North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J27 Blog

A log of activity concerning the J27.

Th J27 returned to the NYMR in February 2018 after 11.5 years and an extensive overhaul at Hopetown. After completion work it entered traffic in May of that year. Maintenance work over the winter of 2021 included the reboring of the cylinders. The J27 returned to traffic in June 2021.

The locomotive underwent a period of maintenance over the winter of 2021/22, including replacement of some RHS boiler side stays which were found to be fractured during a post washout hammer test. It re-entered traffic in the spring. However, since that time more fractured stays were discovered during another post washout hammer test, and a more substantial pattern of stays replaced.

J27 26 and 27 July 2022


A cool, cloudy, drizzly morning at Grosmont on Tuesday, but the sun shone later making it a very pleasant day, with Bill Dobson, Paul Jameson, Nigel Hall, Chris Lawson and Ian Pearson, along with help from Robin Savage who was on a one week NYMR work experience course from Rye Hills Academy, Redcar.

65894 replacement boiler stay being fitted on 26 July 2022 by NSEL - Chris Lawson

Work focussed on the J27 with the last few stays being fitted and caulked by NSEL (see photos).

65894 replacement boiler stay being caulked by NSEL on 26 July 2022 - Chris Lawson

After a search around the storage area above the Deviation Shed workshop, two clack box and two bottom gauge frame blanks were found. One of the gauge frame blanks needed the stud holes making slightly larger which Paul Jameson did using the radial drill. Ian made rubber gaskets for all these items (see photo). Chris spent most of the morning in the J27 cab cleaning the boss faces of the clack boxes and bottom gauge frames.  Later Bill and Paul fitted the blanks to the clack boxes and bottom gauge frames. The clack boxes themselves were taken up to Deviation Shed and had the faces cleaned by Chris and work experience junior Robin, while Ian was making gaskets for these items. Nigel was working on the cladding sheets, cleaning and making an excellent job of priming them in preparation for refitting.

Wednesday was a lovely fine day with lots of sunshine. Steve Hyman, Nigel Hall, Paul Jameson and Ian Pearson were present from the Group, and later on in the morning, Robson Hewitson arrived with the intention of having a chat with Bill - unfortunately though, Bill was having a day off.

Ian Pearson working on new gasket for 65894 clack on 27 July 2022 - Nigel Hall

Nigel carried on with more preparation of the J27 cladding sheets, giving them a coat of black gloss on the inside so when they are refitted it might make life a bit easier sliding the sheets back into place.
Paul set some ladders up on the righthand side of the J27 and stated to clean the safety valve bosses, while Steve and Ian manoeuvred the tall mobile gantry from outside into the MPD between Nos 4 and 5 Roads. That enabled Steve to assist Paul clean up the bosses of the safety valves from the other side, and then, between them, fit the blanks. Robson removed a couple of washout doors, one each side of the fire box. Later, he drove the shunter doing a mega shunt to get the J27 onto the back of No 5 Road over the pit to allow removal from the firebox of the old copper stays. After removing half a dozen boiler plugs around the back head area, Nigel got his endoscope down some of the plug holes to see where the stays were lying (see photo), and he and Steve started poking at them with a heavy-duty cable to dislodge them, with Paul underneath retrieving them from the rear mudhole doors. At the end of the day, 20 out of a total of 44 had been removed.At least one is stuck on top of the firehole. Now what is required is a power wash around the fire box to dislodge more stays. 24 left to get out, plus all the small pieces and more prodding and poking.

 65894 stay debris in back foundation ring on 27 July 2022 - Nigel Hall

A start was made, at last, on replacing the Deviation Shed roof panel, blown off during the storms earleier in the year.


J27 20 July 2022


Because of the forecast heatwave last Tuesday, the planned working party was postponed until the Wednesday, when it was a fine warm day, much more suitable for working. Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Steve Hyman were present, along with Ian Pearson until lunch time, when he had to go for a physio appointment at Redcar.

Most work was concentrated on the J27. First job for the team was to move the tall mobile gantry from the boiler shop round the yard and into the MPD between Nos 4 and 5 Roads to allow safe access to remove the dome. Once the gantry was in place the cosmetic dome was removed. Bill, Steve and Nigel got to grips removing the main dome cover and then the regulator. A blank was fitted and the main dome cover put back in place. Nigel collected the J72 underkeeps from Armstrong Oilers and then worked on the J27 crinoline holes where cladding had been removed, retapping the threads.  Ian took the two bottom gauge frame fittings up to Deviation Shed, cleaned off all the gasket material and managed to make one new gasket. These are now stored upstairs in Bay 8a.

The Class 47 was on training runs under instruction from Chris Cubitt.

Ian was at the Railway on Thursday on a driving turn when NSEL were present, replacing the remaining stays on the J27. He was there again on Friday for his Class 47 training and noticed that there were still 11 stays to fit - 4 on the right side and 7 on the left side. Enquiries are being made of NSEL to check the position, find out why the job has not been finished, and when the work will now be completed. Discussions will also be held with the KESR, but it now looks certain that the J27 trip to Kent will be cancelled for this year, with it possibly being postponed to 2023.


J27 9 to 16 July 2022


Monday (11th) saw contractors, Northern Steam Engineering, at Grosmont removing the J27 boiler stays that had been agreed with our insurer for replacement - 44 in total.

Tuesday (12th) In the latter part of the afternoon, Nigel spent some time cleaning up the J27 cladding sheets and preparing them for repainting.

Friday (15th) On the J27, Northern Steam Engineering were working fitting new stays with Danny Dymott in charge. They fitted 28 stays - all those on the backhead (see photo), 5 on the RHS, but none on the LHS - but there are still 18 to make and install. They were unable to machine the missing stays because of delays in receiving the required copper bar. The hope is that they will be ready for fitting next Thursday. As a result, the visit to the KESR now looks increasingly uncertain, but we will continue to do everything we can to get the J27 available for traffic as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the boilersmiths will be assisting with blanking off and boxing up, and removal of the drilled out stays that have fallen down into the water space area, accessible from the mud hole doors.

Saturday (16th) saw Ian Storey and Ken Middlemiss at Grosmont working on the J27. They felt it too risky for two oldies to tackle the dome, so they cleaned two inspection doors, cleaned up the fibreglass and spent ages looking for the hydraulic blanks. No-one knew where they were, but after they had packed up and gone home their location was finally identified!

 65894 backhead with new stays fitted. 16 July - Richard Pearson.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2022 10:47

J27 5/6 July 20222


Tuesday was a fine warm day at Grosmont with Nigel Hall, Chris Lawson, Jon Bradley and Ian Pearson.

Nothing to report on the Q6 this week. No work was being done on it while issues relating to the atomiser lubrication system await resolution, and Bill Dobson's return from his absence in Scotland. The valves remain due to be removed for checking that they are OK.

Following NELPG technical group agreement of a proposal by ACME Ian Storey to remove and fit 24 new stays in the top 2 rows of the J27 backhead, and remove and fit 26 new stays in the top 3 rows of the side sheets, 13 per side, approval of this course of action was received from our insurers, Bureau Veritas. With the agreement of the NYMR, Northern Steam Engineering has been contracted to do the work and were due to start today (Friday). In preparation for this, the task on Tuesday was to remove the necessary cladding from the boiler and and all the backhead fittings. Nigel and Jon concentrated on removing the boiler cladding, while Ian and Chris were in the cab area removing backhead fittings, including the right hand clack box, steam/vacuum brake diagram unit and one section of backplate cladding. Nigel and Jon had a struggle removing the righthand cladding sheet next to the cab but eventually it was removed, along with the two shoulder sections. It was a long day, and we even had to forego our afternoon cup of tea!

65894 backplate after stripping on 5 and 6 July to expose stays for replacement. Ian Pearson

 65894 righthand side of boiler after cladding removal on 5 July 2022 to expose stays for replacement. Ian Pearson.

65894 lefthand boiler side after removal of cladding on 5 July 2022 to expose stays for replacement. Ian Pearson.

At Deviation Shed, the defibrillator had its monthly check, and North Eastern Security Services carried out their yearly service on the roller shutter doors.

Wednesday, a fine cloudy breezy day at Grosmont, saw Nigel Hall and Ian Pearson return to the scene and carry on from Tuesday, removing the remaining backhead fittings - lefthand clack box, and left and right bottom gauge frame fittings. Chris Henwood helped by warming the various nuts which were tight and awkward to get a spanner on. Another section of backplate was also removed. The attached photos show the stripped down sections of the boiler and backplate. Nigel had a suspicion that cold water may be causing the stay breakage so he examined the water delivery tubes with his borescope but didn't find any holes in the pipes. Investigations into possible causes of the stay breakages continue. Finn Alan offered to weld up the righthand cladding sheet which Nigel had repaired earlier on this year after the first set of stay breakages.

There is now lots of work to do on the J27, cleaning the bosses where the clack boxes and gauge frames fit, the clack boxes themselves can be serviced, and new gaskets to be made, to mention but a few. This is the current priority, in an effort to get the locomotive to the Kent and East Sussex Railway for its summer hire with the minimum of further delay.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2022 09:24

J27 30 June 2022


Tuesday at Grosmont was a fine day, but very windy with the coal pile being watered to keep the dust down. Nigel Hall, Ed Bolam, Chris Lawson and Ian Pearson were present, along with Graham Bagshaw, an NYMR MPD volunteer.

Hammer testing the stays on the J27 post washout found 6 were broken - two on the left side of the boiler, opposite to where the earlier four were found and replaced at the end of April, and four on the righthand backhead area (see photo).

 65894 area below clack box where 4 broken stays are located. 30 June 202 -. Ian Pearson

So, the volunteer focus was on the J27 with a concentrated effort by everyone, including oilersmith Tom Leach and Chris Henwood from the MPD, to remove the cab. In view of his previous experience with J27 cab removal, Nigel took the lead on identifying which items to remove totally and those such as hand rails, steam pipe to drifting valves, which only needed disconnecting and sliding forwards to clear the cab when lifted. The ejector exhaust was also disconnected. The cab windows and arm rests, which were removed first, are stored upstairs in Deviation Shed workshop. All the countersunk nuts and bolts that join the top half of the cab to the bottom are in a plastic container in the tender locker. Later in the afternoon, when all the necessary fittings had been removed, the J27 was hauled outside the MPD, with Chris Cubitt's assistance driving the diesel shunter, and the cab was removed (see photos ) using the tele handler driven by foreman boilersmith Chris Kelly.

65894 Chris Henwood directs cab removal at Grosmont on 28 June 2022. Nigel Hall

65894 cab being removed at Grosmont on 28 June 2022 - Chris Lawson.

On Wednesday, Nigel Hall came in and removed the cladding sheet from the lefthand side firebox which covers the two broken side stays, with some assistance at the final stage from Chris Kelly and Tom Leach. Today (Thursday) has seen all the defective stays now exposed with the cladding and lagging removed. BV, our boiler insurers, have been advised, as have the KESR, as the J27 visit there is now under threat. Subject to the views of BV on the repairs to be carried out, we and the NYMR will be doing everything we can to complete them to enable the visit to go ahead, but there can be no guarantees.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 July 2022 09:05

J27 21 June 2022


Ian reports a fine warm day at Grosmont Tuesday with Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Nigel Hall, Gordon Wells and Ian Pearson.

With the Q6 in traffic there is not much to report on that locomotive barring a reported noise within the smokebox. A request has been made to put more concrete around the blast pipe the next time it is out of traffic.

65894 stands on No5 Road at Grosmont on 21 June 2022 during its 28 day washout pre departure to K&ESR - Steve Hyman

The J27 has been stopped for its latest 28-day washout, and also some maintenance, before it is sent to the Kent and East Sussex Railway on the 11th July.  So the day was spent involved with maintenance work with Bill, Steve and Nigel removing all tender underkeep pads, checking each one for wear and cleaning out all the old oil and any water contamination. All were found to be OK, re-fitted, and topped up with fresh oil. Bill and Nigel also removed both safety valves when the loco was cool enough. Bill stripped them down to find the seats will need some grinding in. Both valves are now in plastic containers in Deviation Shed workshop.

The J27 safety valves showing the deposit of dissolved solids from the boiler water which had passed through the rear valve. The front valve is similarly stained on the RHS - Nigel Hall

Ian spent all day checking the cross-head trimmings and making new ones. The old ones have been put back in temporarily while the new ones soak for a few days in oil. Gordon took a water sample for testing prior to washout.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 August 2022 21:06

J27 31 May & 1 June 2022


Wednesday was a better day at Grosmont weather wise, with a warmer climate, sunshine and no rain and Bill and Ian in attendance. There were quite a few visitors around, and Ian saw one person put some coins in the money box. Lunch today was had alfresco, with no need to light the stove.

Ian's first job in the morning was to move the J27 outside on No 4 Road for its steam test, after a broken spring on the locomotive had been replaced earlier in the week. Chris Henwood was resetting the safety valves in the hope that it would return to traffic during the week.


J27 - 10 and 11 May 2022


Tuesday was a glorious sunny, warm day but very blustery for Chris Lawson who was on duty at Deviation Shed, with Bill Dobson calling in after lunch.

After opening up and getting some milk for the tea, Chris completed cleaning the display cabinets inside and out, and also did a small amount of further prep work on the frame of the main Deviation Shed sign on the running line side of the building. There were lots of visitors to chat to and one possible new member as a result.

The J27 was stood on No 5 Road in the running shed, not in use, but was moved in the late afternoon to No 4 Road for spark arrester repairs the next day.

In contrast, Wednesday was an overcast, breezy day but brightening up later, with Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Nigel Hall, David Potter, and Ian Pearson.

On the J27, Duncan Jackson, MPD fitter, removed the old spark arrester and made a new structure fitted with new mesh and fitted around the blast pipe. Later a warming fire was lit as it was scheduled to work the 10.30 and 14.30 to Pickering on the next day with the Class 37 - which it subsequently did with Ian as the driver. It also worked today, Friday, apparently including a trip to Goathland for some filming assignment.

The dates for the J27's summer holiday on the Kent and East Sussex Railway have now been agreed. It will leave the NYMR at the beginning of the week 11 July and return by Friday 9 September in time for the NYMR end September Steam Gala.


J27 - 3 May 2022


As Ian records, here we are at 3 May and time is moving fast - soon be the longest day! It was a cool, overcast morning at Grosmont on Tuesday, but it got milder after lunch for Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Nigel Hall and Ian Pearson.

The J27 had its boiler partly filled with water and a warming fire was lit during the afternoon ready for a steam test on Wednesday (see photo).

Mid afternoon and the J27 has a warming fire - Nigel Hall

As Ian was driving on Thursday, he noted while up at the MPD, that two sections of the J27 grate had been replaced due to the old ones being badly bowed. Later in the day another warming fire had been lit. The engine is rostered for some running in on Saturday and Sunday this coming weekend.

Last Updated on Monday, 16 May 2022 15:20

J27 - 25 to 28 April 2022


A cold but mainly fine day with the odd heavy shower at Grosmont on Tuesday, with Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Ed Bolam, Arthur Jenkins, Chris Lawson and Ian Pearson (who only came in to light the stove and make tea, but managed to hobble around and get in the way, assisting where necessary. However, his leg injury is improving).

On the J27, Arthur and Ed fitted the slacker pipe valve and its hose. The valve had been taken to Hopetown where Arthur made a new boss fitting which secures the valve and its boss to the fitting on injector delivery pipe. Both drawbars on the J27 were NDT inspected by Chris Henwood and found to be OK, then refitted to the locomotive with Ed and Nigel giving assistance, although there has been a subsequent debate about the drawbar cotter size. Nigel continued to finish touching up the outstanding paint work.

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