North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J72 Blog

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

Thursdays 24th and 31st October 2019


Well, 13 of us made it to Hopetown today – do or die – despite the breakdown under the railway bridge. We were joined for a short while later in the morning by Steve Hyman.

It’s been 2 weeks since I reported. Last Thursday was Len’s funeral to which I had intended going instead of Hopetown. I managed neither, spending most of the day in bed with the lurgy. Arthur reports:

Maurice liaised with Andy Bell and then finished off the brass spindle for the steam heat valve that's been ongoing for a while. Afterwards Andy worked on assembly of the valve. While waiting for Maurice to finish the spindle Andy relocated the 2 J72 pistons to the pallets storage area then moved the storage racking that's been near the signing on bench to the corner near the woodwork bench. After finishing the spindle Maurice went on to make a phosphor bronze plug for the Q7 that we've been trying to get made for a while. This now needs the flats milling for the spanner hexagon. There are quite a few milling jobs in the queue now which we will be starting on in the next couple of weeks after the loco springs, which John Jones and I continued with today, are finished. The last spring is now on the miller ready for next Monday night.

Colin Smith spent the morning between the frames undercoating where it was needed. Norman Wells and Eddie Bolam continued dye penetration testing the eccentric straps then started cleaning the R/H cylinder cover to prepare for testing. Derek Shorten, Alan Wilson & Dave Wright kept busy painting, smashing up pallets that had been dropped off for firewood and tidying up as necessary.

We had a visit from Richard Pearson in the afternoon. Colin Bowman joined us late on.

On Monday we had a visit from Terry Newman.

Today we needed to get the fire going to take the chill off the workshop.

Arthur Jenkins, John Jones, Maurice Bell and James Piercy managed to finish milling the springs. Another major job completed.

Colin Smith and Dave Wright managed to get a second coat of pink undercoat on the grubbier bits between the frames. Dave, Derek Shorton and Allan Wilson managed to cut up another pallet for firewood. Derek managed to clean down the front running plate and flap ready to start priming next week.

Norman Wells and Eddie Bolam continued dye penetration testing of the cylinder covers. They discovered 2 cracks in the face radiating outwards from two bolt holes. However, when the edges were checked the 5 hole pattern of the stitcher’s handiwork was found. So, no new problem, but reassurance that the testing process had re-discovered these old cracks.

Andy Bell reassembled the steam heat valve, but needs a tiny spring to complete matters. I wonder if the Grosmont stores stocks such items, or whether to order a few from a spring specialist.

Harry Sams managed to fit the small ejector valve to the ejector assembly. He thinks that a special washer may be missing.

I’d hoped to get some of the self-levelling screed into the holes in the walkways later in the afternoon, but failed. Arthur, John and I will tackle this on Monday evening.


Thursday 17th October 2016


11 of us at Hopetown today, plus a visit from a new volunteer, Ted Bolam. It was 4 degrees outside, but 10 degrees within the workshop. We lit the fire, but requirement was marginal.

Bureau Veritas had inspected the lifting gear last week. Their report indicated that 3 minor faults required rectifying: a missing bolt from the pull-lift casing and missing identification stamp marks on 2 lifting eyes. Harry Sams stamped the lifting eyes, but on dismantling the pull-lift case discovered that the missing bolt was actually just a locating pin. No fault to repair.

Arthur Jenkins and John Jones continued machining the loco spring gap. Lots of fun playing with the engine hoist to lift the springs on and off the milling machine. Dave Wright and Derek Shorton wrapped the original insulation back onto the steam heat pipes painted last week. However, there was no more glass fibre webbing in the store. Can anybody remember where we obtained the previous roll? Derek also glossed the backhead cladding. Alan Wilson, Colin Smith and myself continued to apply the pretty pink undercoat to the inner frames. Only the lower half of the slide bar cavity to complete next week. Colin Bowman converted the pair of double spotlights to 110 volt operation. Andy Bell and Norman Wells cleaned and dye penetration tested the eccentric straps. No problems found so far.

I spent about an hour in the morning showing Ted Bolam and Norman Wells around. However, I had left the wad of induction checklist forms on the desk at home, so couldn’t complete that part of induction. We now have quite a few bits of paper involved in induction. I’d suggest that I arrange printing of several sets which are then bagged into individual envelopes – just as we do for operational document packs. The envelope will serve for the return of signed copies. These should all go to a single officer. How many sets should be at Grosmont for new volunteers? How many sets in the support coach? Should the worker ID ICE dog tag be in the envelope too?

The front door has ceased to make a “bing bong” noise when it is opened. The intruder alarm system is plainly detecting the opening of the proximity switch. One wonders where the noise went. Can anybody remember it being present last Thursday after the power outage on Tuesday/Wednesday night?


Thursday 10th October 2019


11 of us at Hopetown on Thursday.

We welcomed a new volunteer, Norman Wells, to the working party. He and John Jones managed apply a dye penetration test to the front of the cylinder faces.

The machinists Arthur Jenkins, John Jones and Maurice Bell who were joined later by James Piercy continued with the spring hangers. The heads have all been shaped now, ‘just’ the suspension pin hole to bore. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson went over the interior frames with an orbital sander. I later managed to apply ‘Lady Penelope’ pink undercoat to the fire box cavity. The rest of the interior frames will be undercoated next week. Dave Wright applied a gloss coat to the steam heat pipes and cab floor panels. He and Derek Shorton managed to clean up and prime the black head cladding and arch. I needed to pop out to the dentist and the museum so missed the middle of the day activity.

Colin Bowman, with Harry Sams had found and fixed the low flow problem in the downstairs water heater on Wednesday. Today Colin changed the plugs on our 240 volt halogen spotlights to 110 volt, and replaced the halogen bulbs with 110 COB LEDs. Colin had also been in on Tuesday to babysit the BV 6 monthly slings and chains inspection. He reports all was OK except for one sling which was missing. It is purple sling no 856513 rated 1ton. If you have taken this or misplaced it, or find a sling with the wrong coloured tag then please do not use it, but place it in the quarantine box. If you find/know anything about this sling then please tell Colin or myself.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 November 2019 17:17

Thursday 3rd October 2019


A working party of 10 turned out after last week’s break for the gala. Autumn is here – first day that a fire has been lit. It’s past St Michael’s day (was Sunday), when the devil spits on the blackberries, so no more brambling.

I was met at the door by Ian Schofield of Dalestest who was here to undertake the testing of the fixed electrical wiring in the building. Ian managed to work around us most of the day, with the most disruptive tests carried out at lunch time. He spent much of the later afternoon trying to track down a long standing neutral-earth fault associated with the emergency lighting which had baffled us for a while. Ian thinks that he has found the cause. Amongst the follow up work, Colin Bowman, who liaised with Ian, is to change several old emergency light fittings, and Roy Marshall is to progress the replacement of the rows of lights above the fire and work bench area. After that Ian will return to carry out the checks on the lighting.

On Monday, whilst Arthur and John continued with the machining of the spring hanger bolts, I applied epoxy resin sealant to the walkway area prepared a 109 days earlier. However, we only had enough material to cover this area. More will be needed for the rest of the defects in the walkways. Today the prepared areas of the walkways were carpeted before any more oil could be trodden into the concrete. Is there no end to the luxury of the Hopetown workshop? Derek Shorton continued to prepare other damaged areas of the walkways with a cup brush.

Whilst I wiped some of the dust off the tanks and loco frames, Colin smith took a needle gun to some heavy scale found in the rear stretcher. He managed to prime this area too.

Dave Wright managed to clean up the three shorter steam heat pipe sections which Neal Woods had hammer tested on Monday, Paul Mason and myself managed to clean and degrease the three cab floor top plates and Dave then primed these and the steam heat pipes. Paul Mason and myself managed to run die nuts down and taps through all of the buffer beam nuts and bolts. Nuts are to be threaded onto the bolts for storage. Replacement bolts will need to be ordered to replace those ‘unfastened with a grinder’.

Paul Mason has brought in a box of tools which he has acquired, including a reciprocating electric saw. He tried this out to cut up a pallet for fire wood. Can we restrict further firewood butchery and sawdust generation to the area outside, or if really too cold, to the woodworkers bench area.

Harry Sams made himself useful with several small jobs. However he needs more specific guidance as to what to do next regarding the ash pan spark arrestor. Arthur Jenkins and Maurice Bell managed to continue with the machining of the spring hangers. However, their day was disrupted by the need to allow Ian to test the 3 phase fittings and later to search for the emergency light fault.

At lunch time we had a visit from Bob Grey who had transported some rags on behalf of Paul Mason.

Mid afternoon we had a visit from a railway enthusiast who had been turned away from next door.

Roy Marshall arrived mid-afternoon, liaised with Ian Schofield, and prepared himself for a 17:00 meeting with Ian Storey and Neal Woods – who arrived shortly before that time.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 November 2019 17:37

Thursday 12th September 2019


A smaller than usual working party this Thursday, with a Patron’s visit to South Tynedale railway and others away on holiday.

First job to test the telephone lines and alarm system. Success at last, the issue has been resolved and we are back to normal.

Colin Smith, Allan Wilson and Nigel Hall continued preparing the inner frames of the J72 for painting. Everything now cleaned, but a lot of debris was found to be still on the floor of the rear drag box. Colin managed to sweep out but thorough cleaning and painting of that area may have to wait until the loco has been re-wheeled and the rear support beam removed. I recall leaving that cavity until that time during the last overhaul. Harry Sams continued working on the ashpan making and fitting a number of wooden templates. Dave Wright had a final pass removing deposits from the region of the foundation ring. Harry had brought in a dentist’s mirror in order to inspect the ring and plates. Colin Bowman came after lunch and sorted through all the torches and batteries and bulbs with his meter. Almost all were useless. He has attempted to buy replacement torch bulbs, but the electrical stores claim that there is no demand and don’t stock. He has obtained some LED hand torches and batteries for the last working hand lamps.


Thursday 5th September 2019


Summer is over. Though we didn’t need the fire, there was a bit of a nip in the air this morning.

Colin Foxton attended first thing. We think that we have tracked down the telephone line problem.

John Jones continued with machining the spring hangers. Maurice Bell, Harry Sams and Arthur Jenkins butchered part if the woodworkers trolley to make a stout probe which could dislodge scale from the foundation ring. By the end of the day, Henry the vacuum cleaner was feeling quite full. Dave Wright managed to clean up the cylinder block for dye penetration testing. He also managed to strip the lagging from the steam heating pipes for hammer testing. Colin Smith managed to get another coat of paint on the cab floor, then he and Allan Wilson and myself cleaned most of the inner frames for painting. Colin Bowman came in the afternoon to pursue an electrical job. He’s looked through all of the torches and batteries, and will get some replacement torches and bulbs during the week.

The previous week, whilst most of us worked with similar tasks, Harry had made a start on preparing the ashpan for construction and fitting of spark arrestors.

I returned an ejector/brake assembly to the brass store from Grosmont. This was the ‘original’ J72 brake which had been fitted to the J27 and had developed a leak between internal passages. We need to consider how this might be repaired.

Several tubs of blackberries were picked. If you feel the need too then you’ll have to be quick.

We had a visitor, who I recognised from his visit to Deviation Shed yesterday, in to see the J72. He looked for a number on Malcky’s shunter too. He’d been to the Museum and was about to visit Shildon.

Last Updated on Monday, 18 November 2019 17:37

Thursday 22nd August 2019


The Thursday sessions have started up again after a week’s break. 7 of us in yesterday.

Sessions are going to be more difficult to manage now as we have lost a keyholder’s services after Steve Hyman suffered an injury whilst working on the Wensleydale Railway. Get well soon Steve.

Whilst I was involved with the J27 injector problem at Wensleydale some weeks ago, Arthur reported:

John Jones carried on with the spring hanger bolt marathon in the centre lathe with me supervising him.

Maurice Bell took on another marathon, sorting the many twist drills we have around us in the machining area. Scrapping some and regrinding others. I helped him when I wasn't working with John.

Colin Smith continued work on the tender tanks paintwork and later could be heard needle gunning something in the cab area.

Alan Wilson, Dave Wright and Derek Shorten undercoated the axles and various eccentrics. (They have now been glossed NFH).

It was very warm in the building even with the sliding doors open and the other doors, 29deg.C most of the time.

Yesterday Colin Smith and Allan Wilson managed to get a gloss coat of paint on the lower part of the cab. We may apply a second, but we ought to be able to start the final preparation work and to paint the area between the frames. Shelving unit was erected and the nuts and bolts trays stored there next to the paint cupboard. Dave Wright helped sorting the final batches. Colin Bowman managed to replace/repair the main switch on the milling machine which had broken two weeks earlier. Maurice Bell continued tiding he machinists cupboard. Harry Sams did a bit of welding, I continued with the cleaning of the foundation ring.

Neil from “On Site Casting Repairs” came to look at J72 casting on his way back to Rochdale from Grosmont this afternoon. He’s been busy repairing the Q6 RHS cylinder after a hydraulic incident. (Yup, the Q6 has been broken.)  Ian Storey had seen him at Grosmont on Wednesday afternoon and suggested that he called to examine the J72 casting.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 September 2019 11:09

Thursday 11th July 2019


With no Boris and Jeremy road show in town this week to distract folks, the usual suspects showed up again at Hopetown on an oppressively hot and muggy day. I was not able to attend on Monday, but Steve Hyman assured me that good progress was made then. Daisy have found and fixed the phone line problem without needing access to the building; we can again receive and make calls via 382155.

Paul and James Swainston came in on Wednesday with a Faro arm in order to measure the frame and horn geometry.

On Thursday, Arthur Jenkins and John Jones got on with the machining of the spring hangers. Arthur managed to use the engine hoist to invert the ash pan for the construction and fitting of a damper spark arrestor. The machinists also managed to load one of the springs onto the milling machine to see if machining the hanger slot could be made any easier. Colin Smith continued to prepare the lower cab area for painting. The front flooring between the tanks was removed but the back flooring left in place for safety. Allan Wilson and Derek Shorton prepared the wheel axles for a coat of primer. Outside myself Roy and Dave Wright continued the battle against the brambles. Unfortunately the fight has been lost around the yellow waggon.

Interesting incident watched / heard through the brambles beyond the compound gate when a car didn’t turn left at Ladbrokes, but went counterflow through the one way system. No matter how many lights flashed, horns honked, expletives shouted, fingers and fists waved, on, on, onward he drove turning left to complete the circuit. Take care, there are nutters on the road!

I needed to leave early – there was too much of interest on the roads of stage 6 through the Vosges to make do with the highlights programme. Thanks to Roy and Arthur for minding the shop and locking up.


Friday 5th July 2019, boiler inspector's visit


Today Glyn Coxhill, our boiler inspector, visited to look at the J72 boiler. Ian Storey brought John Graham to meet him. Colin Foxton came in his role as Deputy Chairman; Neal arrived about 13:15 after he had finished work. Their summary of the inspection: no new surprises. Arthur and myself spent the day getting on with a few “tidy up” tasks.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 July 2019 15:31

Thursday 4th July 2019


Too good a day today to spend it at Hopetown.

Tim Williamson took the day off to make hay while the sun shone – though it rained later in the day.

Arthur Jenkins and John Jones continued with machining the spring hangers both Monday evening and Thursday. Allan Wilson, with some assistance from John, finished assembling the engine hoist. With help from Arthur, Dave Wright and Derek Shorton, the hoist was then tried out lifting the re-railing jacks to beneath the J72 frames to provide support when the horn stays are removed. James Swainston spent the morning taking measurements of the axle boxes and horn guides and entering them into his laptops. Colin Smith applied another gloss coat to the tanks and assisted Dave Wright applying another coat to the wheels. Derek Shorton and myself spent the morning tidying up and disposing of the rubbish and then making a little more progress with the nuts and bolts. Colin Bowman and Hugh Pannell came in during the afternoon and continued the battle against the brambles.


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