9 October 2017
Present were John Hunt (in the Chair), Michael Chyriwsky, Nigel Hall, Paul Hutchinson, Chris Lawson, and Martin Lloyd.
Also in attendance as observers were Bill Dobson, Fred Ramshaw and Roy Marshall.
Apologies for Absence were received from Richard Pearson and Richard Wheeler.
John Hunt declared an interest as an employee of WCRC. He confirmed that whether or not the K1 was working on the Jacobite, it had no impact on his employment by WCRC.
Subject to a minor addition the minutes of the previous meeting were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Paul Hutchinson confirmed as a matter arising that he considered that there was no amendment needed to the RO Instructions in the light of the Alan Hardie accident. It was stressed that there was no reflection on Paul’s conduct as RO. Martin Lloyd reported that he had found copies of blank skills assessment forms. They would be used to inform the Skills Matrix meeting that he was arranging with Terry Newman, Fred Ramshaw, Paul Hutchinson and Richard Pearson, for 23rd or 30th October. This would be to establish what we do now, what we need to do, what we need to be trained in, and who can do the training. In this connection, the NYMR boilersmith was offering training on tube expansion as part of his work on the Q6. Martin emphasised that he was happy to do the administration, such as keeping records up to date, but it needed someone to actually run any programme. The NYMR’s intention to require PTS for all volunteers on the MPD site was also noted.
The monthly Finance Report noted that the overall balance showed a marginal increase, whilst payments from the Wensleydale Railway for the hire of the J72 in July/August/September were still outstanding. Invoices from NYMR in respect of work carried out to the Q6 were also still outstanding. Initial estimates indicated that they would total approx. £12k, but Bill Dobson would discuss with Paul Middleton shortly to try to establish a more accurate figure. With the approach of the financial year end it was important to get this resolved as quickly as possible so that at least an accurate accrual could be included in the annual accounts. The Q6 Appeal had reached £6,700 which, with full Gift Aid, could reach £8,400. The Patron Fund would also be making a contribution to the Appeal. Advice was still awaited on the proposed transfer of the funds from the Hampshire Trust Bank to the CCLA. No transfers from the Patron Fund and Life Members Fund were proposed for investment.
The Secretary reported that in conversation with Terry Newman, he had been told that the VAMOS meeting had requested a detailed balance sheet of K1 income and costs on the Jacobite, for consideration at the Open Meeting in November. None of those present at the meeting could recall this request, and it was agreed that no action should be taken pending sight of the notes of the meeting.
The Secretary reminded the meeting that the results of the T2/Q6 Livery Ballot were not to be divulged except through publication in the next NELPG News. A total of 170 ballot forms had been received, including 8 joint membership returns and 2 received after the deadline, giving a total of 176 valid votes for stage 1 of the ballot. This was a lower rate of return than for previous livery ballots. In stage 1, BR had received 74 votes, NER 68 votes, and LNER 34 votes. Thus BR had been selected as the Company livery, with Option 10 securing the most votes (65) in the stage 2 livery vote – the late crest current livery. This would be retained, therefore.
NER, at 68 votes, was just short of the 40% required to qualify as a second livery at a later date. NER late livery (Option 2 - tender sides lettered NE with the locomotive number in large painted numerals in between) had received 78 votes at the second stage. There was a brief discussion of whether a motion should be put to the SGM to temporarily repaint the Q6 in that livery for the twelve months of its centenary year, but it was agreed to leave that for later consideration, possibly at the 2018 AGM.
Nigel Hall had been busily painting the locomotive parts which would be inaccessible when reassembly commences, and the repaint will be completed this winter, with further work necessary next year if the boiler cladding comes off.
For consideration of the arrangements for the SGM, the Secretary had circulated a draft SGM Notice, reflecting the latest proposals for the Q6 and K1. Nothing had been received for the J27, and the major overhaul expenditure on the J72 would not be needed until late 2018. The final version of the Notice needed to be with members by 20th October to give the required notice.
Available funds were discussed on the basis of a note circulated by the Treasurer earlier in the day. This showed that there was very little room for manoeuvre if there was an attempt to tackle everything at once, and emphasised the importance of maximising locomotive hire income in 2018. In addition, a reserve was required to cope with the sort of unexpected expenditure that had been encountered before.
Against that background, the meeting discussed the locomotives in turn:
• The revised boiler proposals for the Q6, involving removal of the small tubes to allow a full internal examination of the boiler this winter, return to service for the 2018 season, and deferring the lifting of the boiler until winter 2018 with an external examination, had been accepted by the boiler inspector. This would make the next 10 yearly out of frames inspection due in 2028. The small tubes would cost about £3K and Mark O’Brien would train our volunteers as part of the process. The superheater elements had gone to Mathew Storey, who had quoted £2K to re-end them, but was now reporting that they were too thin to weld. A new set might cost £12-15K (though they can be bought and set aside, if not required now). John Graham had previously advised that the elements could be re-used, and a visit would be made to Hepscott to measure the elements’ thickness and assess their suitability for future use. Advice on tube issues would be sought from Kevin Gould. The views of Paul Middleton and Mark O’Brien on the condition of the Q6 crown and sling stays would also be sought.
Expenditure had totalled £31K so far, but with new small tubes and elements and the outstanding NYMR invoices, the total expenditure was likely to exceed the Committee’s £50K delegated authority limit. The Committee agreed Bill Dobson’s proposals, but raised the amount requested to £80K. In addition, Bill was asked to take the opportunity to pursue a change of boiler insurer, subject to the views of John Graham as CME.
• The current position with the J27 was discussed, as was the situation at Hopetown, where morale had been badly affected by the lack of information on progress and plans, particularly on Thursdays. It was estimated that some £10k might be needed to address the issues with the boiler fit. Tender paintwork would cost £4k, so it was thought that £20K might be required in total. Input was required from Richard Pearson however, to confirm the work and the funds required.
Deployment of the J27 on completion of the current overhaul was discussed. There was a feeling that the locomotive should be cherished and used on duties consistent with its age. It was felt that the Wensleydale Railway was a contender (new shed being constructed; easy work; NELPG crews), though the potential financial return and timeliness of payment should be considered too.
• The J72 boiler certificate expires on 25th August 2018. Fred Ramshaw had raised with the boiler inspector the possibility of an extension to Christmas 2018. After that time, the boiler would need a new firebox tubeplate, side stays and foundation ring. The roof stays are in good condition. Johnny Haddow had confirmed that he could turn the boiler round quickly at Carnforth (between September 2018 and February 2019). The new cylinder liners had dealt with the holed cylinder block in the short term and, in John Graham’s opinion, any residual problem would have surfaced by now. Mechanically the locomotive was in good condition, though the pistons might need examination and a new smokebox might be required. The major overhaul would be undertaken at Hopetown and was expected to take 12 months. All of the above work was costed at £150K, including a new cylinder casting.
This winter’s maintenance was planned to be carried out at Leeming Bar (subject to completion of the new shed). This would avoid the need for transport with attendant costs and vibration in transit. In all, this winter’s work should be covered by £15K. The issue of obtaining multiple quotes for contract boiler work was discussed and it was agreed that we should select from our list of approved suppliers (as referenced in the Locomotive Maintenance Policy)
• Paul Hutchinson said that the requirements in respect of other Group locomotives, along with not wanting to damage volunteer morale by taking the K1 apart this winter, had caused him to reconsider his proposals. He would therefore limit the amount of work to be attempted this winter to normal winter maintenance, plus the removal of elements and steam pipes for thorough examination (as they had done 12 years work). The side stays were a concern, but there had been little deterioration over the last 12 months, so Paul and John Graham had agreed that they should last another year. Despite the NDT testing not picking up any defects on the RH outer wrapper, Paul still had some concerns that there could still be, nonetheless, defects in the wrapper material at this location. In addition to the removal of the superheater elements and the steam pipes, the other significant work would include re-metalling the crossheads (and possible replacement of the slide bars), and removal of the driving axle and pony truck wheelsets for attention to their axleboxes. Some paintwork will also need to be renewed. The K1 should therefore be available for the start of the season. This winter’s work is estimated at under £50k, so no SGM motion is now required.
• The meeting with David Smith to have a conversation about the K1 generally, and its possible involvement with the Jacobite in 2018, was planned for 11 October. The outcome would be reported back to the Committee for consideration. However, with the limited work now planned, it should be ready for the start of the season if required, but Paul would propose bringing it back early at the end of the 2018 season to make a prompt start on the major overhaul due that winter.
The Chairman had received some comments on his first draft of the Locomotive Overhaul and Maintenance Strategy which he circulated on 13 September. He asked that any others be sent to him as soon as possible so that a further draft could be prepared for consideration.
It was noted under Any Other Business that the Middlesbrough Municipal Golf Centre would in future close at 10.30pm, but it was agreed that next year’s Committee meetings should continue on the 2nd Monday each month at the current venue. There was an outstanding request for a hire of the Q6 in March 2018. It was unlikely that the Q6 would be completed in time and Bill Dobson confirmed the request should be declined.
The meeting closed at 10.00pm
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