North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
J72 Blog

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

Thursday 10th January 2019


A good turnout at Darlington, with progress on a number of fronts for the J72 and parts for the K1.

On the machines side of the workshop, Arthur Jenkins was investigating the Colchester lathe "self act" fault, while John Jones cut up hexagonal bar up for the manufacture of 1.5" bsf spring hanger nuts. Maurice Bell made a number of J72 T-piece pins.

Allan Wilson continued cleaning between the J72 frames. James Pearcey cleaned one of the J72 injector pipes - it's now gleaming copper.

Dave Wright and Derek Shorten continued de-carbonising the K1 piston valves. Dave kept us supplied with hot tea on what felt like a fairly cold day in the workshop. Andy Bell (amongst other work), Dave and Derek kept the stove supplied with freshly chopped wood.

Steve Gibson was busy making parts for the K1 ashpan. I went to M-Machine to order some steel bar for the JV Workshop training and then got on with stripping paint from one of the K1 sandpipes.

Colin Bowman came in and started some early Spring cleaning! Thanks to Colin and Dave there are no fungi in the cups or the mess room.

Richard Pearson returned the rail-mounted trolley from the A1 Trust next door.

Helen from M-Machine delivered the steel bar ordered earlier and a number of solid steel cylinders, which are the blanks to be machined into new spring hangers.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2019 15:28

Thursday 3rd January 2019


Tim Williamson cleans the saddle with the new needle gun  - Nigel Hall

Yesterday (Thursday) the first working party of the season gathered at Hopetown.

It was a bit cold: with fire lit we had an early brew to warm through supplemented by Arthur’s stollen which was much appreciated. There was no semi skimmed mild at the corner shop so we had to make do with the ‘full strength Capstan’ with the blue top.

No valve seat cutters, so Andy Bell couldn’t make progress with his brass bits – even just making a cutter support tool.

So Andy, Tim Williamson and Dave Wright set about cleaning the top of the cylinder block casting to expose the state of the fasteners. However, without a needle gun this too was a slow process. Allan Wilson continued cleaning the frames, Derek Shorton continued cleaning the K1 valve and Arthur started to prepare material for manufacturing the new spring hangers. I had a trip to Machine Mart to obtain a needle gun and called in at Head of Steam on the way back to try to trace our lifting equipment certificates – not there either.

On my return, Tim connected up the new needle gun and before long the air had turned Grangetown brown whilst Tim and Dave (assisted by Henry) cleaned up the saddle area.

I managed to spend the afternoon with an orbital sander completing most of the prep work on the cab internal sides.

Colin Bowman visited to make tea for us in the afternoon.

The new die nut - Nigrel Hall

When I got home I discovered that a small package arrived - so ends the die nut saga.

Yesterday Dave Wright told the Hopetown working party tea break that whilst dressing the J72 dome threads three years ago he had accidentally knocked a die nut into the boiler. He let Fred know at the time. If it was a 7/8” BSW die nut then this could explain why one was missing from the Hopetown tool kit. If it has not been washed out yet it could still be there to be discovered by those cleaning the boiler. I doubt that it will be in a fit condition to dress threads any more.



Thursday 20th December 2018


Another report which says slow but steady progress with the J72.

Today, Arthur opened up as my vehicles needed MOT, and after I had delivered them I had to get on my bike. As I passed the phone it rang. “Is that St Tereasa’s Care Home?” Humm, I know that the workforce is aging, but …

Arthur has completed the K1 superheater cups. These are now on the goods out pallet; Arthur asks “Who should I invoice?” Steve Johnson stripped the paint from 2 of the K1 sand pipes today in readiness for repair and repainting.

The spring hanger pivots cleaned and dye penetration tested by Tim Williamson. As they were all OK, Neal took them all to M-Machine on Monday for reaming and bushing.

The valve buckles have been cleaned and are ready for dye penetration testing. The connecting rods and eccentric rods had paint stripped from their ends in preparation for NDT today.

The studs for cylinder/valve cover were found and inserted. This week Tim cleaned up the area , ran a tap down the three holes where studs had been removed and through all the nuts. However, we re-discovered that we haven’t got a 7/8” BSW die nut. Re-discovered in that memories of doing this job 3 years ago were jogged. Arthur managed to turn an old worn sand pipe securing nut from the scrap under the work bench to hold a plain die, Tim managed to use the hexagonal end of this to run the die down all of the studs. Well done Arthur, you’re a star. However we really ought to obtain a proper 7/8” BSW die nut.

Andy Bell and Steve Gibson came to the conclusion that the jaws do not engage properly into the chuck of the new valve seat cutter. Steve is took the kit to Carnforth on Saturday to compare with Johnny’s cutters. Opinion seems to be that the jaw thread is different to that in the chuck . The kit has been returned for Neal Woods to look at. Andy is proposing turning special purpose cutter holder in order to make progress with his valve seats.

Steve Gibson has now completed work on the 2 injectors. He, John Crabtree, Tim and Steve Johnson are now well on with the servicing of the brass bits.

Special thanks to Allan Wilson, Dave Wright and Colin Smith who have continued the thankless task of cleaning the loco frames and wheels. The end looks in sight now.

The internal cab roof has now had 3 coats of varnish. It can harden over the festive season. The residual fitting have been removed from the cab’s internal walls in readiness for rubbing down and painting in the new year.

Richard Pearson visited last Thursday in his new role with the A1/P2 organisation.

We were not so indulgent as the Grosmont folks. We gathered by the fire were for tea and mince pies (both Thursdays).


Monday 19th December 2018


Another week of steady but unspectacular progress with the J72 as we pass from a dismantling to a refurbishment and repair phase.

Neal has started to carry out the various “Form K” inspections in order to determine what work is required to make the various dismantled components serviceable again.

Arthur and John spent Monday evening cleaning out the lathe sump, and after Tim delivered three new V belts on Thursday, the lathe is now in much better condition and Arthur is well on with the production of the K1 superheater cups.

On Thursday the spring hanger pivot forgings were cleaned up and polished ready for dye penetration testing. If these are found to be crack free then it is intended that these will be reamed out and bushed. Steve continued servicing one of the injectors, though one seat remains to be cut. Allan, Roy, Colin and Hughie continued cleaning the J72 frames and wheels. Dave finished the side valve protective “clogs”. Derek finished cleaning the carbon from one of the K1 piston valves and has started work on the other. I spent the day finishing the prep work prior to varnishing the woodwork in the J72 cab roof.

So, thanks everybody, let’s keep up the momentum.


Thursday 29th November 2018


On Monday Neal Woods spent some time with a micrometer measuring various things, and explaining to myself, Steve Hyman and Andy Lowes and Arthur what needed doing next. Andy Lowes cleaned one K1 piston valves. Arthur continued with his production line on the lathe.

Today Mark O’Brien, NYMR boilersmith, arrived and undertook an initial examination of the boiler. Roy Marshall took notes. A report will be produced in due course.

Mark brought the NYMR universal tyre gauges. James Pearcy and Tim Williamson measured the profiles and used the ultrasonic thickness gauge to measure tyre depth. Good news I understand.

The chairman came, initially to meet Tim Gardom from the interpretation plan consultants TGAC. TGAC are working for the Tees Valley Combined Authority’s Railway Heritage Masterplan project.

Steve Hyman called in to drop off a roll of valve packing. Derek Shorton and Dave Wright continued with the decarboning of the K1 piston valves. Tim continued servicing the brass bits. After lunch, Chris, Roy and Colin Smith continued the cleaning of the frames and wheels. Dave Wright is making wooden slippers for the valves side valves to protect them from harm. I continued preparing the woodwork of the cab roof for varnishing.

The machinists have been busy again and have completely filled the swarf bin. Maurice has finished turning the various pins for axle boxes. Arthur has a production line running producing K1 superheater cups. There a big hexagonal bar from M-Machine to be turned into K1 crown stay nuts. Tim has taken one good lathe drive belt from the large lathe in order to see if he can obtain three of the same size from a source at Leeming Bar. As that lathe will not be usable until Tim returnes next Thursday, Arthur and John are going to attempt to drain and clear the lathe’s sump on Monday evening.

We are out of gritty soap downstairs. Dave is going to attempt to obtain some from ARCO on Portrack lane. Monday night people may have to go home with dirty hands or find the soap upstairs.

Good progress, but with no spectacular changes to be seen. Well done folks.


Thursday 22nd November 2018


Maurice Burns and Ian Storey visited last week and inspected the back head and the smokebox, trying to decide how the longitudinal stays worked and were inserted into the boiler. They thought that the smokebox nuts ought to be removable and that the stay might then hammer or screw out. Maurice suggested applying some heat to the centre nut and trying removal.

After lunch the smoke box end nut on the central stay was heated and quite easily removed.

Hammering did not move the stay, but the whole stay could be turned using a socket on the back head end nut. Arthur continued twisting stay with the socket. Slowly, after 11 rotations, an inch of threaded stay had emerged. (Now we know why the nuts are welded at the back head end.) A little more turning and the stay narrowed, was free, and could be drawn out beyond the dome by hand. The weight of the stay is supported by a cross member towards the fire box end of the barrel.

Out went the shout for the Hartlepool monkey, but Roy was somewhat reluctant to squeeze between the stays.

On the assumption that all of the stays were fitted in the same way, Harry started to warm the next smokebox nut. Then, all ended in a damp squib as the Oxygen ran out. Too late in the day to fetch new cylinder. The new cylinder will have to wait until next week.

During the day the trap door in the tower was sealed. At one stage a rain of fresh firewood descended.

On Monday, several more stays were withdrawn.

After withdrawal of two more rather stubborn stays today, Arthur entered the boiler. He managed to remove the J pipe and in the process covered himself with dirt. We have yet to hear whether he was allowed onto the bus to make his way home.

Whilst access to the boiler was the big event, others continued with machining, servicing the brass bits, cutting up the supply of firewood, storing parts, cleaning the loco, painting components, cleaning the building, and of course, making our many cups of tea. Steve Johnson joined us for the first time for a few months today and remarked upon how much had changed. Let’s keep up the momentum.


Thursday 8th November 2018


Another good week.

Not a lot done on Monday night as Martin and Andy held their first aid session with the Monday regulars. Arthur and John continued with the springs. Neal provided more advice. I got a bit more paint on some K1 bits. We were visited by Paul who has borrowed a couple of needle guns to clean up the K1 boiler.

Today we had a good turnout again. Harry and Steve managed to extract the rings which were jammed in the piston grooves; then for an encore managed to remove the slide valves. John and Tim worked their way through brass bits, dealing with the gauge valves. Roy Colin and Hugh continued cleaning the loco, Derek continued with the boiler. The machinists were all busy whilst Colin and myself managed to paint a few things and Allan finished off the brass around the K1 windows.

The parts washer was bailed out into waste paraffin drums. On inspection we appear to have lost the work shelf. The device has a current PAT label. However, when I touched the on/off switch it disintegrated. I wonder if it is worth renovating this device. It should NOT be used in its present condition.

We had a visit from John Midcalf who has handed me the kit for the social meeting tomorrow. He’s participating in the velocipede gala on NYMR and may not be able to return to Darlington early enough to set up for the meeting. However, the expected visit of Ian Storey didn’t occur; the K1 lubricator linkage is still on the bench.

We are approaching the point where we have dismantled as much as we can. Much of the future work will depend upon the result of inspections which need to take place soon. However, there is work which just requires us to work through servicing components which we have removed, and making them ready for reassembly.


Thursday 1st November 2018


An attendance of 20 today including Bryan Orange and 3 juniors, plus John Crabtree a new starter who has worked on Strathspey Railway in past.

Much of the morning was taken up with Martin Lloyd and Andy’s first aid (mainly CPR) course. We had to split into 2 sessions as the mess room capacity was limited. This led to some second session attendees champing for their morning tea. The course was very worthwhile. Thanks Martin and Andy.

Steve and Harry got the cross heads split and the pistons extracted. The rings are jammed in the grooves. Not known whether they were like that in service.

Tim and Roy cleaned up all of the axle box bits and placed them in the appropriate bowls. The underkeeps have been removed and are in a plastic sack. The oil trays held a lot of water. One tray (RD?) has a crack/repair which should be examined. Tim brought the 2 spare springs plus the NELPG tools from Leeming. John and Arthur got on with preparing the ends for dye penetration testing.

John Crabtree continued with the preparation of the cab roof. Dave and Derek continued to brush down the boiler, Colin Smith and Allan painted first gloss onto some of the K1 components whilst Colin Bowman continued cleaning the loco frames.

Trevor Wolford came in the morning to do his Dick van Dyke thing with the fire. He showed us the quarantined chains and requested that BV tested and advised. Mid-afternoon we had the company of Terry Newman and Steve Hyman, followed a little later by a party of about 5 visitors who came to look around.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2018 10:13

Thursday 25th October 2018


13 signed the book today, plus a visit from Ian Pardy and Stuart Dennis from NYMR. We also had a visits from Bob Grey and Trevor Wilford.

With the K1 components:

  • Allan Wilson has managed to scrape the old varnish off  three of the windows
  • Steve Gibson welded the joints in one of the steam pipe covers and Harry dressed the welds with a grinder.
  • Colin Smith stripped the tea tray and steam heat gauge bracket

All K1 components other than the seats and  windows are in primer.

On the J72:

  • Derek and Dave took a break from the cab roof work this week and continued cleaning down the boiler.
  • Arthur and John continued polishing the spring hanger loops which are welded in order to facilitate dye penetration tests. However …
  • Steve and Harry started to prepare to split the crossheads, but discovered that the dummy gudgeon pin was missing. So, Arthur was asked to turn a replacement.
  • Maurice (Bell) prepared to turn the new hanger pins. He has completed the set of oil tray retaining pins last week.
  • Ian and Stuart arrived in the new NYMR truck. Steve and Harry assisted them with the axle boxes and measurements John and I helped load the boxes onto the truck using the engine hoist borrowed from the A1 trust.
  • Colin Bowman continued cleaning the frames.

Since this is likely to be the final good day of the year, I scraped and painted the front door before the wood gets wet. I managed to spill some paint on the floor whilst driving the paint stirrer with a drill. I suppose that it is now floor paint!

We were visited today by John Crabtree,  a potential new member who is a retired steam fitter/machinist previously employed on Strathspey Railway. He has come to live in Thirsk. Arthur showed him around.

Tim Williamson has volunteered to bring the 2 spare springs from Wensleydale next week for cleaning and testing.

Much tea drunk, and a warm fire to gather around again.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2018 09:34

Thursday 11th October 2018


We arrived to find 2 dead pigeons on the doorstep. Is this a bad omen? A sign of metaphysical death?


The front of the J72 with buffer beam and cyliinder and valve covers removed - Nigel Hall

Anyway, after Arthur had tossed the 2 corpses onto the grass, in the hope that the local cats would take them home, the usual suspects set to work. Steve and Harry managed to remove the front buffer beam and the piston and valve covers. Derek and Dave continued with the cab roof, to be joined by Colin Smith after lunch. Allan and Colin Bowman continued cleaning loco frames. A new volunteer, Maurice Bell arrived. He’s a retired machinist. He helped John and Arthur with the springs and hangers. I had a trip to to M-Machine to pick up some steel bar for replacement pins. Peter cleaned up the K1 cowls and steam gauge frame. One cowl will need a bit of welding before painting.

The main springs after reaming out the holes - Nigel Hall

Derek Norris called in during the afternoon.

A productive day.

Last Updated on Friday, 02 November 2018 09:41

Page 6 of 9

AIA Logo

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