As reported last night by Nigel, we both managed to get to Grosmont yesterday, Nigel via Teesside and Egton Bank (which he described as 'challenging') and myself via the A169 and Eskdaleside via Sleights - and no I haven't got a 4 x 4, nor had the buses, trucks and other cars I saw on the main road. It was lovely and sunny, with no snow showers while we were there for a couple of hours in the middle of the day, but no time for cups of tea and no mice. We wanted to get our jobs done and away before the weather deteriorated as was forecast. If we had tried to do the journeys today we would have failed as the conditions were really bad on the Moors overnight.
For the J27, Nigel had brought another van load of parts from Hopetown and these were unloaded and taken up to Deviation Shed (the wooden flooring put next to the bench on No 8 road and the black dumpy bag with the plates for the cab roof and other small items by the desk in the upstairs store room) or the Fabrication Shop (the spare lagging and the other photo album). On the locomotive itself, the steam brake has now been fitted and the smokebox is in the final stages of being taken apart. It has been decided that it will be more economic and quicker to replace the smokebox wrapper. This was ordered last Friday and was due for delivery by the end of this week, but the weather has scuppered that and I now understand that delivery is due next week. The lap plates also seem to have disappeared, and new ones will need to be manufactured if a further check at Hopetown fails to find them. The hydraulic planned for today has had to be postponed because of the weather, as the boiler inspector could not get to Grosmont. John Furness has agreed to paint the engine once the overhaul work has been completed. The certification for the new steam pipe has been provided and Mark O'Brien will be arranging for an external welder to come in to make it up and then for it be NDT'd before fitting.
Again, subject to the weather, the cab roof, chimney, sandboxes and springs are due to be delivered to Grosmont on Saturday by hiab and Nigel is separately making the necessary arrangements for their collection from Hopetown first thing on Saturday. When they arrive at the MPD, Mark O'Brien wants to put the cab straight on the locomotive. This will mean pulling out the J27 but avoid a separate later lift and it taking up valuable space on the floor.
Elsewhere, Tornado was sat in the running shed having recently arrived for next week's operations. They are due to start on Saturday and run for most of the next week - weather permitting! The B1 was outside the running shed (see photo), resplendent in its new LNER livery. A steam test is planned for tomorrow and the brick arch was being put in. Not many MPD staff around because of the travel difficulties, but a core are staying in the volunteer accomodation to make sure that priority work can continue, preparing for operations this weekend. Inevitably though it means that progress elsewhere has slowed. The implications of this for target dates cannot be assessed until the cold weather has finished, and there is no sign of the end as yet.
And don't forget that the Channel 5 fly on the wall documentary filmed last year about the NYMR starts this Friday at 8pm, featuring among others the 'chirpy engineer' aka Piglet, and no doubt other well known characters may be spotted in the background.
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