A pleasant, sunny at times, Spring like day at Grosmont yesterday where even the mud in the MPD yard was beginning to dry up. In attendance were Bill Dobson, Ian McCall, Steve Hyman, Derek Shorten, Nigel Hall, Jon Bradley and myself. Fortunately no mice as Bill had forgotten to bring some new mouse traps.
After the morning tea, Derek got on with painting the steam heat and vacuum pipes under the tender with a coat of black gloss, and Nigel made a start on prepping the J27 tender buffer beam ready for John Furness: it is now in anti corrosion green primer. I spent the morning at the MPD checking on progress with the J27, about which a separate note will follow. Ian McCall, on his last visit for some weeks, machined down the eccentric locking nuts on the lathe in the workshop. The rest of the team put up the inside left eccentric, having decided that this would not prevent the outside one being fitted once it had been straightened. Lunch was had on the bench in the Shed.
After lunch, Barney came up to Deviation Shed to check the eccentrics, and stayed to help, with advice and muscle power, the fitting of the left hand connecting rod. This involved moving the locomotive forward half a turn to get the big end down to the bottom so the rod would clear the step, and, with a bit of jiggling, and a lot of heaving, the rod went home in the crosshead. In the absence of the big end bearing, a block of wood was put in to keep the rod off the bearing axle. The bearing itself remains at the MPD awaiting machining after being remetalled. Steve then spent the rest of the afternoon securing the little big end with its nut and driving the cotter home - which also involved removing and refitting the recalcitrant oil pot to get access. In the meantime, the by now straightened, skimmed and cooled, left outside eccentric rod was returned to Deviation Shed, was satisfactorily NDT'd during the afternoon tea break (yes, we have three tea and biscuit breaks in total during the day to keep us going!) and then Jon, Bill and myself fitted it to the locomotive. All the nuts are only finger tight, and the securing pin in the plug at the valve end was not fitted. All the eccentrics will need a thorough check for nuts, pins and cotters. In the meantime, Ian was making new cotters for the eccentrics, but the pillar drill failed and a number will need the split pin holes drilling using the hand drill unless the pillar drill can be cajoled back into operation.
There were only a small number of visitors, but the B1 was still in the MPD, having been stopped on Saturday from going to the Severn Valley because of problems with its springs, discovered during efforts to weigh it. There remains some doubt as to whether it will make its GB Scottish railtour participation, although every effort is being made to get it there. In any case, the Esk Valley line is closed following a bridge strike at Castleton. Initially thought to be by a bin lorry, it now appears it could have been a Yorkshire Water vehicle. Either way, the strike was such that the bridge has apparently moved 10 inches on the stone piers and the track has been deflected as a result. It is hoped repairs will be completed by tomorrow, but it meant that Tornado, which was also due to go to the Severn Valley yesterday, had to go down to New Bridge, and then be taken by road. There are also reported to be problems with the firebox of Eric Treacy which mean it may not be returning to traffic any time soon.
Although there is still work that can be done on the Q6, we are now waiting for the MPD team to complete a number of jobs before we can finish the bottom end and get on with the boiler retubing. With a number of individuals also unavailable this weekend, it has therefore been decided to have a break, and there will be no working party this Saturday. The next one will therefore be on Wednesday 21 March. Hope you will be there.