North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J72 Blog

A blog of activities relating to the J72 69023 'Joem'.

Thursday 12th March 2020


Still a good turn out on a breezy cold morning, though one absentee with a bad cold. After the fire was lit and Arthur’s latest load of pine logs was warming through the building, we pushed on with a few jobs before morning tea arrived.

Not a lot of work to do. As the keys had been extracted from the gudgeon pins on Monday night, these were lapped in to the cross heads. Ed managed t get a coat of undercoat on the last of the boiler cladding sheets. The access tower bits were brought back to the changing corner and reassembled. The machinists continued with the spring hanger and Q6 drain cocks. More firewood was cut. More brambles were cut back.

Bryan Orange joined us in the mess room at lunch time. The Wednesday’s Northern Echo article was raised: , and the remarkable generosity of Darlington Borough Council, as reported, was noted.

After lunch Nigel, Bryan, Arthur and Norman Wells spent the afternoon discussing Hopetown related safety issues.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 April 2020 18:14

Thursday 5th March 2020


A cold frosty start. 13 of us turned up. John Jones has returned after his bad back problem.

Arthur soon had the fire going. Tim Williamson, Ed Bolam and myself soon had the buffer beam back on, warming up for Allan Wilson’s 10:00 tea.

We had a visit from the scrap man, so now the scrap corner is a little tidier. He brought us an extra bin for swarf.

The boiler access scaffold has been dismantled and the boiler is ready to go – Nigel Hall


Tim and Norman Wells spent the day checking the cylinder casting against a couple of drawings. The castings need to be turned over to continue the process next week. Ed, John and myself dismantled the boiler access scaffold. Derek Shorton and Allan cut up some more firewood. Colin Smith extracted the gudgeon pins from the connecting rods and fitted them into the crossheads. As we cannot now understand what was required to lap these in the job was abandoned. Colin cleaned up the guard irons. Machinists corner was busy as usual.

Tim Williamson and Norman Wells checking the cylinder casting dimensions against a drawing – Nigel Hall

As lunch time approached, Arthur went to the wash room to sing happy birthday for 20 minutes.

After lunch Norman showed me what he had been able to capture of the project schedule and asked for assistance identifying certain tasks. Whilst we were in the mess room, Gordon Best arrived to check on the loco for a GA drawings that he was making and to collect some cylinder bolts for drawing. Tim didn’t know which bolts he was to draw, so Gordon went away empty handed. Sorry Gordon. Ed undercoated another cladding sheet, I managed to rub down and apply a first coat of varnish to the cab hatch. Colin Bowman arrived and has now managed to clear the brambles all the way along the Hopetown Lane wall. He did remark that spring had arrived and the blighters were starting to emerge from the ground again.

Ed Bolam, Derek Shorton and Harry Sams with a newly undercoated cladding sheet in the foreground – Nigel Hall

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 March 2020 21:04

Monday 2nd March 2020


Whilst I was varnishing inside the cab, Norman Wells, Ed Bolam, Arthur Jenkins and Tim Williamson whipped out the remaining cylinder block fitted bolts.

The cylinder block is lifted out of the frames - Nigel Nall

The block was then rolled over on the rail trolleys and all of the fitted bolts joining the two halfs were removed. By the end of the day the two halves of the cylinder block had been split.

The separated halves of the casting - Nigel Hall

The inner buffer beam was moved into position for mounting back on Thursday.

Neal Woods visited at tea time to brief people. A productive afternoon and evening.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2020 13:05

Thursday 27th February 2020


Another good turnout.

After lighting the fire and warming through, Arthur Jenkins, John Jones and Tim Williamson set about re-inserting the longitudinal boiler stays and the regulator rod back into the boiler - a job which seemed to require a lot of shouting and hammering, and made participants rather thirsty. After a quick 10:00 cup of tea, Arthur was cracking the whip again. Norman Wells and Ed Bolam looked through the J72 shelf to discover any blanking plates. One was discovered for the main steam pipe, but this did not quite fit over what is thought to be a bent stud. Later, further blanks were found in the brass store. Norman set about cutting suitable gaskets. Allan Wilson managed to clear the paint from the lubrication holes associated with the motion weigh shaft and covered them with masking tape.

Harry Sams looked at the suggested modification to the axle box covers. The extra boss face lubrication suggestion seems to have a number of snags. This job was left for further consideration. He spent most of the day servicing the pedestal drill. The machinists were busy as usual. Neal’s order for material to construct new piston gland bolts was collected from M-Machine, and the job added to the machinist’s queue.

Dave Wright and Derek Shorton finished butchering the remaining firewood. Colin Bowman replaced the blown bulb in NW corner spotlight. He managed to clear some more of the brambles against Hopetown Lane wall.

Whilst Ed Bolam was applying a coat of undercoat to another of the cladding sheets, I managed to remove the strip of masking tape and the overspills from the inside of the cab. Only the varnish to go inside there now.

Two 3 drawer filing cabinets have now made their way to the mess room for holding non-archival paperwork.


Thursday 20th February 2020


A frustrating week at Hopetown.

The ashpan was lifted on the engine hoist on Monday and the 2 rail trolleys removed from underneath it and repositioned to take the cylinder block when removed. The ashpan was then lowered onto pallets which had replaced the trolleys. The engine hoist was again in use to load the Q6 piston head into Nigel Bill’s van.

On Thursday there were 14 of us present.

I visited M-Machine to collect the machined drain cock carrots for the Q6. The brass castings were very porous, though it looks as though we will have sufficient to complete the drain cock set. The machinists were busy with the spring hanger bolts. Arthur gave a demonstration of the new wheel used to insert a reamer into the taper pin hole.  Arthur Jenkins and Colin Smith managed to extract the main steam pipe support from the boiler. The back cylinder covers have been cleaned. Colin Bowman managed to do a terrific job cutting back the brambles against the Hopetown Lane wall.

Dave Wright and Derek Shorton continued to butcher furniture in order to keep us supplied with firewood. How we will keep warm in future is anybody’s guess. I see from that it is only proposed to restrict our ability to buy firewood. I don’t think that we have ever done that.

With the exception of the machinists, we have run out of engineering work,. Some left early. Little to do other than tidy up.


Thursday 13th February 2020


Fifteen of us braved the sleet this morning.

After lighting the fire, putting the world to rights, a cup of tea and a lifting briefing and then to work.

A gang led by Tim Williamson positioned blocks, jacks, the lifting frame and the engine hoist in order to lift the loco by an inch or so to extract the lifting beam. This eventually led to the chocks being knocked out of two sleepers in order to reposition then to give the engine hoist a clear path to roll out with the left hand end of the lifting beam. With everything in position the front of the loco was raised an inch, the final packing placed under the frames, the loco lowered onto the packing, and the beam extracted. The yellow stands were then repositioned at the front of the frames as supplementary support.

The cylinder block ready for removal - Nigel Hall

Time for lunch making use of Derek Shorton’s dining chairs to accommodate everybody.

After lunch all of the bolts joining the two halves of the cylinder block were loosened, then nipped up to make the eventual splitting of the block easier. The block is now ready for extraction when a couple of rail trolleys become available.

Elsewhere Colin Smithy rubbed down the filler paint on the front LHS cladding sheet, Dave Wright and Derek Shorton cut up firewood. Harry Sams managed to weld the crack in the loppers. Colin Bowman spent the afternoon gardening with his loppers and dyke slasher. Maurice Bell managed to turn one of the old lathe gear wheels into a handle for controlling the vertical movement of the head of the milling machine, much to the delight of Arthur Jenkins. The previous handle had been missing since we acquired the machine.

That’s better than turning it with a spanner. Arthur turns the new handle - Nigel Hall

Floor swept and the place left tidy for Saturday’s open day.


Last Updated on Friday, 14 February 2020 09:25

Thursday 6th February 2020


Arthur opened up today whilst I had a quick trip to Williamson’s in Ripon to pick up some more paint. I arrived back in time for 10:00 tea. Across the road the work on the Central Borough pub opposite seems to be well underway.

Glazing the windows with bricks - Nigel Hall

Colin Smith had just about finished preparing the last of the barrel cladding sheets and was almost ready for the paint.

Arthur Jenkins, Tim Williamson, Norman Wells, Ed Bolam, and John Jones continued to work on preparing the cylinder block for removal. All bolts have been removed or loosened on the RHS, the LHS is almost complete too. The rear covers have been removed, as have most of the studs. Tim needed to cut both outer running board angle irons. The angle grinder let him down with what appears be a stripped gearbox – good job we have a second one, but ought to buy a replacement. Tim remarked on the quality of the recently acquired cutting discs.

ndy Bell continued with the journal measurements. Maurice Bell was busy in the machinists corner.

Over lunch we studied today’s Northern Echo:

After lunch Colin Bowman arrived, and after the banter concerning quarantine aboard his cruise ship, exchanged the 2 arm chairs in the mess room for some dining chairs which Derek Shorton had brought in. If you’d like one or both of the arm chairs then let it be known.

Our secretary, Roy Marshall, visited this afternoon.

Derek, Allan Wilson, Dave Wright and myself had another session cutting back the brambles and ash trees. Some of the trees were thick enough to be worth cutting up for firewood. Unfortunately, things were brought to a premature halt when a crack was discovered in the loppers.

Latest in our regular series of photographs of cracked components. No need for dye penetration to highlight matters. Much debate at tea time as to best method of repair. Metal stitching? Welding? Just buy another set? - Nigel Hall

A good day’s work.

We have a boiler contractor’s visit tomorrow morning. Next regular working party on Monday evening.




January at Hopetown


15 of us in on 9th, including a visit by Martin Lloyd and his kiwi grandson. 11 in on 16th, but lacking Arthur Jenkins who had damaged his knee in a fall from a kerb, 12 on 23rd with Arthur back, and 15 on 30th. Much tea consumed, much warming by the fire.

On the loco, the front stands have been repositioned in to allow the lifting frame to be moved above the crossheads. The crossheads have been removed and are being cleaned up on the bench. The slide bars were then removed and are stored between the loco frames.

Arthur Jenkins controls the lowering of the slide bar whilst Tim Williamson and Norman Wells guide it past the obstructions. Out of sight is John Jones pulling the chains - Nigel Hall

All except the outer upper fitted bolts holding the cylinder block were removed by heating and hammering. However the lower bolts could not be hammered because of the obstruction of the lifting beam under the cylinder block. These bolts were drilled, tapped and drawn out using a tool made by Maurice Bell.

Machinists Arthur Jenkins and Maurice Bell with the magnetic drill which was recently repaired by Bill Dobson. The hand on the left pouring coolant onto the bit belongs to Ed Bolam. The fitted bolts securing the cylinder block are drilled, tapped and the extractor made by Maurice is then screwed into the countersunk end of the fitted bolt. By tightening the nut on the extractor the fitted bolt can be drawn out - Nigel Hall

With the RHS bolt extraction almost complete, attention will turn to the LHS on Thursday.

Ed Bolam and Colin Smith have almost completed the preparation and priming of the cladding sheets.

The stream heat pipe has been tested, painted, and lagged.

The invitation to tender documents have now been sent to the prospective contractors. Ian Storey conducted a site visit by one contractor on the 30th. He also showed a prospective machining contractor the cylinder block.

A start has been made cutting back the brambles in the hope that we can stay on top of this problem and be able to shunt out the boiler without that obstruction in the spring.

The machinists have been kept busy cutting taper pin holes in the spring hanger pins and servicing the Q6 drain cocks. Six new castings for these have been made by William Lane. They have been taken to M-Machine who will machine them to replace the 3 which are beyond scrapping size. The remaining three blanks will be retained for future use, possibly for other locos.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2020 21:51

Thursday 2nd January 2020



Tim Williamson replaces the angle iron nuts on the studs after removal of the J72 running board – Nigel Hall

A small working party of Arthur Jenkins, John Jones, Tim Williamson, Ed Bolam, Colin Bowman and Nigel Hall arrived after the new year holiday. After lighting the fire and an earlier than usual brew we got down to some work.

Arthur and John spent the morning servicing the T2 (Q6) drain cocks. Some of these are serviceable, some are worn out and will need to be replaced. Ed got a gloss coat onto the insides of the final barrel cladding sheets. Tim managed to slit the J72 running board at the weld whilst Nigel went down to Machine Mart to obtain some extra cutting discs. With both running boards slit all hands lifted the running boards off, Tim removed the frame side angle iron ad replace the nuts on the studs.

Colin Bowman arrived after lunch, he managed to covert fluorescent light in the mess room with low earth resistance to take a LED tube. The  dubious components are now bypassed.

Arthur and Tim made a start removing the fitted bolts holding the cylinder block to the frames. Heat, hammer and needed to drill one bolt to weaken it. The magnetic drill has not retuned form Carnforth yet.  Arthur tried with a hand drill but unfortunately broke the bit inside the hole. By good luck he’d weakened the bolt sufficiently and it came out  at the next hammering.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 January 2020 19:13

Monday 30th December 2019


Last working party at Hopetown this year.

Arthur Jenkins, Tim Williamson, Ed Bolam and Nigel Hall there at 09:00, to be joined later by Gordon Wells and Colin Bowman. Bill Dobson was intending to join us later on his way to Morpeth, but decided not to as part of his trip was to call in at the brass foundry. This he discovered was closed over the Christmas and New Year period.

Arthur spent the day servicing the T2 (Q6) drain cocks with mixed success. Ed got a gloss coat onto the insides of the cladding sheets. Tim managed to extract the last of the bolts holding down the running board. Nigel managed to make some thickness measurements on the steam heat pipe.

When Gordon arrived, I showed him around the electrical system and the 5 issues raised in the fixed wiring inspection report. Gordon managed to find the iffy light fitting (it is the one above the CCTV in the mess room) which Colin is going to replace. Gordon now has proposed solutions to the other problems. Colin arrived later in the day and talked these through with Gordon.

Nigel, Ed and Tim spent the latter part of the afternoon straightening the joints in the crinoline bands which had been removed during previous working sessions. These are now available to construct a stand for preparing and painting the outsides of the cladding sheets.

I hope folks enjoyed their beer and curry this evening. The working party attendees were returning home to watch Chanel 5’s 2 hour program of Ian Riley driving from Ft William to Mallaig.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 January 2020 18:56
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