North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Q6 Blog

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

As the Covid-19 pandemic had reduced the requirement for locomotives on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, in June 2020 a small group of volunteers, working within the Covid-19 protocol, made an early start on the plan to lift the boiler out of the frames. This was to allow an external examination of the boiler by the insurance company, and to allow the boiler ticket to be extended to 2028 - 10 years from the date of the internal examination. The opportunity was taken at this time to service the axle boxes, horns and related "bottom end" components.

On 27th October 2021 the Q6 made 2 light engine test runs to Goathland wth no problems. On Thursday 28th it made another light engine trip to Goathland and then took the 14.30 train to Pickering and return with no problems. Many thanks to all those, both NELPG and NYMR, who have worked so hard over the last two years.

Over the winter we have fitted atomisers to assist with cylinder lubrication, though these have become the 2022 Q6 saga.

Q6: 28 February - 2 March 2022

Ian reports that Monday 28 February was a dull day at Grosmont with Bill Dobson and Ian Pearson in attendance to witness the boiler cold exam of the Q6 and J27 by the Bureau Veritas boiler inspectors . All boiler doors, plugs, safety valves and pressure gauges, as well as both boilers, were examined and successfully passed the inspection.

The start of the new month on Tuesday turned out to be a very cold bright frosty morning at Grosmont with Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Paul Jameson (who brought a delicious lemon icing sponge cake for us all), Ian Pearson and Chris Lawson in attendance.

Bill and Ian's first job, after consulting with Barry Nesom, was to take the safety valves inner base plates to the machine shop to skim 10 thou off the outer surface. This job was completed within a short period of time, with many thanks to Barry. Bill started rebuilding the Q6 safety valves but had to leave us mid morning due other commitments elsewhere. Ian carried on rebuilding the front and back safety valves, ready to be fitted the next day. Paul completed a couple of cab jobs, including fitting the vacuum gauge, boiler and steam heat gauges, then later fitting both gauge frame components (see photo).

63395 cab fittings on 1 March 2022 - Ian Pearson

When Chris arrived, he was sent down the pit (I know my place!). The narrow channel inside the inspection pit fills up with debris over time and causes the water to build up in the middle. Chris did a great job cleaning all the sludge out and removed it to the ash tip in the MPD yard. Later Chris and Paul measured the circumference of the smokebox seal which is 15 feet 6 ins - Paul turned it metric and suggested we say 5 metres, giving us a bit to play with. They also found the smokebox door bar already fitted, and secured the door. Chris also patched up the Q6’s back sheet which had quite a few small holes.

Nigel, after giving the Q6 driver and fireman seats a clean, retreated upstairs to make some room and set up the Workmate bench. He then varnished the four J27 cab windows on one side only, leaving the other side to be done next day.

Wednesday, by way of contrast, was a cold miserable damp day with Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Nigel Hall, Paul Jameson, Trevor Wilford, Gordon Wells and Ian Pearson.

Ed got the stove going before Ian asked him to go around the site and pick up bits of broken wood, as there were lots of short pieces all over the place ideal for lighting our stove. Ed came back with a huge amount. Then he spent most of the day painting the inspection pit walls and got about half done. With Ian assisting where required, Bill and Trevor spent most of the day working on the drop grate mechanism which needed a more substantial bracket making and the operating bar altering and welding. Poor 'old Bill' was in and out of the firebox several times as a bit of trial and error was involved! After Trevor had annealed some copper pipes, which were needed for another job, Bill explained what was required to make the new bracket. A piece of 1/2" plate was found in the scrap bin, and Trevor marked out and cut out the required pieces, dressed them up, and then welded them onto the original bracket, making it much stronger. Trevor also welded the modified operating rod which will be connected to the new bracket later. After Ian had shot blasted the new bracket to tidy it up, Bill went back into the firebox to assemble the various parts - but there's always something stopping the job. On this occasion, the bolt was too short, and the metal arm that connects from grate to the top of the bracket was too thick. Even after grinding some metal off the arm and another trial fit, it was still too tight, so it was decided to call it a day and start again next week. Meanwhile, the Q6 safety valves were fitted by Paul Jameson with assistance from Ian .

Gordon came in and got on with the atomiser pipe work which involved the fitting of 1/2" steam delivery pipes to the atomisers and the tee piece which will be connected eventually to the main 3/4”steam delivery from the cab manifold. This job required some skilful bending, then brazing fittings on the pipes, and connecting up to the atomisers (see photo).

63395 atomisers connected on 2 March 2022 - Ian Pearson

Later Steve and Paul built up the J27's safety valves. These are now stored upstairs in No 8 bay. Steve also cleaned both of the J27's gauge frame protectors and the fittings. These are also now stored upstairs in No 8 bay. Nigel completed varnishing the other side of the J27 cab windows. He also cleaned and painted the handrail bosses that fit inside the cab when refitted.


Q6 and J27 - 22+23 February 2022

Ian reports a wet and windy morning on Tuesday, but it brightened up later for Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Gordon Wells, Tom Redman, Jon Bradley and Ian himself.

Bill fitted the atomisers with the four new swirls or baffles that had been delivered last week. Then Tom fitted the atomisers back onto the bracket between the frames. When Gordon arrived, Ian set up an airline then Gordon blew compressed air through the four oil pipes which were disconnected from the lubricator. This removed a quantity of oil from each of these pipes at the lubricator end. Then, assisted by Ian and Tom, Gordon got on with altering the pipe work to the righthand atomiser which required annealing, shortening and braising new cones onto the oil pipes. Both righthand side atomiser pipes have now been completed and fitted to the atomisers. The lefthand side was to be done the next day.

Jon removed the new access gate following the work carried out by the NYMR to extend coal storage up to the walkway down to Deviation Shed, shortened it, then refitted it. Please note that the old access gate is now locked off. Access to Deviation Shed from the MPD is now only through this new north side gate near the fitters/cleaner's store.

Wednesday was a fine, sunny, but windy day at Grosmont with Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Nigel Hall, Terry Newman, Trevor Wilford and Ian Pearson.

63395 atomisers fitted on 23 February 2022 - Ian Pearson

With Terry in the team, he carried on where Gordon left off the previous day, annealing, cutting, fitting cones and braising them onto the lefthand oil pipes(see photo of atomisers with pipes fitted). Steve made and fitted a new clamp to secure the lefthand side of the atomisers feed pipes. After completing this job, Terry started on the larger steam delivery pipes which required larger cone fittings. Again, these pipes were fitted with new cones which were braised on. Afterwards, Bill and Ian assembled the new steam delivery pipes on the underside of the locomotive along the side of the vacuum pipe and fastened them temporarily with cable ties. A few more pieces of the steam supply pipe will be made next week. Bill is going to order a new manifold valve as the one we have is only a PN 20 and we have been told we require a PN 32 valve. Bill and Trevor progressed making parts for the drop grate, with Bill struggling to get through the fire hole into the firebox and down to the ash pan area to check and fit the parts. By the end of the day Bill was back inside the ash pan, and with Ian assisting, a final fit of the equipment was carried out. All that is required now is some welding, which will have to be done next week. A small skinny welder required!

On Monday 28 February, Bill and Ian will be in attendance to witness the cold exam on the Q6 with the Bureau Veritas inspector. The J27 is due to have its hydraulic test on the same day.


Q6 - 15/16 February 2022

Ian reports (and I can confirm), that Tuesday was a cold, wet, morning at Grosmont, but it became brighter before lunchtime and was a lovely sunny afternoon. Present were Steve Hyman, Chris Lawson, Gordon Wells and Ian Pearson. Bill Dobson popped in at lunch time to check on how things were going and have his lunch.

Gordon worked on the Q6, altering oil pipe work for the new atomisers that are being fitted. This entailed cutting the existing pipes, shortening them, and brazing new fittings. These pipes had been annealed last week, and were blown through with compressed air by Ian on Tuesday morning. All 4 pipes have now been temporarily fitted to the atomisers on the new bracket. Note that these 4 pipes feed from the atomisers to the valves. The pipes from the lubricator to the atomisers will be sorted next week. Steve completed greasing the Q6 tender. No problems today thanks to the tip from Ian Storey to use a welding rod to release air out of the grease gun. Thanks Ian - it really does work.

Wednesday was a mild, stormy, day with strong winds and heavy showers as the start of storm Dudley. The side door had to be tied to the seat outside to stop it banging shut. The team of working enthusiasts were Bill Dobson, Trevor Wilford, Nigel Hall and Ian Pearson.

Ian's first job was to put all our lifting equipment out for its six-monthly inspection, which included strops, shackles, pull lifts, small jack, lifting table, transmission jack and 3 ton chain block. Every item passed OK and are now colour coded Green. Trevor, liaised with Bill on the items that he was required to make up for the drop grate. Various items were made ready for welding and fitting inside the ashpan area to enable the grate to move correctly. While Bill managed to get inside the firebox and gain access into the ashpan to remove the main operating rod and fittings, these need alteration and new fittings to make the grate operate correctly.

A box of atomiser fittings was delivered to the MPD from Barry Gamble's steam supplies. Bill ordered these items only last week. He collected the items from the office and brought them to Deviation workshop and checked the order was correct. Ian removed the two-atomiser units that Gordon had fitted on Tuesday. These required four new atomiser parts that had just been delivered, called swirls or baffles. They allow the oil to mix with steam and spray the mixture into the valves. These are to be fitted next week.



Q6 - 8/9 February 2022

Ian Pearson reports a mild, cloudy day at Grosmont on Tuesday with Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Gordon Wells and Ian himself.

Bill, Gordon and Ian concentrated on making and fitting the atomiser bracket. After welding two sections together, drilling fixing holes in the bracket and frames, and also shot blasting the bracket, the four feed in pipes to the valves were removed, and the bracket fitted to the righthand side of the frames (see photos - one of the bracket and the other with one atomiser fitted temporarily).

63395 atomiser bracket test fitted to frames on 8 February 2022 - Ian Pearson

63395 atomisers temporarily fitted to new bracket on frames on 8 February 2022 - Ian Pearson

Wednesday was a fine day and in attendance were Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Nigel Hall, Trevor Wilford, Tom Readman and Ian Pearson.

Steve greased the Q6 tender but struggled on using our grease guns which kept failing to deliver grease. As a result, he spent lots of time refilling the gun, a very messy job.

Trevor also annealed the four oil pipes removed from the Q6 the previous day. These are the feed pipes which will be connected to the atomisers in the near future and have now been stored in the workshop upstairs in Bay 8a. Trevor also made a couple of items for the Q6 grate. Ian removed a feed in union on the righthand side of the valve cover which delivers steam oil to the rear of the valve and was suspected to be blocked. It was! Congealed steam oil was found inside so it was cleaned and refitted.

Ian spoke to the NYMR building team in the early morning. He was told they were waiting for a replacement transparent sheet of the right profile, but they were on their way to erect scaffolding at the east side of Deviation shed (see photo).

Deviation Shed scaffolding erected on 9 February 2022 to replace missing roof sheet - Ian Pearson


Q6 - 2 and 4 February 2022

It was a fine, mild, slightly overcast day at Grosmont on Wednesday with Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Nigel Hall and Ian Pearson. I attended later in the morning but had to leave early afternoon.

On arrival at the MPD, Nick Simpson informed Ian that a translucent roof panel at the south east end of Deviation Shed had been damaged during the recent storms Malik/Corrie. On inspection, most of the panel had blown away, but part was left hanging, although secured at one side and flapping about in the breeze. This area was cordoned off and a warning sign put up. Ian and Steve, also dismantled the scaffolding which was put up at the side of the J27 to allow the boilersmiths to work on the stays, and then pinch barred the J27 back to allow the bridge across the pit to be put back and allow better access around the locomotives due to the damaged roof panel. The NYMR building team has inspected the damage and are looking for a replacement sheet. The damage has been reported to our insurers for a possible claim.

Bill has been keen for some time to start fitting atomisers to the Q6, so, Bill and Ian started work on this with the removal of the four non-return valves and bracket. As the atomisers will be fitted a little lower than the non-return valves, Bill has made a new bracket which required various holes drilled to allow the atomisers to be fitted. Ian started drilling into the frames for the new atomiser bracket. Ed continued the never ending cleaning task, concentrating this time on the righthand side of the engine, wheels frames, rods and both running boards. Steve had started to make two metal plates to fit around both trailing horn guide oil box pipes to stop the pipe unions falling beneath the wheel splasher, but this didn't work so he has fitted copper wire around the pipes to retain them instead.

I came in to pick up some insurance paper work, liaised with Bill and Paul Middleton on various operational matters, and made some tea.

On Friday Bill, Ian and Richard De Sadeleer were present at Deviation Shed. Bill and Ian worked on the atomiser project, getting the bracket ready for welding which will be done next week, and also drilling into the frames for the atomiser bracket location (see photo of new bracket with atomisers attached).

63395 new bracket with atomisers attached on 2 February 2022 - Ian Pearson.

Back to Tuesday and Wednesday working parties from next week.


Q6 - 26 January 2022

Ian reports that it was a fine, cold, slightly overcast, morning at Grosmont on Wednesday, but warming up later on. Present were Bill Dobson, Ed Bolam, Nigel Hall, David Potter, Trevor Wilford, Jon Bradley and Ian himself.

On the Q6, Ed carried on cleaning the lefthand side of the locomotive - wheels, rods, frames - also the tender wheels and frames. As he progressed along the frames, he found the centre leading sand pipe loose: this was secured by Ian. Then later, while cleaning the tender frame, Ed found the left centre trailing spring hanger locking nut also loose. David adjusted the spring at both ends and tightened up the locking nuts. Bill and Trevor were measuring up, designing and making new parts for the drop grate movement. More work will be done on this project next week.

David did some work on one of the Q6 axle box lubricator pumps which had been damaged some time ago. Bill had borrowed a replacement pump from the MPD which was fitted in the lubricator in November but it needs to be returned. The damaged pump was therefore stripped down and cleaned, and the damaged spindle was taken to machinist Barry Nesom to make a new one. Some more work was done on a steam valve which is to be added to the lefthand side of the manifold to supply steam to the atomisers when they are installed, but it requires a fitting that we haven't got so Bill is going to order some from Barry Gambles. Ian has greased the loco brake rods and will carry on with the tender next week.

Deviation Shed new access constructed by Jon Bradley January 202 -. Ian Pearson.

Jon completed the new access to Deviation Shed today (see photo of new access path and gate) and also fitted a solar light to the wall of cleaning store. He has fitted a new shelf in the workshop upstairs above the desk to hold books and manuals.


Q6 - 19 January 2022

Ian Pearson reports another cold, fine, day at Grosmont on Wednesday, which saw Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Nigel Hall, Robson Hewitson and Ian himself present. Chris Henwood joined later in the afternoon after his shift at the MPD had finished. Steve brought in some more consumables - rigger gloves and hand cleaner. He has made a new Defibrillator checklist which now has Roy Marshall's name and contact number printed on the sheet. Ed has taken 3 copies to Hopetown and there are 3 copies for Paul to collect which are upstairs in the Deviation Shed workshop filing cabinet. The Grosmont set is in the defibrillator case and the old blank destroyed.

Nigel and Steve worked on the front sands and they are now operating satisfactorily. Ian and Bill investigated the drop grate mechanism with a view to getting Trevor Wilford involved in making some new fittings to stop the grate lifting up-when operated. Bill is going to do the necessary drawings. Bill has also started measuring up and ordering fittings for the atomisers. Ed spent all day cleaning the frames, springs and motion under the Q6, and also made a start on wheels and motion outside the loco.

After lunch Steve started to make a couple of small plates to fit around both trailing horn guide oil boxes. This is to stop the pipe unions dropping below the wheel splasher which would make them difficult to retrieve.


Q6 - 12 January 2022

Ian reports a cloudy start yesterday with a dramatic sunrise turning the clouds purple and pink on the trip to Grosmont, then a day blessed with sunshine. Present on this glorious day were Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Nigel Hall, David Potter, Ian himself and, a little later, Jon Bradley. Steve brought in some consumables - 2 boxes of nitrile disposable gloves and 2 boxes of dust masks. These are to share with Hopetown. Inside Deviation Shed on No 7 Road now are the J27 at the rear with the Q6 in front. No 29 is on No 6 Road.

Various jobs were completed on the Q6 to get it ready for its annual inspection. Firstly, Ed cleaned inside the smokebox, removing soot from the tube plate and elements, also the main steam pipes. Checks were made in the fire box for cleanliness, which proved to be OK after its washout at the MPD. An item that Paul Wickham pointed out was that when the boiler was washed out water was leaking from the rear of the smokebox saddle. During the last week of running in December, the Q6 front sands were reported as not working very well so Steve and Ed started to service the various moving parts and found that some were all but seized. They did get them eased a bit, but more work will be carried out next week. Last week Ed found a loose taper pin on the righthand trailing brake hanger where it fits onto the brake table. Ian removed the old one and replaced it with a new taper pin.

Steve and Ian spent some time on the drop grate, opening and closing the grate. They found that when opening it, the side member lifts up. This can cause problems when disposing of a fire. Next week the rear grate sections will be removed to allow access to the grate mechanism. Ian removed the fire hole protector plate to allow easier access through the fire hole door. David cleaned the bases of the Q6 safety valves and boiler mounts, and also made two new gaskets. He also centralised the horn guide oil feed pipes on the driving axle boxes. Later in the afternoon a start was made on cleaning between the frames which are quite dirty. That work will continue next week.

Outside Deviation Shed, Jon got on with the new access route to the shed, cementing the new paving stones in position. It is now basically finished bar a couple of pavings at the rear that need a bit of sand to get them level.


Q6 - 22 December 2021

Ian reports a cold fine day at Grosmont on Wednesday with Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam and himself.

Not a lot to report on the Q6, barring being lit with a warming fire during the afternoon with the possibility of working the Grosmont Santa service yesterday. It's previous working was on Monday 20th with Terry Newman driving and Peter James firing (an all NELPG crew!) on the first half of Pickering Santas . The second half was done with Black Five 5428. This was due to transferring empty stock through to Pickering.

As this is his last report for 2021, Ian wishes everyone a happy Christmas and all the best for a healthy and successful 2022.


Q6- 15 December 2021

Ian reports a fine sunny day at Grosmont last Wednesday, with only Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam and Ian Pearson present.

After the morning cuppa, two pallets were removed from the MPD truck with the JCB, one of brake blocks and one containing a few rail chairs, fishplates and a bag of rail keys. These had been collected by the MPD's Sue Smeaton from Hopetown as part of the clear out of the building. All the brake blocks have been stored under the buffer beam at the back of No 8 Road in Deviation Shed. The 6 Chairs and fishplates are at the side of Armstrong Oilers. The tally of brake blocks is 7 new BR2, 9 partly worn BR2, 1 partly worn BR4 and 2 new BR4 - 19 in all. The two NELPG rail trolleys were moved out of Deviation Shed and put near Armstrong Oilers ready to load onto the MPD truck on Monday morning which is going back to Hopetown to pick up some more rail chairs. We are most grateful for the NYMR's assistance with this work.

Steve Hyman brought in a new four step ladder which he had acquired.

This was inspected by MPD fitter Duncan Jackson and tagged and recorded (see photo).

New four step ladder from Steve Hyman for Deviation Shed, inspected, tagged and recorded on 15 December 202 - Ian Pearson

Chris Henwood has been employed on Q6 repairs this week, with repacking the left and right valve gland packings. In removing the righthand piston packing, some bright marks were identified at top and bottom of the packing so these were refitted. Tests were carried out to see if the new lubricator was delivering oil to the axle boxes. Oil was evident when the pipe on top of the box was removed and the pump manually turned. The righthand injector steam valve was taken apart and ground in, then refitted. Three more rubber pipes and jubilee clips were connected to the horn guide delivery pipes. A warming fire was lit during the afternoon in preparation for a steam test the next day.

63395 as Rudolph the red nosed reindeer, ready for NYMR Santa specials on 15 December 2021 - Steve Hyman

Although the Q6 didn’t work last Saturday, it was in steam on standby but worked as Rudolph (see photo) on Sunday on Grosmont Santas, top and tailed with the Class 37.


Page 3 of 38