The 50th anniversary today of the end of BR steam in the North East was marked by a working party on the Q6 at Grosmont, and the workshop at Hopetown, Darlington being open as part of the national Heritage Open Days weekend so that progress with the J27 overhaul could be viewed by the public - regrettably, not by either of the locomotives being operational to suitably mark the occasion, but not for want of trying.
At Grosmont, Bill Dobson , Peter Ellis, Ian Pearson and later on, after his cleaning duties, Chris Henwood, were at work. After the standard cuppa to prepare for the day, Peter and Ian got on with splitting the R/H side piston rod from the cross head. After the practice with the L/H one on Wednesday this went very smoothly. Bill decided we shouldn't remove the pistons right out now, but just showing the heads for inspection by Paul Middleton. If these were found to be OK they could then be put back and re- connected. After lunch, which was taken in the Deviation Restaurant, battle recommenced with the steam brake piston that proved so reluctant to come out on Wednesday. All sorts of ways were tried to remove the cover and piston, even with the pull lift secured to the coupling of a stationary locomotive. But it would not move so we had to retire from the fray and give it up as a bad job!
Chris Henwood joined us after lunch and he was employed cleaning some of the R/H side piston packing components - he did a great job.
There were also quite a few visitors to Deviation Shed today.
Bill has confirmed that the boiler inspector was happy with the state of the Q6 boiler which he fully examined on Friday. His inspection report has been received, and confirms that the next 10 yearly out of frames inspection will be due on 1 May 2024, when all the tubes and elements will have to be removed from the boiler for a full internal examination, and the boiler will have to be removed from its frames.
Meanwhile, over at Hopetown, the guide team of Norman Crockit, David Shand and Michael Chyriwsky showed a steady flow of visitors around the workshop and the J27, explaining to them about our activities and the work - and cost - involved with the J27 overhaul. This resulted in a number of donations in the box. In Head of Steam Museum itself, we had a small display stand, again providing an opportunity to make people aware of the Group and our achievements, and encouraging them to go over to Hopetown to see the work going on there. Apart from some donations, this resulted in one new membership and the sale of some of the infamous NELPG pens, the stock of which now includes a larger one with a picture of the K1 on the side and priced at £2. We will see what tomorrow brings, when Norman will be assisted by Michael, Nigel Hall and Roy Marshall in Hopetown. Thanks to all for their help.