North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J27 Blog

A log of activity concerning the J27.

Wednesday 21st February 2018


Having moved the engine into the Fabrication Shop, and the tender into Deviation Shed (which now looks more like a North Eastern Shed with the Q6 already there), items 1 - 5 on the project plan have been completed. The smokebox has been removed (see photos).

The J27 with smokebox removed stands in the fab shop on No 2 road - Chris Lawson

The smoke box on the ground again - Chris Lawson

The J27 tender stands next to the Q6 tender inside Deviation Shed - Chris Lawson

Today was spent by some of the Q6 team in unloading the remaining items from the J27 tender in Deviation Shed, and moving them into the Fabrication Shop where they have been placed on the ground behind the cab. The tender is now empty and ready for filling with water and coal and then weighing (item 26). Those parts that were unloaded by Paul Hutchinson over the weekend and put under the Q6's new small tubes were also moved down to the Fabrication Shop. In addition, Nigel brought down a van load of parts from Hopetown and these were unloaded and put with the other items, except for the cab spectacle plates which have been put in the upstairs store at Deviation Shed, against the wall down by the office desk.

Nigel has taken the NYMR van this evening and will be collecting the cladding, the bags of lagging, and possibly the chimney, tomorrow to bring back to Grosmont. That will complete item 6. The cab and sandboxes are due to be collected on 3 March and delivered to Grosmont which will complete item 7.

5 rocking grate bars are due to be delivered to Grosmont in the next few days. One of these is for the B1 and the other 4 are for the J27. The J27’s side bearers are already fitted and 4 rocking grate bars (one of which has the crank removed so that it forms a fixed section at the back of the grate) were brought in the tender and are now with the engine– the rest of the grate was scrap.

The hydraulic has been arranged for 1 March (item 13).

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 February 2018 22:22

19th February 2018


As you are aware from Nigel Hall's recent emails, the J27 was successfully delivered to New Bridge by Friday of last week, in spite of various delays and difficulties. Can I thank everyone who was involved in any way with that move, but particularly Nigel for masterminding the exercise, for all your hard work and contribution to achieve that, in what, I know have been very difficult circumstances.

The J27 tender is loaded in the dying light of the day at Hopetown on Thursday 15th February. It would soon crunch its way over the newly formed ice and depart for New Bridge - Nigel Hall

Having got to New Bridge, the engine and tender were coupled up on Friday, and attached is a photograph of the locomotive in the compound at New Bridge.

On Saturdsy 17th February the locomotive and tender can be seen joined together over the pit at New Bridge - Dave Pennock

On Sunday, Paul Hutchinson and Angie went down to check over the locomotive and oil round before the move to Grosmont the next day. Everything was fine, but Paul commented that he had forgotten how little room there is to oil up between the frames.

Having overcome a last minute problem with one of the signallers who had gone sick, the move to Grosmont went ahead yesterday morning as planned. Chris Cubitt and Charlie Wood were the diesel crew, with Dave Tibet as guard and Paul Hutchinson and Adrian Dennis as fitters travelling on the J27. Paul reports that all went very well with the move.

Mechanically it could hardly have been better. Only the left leading side rod bush got any more than cold. There was, however, nothing to worry about at any time and it had completely settled down by the time we got to Grosmont. The cylinder block warmed up a little (to 60 degrees C), but with the large volumes of air being shifted this was not surprising. I tried the at reverser various cut offs and the engine and I agreed that 50% was about right. We stopped regularly to check around and to dose the pistons and valves with lub oil. Speed was limited to around 10mph. We tried it at 15mph for a short while but it quickly became apparent that this was just a little too fast for the front end.

The engine and tender rode very well. All of this bodes well for when the engine runs under its own power. Well done to Neal who oversaw much of the work that was tested today.

The engine and tender were then split and the tender put into Deviation Shed behind the Q6 tender. The engine is now in the Fabrication Shop for checking over and the start of work. To achieve the necessary space, Hartland has been moved out of Deviation Shed and No 8 road has now been occupied by the No 29 Weltrol from behind the Q6, and Lucie which had been in the Fabrication Shop.

Before Paul left, he removed as much of the tender contents as he could, and has put them under the Q6's new small tubes. Only the new steam pipe, the firebars and Nigel's box of 'goodies' remain to be removed, and as soon as that is done - apparently it should take 3 people about 10 minutes - the Railway will coal the tender, fill it up with water and weigh it. Separately, Nigel took the old steam pipe and Terry’s shelf load of cab pipes to Grosmont on Saturday. The copper pipes are on pallets behind the workshop to avoid confusion with Q6 components, and the old steam pipe is up against No 5. He is planning to bring a van load of the remaining smaller components, mainly in the brass store at Hopetown, to Grosmont on Wednesday, along with the photo album to guide those fitting cab pipework.

Separately, I had a meeting with Paul Middleton, Barney Casey, and Kelvin Whitwell at the MPD on the Wednesday (14th) to discuss the project plan for completion of the J27 at Grosmont. Chris Price also happened to be present. Whilst Paul M was still confident that, subject to nothing unexpected arising, the Easter target date for completion was still achievable, in practice he wanted to plan on the basis of completion by the next week, 8 April, to give him both a week's contingency, but also to coincide with the drop from the Easter red timetable to the green timetable for the rest of the month. I was given a firm commitment that, with that proviso, that date would be met. The green timetable would give spare paths for running in and any other test running that was required, which would not be available in the previous week. Subject to that not revealing any problems, then the J27's first service train was scheduled for 8 May - the day after the early May Bank Holiday, although, if all went well, we could see it in service before then. That period in April would also give us the opportunity to 'play' with the locomotive, and we are hoping to arrange some events for the Hopetown volunteers as a way of thanking them for their efforts, in the manner that we would have done at Hopetown if the overhaul had been completed there, but with rather more scope for a greater range of activities.

As a result of our discussions, Paul Middleton and Kelvin have produced the attached first draft of the project plan. This is based on their initial understanding of the work that remains to be done, and is therefore subject to revision once they have checked over the engine, in the light of work that is found to have been done at Hopetown and not now needing to be done at Grosmont - for example the valve setting at item 10 has already been completed. I will be reviewing progress against the project plan on a weekly basis, by calling in to the MPD office on a Wednesday when I am down for the regular Q6 working party and will report back accordingly. Any technical issues that arise however, will be referred to Paul Hutchinson, Richard Pearson and John Graham for resolution. In all this, I pointed out the need to make sure that progress with the Q6 was not prejudiced and that it was equally important to ensure that the target date for its completion was also met.

Finally, Paul Middleton said he understood the sensitivities of the Hopetown volunteers surrounding the move of the J27 to Grosmont, but any volunteers who wished to continue to help with the overhaul would still be very welcome, although he recognised that, even though the NELPG car would be available from Teesside, this was unlikely to be a practical proposition.

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 May 2018 22:46

Hopetown: last Thursday J27 working Party


A set of photographs taken at the last J27 working party.

Ian Matthews applies the transfer to the tender side - Nigel Hall

The LHS transfer from the mess room window - Nigel Hall

The loco LHS showing cab fittings - Terry Newman

The completed tender, the coal space now being loaded with components - Terry Newman

The loco RHS with Arthur Jenkins, Tim Wilkinson and Steve Johnston tieing the ejector exhaust pipe to the running board for transport - Terry Newman

Derek Shorton cleaning the J72 blower ring - Terry Newman

The ghost of Hopetown hangs from the corner of the J27 cab, the J72 in the background - Terry Newman

Some of the components removed from the J72 - Terry Newman

Derek Shorton refurbishes the J72 blower ring whilst Tim Wilkinson, Arthur Jenkins and Steve Johnson check the security of the ejector exhaust pope on the J27 running board - Terry Newman

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 February 2018 22:07

Work starts to Level the Boiler


Matthew Storey surveys his handiwork - Terry Newman

Updated 11-11-2017. The boiler is being raised at the front to level its position on the rear sliders and to level the tube plate on the new cylinder casting ledge.

The work is being undertaken by Mathew Storey

The boiler was raised with jacks until the boiler was sat in the best position on the rear slides. Measurements were then taken to allow a the new piece of tubeplate to be formed which will be welded into position to make a good fit on the cylinder block. This should be completed on Saturday and should enable a lot of assembly work on the boiler to begin.

A view of the tubeplate to saddle joint on LHS of locomotive. The intended cut line is marked in yellow - Terry Newman

Close up view of the gap between tubeplate and cylinder casting shelf on RHS of locomotive - Terry Newman

View of tubeplate and cylinder block casting shelf on RHS of locomotive - Terry Newman

View from the smokebox side showing the bend in the tubeplate near frames - Terry Newman

Matthew Storey and Harry Sams insert lifting beam under the boiler - Terry Newman

View from under the boiler of the lifting beam in place - Terry Newman

The bottom of the tube plate removed. Pinocchio about to guillotine his nose - Terry Newman

Matthew Storey dressing the tube plate for welding - Terry Newman

On Saturday 11th November the new bottom section of the tube plate was bolted into position on the cylinder block casting shelf and then welded to the rest of the tube plate.

The new tube plate section in place viewed from the smokebox side - Richard Pearson

The new tube plate section viewed from the boiler side - Richard Pearson

The two sections of tube plate are welded together - Richard Pearson

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 December 2017 22:12

The Boiler Returns from Crewe


An early start to today's working party. With the crane in position, the cab was lifted and placed on a rail trolley.

Richard Pearson and Paul Hutchinson struggle to free the cab bolts - Nigel Hall

Free at last - Nigel Hall

The cab parked in the head shunt on rail trolly. Harry Sams struggles with ladder - Nigel Hall

At 10:30 the boiler arrived. All hands to the unloading of the loose components.

The boiler arrives. Ian Matthews assists unloading of components with the A1 fork lift- Nigel Hall

Boiler lifted, low loader departs - Nigel Hall

By 11:00 the low loader was ready for departure and the ash pan fitting gang ready to start, and after an hour's struggle the main action was about to begin.

Ash pan fitted, the boiler is slowly lowered into frames - Nigel Hall

Uh huh, found the first problem - Nigel Hall

Richard Pearson adjusts crinolyn band with grinder - Nigel Hall

That's better, it fits at cab end - Nigel Hall

Down we go, Trevor Wilford rests his weary bones on the GWR chimney - Nigel Hall

However, this was just the start of the struggle to fit the smoke box over the saddle. At the end of the day, the boiler is back on and all the components taken to the workshop. There will be lots of work to do during the comming weeks.

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 December 2017 22:11

Visit to Crewe


The J27’s boiler was successfully lifted at LNWR Crewe on Wednesday 17th May for the trial fitting of its ashpan.

27 Boiler lift LNWR Crewe 17th May 2017  Ashpan trial fit -Dave Pennock

J27 New smokebox front LNWR Crewe 17th May 2017 -Dave Pennock

27 Boiler lift LNWR Crewe 17th May 2017 -Dave Pennock

The boiler works are now complete and final fabrication work is in progress on the smokebox. The move of the boiler to Hopetown is now expected during June.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 April 2018 22:06

Saturday at Hopetown


Today we have been machining new fitted bolts for the slide bars. These were bought in as blanks with the fitted diameter rough turned and the thread finished.

The blank after the fitted diameter has been machined and the flats machined on - Neal Woofs

The bolt being set up to relive the thread - James Pearcy

James Pearcy mills the flats - Neal Woods

The finished job - Neal Woods

We also did some painting of the new tender tank, bolted the tank down to the frames, tapped out the water flange holes and measured up for the studs for the water flanges.


Boiler Progress


Chris Lawson and myself visited Crewe on Wednesday.

New smokebox arrival and inspection LNWR Crewe Richard Watins (centre) Chris lawson (right) 15th February -Dave Pennoc

Good progress is now being made with the J27 boiler overhaul at LNWR heritage at Crewe with completion still forecast for the end of March. The accompanying photographs taken on 15th February show the boiler retubing and various backhead, foundation ring and mudhole door refurbishments nearing completion.

Lower washout plug showing holes drilled for corner foundation ring studs 15th February - Dave Pennock

Refurbished mudhole door LNWR Crewe 15th February - Dave Pennock

Firebox 15th February - Dave Pennock

Old mudhole doors - refurbishment in progress LNWR Crewe 15th February - Dave Pennoc

Clack boxes whistle and gauge glass protectors delivered to LNWR Crewe 15th February - Dave Pennock

Front tubeplate. Retubing progress 15th February - Dave Pennock

 Mudhole refurbishmnet and new copper stays 15th February - Dave Pennock

Backhead flanges and studs refurbishment 15th February - Dave Pennock

New smokebox arrival at LNWR Crewe 15th February - Dave Pennock

A complete new smokebox will be provided. The existing chimney will be reused but fitted with a new petticoat and steel lining. Coincidentally the new smokebox door arrived on site the same day. The main steam pipe requires expanding within the front tubeplate and this awaits the delivery of a new tool for its completion.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 February 2017 17:10

J27 Tender Tank Delivered to Hopetown


On a cold grey miserable day the new tender tank arrived at Hopetown and was parked up next to the line by the crossing.

The tender tank arrives at Hopetown - Nigel Hall

The day had started a few hours earlier earlier in Middlesbrough with the loading of the newly painted tender at Dockside Industrial Services.

Preparing to load the newly painted tank - Ian Dunn

On the lorry - Ian Dunn

All tied down - Ian Dunn

Then the action moved to Hopetown.

Waiting by the line for Malcky to arrive with the frames - Nigel Hall

The tender frames are alongside, time to prepare for lift - Nigel Hall

After rotation, the tank is lowered to the frames - Terry Newman

Aligning the sump - Terry Newman

Ttrevor Wilford directs the lowering on to the tender frames - Nigel Hall


Terry Newman directs a slight repositioning of the frames - Nigel Hall

Trevor Wilford pinning the locating holes - Nigel Hall

Harry Sams pins the other - Nigel Hall


The tank safely on the frames; Terry Newman explains next move to the driver - Nigel Hall

Nearly there; Roy Marshall, Trevor Wilford, Les Harper and driver Malcky Simpson - Nigel Hall

Past the Builders Arms - Terry Newman

Through the compound gate and down the slope - Terry Newman

Safely into the workshop  - Nigel Hall

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 16:38

Tender tank in primer


Some photographs taken at Dockside Industrial Services on Friday.

Left hand side - Ian Dunn

Right hand side showing slight inperfections where baffles are welded - Ian Dunn

Front of sump showing the flange for attachment od pipe to water valve, the sump access hole and the plug for hose access - Ian Dunn

Rear view of the sump - Ian Dunn

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 February 2017 20:42

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