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.

Q6 - 2nd, 4th and 5th May 2021

Another extra working party was arranged for Sunday 2 May at short notice, for Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Ed Bolam and Nigel Hall, to tie up some loose ends on the back head cladding while the weather was reasonable. Although mainly fine, there were a couple of heavy showers during the afternoon.

Nigel spent all his time working on the inside of the cab, rubbing down the white paint and gave it a coat of white under coat. The inside wooden roof also got another coat of varnish. Bill, Ed and Ian worked all day fitting insulation, and got the final bits of the (pre-lift) cladding onto the boiler. Ed put extra strops around the boiler and, using a ratchet, tightened the cladding so he could fit some self tapping screws, and also fitted the front boiler band.

63395 cab roof varnished and sides in white undercoat on 5th May 2021 - Nigel Hall

Tuesday was a cold, wet, wintry day at Grosmont but it did brighten up by late afternoon for Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Nigel Bill, Trevor Wilford, Gordon Wells, Jon Bradley and Ian Pearson.

Trevor was given the job of cleaning the inside of the lubricator which was contaminated with old sticky oil residue, before dressing five ash pan cotters to give a better fit. Nigel Hall undercoated the black area inside the cab and also applied another coat of varnish to the inside of the roof. Gordon and Bill continued their work with the new oil lubrication system, including the fitting of the copper pipes, while Nigel Bill started cleaning the pumps which had been removed from the lubricator. Jon Bradley came in at lunchtime, and, after lunch, he took the wooden mounts off the plate that holds the steam heat and boiler pressure gauges and gave it a dressing and a coat of black primer. He also did a little work on the new access gate. Ian spent all morning doing a DMU refresher course with Bob Fussy. Then, after lunch, he was cleaning the pumps with Nigel Bill. All eight are now clean.

As has been reported separately, the J27 passed it cold exam by Glyn Coxall, the BV insurance inspector, with Chris Henwood, Richard de Sadeleer and Tom Noble in attendance.

In contrast, Wednesday was a cold but fine day with Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam and Nigel Hall. Ian was on the railway roster with Chris Cubitt having a refresher, driving the DMU to Pickering and back. Lateral covid tests were carried out on the team and all were negative. Ed was given a job fitting cup head screws to No 5 boiler top sheet cladding to secure it to the crinoline. He then set up and dressed the two remaining cladding sheets which will eventually be fitted when the boiler is back on the frames. Steve fitted the last piece of cladding to the back head after making the the screw hole bigger so he could fit the securing bolt. Bill started fitting the pumps back into the lubricator. Nigel Hall continued with the painting in the cab - a coat of white undercoat below the roof line and yet another coat of varnish on the inside of the roof (see photo). He also cleaned the three roof plaques (using vinegar) which will be refitted (see photo). The 1975 plaque had previously been cleaned by Nigel Bill using the sand blast.

63395 cab roof plaques after cleaning on 5th May 2021 - Nigel Hall


Q6 - 26th 27th and 28th April 2021

Over last weekend it was decided to have an extra working party on Monday at Grosmont to crack on with fitting insulation and cladding to the Q6 boiler before the fine weather broke, and Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Ed Bolam and Ian Pearson duly assembled. It was fine and mild, with an odd spot of rain, but nothing to disrupt the work. First job was to have a lateral COVID test - all were negative. The four man team then worked together, measuring and cutting insulation, loading cladding sheets onto a trolley, moving them down to the boiler, off loading and, finally, fitting. It is not an easy task lifting and pulling these sheets of cladding over the insulation on the boiler, and then trying to line up the screw holes on the cladding with the crinoline - it took all day to fit three sheets.

Tuesday was a cold overcast day with the odd shower, for Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Trevor Wilford, Nigel Bill, Gordon Wells and Ian Pearson. Nigel Bill brought in some consumables - hand cleaner , face masks, disposable gloves and some hacksaw blades.

Gordon continued fitting the axle box copper pipe work, and also fitting the brackets keeping the pipes secured. Trevor was given the job of tapping 5/8 Whitworth threads on the 8 axlebox top plates and then fitting the short bolts. He also assisted at times with the cladding fitting. Nigel Bill spent a lot of time dressing the wooden inside of the cab roof and also assisted at times with the fitting of cladding. Bill, Ian and Nigel Hall continued as on the previous day, but only managed to fit two cladding sheets with insulation underneath first. As mentioned above it is not an easy job, with poor access and using ladders and the trolley trestle (see photo).

63395 progress with fitting cladding on 27 April 2021 - Ian Pearson

The MPD ash compound had been cleared and new ballast tipped there. Today, that ballast was loaded into a ballast wagon and taken to Beck Hole where it was off loaded onto the track where the subsidence was being dealt with.

Wednesday was another cold, overcast, start but by mid morning the sun broke through to give Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Steve Hyman, Ed Bolam, Nigel Bill, Gordon Wells, Terry Newman, Jon Bradley and Ian Pearson a pleasant sunny day, although with a cool breeze coming from the coast. Again, a COVID lateral test was the first priority and, again, all proved negative.

The main task was to complete fitting the No 3 section of insulation and cladding. This fell mainly to Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Ed Bolam and Ian Pearson, with assistance when required from Steve Hyman. First job was to cut the required amount of insulation using a pair of garden lawn edge shears - they worked a treat with no bending down. Some adjustment was then required to the No 2 cladding sheet fitted yesterday. Pulling it together using strops and ratchets which Nigel Hall brought from Hopetown made it possible to fix the No 2 boiler band around the boiler and secure it. After lunch it took the rest of the day to fit both pieces of No 3 cladding sheets, using strops and ratchets to secure them and to allow fitting of the No 3 boiler band (see photo with the three front sections of cladding fitted). Ian also removed the bottom section of backplate that fits around the fire hole doors for some slight modification to the two boiler plug holes. These were enlarged by Chris Kelley using a plasma cutter.

63395 boiler with three sections of cladding fitted on 28 April 2021 - Ian Pearson

Other jobs undertaken were four mud hole doors and four bottom plugs cleaned by Nigel Bill, along with seven rusty nuts and bolts which belong to the ash pan. Gordon Wells carried on fitting the copper pipe work, and Terry Newman came in to complete soldering some awkward copper pipes which feed the rear horn guides, with Steve Hyman assisting him. Steve also carried out an inspection of the pins on the foundation ring which hold the ash pan in situ. The pins had the rust cleaned from the slots and new ash pan cotters checked to see if they fit. There are seventeen cotters in total: fourteen are OK but the remaining three require some grinding down. Bill Dobson removed all the pumps from the axle box lubricator. These require cleaning as they are contaminated with old thick oil and Nigel Bill has kindly taken them home to clean. Jon Bradley continued to rub down the inside of the cab roof and gave it its first coat of varnish. He also rubbed down the white paint work in the cab which is ready for some undercoat and did some work on the new exit gate.


Q6 - 17th 20th and21st April 2021

Nigel Hall and Jonathan Bradley were at Grosmont last Saturday, taking advantage of the continuing dry and sunny weather, and lack of other activity, for painting.

Jonathan got on with rubbing down the cab roof. He had a detail sander so corners and awkward bits now covered. He started on the sides.

The backhead cladding now had a gloss coat thanks to Nigel's efforts. He continued with the cladding sheets. 2 of the barrel sheets are finished, 2 more he hoped to finish on Tuesday (drying overnight), and 2 more on Wednesday

Tuesday 20th was a fine, warm, slightly hazy, day, for Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Jon Bradley, Nigel Bill, Gordon Wells, Trevor Wilford and Ian Pearson.

Gordon continued fitting the complex copper pipe work to feed the axle boxes with lubricating oil. Bill and Gordon also did some tests on the new steel oil feed blocks to achieve the correct flow of oil. Bill is going to order some new springs for the steel blocks which are not as strong as the ones that are fitted.

Nigel Hall brought two rail trollies from Hopetown to make moving the cladding sheets to the boiler easier, and, with assistance from Jon, carried on dressing and painting the cladding.

Jon also started work on fitting new gate posts to the north side of the Deviation Shed access footpath. It is intended for use by NELPG volunteers accessing the shed from the MPD, instead of using the ramp as is done at the moment.

Trevor spent some time under the Q6 frames removing the ends of the diaphragm bolts which were thought to be too long and may get in the way when the boiler is refitted. Later, Ian and Trevor set up packing under the boiler at the front end, jacked it up a few inches, and then packed up between the front trestle and boiler to allow the front cladding sheet to be fitted. Ian and Bill then made a start fitting insulation and backplate cladding (see photo). Nigel Bill cleaned quite a lot of scale from the foundation ring then gave it a good wash round.

Taking advantage of the good weather, lunch was had alfresco using the picnic tables outside Deviation Shed. After finishing for the day, Bill, Nigel Hall, Jon and Ian enjoyed a pint of beer at the Horseshoe at Egton Bridge, sat around the picnic tables on the green outside the pub, suitably socially distanced.

Wednesday was another fine day, albeit slightly cooler, with Jon Bradley, Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Steve Hyman and, a little later, Ian Pearson after his first haircut since early December.

Jon was working on the new gate but had to leave early about 1030 for a COVID test off site which was later reported negative. NYMR COVID lateral testing was separately carried out at Grosmont on Bill, Steve, Nigel Hall and Ian, all proving negative.

Steve’s first job was to paint the new gate which Jon had made earlier. Nigel Hall continued to dress and paint more sections of cladding, with Steve assisting where required. The trolley was loaded up with with sections of cladding and pushed down to the boiler with a couple of derailments. After the second one, Barney moved both trolleys clear of the track with the fork lift truck.

63395 with first of cladding being fitted on 20 April 2021 - Nigel Hall

Lunch again was had outside alfresco on the picnic tables. Bill and Ian, joined by Steve after lunch, were mostly employed fitting more of the backplate cladding and insulation to the boiler (see photo). It looks though as if the bottom backplate cladding sheet will have to be removed though, as the holes for the boiler plugs aren’t big enough to allow a socket to enter for removal. These holes will have to be ground out or cut to allow access for plug removal.

63395 with more of rear cladding fitted on 21 April 2021 - Ian Pearson

In the workshop, unfortunately, the hands on Ed’s new workshop clock are not moving any more. However, it does continue to show the correct time twice a day.


Q6 10th 12th 13th and 14th April 2021

Another multi day report from Ian Pearson, plus some admin requests from MPD management at the end.

On Saturday 10 April, Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson and Nigel Hall were present to move three locomotives so as to give some space to refurbish the Q6 cab. No 7 Road has a stop board on it and is in very poor condition, so shunting on it has been stopped. Bill had borrowed a Tirfor winch from the MPD instead of having to use pinch bars. First job was to remove various items from the north end of No 8 Road. This included a velocipede which is now in the Armstrong Oilers building. Then the Bullied Pacific Hartland's tender (with Hartland attached) was winched back to create space at the front of No 8 Road to fit the Q6 cab (see photo). The B1 was then moved outside onto No 7 Road with both a struggle and help from others working on the K1 and J27. The Q6 was then moved to the front of No 7 Road to facilitate the cab removal. Nigel Hall continued to undercoat various cladding items during the afternoon.

Bill Dobson winching Hartland's tender to make room for work on 63395's cab in Deviation Shed on 10 April 2021 -Ian Pearson

Bill went in on the Monday to see if a shunt could take place to continue moving the B1 and Q6 to allow the Q6 cab to be removed. This went ahead and the cab was removed with the JCB front loader and set down on No 8 Road.

Tuesday was a fine, frosty, sunny, morning which warmed up later with Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Jon Bradley, Trevor Wilford and Ian Pearson present. The main job was to move the cab into Deviation Shed on No 8 Road, then turn it so the cab roof was vertical and easier to clean, prep and varnish. Trevor spent most of the day making up the new stainless steel cotters which will secure the ash pan to the firebox. He then connected the new spool of mig wire to the welding set. Meanwhile, moving the cab took the remaining four nearly all day, using both pull lifts and a system of rollers using old boiler tubes. Nigel did get some cladding painting done later on in the afternoon however.

Wednesday was another sunny, frosty morning, again warming up by late morning. Present were Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Ed Bolam and Ian Pearson, along with Terry Newman and myself. Ian, Ed and Nigel had an NYMR coronavirus lateral test: all were negative. Terry came in to do some special soldering of the new copper pipe work for the axle box lubrication system, and also soldered some pipe work to fittings to a pressure gauge to check that the lubricators are delivering oil. Bill was assisting and advising Terry with the copper pipe soldering. With the new pressure gauge fitted to the valve and cylinder lubricator, a test was carried out successfully. A start was made on the axle box lubricator but more tests are required.

I was on my first visit to Deviation Shed for a year, and had various business items to discuss with shed management and others. As I had also had a birthday in the 12 months since my last visit, I had brought in a chocolate cake which was shared at lunch time. I also made afternoon tea and gave Nigel Hall a hand in the morning to move some of the cladding sheets to make space for Nigel and Ed, with a little assistance from Ian, to later lift into position the cladding sheets that Ed had been dressing during the day, ready for Nigel to paint the insides. Nigel had also started on cleaning and prepping the inside cab roof for revarnishing (see photo). Ian took out six bottom doors from the boiler: these are in a box in the workshop, then ran a 1/2 “ die nut down four studs on the cab blower valve.

63395 cab roof being rubbed down by Nigel Hall on 14 April 2021 - Ed Bolam


Q6 - 4/6/7 April 2021

Ian reports that, on Sunday (4 April), Bill and he went to Deviation Shed to move all the boiler cladding from the centre to the front area of of No 6 Road. They also moved various other items that were stored in the four foot of No 6 Road to the side footpath. That then allowed No. 5 locomotive to be moved back to buffer up to 80135 using pinch bars, helped by Richard De Sadeleer who was working with Paul Hutchinson that day. After a break for lunch, a bench was then set up inside No 6 Road, onto which some painted sheets were moved, before setting up the outside benches with fresh cladding sheets for dressing and priming.

For the regular working party on Tuesday, it was fine, cold, and sunny with hail and snow showers during the afternoon - quite a contrast with last week! Attending for the day were Bill Dobson, Nigel Hall, Jon Bradley, Nigel Bill, Trevor Wilford, Gordon Wells and Ian himself. After a quick cuppa, Trevor was again working mainly on the ash pan, where extra welding was required on the rear inside of the ash pan, and also annealing two sections of copper pipe. Nigel Hall and Jon Bradley were equally working all day dressing and priming the cladding sheets. Nigel Bill spent most of the day drilling out larger bracket holes to suit our bolts. These brackets were newly delivered for clamping the copper pipe work. Barry Nesom brought in the new lubrication blocks which he had made down at the MPD machine shop. These are to be attached to the top of each axle box and then connected to the oil supply. Gordon worked all day on the copper pipe work and we now have what looks like the new axle box lubricator system (see photo).

Ian and Bill removed all the grate from the firebox. The front bars have been stacked on the racks at the side of No 4 Road. The rear set are being kept close by as they will be refitted when the boiler is returned to the frames. Later Bill was working on the axle box fittings.

After lunch, Ian spent all afternoon trying to remove 3 remnants of cotter pins from the foundation ring pegs which got overlooked when the boiler was lifted last year. Unfortunately none would move, even after heating and hammering with a chisel. It was decided it would have to be a drill out job with the cotters being made of stainless steel.

Wednesday was another very cold, fine, day but without the hail and snow showers. With Bill Dobson, Ed Bolam, Nigel Hall, and Ian, but also Mike Bloomfield, available from the K1 team. Nigel Hall and Mike spent the day dressing and priming the cladding sheets, while Ed Bolam spent half of the day drilling and tapping small holes between the frames for the oil pipe brackets. Meanwhile, Bill was busy drilling and tapping the 8 axle box top plugs which were only threaded halfway down.

63395 new lubrication system on 7 April 2021 - Ian Pearson

Ian had acquired 2 new cobalt drill bits from Screwfix on Tuesday evening on his way home to drill through the stainless steel cotter remnants on the foundation ring pegs. Paul Hutchinson made up a long bar with a chisel end, although he did comment that Ian should have been using a heavier hammer, but, as Ian pointed out, a bit awkward when you are laying on the ground to get a swipe at it.

After lunch Ed worked with Ian down at the firebox, and, after a lot of drilling holes into the remnants, they managed to knock the offending pieces out ( see photo with offending pieces removed). The reel of MIG welding wire was finished on Wednesday and Trevor is going to obtain another one.

63395 cotters finally removed from foundation ring pegs on 7 April 2021 - Ian Pearson


Q6 - 30th to 31st March 2021

With the recent minor heatwave, Ian has gone all poetic, and reports that on a beautiful Spring Tuesday, with the hawthorn hedges turning Into a wonderful show of fresh greenery, the team at Grosmont that day was Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Trevor Wilford, Jon Bradley, Nigel Hall, Gordon Wells and Ian himself. When Jon arrived he brought the new piston ring replacement and the atomisers which have had new fittings fitted, whilst Nigel Bill delivered some consumables, ie paper towels, gloves, hand cleanser and some hacksaw blades.

There was quite a lot going on, with Trevor working on the ash pan sprinkler system all day. This part of the job is almost completed, which included some profile burning and welding (see photo).Jon and Nigel Hall made up some benches outside Deviation Shed on No 7 Road to dress and paint the cladding (see photo). Bill and Ian removed the left hand piston which required the new replacement ring once Bill had cut the ring.Gordon carried on with the copper pipe work, chamfering the ends of the horn guide pipes so as to allow the oil to drip in the correct place. Nigel Bill completed the work on the gauge glass protectors, fitting new rods and springs which hold the backplate tightly to the glass. He then drilled a row of holes in the ash pan sprinkler pipe.

63395 ashpan showing welding repairs on 30 March 2021 - Ian Pearson

63395 boiler cladding being painted by Nigel Hall on 30 March 2021 - Ian Pearson

Lunch was held alfresco on the picnic tables overlooking the coal heap in lovely warm sunshine. After lunch, Bill and Jon fitted the new piston ring to the left hand piston head and then fitted the piston back into the cylinder and connected it to the crosshead.Ian assisted Trevor all afternoon with dressing and welding jobs on the ash pan.

Wednesday was another fine warm day at Grosmont with Bill Dobson, Ed Bolam, Nigel Hall and Ian Pearson. All attended the coronavirus lateral flow testing being carried out by the NYMR, and all tested negative.

Afterwards Ed set about running a 5/16 tap down all the crinoline holes on the boiler and two section of crinoline stored on No 6 Road - about

150 holes in all. Bill and Ian did a spray test on the ash pan which showed it to be working properly. Ian then fitted four new securing pins to the rocking grate on the ash pan, replacing four nuts and bolts (see photo). Nigel Hall spent all day dressing and priming the cladding sheets, and Bill joined him after lunch. lan fitted wooden dowel plugs to the top of the axle boxes where trimmings were fitted to lubricate the horn guides.

63395 ashpan showing new securing bolt temporarily fitted on 31 March 2021  Ian Pearson

Just before lunch there was a delivery of 9 boxes of boiler insulation which are now stored in Deviation Shed. Lunch was had alfresco again due to the fine weather.


21st - 24th March 2021

With the arrival of Spring, with Daffodils and Primroses appearing by the roadside, and being blessed with some fine sunny weather, Ian has reported on four days of Q6 activity at Grosmont this week.

Sunday 21st.

With the Q6 boiler insurance test booked with Bureau Veritas inspector Glynn Coxall for 2pm on Monday 22nd March, Bill and Ian arranged with MPD staff to put a warming fire in the Q6 on the Sunday afternoon. They both arrived about 2pm and set about cleaning the grate, then setting a warming fire. Bill also carried out some work cutting a slot on the running plate to allow the drive from the new lubricator to be connected to the drive from the cylinder lubricator. Ian fitted the pressure gauge and gauge glass protectors, then lit the warming fire.

Monday 22nd.

Another fine sunny day but on a very cold morning, Ian went in around 6am to get the fire box ash cleaned and lit up again. While waiting for the steam to rise he cleaned the bottom smokebox door hinge strap as it was very rusty. Bill and Gordon came in later in the morning to continue working on the lubricator and fitting new pipe work from the brass oil boxes which will supply oil to the horn guides (see photo). Although the boiler was lit early, it seemed reluctant to make steam, so a polythene sheet was wrapped around the bottom side of the smokebox with sticky tape over the smaller holes around the smokebox. This helped tremendously to draw the fire with the blower in action. By 2pm there was 100 lbs of steam on the gauge, but, fortunately, it was still rising as Glynn had just arrived. So Bill made him a cuppa at Deviation Shed and sorted out the paper work. Then, by 2.20 pm it was not far from blowing off when Glynn came down from Deviation Shed with Bill and carried out his inspection. The safety valves are blowing off slightly light, but everything was satisfactory so the out of the frames test was satisfactorily completed at long last, with a ticket to 2028 subject to annual inspections (see photo).

63395 on out of frames insurance steam test at Grosmont on 22 March 2021 - Ian Pearson

Tuesday 23rd

A fine, slightly overcast, day with bright periods for Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Nigel Bill, Gordon Wells and Trevor Wilford. Bill continued with the mechanised fittings on the new lubricator while Gordon continued fitting and completed the rest of the copper pipe work from the brass oil boxes to the horn guides. Nigel cleaned the rust from the top smokebox door hinge strap and greased up both of them, and, after Ian had removed the pressure gauge and gauge glass protectors, Nigel turned his attention to cleaning these. The pressure gauge was then returned to the MPD stores for safe keeping. Trevor put a bend into the steel driving shaft for the new lubricator on Bill's instructions. He then spent the rest of the day working on the ash pan. Ian cleaned all the old ash from the firebox and then started moving it to the ash compound before cleared some water and air hoses which had been used during the steam test.

63395 new lubrication pipes for horn guides on 23 March 2021 - Ian Pearson

Wednesday 24th

Another bright day with Ed Bolam, Bill Dobson, Ian Pearson, Nigel Bill and Terry Newman. Terry came in to solder the new copper pipes that Gordon fitted over the last two days: these are now fully connected to the brass boxes. Nigel Hall called in briefly to see what paint was required for the Q6 cladding repaint.

Ed assisted Ian in removing the balance of ash from underneath the fire grate. Then Ed had a crash course on the big radial drill with Chris Kelley setting it up. Ed then drilled out a 1”hole in seven 4 inch plates which will fit around the pegs on the bottom of the ash pan and then be pinned with a cotter when the ash pan is attached back onto the boiler. After noticing that the rocking grate linkage was bolted with double nuts instead of being pinned (which uses a washer and split pin), and discussion with Nick Simpson, Nigel was asked to give Nick a drawing of what was required and the MPD will have four new pins made. This will rectify a mistake when the MPD altered the grate from fixed fire bars to a rocking grate. Nigel also freed both damper doors with a little gentle persuasion and some oil. Later he made two long pins for the gauge glass protectors, and Chris Cubitt tapped a thread on the bottom end of each one. Nigel is going to acquire some small nuts to fit these and he will then be able to fit new springs. Then the back plate will stay closed. Nigel also removed, cleaned and ground in two steam oil supply test cocks and refitted them back to the supply pipes.

Ian set about removing a piece of backplate which was needed to support the pressure gauge during the steam test. A simple sounding task, but it took all afternoon with some help from Ed. First the gauge glasses had to be removed, then the blower delivery pipe which has air ministry joints, and eventually the section of backplate could be removed. On inspecting the blower valve bottom studs these looked to be wasting away with not much thread left, so they will have to be removed and replaced. The next job was a very dirty one in the smokebox, removing the blower pipe. This was taken with the cab blower pipe back to Deviation workshop for annealing. Bill borrowed the mag drill from the MPD, set it up on the running plate, and drilled the four holes required and then secured the new lubricator in place.

Bill has ordered the boiler insulation but not as much as first calculated due to the fact that about 10 rolls were salvaged from the MPD rubbish skip. Some had got slightly damp on the corners but on inspection they were found to still be suitable for use. The Geoff Drury training still pays dividends.


16th and 17th March 2021

Ian Pearson reports some early morning rain but becoming brighter later before lunchtime on Tuesday. Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Jon Bradley, Gordon Wells, Trevor Wilford and Ian Pearson were present, and found, on arrival at the MPD, the Q6 boiler in full steam with Adrian Dennis in charge and about to set the safety valves. A report later in the day from Adrian showed eight minor steam leaks needing attention, and that the safety valves had been satisfactorily set .

Up at Deviation Shed, Nigel lit the stove and then went down to the MPD for some water. Our supply to Deviation Shed had been turned off due to repairs being necessary to the main supply pipe. By late afternoon however, after some new pipe work was fitted, the supply was reinstated.

Jon arrived from Morpeth with the new lefthand piston rings, repaired lubricator and some items for the J72 for Neal Woods attention. After unloading these items, and a welcome cup of tea, Jon gave the inside of the cab another coat of undercoat. The wooden interior from the cab was loaded up into his car up to take home for cleaning and varnishing.

Bill, on receiving the piston rings, found the rear ring fitted OK, but the front one was slightly too tight and he spent a lot of time dressing it to fit. Nigel spent some time on the band saw cutting some steel, making seven 4”x3” plates which will be required when fixing the ash pan back to the boiler.

63395 new lubrication pipework to left hand rear hornguides on 16 March 2021 - Ian Pearson

Gordon spent all day making new copper pipe brackets and fitting them to supply oil to the rear axle box horn guides (see photo of lefthand rear). Nigel also assisted Gordon in removing two old oil pipes that used to feed oil to the right hand side rear axle box . New pipes were then fitted but are not quite finished.

About 11am, Neil Smedley called in on his way to Loftus for his PTS medical, following prior agreement with Ian, to deliver a 15” adjustable spanner, retrieved from a scrap metal bin at a charity shop, and for which many thanks are due to Neil and his eagle eyed son.

Trevor arrived after lunch and continued working on the ash pan sprinkler system, welding brackets and fitting the sprinkler pipe. After lunch it was decided to fit the piston rings and put the piston into the cylinder using the engine hoist and lifting table (see photos).

63395 left hand cylinder and piston rings awaiting fitting on 16 March 2021 - Ian Pearson

Eventually the piston was fitted back into the cylinder, then it was time for home.


63395 left hand piston on hydraulic lifting platform about to be installed on 16 March 2021 - Ian Pearson

Wednesday 17th March 2021 started off with a cloudy, slightly damp, morning, but the sun came out before lunchtime for the much smaller team of Bill Dobson, Ed Bolam and Ian Pearson.

After Ed had got the stove fired up, he spent some time down at the MPD cutting a piece of steel 1 metre in length by 40 x 25mm into 8 pieces, 125mm long, to make a fitting to deliver oil to each axle box from the lubricator. These are to be machined by Barry Neesom next week.

Overnight, Bill had a suspicion that the lefthand front piston ring was still a bit tight. On investigation, it was found that the front ring had dropped into the port. It took some time to get the ring free, but, with the use of a shim, the piston was brought forward and outside the cylinder. The ring was to be removed and dressed some more, but, unfortunately, while trying to remove it, the ring was broken. A new one has been ordered from Matthew Storey Engineering.

After lunch an air line was set up and the vacuum pipe was blown through to remove any scale and dust that may have been inside the pipe after straightening. Also, all the copper pipes have been blown through.

Ed Bolam took the J72 bolts to deliver to Hopetown, and Neal Woods has been advised.

Paul and Angie were busy working on the K1 on Tuesday and Wednesday with assistance from Chris Henwood and Mike Bloomfield.


9th, 10th and 11th March 2021

A three day report from Ian this week.

Tuesday was mild and overcast with some bright periods later, with Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Jon Bradley, Trevor Wilford, Gordon Wells and Ian Pearson forming the crew. Ian lit the stove and Nigel got the water supply turned on after it had been off over the weekend. Kettle filled, tea made and then disaster. Checked the biscuit tin to find it was empty! The weekend crew must have eaten them all!

The boiler had the latest two replacement tea tray studs fitted, the bottom right door refitted, and the boiler filled on Monday. Bill then fitted the ejector supply valve on Tuesday morning. Ian cleaned the boiler grate of old ash and prepared a warming fire which was lit early afternoon with the intention of a steam test the next day. Gordon and Bill then worked on the copper pipe, cutting and bending to fit the rear axle boxes, while Nigel painted the brackets with quick drying zinc undercoat and a coat of red gloss later on in the day. Jon painted the five sections of cab backplate with black undercoat and also cleaned the lower cab area with white spirit, before giving the area a coat of black primer. Trevor spent the day working on the ash pan sprinkler system under Bill's guidance. During the afternoon Bill drilled and tapped some of the holes for the oil pipe brackets.

In contrast, Wednesday was a grey mild day, blustery and with heavy rain after lunch, to welcome Bill Dobson, Ed Bolam, Nigel Bill, Terry Newman, Ian Pearson and Jon Bradley (for two hours only). Ed lit the stove while Jon made a cuppa, but, most importantly, the biscuit tin was replenished with fresh packets of biscuits. The Q6 boiler had been relit early in the morning by the MPD boilersmith, and when the NELPG team arrived, the fire was burning nicely but no steam was registered on the gauge except for a wisp from the whistle.

Terry spent all day soldering brass fittings onto the copper pipes. Ed made cotter pins for the left and right trailing gradient pin taper pins and then fitted them. Ian, while looking after the boiler in steam, took off the righthand little end oil pot and fitted a new plug tail trimming after soaking in oil for 24 hours. This was tested for oil flow and later refitted by Ed. Nigel gave the oil pipe brackets another coat of red gloss paint and also completed the monthly check on the Defibrillator. Bill finished drilling the bracket holes and then continued to tap the threads ready for fitting the brackets. There is still another hole to drill, but this won’t be done until the pipe work is in the correct position as the bracket may need to be swivelled slightly. Jon painted the five sections of cab backplate with another coat of black undercoat.

Unfortunately, the Q6 boiler steam test had to be abandoned due to poor steaming with only 30psi on the gauge, and time running out for the MPD boilersmith and fitter who finished their shift at 3pm. The two tea tray studs at that point were steam tight, with nothing leaking. The test was to resume the next day. The 9Fwas also in steam on Wednesday.

On Thursday (yesterday), Ian called in at the MPD about 12.30 to help out if necessary. However, there was only 15psi on the clock in spite of it being lit up at 06.30. By 14.00 it was showing 30psi and yet this was a warm boiler from the day before. So, again, the steam test was abandoned. It is thought that the tubes may be blocked so today, Friday, the MPD is going to blow through the tubes with compressed air before trying another steam test next Monday/Tuesday. Third time lucky?


2nd and 3rd March 2021

Two extremely cold and dull days at Grosmont this week for Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Gordon Wells, Jon Bradley and Ian Pearson on Tuesday, and Bill Dobson, Ed Bolam, Trevor Wilford and Ian Pearson on Wednesday.

63395 measuring up pipe runs for new lubrication system - Ian Pearson

Over the two days -

  1. Both pistons were removed from the J27.
  2. The route for the copper pipes for the new axlebox lubrication system were planned and measured (see photo).
  3. Copper pipe was cut to various lengths and labelled ready for soldering and bending (see photo).
  4. The eight new oil pipe brackets were reshaped.
  5. Five sections of backplate were rubbed down but it was too cold for them to be painted.
  6. Four taper pins were fitted to the brake hangers.
  7. A new steel pipe was fabricated for the ash pan spray system by Trevor Wilford.
  8. Both little end oil pots were removed to check the oil flow and refitted.
  9. Eight holes were drilled into the frames for fitting the new oil pipe brackets.

63395 copper pipe for new lubrication system cut and labelled on 3 March 2021 - Ian Pearson

At the MPD the 9F was having an insurance steam test.


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