North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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Q6 Blog

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

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.


Wednesday 22rd February

Refreshed by a cup of tea using the new kettle, the three of us - Ian Pearson, Jon Bradley, and myself - worked until lunch time and removed the five flue tubes that had been knocked through from the middle row.

We had a word with Mark O' Brien about the other three middle row flue's that required burning out in the fire box and, while we had lunch, he went up to the Q6, burnt the remaining three flues and also the bottom row of eight. After lunch, Chris Henwood joined us from the MPD, so he was set on running the tap down through the dome nuts, and he also gave us a hand when required removing the flues. After Mark had finished burning out the flues in the firebox he gave us a hand removing them. The bottom row was pulled out physically by Mark, Ian and myself, and then lowered down to Jon and Chris on the ground. The flue's at each side were the sticklers as they were slightly foul of the smoke box door rim. But with some pulling to the left and right, barring over and careful use of a hammer they were eased out. So all the flues we removed (16) are now stacked on the floor and chocked - so for those attending on Saturday be careful when you come in the Shed as you will have to walk over them to get to the workshop unless you go all the way round the Q6. These tubes will require moving to be with the others and then a decision made on their disposal.

Paul Middleton and Barney called in at the end of the day to view progress, and, suitably impressed, would like to move the Q6 down to the running shed for its postponed wash out, and remove the chimney. We also now need to get the boiler inspector to Grosmont as soon as we can to do his inspection with the CME.

Overall a very productive day, with 16 tubes removed and 11 nuts re- tapped, and only one tea break, but many thanks to Mark for his efforts and assistance during the afternoon, without which it would have been a very late finish. So now over to the Saturday team to maintain the progress!


Saturday 18th February

Mark O'Brien erects steps and staging to assist with the extraction of the Flue tubes  - Joan Lowes

Another very good day at Deviation shed, Mark O’Brien under contract to remove the flue tubes, & five NELPG workers. Alan Hardie came along to help us remove the flue tubes, many thanks Alan, also Andy & Joan Lowes, Peter Ellis & Trevor Wilford. Another week with no more mice in the traps. There was one fatality though; the kettle hit the bin, as it tripped the workshop when water was poured from it to the cups!

Alan Hardie and Mark O'Brien await the tube being extracted from the smokebox by Andy Lowes and Trevor Wilford - Joan Lowes

While the tubes were being burnt out several small jobs were sorted out; the blast pipe was cleaned & the back sand pipes were removed from the loco. Also the tender was measured up for steps to be made, a walk round all the other tenders to see what steps were fitted to them helped with this process. The big cupboards in the workshop have received a bit of a spring clean, all the electrical spares & wire have been put upstairs on the shelves the JVs built last month. The 110v hand lamps are now in the cupboard after cleaning.

Mark O'Brian burning the second row of flue tubes in the firebox - Andy Lowes

With the flue tubes burnt out at the tube plate end & the top row in the fire box, a tea break was called for to allow the fumes disperse & keep the workers happy. We then set to freeing off the top row of tubes then pulling them out with the chain block, as we had practiced with the elements. Only these were a lot bigger & heavier, so Mark soon went & got some staging to make this a lot easier to achieve. We managed to get all eight tubes out of the top row by the end of the day.

Flue tubes being dragged from the smoke box - Andy Lowes

The DMU just happened to be passing with Ian Pearson driving as we were having our afternoon tea & cake break, so we gave him a guard of honour when he returned.

The guard of honour for the returning DMU - JoanLowes

The middle row has been burnt out in the fire box & will be ready to be pulled out next week. So we now require a team of fit & able workers to remove them, all assistance greatly appreciated.

Jobs for Wednesday 22nd February:

  • Remove middle row of flue tubes, if enough people to do it safely
  • Clean mud holes in boiler
  • Clean mud hole doors
  • Put tap through nuts for dome cover & run die nut down studs 7/8” BSW
  • Start stripping brake gear off loco, after marking it up

Wednesday 15th February

Although I was not at Grosmont yesterday as I was taking the final bits for the J27 boiler down to Crewe, I understand there was a good turnout, with Nigel Bill, Steve Hyman, Jon Bradley, Derek Shorten and Ian McCall all hard at work under Ian Pearson's leadership.

No reports of any more mouse fatalities, but there were further problems with the electrics. This time it was the 240 volt sockets that kept tripping out and Gordon Wells suspects it may be earth leakage. However, although frustrating when it occurred, it was still possible to keep the kettle and heater working to provide essential refreshments and a bit of warmth in the workshop.

On the work front, Derek cleaned both steam pipes and joint rings along with the two valve covers while Ian McCall cleaned the smoke box tube plate, the header and surrounding area. He also wire brushed the studs where the steam pipe fits, oiled the studs and ran the nuts down. These nuts have been left in situ. All the loose dirt was also removed from the smoke box.

The rest of the team started to remove the valves and encountered more frustration in trying to part the intermediate valve spindle from the actual valve spindle, especially the right hand one. It was constantly back and forth to the workshop for punches, old taper pins, anything that might move the valve forward. The air line was set up so as to reverse the engine to move the spindle but the reverser would not work: it just kept blowing to exhaust in both directions. Eventually, assistance was received from Barney, the NYMR Senior Fitter, who got the reverser working such that the left hand valve was extracted. The right hand valve proved just as reluctant to come out, but with a lot of determined effort, success was finally achieved. They are now both on the workshop bench waiting to be cleaned.

On Saturday, Mark O'Brien, the NYMR boilersmith is planning to start removing the flue tubes, for which he will require our assistance. So if you are able to help this Saturday, please let Andy Lowes know.


Saturday 11th February

A total of 5 NELPG working members; Andy Lowes, Ian Pearson, James Pearcy, Peter Ellis & Trevor Wilford. Also our junior volunteers with Brian Orange overseeing them while they were either training with Chris Parish or working on the Q6. No mice today.

After the frustrations of our two Wednesday team members with no power until mid afternoon, they had set the job up for today by marking the middle row of elements ready for cutting. So after setting up lights & burning gear these were burnt out & removed very quickly.

We set up a work station just inside the roller shutter door so the JVs could clean the removed elements before storing them on a rail wagon just outside the door. It’s all about planning, looks easy when it works well. Another good team effort from both morning & afternoon lads, I think they may be in with our banter before long!


Watched by Bryan Orange Noah, Nano Tom and Finn  clean up superheater elements - Andy Lowes

The regulator rod was disconnected from the regulator, and then piece by piece the regulator was dismantled. Only the body of the regulator remains in the dome with the bolts out.

The plate under the steam chest was replaced after the lubrication pipes were put back last week.

The last row of elements were cleaned & marked up ready for removal. After lunch six middle ones soon came out, but the one at either end were fouling on the smoke box door frame. On cleaning the area we noticed pieces had been chopped out & welded back in previously. So these were burnt out once again, marked up & stored ready for welding in on completion. These last two were still tight to remove but with perseverance we ended up with all the elements removed today.


James Pearcy's breath condences in the cold air of the smokebox-  Andy Lowes

After all the elements were clean & stored on the rail wagon, they were taken to number seven road outside Deviation shed. Mark O’Brian is going to put them inside the shed this week when he removes the tubes & flues for Repton in number six road.


Ethan and Little Tom also cleaning superheater elements - Andy Lowes

We are now ready for Mark O’Brian to remove the flues under contract, so as soon as the date is confirmed we need the fit & able workers to help him remove them as requested a few weeks ago.


Tom Nobel, Ian Pearson playing mother, Trevor Wilford and Peter Ellis stop for tea - Andy Lowes

Work for Wednesday 15th February, co car available from Teesside if anyone requires it.

  • Clean smoke box, wire brush all threads on the header & remove the cover plate
  • Take valves out & clean
  • Clean mud holes in boiler
  • Clean blast pipe
  • Clean steam pipes & joint rings

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