A mild, dismal, showery day at Grosmont yesterday with Bill Dobson, Ian McCall, Nigel Hall, Peter Whitaker, Ian Pearson, and myself, where progress reflected the weather - it was a very frustrating day. We managed to get the stove lit and kettle on for a cup of tea, but then had a long wait as shunting the Shed had only just started and we had no Q6 or J27 to work on. The shunting was originally booked for Tuesday, with the 9F boiler lift to follow yesterday, but because of the bad weather forecast for Wednesday, the jobs all got postponed for 24 hours, so the 9F boiler lift is now due today.
It became a waiting game therefore until the 9F frames were moved from No 7 Road in Deviation Shed. The Q6 was then moved to the north end of No 7 Road, and the J27 was brought up from outside the MPD on No 4 Road and put in front of the Q6. While waiting during the shunt, the two Ians completed a successful NDT test on the linkage from the Q6 loco to tender. This had been removed last Saturday but did not get tested: photos were taken and sent to Barney. Peter and Nigel started their prearations for painting, and I went down to see Sue Smeaton in the MPD Office to sort out some recharging issues she was concerned about. Ian Storey also called in to drop off a K1 firebar pattern he had had at home, and Bill had a long chat with him about locomotive matters. By the time the shunt had been completed it was nearly lunch time, so we had the kettle on again and lunch was had around the stove in Deviation Shed. In line with the miserable weather outside, the stove did not seem as hot as usual so we were all able to sit on the benches and not get boiled ourselves.
There was further frustration when our burning equipment was found to have a leak on the propane hose after Ian M had finally managed to remove the remaining nut from the manifold supply flange to the steam pressure gauge valve. The valve was taken off, cleaned, a new copper washer was annealed and fitted, and the valve fitted back onto the manifold flange by Bill. However, the two Ian's then seemed to be involved all afternoon in trying to cure the propane leak. After borrowing some O clips, first thinking it was the hose that had deteriorated, a piece was cut off and a new clip was fitted. After being reconnected to the flashback arrestor, the propane was turned on but it still leaked: this was repeated - same result. Back to the MPD stores to acquire a new hose which was fitted but it still leaked, so back to the stores again for a new flashback arrestor. This was fitted and that finally cured the propane leak. It had been intended to carry on with the NDT work on the Q6 during the day, but Barney asked if there was much work left to do on the J27 because the S160 workers had requested putting their locomotive on the pit on No 7 Road so they could get access to the left hand side for fitting and painting. He was told that the R/H water valve handle required removing for attention, but to do this it needs to be where it is now over the pit on No 7 Road . We have therefore been asked to give this priority and try to get the job completed by the end of Saturday. In the little time left after dealing with the propane leak, Ian M did manage to drill out the cotter pin and removed the handle. But to get the shaft out we will have to remove the water valve as the shaft can only be removed by pulling it down into the pit area - which is why we need the J27 on No 7 Road. In the meantime, with assistance from Bill, I managed to sort out and tighten up the loose steam heat pipe at the rear of the J27.
On the painting side, Peter Whitaker made a start on marking out the tender sides ready for lettering and numbering, while Nigel Hall removed the smokebox number plate, shed plate and and sand box worksplates, fitting bolts into the holes to preserve the threads. He also did some cleaning around the sandboxes. Now that work has started, can I ask please that no photographs are taken of the Q6 for social media or the railway press while it is being repainted. The intention is to have a major reveal of the 1918 livery at the media launch on 1 May, and that occasion would be destroyed if pictures were to appear beforehand. So, whilst you might be tempted, could you please resist.
The next working party will be on Saturday 9 March, when Bryan Orange and some of the JVs will also be in attendance. Apart from trying to catch up with the NDT work on the Q6, there will be the J27 water valve to deal with, and, at the request of the paint team, cleaning of the Q6 - particularly the wheels and frames under the running plate - to be carried out.