North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Thursday 24th January 2019

Ian reports on a bonus day at Grosmont today, on a cold drab morning with a snow covering on the moors. But brighter later on. With Trevor Wilford, Nigel Hall and Ian. As Trevor couldn't make it any other day this week, Ian went to Grosmont to assist him with some welding Jobs.

The stove was lit when we arrived as Martin Ashburner had got in early. So a brew was made and a warm up round the stove.

Trevor had manufactured 3 plates to cover the J27 safety link pins and tender draw bar pin. The draw bar pin cover needed a piece of 3 1/2" diameter tube welding to the underside of the plate. Ian found a piece near the scrap bin which Trevor cut to size and welded it to the plate: it was a perfect fit. The other 2 plates had to be tack welded in position because there was not enough depth for a tube fitting under the plate. Then to the Q6, where the right trailing spring over bracket was found to be coming away from the tender frame. The old weld was ground out and then re-welded (see photo).

The over bracket weld repair - Ian Pearson

It had been intended to weld some chain on the inside door of the J27 locker to stop it crashing down on to the water valve handle. Having found some chain and cut it to length we could not weld it as the welder would not reach. The whole welding machine needed lifting about a foot off the ground and, as Trevor wanted to be away home by 3pm and we needed a few bodies to lift the welder high enough to do the job, Trevor will do it next time. Ian also completed NDT crack test for the Q6 and J27 safety valve bodies and sent photos to Barney.

Nigel completed glossing the left hand side of the frames and also the hand rails.

Lunch was had around the stove, and there is more room now the white cabinet  and box has been moved out.


Wednesday 23rd January 2019

Ian reports an extremely cold but fine morning (minus 3 degrees C) at Grosmont on Wednesday (sounds great, and cheaper than having the air conditioning on here!), with Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Derek Shorten, Ian McCall, Nigel Hall, Nigel Bill and Ian himself. First job was cleaning out the stove ready for lighting and putting the kettle on.

The main jobs were getting all the components ready for the cold boiler exam tomorrow (Friday), so, after the usual cuppa, Derek started cleaning hand hole and mud hole doors, Nigel Bill removing the gauge frame components, rodding out the holes into the boiler, and also removing the old Klinger packings - this was done on both the Q6 and J27. Steve removed, dismantled, and cleaned the steam heat valve from the Q6. Bill checked the dimensions of the safety valve seats. As has been previously reported, there was quite an accumulation of water in the pit and the pump kept failing, so Ian M spent nearly all morning trying to get it working: it would go for a while then stop. After removing lots of cinders and other foreign bodies it began to work again. Then it gave up the ghost, resulting in Ian M taking the pump to bits once more and finding lots of small plastic ties accumulated in the workings. Eventually, with these removed, it worked perfectly all day.

A Locomotive Engineering Manager brings home the bacon - Nigel Hall

During this time there was a strong smell of bacon cooking. Bill had brought his frying pan and a pound of bacon and some buns, and set to with producing some bacon butties (see photo). So it was round the stove and butties 'aal roond' (and I am missing out yet again :'(). After we got the water removed from the pit, the two Ian's set about blowing compressed air through the reverser to get rid of any water that had accumulated in the steam side, and eliminate the chance of frost damage to the reverser. An air line was set up and connected to the reverser using the new compressor in Deviation Shed . Ours is currently out of action and awaiting a new inspection door. Once quite a bit of water had been blown out using the reverser forwards and back a couple of times, the airline was disconnected and the steam pipe re-fitted to the reverser. As a result of having bacon butties mid morning, a later lunch was had around the stove.

Both piston back covers have been machined and brought back to our workshop to be fitted next week. Ian M completed cleaning the faces for these covers on the cylinders using some heat and a scraper, and finishing off with emery paper. Nigel Hall completed cleaning and priming the right hand side of the Q6 tender frames: both sides of the frames are now in primer.

The J27/P3 has been washed out and is in Deviation Shed on No 7 road.


Friday 19th January 2019

Ian Pearson reports a fine, cold, frosty morning, with evidence of Thursday's snow still laid around at Grosmont (it has been in the mid 30sC in Sydney all week), with a small working party today consisting of Bill Dobson, Richard De Sadeleer, Nigel Hall, and Ian himself, all clocking on about 9am. Bill could only stop for a couple of hours so, with the stove still alight from Thursday, it didn't need much to get roaring away again, keeping the chill and condensation off the tender tank. Nigel got stuck in on the tender tank, and, by the end of the day, the whole tank had its first coat of gloss paint. Bill, Richard and Ian removed the right hand con rod with the aid of the hydraulic trolley, a strop and timber packing. As it was removed, the big end brasses were taken out of the rod and stored on the running plate and the rod lowered to the floor on some packing. Now it was time for the first cuppa and a well earned biscuit!

After the break, it was time to attack the dreaded right hand crosshead cotter! With two of us in the pit, one on the hammer the other holding the bar, and one outside holding the bar onto the cotter, after several attempts and no movement of the cotter, defeat was about to be admitted, when to the rescue came William Parrish and Martin Ashburner. After explaining to them what was required, Will said he would have a go on the hammer. There was a little repositioning of the access of the bar, and Martin put a wooden wedge in between the bottom of the cotter and the bar to keep it firm. Then, with Richard holding the bar, Will began to hit it with considerable force and it started to move. Another couple of hits and it came out: alleluia! Many thanks to William and Martin for their time and effort to help out.

Now it was time to split the crosshead. Richard and Ian set up the splitting gear, and with Richard on the ratchet this was soon split and the back cover removed, cleaned by Richard, and taken down to Owain who has the other side cover at the MPD for skimming. These should be done by Monday, ready for us to refit next Wednesday. All the splitting equipment was returned to the lockers at the side of No 5 road at the MPD. Paul Hutchinson called in for a few minutes to see how we were getting on. Then lunch around the stove.

After lunch, Ian and Richard cleaned all the old gasket material from the casting. It was very stubborn and took the rest of the day, but may still need a little more cleaning next Wednesday.

No more work on the J27. It was stood on No 2 road waiting to go into No 5 road for washing out which will be next week, possibly Monday.


Wednesday 16th January 2019

Ian Pearson reports a cool overcast morning with the odd shower at Grosmont yesterday with Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Steve Hyman, Ian McCall, Roy Marshall, Dave Donegan, Jon Bradley, Nigel Hall, Derek Shorten and Ian himself - a good turnout! When Ian P arrived at Deviation Shed, Martin Ashburner informed him that there was a smell of gas coming from our propane bottle. He got Ian McCall to check this out: Ian M put some liquid soap around the fittings and found a leak between the regulator and the propane bottle connection. The regulator was disconnected for inspection and found to be defective, with two small slight grooves on the cone fitting . After consultation with Mark O' Brien, a new propane regulator and a new propane nozzle were obtained from the MPD stores by Ian P. The nozzle had been condemned by Trevor Wilford last Saturday. The regulator expiry date is 2022. Ian M fitted the Regulator and nozzle and it is now working satisfactorily with no leaks.

After all that it was tea all round, with the stove burning nicely and some fresh new packets of biscuits to munch at - Trevor please note! Out in the yard, the steam crane was in action with Piglet driving and Barney and Nick supervising the lift of the S15 boiler, first fitting the ashpan, then, later in the afternoon, the boiler into the frames (see photo). Back in Deviation Shed the crosshead splitting gear was brought up from the MPD by Steve. All the small cotters and nuts were removed from both crossheads, then the task of removing the crosshead cotter (the big one) was started. The left hand cotter was tackled first, but it was a struggle until Nick Proctor, a volunteer at the MPD, came in and, with his suggestion of a long bar and a big hammer, that cotter was finally removed. Roy was employed all day cleaning the frames ready for Nigel Hall to paint.

Lunch was had in Deviation Shed around the stove - at least for some. As there was a working party of 10, a couple had to sit on the bench at the top of the shed where it was a lot colder. After lunch, it was clear that the crosshead splitter would not fit in with the con rod in situ. So this had to be taken down and laid on the floor, and then the crosshead was split and the left hand back cover was removed for skimming. Then it was round to the right hand side, where the loco was moved slightly to get the rods in the right position and a start was made in dismantling the crosshead with the removal of the gudgeon pin. Efforts to then remove the large crosshead cotter with a long solid round bar and a big hammer were unsuccessful - it would not move. It is a bad angle to get a straight hit at the cotter and blame was laid on the design - 'Bloody Raven!'. Some device will need to be designed to sit on the end of the cotter so a better hit can be made.

Bill and some of the others started to dismantle the right hand con rod: this will be completed next time. Other jobs done were the removal of the shut off valves from the gauge frames by NB and IM . DS continued to brew tea wash up and clean mud hole doors. NH continued prepping the tender for painting.

The J27 at the moment is sat outside the running shed on No 5 road road waiting for its wash out (see photo).

Please note the next working party will, unusually, be on FRIDAY 18 January.


Saturday 12th January 2019

In my absence in Australia, Ian reports a mild and overcast day at Grosmont today (only in the low 30s in Sydney!), the first Saturday Working Party for a long time, with James Pearcy, Andy Lowes, Nigel Bill, Trevor Wilford, Peter Ellis, Ian himself, and Gordon Wells later on. Nigel Hall couldn't make it today - vehicle problems. After lighting the stove, a brew was made along with a critical comment from Trevor regarding our biscuit stocks! Apparently I have gone off to OZ and left us in a depleted biscuit situation. Trevor will be having words with me when I get back! Apologies for this culinary disaster. However, he still managed to munch through some rather soft ginger snaps, so it can't have been too bad!

After his wingeing, Ian gave him and Peter one of only two jobs belonging to the Q6 today, which was on the tender. This was to remove the loose studs from the front stretcher plate on the right hand side which they did. Andy then fitted some new bolts, but these are only temporary until we get some new fitted bolt made. James and Nigel removed the fire grate from the J27's firebox after clearing out the leftover ash. This has been done to allow the ash pan sprinkler to be adjusted. Quite a heavy job lifting those grate sections out through the fire hole door! The grate sections are stacked at the side of No 6 road and marked 1 to 7, 1 being at the front of the box. Ian and Nigel B removed both tender water valves, but as some of the flange bolts had to be burnt off it was a good job Trevor was present today. James has taken the valves to Hopetown where he is going to overhaul them and return them before the steam test on 12 February. Andy and James removed both piston covers and these are now stored in the work shop. Lunch was had around the stove again, very cosy.

After lunch, Peter stripped down both Q6 safety valves which are ready for inspection and, with new springs, are in a red plastic box on the work bench. Gordon called in for his conduit, which is now stored in the electrical store. He also repaired one of our stand up lights. Trevor was not pleased with the state of the burning torch nozzle. He said it had been misused and damaged. Ian is going to have a word with Mark O'Brien at the shed who is responsible for these items. He will also let Mark know that Trevor is going to make the tender draw bar pin covers.

The next working party is on Wednesday 16 January - just don't forget the biscuits!


Wednesday 9th January 2018

Well, with a Happy New Year to all our readers, we started again yesterday on a cold slightly oveccast morning, with Ian Pearson, Bill Dobson, Ian McCall, Steve Hyman, Nigel Bill, Derek Shorten, and Nigel Hall. I called in briefly to drop off some electricity conduit for Gordon Wells and collect the signal arms which are to go to auction later this year. Bill and I also had a meeting with Piglet and Barney to discuss operational requirements for the Q6 at the start of the operating season, bearing in mind that Nigel Hall is starting preparation work on the Q6 for its re-paint into temporary NER livery for its centenary launch, planned for 1 May. The NYMR requires it for February half term, when it will run in plain black, but thereafter, Nigel and Peter Whitaker will be finishing off and doing the lining and lettering. It has been agreed therefore that the Q6 will not be available for use by the NYMR until its press and media launch on 1 May.

Back at Deviation Shed, the pot bellied stove was lit and cups of tea brewed as we discussed our plan of action for the day. Nigel B and Ian M set about removing the front cylinder covers so Bill can measure up and order two new copper rings. Ian P and Steve removed the front section of fire grate to allow Mark O' Brien to fit one section of rocking grate to make life easier for the crews on disposal. The grate components are on order and are due to arrive today, 10 January. All the washout plugs and doors from the Q6 have been removed by the NYMR boilersmith, James Newton. Derek cleaned all the washout plugs and has made a start on the mudhole doors.

Ideparted around 11.15 to go and get packed for my 6 monthly trip to Australia today (currently waiting for my delayed flight, although TPE managed to run on time!). Nigel Hall arrived around 12 noon and lunch was had around the stove - very cosy . After lunch, Ian P and Steve started to remove split pins and cotters in order to split the tender from the locomotive. This needed considerable effort from us all in order to loosen the big drawbar nut, with Ian P and Steve on the big spanner and large hammer, while the others were on the rope between Nos7 & 6 road, pulling with all their might. It was very tight but eventually it came loose. The pins were removed and stored in the cab: the locking plate and cotter have been put in the tender locker. The brake connection from loco to tender was also removed. This is now on the floor between Nos 8 & 7 roads. Nigel Hall set up some new lights he had purchased around the tender sides and got started on cleaning the tender frames. James Newton has made a start removing the washout plugs and doors from the J27/P3. Both locomotives are still to wash out this but this may be done today.


Wednesday 5th December 2018

Because it clashed with a meeting of the Fundraising Sub Committee I was unable to get to Grosmont yesterday, which, in view of the weather, was probably a good thing. However, in spite of the wet and miserable conditions - it apparently never stopped raining - Ian reports that Bryan Orange, Jon Bradley, Nigel Bill, Steve Hyman, Derek Shorten, and Ian himself braved the conditions at Grosmont. Bryan opened up Deviation Shed, lit the stove and got the kettle boiling. Tea and biscuits all round, with Jon bringing some biscuits, although I must say that those on offer at Hopetown on a Thursday take some beating thanks to Derek Norris! Bryan came in mainly to show Arthur Jenkins, who came with John Midcalf, round the machine shop area of the MPD, as Arthur has volunteered to train some of our NELPG JV's on workshop skills in succession to the late Chris Parrish. No mice to report, and Derek was brewing the tea, keeping the stove going, and getting rid of some old timber.

On the Q6, with the left hand crosshead re-metalled and machined on the Tuesday, Barney Casey and Nick Simpson had re-assembled the crosshead and put up the little and big ends. So all that had to be done was tighten up the locking studs on the big end taper wedge and fit the small cotter at the lower end of the wedge. This latter required a new cotter making, which Nigel Bill did - a job that took quite some time. Ian fitted the little end oil box to the crosshead. Steve took off the left hand slide bar lubricator pot to re-profile the delivery pipe, which was annealed and slightly re shaped to allow a better oil flow onto the slide bar. The trimming was also adjusted. The opportunity was taken to adjust the trimming on the right hand side slide bar oil pot as well. We now have 4 strands of wool on each trimming at both sides. All eight studs that secure the oil boxes and rear piston cover were split pinned. Jon and Ian opened out the small cotter that secures the large cotter that secures the crosshead to the piston rod. Jon cleared the firebox grate ash from Tuesday's warming fire and set another warming fire on the grate which he lit during the afternoon. The Q6 was due to be in steam today, running just around the yard to check out the left hand crosshead. Assuming that is successful, it will be working the Santas from Pickering over the weekend.

Lunch was had around the stove, nice and cosy.

Bill called in briefly to see how things were progressing on his way to York Railway Museum that morning, to try and obtain some drawings of safety valves, safety valve springs and atomisers.

The next working party will be on Wednesday 12 December.


Tuesday 4th December 2014

On returning from the Santa specials on Sunday, both crossheads were found to be hot. The LHS was stripped down yesterday and the white metal on the bottom slipper was found to be worn. It is being re-mettaled in time for the Santa's next visit.

The RHS will be done next week.

The cause is unknown , but a lack of lubrication is obvious. The design, 100 years old as it is, supplies good lubrication to the top slipper, less to the bottom one.


Q6 100th Birthday Train


With bottle of brown ale on the front running board, and John Midcalf attempting to sell raffle tickets to the crew, the Q6 awaits departure with its birthday train - Nigel Bill


Wednesday 28th November 2018

A wet and windy but milder day than of late at Grosmont on Wednesday, with Ian Pearson, Steve Hyman, Derek Shorten, Dave Donegan and, eventually, for the late morning only, myself. The day started with the usual cuppa, after going to the Co-op to get some tea bags, then the stove was lit and the pots washed by Derek (whose special mug had been broken since our last attendance:'().

The Q6 was on steam test, with the shed fitters getting ready for this coming weekend's Santas and Dining trains. The Santa locomotives have all been temporarily named after reindeer - the Q6 is now Prancer and the J27 Comet (see photos). 5428 Eric Treacy has been re-named Rudolph and is rumoured will also be fitted with a red nose. Ian helped the fitters out by moving the Q6 onto the pit so they could continue with their checks on the locomotive. This gave Ian and Steve the opportunity to oil up the tops of the leading, intermediate, and driving axle boxes which feed oil to the horn blocks - not a very pleasant job. Dave siphoned all the brass lubrication boxes which were contaminated with water, and replenished them with fresh oil, along with the slide bar lubricators which had the trimmings renewed. A new trimming was also made for the left hand brass box that feeds the valve spindle on that side. The Q6 passed its steam exam and is ready for the weekend. The fire was disposed, and Ian moved the engine back to the shed outside No 4 Road.

The Q6 with its name board - Chris Lawson

Lunch was had on the bench in Deviation Shed. As it was mild it would have been too hot to sit round the fire! In the short time I was present, I managed to carry out the monthly check on the defibrillator.

The J27 with its name board - Chris Lawson

The J27 just about finished its washout, prior going onto the wheel drops for the L/H broken driving spring to be changed. This was completed during the afternoon and it was due to have its steam test yesterday. The safety valves on the J27 have been cleaned and refitted, but it was reported that they are in very poor condition and will need replacing in the New Year. Discussions are under way with the MPD about the best way of achieving this. Barney is also going to order some new safety valve springs for the Q6.


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