North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Q6 Blog

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

Thursday 28th December 2017

A very cold sunny crisp day at Grosmont yesterday with Trevor Wilford, Peter Ellis, Andy and Joan Lowes, Steve Hyman, Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson and myself. Jon Bradley called in very briefly in the afternoon to check we hadn't frozen to death!

Today was the Q6 internal boiler inspection, and, after the usual cuppa and biscuits prepared by Joan, and the removal of one mouse, the boiler was examined by Glyn Coxhill (Bureau Veritas) inspector with Bill and Mark O' Brien in attendance . Glyn was very happy with what he saw and passed it as OK. Bill will be sending round a short reprot separately

Trevor and Peter, with assistance from Andy, completed the repairs to the fall plate with welding done by Trevor. It was then refitted to the locomotive. Steve cleaned the rough edges on the hexagonal parts of the steam heat reducing valve and the valve was put back upstairs in No 7 bay. He also brought a piece of plywood from home to cover a possible mouse entry hole about 10"x 8" inside the workshop to the left of the top door in the corner of the rear wall: this is now sealed up and we will see if it has the desired effect. Andy fitted the blower valve. This took some time as it required a copper washer which was acquired from the MPD stores but this then had to be cut to size on our lathe and then annealed. These jobs sometimes take hours to complete. Bill and Ian, with assistance from Peter, continued with the left hand slide bar alignment. A new thicker shim was made with the stud holes cut out with a circular cutter by Owain at the MPD, but, again, this job is still to complete next time. I arrived a little later than the rest but am now able to wear my safety boots and got to work on the left hand connecting rod. This was cleaned and the NDT dye penetration process completed with no cracks to report. Joan kept us in tea ,coffee, cake and biscuits during the day and lunch was had in the A4 SNG cabin - nice and cosy!

During our lunch break there was a discussion on heat in our Shed. Piglet (who was working on Lucia in the Shed) had loaned us a mobile diesel heater to take the chill off today, but with the doors open, it was trying to warm up the whole of North Yorkshire and did not have much success. And we had the doors open because, with trains running (44806 and the DMU), there were quite a few visitors around and we encouraged them to come in and have a chat and a look round - and most importantly, drop their loose change in the donation box which a lot of them did. We are looking for a coal fired stove or similar to be installed in Deviation Shed in the corner next to the paint locker, which will have to moved. If anyone knows of a suitable stove going cheap, please contact Ian. Otherwise, Trevor might have to run one up. Apart from warming the (mainly) geriatric workforce, there was much discussion about being able to cook Parmos on one. If you don't know what a Parmo is, Ian explained that it is a Teesside speciality of chicken and cheese. Nicos Harris, a chef with the American army in WW2, was wounded in France and brought to UK to be treated in a British hospital. He moved to Middlesbrough and opened a restaurant in Linthorpe Road where he created the Parmo! - lovely grub according to Ian from his vast experience of them. The new elected Mayor for the Teesside Joint Authority is now trying to get protected name status for the Parmo, so if successful it will join Wensleydale cheese, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Parma ham on the world list of specialist foods.

However, enough of this food talk. No working party tomorrow. The next one is on Wednesday 3 January, so from Ian and myself, thanks for all the efforts in 2017, and all the best to everyone for the New Year, with 2018 hopefully seeing both the Q6 and J27 (or T2 and P3 to our more aged readers) back in operation on the Moors.


Wednesday 20th December 2017

A grey damp but mild morning with a one heavy shower early on at Grosmont on Wednesday. With Bill Dobson, Jon Bradley, Steve Hyman, Nigel Hall, Derek Shorten, and Ian Pearson. I only managed the morning as I was on a to be strictly enforced half day pass out. Today was the last Santas and dining trains for the Christmas period. Next week will see the start of the winter timetable with trains running from Boxing Day until New Years Day when 44806 is likely to see its final trips before withdrawal for its 10 year overhaul.

Another mouse to remove from the trap first job, then the usual cuppa and some idle chit chat. Bill drew up the job list for the day which saw Jon and Nigel cleaning out the foundation ring before getting the hose connected up and giving the whole inner firebox and foundation ring a good washout. Derek cleaned the right hand con rod ready for NDT dye penetration which I completed - it was OK - before having to leave immediately after lunch . Hopefully we will get the left one done next week. I also carried out the monthly, and, as it was December, annual, check on the defibrillator. The completed forms will be sent to Martin Lloyd.

Steve was given the job of blanking off the safety valves and whistle mounts, but looking for blanks in our workshop was a bit of a challenge. He could only find one that was any good for one of the safety valve mounts but managed to borrow another one from the MPD: both safety valve mounts are now blanked off. Steve is going to see if he can find a whistle blanking plate at Hopetown. Bill and Ian spent all day working on the left hand crosshead and slide bar clearance. This is still ongoing, with quite a bit of time spent remaking shims.

Lunch today was in Deviation shed with Derek kindly brewing tea and washing the pots. Nigel has mounted a new coat hanger and key holder on one of the roof beams just inside the workshop from the top entrance on the right hand side. The last of the mince pies were consumed with the 3 o'clock tea break. Just before locking up, Piglet and Mark came in with another regulator handle which was tried on the shaft but it was slacker than our own! So will need to try another one.

No working party on tomorrow (Saturday). The next one will be on Thursday 28th December when the boiler inspector is due to carry out his internal inspection of the boiler. So everyone have a good Christmas and we will hopefully see you on the 28th.


Saturday 16th December 2017

Ian reports a very cold bright crisp day at Grosmont yesterday, with 3 Steam and 1 Diesel locomotives working Santa Specials and Dining trains, and Peter Ellis, Trevor Wilford, Dave Donegan, JV Ethan Humble and Ian himself.

One mouse in the trap again which Ethan disposed of, then the usual brew of tea with mince pies. Peter took Ethan under his wing, showing him the skills of bending and fitting new small copper pipes. These are attached to the brass oil boxes and a flexi pipe and adaptor then screwed into the top of the axle box to allow oil to be fed to the journals. This was done to the right hand driver. This completed the pipe work on the axle boxes. Dave refitted the vacuum pipe and bracket - not cross threaded this time! It was decided not to fit the front steam heat pipe because it will obstruct the fitting of the left hand valve cover at a later date.

Trevor fitted the refurbished right hand bracket to the fall plate, then the tender was moved up to the locomotive to see how the fall plate laid on it. The left side was looking a bit out of line, and that bracket was in rather poor condition although not broken. It was decided to take the left side bracket off and Trevor will refurbish it at Hopetown next week. The fall plate was then removed from the cab and stored on the bench opposite the loco. The regulator rod has been moved to behind the seat and put on a stand to allow access for the fitting of another regulator handle when Piglet get us one from his stockpile! The Velocipede was moved onto No 7 Road to allow space for delivery of the small tubes which are expected this week.

Gordon Wells asked for another 5 tubes which Dave cut to size and stored with the others outside. These are for a job at Pickering moving a coach body. The old K1 regulator rod was removed to our scrap heap outside Deviation Shed.

Lunch was held in the A4 cabin, a much warmer venue.

Ethan made our final cuppa in the afternoon, with which consumption of a few more mince pies was managed.

Next working party will be on Wednesday 20th December, then a special one on the following Thursday 28th December to help get rid of all that turkey and Christmas pud. The Railway will be running Santa Specials on the 20th, and its winter timetable on the 28th, along with the diner, so watch out for car parking, but plenty of trains to watch.


Wednesday 13th December 2017

A cold damp miserable morning to start with at Grosmont, but it did brighten up later on before pouring with rain at lunch time. That dried up and the sun shone for the rest of the day but it was still very cold. There were four engines in steam throughout the day so it all added to the atmospherics. No mice to report. Nigel Hall, Roy Marshall, Jon Bradley and Ian Pearson were present. Bill Dobson popped in for a brief spell early on and, because of pressing family matters, I was only able to call in for a cup of tea and lunch, which was held in the workshop today - too cold in the shed and the A4 cabin was full.

Nigel was on needle gun duties, but, unfortunately, none of our needle guns would work. So Ian took one of them to bits, cleaned it, put it back together, but it still would not work. Nigel had started to strip another gun when Mark O' Brien came into the workshop looking for an adapter for a drill, and he took over stripping down the needle gun. He managed to repair it but it did take some time, so many thanks to Mark for his help. During the morning, Bill Putnam from the Ryedale Society of Model Engineers arrived to collect the 50 Q6 tubes that had been put on one side for them. Unfortunately he had underestimated their length and they would not fit on his trailer, so he will be back later to try again.

After lunch, Nigel needle gunned inside the smokebox and used Henry the vacuum cleaner to clear the rust and scale. Jon and Roy fitted the front guard irons. Roy also secured the right piston packing cover. Jon and Ian then started to fit the front part of the vacuum pipe. This they did, but, for some reason, the union, when screwed onto the vacuum main pipe which runs between the cylinder casting, looked to be very slightly at an oblique angle. As it was getting near home time it was unscrewed and left to have another go on Saturday.

There will be a working party on Saturday and another on Wednesday 20th, but after that we will have a break until Wednesday 3 January 2018 when we will return to work, suitably refreshed and re-invigorated. But please don't bring any more biscuits, cake, or mince pies. We have lots, and also a tub of Quality Street kindly given by Joan and Andy last week, so there is plenty to munch on.


Saturday 9th December 2017

Ian reports a bitterly cold but fine day, 'minus two degrees', at Grosmont (and it wasn't any warmer at St James Park last night), with Joan and Andy Lowes, Peter Ellis, Alan Hardie and Ian himself. It was so cold they used the A4 cabin for the usual cuppa, lunch and afternoon tea: it was much more comfortable and warm!

First of all, Ian brought 15 of the small tubes into Deviation Shed for Peter cut down to 9' 6" for Gordon Wells. These were then put back outside the Shed and the off cuts put with the scrap pile. Andy has measured up the valve ports to allow him to set the valve heads which are at Hopetown. Joan had a good clear up on the workshop bench with some item being removed and put upstairs, and bits of small scrap in a bin marked scrap. After starting the compressor, Alan cleaned all the remaining holes in the tube plate and completed the bottom holes by going into the boiler to gain a better access. Andy and Peter were working on the oil pipes to the driving axle boxes: the left hand side is now fitted and completed, but more pipe work and fitting is to be done by Peter next Saturday on the right hand side. The shed cleaners came in to see if we had any jobs for them so Ian got them to remove the scrap tubes from the front side of No 6 Road to the scrap pile outside.

Later on Alan got a start needle gunning the front tube plate above the concrete. Then it was time to get cleared up as they wanted to be away home about 3pm so the Shed was locked up, a cup of tea in the A4 cabin, and then depart.

Another working party on Wednesday, again, weather permitting, when Bill Putman is planning to be calling at about 11am to collect the 50 small tubes put aside for the Ryedale Society of Model Engineers, and for which they have made a donation to the Q6 fund.

On the Q6 generally, Bill's update for the Social meeting last Friday was that the new small tubes had been ordered and were due for delivery before Christmas - possibly by the end of next week. The boiler inspector is due to visit in the first week of the New Year to carry out his internal inspection of the boiler, subject to which, Bill has pencilled in the hydraulic for the last week in January. Fingers crossed, but just still on schedule for 19 March target date for completion.


Q6 Wednesday 6th December 2017


Mark O'Brien and Nick Raithbyin discussion after Nick has needle gunned the lower part of the boiler barrel - Nigel Hall

A lot milder today at Grosmont but slightly overcast with occasional bursts of sunshine. Another big attendance with Ian Pearson, Jon Bradley, Alan Hardie, Nigel Hall, Derek Shorten, Roy Marshall, Nick Raithby and myself. Nick lives in Newark and travelled travelled up to York by train from Newark (about 50 minutes) and I picked him up from the station, brought him to Grosmont and then dropped him back in the evening for his train home.


Saturday 2nd December 2017

Ian reports that December has arrived with a sting, with snow on the Moors and bitterly cold. Fortunately the roads were clear on the Middlesbrough side so no traffic hold ups, although lots of pictures in the papers of deep snow at Goathland and in the Whitby area. Santa Specials have started and Grosmont station is a hive of activity again.

Only four attended yesterday, with Peter Ellis, Trevor Wilford, Dave Donegan and Ian.

After removing another mouse from the trap, the usual cuppa was had to warm up, then down to work. The first job was to move all the small boiler tubes from No 6 road in Deviation Shed to outside so they can be easily loaded onto a vehicle for the scrap yard. After removing about a third of them, apparently everyone was getting a bit tired, so Ian went down to the MPD where there was a large team of cleaners working in the shed. With the permission of the duty fitter, he managed to borrow five young cleaners to help move the tubes. This proved to be a success and they had all the tubes removed in no time at all - well done and many thanks to them. The tubes have been stacked between No 10 & 11 road to the east side of Deviation Shed. Peter cleared all the scale that had been left in the smoke box from last Wednesday, which was another barrow load. Dave, Trevor and Ian moved the tender forward to see whether the fall plate required any more levelling when it sat on the tender plate. Unfortunately, the welding repair to the hinge broke, so Trevor is going to make a new hinge at Hopetown next week. The scaffolding from the front of the smoke box was dismantled and taken back to the boiler shop . Lunch was had in Deviation Shed.

After lunch, the right hand cylinder cover was fitted by Trevor, Dave and Ian with the aid of the hydraulic lifting table. All the nuts and washers have been put on the studs, but not tightened up yet. Peter started working on the axle box lubrication pipes and fittings. With the aid of a special thread cutting tool loaned to us by Andy Lowes, Peter was able to dress the damaged thread for the adaptor to be screwed into the right hand outer leading axle box top where the oil is fed to the bearing via a flexible pipe from a brass oil box above the frames. Both leading axle boxes are now connected up to the brass boxes above the frames. Thanks to Andy for loan of the thread cutter: Peter will return it to you . Dave has fitted the left hand piston packing.

Then, about 2.30, four Junior Volunteers came into the Shed asking if they could help out. They had been on an NYMR induction course which had just finished. We were looking for some small person to go in the boiler barrel and give it a sweep out, and two of them, Finn Allen and Ed Murray, couldn't wait to get in. Armed with brushes, shovels and buckets, the lights were switched on, dust masks were given to the lads, and in they went. After about twenty minutes they were out of the boiler barrel with only a small amount of dust: there was probably more dust over them, but they enjoyed it! They also cleared some small pieces of tubes from inside the fire box which was taken up to the scrap pile outside Deviation Shed.

There is quite a bit of boiler tube scrap laid about in Deviation Shed which has been there for seeming years. Unless anyone objects and lays claim to it, we will take that to the scrap yard, along with the old K1 regulator rod, when we take the small tubes from the Q6.

Working party next Wednesday, weather permitting, to try and maintain progress. Forecast is for a mils say, to be followed by the return of winter.


Wednesday 29th November 2017

Ian has reported that winter had arrived at Grosmont - cold wintery showers, very heavy at times, hail rattling on Deviation Shed roof, and some of the team held up on the way to Grosmont due to poor road conditions and traffic congestion.

However, no mice in the traps, but, and it is a big 'but', Derek found the sponge scouring pad, which had been left on the bench near the kettle, had been nibbled at, with bits of sponge all over the place. As a result, the traps have been re- set and it clearly remains important to ensure that no food is left out and any crumbs etc. cleaned up at the end of the day.

In spite of the weather and traffic problems, a good turn out with Ian, Jon Bradley, Nigel Bill, Steve Hyman, Roy Marshall, Derek Shorten and Bill Dobson (who was a little late due to a flat battery on his car).

The team was also joined by Mark O' Brien and Andrew Bullivant from the MPD working on tube removal . The first job was to set up some staging, which was brought up from the MPD and erected in front of the smoke box. Then with Mark in the firebox, Andrew in the smoke box, and Jon on the staging, the remaining tubes started to be removed. The tubes were carried down to the stack on No 6 Road by Ian, Nigel ,Steve and Roy.


Nigel Bill and Andrew Bullivant removing the last small tubes from the Q6 - Ian Pearson

Then, at 11.30, Mark's drift broke so he had to go and get Owain to make a new one. As a result, an early lunch was taken in Deviation Shed with Derek brewing the tea for us.

After lunch, while waiting for Mark to start on the tube removal again, it was decided by Bill to remove the left hand leading side rod. This requires a new inside bush where the gradient pin fits. The loco was jacked up just enough to clear the rail with the front wheels, the gradient pin knocked out, the wheel moved slightly clockwise, and the rod was removed. The rod and pin were then taken down to the machine shop for Owain to make a new bush at a later date. Both 60 ton jacks were put back in the breakdown coach. By this time, Mark was back in the firebox removing tubes again, so it was all hands on tube transport, taking them to the pile on No 6 Road. By 3pm, all the small tubes had been removed, along with two and a half barrow loads of scale removed from the boiler. It will need washing out, possibly on Saturday (small person required). Attached are a couple of photos showing the last tubes being removed from the smoke box, and the other showing a tubeless boiler.


Empty Q6 boiler - Ian Pearson

Steve has removed the carriage warming reduction /safety valve from the cab. He stripped this down and cleaned it ready for inspection: the valve, bracket and safety cover have been labelled and marked on the item register upstairs and stored in bay 7. The last job of the day was to fit the right hand piston ring which Bill had arranged to be made at the MPD machine shop. This was done by Roy and Bill with assistance from Nigel, Steve and Ian. The cover can be fitted on Saturday. Today, Stollen bread, which Roy brought, was the treat for our 3 o'clock break - very nice.

Working party again on Saturday, but be warned that Santa Specials start on Saturday, so parking at Grosmont may be at a premium at times. Sue Smeaton also told Ian that Seismic surveys will start about the 16th to 20th of December, mainly on Eskdaleside from Sleights, so there may be rolling road closures.


Saturday 25th November 2017

Ian reports a very different day for him on Saturday. It was extremely cold with a wide spread frost but very bright and fresh. Not the best day to have a central heating fault at home first thing in the morning. Having got hold of the heating engineer, he could not do anything until after 11am. So Ian went to Grosmont, where the car park was quite slippery, and opened up Deviation Shed to find Trevor Wilford, Peter Ellis, Dave Donegan and Rachelle Martyn ready for action.

After checking the mouse situation, which was nil (too cold for them this week?) Ian put the kettle on, gave them Bill's job list, and then went home to meet the heating engineer. Ian returned to Grosmont later in the afternoon, where it had gone a bit overcast, to find the fall plate fitted using Owain's stud, and all the brake hangers and tables fitted. That was a great collective effort by all four of them - they deserved a medal for getting that heavy brake gear lifted and pinned into position. All Ian did was find a couple of split pins for the hanger pins, and make afternoon tea accompanied by some of Rachelle's birthday cake. Trevor told Ian that Ian Storey came and had a look in the firebox at the tube plate. Ian Storey has now sent a critical report on his findings to Bill Dobson.

There was also a visit from a family of five from Thornton-le-Clay late on in the afternoon, who were keen to know the workings of a steam locomotive. After trying to explain how the locomotive works and giving them one of our membership forms, they put a few pounds in the money box (every little helps).


Wednesday 22nd November 2017

A damp, dismal overcast windy day at Grosmont with nine in attendance - Ian Pearson, Roy Marshall , Dave Whitfield, Bill Dobson, Derek Shorten, Steve Hyman, Jon Bradley , Nigel Hall and myself. Although damp, it was also very mild which, after the extreme cold of the previous few days, created such an amount of condensation on the Q6 that water was dripping off it - definitely not painting weather. To try and dry things out a bit, one of the south end roller shutter doors was opened to create a draught, but was not totally successful.

After the usual cuppa and removal of another dead mouse, Derek got on with washing the pots, making tea as required, cleaning some crosshead parts and a few other light duties. The previous day, Mark O'Brien had removed another 15 small tubes using a tool which he had made specially for the job to avoid any possible damage to the firebox tubeplate. Dave and Roy moved these to the pile on No 6 Road, but Mark had asked that we did not try to remove any more ourselves and, on his return to Grosmont on Friday, would have a word with Bill about how best to proceed.

I was therefore sent off to the glass blaster to clean up the two spring hanger bolts we found in a box of bits at the back of the shed the previous Wednesday. These are spares which are now in the wooden box at the top of the stairs. Bill collected the new stud for the fall plate hinge from Owain. The stud is dangling from a piece of wire above the work bench and ready for fitting. He also took the piston ring material down to the MPD to get work started on making a replacement piston ring for the right hand side. Nigel and Jon loaded the Q6 piston valves into Nigel's van for delivery to Hopetown for repair, along with the J27 steam ejector which Steve Andrews had returned after its overhaul. Then with a collective effort, the rest of the team set about getting the engine ready for jacking up to start refitting the rods.

The big beam was brought up from the MPD, two fifty ton jacks borrowed from the breakdown coach and, with the expertise of Barney and Nick (MPD foreman), the beam and jacks were set up at the front of the locomotive, with steel packing pieces inserted between the bottom of the axle box and the horn stay on leading, intermediate and driving wheels. The trailing set has packing on top of the axle boxes and both wheels chocked. The locomotive was then jacked up to clear the rail for the first three sets of wheels and it was then possible to turn the wheels onto the bottom quarter to enable fitting of the left hand side rods. After a trial fit of each rod, Bill checked the bearing clearances which were all OK.

Lunch was had in Deviation Shed, a crowded affair with nine of us using the bench, three plastic chairs and one swivel chair, but we managed!

After lunch a start was made to fit the left hand side rods for real, starting at the rear and working forward with slight movement of the wheels and lots of wooden packing. We had got nicely started fitting the rods when Roy Marshall, picking up a piece wooden of packing from the ground next to Lambton Tank No 5, caught the side of his head on No 5's steps, causing an abrasion which started to bleed. A sterile dressing was put to his head and Stuart Dennis, who was showing me the art of NDT Dye Penetration, took Roy down to the MPD to a first aider. It wasn't long before Roy was back and after a sit down and a cup of tea he was back in action. An accident report was made out at the MPD and a copy was collected by Ian and given to me to forward to NELPG Safety Officer, Michael Chyriwsky. While most of the team was working on the rods, I NDT'd the safety valves and the regulator rod using my newly acquired skills. All were OK. Next will be the header.

By the end of the day, the left hand side rods were fitted, but the gradient pin opposite the intermediate wheels was found to be tight, but also the bushes had moved slightly out towards the wheel, causing the cotter pin to resist being knocked home - this will have to be sorted out next time. Jon and Nigel started to bring some of the brake gear up for fitting but only managed to fit one brake hanger which will operate on the intermediate wheel on the right hand side when the rest of the gear is fitted.


Page 9 of 20