Not the best of days yesterday. With the recent rain, the pit was quite full of water and the morning was spent trying to keep the pump operating and clearing the sludge and stones which kept blocking it up. With it also raining outside, the water was coming in as fast as we could get it pumped out! However, with Ian Pearson and Jon Bradley's skill, persistence, and willingness to plunge their hands into the murky water (not even the frog that we found was too keen on staying in it) the pit was eventually sufficiently empty to enable Derek to sweep it out, clear the central channel, and remove a considerable quantity of filth into a barrow for disposal. Hopefully though, that will make it easier in future to empty out the pit and enable work on the Q6 to be got on with rather earlier in the day than we managed to achieve.
So far as the engine itself was concerned, Mike Oliver continued his work on the cab valve maintenance, and the outside front and rear, and the inside front, cylinder drain cocks were taken off, cleaned and checked - they are now on the workshop bench in the appropriate places next to the rods which Les had previously removed. The inside rear ones await removal and cleaning. In between pump clearing activity, Jon managed to get some more work done on the mudhole doors, and these are now estimated at 99% complete. They are on the running plate.
No work was done however, on the slide bars or on cleaning the frames and wheels.
There is therefore plenty to be getting on with for this Saturday's working party, which Andy Lowes will be leading. Any one planning to attend of whom he is not already aware, please let him know. The NELPG car will not be available as it will be at Carnforth for the weekend, with a two day working party planned.
As an aside, No 29 was moved out of Deviation Shed to enable the cab roof to be removed. The side tanks are next, as part of the work required to extract the cracked cylinder block which the pattern maker wishes to check. That will involve also the removal of the boiler, for which Chris Cubitt is looking for some strong men (or women) to do the lifting - although he may have to make do with a crane!
The out of date (December 2015) defibrillator pads were also changed.
What a difference the weather makes: no problem this Saturday getting into Grosmont. Another good day getting lots of work done and, more importantly, the Junior Volunteers (JVs) had some two to one training on hand tools with Chris Parrish in the NYMR workshops. Hope the K1 working party had as good a day at Carnforth!
Peter, Brian Armstrong and Andy Lowes went on the NYMR safety briefing to work in the shed yard which they all passed, and have now been invited to do the NYMR PTS course on Sunday 14 February. James Pearcy, Trevor Wilford, Bryan Orange and 4 JVs were working in Deviation Shed while the others were getting educated.
There was though lots of trouble with the pump this time due to rubbish in the pit. Trevor and Peter have cured the leaking joint on the underground sewer pipe, but a non return valve in the bottom of the flexible pipe would be helpful to keep the pump primed.
Progress was made with the proposed new pipes for the axle boxes. James and Andy found the top of the boxes have a ferrule screwed into the top. If the thread is BSP, a nipple can just be screwed in and hopefully the new pipe fitted to this. The right piston was removed before lunch and dimensions recorded. Both piston back faces have been cleaned along with the cylinder studs and faces. The JVs have, when available to work on the locomotive, tapped the cylinder and valve cover nuts and cleaned the washers. The valve packing was removed from the glands and everything cleaned up ready for reassembly.
Bryan Orange, while keeping an eye on the JVs and giving helpful tips and advice, cleaned the valve covers. It was discovered only one has a copper sealing ring fitted: this was annealed by Peter while he was on with the lubrication pipes. The safety valves were removed, being very careful not to pull too hard on the spanner.
In addition, Trevor carried out some burning and welding on No 29 to help out Chris Cubitt.
Lots of bits are now off the engine and ready for the next stage - clean up, decide plan of action and method of repair.
So jobs for Wednesday :-
- Sweep pit and clear centre drainage channel, also remove stones from pump if necessary;
- Remove cylinder drain cocks, checking the screw threads and valves;
- Remove side bar nuts and shims, check clearance with feeler gauge and record on side of rod;
- Continue with the cab valve maintenance;
- Boiler doors to clean and mating faces inside the boiler; and
- Continue frame and wheel cleaning.
A small but perfectly formed working party on Wednesday - Derek Shorten, Mike Oliver, Jon Bradley and led by Ian Pearson.
Derek continued with cleaning the frames outside and inside when the water in the pit allowed - the pump wasn't working 100%. Jon cleaned all the wash out plugs, down at the MPD, and then made a start on the mudhole/ washout doors. They still require a lot of work and he is planning to come in on Tuesday and Wednesday to continue cleaning the doors. Mike took out both injector steam and stop valves, and also the steam heat valve, and these are now all laid out on the bench in workshop. The valve spindle heads require light machining, and Barry Nesham has agreed to do the machining next week. Ian got back into firebox took out the fusible plugs and cleaned all the grime down from last weeks blow through with compressed air. Subsequently the water hoses were put together, and, with the help of Jon and Derek, the flues were washed out: they are now clear. Finally, the ash was removed from the ashpan and water removed from the smokebox.
Andy will be leading another working party on Saturday to continue the work. Bryan Orange and some of the Junior Volunteers will be attending: could anyone else intending to be present please let Andy know. Remember also that Richard Jackson is planning to hold a safety briefing at 9.30am in the MIC cabin - anyone planning to attend who has not already let Martin Lloyd know, could they please do so as soon as possible.
On Wednesday two old fresh faces joined the team in Mike Oliver and Brian Armstrong - a warm welcome back - with Les Harper, Jon Bradley, Derek Shorten, and Ian Pearson. Mike cleaned the right hand piston valve, and Brian cleaned the left hand one: both now done. Jon worked on cleaning and clearing the rest of the concrete from the smoke box - another job completed. Les removed the taper pin from the right hand trailing side rod, but then it was realised that the loco would have to be moved to get the other pins out, plus there was packing under the left hand slide bars, so that job was abandoned. Les then removed all the cylinder cock linkages and these are now on the bench in the workshop all marked up. The valves are still to remove.
Derek carried on cleaning the outside frames and also made a start underneath. Ian got the short straw again and continued cleaning the firebox. All of the front grate had to be removed with Brian's help, and these bars are now stacked in the tender. A large build up of ash had accumulated behind the grate bearer and foundation ring, and this has been removed to the ash pan.
There is still ash in the two blocked flue tubes although some more blowing out with compressed air was tried towards the end of the day. No water was available to wash these flues as it was turned off at the shed and the main tank on the tunnel top was empty.
The pit pump worked fine all day, but the angle grinder was not found and the valves were cleaned manually. New oxygen cylinders were delivered to the Railway about 2pm, but one has still to be moved to Deviation Shed.
For today (Saturday), Neal, James, Peter and Andy Lowes all made it to Grosmont in very slippery conditions. The commitment shown by those present in getting there was very much appreciated, especially as Andy had left his keys for the workshop at home! A big thank you to Andrew, the duty fitter, for allowing us to use some of the MPD gear. The pit was cleaned out by Peter who then assisted with stripping the cross head.
A new bottle of oxygen was obtained and put on our bottle stand in Deviation Shed, along with some new strops and shackles. Neal, James and Andy removed the left piston that had been released last week from the cross head and stood it up safely next to the locomotive. A start was then made on removing the one on the right side - this will be completed next week. A dimensional survey was done on both cylinders and slide bars so a plan can be put in place to continue the winter maintenance to a speedy conclusion.
There will be another working party on Wednesday, for which the jobs are:
- Continue with cab valve refurbishment (Mike Oliver?).
- Continue with cylinder drain cocks check fit to cylinders/steam chest and refurbish (Les Harper?).
- Continue with side rod bush clearances using feeler gauges and record on side of rod (the taper pins have been loosened in readiness - Les Harper?)
- Finish anything left on the boiler clean out.
- All boiler plugs and doors to clean: use wire brush on grinding machine in the MPD running shed where boiler washouts are done (use new full face screen & gloves)
- Left side piston packing and spring to clean off carbon (left on slide bar): try and remove bush (still in gland) carefully.
- Clean both cylinder and valve front faces and wire brush and grease studs.
- Remove all carbon from ports on valves & cylinders.
- Remove all carbon from left piston head.
- Clean all valve & cylinder covers but take care not to damage the copper ring on cylinder covers.
Andy Lowes reports that five stalwarts, plus himself, enjoyed the challenges of the Q6 at Deviation shed yesterday - all progress was hard fought for.
The oxygen bottle ran out and the Railway had just ordered more bottles on Friday so no burning or heating could be done. A hand barrier cream dispenser has been put up in the workshop so we don't have to go all the way down to the sheds for some in future. The pump played up early on but after removing stones etc. there was no more trouble all day. A set of lights has also been installed along the edge of the pit to illuminate it and the underside of the locomotive so, hopefully, no more banged heads! A two step ladder has also been purchased to ease access to the underside of the locomotive from the pit.
After a lot of difficulty, the crosshead was split from the right hand piston rod. It was nowhere as simple as on the K1 as the clamp did not fit. With help and advice from the MPD, and also the use of their splitter as the NELPG and B1 cross head splitters had different and larger sized drives than required, it was all got apart and then the slide bars and crossheads re-assembled. The lessons learned should make the removal of the left piston next Saturday a bit less of a challenge!
Ian drew the short straw and set to with a new improved face mask to clean the fire box and tubes and intends continuing with this at the Wednesday working party. Peter continued with lubricator pipework and cleaning under the valve chest. Trevor Wilford fitted the steam heat drip valve protector with help from Peter. The new fire hole door flap was shaped to fit using the angle grinder and the hinges were welded together, so it is now ready for it all to be riveted together next Saturday. The pipework to lubricate the axle boxes has been removed on the right leading so new flexible pipes can be fitted as recommended by the Railway.
There will be a working party on Wednesday, whose jobs will include:
- all the rubbish to be cleaned out of the pit, including the central drainage channel, once the pit has been emptied of water.
- if the Railway has had a delivery of oxygen bottles, arrange to put one on our trolley (the old bottle was put into the empty oxygen bottle store).
- clean the locomotive frames now they are well lit, so it should be possible to clearly see the muck inside the frames.
- the piston valves are to clean, using the bench outside workshop - not the one inside - but the rings are not to be cleaned. These should be left as they are.
- the cylinder and valve covers are also to clean, but care will be needed not to damage the copper washer on the cylinder covers.
- continue getting the boiler ready for the insurance exam (clean for the inspector, need to impress him as it will be his first time in the Q6 boiler).
- the smoke box concrete at the back of the steam pipes still needs to be removed.
- the drain cocks to be removed and checked, marked up for ease of refitting.
- side rod caps to be removed and clearances checked with feeler gauges: size to be marked up on side of rod.
So much for the weather forecast that today would be the best day of the week - dry albeit cloudy! In the words of the Geordie anthem, 'The rain it poured down all the day and made the ground quite muddy' (in a suitable Geordie accent of course which my computer cannot replicate! - but no coffee Johnny, (it was tea), no white hat, and no-one yelled 'who stole the cuddy?'). As a result it took continuous running of the pump from 9.30am until about 1pm to get the swimmimg pool water down to a level that you could actually get underneath the engine, and we had to keep it going during the afternoon as it was coming in as fast as the pump could get shot of it. However, thanks to Trevor's work last Saturday, the pump kept going and we had no blockages.
However, in spite of all the difficulties, the 5 of us present (Ian, Les, Derek, Jon Bradley and myself) had a reasonably successful day. The brick arch remnants have been removed from the cab, the concrete has been removed from the smokebox except for two small pieces in the back corners behind the steam pipes, where it will need someone thinner and more flexible than me to get them out (James?), the bottom row of small tubes and the two lower flue tubes on the LHS were blown through from the smokebox end (they will need doing from the firebox as well), and Derek continued his sterling work on cleaning the wheels and frames, having started to tackle the right hand, and very dirty, side. Both piston valves were also removed successfully and have been chocked and placed on the workshop bench. No visible broken rings, but it was not possible in the time left to knock out the split pins and loosen the nut on the valve spindle - the pins proved very resistant, preferring to simply bend, and will need more attention on Saturday.
Because of the physical size of members of the working party, we were not able to do any more cleaning of the inner firebox, nor remove the compacted ash from both ends of the grate. Sorry: looks like Andy or James for those ones!
Andy reports that Saturday was a very frustrating day with the continuing presence of the Deviation Shed swimming pool. The pump kept picking up stones and other rubbish which blocked it up and meant that the water never got cleared from the pit the whole day. As a result, no progress was made under the Q6. Trevor has made a mesh to fit over the base of the pump to try and overcome these problems, and is also going to make a new fitting for the outlet pipe next Saturday.
However, some progress was made in that the big ends on both sides have been closed up to .003". Both secondary cotters are loose. Ian and Trevor have removed both connecting rods. As decided by James at the previous working party, Andy was given the privilege of knocking out the brick arch and started to clean the inner fire box with a wire brush. The bottom row of small tubes and 2 lower flue tubes on the LHS require blowing through, and compacted ash to be removed from both ends of the grate.
Other jobs for this Wednesday include
- removing the remains of the brick arch from the cab
- continue wire brushing the inner fire box
- emoving the concrete from the firebox
- And of course, there is always a need to continue with cleaning of the frames and wheels!
Andy has reported that it was a really good day at Deviation Shed on Wednesday: everything is starting to come apart and get re-furbished. What a difference having a few extra people helping out, so a big thank you to all 5 who worked with me.
At long last a start has been made cleaning the frames. Derek just quietly gets stuck in, to the point that I forgot to tell him we were knocking off for lunch - sorry!
Trevor has continued to work on the fire hole door and has sorted all the parts for the flap hinge. He will get some 10mm plate and 1/2" rivets and put it all together - just like that.
James really enjoyed his day while he was clean. His task was to clean the smoke box ready for the insurance exam. I suggested a long handled brush which he used but he remembered last year's comments from the inspector about blocked tubes. Are you ahead of the story? Yes, he then blew out all the tubes with an air lance. I was pleased because, for obvious reasons, we did not want to take the valve and cylinder covers off until all the soot was cleaned up. We then, as a team, removed all the covers in a very professional manner.
Ian finished off the clack valve squares. They are both the same size now and there is a spanner in the locker to fit them! The slacker pipe valve was taken off and returned to NYMR. The original that M-Machine repaired would not fit as some fittings were missing. I made enquiries at the shed and was told Owen took it off, but he is on holiday until next week. The steam reverser was piped up to the air main and more steam oil put into the steam cylinder. The reverser was put into full forward and reverse several times until no more water came out of the exhaust.
The Railway had reported the lubricator using excessive amount of steam oil. The valves and pistons have a nice coating of oil on them, but some of the lubrication pipes are leaking. Peter has made a good start by removing pipes, cleaning, repairing where necessary, annealing and blowing them out with compressed air.
No sooner had I pressed the send button on Thursday, than I heard that the Q6 washout had been completed and it had been moved into Deviation Shed, on the back of the pit road next to the workshop. The curse of the email system and having to work remotely last week!
So Saturday's working party, small but beautifully formed, comprised as it was of Andy Lowes, Ian Pearson and Trevor Wilford, were able to get their work done without having to trail up and down to the Running Shed in the heat. Indeed, it was such a lovely warm day, far too nice to be working inside, that they had to keep popping outside to wave at Santa trains.
Andy got both cylinder covers to a point where they are ready to lift off. Also the pipework to the front covers of the valves has been removed in readiness to take the covers off.
Ian was busy in the cab, removing the mouth piece from the fire hole, the gauge frames were put in the fireman's side locker on the tender and both gauge frames rodded out. Cab gauges have been packed in a cardboard box with bubble wrap and put above the workshop for safe keeping. The plan is for Paul to take them with the K1 gauges to get calibrated at Guisborough early in the New Year.
The steam reverser was piped up to compressed air: this was very long winded affair (ouch! Sorry for the pun). The plan was to lubricate the steam cylinder with steam oil through the valve on the top and work the cylinder to remove any water. Sounds easy until you try it. Long story short - when the air supply was turned on it blew the flexible pipe off, so this will have to wait until next time when another pipe is made up.
Trevor was on his first working party at Deviation Shed so he had a quick safety briefing, was acquainted with the facilities available and then got stuck into some fabrication work. This included welding the right clack square on the isolation valve spindle. He also made a steam heat drip valve protector which is ready to weld on. The fire hole door flap was also removed. This fought back to the point where Trevor burnt the bolts off: we take no prisoners, we win in the end! With the door removed both hinges were also found to need replacing as they are worn right through on the door side.
Unfortunately, no RO is available for next Wednesday (23rd), so there will be no working party, although if anyone has finished their Christmas shopping and wants to get rid of any surplus energy, the Q6 still needs cleaning under the running plate - particularly frames and wheels. With no working party on Boxing Day, the next ones will be on Wednesday 30 December for which Andy Lowes will RO and then Saturday 2 January which Andy will again lead, and Wednesday 6 January for which an RO will be required.
With the arrival of Ian Riley's Black Five on the NYMR at the end of last week, the Q6 has now officially (and barring any last minute crisis) come to the end of its 2015 operating season. Whether the wash out and move into Deviation Shed will have been completed by this weekend is not yet certain, but regardless, Andy Lowes is going to lead a working party on Saturday (19th) at Grosmont. He would love to be joined by others, so if you are available and wanting to bask in the current mild weather, please either drop him a note to let him know you will be there (email address above), or just turn up and join in the fun.
Dependent on the outcome of Saturday's activities, there should be a working party next Wednesday, but then a break for Christmas before returning to the regular Wednesday/Saturday routine in the hope that the work can be completed by the start of the main operating season.