North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Saturday 23ed September 2017

Bigger turnout today with Bill Dobson, Trevor Wilford, Peter Ellis, Ian Pearson and Alan Hardie.

Trevor had brought some plate to repair the beam between the roller door and the main door which is badly wasted. After getting the plates ready for welding, the surrounding area of the beam was needle gunned. Trevor is going to complete the job on Wednesday . Peter had intended doing some copper pipe work but was not feeling too well so he did a bit of PR work as we had quite a lot of visitors round Deviation Shed. Bill and Ian put the piston rings back on, and pushed the pistons back into the cylinder leaving the R/H leading ring off. Alan took the steam brake link from the locomotive up to Deviation Shed, cleaned it up, and it is stored under the seat with a lot of other items . Four of us had Lunch at Deviation Shed canteen, while Alan went down to the Station café . After lunch Bill got chance to look at some of the outstanding small, but important, jobs.The leaking oil pot on the R/H side middle tender wheel was topped up with oil and after a short time it was found to be leaking oil from behind the axle box: this is a job to sort out on Wednesday. Alan set about dismantling the R/H tender water valve, but was unable to get the nut off the end of the carrot valve. This is also to be continued on Wednesday with some heat possibly being needed. Peter and Trevor left for home about 2.30pm due to Peter not feeling well.

Ian took off the R/H oil feed valve which had leaked steam oil down the side of the cylinder and soaked the cylinder lagging. This lagging has been thrown out. A new copper washer has been obtained and annealed so the valve could be refitted but it would not line up with the oil feed pipe, so yet another job to continue on Wednesday. Some time was taken checking and sheeting the axle boxes of which six have now been fitted with only the drivers to do: the last one is on the lathe.

Derek Shorten called in to see us for a cup of tea: he was looking well after his operation.

Another working party on Wednesday, so hopefully another large turnout to continue with the work held over from today, as well as that identified on Bill's project plan. See you there?



Q6 working party Werdnesday 20th September 2017

Fitting the Q6 axleboxes at Grosmont - Chris Lawson

A productive day with our small army of Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Nigel Hall and myself, but no mice in spite of the tempting bait. After the usual cuppa, work started with the barrow loaded up and off to the running shed.


Saturday 16th September 2017

Only three on Saturday - Bill Dobson, Peter Ellis, and Ian Pearson. No mice, but Bill brought two new traps, which are easier to set and some gourmet chocolate and peanut butter spread to tempt them. This spread is in a jar in the fridge marked for" Mice only".

After the usual cup of tea and coffee, Peter and Ian filled up the barrow with tools and lamps to take down to the running shed (its a long walk back when you have forgotten something). They concentrated on the pistons, removing carbon from the cylinder ports, piston head and part of the piston rod. These are now clean. Bill removed the piston rings and found that the R/H front ring had some slight damage with a few small pieces missing from the leading edge. Bill also cleaned up the L/H and remaining R/H piston packing components .

Peter and Ian had lunch in Deviation Tea Room, while Bill went down to the Station Café . After lunch, Bill did an assessment on the brake gear with Andy Lowes drawing and measurements and established that it requires some new pins. Peter and Ian continued cleaning carbon from the pistons. Quite a lot of heavy showers on Saturday, with lots of visitors from far and wide getting a little shelter at the end of the shed and asking Peter and Ian lots of questions about what they were doing and who owns the engines! Also quite a lot of JV's working at the shed and on Dame Vera but not with us.


Wednesday 13th September 2017

A small but perfectly formed working party at Grosmont yesterday - Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall and Ian Pearson. I couldn't make it as carless this week, and public transport from York would have given me about half an hour's working time. Biscuit and tea bag stocks have been replenished, but care will be needed to ensure the tins are kept secure as there was a mouse in the trap! Both traps have been re-set with Mars Bars kindly donated by Gordon Wells.

Nigel continued sanding the spokes of the wheels and then painting with primer. He worked on this all day until after 5pm to ensure the job was completed. Paul Middleton asked that both pistons be removed from the cylinders for inspection, so Bill and Ian struggled on for hours trying to remove the R/H piston. Eventually, with some advice and the loan of two stud extensions from Shaun Bowler, the shed fitter, they managed to remove the R/H piston with the use of the hydraulic lifting table and a small lifting device belonging to the MPD. In contrast, removal of the L/H piston took about 45minutes, as experience with the other one led to a better technique of removal the second time using the hydraulic table and packing.

There will be a working party on Saturday starting about 9.15 to 9.30am.

There is plenty still to do, so if you prefer the delights of Grosmont to Scotsman at Shildon, please come along and lend a hand.



Saturday 9th September 2017

The 50th anniversary today of the end of BR steam in the North East was marked by a working party on the Q6 at Grosmont, and the workshop at Hopetown, Darlington being open as part of the national Heritage Open Days weekend so that progress with the J27 overhaul could be viewed by the public - regrettably, not by either of the locomotives being operational to suitably mark the occasion, but not for want of trying.

At Grosmont, Bill Dobson , Peter Ellis, Ian Pearson and later on, after his cleaning duties, Chris Henwood, were at work. After the standard cuppa to prepare for the day, Peter and Ian got on with splitting the R/H side piston rod from the cross head. After the practice with the L/H one on Wednesday this went very smoothly. Bill decided we shouldn't remove the pistons right out now, but just showing the heads for inspection by Paul Middleton. If these were found to be OK they could then be put back and re- connected. After lunch, which was taken in the Deviation Restaurant, battle recommenced with the steam brake piston that proved so reluctant to come out on Wednesday. All sorts of ways were tried to remove the cover and piston, even with the pull lift secured to the coupling of a stationary locomotive. But it would not move so we had to retire from the fray and give it up as a bad job!

Chris Henwood joined us after lunch and he was employed cleaning some of the R/H side piston packing components - he did a great job.

There were also quite a few visitors to Deviation Shed today.

Bill has confirmed that the boiler inspector was happy with the state of the Q6 boiler which he fully examined on Friday. His inspection report has been received, and confirms that the next 10 yearly out of frames inspection will be due on 1 May 2024, when all the tubes and elements will have to be removed from the boiler for a full internal examination, and the boiler will have to be removed from its frames.

Meanwhile, over at Hopetown, the guide team of Norman Crockit, David Shand and Michael Chyriwsky showed a steady flow of visitors around the workshop and the J27, explaining to them about our activities and the work - and cost - involved with the J27 overhaul. This resulted in a number of donations in the box. In Head of Steam Museum itself, we had a small display stand, again providing an opportunity to make people aware of the Group and our achievements, and encouraging them to go over to Hopetown to see the work going on there. Apart from some donations, this resulted in one new membership and the sale of some of the infamous NELPG pens, the stock of which now includes a larger one with a picture of the K1 on the side and priced at £2. We will see what tomorrow brings, when Norman will be assisted by Michael, Nigel Hall and Roy Marshall in Hopetown. Thanks to all for their help.


Wednesday 6th September 2017


Nigel Hall cleaning the tyres and Gibson rings for painting - Chris Lawson

A good turn out yesterday with Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Nigel Hall, Peter Ellis and Ian Pearson, and after a cup of tea work started, although Nigel had been working since 7am varnishing the rear end of the tender. Having got it finished, he was then told the MPD were going to take out the brick arch from No 29 which would have created a considerable amount of dust. Having expressed his irritation and covered the rear of the tender with a large dust sheet to minimise any contamination, it was then decided by the MPD to postpone their work to Friday as they could not find anyone able to get in No 29's firebox!

Relief all round.

Elsewhere, I set about stripping the cover off the steam brake cylinder so as to examine the piston. The nuts were removed without the need for heating them up, much to Peter's disappointment, but, in spite of my efforts and those of Bill with the hammer and pinch bars, we were unable to extract it . Something for the Saturday team to have a go at! Peter and Ian started to set up the splitting gear to release the piston rod from the crosshead and also to remove the gland packings. Unfortunately most of the splitting gear brought from Carnforth yesterday didn't fit the Q6. Fortunately, Andy Lowes had given Peter the J27 gudgeon pin equivalent from Hopetown with which, using the NYMR splitting gear, they managed to split the L/H crosshead. Bill and Barney from the MPD also gave us some assistance in getting the job set up. The gear was then taken round to set up for the R/H crosshead to be split on Saturday.

Bill has tapped the 6 header plug holes 1 1/4"BSP and he is sending Andy the dimensions of the plugs required by Email. Also Peter has one of the old plugs to give to Andy. Nigel completed cleaning and painting the new tyre outside and inside rings.


The wheels await painting in the wheel drop wheel park - Chris Lawson

Bill has put a new work schedule up in the workshop with all jobs itemised showing which work NELPG will be doing and the work allotted to NYMR.

Work still continues tapping the flues. Three are left to do and Mark O'Brien expects them to be completed next week.

The boiler inspector is due to visit on Friday to meet Bill with a view to providing a report on the boiler so his recommendations are on the formal record.

The regular Saturday/Wednesday working party routine has now been re-established, so there will be another working party on Saturday, so, if anybody would like to come to Grosmont there continues to be plenty to do!

The Great Marquess left Grosmont for Scotland and its new home with John Cameron yesterday morning, and that 45212 arrived to augment the operating fleet while Repton is away. 45212 is staying until at least the Autumn Steam gala at the end of September.


Saturday 2nd September 2017

Not many at Grosmont today, only Gordon Wells and Ian Pearson.

Gordon completed the pit wiring and all sockets are now working.

Ian cleaned the coats of rust protector from the outside of the new tyres on two of the wheel sets - trailing and intermediate trailing - and then painted them with black primer. While he was working on the wheels, the three cleaners on the shed - Chris, Alex and James - offered their services for a couple of hours. Ian asked them to have a go at removing the R/H cotter which had proved so stubborn on Wednesday. So the lamps were set up and they got stuck in but the cotter would not move. Then the cavalry arrived in the form of duty fitter Dave Cholmondley who had a right good go - it finally started to move and eventually came out. It is now with the L/H cotter in the workshop .

They also removed both piston gland followers and oil feed boxes. The oil boxes are also in the workshop.

Both pistons are now ready for removal.



Thursday 31st August 2017

After a day varnishing the tender, and unexpectedly meeting Bill Dobson whose canal trip arrangements had been disrupted, at 16:30 the wheel sets arrived.

Over there on the far line - Nigel Hall

Just about down - Nigel Hall

The intent had been to cover the wheelsets with polythene sheeting after unloading to keep them dry for painting. However, whilst the rest of the wheelsets were being unloaded there was a heavy thunderstorm. There didn't seem much point in covering to keep the water in.


Wednesday 30th August 2017

Ian was a late comer yesterday, arriving about twelve o' clock just in time for lunch, to find me cleaning the cylinder cladding sheets (having spent much of the morning chatting to the public and MPD staff!) and Steve Hyman drilling out the sheared cladding bolts, with Nigel Hall prepping the tender for varnishing.

After lunch Ian removed the small cotters so as to remove the piston rod main cotter. Steve and I carried on with our respective jobs. Ian managed to remove both small cotters but only removed the L/H main cotter in spite of a serious attack on the one on the right. The L/H one is now in the workshop with its small cotter attached. Both cylinder cladding sheets are now cleaned and stored in Deviation shed ready for sanding down and painting .

Only one of the sheared bolts has been drilled out. This took all day as they are extremely hard. Nigel completed varnishing the R/H side of the tender. He intends completing the L/H side today (Thursday).

If any one is available on Saturday there's a few jobs to do - the remaining small cladding bolt to drill out of the R/H cylinder casting, pistons to remove (for which the splitter is required from Darlington, if it's there?), the steam brake to remove and examine, clean and paint the wheelsets, and R/H main cotter to remove just for starters. Ian looks forward to seeing you on Saturday. There's plenty of in date milk in the fridge, but the biscuit stocks could do with replenishing.

Elsewhere, the wheel sets were delayed on their return from South Devon because of a problem with the back load from the North back to the South West. That has been resolved though and the wheel sets are now due back at Grosmont late this afternoon. The MPD has been asked to make sure they are sheeted up so that they are dry for cleaning and painting over the next few working parties. This will also enable the MPD to re-start work on the axleboxes, which they estimate will take about one month to complete.

Mark O'Brien was on with tapping the top set of flues yesterday. He has now found that he can deal with the ones that were fouled by the crown stays by tapping from the smokebox end so he can get the job finished without having to take any drastic action with the crown stays. Because of absences today and tomorrow he is not able to do any more this week, but hopes to have the job finished by the end of next week at the latest, so that the final bottle ends can be ordered. A plan for re-ending the bottle ends is also being finalised.


Saturday 26th August 2017

Bill Dobson becomes Q6 Locomotive Engineering Manager

Today was a NELPG / NYMR meeting held in the MIC room at Grosmont to discus and plan the rebuild of the Q6. This was chaired by our new Q6 caretaker "Bill Dobson," with NYMR shed manager" Paul Middleton" in attendance. Minutes taken by Colin Foxton. The meeting was well attended by NELPG members young & old and lasted nearly two hours. Much was discussed how we are to get loco back into traffic with help from the NYMR and also our own members.

And then to Work

Nigel Bill and myself removed the cylinder cladding sheets to examine the stitching of the cylinder which was done several years ago this was found on the R/H cylinder in two places and all seems ok. In the process we sheered two small cladding bolts which will have to be drilled out we did try but our drills were blunt , these still to do. The next job is to remove the pistons.

Nigel Hall continues with the tender, priming all the chips in the paint work . Andy took Bill around deviation and Q6 pointing out where parts are stored and checking on the progress of work done up to now. Gordon Wells was continuing with the wiring in the pit in Deviation shed.

Andy's wife Joan made us all a welcomed cup of tea also washing our dirty cups up thanks Joan.

And Play

Bryan Orange and the Jv's were having fun on the tandem volocipede on the back road behind Deviation shed.

JVs having fun on the Volocipede - Nigel Hall

More JVs having fun on the Volocipede - Nigel Hall

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