for which milk will be required and the water bottles need filling before any cups of tea can be poured. In respect of the milk though, can I please ask that opened bottles of milk are not left sideways in the fridge - they leak and the curdled consequences have to be removed from the bottom of a very smelly fridge, along with anything else that was stored there and been affected. Please always leave the milk bottles standing upright, and buy single pints as they fit in that way. Many thanks.


Saturday 5th May 2018

Ian reports a shorts and T shirt day at Grosmont on Saturday - very warm and sunshine throughout. Even so, you wouldn't believe it, but the stove was lit during the morning - Bill claimed it was just a test fire! Present were Bill Dobson, Peter Ellis, Trevor Wilford, Tom Noble, Andy and Joan Lowes, Bryan Orange and a large number of Junior Volunteers, along with Ian. Saturday was a 'Behind the Scenes Day' on the Railway with the MPD open for the general public to wander round. Our shed was very busy with people looking round. A stall was set up in Deviation Shed selling books, pens, locomotive prints and old magazines which was looked after by Joan Lowes and brought in just over £50. Andy was showing some visitors from Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum round the MPD and Deviation Shed.

Ian and Tom got the diesel shunter started and moved the breakdown coach and van out of the way so that the Q6 could be worked on directly. Bill, Tom and Ian then fitted the right hand valve into the steam chest, involving a lot of pulling, lifting and jiggling around before it eventually went in, making sure the gland follower was on the spindle first. Then the left and right cotters were fitted. Peter and Trevor were working on the stove chimney project, making a lead seal to go around the top of the chimney and the roof to stop the rain coming in (see photo: hope the biscuits weren't still in the tin being used to stand it on!). Trevor made a cowl which will fit to an extension and then be secured to the chimney.


Lead seal for Deviation Shed stove chimney - Ian Peareson

Alfresco lunch was had on the picnic tables outside Deviation Shed. In the afternoon, Bill and Tom got ready to set the valve timing, with Ian driving the shunter, Bill measuring the valve movement, and Tom relaying the movement to Ian, resulting in a lot of back and forward movements. By 4pm Bill had finished for the time being, but there is more to do next time. Then Ian and Tom had to put the breakdown coach and van back on No 7 road. Two JV's, Tom Readman and Alex Tyson were set on needle gunning the Q6 header which Mark O'Brien had successfully removed on Thursday, and cleaning the stud threads and running a die nut down them under the supervision of Andy Lowes. Noah Hunter and Will Harrison painted the pit wall with white emulsion which Bill managed to share with his overalls! The JVs also sealed and bolted the rear section to the cab roof of the S15, along with sand blasting the cab roof fixing bolts/nuts. JV assistance was also given to needle gunning Lucie's footplate grid.

The next working party will be on Wednesday 9th May, by when it might have got a bit cooler and we could need that stove! As well as finishing off the valve setting, there is all the remaining gear that can be fitted underneath now the valves are in.


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