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.

The locomotive has had an "internal" steam test which has revealed a small number of snags to be rectified. Afer the formal steam test, witnessed by our insurance company boiler inspector, the locomotive should be ready for service again.

Thursday 25th June 2020

Ian reports two red hot sweltering days at Grosmont on Wednesday and Thursday with our first working parties for three months, and held under COVID 19 secure control measures. With Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Jon Bradley, and a late running lan Pearson on Wednesday, and Nigel, Ian, Steve Hyman and Ed Bolam on Thursday. Also on site on Wednesday were Bryan Orange, Andy Wiffin, Piglet and Gordon Wells. They were sorting out a mains water supply to Deviation Shed to provide a much needed direct water supply (other than in the pit!) for hand washing and filling the kettle. A potable water supply pipe was found by the coaling plant, and a pipe is planned to be run from this to Deviation Shed, with a sink fitted just inside the north end of the workshop. Until that work is carried out, the kettle and washing up bowl are having to act as a temporary substitute for the required regular hand washing.

On the Q6, work started on Wednesday with loosening the bolts holding the bands around the cladding. Not a speedy job as Nigel apparently found out, with bolts turning and requiring someone, suitably social distanced, holding the nut at the other side. It did not help with different sizes of nuts and bolts, meaning many trips back to the workshop for spanners. Two bands were undone, the first and third from the cab but not removed. Bill then suggested that a trial fit of the new main steam pipes be carried out, just in case they needed some final adjustment and sending back for fettling. They are very heavy, but were carried down to the smokebox and, with help from Barney and Chris Kelly, they were installed. They fitted OK but were left for removal the next day. Thanks to Barney and Chris for their time and assistance.

Down at the running shed, the S15, No 825, was lit up after its superheater elements repair. A steam test was due the next day.

On Thursday, the first job was to open the side and No 7 Road roller shutter doors to let the air blow through, as it was extremely hot in Deviation Shed. Then Nigel, Ed and Ian removed both main steam pipes which had been fitted the day before. These have been placed either side of the engine and can now have the flanges properly welded. Steve has implemented an inventory system so, as items are removed, they are numbered and identified and a location put on. He removed the steam reverser valve and part of the operating arm. This was logged, along with its steam pipe and copper washer, and put into store. The engine and tender were split as recommended by Barney.

Lunch was had alfresco in the picnic area with social distancing.

After lunch, more work was carried out undoing some of the cladding bands, although No 6 band was the only one actually removed. The others won’t come off until the hand rails and ejector pipe are removed. The boiler bands have been numbered 1 to 6, starting at the smokebox end with No 1. Nik Proctor, who had been steam raising on the S15 to test the elements, came and gave a hand during the afternoon to loosen the ejector pipe union in the cab, and also disconnected the exhaust pipe in the smokebox. This pipe and the hand rails are still to remove. The piece of handrail that surrounds the top of the smokebox and lamp bracket was taken off however.


Saturday 14th March 2020

Ian reports a cold, wet, dismal, morning at Grosmont yesterday, but drying up later with Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Nigel Dyson and Ian himself. Also in attendance was Bryan Orange with 10 Junior Volunteers plus one dad, and Andy Lowes and Arthur Jenkins training the JV's down in the machine shop.

Bill checked out and adjusted the T2 refurbished cylinder cock valves which Arthur had brought with him from Hopetown. Bill had to leave early but left a job list.  Both Nigels set about fitting the cylinder cocks. The four outside ones were fitted and tightened up parallel, but, unfortunately, the centre four would not tighten up parallel. They need copper washers to fit the valves, but as is often the case, the right sizes were not available. Arthur was given the measurements of what was required and may have to go to M Machine to get them made.

At 10am, the JV's were given a safety briefing by NYMR's Safety Officer, John Arnold, in the MIC room. Back on the job, three JV's were sent to clean the mud hole and hand hole doors on the J27, while another two were sent into the T2's firebox to clean the tube plate and roof stay nuts. Later on, during the morning, two ex JV's, Messrs Houseman and Sutcliffe, came in and offered their services. They therefore removed most of the slide bar bolt split pins. The split pins proved very stubborn to remove on both sides, with the last two having to be removed by Ian with a struggle.

Lunch was had around the stove with Arthur and Andy, while the JV's had theirs in the MPD mess room.

After lunch, a group of JV's set off cleaning the J27 wheels, boiler and frames, with some underneath in the pit cleaning grease from the springs and frames. In the T2 firebox after lunch, another pair of JV's took over cleaning the roof stay nuts and the tube plate. Later on during the afternoon, Ian and Nigel B had a go at removing the left-hand side tender underkeeps, only to find they could only remove the trailing one. That looked OK. The other two would not pull out. The centre cover was found to have had a repair done in the past, with two small bolts holding a retaining bracket which is where one of the main cover bolts fit. This bracket has two small bolts which retain it to the main casting, but one of the small bolts has sheared. The bracket was given to Arthur to drill out the sheared bolt at Hopetown and return next week.

Subject to any changes in Government guidance on movement, the next working party will be on Wednesday 18 March 2020. In the meantime, please follow the Government’s guidelines, stay healthy, and I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday.


Wednesday 11th March 2020

A lovely sunny but windy day at Grosmont yesterday with Bill Dobson (briefly), Steve Hyman, Frank Shotton, Ed Bolam, Jon Bradley, myself (later) and, eventually, just in time for lunch, Ian Pearson.

After the now traditional fire lighting and cuppa, Bill started to set up a wire to align the T2 slide bars, but he had to go off on other business, so that will need to be taken forward on another occasion. The engine and tender were coupled up by the team, with a new cotter made by Frank for the main drawbar pin and fitted. As a result of moving the tender up to the engine, it enabled the access gates to be refitted at the north end of each Shed Road. Jon then went round and oiled up all the hinges on every door/gate he could find. Suitably enthused, he then grappled with the new grease gun, and, after some difficulty, managed to get the underneath of the tender greased. One grease nipple was missing on the left trailing brake table housing and this may need drilling out so as to fit a new nipple. The locomotive reversing weigh shaft was cleaned and oiled.

Allan Toomer's memorial plaque - Chris Lawson

Allan Toomer's memorial plaque was attached to the bench next to the stove in the morning (see photos), and during lunch Ian had his ear bent about the failure to do the washing up and fill the water bottles after the previous working party. This job needs to be done at the end of each working day - please!

A toast to Allan Toomer with his memorial plaque fitted to the bench at Deviation Shed - Frank Shotton

In the afternoon, Barney brought up the K1 ‘s pressure gauge which had been calibrated and cleaned. It is now stored upstairs awaiting collection by Paul. The crosshead splitter has been repaired by Steve Andrews, and is back in the workshop. Some progress was achieved on the

T2 smokebox spark arrester parts by Ian and myself, by drilling out some stubborn bolts which were seized. In the smokebox, the header and bottom steam pipe connections were cleaned by Ed.

I collected the 2020 NYMR discount cards and car parking permits from the MPD Office for all those on the NELPG (as opposed to the MPD) list, and will distribute them over the next few days.

The next working party will be on Saturday 14 March 2020, when Bryan Orange and the JV’s will also be in attendance. Chris Henwood will not be present, but he and Neal have prepared a list of priority jobs for Ian, required to be carried out before the J27 cold exam which is now arranged for 23 March. The steam test will hopefully be held towards the end of March/early April, in time for the start of the NYMR operating season on 6 April, coronavirus permitting.


Saturday 7th March 2020

Ian reports a fine day at Grosmont yesterday with Bill Dobson, Chris Henwood, Nigel Bill, and Ian Pearson.

Stove was lit, kettle put on, and a plan of action discussed over the usual cuppa. Bill could only stop a short while, but he managed to repack the T2 regulator and connect the follower onto the housing. Nigel cleaned the T2 dome copper seal and annealed it. Ian, Nigel and Chris then hauled the rather heavy dome cover up onto the top of the boiler with some assistance from another attendee. With the cover balancing on the studs, Chris and Ian moved the dome into position ready for securing down, which was then done by Ian and Nigel.

Chris then did some work on the J27, firstly removing a brass strip from one of the windows. This was loose due to the screws becoming slack in the timber frame, causing the brass strip to belly out and making it difficult to open and close, and causing some damage. Chris has taken the window home to repair, the glass is stored upstairs. He then lapped in and fitted the valve head on the J27s' ejectors shut off valve. A survey of the J27 spark arrester was also done by Chris. It is in a poor state, but these jobs take a while to make up and fit. Back on the T2, Nigel and Ian were connecting the tender brake shafts and hand brake connection back up, along with the coupling that joins the weigh shaft to the steam brake and also the brake rod on the loco to the steam brake coupling.

Lunch was had around the stove. Bill popped back in later in the afternoon and gave some assistance with fitting the brake rod on the loco. We all had an early finish due to Saturday evening commitments in Darlington, leaving by 15. 45 .



Monday 2nd March 2020

Another supplementary report. Ian Pearson and Nigel Bill picked up the company van this morning at Thornaby and after checking oil , water and tyre pressures set off to Ian Storey's workshop at Hepscott with a stop for Diesel at Sainsbury’s in Sedgefield. On arrival at Hepscott, the T2 ‘s reversing weigh shaft housing bearings were delivered for white metalling and machining. Then the T2 pistons were loaded into the van and secured, and then taken to Flavell Precision Engineering on Teesside for welding, machining and grooves made for piston rings. The van was returned to its stabling point in Thornaby.

Meanwhile, back on the NYMR, John Hunt reports old rails being replaced with new at Moorgates over the last week. Alternate rail joints have been welded. The re railing extends from the Lyke Wake Walk crossing to a point just south of Moorgates road bridge. While there are still several dropped joints to sort out, a big step in the right direction and, hopefully, less spring breakages.


Thursday 27th February 2020

Ian Pearson has let me know that he and Bill arranged an extra working party for today, as Bill wanted to remove the weigh shaft housings after Wednesday's attempt failed. So Ian P and Bill, with Zack the dog, worked all day today and removed both housings. Both are with Ian P and will be delivered to Ian Storey's workshop on Monday by Ian P and Nigel Bill in the company van. While they are there, they will pick up the two T2 pistons and deliver them to Flavell Engineering at Thornaby for welding.

In spite of this extra activity, don't forget there will still be the normal T2/Q6/J27 working party on Saturday.


Wednesday 26th February 2020

Ian pearson reports a fine cold morning at Grosmont yesterday, but warming up later and sunshine all day! Those present were Bill Dobson, Ian McCall, Frank Shotton and Ian Pearson himself.

First job for Ian P was to to open No 7 Road roller shutter door to allow the J27 to be shunted down to the MPD for washing out. Frank got the job of lighting the stove, while Ian M brewed up our usual cuppa, before Bill arrived. After the J27 had been shunted out, while having the early morning cuppa, Ian M asked whether the spring had been fitted to the T2 steam brake cylinder last week. No was the answer, so Ian M had to remove the cover and fit the spring which was kept down at the MPD. One of the cylinder cover studs had also gone missing so Ian M had to make up a new one which he fitted. Then all the cylinder retaining nuts were flogged up and split pinned. This job is now finally completed. Frank worked underneath the T2 removing split pins and retaining nuts from the right hand side of the reversing weigh shaft housing, while Ian P and Bill set about bringing two 25 ton jacks up from the MPD. They were hoping to use the metal beam from the wheel drops to jack up the engine but, unfortunately, it was in use, so, as an alternative, they tried to use a sleeper, but it wasn’t suitable as the jacks were not level and the idea was abandoned. Jacking up the engine is required so the reversing shaft weigh shaft housing fitted bolts can be removed and the bottom brass and housing taken out as they need white metalling and machining. Alternative methods of trying to remove the brass were tried but nothing worked.

Lunch was had around the stove with the four and Zack the dog.

The J27 was brought back later in the day after washing out. The sleeve on the T2 regulator rod has now been welded onto the rod but it will still require some more work.

63395 tender weigh shaft in machine shop at Grosmont MPD - Ian pearson

Down at the MPD, the tender weigh shaft has been machined and is ready for fitting next week.


Saturday 22nd February 2020

Ian Pearson reports that on Friday morning, he and Bill Dobson went to Grosmont and loaded the T2 cylinder head back into Nigel Bill’s van to go back to Ian Storey's for refitting back onto the piston rod. The cylinder heads have been confimed as being steel rather than iron, so are now going to Flavell Engineering for welding. Conveniently Nigel Bill was on a course at Grosmont.

Today it was a fine cold morning driving to Grosmont with speed cameras in operation at Scaling Dam for those coming from Teesside. Strong winds and heavy showers on going through out the day, with only Bill Dobson ,Trevor Wilford, Nigel Crisp and Ian himself at Grosmont today.

Nigel removed all the boring equipment and repacked it into the storage crates ready for removal back to the MPD. He then honed each cylinder and completed the job by early afternoon. Piglet came in and inspected the cylinders and gave them the thumbs up. Bill could only spend an hour on site, so Trevor and Ian decided to clear both side of the bench which is situated around the buffer stop at the north end of No 8 Road. After removal of scrap from around the buffers, lots of nuts, bolts and washers were moved into the workshop along with a large box of J27 bits.

Two old metal trestle legs were found among the rubbish under the bench and these were welded onto the top of the buffer rails, making two uprights to support the bench top. Eventually the bench top was unbolted and moved round to the other side of the buffers and put onto the uprights before time ran out - this project will have to be completed next time. Trevor and Ian had lunch around the stove.



Wednesday 19th February 2020

Ian Pearson reports a fine cold frosty morning with rain after lunch at Grosmont yesterday, with Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Ian McCall, Neil Smedley, Nigel Bill (who was on a course in the MIC room until lunchtime), Chris Henwood, Chris Wakefield, Bill Dobson and Ian himself.

The first job of the day started in the car park on arrival, unloading one of the T2 piston heads onto a trolley from Nigel's van, by Ian P, Steve and Bill. It was then taken to the MPD where Phil Naylor may make a pattern from it. Then, not been long in the workshop, just having a cuppa, when the lifting equipment inspector arrived. All our lifting slings, shackles, jacks and hoist, along with our pull lift which was quarantined six months ago, passed the examination and are OK to use.

All lifting equipment is now colour coded RED. There was quite a lot of water in the pit that morning and it was nearly lunch time before it was empty.

A sleeve made by Ian Storey was fitted comfortably onto the T2 regulator rod but it is still to be welded in situ. Ian M cleaned and greased the inside of the tender weigh (apologies for previous inorrect spelling!) shaft housings, and also gave the flange a coat of primer. Ed Nolan cleaned and oiled the T2 tube plate and also cleaned both cylinder covers. Neil cleaned the two remaining top doors from the J27 and they were returned to the locomotive with the rest of the doors and plugs. He also cleaned all 19 of the T2 boiler plugs. On the domestic front, Neil also brought some clean tea towels, a new bowl for washing up, and cleaned all of our pots and tea pot, which are now sparkling. The steam brake piston, rings and cover were brought up from the MPD to Deviation Shed, and the ring grooves cleaned out in readiness for fitting the rings and fitting the piston into the cylinder. After the rings were fitted to the piston head, the inside of the cylinder and rings were given a coat of steam oil and the piston was lowered into the cylinder.

To everyone's amazement it went in without much trouble. Lunch was had around the stove, which didn't get lit until 10.45.

After lunch, with a combined effort, the cylinder was moved into position on the bridge over the pit, and a beam laid across from the loco cab to tender. With the pull lift attached to the beam and two slings around the cylinder, it was lifted up off the bridge which was then removed, our new lifting jack wheeled under the cylinder, and the cylinder lowered onto the jack. It was then wheeled into position and the cylinder raised up onto the studs, the nuts and washers were fitted, and then tightened up. These still need flogging up and the end cover needs fully securing, but the brake cylinder is on. Steve removed both top housings on the locomotive reversing weigh shaft and, with help from Ian P and Nigel, the weight of the weigh shaft was supported with a long bar and slings. The aim is to remove both bottom brasses.

Meanwhile, up on the J27, Chris Wakefield removed the fireman side cab windows. Steve Hyman brought a small ejector spindle, but without the valve, so this will be lapped in and fitted at a later date. The two Chris's then removed the left hand valve cover, and cleaned the gasket off the face. Chris H then refitted the four studs surrounding the cylinders that had come loose when removing the cylinder covers themselves, and then fully prepared all four faces, which are now protected with oil. Barney will provide two copper gaskets for the valve covers, at which point all four covers and associated lubrication pipework can be fitted. Chris H did a similar job to the safety valve and whistle bosses, and made a new gasket for the whistle.

With it being half term holiday week, there were quite a few visitors round the Shed today, including my wife and myself with our three grandchildren, following a walk up Roseberry Topping. Eldest granddaughter being a Badger in St John's Ambulance, she did the monthly defibrillator check.


Saturdaay 15th February 2020

Ian Pearson reports that Deviation Shed received a battering from Storm Dennis at Grosmont yesterday. Chris Henwood, Neal Woods, Trevor Wilford, Nigel Crisp and Ian himself made it through the rain and wind, with Bill calling in briefly in the morning and afternoon. He asked Neal to take the cylinder cock valves back to Darlington for machining, which Neal did. Nigel was in early, boring the left hand cylinder which he completed by 3pm. Nigel will be back next Saturday to hone both cylinders, remove the boring machine, and put all the kit back in the two packing boxes so they can be returned to the MPD. The only other job to report on the T2/Q6 is that the last two plugs from the throat plate were removed by Chris. Lunch was had around the stove while the rain hammered down and tin sheets rattled .

Steady progress was made on the J27. Trevor cleaned all but two of the doors and all of the washout plugs ready for inspection and and then refitting. Neal Woods finished preparing the right hand valve, and, in the afternoon the valve was got back in the liner and fitted, for which many thanks to Neal for his assistance. In doing so, Chris nipped and cut his right middle finger. His finger was cleaned, treated and a plaster applied at the MPD office. It was reported to Paul Middleton and an accident report form filled in. Chris was OK and returned to his work on the J27. Bryan Orange has been informed.

Chris finished boxing up the cab (bar the small ejector valve, of which Neal has taken the spindle away for a replacement to be ordered from M Machine) following the back head exam. He has begun removing the cab windows as they need some TLC and if anybody wants to take them on and do them as a project that would be a great help - contact Chris if interested.


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