North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

A record of events, activities and our work with the Q6

Wednesday 4th October 2017

Bit of a late start, about 10am, under a cloudy sky with a hint of dampness. Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Nigel Hall, and myself were present, along with Jon Bradley making a welcome reappearance after his visit to the USA in September. First job was getting some water so we could all have our usual morning tea, as the bottles had not been filled up by the team at the end of Saturday.

As Ian reported earlier in the week, the Q6 has now been shunted on to the wheel drops, and the leading set of wheels were fitted by Shaun Bowler and his MPD team on Tuesday. Work was still ongoing yesterday with springs and other items being fitted . While this work was being done, Jon and Ian removed the steam brake piston and cover from the cab of the locomotive and took it to Deviation Shed in the wheelbarrow for cleaning and inspection. It was found that the piston shaft at the rear end had some burrs on it which could have caused its reluctance to come apart during previous attempts to remove it from the cylinder. These burrs were ground out along with the shoulder part of the rod. Jon cleaned the cover and found a rough part inside the brass bush which could have also contributed to the piston rod being stubborn to move. This was filed smooth and a trial fit of the cover over the piston shaft proved to be a good fit. While Bill was supervising and delegating jobs, and checking work at the wheel drops with Shaun and his team, I was given the job of freeing the L/H tender water valve linkage which was found to be seized on Saturday. With the help of Ian who applied some heat to the seized crank (eat your heart out Trevor!), it was freed up, and by the end of the day, after it had cooled, the linkages were reconnected and found to be working smoothly.

Nigel had to go to Whitby to buy some Isopon filler before he could start prepping the cylinder cladding sheets. In spite of this, by the end of the day he had successfully cleaned, filled, rubbed down and primed the left and right cylinder cladding sheets. Bill took off the L/H tender axle box cover to examine the leakage from this box. He was unable to remove the oil pad fully so the pad was put back in pending further investigation. Ian removed the 3 pins from the steam brake piston linkage arm and got them shot blasted. As the NDT man was on site doing jobs for the MPD we got him to come and NDT our pins. These were all found to be OK and refitted to the brake linkage.

Lunch was had in Deviation Shed today, with not many visitors in spite of Repton being parked outside all day out of steam. One commented that, in spite of being a regular visitor to the Railway, he had not realised that you could come up this far - how are you getting on with the new signage Bryan? In spite of this, the bell on the donation box was ringing merrily throughout the afternoon.

Later in the afternoon, at the wheel drops, the trailing wheel set was being lifted up into the horn guides when the hydraulics failed and the job was stopped . The wheel drops are now non operational and awaiting repairs.

The only other excitement of the day was the delivery of the new cylinder block casting for No 29 (along with the original and the patterns). It is now in the MPD awaiting assessment by the company who are in line to do the machining. I should also report though that those strange foreign machines from the West have left the Railway, and things are back to normal motive power wise!


Saturday 30th September 2017

The second day of the NYMR steam gala (which was heavily publicised in yesterday's Yorkshire Post), a bright and sunny day with an odd shower late afternoon, and a great turnout at Deviation Shed with Bryan Orange and the JV's, Joan and Andy Lowes. Bill Dobson, Peter Ellis, Ian Pearson, Trevor Wilford, Les Harper, Nigel Hall, Chris Henshaw for a hour before his rostered duty on the Railway, and, after lunch, following the cleaners Safety Course, a new member whose membership form is about to be sent off, Miss Rachelle Martyn from York. Also lots of visitors taking photos of trains passing the shed single headed, double headed, top and tailed, Goods trains - what a selection! Later, "Lucie", Paul Middleton's new acquisition from the Middleton Railway, was shunted from No 1 road onto No 5 road for display.

So a big demand for initial tea and biscuits, but afterwards Les and Ian set off to the Running Shed. Les set about sorting out the R/H loco water valve which was stripped down and cleaned, after removal of the wooden seat, to see if the operating shaft bracket could be moved but it was found to have a slight bend in it. So it was decided to leave it alone and the valve and seat were reassembled. Lunch was had in Deviation Shed. Afterwards Les then started on the removal of the steam brake piston with which we had had such trouble previously. Clearly reinvigoarated by his return to Grosmont, by the end of the day he had removed the piston with only a little help from Ian and Bill. Peter cleaned up the L/H tender water valve left in the workshop from Wednesday and Andy refitted it, but the operating linkage is still seized and needs more attention. Trevor ground some metal off the door stanchion which was causing the door to stick and Nigel painted the newly welded parts. Bill borrowed Bob Fussey's vacuum cleaner with which one of the JV's cleaned the header of all small particles. Ian removed split pins and loosened the nuts on the bottom R/H slide bar to enable the shims to be removed. These were cleaned and measured by Andy which Bill has logged . A start was made on the R/H side with the rear nut slackened off . Andy was also supervising some of the JV's with Ethan drilling holes in some angle iron which Bryan had obtained to fix to the pit wall to protect the sockets. That job was completed and, with Bryan's assistance all the brackets fitted in place. That means the work to provide light and power to the pit is now finished. Grateful thanks to all involved, but particularly Bryan and the JVs, along with Gordon Wells, for their work over the year to complete the installation - must just remember it is now working so no need to lug extension leads and lights all over the place as I did last Wednesday!

Rachelle came over to Ian after lunch and asked if he could find some work for her, so he got the main compressor turned on, set up an airline with the needle gun and she cleaned the channel round the smokebox which holds the door seal.

Some of the JV's assisted Ian Foot with his Vera Lynn working party. Joan Lowes and Tom Noble manned a small sales stall selling books, cards, mugs, and pens and took £160 including a £40 donation to the Q6 fund. Many thanks to them for their efforts.


Wednesday 27th September 2017

A fine warm dry day at Grosmont today, with Trevor Wilford and Dougie Blyth working on repairing the door stanchion. This involved welding some new metal on to the bottom of the stanchion which they completed by lunchtime, in spite of running out gas and having to borrow a large gas bottle from the MPD store (with their permission!). Trevor has taken our small gas bottle back to Teesside for replacement. The weld was tidied up with the grinder and now just needs a coat of paint to protect and smarten it up - a job for a JV this Saturday? While the welding was underway, the public were barred from accessing the front of the shed on safety grounds, so no visitors in the morning until the tape was removed.

In the meantime, Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Nigel Hall and I were working on the Q6, whilst Owain Samuel( MPD Fitter) spent some time measuring and assessing both crossheads. Ian completed fitting the steam oil valve to the cylinder on the R/H side with two new copper washers.

Bill measured the size and number of the small tubes (and got a different number each time - he is planning to ask the JVs to count them on Saturday to see if they can come up with the correct number!), while I checked the new header plug supplied by Andy Lowes to see how it fitted. It was a perfect fit in all six plug holes, but the hexagon head is too large so there is no space to get a socket on - the head will have to be reduced to meet the original specification. Before departing, Trevor burnt the R/H tender water valve nut part way through.

Lunch was at Deviation Diner, again with quite a few visitors once the welding had finished. The trains were reasonably full as well for a green timetable day. After lunch I dismantled the R/H tender water valve which was covered in tannin deposits, believed to be the result of the water treatment, and making it very stiff to operate. The valve was cleaned and reassembled with a new nut and split pin fitted. I then removed the L/H side which, again, had a lot of tannin deposit to it and is now on the workshop bench ready for cleaning and refitting.

Ian started removing the nuts and split pins from the water valves to the injectors on the locomotive and these are now all slackened off ready for removal. It was noted that the R/H water valve shaft is slightly out of line to the water valve causing operation to be somewhat stiff, and this is to be looked at on Saturday. Bill found one more spring hanger washer in the upstairs store, which we needed as we have 15 good ones but 16 are required. Ian has cleaned it up and given it to the MPD for NDT treatment, possibly on Friday. Bill was quite busy sorting out jobs for the JV's this coming weekend and also getting some information regarding the crossheads but will pursue that with Barney today.

Nigel continued his sterling efforts with painting the wheel sets and now has two coats of gloss on them all. Four of the refurbished springs are now back from Owens and the remaining four are due in the next few days. Subject to that, the current plan is to rewheel the Q6 next week once the Gala is over. It was then hoped to move it back into Deviation Shed on the centre pit road, but Hartland has now been moved into the space previously occupied by the S15, and the only space left to move the frames and boiler off No 29 (whose raw cylinder casting is due back next week prior to assessing it for machining) is in front of No 5, which would involve the track being slewed to provide access in the continued absence of the point to replace the one broken a couple of years ago. Bill is on the case and sorting out with the MPD where the Q6 will go.

By way of light relief, two very strange looking tank engines arrived at Grosmont during the afternoon, rumoured to be of some Great Western origin, in spite of being painted black. 1501 and 7714 from the Severn Valley Railway ran from Pickering in steam and joined 5199 from the Llangollen Railway which was already on shed, all being the guest engines for this weekend's Gala. So there is at least one working copper capped chimney locomotive on the Railway for those devotees of such peculiar things. Repton is also rumoured to have returned from its trip away, having been spotted on a low loader in Pickering on Tuesday night.



Saturday 23rd September 2017

Bigger turnout today with Bill Dobson, Trevor Wilford, Peter Ellis, Ian Pearson and Alan Hardie.

Trevor had brought some plate to repair the beam between the roller door and the main door which is badly wasted. After getting the plates ready for welding, the surrounding area of the beam was needle gunned. Trevor is going to complete the job on Wednesday . Peter had intended doing some copper pipe work but was not feeling too well so he did a bit of PR work as we had quite a lot of visitors round Deviation Shed. Bill and Ian put the piston rings back on, and pushed the pistons back into the cylinder leaving the R/H leading ring off. Alan took the steam brake link from the locomotive up to Deviation Shed, cleaned it up, and it is stored under the seat with a lot of other items . Four of us had Lunch at Deviation Shed canteen, while Alan went down to the Station café . After lunch Bill got chance to look at some of the outstanding small, but important, jobs.The leaking oil pot on the R/H side middle tender wheel was topped up with oil and after a short time it was found to be leaking oil from behind the axle box: this is a job to sort out on Wednesday. Alan set about dismantling the R/H tender water valve, but was unable to get the nut off the end of the carrot valve. This is also to be continued on Wednesday with some heat possibly being needed. Peter and Trevor left for home about 2.30pm due to Peter not feeling well.

Ian took off the R/H oil feed valve which had leaked steam oil down the side of the cylinder and soaked the cylinder lagging. This lagging has been thrown out. A new copper washer has been obtained and annealed so the valve could be refitted but it would not line up with the oil feed pipe, so yet another job to continue on Wednesday. Some time was taken checking and sheeting the axle boxes of which six have now been fitted with only the drivers to do: the last one is on the lathe.

Derek Shorten called in to see us for a cup of tea: he was looking well after his operation.

Another working party on Wednesday, so hopefully another large turnout to continue with the work held over from today, as well as that identified on Bill's project plan. See you there?


Q6 working party Werdnesday 20th September 2017

Fitting the Q6 axleboxes at Grosmont - Chris Lawson

A productive day with our small army of Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Nigel Hall and myself, but no mice in spite of the tempting bait. After the usual cuppa, work started with the barrow loaded up and off to the running shed.

Nigel has worked on the driving wheels for the last two days in view of the good weather forecast for painting. Enormous thanks to him for his dedication as he has now managed to get a first coat of gloss on all the wheelesets. This was important as the MPD has now fitted the axle boxes to both sets and may soon rewheel the loco which restricts access to the back of the wheels. He still hopes that the weather allows him  to get a second coat on before re-wheeling commences, but will be in a race against time as the MPD hope to have all the axleboxes on in the next 10 days, with the possibility of a demonstration of the wheeldrop during the Gala at the end of the month utilising the Q6. If not then, the Q6 should be rewheeled early in October. See attached photos.

A man happy in his work - Nigel Hall at Grosmont applying first gloss to the Q6 wheelsets - Chris Lawson

Meanwhile Bill, Ian and I, in a collective effort, stripped both crossheads down as Barney identified them as being quite sloppy when moved up and down. They have now been removed for measuring up and re-metalling if found to be necessary. Clearances are to be checked as there could be rather more tolerance on the Q6 than would be normal on other locomotives. If remetalling is found to be necessary then Barney reckoned that should be completed and the crossheads be available for refitting by Saturday. The crosshead oil boxes were removed (so that the crossheads themselves could be extracted), have been cleaned and marked up. They are now stored in the workshop on the bench at the far end by the cotters. Bill also got Barney to assess the piston rings and it was decided that the rings can be refitted to the pistons but not the R/H leading ring which is damaged. A replacement will be made at the MPD.

Ian and I had lunch in Deviation Shed canteen where we had a number of enquiring visitors again looking round the shed, which delayed the tea making! The most common question, unusually, was why was it called"

Deviation Shed"?, so they were given a brief history of the line up to Goathland, and of the site where the signal box and cottages had once stood. Bill and Nigel went down to the Station Café so missed the excitement. I also did the monthly check on the defibrillator. The battery was aslo changed as requested by Martin Lloyd.

After lunch, while Nigel continued with his painting marathon, the three of us set about putting the pistons back in the cylinders. This proved quite a challenge, but with the use of the MPD manual small fork lift, some strops and packing, a lot of grunting and heaving, but, most importantly, the wisdom and expertise of Chris Cubitt who happened to come wandering down to see how we were doing - people never learn there is no such thing as standing idly by and watching! - we managed to get the L/H side piston back into the cylinder in time for an afternoon cup of tea. After refreshments, the R/H side was started and this was successfully put into the cylinder, as usual a bit quicker than the first one, but again with some help from Chris Cubitt which was, as ever, very much appreciated. Both piston heads are just sticking out of the front of the cylinder so the rings can be fitted before they are pushed back into place, hopefully on Saturday.

Away from the locomotive, all the springs are away at Owens being refurbished. The first four are complete and they are being returned, being due to arrive by tomorrow or early next week, so that, if necessary, the rewheeling can be carried out with the trailing and leading wheelsets only. The remaining four springs are due back by the end of the month or early October. The elements were despatched to Mathew Storey Engineering at Hepscott last Tuesday for new ends to be fitted, and the final flue tubes have been ordered with delivery expected in about three weeks.

So after a period of seemingly slow progress, work is now accelerating under Bill's caretakership. He has put together a project plan and critical path analysis for the remainder of the overhaul taking us to completion and back in service by 19 March 2018 at the latest. A copy is on the notice board in Deviation Shed, so do go and have look at it when you are next down. Bill is currently considering whether we should also take the opportunity, now we have missed the 2017 operating season, to replace all the small tubes and possibly lift the boiler to gain a ticket to 2028 rather than 2024 as presently planned, subject as usual to satisfactory annual inspections. He considers this could be achieved well within the time we now have available this winter, and by concentrating on the essential work only this winter, as opposed to the nice to do, it could also be achieved within a 50K budget. He is still working on this, so watch this space. However, regardless, he has identified the last three weeks of October as requiring a significantly larger number of volunteers, than has recently been the norm for the work he has identified, so please look at your diaries and see if you can make it on either a Saturday or Wednesday during that period - more detail will follow in future reports.


Saturday 16th September 2017

Only three on Saturday - Bill Dobson, Peter Ellis, and Ian Pearson. No mice, but Bill brought two new traps, which are easier to set and some gourmet chocolate and peanut butter spread to tempt them. This spread is in a jar in the fridge marked for" Mice only".

After the usual cup of tea and coffee, Peter and Ian filled up the barrow with tools and lamps to take down to the running shed (its a long walk back when you have forgotten something). They concentrated on the pistons, removing carbon from the cylinder ports, piston head and part of the piston rod. These are now clean. Bill removed the piston rings and found that the R/H front ring had some slight damage with a few small pieces missing from the leading edge. Bill also cleaned up the L/H and remaining R/H piston packing components .

Peter and Ian had lunch in Deviation Tea Room, while Bill went down to the Station Café . After lunch, Bill did an assessment on the brake gear with Andy Lowes drawing and measurements and established that it requires some new pins. Peter and Ian continued cleaning carbon from the pistons. Quite a lot of heavy showers on Saturday, with lots of visitors from far and wide getting a little shelter at the end of the shed and asking Peter and Ian lots of questions about what they were doing and who owns the engines! Also quite a lot of JV's working at the shed and on Dame Vera but not with us.


Wednesday 13th September 2017

A small but perfectly formed working party at Grosmont yesterday - Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall and Ian Pearson. I couldn't make it as carless this week, and public transport from York would have given me about half an hour's working time. Biscuit and tea bag stocks have been replenished, but care will be needed to ensure the tins are kept secure as there was a mouse in the trap! Both traps have been re-set with Mars Bars kindly donated by Gordon Wells.

Nigel continued sanding the spokes of the wheels and then painting with primer. He worked on this all day until after 5pm to ensure the job was completed. Paul Middleton asked that both pistons be removed from the cylinders for inspection, so Bill and Ian struggled on for hours trying to remove the R/H piston. Eventually, with some advice and the loan of two stud extensions from Shaun Bowler, the shed fitter, they managed to remove the R/H piston with the use of the hydraulic lifting table and a small lifting device belonging to the MPD. In contrast, removal of the L/H piston took about 45minutes, as experience with the other one led to a better technique of removal the second time using the hydraulic table and packing.

There will be a working party on Saturday starting about 9.15 to 9.30am.

There is plenty still to do, so if you prefer the delights of Grosmont to Scotsman at Shildon, please come along and lend a hand.



Saturday 9th September 2017

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.


Wednesday 6th September 2017


Nigel Hall cleaning the tyres and Gibson rings for painting - Chris Lawson

A good turn out yesterday with Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Nigel Hall, Peter Ellis and Ian Pearson, and after a cup of tea work started, although Nigel had been working since 7am varnishing the rear end of the tender. Having got it finished, he was then told the MPD were going to take out the brick arch from No 29 which would have created a considerable amount of dust. Having expressed his irritation and covered the rear of the tender with a large dust sheet to minimise any contamination, it was then decided by the MPD to postpone their work to Friday as they could not find anyone able to get in No 29's firebox!

Relief all round.

Elsewhere, I set about stripping the cover off the steam brake cylinder so as to examine the piston. The nuts were removed without the need for heating them up, much to Peter's disappointment, but, in spite of my efforts and those of Bill with the hammer and pinch bars, we were unable to extract it . Something for the Saturday team to have a go at! Peter and Ian started to set up the splitting gear to release the piston rod from the crosshead and also to remove the gland packings. Unfortunately most of the splitting gear brought from Carnforth yesterday didn't fit the Q6. Fortunately, Andy Lowes had given Peter the J27 gudgeon pin equivalent from Hopetown with which, using the NYMR splitting gear, they managed to split the L/H crosshead. Bill and Barney from the MPD also gave us some assistance in getting the job set up. The gear was then taken round to set up for the R/H crosshead to be split on Saturday.

Bill has tapped the 6 header plug holes 1 1/4"BSP and he is sending Andy the dimensions of the plugs required by Email. Also Peter has one of the old plugs to give to Andy. Nigel completed cleaning and painting the new tyre outside and inside rings.


The wheels await painting in the wheel drop wheel park - Chris Lawson

Bill has put a new work schedule up in the workshop with all jobs itemised showing which work NELPG will be doing and the work allotted to NYMR.

Work still continues tapping the flues. Three are left to do and Mark O'Brien expects them to be completed next week.

The boiler inspector is due to visit on Friday to meet Bill with a view to providing a report on the boiler so his recommendations are on the formal record.

The regular Saturday/Wednesday working party routine has now been re-established, so there will be another working party on Saturday, so, if anybody would like to come to Grosmont there continues to be plenty to do!

The Great Marquess left Grosmont for Scotland and its new home with John Cameron yesterday morning, and that 45212 arrived to augment the operating fleet while Repton is away. 45212 is staying until at least the Autumn Steam gala at the end of September.


Saturday 2nd September 2017

Not many at Grosmont today, only Gordon Wells and Ian Pearson.

Gordon completed the pit wiring and all sockets are now working.

Ian cleaned the coats of rust protector from the outside of the new tyres on two of the wheel sets - trailing and intermediate trailing - and then painted them with black primer. While he was working on the wheels, the three cleaners on the shed - Chris, Alex and James - offered their services for a couple of hours. Ian asked them to have a go at removing the R/H cotter which had proved so stubborn on Wednesday. So the lamps were set up and they got stuck in but the cotter would not move. Then the cavalry arrived in the form of duty fitter Dave Cholmondley who had a right good go - it finally started to move and eventually came out. It is now with the L/H cotter in the workshop .

They also removed both piston gland followers and oil feed boxes. The oil boxes are also in the workshop.

Both pistons are now ready for removal.



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