North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

Wrdnesday 29th March 2017

Ian reports quite a productive day with Nigel Bill, Derek Shorten, Jon Bradley and himself. I was absent this week waiting various deliveries at home (nuff said!) but Nigel was the real hero - would you believe he came to Grosmont on the train from Thornaby with all the school kids!

Jon kept back the chocolate Hobnobs until the 3'o'clocks (I have missed out again).

After the morning cup of tea, Jon and Nigel started work on removing brake gear. They took down the driving set first. This was cleaned and marked up and laid out on the timber frame along side the S15. After lunch the trailing set was removed but not cleaned as time ran out (Nigel had to get the 16 15 train back to Middlesbrough). Derek spent the day cleaning the driving set of wheels and surrounding frame work, while Ian worked all day removing more of the concrete from the smokebox to reveal the hidden nuts. He had to remove 2 barrow loads to gain access, but two on the right hand side and one on the left are now accessible. There is a little more of this super hard concrete to remove from under the rim to allow us to get at the other nuts.

At the same time John Furness was continuing his work on the Drewry shunter, rubbing down then painting. Bill Dobson came in to see how we were progressing, and there were also quite a few visitors looking round.


Saturday 25th March 2017

Crowds of people today, we parked in the national parks car park as requested due to a large green engine running with Terry Newman at the controls. I am not used to all these people crowding the platforms after three months with just NELPEG workers around Grosmont! It was nice to see a good appreciative public around our shed, it makes all the hard work we do on Q6 worthwhile.

So today we were four Ian Pearson (shed shunter driver commandeered) Alan Hardie, Peter (the plumber) Ellis & Andy Lowes.

The work today was to assemble the base of the spark arrestor onto the blast pipe & prepare the new bolts to hold the mesh in place. This was achieved apart from tapping the holes in the framework this will be done next Saturday if I remember to bring a tap along.

The centre right side rod was transported to the press in the running shed & both bushes were pressed out ready to be re-metalled & machined.

We had a very pleasant lunch break in hot sunshine at the picnic tables & Paul Middleton joined us to discuss where we are with the Q6. I told him we are ready to get the wheels out & it has been agreed to start with the drivers first, then return the loco to Deviation shed so freeing up the wheel drops for spring changes etc. This will not be this next week due to pre running season last minute jobs still to do, also Paul needs to agree costing for this work with NELPG before work starts on the second stage. First stage was removal of flue tubes with Mark O’Brian, now complete.

The anti vacuum valve has been cleaned & a crack was discovered in one of the four spokes of the casting. Neal Woods called in so I discussed with him the various methods of repairing it. Neal got in contact with our CME John Graham & will have a look at it on Monday evening at Hopetown, all very productive with quick results, I am well impressed thanks.

The side covers on the smoke box were also removed to expose the end plugs on the supper heater header. A dirty job but the dark hair took our plumber back to his youthful looks he said!

Lots of little fiddly preparation jobs today but good progress was made all the same.

Jobs for Wednesday 29th March:

  • Dig out more concrete around bolts for blast pipe & remove bolts
  • Loco brake gear to strip, clean & inspect
  • Continue stripping/cleaning valve assemblies
  • Clean loco ready to remove wheels

Wednesday 20th March

Derek Shorten and Ian Pearson were eventually joined by Jon Bradley and myself (too much chatting on the way through the MPD as well as Royal Scot to get round). The Q6 was not on the wheel drops and probably won't get there until Andy Lowes and Paul Hutchinson have discussed with Paul Middleton the next stage of the mechanical work, and the wheels/axle boxes in particular. No mice this week.

After a cup of tea and some non chocolate hobnobs, Jon and Derek set about cleaning frames all day. I got on with stripping down the left hand valve and cleaning off the hard carbon which was very stubborn to remove. There is still a lot of work to do on this valve, and the right hand one to make a start on. The valve has been loosely reassembled to keep the components in the right order and is back on the bench in the workshop.

Ian went to see Howard Smith at Armstrong Oilers to check out the item number for the Q6 underkeep pads, confirmed as '814B'. Back at the workshop he found we had 6 x '814B ' pads made at York, probably some fifty years ago, and 6 x '814B' pads made by Armstrong Oilers in 2014, giving 12 in all. The latter 6 pads have been put in tins and tubs of oil to soak, and are on the bench outside the workshop. There were also some J27 pads in the upstairs store - number '813B'

After lunch, in the warm in the Gresley cabin, Ian started to remove the anti vacuum valve from the header. It needed quite a bit of heat but, after an hour or so, with some assistance from Jon, it finally came free and is now on the bench in the workshop .

In the morning, it was good to see Bob Grey who called in for a chat with us all. Additionally, John Furness from the MPD spent the day sanding and painting the Drewry: the replacement engine is due to arrive next week.



Saturday March 18th 2017

Four workers today at Deviation shed, Ian Pearson, James Pearcy, Peter Ellis & Andy Lowes.

There were no big job today just lots of little finishing or fact finding tasks, so it was a little frustrating at times but this is what happens with maintenance work.

The loco was checked over & small adjustments made ready for the move to the wheel drops hopefully this next week. It looks like the yard had been shunted to leave the way clear to get into the wheel drops.

The main job today was to have a look at the gradient pins, bushes & rods. We had some grub screws, tapping drill, taps etc to do the job but when the first hole was drilled we found the bushes in the side rod were hardened. So after a lot of cleaning & polishing of the bush that had come out the pin was eased so it was a good fit. The grub screw idea had to be abandoned!

The rest of the sand pipes that were removed last week were cleaned along with the brackets & put into storage above the workshop.

At lunch time some of us went to Grosmont station to see the York to Whitby steam special come through, we also saw it at 17.00 on its way back before we left for home.


James Piercy watches the special arrive behind the B1 - Andy Lowes

The dome studs had the nuts & washers put back on to prevent damage or loss.

The anti vacuum valve was again worked on, in preparation to remove the super heater header. The sealing plate & the nuts on the flange were removed, to be continued on Wednesday.

The stock of axle box lubrication pads was checked on; we found seven that maybe are for the Q6 loco.

The underside of the loco has been scraped to remove the thick deposits of crap & some cleaning at the front end was completed.

Some ideas for jobs on Wednesday depending what is happening about wheel removal:-

  • Continue with anti vacuum valve remova
  • Strip both valves & clean individual parts, so when built back up the broad rings just move
  • Clean blast pipe studs & assemble spark arrestor base to it. This will save time when we assemble everything in the smoke box if new nuts & bolts etc are all there ready.
  • Clean loco frames, springs, wheels etc
  • Check with Armstrong oilers if the oil pads are the right ones for the loco & check availability, if they are the correct ones put them to soak in oil
  • Brake gear on loco to strip clean & inspect for wear



Wednesday 15th March, 2017 - The Ides of March

I went to Crewe yesterday with Dave Pennock to progress chase the J27 boiler rather than attend the Q6 at Grosmont - no loyalty to the engine...tsk tsk! - but Ian has reported that it was a bit of a dull cool morning, while it was a real scorcher over on the west side of the country. However, accompanied by Ian McCall, Jon Bradley and Derek Shorten, later joined by Nigel Hall and Gordon Wells, and after a reviving cup of tea and demolishing a packet of hob nobs "that Jon brought" - apparently I have missed out on these as they were all eaten! - work was started.

Ian McCall removed the header cover and cleared the old gasket material off the surrounding area. He then removed the anti vacuum valve, which is now in the workshop, and then tackled the smoke box door seal. It took him the rest of the day, but it is now completely removed. Derek finished cleaning the side rods and gave them a coat of oil, following which 2 small and 1 large mud hole doors got the treatment. Jon Bradley and Ian P removed the trailing horn stay split pins: some of these were quite stubborn but they are now all out. Nigel continued painting the tender steps while Gordon was sorting some wiring out for the pit lights.

New coffee table  courtesy of Gordon Wells - Nigel Hall

The sun stated to shine about 11am so the side and No.7 road roller doors were opened. As last week, lunch was taken on the picnic benches outside Deviation Shed where it was warm and sunny.

After lunch Jon and Ian P set about securing the left hand forward eccentric rod further up, and it is now as far as it can go, followed by splitting the right hand side forward eccentric rod and securing that as far up as it can go. Nigel cleaned the header cover after he had finished painting the tender steps and the cover is now also on the workshop bench.

It is now likely to be some time next week before the Q6 goes on the wheel drops, but remember that Royal Scot is due to arrive at Grosmont next Tuesday, and starts operating services from Saturday 25 March through to 2 April. So it is likely that there will be more people around than normal next week, and, once Royal Scot operations start, car parking will be a real headache with Grosmont station car park likely to be unavailable. Will provide more information on that as and when it comes available, but essentially the quiet winter period is coming to an end and trains will be running daily from 25 March.

In the meantime, Q6 working parties as usual this Saturday (Andy) and next Wednesday (Ian P). Hopefully they will see you there.


Saturday March 11th 2017

There were six workers today, Andy Lowes, Peter Ellis, Colin Foxton, Neal Woods, Ian Pearson, & Nigel Hall; also the JVs and as usual Brian Orange looked after them with half doing training in the morning while the others found out how to look after our Q6 with the workers. On the afternoon they swapped over so everyone got the best of both workshop training & practical hands on maintenance work.

A good quantity of work had been achieved today, the blast pipe has had the carbon chipped out & the remaining mud hole doors have been cleaned by the JVs. The remaining nuts on the super heater cover have been removed in readiness to take the cover off. A start was made to remove the smoke box seal, but this is extremely stubborn to get off; I suggested doing a little at a time over the next few weeks to make the job a little easier. All the remaining sand pipes were removed, cleaned & marked up ready for storage.

The last taper pin in the right side rods had to be drilled from both ends to remove it, and then it was all hands to the rods, under Neal’s leadership to remove them a little at a time until they were safely off on wood packing’s. The gradient pins were then removed & everything cleaned up. See photo 4839. The two lower eccentric rods were removed from the inside motion work, also all the loco brake pull rods were removed by the JVs. New insulation bandage was wrapped onto the steam pipe to the ejector in the cab.


Rods off at last - Andy Lowes

The new tender access steps have been welded by Dougie Blyth last Thursday, today they were cleaned up using a flap disc on the angle grinder & then the first coat of paint was applied.


Nigel Hall painting new tender steps with black primer from the comfy seat - Andy Lowes

The split pins have been removed from the horn stay bolts, the trailing axle is still to do. Two new fitted bolts will be required in the left intermediate horn stay.


Colin Foxton removing split pins from horn stay bolts - Andy Lowes

Job list for Wednesday 15th March

  1. Remove trailing horn stay bolt split pins
  2. Continue removing smoke box door seal
  3. Remove super heater header inspection cover
  4. Remove anti vacuum valve
  5. Clean under loco ready to remove wheels




Wednesday March 8th 2017

A small team assembled - Derek Shorten, Ian McCall and myself - and before even a cup of tea, had to deal with another fatality. The mice must like Mars Bars so perhaps we should get in touch to advise them of yet another major selling point for their product's advertising. But then perhaps not!

The scrap flue tubes had been loaded on to the NYMR truck by the MPD staff the previous day, and after checking she had got the correct ones, Sue Smeaton took them to Marske scrap yard. We will receive £223 for our overhaul funds.

After tea, Derek set about cleaning the left hand valve while I cleaned the two remaining mud holes in the boiler throat plate, getting soaked in the process. These may need cleaning again in due course because of the water still in the foundation ring after Monday's second wash out.

Ian McCall renewed the attack on the right hand taper pin, but in spite of a couple of hours effort with a variety of punches and hammers it remained stubbornly unmoved. I joined him and, after much pinch barring of the locomotive, we managed to get the left hand taper pins and cotters out relatively easily, and prepared the rods for removal once reinforcements (Ian and Jon Bradley) arrived, who were due after lunch.

As it was such a lovely warm sunny day, lunch itself was taken on the picnic benches overlooking the yard to get our Vitamin D levels up.

After lunch, Ian Pearson joined us (Jon Bradley was out in the wilds with the ballast train and was delayed) and we set to, trying to remove the stubborn left hand intermediate side rod pin. It would not move so we decided we would have to remove the side rods in one length. Ian had a word with Barney at the MPD and he arrived with the heavy gang, the left hand rods were removed on to packing, the stubborn pin hammered out and the rods then split into their three pieces by removing the intermediate and trailing pins. Ian McCall and I greased and wrapped clean cloths round all the crank pins, and the bearings were covered with cloths. Many thanks to the shed lads for their help.

Barney tried to remove the right hand trailing taper pin with his special punch, assisted by one of his lads with a 14lb hammer, but it would not move. Looks like a drilling job for Saturday.

Derek finished cleaning the left hand valve and this was put back on the bench in the workshop. He then set about putting the tap through the dome nuts and completed another five, making a total of sixteen now done.

There was great interest in the steps which Trevor had previously tack welded on to the rear of the tender, but we managed to dissuade attempts to try them out. Trevor was going in today to complete welding the steps.

Plenty of work still left for Saturday's working party, when the JVs will also be present. Hope the weather is as good as we had yesterday.


Saturday March 4th 2017

A lovely Spring like day working at Grosmont. Not many folk about (a couple of guys on an induction course, 2 or 3 couples walking round, and also 2 drunks later in the afternoon looking for a pub), one dead mouse in the trap near rear door and Paul Middleton in his office catching up with his paper work.

After a cup of tea, with Trevor Wilford, Peter Ellis, and Alan Hardie, we first had to move the tender forward so we had enough room to start erecting the staging at its rear, it now being at the north end of Deviation Shed following the return of the Q6 from the running shed after its wash out. The Q6 itself is at the south end of the Shed, with the Weltrol containing No 29's boiler sandwiched between them.


Q6 tender No 29 boiler and Q6 locomotive in Deviation Shed 4 March 2017 - Ian Pearson

Alan was given the task of running the die nut down the dome threads, and managed to get 5 completed, in between helping with the taper pins and moving the loco about to get access to hammer the pins. Peter and Ian measured getting the tender area cleaned of paint ready for welding the new foot steps on the rear. Trevor was busy with the burner profiling the steps. Gordon Wells came to put in some cable for the new pit lights. He also made a tool for getting taper pins out, which worked well on the L/H trailing pin (now loose but not out). It was tried on the L/H intermediate taper pin but it was unsuccessful as the bottom of the pin was very weak and there was poor access - may have to resort to drilling again? The R/H Trailing taper pin has its bottom part cut off so this also may be a drill out job? These pins have been hammered on every fitness inspection by the duty fitters so it is perhaps no surprise that they won't move. After lunch, Trevor and Peter managed to get all three tender steps tack welded on. Trevor is hoping to bring Doug Blythe down on Wednesday to complete the welding. Failing this Trevor will complete the job next Saturday.

Q6 tender rear steps tack welded Deviation Shed 4 March 2017 - Ian Pearson

In spite of the wash out there Is still a lot of scale round the foundation ring that needs removing. Paul Middleton is therefore planning to get the Q6 back down to the running shed on Monday for more washing out. Gordon and Ian also got a sample of 2" tube from between the flues onto the work bench and found evidence of pitting in various places. We may therefore have to sample other small tubes, but doubtless John Graham will have a look at this next week when he is down to inspect the boiler. The chimney was removed on Friday and this is now standing on a pallet in No 6 road.


Wednesday 1st March 2017

On a bright, sunny, and surprisingly warm in the sun, day there were five of us at Grosmont on Wednesday - Jon Bradley, Ian McCall, Derek Shorten, myself and Ian Pearson.

After a cup of tea, first task was to continue efforts to remove the left coupling rod taper pin, but again, like last Saturday, we made very slow progress. Ian McCall and Jon Bradley worked on this for at least half hour and after cutting, punching and drilling, the bottom end of the taper pin was removed. However, the top end remained in situ refusing to move. So more careful drilling was required to avoid damaging the nut, until there was only a thin casing of the taper pin left. Still no movement, so it was decided to turn the nut and shear off the remains of the pin and , success at long last, after about another two hours effort. That allowed us to remove the nut, clean out the remains of the pin, and establish that no damage had been done to the nut as a result of our labours.

In the meantime Derek was cleaning the right hand valve which was thick with carbon, while Jon and I removed the flues that had been cut in half on Saturday to round the back of Deviation Shed. Then I set about cleaning the remaining mud holes in the boiler, completing another four (yellow dotted) and leaving the two at the bottom of the throat plate for the next visit. After lunch Jon, Ian P and I removed the eft hand coupling rod and placed it on the floor next to the Drewry shunter, protecting the bearings with rags. The coupling rod pin on the locomotive was greased and wrapped with rags, while the pin bearings, gudgeon pin and nut, felt pads and cotter and large taper pin were put in a plastic tub next to the right hand one in workshop. Ian McCall cut the remaining flue tubes and these were removed to join the others round the back of the Shed. The floor area was swept clean. Arrangements are now being made for the cut tubes to be taken to the scrap yard at Marske used by the NYMR, along with any other scrap material from the Shed, and for which a separate NELPG account is being opened.

Derek completed cleaning the right hand valve and that is now back in the workshop next to the other one. Ian McCall also started on the dome nuts: three studs were run down with die nut 'yellow' dot on.

Piglet called in to see how we were doing and viewed the cardboard dummy steps on the back of the tender. He decided not to try them out himself but approved their positioning, so all is clear for fitting the real ones on Saturday. He also told us that a Gardiner diesel engine has been bought from E Bay for the Drewry shunter, thanks to the generosity of an NYMR member. It is due to be delivered in the next week and he therefore hopes to move the Drewry shunter out of Deviation Shed fairly shortly for the engine to be fitted - it will involve moving No 5 as well and a slew of No 6 road in the continuing absence of the broken point, so no small task! He also intended to move the Q6 down to the running shed for its wash out today, so it was completed before Saturday. Ian P therefore put some wooden retaining blocks on the big end pins to stop the side rods moving about while shunting is in progress .

No Andy Lowes on Saturday, so Ian Pearson is in charge once more. If you intend to join him, please let him know by phone or email (the biscuit tin is full again).


Saturday 25th February

Quite a challenging day for Ian Pearson, Peter Ellis, Colin Foxton & myself. The team set to work removing the right coupling rod. Once everything was set up things went smoothly & the rod was stored next to the workshop before lunch.

The old flue tubes were burnt in half until we ran out of oxygen & had to get another bottle from the bottle store outside the boiler shop. Continued to burn the tubes & stored the scrap behind Deviation shed ready to be taken to the scrap yard. Unfortunately time ran out for all the tubes to be cut up.

A mock up of the new tender tank access steps has been fixed to the tender, I think it will work from a practical point of view & a few foot plate personnel/NYMR staff tried them out for size. They seemed to agree they would work; access will be easier & more importantly safer especially in bad weather conditions.

The left coupling rod taper pin through the big end nut has the opened up wings snapped off. This was filed flat & using a punch & hammer refused to budge even with all four of us having a go at various times through the afternoon. We tried drilling part way through, before trying again with punch & hammer still no movement from said pin. More drastic action was now called for; the pin was drilled carefully down the centre. But I think you are ahead of me now, it still will not come out. A plan has been devised to try out on Wednesday to see if this pin will give up.

Peter Ellis struggling with the taper pin - Andy Lowes

The regulator body was removed from the ‘J’ pipe in the dome & I went inside to check access was possible; I took some photos while I was there.

The view through the front tube plate - Andy Lowes

The view over the fire box - Andy Lowes

Hopefully in the early part of next week the Q6 will be shunted down to the running shed for its postponed boiler wash out. Also the chimney will be removed.


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