North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Wednesday 25th April 2018

A sunny and dry but rather cool day yesterday at Grosmont, with Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Roy Marshall, Nigel Hall and myself. Usual cups of tea to start with and discussions on what we were to do as we were waiting of a shunt with the 08 shunter. The tea club has now been extended to include Martin Ashburner and William Parrish from the Essex Loco Society, working on the boiler of 825 on No 8 Road.

I brought the BR style dome cover for the J27 down from upstairs which Nigel spent the rest of the day stripping down and repainting in primer. Ian oiled up all side rods, big ends and little ends and Bill lubricated the pistons. Roy cleaned the left hand con rod, which had acquired quite a bit of rust and grime over time sat on the floor of Deviation Shed. Ian spoke to Chris Cubitt about the movement of the Q6 as he was driving the 08. There was a long list of shunts to be done before the Q6, and Ian was told it would be 1 o'clock before we could have a shunt. Bill asked Ian to disconnect the drive from the steam reverser shaft to the expansion link which he did and tied the shaft up out of the way, as it was touching the intermediate axle. Hopefully this should make it easier to set the valves, but no valve setting was done as the MPD valve setter was away.

No alfresco lunch today as it was a bit too cool for sitting outside at the picnic tables, so we ate inside on the bench in Deviation Shed. Derek Shorten called in to see us during the lunch break: he is struggling to walk with arthritis in his knee joint and went for a ride out on the train to Pickering. Just after 1pm, Chris Cubitt started up the 08 "Gronk " with Josh, the diesel fitter, as shunter. After moving the crane and breakdown coach, the 08 was attached to the Q6 and, with great driving skill and communication with the shunter, it was moved very slowly to test the piston travel on both sides. These proved to be OK and lining up with the pop marks. The locomotive was then taken outside for removal of the header. After a lot of time and effort, using the telehandler with strops attached round the header and onto the tines, and in spite of a lot of help and effort from William Parrish, including use of a burning torch to heat the flange and bolts and try to break the seal, it all proved to be of no avail and we had to retire unsuccessful. The Q6 was left outside Deviation Shed and Mark O'Brien said he would have another go today once he had finished with the J27. While the Q6 was outside however, I cleaned the mechanical lubricator which was rather grubby with oil and dirt, as well as keeping an eye on progress with the J27.

Next working party will be this Saturday, 28th April.

An empty No 7 road with a dry pit - Nigel Hall

In other news, the guttering replacement on Deviation Shed has now been completed and one positive consequence has been a drying out of the pit (see Nigel Hall's photo) - the pump has not had to be used during the last three working parties. Long may it continue! On the Railway, the boiler and frames of 9F No 92134 have arrived and were moved into the running shed yesterday. It is reported to be here on the same basis as 80136 - completion (it apparently has a boiler ticket) and then running on the NYMR in return for a number of years. The B1 also returned to New Bridge yesterday following its holiday in Scotland - at least its tender was seen on a low loader heading East along the A64 near Whitwell on the Hill at about 5.45pm. In its absence, and 80136 on wash out, services were in the hands of Repton and 76079, along with the DMU.


Saturday 21st April 2018

Another glorious warm sunny day at Grosmont, with Bill Dobson, Trevor Wilford, Ian Pearson, Dave Donegan, James Swainston, myself (I know, it wasn't Wednesday!), and, for the first time, Paul Jameson for half a day as he was on a photographers PTS course in the afternoon, then Alan Hardie in the afternoon after his training course in the morning, and Paul Swainston after lunch following his cleaning turn. First job was to brew up the usual cuppas for the team to get them motivated. No cakes today though.

Q6 elements arrive at Grosmont - Ian Pearson

Then it was all hands round the east side of Deviation Shed to unload the 24 new Q6 elements off the NYMR's Transit pickup truck which Bill and Ian had brought back from Ian Storey Engineering at Hepscott on Friday (see photo). These are now safely stacked on the footway between Nos 6 & 7 roads in Deviation Shed. Trevor spent all day making more fittings and getting the stove flue ready for erection in the near future - we are clearly not expecting the current warm weather to last! Trevor had to get another oxygen bottle from the compound as ours had run out: the empty was returned to the compound. Bill brought the LHS big end bearing up from the MPD and with me, Paul J, Dave and James, the bearing was finally fitted. Final adjustments will wait until valve setting is done, as moving the locomotive and tender backwards and forward proved too much of a challenge in the heat.

First of the small tubes being inserted into the Q6 boiler - Chris Lawson

Lunch was had alfresco at the picnic table in the lovely warm sunshine - just like being in Mallorca with steam trains passing by! After lunch it was decided to erect staging at the front of the Q6 so we could put some small tubes into the boiler. That required all hands on erecting the staging, and, as we were up and down to the MPD boiler shop for staging parts, the opportunity was taken to move all the J27 cab flooring down to the boiler shop on our return journeys. It has been stacked adjacent to the locomotive. With James inside the boiler, as he was the slim one yesterday in the absence of Rachelle, 22 small tubes were fitted into the boiler, 11 each side bottom right and left (see photos). Only 134 to go!

First 22 tubes in the boiler - Chris Lawson

On the J27 side of things, the water valve handles from the tender, from which Nigel had started to remove the remnants of taper pins last Wednesday, were drilled out by Dave Donegan. The right hand handle was fitted to the spindle and a split pin put in to secure it but was not opened out. The left hand handle is fastened to its spindle with a piece of wire at the moment, as this requires a small hole drilling in the spindle and then split pinning.

We did have a lot of visitors round the Shed today, also quite a lot of new and older JV's around the MPD learning the ropes.

The new compressor was in constant use by Piglet shot blasting Lucie's frames, and 80136 was on the 1230 'Wedding Belle' departure from Grosmont, and we gave the lucky couple a toast with our tea as the train came past the Shed.


Wednesday 18th April 2018

Cake to mark 50th anniversary of Q6 purchase by NELPG 18 April 2018 Jon Bradley Bill Dobson Ian Pearson Chris Lawson and Steve Hyman - Maurice Burns

Well, what a change in the weather! 20 degrees at Grosmont today so we needed to watch for sunburn rather than worrying about having to wrap up to keep warm. Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Jon Bradley, and Ian Pearson at the start of the day, I arrived around lunch time following a dental appointment, and Nigel Hall came in about 2pm. Chris Wakefield also joined the team for a couple of hours after his cleaning turn. So the usual cups of tea, and still no mice.

It was decided that Bill would fit all the remaining washout plugs, while everyone else would remove the tender and locomotive drawbar hooks for NDT inspection. This was going to be a lengthy job as both drawbar hooks were covered in grease and about 3 coats of paint. A collective effort was organised, with Jon and Steve removing the hooks, and Ian cleaning all the dirt off before removing the paint with a wire brush attachment on the angle grinder. Chris Wakefield carried on with the angle grinder, removing rust and paint while lunch was held alfresco in the picnic area just outside Deviation Shed.

After lunch we had a visit from Maurice Burns and his partner Mary who is a visitor guide at Tees Cottage Pumping Station in Darlington. When I arrived at Deviation Shed I brought a birthday cake to mark 50 years since the Q6 was purchased by the Group on 1 April 1968.

Everyone had a piece of cake to celebrate the event. Afterwards I took Maurice and Mary down to the MPD to have a look round the J27. Nigel was busy removing sheared taper pins from the tender water valve handles belonging to the J27. These had to be drilled out and will be refitted next week. At the end of the day, Ian having successfully NDT'd the draw hooks, they were refitted back on the engine and tender, while Bill completed fitting all washout plugs in the cab, foundation ring and smokebox.

Quite a few visitors round the Shed today although it was very noisy at times with William Parrish beading over copper rivets on the S15 boiler situated on No 8 road. Bill and Ian are going to Ian Storey's workshop at Hepscott on Friday to pick up the superheater elements for the Q6.

Hopefully they will be dropping off the old J27 smokebox wrapper at the Marske scrapyard on the way.

The next working party will be on Saturday 21st, when the big end bearing will be ready for fitting - by the end of today it needed only about half an hour or so's machining work.


Saurday 14th April 2018

Ian reports that Spring had sprung at Grosmont on Saturday, with blue skies and sunshine. Bill Dobson, Trevor Wilford, Alan Hardie, Nigel Hall and Ian took advantage of the sunbathing weather, although the day really started on Friday afternoon with Bill and Ian loading our last consignment of small scrap tubes onto the NYMR transit. That was successfully done ready for delivery to the scrapyard on Saturday morning, as it closed at 11.30 am. Ian left Grosmont about 9.00am on Saturday and delivered the scrap to European Metal Recycling at Marske by the Sea, with the load weighing in at 0.740 tonnes, bringing in £122.10 and a total of £315.90 for the Q6 fund with the previous load.

At Grosmont there were still no mice to report, and Ian assumed the usual cuppas were consumed as he missed out yet again. Alan Hardie spent all day cleaning scale off the flue tube for our new stove chimney. Trevor was making brackets for the flue tube/chimney so it can be erected and fastened to the wall at the outside end of the workshop just above No 8 road. Should be ready just in time for the summer! Bill fitted 4 washout doors and 7 boiler plugs in the cab area. Nigel got a second coat of gloss paint on the J27 lockers and also some paint onto the underside of plates in the rear cavity of the tender which had been omitted at Hopetown. Another coat was also put onto the underside of the sump. The rear RHS vac pipe bracket was found to be only finger tight and he managed to tighten this up, albeit with some difficulty as it’s almost impossible to reach the rear bolt head with a spanner.

Lunch was had in Deviation Shed with quite a few visitors round watching the consumption by everyone of their snap/bait. After lunch, Ian gave the fridge a clean out as there was a build up water and sludge in the bottom. Then he was asked to show a party of people around the whole of the MPD area. They were relatives of Kieran Murray, the Carriage and Wagon Foreman, who was not available. After taking them round the MPD area, Ian then had to make a sharp exit as he was going to the Sage at Gateshead to see "The Hollies", a great 60's band - no comment!

The elements have now been completed and successfully hydraulically tested by Mathew Storey. Bill is arranging to borrow the NYMR transit again top go and collect them, hopefully taking the J27 old smokebox wrapper to the scrapyard at Marske on the way to earn some more money.


Wednesday 11th April 2018

A grey, murky, bitterly cold day at Grosmont, with dense thick fog on the A171 and A169 roads leading to the railway. Those that made it to Grosmont were Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall ,Ian Pearson and myself, and we were joined later by two shed cleaners - Chris Wakefield and Ethan Humble. After the usual cups of tea (and again no more mice to report) we started work with Nigel painting the J27 tender lockers. The new compressor belonging to the Essex Loco Society was in action, with William Parrish and his contractor doing some riveting on the S15 boiler, but, unfortunately for Nigel, the J27 tender is opposite to the S15 boiler and it got very noisy at times - he couldn't even hear the calls for tea! Ian set up hoses ready to wash out the foundation ring. Ethan went into the boiler to remove some old copper ferrules which had got lodged between the inner and outer water space area of the foundation ring. Then he cleaned about four mud hole doors which had rusted up somewhat since last being cleaned. Ian and Chris Wakefield then set about washing out the foundation ring and removing scale which had accumulated around the mud holes. I spent some time down at the MPD assessing the progress of the J27 with Mark O'Brien (separate report to follow). I also made a brew of tea, and lunch was had in Deviation Shed . Our two cleaners then left as they had been on duty since 5am.

After lunch I assisted Ian and completed the wash out, which included Ian getting soaked from a splash back. Bill went off to the stores for some door joints, but, as there are three different sizes on the Q6, Charlie Dore brought a box full up to the shed where he and Bill fitted all the doors with joints. In the meantime I cleaned most of the remaining doors - there are two left to clean. Ian fitted two wash out doors while Bill fitted six doors.

We have been told the cutters are now completed so we should get the last of the flue chamfers cut shortly. The required copper ferrule is also reported as being ordered. Once delivered then we can start putting tubes into the boiler! The elements are also being worked on by Mathew Storey and should be ready for collection in the next week or two. The big end bearing has still not been machined because of priority having to be given to work on bearings for 80136, but it has been promised yet again for next Wednesday.


Wednesday 4th April 2018

A grey, but dry, start to the morning again at Grosmont with bursts of sunshine and then a tropical downpour in the late afternoon. Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman (until early afternoon), Jon Bradley, Nigel Hall, Bryan Orange, Luke Perry of the JVs, Ian Pearson and myself were present, plus JV Tom Noble appearing occasionally during breaks in his cleaner duties at the MPD. No mice to report again, cups of tea all round, bar Ian who was late arriving - serves him right for sleeping in!

First job was to get into the NYMR's Transit pickup, which required some muscle power, before taking it round the East side of Deviation Shed to load up the old scrap boiler tubes. So it was all hands on loading the scrap tube, with Bryan cutting some in half after Jon had borrowed a large angle grinder with a cutting disc from the MPD and set up an extension from our Shed . By the time we got the pickup loaded and tied down it was lunch time, so it was lunch in Deviation shed on the bench. There is another load to be taken to clear the Q6 scrap tubes, and we need also to take the ex-Crewe now scrap smokebox wrapper: the pickup has been booked again for next Wednesday. This work site also provided the opportunity to admire the new guttering on the East side of the Shed which the contractor had installed earlier in the week - the West side should be done next week.

After lunch, Ian and Jon set off with the scrap to Marske by the Sea, to European Metal Recycling Ltd. Their load weighed in at just over 1.14 tonnes, bringing in £193.80 for the Q6 fund. While Ian and Jon were slaving away at Marske unloading the scrap, Steve and I fitted the brake linkage between the locomotive and tender and Bill and I put up the rear part of the locomotive brake linkage. Nigel set about repairing the left hand valve spindle follower to stop the inner section turning and blocking the oil supply to the valve spindle. The repair is nearly complete but time ran out so Nigel has kindly taken it home to his workshop to finish the job off. Bill and Ian also found a job for Gordon Wells to do in his workshop at home, namely to repair the vacuum gauge brass surround which broke while being cleaned: it additionally needs 3 very small screws to secure the surround. Ian has delivered the gauge to Gordon.

Quite a bit of late running on the railway again yesterday with a land slip near Darnholm causing concern. Although it is not fouling the track, it is not far off and is being constantly monitored and trains are running by at caution. There were also reported problems on the Esk Valley line which caused delays on trains running to and from Whitby. 80136, the B1 (due to move to York on Friday for its main line rail tour trips to Whitby) and 826 Repton were in charge of trains. 76079 was on the wheeldrop during the day receiving attention to its rear set of drivers, but was moved down to the running shed at the end of the day. So not the best start to the season for the NYMR, but trains seemed to be reasonably loaded, and we had a fair number of visitors round Deviation Shed, all of whom had the donation box firmly pointed out to them!

There is now little work we can do until the NYMR gets the replacement copper ferrule for the firebox tubeplate (which will allow retubing to begin) and the machined big end bearing (promised again for next Wednesday). As a result there will be no working party this Saturday 7 April, but there will be one on Wednesday 11 April, in the expectation that the big end bearing will finally be available for fitting, and the second load of scrap needs to be loaded and delivered. The elements are still awaited from Mathew Storey, but they are not yet on the critical list


Wednesday 28th Masrch 2018

A bright, cool morning at Grosmont with a crew of only four yesterday - clearly quality over quantity! Bill Dobson and Gordon Wells were eventually joined by Ian Pearson and myself. After our usual cuppa and discussion about local and national football, cheating at cricket, failures on the NYMR at the weekend, and generally putting the world to rights, it was time to start work.

Gordon spent what was left of the morning installing a new separate switch in the cage to operate the pit pump. This is situated above the circuit breaker box and the old switch in there has been disconnected and the 'pit pump' label removed. Please use this new switch to operate the pump in future. Bill and Ian removed the left hand valve follower which was trapped by the valve rod. The follower required removing as the inner section of it was loose and needs securing with a grommet. To do this, they had to remove the front pin of the L/H back gear eccentric rod from the expansion link with the use of a strop and pull lift. The follower is now on the workshop bench for Nigel Hall to repair next Wednesday, after he made such a good job of the right hand one. The eccentric rod was reassembled back into the expansion link, but with the two fixing taper pins only loosely inserted for the time being, as it may have to be taken down to refit the follower. In the meantime I sauntered off to the MPD to see how the work on the J27 was progressing.

Lunch was had in Deviation Shed, with a bit of a change to the weather as there were some very heavy hail and rain showers, alternating with bright sunshine. There were quite a few visitors taking shelter and giving the opportunity for a chat about our work and some money to go in the box. One did ask though where the front pony truck for the Q6 was as he had not seen an 0-8-0 before - clearly a GWR person! After lunch, Ian and Bill coupled up the tender to the locomotive and put in the main drawbar pin plus safety link pins, with me underneath dealing with the split pinning, although Ian put the cotter and split pin into the main drawbar pin. All tender and locomotive main and safety link pins have new split pins fitted and opened up. Bill tightened up the rear nut on the drawbar sufficiently to allow the loco to be moved, but it will require further tightening later to allow the locking plate and cotter to be fitted. These items are upstairs on the shelf with label 1406 attached. I also opened out the two remaining brake hanger split pins on the inside of the frames, and tightened up the driving wheel spring hanger nuts so they were flush with the bolts, as per all the others which had been done by Alan Hardie the previous week. A bit of housekeeping was also done during the afternoon, with all the old oily rags cleared up by Ian from around the walk ways and loco frames and taken down to MPD for lighting up, while I replaced the broken bulb in one of the small inspection lamps. The L/H big end bearing was still down at the MPD being re-metalled and machined.

On the railway, the boiler for S15 No 825 was brought down from New Bridge on a lowmac wagon hauled by the class 26 diesel Tom Clift. It is now standing behind Deviation Shed, but is due to be moved inside to stand above the Q6 on No 7 road. Further work is apparently still required on it, and the Essex Locomotive Society volunteers made numerous trips from Scarborough during the day, bringing their equipment and bits and pieces to the railway, including a very large new compressor which is now standing on Deviation Shed floor behind the long red bench by the cage. Trains were running reasonably full and to time, with 80136, 76079 and Repton in charge. Noticeable though that on the teak set it was the Thompson compartment coach which was much fuller than any of the open coaches. The B1 was in the running shed receiving attention to the rear driving wheel set, but was being weighed (again) by the end of the day.

There will be no working party on Saturday because of other commitments, but Bill said he would pop down and open up Deviation Shed for any visitors. If therefore anyone is at a loose end on Saturday and wants to spend a few hours chatting to visitors and pointing out to them the location of the donation box, they will be most welcome. You would also be able to watch the trains go by!

The next working Party will therefore be on Wednesday 4th April, when we hope the L/H big end bearing will have been returned for fitting.


Saturday 24th March 2018

Ian reports a grey wet morning at Grosmont yesterday, but the sun did shine after lunch. Peter Ellis, Alan Hardie, Bill Dobson, and Ian were present for the usual cuppa, and Andy Lowes joined after his PTS course finished.

Work started with Peter making and fitting cotters to the eccentrics and Ian fitting taper pins to the eccentric rods. Bill fitted the R/H trailing wheel crank pin boss after reaming it first, then fitting the side rod end caps and taper pins: only the driving wheels to do when the L/H big end brass comes back from the machine shop, promised for Wednesday. Alan was adjusting the large spring hanger nuts, so just the driving springs left to do at the moment. Peter completed fitting cotters and Ian completed fitting the taper pins.

Lunch was had upstairs at the MPD where Andy Lowes and Steve Hyman joined the team after their PTS course. After lunch Andy came up to Deviation Shed and did a series of checks on the work that had been done on taper pins, cotters, split pins and various fittings. He pointed out that there were some split pins to open and nuts to tighten: these have been noted for attention on Wednesday. Peter started fitting the pressure gauges in the cab. The steam pressure and steam heat gauges were fitted but not connected to their copper pipes. The vacuum gauge was taken back to the MPD office as there were no screws holding the outer case on: it was left on Barney's desk with a note from Bill regarding the defect. The compressor was also turned on and the air line connected to the reverser to try and move the valve rod back sufficiently to remove the L/H follower, but, after several attempts, it would not move either way, even with it well oiled and the gland nuts slackened off. The hope is that we don't have to strip it down!

Two flue tube have been given to us for our pot bellied stove by Kevin Yeoman of the Dame Vera Lynn Group, and are outside the east side of Deviation Shed awaiting fitting to the stove. Our thanks to Kevin for these.

Quite a few visitors yesterday now the trains are running again, or at least trying to! The B1 on the first train struggled past Deviation Shed and only got past Esk Valley Cottages where it was failed with a faulty pressure gauge which was giving a false reading. It was rescued by No 926 Repton which then slipped and slid its way to Goathland with the next train, causing more late running. Things did get better later on though, with the B1 repaired and back in traffic to haul the 16.30 last train to Pickering.

Working party next Wednesday as usual. Red timetable in operation. Hope to see you there.



Wednesday 21st March 2018

In my absence bringing a van back from Surrey yesterday, Ian reports a bright sunny but cold morning at Grosmont with Jon Bradley, Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Derek Shorten, Nigel Hall, and Ian himself. Later on in the morning Roy Marshall called in briefly, and feeling a bit under the weather, to deliver a couple of new strops and some paperwork for Bryan Orange (which I collected today and will give to Bryan on Saturday). No mice again, but two traps are now set!

Usual cups of tea all round that cold morning to warm everyone up, then work started with Steve removing the inner part of the valve gland follower, as it had moved slightly out of line with the outer part causing the oil supply to be cut off and the valve spindle not getting lubricated. But just as he had got it apart, a call came from the MPD asking if we could spare a couple of our team to help Andrew Jeffery and Jamie Lazenby down at the MPD on No 5 road to weigh the J27 tender. So Steve and Jon spent three parts of the day at the MPD. After completing the weighing Andrew gave us a copy of the weighing results: these are in the red In box on the table upstairs in Deviation Shed (photo shows the weighing results on the electronic display and the tender being weighed). In the meantime, Bill spent some time at the MPD trying to see where we were in the queue with various jobs, from boiler work to lathe work. At the moment we still seem to be at the back of the queue, although Mark has now welded the nicks on the front tube plate. Nigel continued to repair the valve follower left by Steve. The inner and outer sections were lined up, drilled and secured with a small grommet - job complete and ready for fitting. Derek finished painting the tender steam heat and vacuum pipes then set about cleaning the grime and grease from the tender wheels. Ian continued working underneath the locomotive, fitting taper pins on the eccentric rods.

Lunch was had in Deviation shed seeing as the weather was a little better, not too bad for us hardy Northern souls! Later, Jon oiled and put the trimmings into the eccentric oil reservoirs and new corks were fitted. Bill drilled through the small boss from the trailing R/H crankpin, which now requires a small taper reamer to complete the job. That will be completed on Saturday. Roy brought 2 new, 1 metre, 1 ton strops, Nos 510190 & 510186. These are now with the others in the workshop and are OK to use. Nigel found one old strop hanging from the Q6 dome - 1 metre, 1 ton, No. 880172 - which was missed at the last inspection. This looks to be in good order but cannot be used until the next inspection in six months time. It is now in the filing cabinet with the other two that were found a few weeks ago: we must try and put this equipment back in the workshop after use instead of being left out and forgotten about! All the paper records are in a red file in the workshop.

Standard Class 4 No 76079 and Class 25 diesel were working top and tail on Esk Valley Line route refreshers. There was also lots of shunting round the MPD moving the J27 out so Eric Treacy could be put outside ready for its boiler lift today. The B1 and Standard Tank No 80136 were on steam tests.

Next working party will be on Saturday 24th March. Plenty of milk and biscuits in stock. Remember though that Saturday sees the start of the 2018 operating season, albeit with the winter timetable used that day, Silver on Sunday and then into Red for the week before and after Easter. That means the station cafe will be open, but also that the car park will be busier than we are used to, and there may be rather more visitors about - there were certainly a lot there today when I was briefly at Grosmont checking on progress with the J27, for which a separate note will follow in due course.


Wednesday 14th March 2018

A pleasant, sunny at times, Spring like day at Grosmont yesterday where even the mud in the MPD yard was beginning to dry up. In attendance were Bill Dobson, Ian McCall, Steve Hyman, Derek Shorten, Nigel Hall, Jon Bradley and myself. Fortunately no mice as Bill had forgotten to bring some new mouse traps.

After the morning tea, Derek got on with painting the steam heat and vacuum pipes under the tender with a coat of black gloss, and Nigel made a start on prepping the J27 tender buffer beam ready for John Furness: it is now in anti corrosion green primer. I spent the morning at the MPD checking on progress with the J27, about which a separate note will follow. Ian McCall, on his last visit for some weeks, machined down the eccentric locking nuts on the lathe in the workshop. The rest of the team put up the inside left eccentric, having decided that this would not prevent the outside one being fitted once it had been straightened. Lunch was had on the bench in the Shed.

After lunch, Barney came up to Deviation Shed to check the eccentrics, and stayed to help, with advice and muscle power, the fitting of the left hand connecting rod. This involved moving the locomotive forward half a turn to get the big end down to the bottom so the rod would clear the step, and, with a bit of jiggling, and a lot of heaving, the rod went home in the crosshead. In the absence of the big end bearing, a block of wood was put in to keep the rod off the bearing axle. The bearing itself remains at the MPD awaiting machining after being remetalled. Steve then spent the rest of the afternoon securing the little big end with its nut and driving the cotter home - which also involved removing and refitting the recalcitrant oil pot to get access. In the meantime, the by now straightened, skimmed and cooled, left outside eccentric rod was returned to Deviation Shed, was satisfactorily NDT'd during the afternoon tea break (yes, we have three tea and biscuit breaks in total during the day to keep us going!) and then Jon, Bill and myself fitted it to the locomotive. All the nuts are only finger tight, and the securing pin in the plug at the valve end was not fitted. All the eccentrics will need a thorough check for nuts, pins and cotters. In the meantime, Ian was making new cotters for the eccentrics, but the pillar drill failed and a number will need the split pin holes drilling using the hand drill unless the pillar drill can be cajoled back into operation.

There were only a small number of visitors, but the B1 was still in the MPD, having been stopped on Saturday from going to the Severn Valley because of problems with its springs, discovered during efforts to weigh it. There remains some doubt as to whether it will make its GB Scottish railtour participation, although every effort is being made to get it there. In any case, the Esk Valley line is closed following a bridge strike at Castleton. Initially thought to be by a bin lorry, it now appears it could have been a Yorkshire Water vehicle. Either way, the strike was such that the bridge has apparently moved 10 inches on the stone piers and the track has been deflected as a result. It is hoped repairs will be completed by tomorrow, but it meant that Tornado, which was also due to go to the Severn Valley yesterday, had to go down to New Bridge, and then be taken by road. There are also reported to be problems with the firebox of Eric Treacy which mean it may not be returning to traffic any time soon.

Although there is still work that can be done on the Q6, we are now waiting for the MPD team to complete a number of jobs before we can finish the bottom end and get on with the boiler retubing. With a number of individuals also unavailable this weekend, it has therefore been decided to have a break, and there will be no working party this Saturday. The next one will therefore be on Wednesday 21 March. Hope you will be there.


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