North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J72 Blog

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

Thursday 11th July 2019


With no Boris and Jeremy road show in town this week to distract folks, the usual suspects showed up again at Hopetown on an oppressively hot and muggy day. I was not able to attend on Monday, but Steve Hyman assured me that good progress was made then. Daisy have found and fixed the phone line problem without needing access to the building; we can again receive and make calls via 382155.

Paul and James Swainston came in on Wednesday with a Faro arm in order to measure the frame and horn geometry.

On Thursday, Arthur Jenkins and John Jones got on with the machining of the spring hangers. Arthur managed to use the engine hoist to invert the ash pan for the construction and fitting of a damper spark arrestor. The machinists also managed to load one of the springs onto the milling machine to see if machining the hanger slot could be made any easier. Colin Smith continued to prepare the lower cab area for painting. The front flooring between the tanks was removed but the back flooring left in place for safety. Allan Wilson and Derek Shorton prepared the wheel axles for a coat of primer. Outside myself Roy and Dave Wright continued the battle against the brambles. Unfortunately the fight has been lost around the yellow waggon.

Interesting incident watched / heard through the brambles beyond the compound gate when a car didn’t turn left at Ladbrokes, but went counterflow through the one way system. No matter how many lights flashed, horns honked, expletives shouted, fingers and fists waved, on, on, onward he drove turning left to complete the circuit. Take care, there are nutters on the road!

I needed to leave early – there was too much of interest on the roads of stage 6 through the Vosges to make do with the highlights programme. Thanks to Roy and Arthur for minding the shop and locking up.


Friday 5th July 2019, boiler inspector's visit


Today Glyn Coxhill, our boiler inspector, visited to look at the J72 boiler. Ian Storey brought John Graham to meet him. Colin Foxton came in his role as Deputy Chairman; Neal arrived about 13:15 after he had finished work. Their summary of the inspection: no new surprises. Arthur and myself spent the day getting on with a few “tidy up” tasks.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 July 2019 15:31

Thursday 4th July 2019


Too good a day today to spend it at Hopetown.

Tim Williamson took the day off to make hay while the sun shone – though it rained later in the day.

Arthur Jenkins and John Jones continued with machining the spring hangers both Monday evening and Thursday. Allan Wilson, with some assistance from John, finished assembling the engine hoist. With help from Arthur, Dave Wright and Derek Shorton, the hoist was then tried out lifting the re-railing jacks to beneath the J72 frames to provide support when the horn stays are removed. James Swainston spent the morning taking measurements of the axle boxes and horn guides and entering them into his laptops. Colin Smith applied another gloss coat to the tanks and assisted Dave Wright applying another coat to the wheels. Derek Shorton and myself spent the morning tidying up and disposing of the rubbish and then making a little more progress with the nuts and bolts. Colin Bowman and Hugh Pannell came in during the afternoon and continued the battle against the brambles.


Thursday 27th June 2019


Only two of us in on Monday, rather more on Thursday.

On Monday I managed to wet flat the undercoat on the tanks whilst Steve Hyman started to piece together the engine hoist.

On Thursday, Allan Wilson continued with the engine hoist whilst Colin Smith got a coat of gloss on the tank tops. Dave Wright got a coat of gloss on the wheels, Maurice Bell continued opening the spring slots with the large grinder. James came in to try to weld up his trespassing sign. Paul Mason and Derek Shorton continued with the nuts and bolts sort out – the end is in sight. Roy Marshall and Colin Bowman continued the battle against the weeds and brambles. After half an hour’s post tea discussion with Colin Foxton and Roy had to leave early for a long dental appointment which left me unable to communicate except via grunt.

The telephone line into Hopetown is still showing problems. The dial tone for outbound calls comes and goes – on a time scale of several hours. It appears that inbound calls usually get through, though don’t rely upon this. The matter will be taken up with the telephone supplier shortly.



Thursday 20th June 2019


Bright sunny day today, too good to spend at Hopetown.

I took all the bits and pieces which I’d picked up from Steve Hyman and at Grosmont from the car to sort out on the paint bench.

After early morning tea, Paul Mason and Derek Shorton continued with the mammoth nut and bolt sort. Colin Smith got a coat of undercoat on the tender tank tops, Dave Wright applied a coat of primer to the wheels, Maurice Bell continued with his spring grinding whilst Tim Williamson and Allan Wilson manhandled the gargle blaster Vernier calliper to measure around central horn stay. I popped out to get 4 new tyres fitted to my car.

We had a post cruise visit from Colin Bowman at lunch time. His overgrown garden took precedence over work at Hopetown this Thursday. It should however be noted that outside the weeds continue to grow.

I managed to get a coat of undercoat on the tank sides in the afternoon, so next week we should be able to gloss them.

We’d been expecting deliveries all day, but as we were locking up we’d still had no deliveries. We discovered that Parcelforce delivered the new drill to the A1 trust at about 09:50. We then discovered that the phone line was dead as Roy attempted to contact the couriers bringing the engine hoist. They claim that nobody was present at 14:30 when they called. They didn’t leave a card in the letter box so I wonder if they tried to deliver to the Central Borough, or somewhere equally silly! Hey ho, better try picking up from their depot tomorrow rather than wasting any more time waiting for them. Roy was on his mobile phone trying to trace the missed delivery when a white transit arrived. Ah, in the nick of time we thought, but no, the white van man was Paul Hutchinson with Angie bringing items back from Carnforth.


Thursday 13th June 2019


Well, splashing in through the puddles this morning wasn’t so bad. We missed Arthur Jenkins and John Jones this morning. Arthur and John Midcalf should have been travelling towards Fort William through the “yellow rain” which the met office were warning about. It was cold enough to require the lighting of the fire.

First job was to record the water meter reading. On lifting the cover we find that said meter was under water which had to be scooped out.

Maurice Bell and myself borrowed the engine lift from the A1/P2 trust in order to lift 4 engine springs onto a bench. This was to enable Maurice to open the end gaps to fit the new spring hangers. Some progress has been made, but it is not possible to insert either the 4” or the 9” grinder deep enough into the gap without the grinder guards fouling. The 9” grinder is heavy too. We need to give this job further thought.

Paul Mason, helped by Derek Shorton, continued sorting through the nuts, bolts and washers. There are some new plastic boxes to fill. Dave Wright came in for a session today after his badminton injury and cleaned the loco wheels ready for painting. Allan Wilson, Colin Smith and myself prepared the boiler side and tops of the tanks ready for painting. Roy came in later in the morning but concentrated upon administrative work with his computer in the mess room.

Richard Pearson joined us for lunch.

Steve Johnson brought a guest to visit the workshop and managed a visit to see the P2 as well.

As it will be the 3rd Saturday of the month, there will be an open day at the workshop this Saturday.


Thursday 6th June 2019


Another busy few days with a few regulars on Monday night, PAT testing on Tuesday (all equipment passed) and the usual day time working party on Thursday.

After an early morning brew, Colin Smith and Allan Wilson continued cleaning the corners of the cab and tanks where the grease gathers. They were assisted by Tim Williamson who drilled out a broken cab hold-down bolt from the RH tank. Unfortunately in the process of knocking out the residue, the nut which had been welded to the inside of the tank came away. We’ll have to think about solutions to that problem. We are all too large to fit in the tanks these days. I got on with cleaning the wheels for painting. Arthur and John continued machining the spring hangers. Paul Mason continued with his magnum opus sorting through the spare nuts and bolts.

Tim and James Piercy removed and sketched the work required on the driving wheel horn stays.

We had a vice presidential visit from Ian Storey who had come to check progress, especially with the boiler.

John Midcalf came - and went after he realised that he had missed Ian. He returned later to borrow a headboard which he traced as a template. He’s making something – it’ll turn up in a raffle, you have been warned. Roy Marshall made an appearance just before lunch time.

Early afternoon we were visited by Neal Woods who came to check on progress.

Later in the afternoon we were visited by the police!


The activities of our busy spiders - Nigel Hall


Thursday 30th May 2019


Only about half the usual crowd in today.

  • Colin Smith and myself got on with the job of screwing together the boards over the firebox and rod areas. All complete. Cleaning and painting of the top and boiler side of the tanks can take place next week.
  • Paul Mason and Derek Shorton continued sorting our spare nuts, bolts and washers.
  • Tim Williamson carried out a thickness survey of the main steam pipe. He reports thinning in the area of the cylinder block.
  • Tim also lent a hand to Arthur and John who were machining new spring hangers.
  • Allan Wilson and later Hugh Panel and Colin Bowman clipped back some of the rampant brambles. As it was starting to rain, Allan finished early to rescue his washing from the line.
  • Colin Bowman spent the afternoon collecting electrical gear together for PAT testing on Tuesday of next week.

Colin Foxton called in late morning to see how things were progressing with the J72. We were also visited at lunch time by Dave Wright who is recovering from his badminton injury. In the afternoon we were visited by Les Harper who was depositing various K1 bits brought back from Carnforth; unfortunately he didn’t bring the mag drill and chuck to enable it to be PAT tested on Tuesday. Later in the afternoon we were visited by Chris Davison who brought in the other JOEM nameboard.


Thursday 23rd May 2019


A smaller working party than usual, the holiday season is upon us.

We were visited by three architects from Purcells who were surveying the building.

We also had a visit from the Marlowe engineer who inspected the fire system and passed everything.

Colin Smith continued needle gunning the cab floor in preparation for the boarding over of the firebox. Paul Mason and Derek Shorton continued sorting through the collection of nuts and bolts.

I cleared out the middle aisle in the store in preparation for Colin Bowman who brought a new light fitting to illuminate this dark area. Later in the afternoon, when he had finished fitting it and we could see what was on the shelves, we discovered several interesting components which we hadn’t seen for a while. Colin was thanked for installing the extractor fan last week, the difference is noticeable.

Tim Williamson popped out to obtain a new gas fitting. Roy Marshall arrived and after his various secretarial tasks got on with a bit of gardening. Maurice Bell continued with turning jobs but now needs advice regarding the steam heat spindle and the draw bar connector.

I popped home to obtain some floor boarding from my garage roof space. Later in the afternoon I supplemented the scaffolding planks across the fire box space and boarded over to allow painters to work between the tanks. The boards are not screwed to the supports yet so please do not go in the cab until the barrier tape is removed.

Last Updated on Monday, 10 June 2019 14:44

Thursday 16th May 2019


A better day than last week at Hopetown. No need to light the fire.

I didn’t get in until folks were gathered around the workbench with the morning cup of tea. Colin Smith again brought conversation to an end and forced people back to work when set about the cab floor area with a needle gun.

Arthur and Maurice continued machining the spring hanger bolts. There appears to be a fitting problem with half of the ends in the existing springs. M Machine delivered the pair of springs which they were going to machine, reporting that the metal was too hard for them.

Myself, Allan, Derek and later Colin Bowman did a little gardening. Most of the brambles and roses hanging over the wall into Hopetown Lane have been tidied back. The track has been tidied for the velocipedes at the Museum classic car rally on Sunday, but the shunting area and pound could do with some more attention next week.

Paul Mason is sorting through the buckets of old nuts, bolts, washers and strange finds. Some important looking shims and spacers have been discovered.

Roy brought in an electrician to look at the job of replacing our 56 lights with LED fittings. We look forward to his estimate. He spent much of the afternoon chasing replacement fittings for tools, including a trip to Aycliffe.

I managed to get a gloss coat on the various bits on the paint bench, and a pink undercoat on the rods and remaining big end strap.

Many questions were asked about the K1 test run yesterday and the scheduled trip to Fort William tomorrow. No first-hand information available. However, there is an empty stock movement 5Z62 booked to leave Steamtown at 06:18 Friday on Real Time Trains. More recently has appeared on the web.


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