A really dense foggy start to the day (couldn't even see the Fylingdales Security box from the Whitby/Pickering road, never mind Fylingdales itself), but it didn't matter much as Scotsman passed Deviation Shed with the cylinder cocks fully open so the photographers couldn't see a thing anyway! The weather did clear up later in the day though and by the late afternoon there was some fine low sun to back light the exhaust as the 3.30pm departure climbed away past Esk Valley.
At the Shed there were people everywhere, both visitors looking round and dropping large amounts of coins in the donation box judging from its regular ringing noise, but also working on the Q6. In addition to the regular NELPG Wednesday team, there were a considerable number of MPD staff beavering away as well - of which more below.
From our list of jobs, Nigel Hall brought the right hand crosshead slipper back from Darlington - a horrendous journey involving first a puncture in the badlands of Middlesbrough, repaired in Guisborough and then massive queues on the Whitby/Guisborough road following what was thought to be a major accident (now known to be a diesel spill). The crosshead slipper is now on the right hand front running plate. He then continued with preparing and painting the buffer beams. The right hand packing spring assembly and slide bar lubricator were cleaned and are back in the wooden box on the worktop at the far end of the workshop. Trimming for the oil box is required, and Ian/Jon are intending to make this for Saturday. The right hand, but not the left hand, side rods were wire brushed, as were both connecting rods. The left hand big end brasses were cleaned and the remaining sand removed from the floor. The brasses are now on the left hand running plate.
Mike Oliver fitted the gauge glasses and frames after Mark O'Brien had inspected the backplate, and the mouthpiece was refitted to the firebox. The steam pipe was recoupled to the reverser and the air pipe disconnected and returned to the workshop - it is on the back wall to the left of the main door. The reverser and cylinder were cleaned round and the flange studs were checked to make sure they were tight. Four bolts were fitted to the front cab cladding around the whistle connection once the whistle itself had been refitted. The cab floor was not refitted as access will be required to the lower mudhole doors for the in steam test, nor were the pit lights taken down as they were being used for setting up the weighing equipment.
Separately, the MPD staff had fitted the brick arch earlier in the week and the formers have now been removed. The engine has been boxed up, except for the four top mudhole doors awaiting a safe means of access, and the boiler filled with water to just below the bottom of the glass. The weighing gear has been set up under the engine only, with the intention of doing the weighing tomorrow - the tender will be done later when it has both coal and water on board. They had also removed the spark arrestor to give access to the blast pipe as there was a concern that there was an air leak. That work has now been abandoned, the spark arrestor will be refitted, and the smokebox floor be refilled with concrete.
Looking ahead, following a successful boiler insurance cold exam on Monday, John Graham has now arranged for the boiler insurance in steam exam to be carried out next Wednesday 23 March. The Saturday working party will be concentrating on the refitting of the right hand piston and crosshead, and we were told that the intention is to light up the engine on Sunday, assuming it is by then moveable, with an internal in steam exam to be done on Monday.
Although there has been a lot of progress made, and the end may be, just about, in sight, there are still some critical tasks to be successfully completed before gentle running in can be done prior to a return to traffic - and there's many a slip.......as we know only too well with old steam locomotives. There will therefore be working parties definitely this Saturday and next Wednesday and possibly over the Easter weekend as well. Confirmation of the arrangements will be in future reports.