North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Wednesday 8th July 2020

Tuesday was a fine but slightly overcast day at Deviation Shed with Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Richard De Sadeleer and Ian Pearson present.

Steady progress was made, with Richard undoing bolts on the cladding and getting it ready for removal while Nigel removed the last of the concrete in the smokebox. All the studs that hold the smokebox to the saddle will be burnt off sometime shortly. Bill was busy removing the left hand timber seating and framework to allow access to the bolts holding the two halves of the cab together. About half the countersunk bolts were removed on this side. Ian meanwhile was logging and labelling parts to start with, and then assisting Richard with the cladding and Nigel in the smokebox. The B1 tender was moved a short distance south to allow the cladding to be stored on No 6 Road. The first sheet Richard removed is marked 'top firebox' and sits on top of the boiler between sheets '5 left' and '5 right'. These are now stored on No 6 Road.

63395 cladding sheet No 4 left being moved to store on No 6 Road at Deviation Shed on 7 July 2020 by Ian Pearson, Bill, Dobson and Nigel Bill - Richard de Sadeleer.

After lunch (held on the picnic benches outside), Nigel did the monthly defibrillator check in my continuing absence. He had also brought the little end brasses from Ian Storey’s workshop. Jon Bradley called in to deliver the new kitchen unit and sink, and Gordon Wells brought the new water heater. These are to be fitted later with a worktop which Carolyn Green is supplying next Tuesday (see photo of now empty space into which they will be fitted). Back on the engine, Richard had removed the top cladding bolts on No 4 cladding sheet. This sheet was quite difficult to remove as it had been pop riveted, but it proved possible to drag the sheet out far enough to chop off the pop rivets and remove the sheet in 2 halves. These are marked '4 left' and '4 right' and are stacked on No6 Road with the others (see photo of '4 left' being moved). A start was made on cladding sheet No 3 but removal was left for the following day.

A fine sunny morning greeted Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Nigel Bill and Ian Pearson at Deviation Shed on Wednesday.

Steve and Nigel spent all day in the cab following on from Bill’s work the previous day, and removed the remaining countersunk bolts which hold the two sections of the cab together, and the timber structure on the right hand side that holds the driver's seat in place. This timber surround, when dismantled, allows access to the countersunk nuts and bolts. Both left and right cab side had all the bolts removed by the end of the day. Nigel had to remove the filler that covers the countersunk head to allow an allan key to loosen the nut from the bolt. Ed and Ian set about removing the front 3 sections of cladding: not an easy task as none of the top cup head screws would move so they had to chisel off the 24 screw heads. Then, underneath, they found the self tapping screws which hold the two sections of cladding sheet together, wouldn't move either so they also had to be chiselled off. By the end of the day, alln3 cladding sheets were split, making 6 pieces, and removed and stored on No 6 Road. Gordon, Jon and Bill called in for a short while to attend to a few small jobs on the new washing facilities.

Deviation Shed - empty space cleared for installation of washing facilities on 7 July 2020. - Ian Pearson



Thursday 2nd July 2020

Three days of working parties at Grosmont on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so a very full report for this week at Grosmont on both locomotives.

Tuesday was a slightly overcast, fine and cooler day for working in Deviation shed compared to last week, with Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Jon Bradley and Ian Pearson. First job was to remove the two large boxes of equipment used to bore the Q6 cylinders from the entrance of Deviation Shed down to the MPD, and which Barney moved with the front loader. Then items in the area just inside the workshop were all removed to make space for the water supply and sink unit, due to be installed later in the week. Gordon Wells called in and moved an electrical unit that was stored in that area to the electricity substation. Then Bill and Jon set about sorting out and moving items from the buffer stops. Lots have now been stored near the side roller door, including old buffers, various castings and coach brake blocks, and the J21 chimney, with the intention of sending them to Hopetown. They also spent a lot of time refitting the bench back to the other side of the buffer stop. The buffers are to be moved forward about 5 feet shortly so that work can be done safely on an outside bench.

63395 No 5 cladding sheet safely removed in Deviation Shed on 1 July 2020 - Ian Pearson.

Nigel and Ian carried on working on the Q6 boiler removing the boiler bands. All 6 bands have now been removed - not an easy job as some of the threaded bolts were covered in paint or rust and double nuts. Nor were they easy to get at, and two bolts had to be cut through with the angle grinder - but that's steam engines for you!

63395 boiler in Deviation Shed with No 5 left side cladding sheet removed on 1 July 2020 - Ian Pearson.

After lunch at the picnic bench, Nigel and Ian started to remove the left side hand rail. This proved to be very stubborn. It is joined in two sections, but they would not part and, after many attempts to split the two sections, defeat was accepted. The cab hand rail securing the barrel was then removed and eventually the full length of the hand rail was moved about 6 feet forwards. Then the J27 tender was found to be in the way, stopping the hand rail from being fully withdrawn, so was left for the next day. Jon started to remove the wooden driver's seat as the nuts are underneath that fasten the top of the cab to the bottom, but a lot more timber in this area is going to have to be removed to get at all the nuts. Andy Wiffin called in just after 4 pm to check with Bill where to fit the new pipe in the workshop on Thursday. Gordon is going to fit trace heating to the pipe so it won't freeze in winter.

63395 steam ejector exhaust pipe alongside No 6 Road in Deviation Shed after removal on 1 July 2020 - Ian Pearson.

On Wednesday, the working party was Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Richard De Sadeleer and Ian Pearson. They hadn’t been there long when North East Security Doors came to service the Shed's roller shutter doors. While they got on with that, the team got on with removing the left side hand rail. It was finally removed in one piece, and without the need to move the J27 - bonus! The small bolts holding No.5 cladding sheet, which is on the left side, were then removed and, with a rope attached, it was gently removed and lowered to the floor (see photos). Next, the right hand front section of hand rail was removed.

63395 brake ejector on bench in Deviation Shed after removal on 1 July 2020 - Ian Pearson.

After lunch, again at the picnic bench, Steve and Richard concentrated on removing the steam reversing operating handle, brake ejector, and, eventually, the ejector exhaust pipe (see photos), while Ed and Ian were removing the small cladding bolts. Some come out quite easily but others won’t move, so more work to be done.

On Thursday, after helping with a few odd jobs on the J27, Ian then made a start dismantling the Q6 steam reversing housing, which was uncoupled from its holding brackets and put in store in No 8 bay upstairs in the workshop. Then the rear section of the right side hand rail, which covers the steam reverser operating shaft, was removed and stored at the side of 6 Road. The operating shaft itself was then removed with help from Robson, and stored again at the side of 6 Road. All items taken off have been logged and labelled.


Thursday 25th June 202-

Ian reports two red hot sweltering days at Grosmont on Wednesday and Thursday with our first working parties for three months, and held under COVID 19 secure control measures. With Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Jon Bradley, and a late running lan Pearson on Wednesday, and Nigel, Ian, Steve Hyman and Ed Bolam on Thursday. Also on site on Wednesday were Bryan Orange, Andy Wiffin, Piglet and Gordon Wells. They were sorting out a mains water supply to Deviation Shed to provide a much needed direct water supply (other than in the pit!) for hand washing and filling the kettle. A potable water supply pipe was found by the coaling plant, and a pipe is planned to be run from this to Deviation Shed, with a sink fitted just inside the north end of the workshop. Until that work is carried out, the kettle and washing up bowl are having to act as a temporary substitute for the required regular hand washing.

On the Q6, work started on Wednesday with loosening the bolts holding the bands around the cladding. Not a speedy job as Nigel apparently found out, with bolts turning and requiring someone, suitably social distanced, holding the nut at the other side. It did not help with different sizes of nuts and bolts, meaning many trips back to the workshop for spanners. Two bands were undone, the first and third from the cab but not removed. Bill then suggested that a trial fit of the new main steam pipes be carried out, just in case they needed some final adjustment and sending back for fettling. They are very heavy, but were carried down to the smokebox and, with help from Barney and Chris Kelly, they were installed. They fitted OK but were left for removal the next day. Thanks to Barney and Chris for their time and assistance.

Down at the running shed, the S15, No 825, was lit up after its superheater elements repair. A steam test was due the next day.

On Thursday, the first job was to open the side and No 7 Road roller shutter doors to let the air blow through, as it was extremely hot in Deviation Shed. Then Nigel, Ed and Ian removed both main steam pipes which had been fitted the day before. These have been placed either side of the engine and can now have the flanges properly welded. Steve has implemented an inventory system so, as items are removed, they are numbered and identified and a location put on. He removed the steam reverser valve and part of the operating arm. This was logged, along with its steam pipe and copper washer, and put into store. The engine and tender were split as recommended by Barney.

Lunch was had alfresco in the picnic area with social distancing.

After lunch, more work was carried out undoing some of the cladding bands, although No 6 band was the only one actually removed. The others won’t come off until the hand rails and ejector pipe are removed. The boiler bands have been numbered 1 to 6, starting at the smokebox end with No 1. Nik Proctor, who had been steam raising on the S15 to test the elements, came and gave a hand during the afternoon to loosen the ejector pipe union in the cab, and also disconnected the exhaust pipe in the smokebox. This pipe and the hand rails are still to remove. The piece of handrail that surrounds the top of the smokebox and lamp bracket was taken off however.



Saturday 14th March 2020

Ian reports a cold, wet, dismal, morning at Grosmont yesterday, but drying up later with Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Nigel Dyson and Ian himself. Also in attendance was Bryan Orange with 10 Junior Volunteers plus one dad, and Andy Lowes and Arthur Jenkins training the JV's down in the machine shop.

Bill checked out and adjusted the T2 refurbished cylinder cock valves which Arthur had brought with him from Hopetown. Bill had to leave early but left a job list.  Both Nigels set about fitting the cylinder cocks. The four outside ones were fitted and tightened up parallel, but, unfortunately, the centre four would not tighten up parallel. They need copper washers to fit the valves, but as is often the case, the right sizes were not available. Arthur was given the measurements of what was required and may have to go to M Machine to get them made.

At 10am, the JV's were given a safety briefing by NYMR's Safety Officer, John Arnold, in the MIC room. Back on the job, three JV's were sent to clean the mud hole and hand hole doors on the J27, while another two were sent into the T2's firebox to clean the tube plate and roof stay nuts. Later on, during the morning, two ex JV's, Messrs Houseman and Sutcliffe, came in and offered their services. They therefore removed most of the slide bar bolt split pins. The split pins proved very stubborn to remove on both sides, with the last two having to be removed by Ian with a struggle.

Lunch was had around the stove with Arthur and Andy, while the JV's had theirs in the MPD mess room.

After lunch, a group of JV's set off cleaning the J27 wheels, boiler and frames, with some underneath in the pit cleaning grease from the springs and frames. In the T2 firebox after lunch, another pair of JV's took over cleaning the roof stay nuts and the tube plate. Later on during the afternoon, Ian and Nigel B had a go at removing the left-hand side tender underkeeps, only to find they could only remove the trailing one. That looked OK. The other two would not pull out. The centre cover was found to have had a repair done in the past, with two small bolts holding a retaining bracket which is where one of the main cover bolts fit. This bracket has two small bolts which retain it to the main casting, but one of the small bolts has sheared. The bracket was given to Arthur to drill out the sheared bolt at Hopetown and return next week.

Subject to any changes in Government guidance on movement, the next working party will be on Wednesday 18 March 2020. In the meantime, please follow the Government’s guidelines, stay healthy, and I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.


Wednesday 11th March 2020

A lovely sunny but windy day at Grosmont yesterday with Bill Dobson (briefly), Steve Hyman, Frank Shotton, Ed Bolam, Jon Bradley, myself (later) and, eventually, just in time for lunch, Ian Pearson.

After the now traditional fire lighting and cuppa, Bill started to set up a wire to align the T2 slide bars, but he had to go off on other business, so that will need to be taken forward on another occasion. The engine and tender were coupled up by the team, with a new cotter made by Frank for the main drawbar pin and fitted. As a result of moving the tender up to the engine, it enabled the access gates to be refitted at the north end of each Shed Road. Jon then went round and oiled up all the hinges on every door/gate he could find. Suitably enthused, he then grappled with the new grease gun, and, after some difficulty, managed to get the underneath of the tender greased. One grease nipple was missing on the left trailing brake table housing and this may need drilling out so as to fit a new nipple. The locomotive reversing weigh shaft was cleaned and oiled.

Allan Toomer's memorial plaque - Chris Lawson

Allan Toomer's memorial plaque was attached to the bench next to the stove in the morning (see photos), and during lunch Ian had his ear bent about the failure to do the washing up and fill the water bottles after the previous working party. This job needs to be done at the end of each working day - please!

A toast to Allan Toomer with his memorial plaque fitted to the bench at Deviation Shed - Frank Shotton

In the afternoon, Barney brought up the K1 ‘s pressure gauge which had been calibrated and cleaned. It is now stored upstairs awaiting collection by Paul. The crosshead splitter has been repaired by Steve Andrews, and is back in the workshop. Some progress was achieved on the

T2 smokebox spark arrester parts by Ian and myself, by drilling out some stubborn bolts which were seized. In the smokebox, the header and bottom steam pipe connections were cleaned by Ed.

I collected the 2020 NYMR discount cards and car parking permits from the MPD Office for all those on the NELPG (as opposed to the MPD) list, and will distribute them over the next few days.

The next working party will be on Saturday 14 March 2020, when Bryan Orange and the JV’s will also be in attendance. Chris Henwood will not be present, but he and Neal have prepared a list of priority jobs for Ian, required to be carried out before the J27 cold exam which is now arranged for 23 March. The steam test will hopefully be held towards the end of March/early April, in time for the start of the NYMR operating season on 6 April, coronavirus permitting.


Saturday 7th March 2020

Ian reports a fine day at Grosmont yesterday with Bill Dobson, Chris Henwood, Nigel Bill, and Ian Pearson.

Stove was lit, kettle put on, and a plan of action discussed over the usual cuppa. Bill could only stop a short while, but he managed to repack the T2 regulator and connect the follower onto the housing. Nigel cleaned the T2 dome copper seal and annealed it. Ian, Nigel and Chris then hauled the rather heavy dome cover up onto the top of the boiler with some assistance from another attendee. With the cover balancing on the studs, Chris and Ian moved the dome into position ready for securing down, which was then done by Ian and Nigel.

Chris then did some work on the J27, firstly removing a brass strip from one of the windows. This was loose due to the screws becoming slack in the timber frame, causing the brass strip to belly out and making it difficult to open and close, and causing some damage. Chris has taken the window home to repair, the glass is stored upstairs. He then lapped in and fitted the valve head on the J27s' ejectors shut off valve. A survey of the J27 spark arrester was also done by Chris. It is in a poor state, but these jobs take a while to make up and fit. Back on the T2, Nigel and Ian were connecting the tender brake shafts and hand brake connection back up, along with the coupling that joins the weigh shaft to the steam brake and also the brake rod on the loco to the steam brake coupling.

Lunch was had around the stove. Bill popped back in later in the afternoon and gave some assistance with fitting the brake rod on the loco. We all had an early finish due to Saturday evening commitments in Darlington, leaving by 15. 45 .



Monday 2nd March 2020

Another supplementary report. Ian Pearson and Nigel Bill picked up the company van this morning at Thornaby and after checking oil , water and tyre pressures set off to Ian Storey's workshop at Hepscott with a stop for Diesel at Sainsbury’s in Sedgefield. On arrival at Hepscott, the T2 ‘s reversing weigh shaft housing bearings were delivered for white metalling and machining. Then the T2 pistons were loaded into the van and secured, and then taken to Flavell Precision Engineering on Teesside for welding, machining and grooves made for piston rings. The van was returned to its stabling point in Thornaby.

Meanwhile, back on the NYMR, John Hunt reports old rails being replaced with new at Moorgates over the last week. Alternate rail joints have been welded. The re railing extends from the Lyke Wake Walk crossing to a point just south of Moorgates road bridge. While there are still several dropped joints to sort out, a big step in the right direction and, hopefully, less spring breakages.


Thursday 27th February 2020

Ian Pearson has let me know that he and Bill arranged an extra working party for today, as Bill wanted to remove the weigh shaft housings after Wednesday's attempt failed. So Ian P and Bill, with Zack the dog, worked all day today and removed both housings. Both are with Ian P and will be delivered to Ian Storey's workshop on Monday by Ian P and Nigel Bill in the company van. While they are there, they will pick up the two T2 pistons and deliver them to Flavell Engineering at Thornaby for welding.

In spite of this extra activity, don't forget there will still be the normal T2/Q6/J27 working party on Saturday.


Wednesday 26th February 2020

Ian pearson reports a fine cold morning at Grosmont yesterday, but warming up later and sunshine all day! Those present were Bill Dobson, Ian McCall, Frank Shotton and Ian Pearson himself.

First job for Ian P was to to open No 7 Road roller shutter door to allow the J27 to be shunted down to the MPD for washing out. Frank got the job of lighting the stove, while Ian M brewed up our usual cuppa, before Bill arrived. After the J27 had been shunted out, while having the early morning cuppa, Ian M asked whether the spring had been fitted to the T2 steam brake cylinder last week. No was the answer, so Ian M had to remove the cover and fit the spring which was kept down at the MPD. One of the cylinder cover studs had also gone missing so Ian M had to make up a new one which he fitted. Then all the cylinder retaining nuts were flogged up and split pinned. This job is now finally completed. Frank worked underneath the T2 removing split pins and retaining nuts from the right hand side of the reversing weigh shaft housing, while Ian P and Bill set about bringing two 25 ton jacks up from the MPD. They were hoping to use the metal beam from the wheel drops to jack up the engine but, unfortunately, it was in use, so, as an alternative, they tried to use a sleeper, but it wasn’t suitable as the jacks were not level and the idea was abandoned. Jacking up the engine is required so the reversing shaft weigh shaft housing fitted bolts can be removed and the bottom brass and housing taken out as they need white metalling and machining. Alternative methods of trying to remove the brass were tried but nothing worked.

Lunch was had around the stove with the four and Zack the dog.

The J27 was brought back later in the day after washing out. The sleeve on the T2 regulator rod has now been welded onto the rod but it will still require some more work.

63395 tender weigh shaft in machine shop at Grosmont MPD - Ian pearson

Down at the MPD, the tender weigh shaft has been machined and is ready for fitting next week.


Saturday 22nd February 2020

Ian Pearson reports that on Friday morning, he and Bill Dobson went to Grosmont and loaded the T2 cylinder head back into Nigel Bill’s van to go back to Ian Storey's for refitting back onto the piston rod. The cylinder heads have been confimed as being steel rather than iron, so are now going to Flavell Engineering for welding. Conveniently Nigel Bill was on a course at Grosmont.

Today it was a fine cold morning driving to Grosmont with speed cameras in operation at Scaling Dam for those coming from Teesside. Strong winds and heavy showers on going through out the day, with only Bill Dobson ,Trevor Wilford, Nigel Crisp and Ian himself at Grosmont today.

Nigel removed all the boring equipment and repacked it into the storage crates ready for removal back to the MPD. He then honed each cylinder and completed the job by early afternoon. Piglet came in and inspected the cylinders and gave them the thumbs up. Bill could only spend an hour on site, so Trevor and Ian decided to clear both side of the bench which is situated around the buffer stop at the north end of No 8 Road. After removal of scrap from around the buffers, lots of nuts, bolts and washers were moved into the workshop along with a large box of J27 bits.

Two old metal trestle legs were found among the rubbish under the bench and these were welded onto the top of the buffer rails, making two uprights to support the bench top. Eventually the bench top was unbolted and moved round to the other side of the buffers and put onto the uprights before time ran out - this project will have to be completed next time. Trevor and Ian had lunch around the stove.


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