North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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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.

Saturday 6 February 2016

Andy reports that there was a really good turn out on Saturday, with eight volunteers and four JVs, so lots of work was achieved. The pistons, with the rods attached went to Sheffield last Tuesday to get the rods ground true. As no-one from NELPG was present, these were loaded by the MPD staff, so many thanks are due to all those who were involved. Hopefully the pistons will be back in the next two weeks, and then M-Machine can make some new piston rings and packings for the glands.

Peter and Trevor were once again cleaning and getting items ready for some paint. Once the cleaning of the steam heat pipe was completed, Peter painted it under the loco and tender before moving on to the steam chest casting and cylinder covers. Trevor helped get the whistle off and cut material for the JVs to use during their training session with Chris Parrish.

Neal and James did a survey of the left cross head and slide bars, in the light of comments on previous experience from Richard Pearson. After some deliberation, it was decided to remove them and ask M-Machine if they could machine the slide bars and put some white metal onto the edges of the slippers. Hopefully, we will have them back for next Saturday to start rebuilding that cylinder assembly.

Ian has done a marvellous job getting the boiler ready for the insurance exam: he has also checked that enough door joint gaskets are in stock to box the boiler up when the time comes.

Bryan and Steve were looking after our JVs. They had a really interesting day with instruction from Chris Parrish and were also having a go at painting, making a mesh to stop rubbish getting into the pump's sump, checking the side rod bush clearances using feeler gauges, and fitting the slacker pipe and valve in the cab.

Hopefully we have now come to the point with the maintenance where we are starting to turn the corner and putting things back together. While the locomotive certainly looks a lot better now we have some newly painted items, there is still a way to go yet.

Jobs for Wednesday:-

  • Continue with cab valves including whistle.
  • Make new gaskets for safety valves and whistle.
  • Clean valve ports of carbon and wire brush studs.
  • Fit piston valves and covers.
  • Fit packing to valve spindles.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

A much better day today than last Wednesday, with the sun shining, ice on the ground, the workshop heater going full blast and the pump working without a hitch. Ian, Mike, Derek and myself were joined by Les who had the NELPG car to collect some items to take back to Hopetown.

Ian continued with the boiler clean, and expects to get that finished on Saturday. Mike was working on the cab fittings and repacked and refitted the blower shut off valve on the manifold and the blower valve itself.

Barry Neesam kindly skimmed some of the injector steam and shut off valves, as well as machining two guides for the clack box and steam valve. The final two cylinder drain cocks were removed, cleaned and put with the rest of the assembly on the workshop bench. The right cylinder and ports were cleaned of carbon, although the very end face of the cylinder could do with some more of the carbon chipping off if someone can reach it. Les cleaned both cylinder covers, although the right hand one, which was more heavily carboned, still has the copper ring in situ.That needs very carefully removing and then cleaning underneath to finish that job. Ian says both copper rings will need annealing on Saturday. Finally, Derek cleaned the steam heat pipe under the locomotive and tender. There is still a small piece to complete under the tender and another short section where the pipe goes into the cab but otherwise it is ready for painting.

No cleaning of the valve cover outer faces was done, nor was the regulator handle removed from the square or the stuffing box and packing stripped. All jobs for Saturday?


Saturday 30 January 2016

Andy reports a lovely day at the Railway today, everyone came away black after cleaning carbon etc. from various bits of engine. Many thanks to Trevor, Peter, Ian & Neal for a really good day's work with lots of prep work completed ready for putting loco back together.

Some insulation for the cylinders has been obtained to be installed after the high temperature paint has been applied and the lubrication pipes been put back. Trevor has done a fine job on the piston heads. They were extremely thick in carbon but are now ready to go away to have the rods ground and new packings will be made to suit the new size of rod. Peter has continued with the lubrication pipes, cleaned the underside of the steam chest and started on the steam heat pipe under the loco.

Neal came with his own additional work list to make preparations for future work on the locomotive. This included finding the new packings for the piston rods, finding some gasket material for the safety valves and whistle etc. etc.

Ian has continued getting the boiler clean. Today he concentrated on finishing the doors and the area they sit inside the boiler, a very laborious job but a most important one if the doors are going to seal. Andy cleaned the carbon from the left cylinder and ports, then set up a line on the centre to check the slide bars and crosshead. The slide bars had a straight edge put against the side of the outer face: they are not parallel in the vertical plane, but the bottom one is good to the line. He is now having to think how to sort this out and take the wear out of the cross heads which are in three pieces. He also filled the boot of his car with the cross head splitting gear which will go to Hopetown on Monday.

The Wednesday job list is now:

  • Continue with boiler clean;
  • Continue with back head valves;
  • Clean right cylinder and ports of carbon;
  • Remove the last two cylinder drain cocks, clean and put all cocks and rods into safe storage;
  • Clean both cylinder covers, taking care not to damage copper ring on mating face;
  • Clean both valve cover outer faces;
  • Finish cleaning steam heat pipe under loco and tender (front of loco started), ready for painting on Saturday; and
  • Remove regulator handle from square, match mark before removal, also strip stuffing box & packing.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

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.


Saturday 23 January 2016

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.

Wednesday 20 January 2016

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.



Saturday 16 January 2016 and Wednesday 13 January 2016

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.


Saturday 9 January 2016

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.

Wednesday 6 January 2016

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!


Saturday 2 January 2016

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!

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