North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J72 Blog

A blog of activities relating to the J72 69023 'Joem'.

Thursday 4th April 2019


I’ve been somewhat tardy with Hopetown reports during March. So, let’s try to make amends.

  • After a few weeks away with illness, Les Coughtrey returned on Thursday to continue thickness testing the boiler. Neal had spent an earlier Monday testing the thickness of the copper plates within the firebox. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson made thickness measurements over the water tanks.
  • Arthur Jenkins has spent the last few Mondays needle gunning the inside of the boiler barrel. This is now about 90% complete, but that residue is the awkward bits behind the longitudinal stays etc.
  • Paint has been stripped from the outsides of the frames to allow a check to be made for straightness using a piano wire. Paint has also been stripped from the vicinity of the horn guides in order to enable them to check that they are parallel to the frames.
  • Cylinder bores were cleaned by Neal Smedley. The RHS is quite deeply scored.
  • The slide valves have gone to William Lane foundry for new ones to be cast.
  • Paul and James Swainston have been dressing the piston rod ends.
  • Tim Williamson has removed all of the nuts within the saddle. Replacements have been made and fitted. One fitted bolt has been removed from the saddle midpoint joint and replacements manufactured. These replacements need turning to size and fitting. The main steam pipe and the blast pipe have been trial fitted to new studs.
  • Ashley Moor has checked progress with brass bits and continued servicing the remaining items.
  • Surface cracks have been dressed out of one of the horn stays.
  • The machinists have been busy turning spring hanger bolts and brake pins. They will be able to make more progress now that the swarf bins have been emptied.

All K1 bits have now been taken back to Carnforth.

An enormous load of pallets has been delivered. About half of these have been butchered for the stove, but summer is on its way and the need for such supplies has diminished. We need to find somewhere to store the excess.

During those warm early spring days we have made an early start with the loppers on the vegetation around the lines. Hopefully we have caught the worst of the brambles and wild roses before they have become a problem.


Thursday 28th Febuary 2019


This week we worked Monday afternoon to progress needle gunning the boiler barrel away from certain delicate ears. Arthur and John managed to clear about 20% of the barrel length, so it looks like all Mondays in March are going to be noisy. During the afternoon I managed to get a “buttermilk” gloss coat on the inside of the cab at the other end of the workshop. At about 17:00, Neal brought John Graham for what John described as his “annual visit to Hopetown”. He had a look at a few things with Neal, provided Neal with some advice regarding next steps with the loco, and left his thickness tester for Les Coughtrey.

We also had a visit from Paul Hutchinson who has removed about half of the “K1 goods out”. He gave Arthur a fairly sizable turning job, which Maurice Bell managed to progress on Thursday. And then we had a visit from Terry Newman.

Fourteen of us at Hopetown this Thursday. Andy brought in a packet of shortbread to accompany morning tea – much appreciated.

Les Coughtrey spent the day making thickness measurements over the boiler. He’s a little concerned about what appears to be a small but systematic discrepancy between Mark O’Brien’s readings and those from John Graham’s instrument in areas of pitting. Since he’s going to be at Grosmont today, he intends comparing Mark’s instrument. This may be a head size effect.

Paul Mason managed to remove old gasket material from the back head. The machinists spent the day turning pins for the K1 and turning spring hanger nuts. Derek Shorton and Steve Johnson managed to strip the paint from the other eccentric strap ready for NDT. Tim Williamson and Andy Bell managed to finish the dye penetration testing of the horn stays. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson almost completed cleaning between the frames. Harry Sams managed to dress both draw hooks, but there is considerable wear in one of the shafts which needs assessment. With the help of Colin Bowman, I managed to get some primer onto components which had been stripped for NDT, and passed.

Tim Williamson spent the afternoon with his soldering torch chasing leaks around an oil feeder/can brought from Grosmont. Tea time was spent arguing as to whether the device is called a feeder or a can or a pourer. Some were losing the will to live!



Thursday 21st February 2019


Fifteen of the usual suspects signed in; but we were also joined during the day by Les Coughtrey and a visit from Steve Hyman.

Arthur and John got the main door open, dust supressing curtains in place, compressor in action and started needle gunning the boiler inside of the boiler barrel. There was even more noise from certain people complaining about the noise. We gave up needle gunning and will come in again on Monday to progress this. Arthur and John retreated to the lathe and continued with the spring hanger nuts.

Colin Smith and Allan Wilson continued cleaning the frames around the motion. I stripped off spots of paint from the frame side of the tanks in preparation for thickness testing – looks like measles. My afternoon was spent applying another undercoat to the cab interior. Tim Williamson cleaned up the other coupling for NDT, then stripped the paint from the eccentric straps for NDT. Harry Sams fitted the blastpipe to the saddle to check the fit with the new studs and managed to grind the flanging from the brake blocks. Paul Mason ran the die nut down the studs in the back head bosses, though he feels having done so that most of these studs ought to be replaced. Andy Bell lapped in the non-return valves in the globe lubricators and with James Piercy managed to dye penetration test the RHS horn stays. Derek Shorton managed to saw much of the new firewood into lengths which will fit into the stove.

Steve Gibson polished out the marks from the radii of the LHS big end crank pin. The RHS radii were polished but there is a lot of water damage to the journal which could not be removed with emery cloth. Both journals have been re-greased.

Les Coughtrey arrived mid-morning after another appointment and continued working through the NDT list. Roy Marshall joined us later, though had a number of “secretary” things to do and people to see. He remarked that vegetation seemed to be springing into life again outside and that it may be time to tame the jungle again.


Thursday 14th February 2019


15 volunteers signed the book at Hopetown today. We were also joined by Les Coughtrey with his NDT kit, and later by Dave Wright who has damaged his leg playing badminton. Dave delivered firewood and made everybody tea before his early departure. (That’s 17 in total at a mid-week working party, we are getting close to numbers in the good old days at No 5 Depot.)

After allocation of the work from the job list, Richard Starrs from Darlington Borough Council (Project Manager, Stockton and Darlington Railway Heritage Action Zone) and a prospective historic building surveyor arrived for a quick visit. After that I had a trip to the shop for milk and biscuits, Smith and Allen for supplies and to M-Machine to collect a box of steel blanks which Neal Woods had ordered (currently on machinists bench).

Steve Gibson dismantled the big end straps for NDT, then got on with the ash pan. John Jones and Paul Mason extracted the slide bar bolts for NDT. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson continued cleaning the front section of the frames, but with John and Paul above, things were a little crowded. Tim Williamson finished cleaning the eccentric rods for NDT, then set about the couplings. He also slackened the eccentric straps 1 & 4 in readiness for NDT. Harry Sams fitted the new studs into the saddle but I don’t think managed to trial fit the blast pipe.

Maurice Bell was busy on the Harrison lathe and Arthur now has the Colchester lathe back together. Roy Marshall arrived after lunch and discussed some guarding issues with the machinists.

Andy Bell discovered that a steam heat valve shaft was badly bent and would need replacing. He’s found a suitable piece of brass for Maurice or Arthur to turn. We may need to source a tiny spring for this valve.

Colin Bowman did a fine job of tidying the workshop for the weekend. A good day’s work all round, bit things don’t look very different.


Thursday 7th February 2019


Twelve signed in to work on the J72 on Thursday.

Three wise monkeys with afternoon tea. Arthur seems to be happy needle gunning. Derek points out that I mis-reported his birthday of last week – it was 86. Sorry Derek - Nigel Hall

There were complaints about lateness of mid-morning tea. The NELPG clock by the fire has slowed down – we have yet to determine if this a relativistic effect or the need for a replacement battery.

Tim Williamson managed to tack another piece of channel to the wagon to constrain the feet of the tower.

John Jones managed to continue cleaning the frames behind the cylinder block . Tim managed to prepare three of the eccentric rods for NDT. Steve Gibson straightened out the ash pan which is fit for service other than a couple of pins which need renewal. Derek Shorton and Andy Bell worked on the steam heat valves. John Midcalf delivered the refurbished pistons which James Piercy measured up. James also looked at the Bridgeport Miller whilst Maurice Bell continued with his production run on the Harrison lathe. Nigel Hall managed to get a coat of white undercoat onto the inside of the cab.

 One of the newly refurbished pistons in its fish net slocking - Nigel Hall

After lunch, Arthur managed to sweep out the boiler barrel and to start needle gunning. Paul Mason assisted by hauling up the buckets of scale. It’s nice to see progress in this area at last.

Last Updated on Sunday, 17 February 2019 18:17

Thursday 31st January 2019


Despite the low temperature, 12 members signed in for a day’s work on the J72 and K1 bits.

Roy and Nigel assisted by several others erected the tower on the rail wagon. Paul Mason tack welded some pieces of angle iron to the wagon floor in order to secure the wheels. We ought to be in a position to access the inside of the boiler next week.

Thetower being erected to facilitate access to boiler via the dome - Nigel Hall

Mid-morning a courier arrived with a parcel for Paul Mason. It contained a Clarke propane space heater which he plumbed up and warmed the workshop.

The new heater - Nigel Hall

The steam heat pipes shut off valves and steam heat bags were serviced by Derek, John and Arthur.

The insides front of the frames, rear of the cylinder block, crossheads and slide were cleaned by Allan, Dave, Colin and Hughie.

Les Coughtrey was unable to come today, so no progress with NDT this week.

Both big end straps were dismantled marked up then reassembled by Steve Gibson. They are still on the floor by the driving wheelset.

The residue of the K1 sand pipes and the cylinder covers were cleaned by Paul Mason and painted with primer.

We visited M-Machine to get a keyway machined into the new Colchester lathe worm wheel and to order material. There we were presented with a surprise parcel containing brake table pins and blanks which we assume are for the K1.


The new K1 brake pins - Nigel Hall

Maurice has finished manufacturing J72 T pivot pins. Thanks Maurice.

A new J72 T piviot pin - Nigel Hall

It was Derek Shorton’s 86th birthday. Derek brought in one of his birthday cakes. The shipyard gannets amongst the work force squabbled over the pieces of white chocolate at lunch time.





Thursday 24th January 2019


Arthur Jenkins writes:The 13 members at Hopetown for work and healthy eating were:- John Jones, Maurice Bell, Tim Williamson, Paul Mason, James Pearcy, Steve Gibson, Andy Bell, Steve Johnson, Dave Wright, Alan Wilson, Derek Shorten, Roy Marshall & Arthur Jenkins.

Les Coughtrey from the NYMR worked all day on the NDT work and was assisted by John Jones. All the crank pins, gradient pins and coupling rods have been NDT'd. There are a couple of issues:-

  1. A mark on one of the rods at the gradient pin end which looks to have been caused by a lever being used to prise the rods apart.
  2. One of the R/H rods has a horizontal mark on each side which runs the length of the rod.

Both of these issues look minor and will be brought to Neal's attention at the next opportunity. Les will return to continue the work but he might have to miss next Thurs due to car problems.

Maurice Bell made 2 bushes for the K1 ash pan and then continued with the manufacture of the tee piece pins afterwards.

Tim Williamson removed the cylinder & steam pipe studs and made a drawing to allow us to manufacture some new ones.

Paul Mason ran the die nut down the valve and cylinder rod packing followers studs and reports all studs in good condition.

James Pearcy renovated the J27 water valves and also made gaskets for them.

Steve Gibson worked on the K1 ash pan parts.

Andy Bell renovated one of the steam heat pipe shut off valves (one left to do).

Dave Wright, Alan Wilson, Steve Johnson & Derek Shorten worked on cleaning:

  1. J72 pipework
  2. Steam heat bag drain valve (one left to do). The drain valve has a suspect part which will be drawn to Neal's attention to discuss if it needs replacing
  3. The K1 lubricator linkage.

We needed some new wire brushes for the angle grinders and Roy went to buy these.

Roy gave a briefing to the workers later on at the healthy eating tea break concerning changes to the signing on sheet and safety issues.

Arthur did a bit of housekeeping, helped out as necessary and cut up some firewood,

Roy adds:

What Arthur didn't say was that I came back with the wrong wire brushes after leaving the original on the bench as I left!

I also bought some 4" cutting discs and grinding discs, after Steve Gibson said we were low - I did get the right ones.

Tim will be woefully disappointed if you don't mention my shopping error.

I've started to implement the ICE stuff with signing on sheets and notices at Hopetown. Andy Lowes (who laminated the notices) has taken one for Deviation Shed. I should have the ICE holders next week latest. I plan to go to Hopetown on Monday briefly to explain what I'm up to. In the next few days and will do the same at Grosmont next Wednesday.



Thursday 17th January 2019


In my absence at Grosmont in the snow, Arthur writes:

At Hopetown today:- John Jones, Tim Williamson, Andy Bell, Roy Marshall, Derek Shorten, Dave Wright, Paul Mason, Allan Wilson, Hugh Pannell & myself.

I continued with the tee piece pins in the Harrison lathe - 3 finished now, 3 to do.
John Jones finished cutting the nut blanks which was made quicker when Steve Hyman brought the new saw blades - thanks Nigel.

Tim Williamson & Andy Bell removed the rear draw hook then continued working with the other lads cleaning the hooks & rods.

Roy Marshall cleaned up the rear draw hook bar.
Derek Shorten & Dave Wright cleaned up both the con rods.
Paul Mason cleaned up the front draw hook.
Allan Wilson, Dave Wright, Derek Shorten & Hugh Pannell cleaned the coupling rods after the removal of the gradient pins.

All the draw hooks, con rods & coupling rods have had the paint removed and cleaned down to bare metal. They probably just need a wash down with paraffin now. Neal can check out mon night. (Wipe them with de-watering oil afterwards to prevent rusting. On shelf in the store. – NFH)

Last Updated on Saturday, 19 January 2019 23:28

Thursday 10th January 2019


A good turnout at Darlington, with progress on a number of fronts for the J72 and parts for the K1.

On the machines side of the workshop, Arthur Jenkins was investigating the Colchester lathe "self act" fault, while John Jones cut up hexagonal bar up for the manufacture of 1.5" bsf spring hanger nuts. Maurice Bell made a number of J72 T-piece pins.

Allan Wilson continued cleaning between the J72 frames. James Pearcey cleaned one of the J72 injector pipes - it's now gleaming copper.

Dave Wright and Derek Shorten continued de-carbonising the K1 piston valves. Dave kept us supplied with hot tea on what felt like a fairly cold day in the workshop. Andy Bell (amongst other work), Dave and Derek kept the stove supplied with freshly chopped wood.

Steve Gibson was busy making parts for the K1 ashpan. I went to M-Machine to order some steel bar for the JV Workshop training and then got on with stripping paint from one of the K1 sandpipes.

Colin Bowman came in and started some early Spring cleaning! Thanks to Colin and Dave there are no fungi in the cups or the mess room.

Richard Pearson returned the rail-mounted trolley from the A1 Trust next door.

Helen from M-Machine delivered the steel bar ordered earlier and a number of solid steel cylinders, which are the blanks to be machined into new spring hangers.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2019 15:28

Thursday 3rd January 2019


Tim Williamson cleans the saddle with the new needle gun  - Nigel Hall

Yesterday (Thursday) the first working party of the season gathered at Hopetown.

It was a bit cold: with fire lit we had an early brew to warm through supplemented by Arthur’s stollen which was much appreciated. There was no semi skimmed mild at the corner shop so we had to make do with the ‘full strength Capstan’ with the blue top.

No valve seat cutters, so Andy Bell couldn’t make progress with his brass bits – even just making a cutter support tool.

So Andy, Tim Williamson and Dave Wright set about cleaning the top of the cylinder block casting to expose the state of the fasteners. However, without a needle gun this too was a slow process. Allan Wilson continued cleaning the frames, Derek Shorton continued cleaning the K1 valve and Arthur started to prepare material for manufacturing the new spring hangers. I had a trip to Machine Mart to obtain a needle gun and called in at Head of Steam on the way back to try to trace our lifting equipment certificates – not there either.

On my return, Tim connected up the new needle gun and before long the air had turned Grangetown brown whilst Tim and Dave (assisted by Henry) cleaned up the saddle area.

I managed to spend the afternoon with an orbital sander completing most of the prep work on the cab internal sides.

Colin Bowman visited to make tea for us in the afternoon.

The new die nut - Nigrel Hall

When I got home I discovered that a small package arrived - so ends the die nut saga.

Yesterday Dave Wright told the Hopetown working party tea break that whilst dressing the J72 dome threads three years ago he had accidentally knocked a die nut into the boiler. He let Fred know at the time. If it was a 7/8” BSW die nut then this could explain why one was missing from the Hopetown tool kit. If it has not been washed out yet it could still be there to be discovered by those cleaning the boiler. I doubt that it will be in a fit condition to dress threads any more.



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The overhaul of J72 No 69023 Joem is being supported by a restoration grant from the Association of Industrial Archaeology.