North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J72 Blog

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

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

Thursday 19th December 2019


The wet windy weather had arrived. It was much colder inside than out. Through the day the condensation appeared on the floor and the loco. First job to get the fire lit, then to get some milk for tea.

Arthur Jenkins proudly showed me the result of milling a semi circular surround to the spring hangers for which he’d used the head which others had advised be scrapped earlier in the year. He, John Jones and Maurice Bell were busy in machinists corner all day.

Andy Bell finished measuring the wheel journals and crank pins. Ed Bolam and Colin Smith finished preparing the insides of all the barrel cladding sheets, and primed all but one. Dave Wright, Allan Wilson, Derek Shorton and myself stocked the return rods between the frames, primed he undersides of the con rods and spent much of the afternoon removing the remaining crinoline bands from the boiler barrel. The intention is to use these to make a skeleton on which the cladding sheets could be mounted for preparation and painting of their outsides.

Allan Wilson supplied the festive mince pies. John Jones provided the festive chocolate biscuits.

As we were clearing up to leave there was a lot of knocking from next door and upstairs. We were then visited by a council officer who was investigating problems in the tower for the A1 people. He spent about an hour examining the wooden roof above the changing area and the woodworkers area. He then took a look around the loco and commented that “It has been a real privilege to visit you this afternoon.” Praise indeed from our landlords.


Thursday 28th November, 5th and 12th December 2019


Sorry, reports haven’t been flowing as frequently as the ought over the last 3 weeks.

Lunchtime witth the Chairman - Nigel Hall

On the 28th we had a visit by the chairman who spent lunch time answering questions about the Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter. The main clarification concerned likely time scales.

The T2 steam brake isolator valve was brought to "see what could be done". Andy Bell managed to free it with a little heat.

In the afternoon we had a visit from the secretary, but being between the frames applying the second red gloss, I didn’t see him. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson had earlier tackled the fiddly bits between the frames.

Last Monday evening the “loco committee” met in the mess room and hammered out some proposals as to how we might move forward with the J72 project.

Last week I needed emergency treatment at the dentists. Though I called in afterwards I could only grunt. I was told that Bob Grey had called in with a large bag of rags, Richard Barber had spent the morning at Hopetown and Richard Pearson had called during the day too.

Paul Swainston and Steve Hyman spent much of Monday evening with the “gargleblaster” vernier measuring across the frames.

Norman Wells has done a great job of sorting the spanners. We now need some form of containment which can keep them in order. Arthur has also raised the matter of containment of machining and measurement tools. We need to consider options and do something before things become disorganised again.

One of the wood bunkers has now been removed and a start made to prepare a spot on the floor where space has been released for preparing and painting the cladding sheets. As the painting between the frames is almost complete, the connecting rods have been moved too to the firebox area between the frames for painting. The eccentric rods will be stored in the same location once the paint on them is dry.

Andy Bell has made a start measuring the wheel journals and crank pins.

Tim Williamson and James Piercy have loosened all of the cylinder block nuts in preparation for lifting. They have removed the frame fittings obscuring the lower bolts and are preparing to remove part of the running board which obstructs the upper bolts.

Tim Williamson loosening the cylinder block nuts - Nihel Hall

Ed Bolam, Derek Shorton and Dave Wright managed to remove the long steam heating pipe from the LHS. When the insulation was removed, the underlying paint was still in a remarkably good state. This pipe mow requires hammer testing. Ed managed to run a die nut down the clip bolts and to get a bit of black primer onto the clips after cleaning. We will need to remove the vacuum pipe on the other side to allow Tim and James to remove the sections of the running board.

The steam heat pipe after stripping the insulation awaiting hammer testing - Nigel Hall

Andy Bell managed to measure the journals and crank pins on the trailing wheelset; he’ll measure the other sets next week.

Arthur Jenkins, John Jones and Maurice Bell continued with the machinists magnum opus. Bill Dobson visited late morning bringing the T2 (Q6) drain cocks and other brass bits in need of skimming in the lathe. The machinists will service those over the next few weeks. Bill left to visit the Q7 in the museum to see if it has atomisers.

Colin Bowman mixes mortar to repair a hole in the wash room - Nigel HaLL

Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2019 21:31

Thursday 21st November 2019


Eleven of us in today. The frost had abated, but only 4 degrees inside the building. The fire was lit to take the chill off the place.

Ian Schofield came in to test the remaining part of the fixed wiring. We needed to work around his need to switch off circuits for testing. He’d finished testing by the end of the day and will submit a report to Bryan.

Colin Smith and Allan Wilson finished the red gloss coat on the locomotive frames. We will apply a second coat as the red pigment is rather weak. Derek Shorton got a coat of red gloss on one side of the eccentric rods. I got a coat of black gloss on the front running board.

DerekShorton painting the eccentric rods - Ngel Hall

Norman Wells continued checking through various bolts and running tap or die nut down where appropriate. Andy Bell serviced the other steam heat connector valve.

Arthur Jenkins, John Jones and Maurice Bell continued machining the new spring hanger bolts. The first finished bolt was trial fitted, but questions about the degree of rocking required arose. Richard Pearson gave Arthur advice after lunch.

Arthur Jenkins trial fitting a spring hanger bolt - Nigel Hall

Arthur Jenkins and John Jones setting up the Bridgeport miller whilst machining a spring hanger bolt - Nigel Hall

At lunch time myself and Arthur gave a briefing about the Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter and the discussions on Tuesday regarding the NELPG reaction to the tentative plan. As we were finishing, Richard Pearson joined us with his fish and chips.

Colin Bowman, Derek Shorton and Hugh Pannel painted the north side walkway covering the new screed which had been laid over the worst bits. The south walkway will be painted on Monday evening. The building is already looking smarter.

Colin Bowman painting the walkway - Nigel Hall

On locking up we found that our afternoon tea boy had fallen down on his job and had left the dirty mugs on the tea tray in the mess room. Colin’s hands were cleanest so he washed up – thanks Colin.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2019 12:53

Thursdays 7th and 14th November 2019


Autumn really is upon us and the fire is needed to keep warm. Twelve of us in both days, though Monday evenings are a bit thin on the ground.

On 7th we had a visit from the Marlowe fire engineer who tested all the smoke detectors, crash panels and emergency lights. All OK. After lunch the wind got up from the east and blew the smoke back through the fire. The smoke detectors and line to the alarm receiving centre were triggered again. We needed to open door to let the cold wind blow away the smoke.

Most of the holes in the walkways have been screeded over, one more tin to spread before we can paint.

Norman Wells and Ed Bolam completed dye penetration testing if the eccentric rods with no flaws found. Dave Wright and Derek Shorton have now started replacing the paint on the rods. Having obtained some glass fibre webbing, Derek and Dave insulated the steam heat pipes that they had painted after inspection. They have also got some black primer on the hinged section of the front running board.

The machinists are now busy with the holes in the new spring hangers. Maurice Bell’s phosphor bronze rodding hole plug has now been fitted to the Q7 in the museum.

After some small springs were obtained, Andy Bell was finally able to finish reassembling the steam heat valve. We now need steam to test it!

Between the frames, Colin Smith, Allan Wilson and myself are well on with the red gloss.

Colin Bowman has started cleaning down and applying aluminium primer to the various crinoline components removed from the boiler.

Norman Wells went through the buffer beam bolts. Some of these have been removed with a grinder and will need replacement. Some of the bolts attach the buffer beam to the frames and transfer the drawbar load to the frames. Some of the threads have seen better days and both nuts and bolts would be better scrapped and replaced. He’s also looking cab attachment bolts to assess suitability for reuse.

I’ve left a list of components on the clip board which could be cleaned, refurbished, measured painted and returned to the component shelf if there’s no other priority work.

Colin Bowman tells me that Ian Schofield will be coming on Thursday 21st to inspect the fixed wiring to the lights.

I needed to leave early as my little white van wa being picked up to take its final journey to the 1861 engine shed.


Thursdays 24th and 31st October 2019


Well, 13 of us made it to Hopetown today – do or die – despite the breakdown under the railway bridge. We were joined for a short while later in the morning by Steve Hyman.

It’s been 2 weeks since I reported. Last Thursday was Len’s funeral to which I had intended going instead of Hopetown. I managed neither, spending most of the day in bed with the lurgy. Arthur reports:

Maurice liaised with Andy Bell and then finished off the brass spindle for the steam heat valve that's been ongoing for a while. Afterwards Andy worked on assembly of the valve. While waiting for Maurice to finish the spindle Andy relocated the 2 J72 pistons to the pallets storage area then moved the storage racking that's been near the signing on bench to the corner near the woodwork bench. After finishing the spindle Maurice went on to make a phosphor bronze plug for the Q7 that we've been trying to get made for a while. This now needs the flats milling for the spanner hexagon. There are quite a few milling jobs in the queue now which we will be starting on in the next couple of weeks after the loco springs, which John Jones and I continued with today, are finished. The last spring is now on the miller ready for next Monday night.

Colin Smith spent the morning between the frames undercoating where it was needed. Norman Wells and Eddie Bolam continued dye penetration testing the eccentric straps then started cleaning the R/H cylinder cover to prepare for testing. Derek Shorten, Alan Wilson & Dave Wright kept busy painting, smashing up pallets that had been dropped off for firewood and tidying up as necessary.

We had a visit from Richard Pearson in the afternoon. Colin Bowman joined us late on.

On Monday we had a visit from Terry Newman.

Today we needed to get the fire going to take the chill off the workshop.

Arthur Jenkins, John Jones, Maurice Bell and James Piercy managed to finish milling the springs. Another major job completed.

Colin Smith and Dave Wright managed to get a second coat of pink undercoat on the grubbier bits between the frames. Dave, Derek Shorton and Allan Wilson managed to cut up another pallet for firewood. Derek managed to clean down the front running plate and flap ready to start priming next week.

Norman Wells and Eddie Bolam continued dye penetration testing of the cylinder covers. They discovered 2 cracks in the face radiating outwards from two bolt holes. However, when the edges were checked the 5 hole pattern of the stitcher’s handiwork was found. So, no new problem, but reassurance that the testing process had re-discovered these old cracks.

Andy Bell reassembled the steam heat valve, but needs a tiny spring to complete matters. I wonder if the Grosmont stores stocks such items, or whether to order a few from a spring specialist.

Harry Sams managed to fit the small ejector valve to the ejector assembly. He thinks that a special washer may be missing.

I’d hoped to get some of the self-levelling screed into the holes in the walkways later in the afternoon, but failed. Arthur, John and I will tackle this on Monday evening.


Thursday 17th October 2016


11 of us at Hopetown today, plus a visit from a new volunteer, Ted Bolam. It was 4 degrees outside, but 10 degrees within the workshop. We lit the fire, but requirement was marginal.

Bureau Veritas had inspected the lifting gear last week. Their report indicated that 3 minor faults required rectifying: a missing bolt from the pull-lift casing and missing identification stamp marks on 2 lifting eyes. Harry Sams stamped the lifting eyes, but on dismantling the pull-lift case discovered that the missing bolt was actually just a locating pin. No fault to repair.

Arthur Jenkins and John Jones continued machining the loco spring gap. Lots of fun playing with the engine hoist to lift the springs on and off the milling machine. Dave Wright and Derek Shorton wrapped the original insulation back onto the steam heat pipes painted last week. However, there was no more glass fibre webbing in the store. Can anybody remember where we obtained the previous roll? Derek also glossed the backhead cladding. Alan Wilson, Colin Smith and myself continued to apply the pretty pink undercoat to the inner frames. Only the lower half of the slide bar cavity to complete next week. Colin Bowman converted the pair of double spotlights to 110 volt operation. Andy Bell and Norman Wells cleaned and dye penetration tested the eccentric straps. No problems found so far.

I spent about an hour in the morning showing Ted Bolam and Norman Wells around. However, I had left the wad of induction checklist forms on the desk at home, so couldn’t complete that part of induction. We now have quite a few bits of paper involved in induction. I’d suggest that I arrange printing of several sets which are then bagged into individual envelopes – just as we do for operational document packs. The envelope will serve for the return of signed copies. These should all go to a single officer. How many sets should be at Grosmont for new volunteers? How many sets in the support coach? Should the worker ID ICE dog tag be in the envelope too?

The front door has ceased to make a “bing bong” noise when it is opened. The intruder alarm system is plainly detecting the opening of the proximity switch. One wonders where the noise went. Can anybody remember it being present last Thursday after the power outage on Tuesday/Wednesday night?


Thursday 10th October 2019


11 of us at Hopetown on Thursday.

We welcomed a new volunteer, Norman Wells, to the working party. He and John Jones managed apply a dye penetration test to the front of the cylinder faces.

The machinists Arthur Jenkins, John Jones and Maurice Bell who were joined later by James Piercy continued with the spring hangers. The heads have all been shaped now, ‘just’ the suspension pin hole to bore. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson went over the interior frames with an orbital sander. I later managed to apply ‘Lady Penelope’ pink undercoat to the fire box cavity. The rest of the interior frames will be undercoated next week. Dave Wright applied a gloss coat to the steam heat pipes and cab floor panels. He and Derek Shorton managed to clean up and prime the black head cladding and arch. I needed to pop out to the dentist and the museum so missed the middle of the day activity.

Colin Bowman, with Harry Sams had found and fixed the low flow problem in the downstairs water heater on Wednesday. Today Colin changed the plugs on our 240 volt halogen spotlights to 110 volt, and replaced the halogen bulbs with 110 COB LEDs. Colin had also been in on Tuesday to babysit the BV 6 monthly slings and chains inspection. He reports all was OK except for one sling which was missing. It is purple sling no 856513 rated 1ton. If you have taken this or misplaced it, or find a sling with the wrong coloured tag then please do not use it, but place it in the quarantine box. If you find/know anything about this sling then please tell Colin or myself.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 November 2019 17:17

Thursday 3rd October 2019


A working party of 10 turned out after last week’s break for the gala. Autumn is here – first day that a fire has been lit. It’s past St Michael’s day (was Sunday), when the devil spits on the blackberries, so no more brambling.

I was met at the door by Ian Schofield of Dalestest who was here to undertake the testing of the fixed electrical wiring in the building. Ian managed to work around us most of the day, with the most disruptive tests carried out at lunch time. He spent much of the later afternoon trying to track down a long standing neutral-earth fault associated with the emergency lighting which had baffled us for a while. Ian thinks that he has found the cause. Amongst the follow up work, Colin Bowman, who liaised with Ian, is to change several old emergency light fittings, and Roy Marshall is to progress the replacement of the rows of lights above the fire and work bench area. After that Ian will return to carry out the checks on the lighting.

On Monday, whilst Arthur and John continued with the machining of the spring hanger bolts, I applied epoxy resin sealant to the walkway area prepared a 109 days earlier. However, we only had enough material to cover this area. More will be needed for the rest of the defects in the walkways. Today the prepared areas of the walkways were carpeted before any more oil could be trodden into the concrete. Is there no end to the luxury of the Hopetown workshop? Derek Shorton continued to prepare other damaged areas of the walkways with a cup brush.

Whilst I wiped some of the dust off the tanks and loco frames, Colin smith took a needle gun to some heavy scale found in the rear stretcher. He managed to prime this area too.

Dave Wright managed to clean up the three shorter steam heat pipe sections which Neal Woods had hammer tested on Monday, Paul Mason and myself managed to clean and degrease the three cab floor top plates and Dave then primed these and the steam heat pipes. Paul Mason and myself managed to run die nuts down and taps through all of the buffer beam nuts and bolts. Nuts are to be threaded onto the bolts for storage. Replacement bolts will need to be ordered to replace those ‘unfastened with a grinder’.

Paul Mason has brought in a box of tools which he has acquired, including a reciprocating electric saw. He tried this out to cut up a pallet for fire wood. Can we restrict further firewood butchery and sawdust generation to the area outside, or if really too cold, to the woodworkers bench area.

Harry Sams made himself useful with several small jobs. However he needs more specific guidance as to what to do next regarding the ash pan spark arrestor. Arthur Jenkins and Maurice Bell managed to continue with the machining of the spring hangers. However, their day was disrupted by the need to allow Ian to test the 3 phase fittings and later to search for the emergency light fault.

At lunch time we had a visit from Bob Grey who had transported some rags on behalf of Paul Mason.

Mid afternoon we had a visit from a railway enthusiast who had been turned away from next door.

Roy Marshall arrived mid-afternoon, liaised with Ian Schofield, and prepared himself for a 17:00 meeting with Ian Storey and Neal Woods – who arrived shortly before that time.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 November 2019 17:37
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