NELPG publishes its own bi-monthly newsletter NELPG NEWS, which is posted free to all of the group's members. The history of the group is chronicled in its pages.
We have 70 working members of whom 34 attended the December "bunfight". Chris Lawson becomes archivist. Cast Iron Welding examine the J27 cylinder block, whilst on 27th November the driving wheels were removed after Durham Lifting jacked up the frames. After 7165 miles in 2008, the Q6 has been withdrawn for winter maintenance. Adam Dalgleish is fitting a blowdown valve. The K1 winter maintenance is well underway at Carnforth: pony truck tyres removed and wheels sent to Devon, cylinder valves bored, axleboxes refurbished. At Carnforth, work on the J72 boiler continues, whilst at Hopetown, the mechanical work is almost complete bar the snagging list. The group anounce a proposed railtour over the S&C on May bank holiday.
The K1's successful season at Fort William has come to an end and the loco returned to Carnforth after a pony tyre problem. One highlight of the season was the lifeboat gala. Winter maintenance is now underway. The J27 is being dismantled. The Q6 has been in traffic almost continously and maintenance work planned. Work continues at Carnforth on the J72 boiler whilst at Hopetown the painting team is busy.
After the J72 boiler is lifted onto a low loader to go to Carnforth, the boiler is lifted from the J27 frames. The Q6 continues to perform well on the NYMR but with heavy wear on the crossheads and a problem with the injector. The K1 continues to break springs on theest Highland, but otherwise performs to its usual high standard. The J72 has moved for the first time since it was rewheeled. Maurice Burns discribes his exploits photographing the North Eastern Explorer railtour including shots from the Transporter Bridge. Next door, Tornado moved for the first time under its own steam.
The K1 hauls another successful railtour, though we were unable to run through Sunderland and along the coast. The dismantling of the J27 continues, the Q6 goes to Railfest at NRM, York. The K1 runs a hot ponytruck bearing at Glenfinnan and NELPG crisis management team swings into action. Prize winners of the J27 prize draw are announced.
The J27 boiler is now empty of tubes and stripping of components continues, along with the removal of the concrete in the smokebox. The Q6 is operational on the NYMR but inexperience in preparation by crews is causing problems with the steam reverser. The K1 is also operational on the NYMR after attending the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway spring gala. West Coast Railway Company has won the tender to overhaul the J72 boiler. This work will involve the trick work to wasted girder stays. The K1 East Coast Explorer railtour is selling well. NELPG comes to the help of 60009 Union of South Africa at Thornaby.
Work continues stripping the J27 for its overhaul. The Q6 has now run 3200 miles since re-entering traffic in September. Boiler drain valve joint required replacing and a tender spring had to be replaced, with a temporary loan made from the Q7 (thanks to the NRM). K1 winter maintenance continues at Carnforth, with a visit to Keighley and Worth Valley Railway spring gala to follow. Good progress is being made with the mechanical reassembly of the J72. The support coach passes the annual "C" exam, after some remedial work. K1 to haul the East Coast Explorer railtour.
The job of removing the boiler tubes from the J27 has reached the halfway point. Since returning to traffic the Q6 has run 1760 miles including a successful photo charter reported in this edition. The K1 is very busy helping to recreate the 1965 SLS Whitby Moors Railtour with K4 61994 The Great Marquess. K1 was taken to Thornaby to have its tyres turned there for the last time. The Tees-Don Express railtour to Barrow Hill was a success for the K1 and K4. The K1 then travelled to Carnforth for winter maintenance. The J72 piston head and rod have been pressed together at Ian Storeys. Fred Ramshaw is interviewed by Blue Peters Zoe Salmon in the smokebox of Blue Peter. As of December 2007, NELPG had 600 members.
The Q6 officially re-entered traffic at NYMR on 6 September, carrying the famous blue star. After first steaming in July, it ran into Grosmont station on 29 August for the first time in 25 years for a period of running in. The K1 finishes another Jacobite season with its 71st day in traffic and returns to Carnforth. A start has been made removing the tubes from the J27 boiler, and removing concrete from the smoke box to allow the blast pipe to be removed. The J72 boiler overhaul awaits awarding the contract and one of the piston rods has been found to be bent, requiring specialist straightening, after the head is split from the rod. Possible progress with Blue Peter announced.
A fire is lit in the Q6 boiler for the first time in 25 years on 12 July, with the engine moving under its own steam for the first time since 1982 on 20 July. The J27 literally stars on the cover of Steam Railway September edition adorned with a replica "blue star". The K1 is performing well on the Jacobite, with only normal maintenance required, but has experienced several broken springs which have been replaced by the support crews. The J72 rebuild continues with the brake gear and eccentric rods fitted.
The J27 is moved from North Road Museum into the Hopetown workshop, with the tender being stored outside until we have space to accommodate it. From now on to save confusion, the J27 is the J27, not the P3! Exploratory work will commence after cleaning of the loco. The Q6 enters the final stages of overhaul, with a number of jobs still to do. The K1 is working the Jacobite again this year, with Black Fives 45231 and 45407. The Three Dales Railtour, visiting Leyburn, Bishop Auckland and the Tees Coast is a success, as is Martin Lloyds on location catering .