A damp, dismal overcast windy day at Grosmont with nine in attendance - Ian Pearson, Roy Marshall , Dave Whitfield, Bill Dobson, Derek Shorten, Steve Hyman, Jon Bradley , Nigel Hall and myself. Although damp, it was also very mild which, after the extreme cold of the previous few days, created such an amount of condensation on the Q6 that water was dripping off it - definitely not painting weather. To try and dry things out a bit, one of the south end roller shutter doors was opened to create a draught, but was not totally successful.
After the usual cuppa and removal of another dead mouse, Derek got on with washing the pots, making tea as required, cleaning some crosshead parts and a few other light duties. The previous day, Mark O'Brien had removed another 15 small tubes using a tool which he had made specially for the job to avoid any possible damage to the firebox tubeplate. Dave and Roy moved these to the pile on No 6 Road, but Mark had asked that we did not try to remove any more ourselves and, on his return to Grosmont on Friday, would have a word with Bill about how best to proceed.
I was therefore sent off to the glass blaster to clean up the two spring hanger bolts we found in a box of bits at the back of the shed the previous Wednesday. These are spares which are now in the wooden box at the top of the stairs. Bill collected the new stud for the fall plate hinge from Owain. The stud is dangling from a piece of wire above the work bench and ready for fitting. He also took the piston ring material down to the MPD to get work started on making a replacement piston ring for the right hand side. Nigel and Jon loaded the Q6 piston valves into Nigel's van for delivery to Hopetown for repair, along with the J27 steam ejector which Steve Andrews had returned after its overhaul. Then with a collective effort, the rest of the team set about getting the engine ready for jacking up to start refitting the rods.
The big beam was brought up from the MPD, two fifty ton jacks borrowed from the breakdown coach and, with the expertise of Barney and Nick (MPD foreman), the beam and jacks were set up at the front of the locomotive, with steel packing pieces inserted between the bottom of the axle box and the horn stay on leading, intermediate and driving wheels. The trailing set has packing on top of the axle boxes and both wheels chocked. The locomotive was then jacked up to clear the rail for the first three sets of wheels and it was then possible to turn the wheels onto the bottom quarter to enable fitting of the left hand side rods. After a trial fit of each rod, Bill checked the bearing clearances which were all OK.
Lunch was had in Deviation Shed, a crowded affair with nine of us using the bench, three plastic chairs and one swivel chair, but we managed!
After lunch a start was made to fit the left hand side rods for real, starting at the rear and working forward with slight movement of the wheels and lots of wooden packing. We had got nicely started fitting the rods when Roy Marshall, picking up a piece wooden of packing from the ground next to Lambton Tank No 5, caught the side of his head on No 5's steps, causing an abrasion which started to bleed. A sterile dressing was put to his head and Stuart Dennis, who was showing me the art of NDT Dye Penetration, took Roy down to the MPD to a first aider. It wasn't long before Roy was back and after a sit down and a cup of tea he was back in action. An accident report was made out at the MPD and a copy was collected by Ian and given to me to forward to NELPG Safety Officer, Michael Chyriwsky. While most of the team was working on the rods, I NDT'd the safety valves and the regulator rod using my newly acquired skills. All were OK. Next will be the header.
By the end of the day, the left hand side rods were fitted, but the gradient pin opposite the intermediate wheels was found to be tight, but also the bushes had moved slightly out towards the wheel, causing the cotter pin to resist being knocked home - this will have to be sorted out next time. Jon and Nigel started to bring some of the brake gear up for fitting but only managed to fit one brake hanger which will operate on the intermediate wheel on the right hand side when the rest of the gear is fitted.