North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J72 Blog

A blog of activities relating to the J72 69023 'Joem'.

Thursday 20th February 2020


A frustrating week at Hopetown.

The ashpan was lifted on the engine hoist on Monday and the 2 rail trolleys removed from underneath it and repositioned to take the cylinder block when removed. The ashpan was then lowered onto pallets which had replaced the trolleys. The engine hoist was again in use to load the Q6 piston head into Nigel Bill’s van.

On Thursday there were 14 of us present.

I visited M-Machine to collect the machined drain cock carrots for the Q6. The brass castings were very porous, though it looks as though we will have sufficient to complete the drain cock set. The machinists were busy with the spring hanger bolts. Arthur gave a demonstration of the new wheel used to insert a reamer into the taper pin hole.  Arthur Jenkins and Colin Smith managed to extract the main steam pipe support from the boiler. The back cylinder covers have been cleaned. Colin Bowman managed to do a terrific job cutting back the brambles against the Hopetown Lane wall.

Dave Wright and Derek Shorton continued to butcher furniture in order to keep us supplied with firewood. How we will keep warm in future is anybody’s guess. I see from that it is only proposed to restrict our ability to buy firewood. I don’t think that we have ever done that.

With the exception of the machinists, we have run out of engineering work,. Some left early. Little to do other than tidy up.


Thursday 13th February 2020


Fifteen of us braved the sleet this morning.

After lighting the fire, putting the world to rights, a cup of tea and a lifting briefing and then to work.

A gang led by Tim Williamson positioned blocks, jacks, the lifting frame and the engine hoist in order to lift the loco by an inch or so to extract the lifting beam. This eventually led to the chocks being knocked out of two sleepers in order to reposition then to give the engine hoist a clear path to roll out with the left hand end of the lifting beam. With everything in position the front of the loco was raised an inch, the final packing placed under the frames, the loco lowered onto the packing, and the beam extracted. The yellow stands were then repositioned at the front of the frames as supplementary support.

The cylinder block ready for removal - Nigel Hall

Time for lunch making use of Derek Shorton’s dining chairs to accommodate everybody.

After lunch all of the bolts joining the two halves of the cylinder block were loosened, then nipped up to make the eventual splitting of the block easier. The block is now ready for extraction when a couple of rail trolleys become available.

Elsewhere Colin Smithy rubbed down the filler paint on the front LHS cladding sheet, Dave Wright and Derek Shorton cut up firewood. Harry Sams managed to weld the crack in the loppers. Colin Bowman spent the afternoon gardening with his loppers and dyke slasher. Maurice Bell managed to turn one of the old lathe gear wheels into a handle for controlling the vertical movement of the head of the milling machine, much to the delight of Arthur Jenkins. The previous handle had been missing since we acquired the machine.

That’s better than turning it with a spanner. Arthur turns the new handle - Nigel Hall

Floor swept and the place left tidy for Saturday’s open day.


Last Updated on Friday, 14 February 2020 09:25

Thursday 6th February 2020


Arthur opened up today whilst I had a quick trip to Williamson’s in Ripon to pick up some more paint. I arrived back in time for 10:00 tea. Across the road the work on the Central Borough pub opposite seems to be well underway.

Glazing the windows with bricks - Nigel Hall

Colin Smith had just about finished preparing the last of the barrel cladding sheets and was almost ready for the paint.

Arthur Jenkins, Tim Williamson, Norman Wells, Ed Bolam, and John Jones continued to work on preparing the cylinder block for removal. All bolts have been removed or loosened on the RHS, the LHS is almost complete too. The rear covers have been removed, as have most of the studs. Tim needed to cut both outer running board angle irons. The angle grinder let him down with what appears be a stripped gearbox – good job we have a second one, but ought to buy a replacement. Tim remarked on the quality of the recently acquired cutting discs.

ndy Bell continued with the journal measurements. Maurice Bell was busy in the machinists corner.

Over lunch we studied today’s Northern Echo:

After lunch Colin Bowman arrived, and after the banter concerning quarantine aboard his cruise ship, exchanged the 2 arm chairs in the mess room for some dining chairs which Derek Shorton had brought in. If you’d like one or both of the arm chairs then let it be known.

Our secretary, Roy Marshall, visited this afternoon.

Derek, Allan Wilson, Dave Wright and myself had another session cutting back the brambles and ash trees. Some of the trees were thick enough to be worth cutting up for firewood. Unfortunately, things were brought to a premature halt when a crack was discovered in the loppers.

Latest in our regular series of photographs of cracked components. No need for dye penetration to highlight matters. Much debate at tea time as to best method of repair. Metal stitching? Welding? Just buy another set? - Nigel Hall

A good day’s work.

We have a boiler contractor’s visit tomorrow morning. Next regular working party on Monday evening.




January at Hopetown


15 of us in on 9th, including a visit by Martin Lloyd and his kiwi grandson. 11 in on 16th, but lacking Arthur Jenkins who had damaged his knee in a fall from a kerb, 12 on 23rd with Arthur back, and 15 on 30th. Much tea consumed, much warming by the fire.

On the loco, the front stands have been repositioned in to allow the lifting frame to be moved above the crossheads. The crossheads have been removed and are being cleaned up on the bench. The slide bars were then removed and are stored between the loco frames.

Arthur Jenkins controls the lowering of the slide bar whilst Tim Williamson and Norman Wells guide it past the obstructions. Out of sight is John Jones pulling the chains - Nigel Hall

All except the outer upper fitted bolts holding the cylinder block were removed by heating and hammering. However the lower bolts could not be hammered because of the obstruction of the lifting beam under the cylinder block. These bolts were drilled, tapped and drawn out using a tool made by Maurice Bell.

Machinists Arthur Jenkins and Maurice Bell with the magnetic drill which was recently repaired by Bill Dobson. The hand on the left pouring coolant onto the bit belongs to Ed Bolam. The fitted bolts securing the cylinder block are drilled, tapped and the extractor made by Maurice is then screwed into the countersunk end of the fitted bolt. By tightening the nut on the extractor the fitted bolt can be drawn out - Nigel Hall

With the RHS bolt extraction almost complete, attention will turn to the LHS on Thursday.

Ed Bolam and Colin Smith have almost completed the preparation and priming of the cladding sheets.

The stream heat pipe has been tested, painted, and lagged.

The invitation to tender documents have now been sent to the prospective contractors. Ian Storey conducted a site visit by one contractor on the 30th. He also showed a prospective machining contractor the cylinder block.

A start has been made cutting back the brambles in the hope that we can stay on top of this problem and be able to shunt out the boiler without that obstruction in the spring.

The machinists have been kept busy cutting taper pin holes in the spring hanger pins and servicing the Q6 drain cocks. Six new castings for these have been made by William Lane. They have been taken to M-Machine who will machine them to replace the 3 which are beyond scrapping size. The remaining three blanks will be retained for future use, possibly for other locos.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 February 2020 21:51

Thursday 2nd January 2020



Tim Williamson replaces the angle iron nuts on the studs after removal of the J72 running board – Nigel Hall

A small working party of Arthur Jenkins, John Jones, Tim Williamson, Ed Bolam, Colin Bowman and Nigel Hall arrived after the new year holiday. After lighting the fire and an earlier than usual brew we got down to some work.

Arthur and John spent the morning servicing the T2 (Q6) drain cocks. Some of these are serviceable, some are worn out and will need to be replaced. Ed got a gloss coat onto the insides of the final barrel cladding sheets. Tim managed to slit the J72 running board at the weld whilst Nigel went down to Machine Mart to obtain some extra cutting discs. With both running boards slit all hands lifted the running boards off, Tim removed the frame side angle iron ad replace the nuts on the studs.

Colin Bowman arrived after lunch, he managed to covert fluorescent light in the mess room with low earth resistance to take a LED tube. The  dubious components are now bypassed.

Arthur and Tim made a start removing the fitted bolts holding the cylinder block to the frames. Heat, hammer and needed to drill one bolt to weaken it. The magnetic drill has not retuned form Carnforth yet.  Arthur tried with a hand drill but unfortunately broke the bit inside the hole. By good luck he’d weakened the bolt sufficiently and it came out  at the next hammering.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 January 2020 19:13

Monday 30th December 2019


Last working party at Hopetown this year.

Arthur Jenkins, Tim Williamson, Ed Bolam and Nigel Hall there at 09:00, to be joined later by Gordon Wells and Colin Bowman. Bill Dobson was intending to join us later on his way to Morpeth, but decided not to as part of his trip was to call in at the brass foundry. This he discovered was closed over the Christmas and New Year period.

Arthur spent the day servicing the T2 (Q6) drain cocks with mixed success. Ed got a gloss coat onto the insides of the cladding sheets. Tim managed to extract the last of the bolts holding down the running board. Nigel managed to make some thickness measurements on the steam heat pipe.

When Gordon arrived, I showed him around the electrical system and the 5 issues raised in the fixed wiring inspection report. Gordon managed to find the iffy light fitting (it is the one above the CCTV in the mess room) which Colin is going to replace. Gordon now has proposed solutions to the other problems. Colin arrived later in the day and talked these through with Gordon.

Nigel, Ed and Tim spent the latter part of the afternoon straightening the joints in the crinoline bands which had been removed during previous working sessions. These are now available to construct a stand for preparing and painting the outsides of the cladding sheets.

I hope folks enjoyed their beer and curry this evening. The working party attendees were returning home to watch Chanel 5’s 2 hour program of Ian Riley driving from Ft William to Mallaig.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 January 2020 18:56

Thursday 19th December 2019


The wet windy weather had arrived. It was much colder inside than out. Through the day the condensation appeared on the floor and the loco. First job to get the fire lit, then to get some milk for tea.

Arthur Jenkins proudly showed me the result of milling a semi circular surround to the spring hangers for which he’d used the head which others had advised be scrapped earlier in the year. He, John Jones and Maurice Bell were busy in machinists corner all day.

Andy Bell finished measuring the wheel journals and crank pins. Ed Bolam and Colin Smith finished preparing the insides of all the barrel cladding sheets, and primed all but one. Dave Wright, Allan Wilson, Derek Shorton and myself stocked the return rods between the frames, primed he undersides of the con rods and spent much of the afternoon removing the remaining crinoline bands from the boiler barrel. The intention is to use these to make a skeleton on which the cladding sheets could be mounted for preparation and painting of their outsides.

Allan Wilson supplied the festive mince pies. John Jones provided the festive chocolate biscuits.

As we were clearing up to leave there was a lot of knocking from next door and upstairs. We were then visited by a council officer who was investigating problems in the tower for the A1 people. He spent about an hour examining the wooden roof above the changing area and the woodworkers area. He then took a look around the loco and commented that “It has been a real privilege to visit you this afternoon.” Praise indeed from our landlords.


Thursday 28th November, 5th and 12th December 2019


Sorry, reports haven’t been flowing as frequently as the ought over the last 3 weeks.

Lunchtime witth the Chairman - Nigel Hall

On the 28th we had a visit by the chairman who spent lunch time answering questions about the Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter. The main clarification concerned likely time scales.

The T2 steam brake isolator valve was brought to "see what could be done". Andy Bell managed to free it with a little heat.

In the afternoon we had a visit from the secretary, but being between the frames applying the second red gloss, I didn’t see him. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson had earlier tackled the fiddly bits between the frames.

Last Monday evening the “loco committee” met in the mess room and hammered out some proposals as to how we might move forward with the J72 project.

Last week I needed emergency treatment at the dentists. Though I called in afterwards I could only grunt. I was told that Bob Grey had called in with a large bag of rags, Richard Barber had spent the morning at Hopetown and Richard Pearson had called during the day too.

Paul Swainston and Steve Hyman spent much of Monday evening with the “gargleblaster” vernier measuring across the frames.

Norman Wells has done a great job of sorting the spanners. We now need some form of containment which can keep them in order. Arthur has also raised the matter of containment of machining and measurement tools. We need to consider options and do something before things become disorganised again.

One of the wood bunkers has now been removed and a start made to prepare a spot on the floor where space has been released for preparing and painting the cladding sheets. As the painting between the frames is almost complete, the connecting rods have been moved too to the firebox area between the frames for painting. The eccentric rods will be stored in the same location once the paint on them is dry.

Andy Bell has made a start measuring the wheel journals and crank pins.

Tim Williamson and James Piercy have loosened all of the cylinder block nuts in preparation for lifting. They have removed the frame fittings obscuring the lower bolts and are preparing to remove part of the running board which obstructs the upper bolts.

Tim Williamson loosening the cylinder block nuts - Nihel Hall

Ed Bolam, Derek Shorton and Dave Wright managed to remove the long steam heating pipe from the LHS. When the insulation was removed, the underlying paint was still in a remarkably good state. This pipe mow requires hammer testing. Ed managed to run a die nut down the clip bolts and to get a bit of black primer onto the clips after cleaning. We will need to remove the vacuum pipe on the other side to allow Tim and James to remove the sections of the running board.

The steam heat pipe after stripping the insulation awaiting hammer testing - Nigel Hall

Andy Bell managed to measure the journals and crank pins on the trailing wheelset; he’ll measure the other sets next week.

Arthur Jenkins, John Jones and Maurice Bell continued with the machinists magnum opus. Bill Dobson visited late morning bringing the T2 (Q6) drain cocks and other brass bits in need of skimming in the lathe. The machinists will service those over the next few weeks. Bill left to visit the Q7 in the museum to see if it has atomisers.

Colin Bowman mixes mortar to repair a hole in the wash room - Nigel HaLL

Last Updated on Friday, 20 December 2019 21:31

Thursday 21st November 2019


Eleven of us in today. The frost had abated, but only 4 degrees inside the building. The fire was lit to take the chill off the place.

Ian Schofield came in to test the remaining part of the fixed wiring. We needed to work around his need to switch off circuits for testing. He’d finished testing by the end of the day and will submit a report to Bryan.

Colin Smith and Allan Wilson finished the red gloss coat on the locomotive frames. We will apply a second coat as the red pigment is rather weak. Derek Shorton got a coat of red gloss on one side of the eccentric rods. I got a coat of black gloss on the front running board.

DerekShorton painting the eccentric rods - Ngel Hall

Norman Wells continued checking through various bolts and running tap or die nut down where appropriate. Andy Bell serviced the other steam heat connector valve.

Arthur Jenkins, John Jones and Maurice Bell continued machining the new spring hanger bolts. The first finished bolt was trial fitted, but questions about the degree of rocking required arose. Richard Pearson gave Arthur advice after lunch.

Arthur Jenkins trial fitting a spring hanger bolt - Nigel Hall

Arthur Jenkins and John Jones setting up the Bridgeport miller whilst machining a spring hanger bolt - Nigel Hall

At lunch time myself and Arthur gave a briefing about the Darlington Railway Heritage Quarter and the discussions on Tuesday regarding the NELPG reaction to the tentative plan. As we were finishing, Richard Pearson joined us with his fish and chips.

Colin Bowman, Derek Shorton and Hugh Pannel painted the north side walkway covering the new screed which had been laid over the worst bits. The south walkway will be painted on Monday evening. The building is already looking smarter.

Colin Bowman painting the walkway - Nigel Hall

On locking up we found that our afternoon tea boy had fallen down on his job and had left the dirty mugs on the tea tray in the mess room. Colin’s hands were cleanest so he washed up – thanks Colin.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 November 2019 12:53

Thursdays 7th and 14th November 2019


Autumn really is upon us and the fire is needed to keep warm. Twelve of us in both days, though Monday evenings are a bit thin on the ground.

On 7th we had a visit from the Marlowe fire engineer who tested all the smoke detectors, crash panels and emergency lights. All OK. After lunch the wind got up from the east and blew the smoke back through the fire. The smoke detectors and line to the alarm receiving centre were triggered again. We needed to open door to let the cold wind blow away the smoke.

Most of the holes in the walkways have been screeded over, one more tin to spread before we can paint.

Norman Wells and Ed Bolam completed dye penetration testing if the eccentric rods with no flaws found. Dave Wright and Derek Shorton have now started replacing the paint on the rods. Having obtained some glass fibre webbing, Derek and Dave insulated the steam heat pipes that they had painted after inspection. They have also got some black primer on the hinged section of the front running board.

The machinists are now busy with the holes in the new spring hangers. Maurice Bell’s phosphor bronze rodding hole plug has now been fitted to the Q7 in the museum.

After some small springs were obtained, Andy Bell was finally able to finish reassembling the steam heat valve. We now need steam to test it!

Between the frames, Colin Smith, Allan Wilson and myself are well on with the red gloss.

Colin Bowman has started cleaning down and applying aluminium primer to the various crinoline components removed from the boiler.

Norman Wells went through the buffer beam bolts. Some of these have been removed with a grinder and will need replacement. Some of the bolts attach the buffer beam to the frames and transfer the drawbar load to the frames. Some of the threads have seen better days and both nuts and bolts would be better scrapped and replaced. He’s also looking cab attachment bolts to assess suitability for reuse.

I’ve left a list of components on the clip board which could be cleaned, refurbished, measured painted and returned to the component shelf if there’s no other priority work.

Colin Bowman tells me that Ian Schofield will be coming on Thursday 21st to inspect the fixed wiring to the lights.

I needed to leave early as my little white van wa being picked up to take its final journey to the 1861 engine shed.


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The overhaul of J72 No 69023 Joem is being supported by a restoration grant from the Association of Industrial Archaeology.