North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J72 Blog

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

Thursday 16th May 2019


A better day than last week at Hopetown. No need to light the fire.

I didn’t get in until folks were gathered around the workbench with the morning cup of tea. Colin Smith again brought conversation to an end and forced people back to work when set about the cab floor area with a needle gun.

Arthur and Maurice continued machining the spring hanger bolts. There appears to be a fitting problem with half of the ends in the existing springs. M Machine delivered the pair of springs which they were going to machine, reporting that the metal was too hard for them.

Myself, Allan, Derek and later Colin Bowman did a little gardening. Most of the brambles and roses hanging over the wall into Hopetown Lane have been tidied back. The track has been tidied for the velocipedes at the Museum classic car rally on Sunday, but the shunting area and pound could do with some more attention next week.

Paul Mason is sorting through the buckets of old nuts, bolts, washers and strange finds. Some important looking shims and spacers have been discovered.

Roy brought in an electrician to look at the job of replacing our 56 lights with LED fittings. We look forward to his estimate. He spent much of the afternoon chasing replacement fittings for tools, including a trip to Aycliffe.

I managed to get a gloss coat on the various bits on the paint bench, and a pink undercoat on the rods and remaining big end strap.

Many questions were asked about the K1 test run yesterday and the scheduled trip to Fort William tomorrow. No first-hand information available. However, there is an empty stock movement 5Z62 booked to leave Steamtown at 06:18 Friday on Real Time Trains. More recently has appeared on the web.



Thursday 9th May 2019


A better day than yesterday, but folks still felt that they needed the fire. The last of the pallets was butchered and placed in the fuel bins.

Colin Smith brought earrly morning conversation over tea around the fire to an early halt by needle gunning the cab floor.

Allan Wilson did a little more chipping of the scale in the firebox.Derek Shorton finished cleaning the paint from the eccentric straps, the machinists continued with the spring hangers, I had a trip to Smith and Allen, then got on with a bit of tidying up. The latter includes trying to sort out the bucket load of nuts and bolts on and under the workbench. Colin Bowman cane during the afternoon and deep leeaned the mess room areas.

The vegetation is starting to grow outside. We need to have another pass over that next week.


Thursday 2nd May 2019


Monday saw a big step forward as Arthur completed the needle gunning of the boiler. Neal intends to inspect inside himself before too long.

Les came on Monday to continue with NDT on the boiler. I last saw him mixing what looked like heavy wallpaper paste. I doubt that he was about to cover the firebox with anaglypta. Arthur John and Tim continued machining the V blocks for measurement of the J72 frames.

Today Sue Smeaton arrived with the NYMR truck and all hands ran the remaining pallets down to the crossing for loading. The back door area is now clear of the “Brexit Bonfire” that I feared the local youths might light. Outside the brambles are starting to grow again despite the earlier blitz on the new growth. We need to return to the job soon.

Arthur and John and Maurice continued machining the spring hanger bolts for the J72. Derek and Allan continued cleaning the paint from the eccentric straps in preparation for NDT. Colin mended Henry, which I used for cleaning the workshop. James did a big sort and tidy of the machinists cupboard.

Discussion of the jammed drill took place over afternoon tea. The drill has been opened. Opinion seems to be that the chuck is attached via a metric Allen bolt. Unfortunately, we only appear to have imperial sized Allen keys in the drawer. Colin has been able to free the chuck sufficiently to take larger bits. However, the chuck has been chewed about a bit and may not be of a great deal of use now. The right answer would appear to be to buy an additional drill and to obtain a replacement chuck for the existing drill. Both chucks ought to be Jacobs chucks with keys.

We won’t be opening on Bank Holiday Monday, but will open Thursday 9:00. All workers welcome.


Thursday 25th April 2019


A rather relaxed day at Hopetown yesterday, with just nine of us present.

I spent the first hour showing Owen Plummer, an architect from Purcells, who have been appointed to undertake the Historic Building Survey at the Carriage Works.

Paul Mason lit the fire, Colin Smith got on with cleaning a little more scale from the saddle whilst Allan Wilson made tea. Arthur and John continued machining the V blocks for measuring the frames. We were joined later by Steve Johnson and Derek Shorton. Steve helped Arthur whilst Derek continued stripping the paint from the eccentric straps. Allan took over from Colin when he had to go. Colin Bowman came during the afternoon and reminded me that PAT testing is due shortly. I replaced the key cabinet on the wall, then spent the afternoon continuing the deep clean started by Allan a week earlier. There’s still a lot more to do.

Les Coughtrey wasn’t able to attend yesterday, but will be coming on Monday for more NDT. If you are available on Monday then I’m sure that Arthur will be able to find you a job.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 14:24

Thursday 18th April 2019


A bright sunny day in Darlington saw Colin Smith, Arthur Jenkins, Mo Bell, Allan Wilson, Paul Mason, Derek Shorten and Colin Bowman at Hopetown.

Colin Smith painted the centre of the wheel fastening for the T2 smokebox (the rim of the wheel is polished bright and very nice it looks too).

Les Harper called in for some K1 parts and Neal Woods and Nigel Hall also came in later on.

Most of us were tidying and cutting up wooden pallets, while Mo was making pins for the J72 rear drawhook and Arthur was making V-blocks and turning the thread on one of theJ72 spring hanger pins.


Thursday 11th Appril 2019


Frosty start at Hopetown, but Paul Mason soon had the fire warming the place through.

First job to get some bollards out to reserve space for Sue Smeaton with the NYMR truck which was to return the axle boxes, then next door to borrow the engine hoist from Ian.

Next job to tidy up all of the tools which had been left lying about and to sweep up as much dirt as possible. Arthur cut some cardboard cylinder covers to keep out further dirt.

  • Les continued thickness testing the boiler.
  • Tim Williamson managed to fit his bolts in the saddle.
  • The font draw hook was taken to Flavell’s by Steve Hyman to be built up with weld and machined back.
  • The rear draw hook was dressed by Arthur and painted by Colin.
  • The 2 welded springs by the door have been moved to the welding bench for opening up.
  • James and Derek cleaned the paint from the eccentric straps two and three.

Bill Dobson arrived mid-morning and we found him a wheel to secure the smokebox door of our T2. After a visit to the museum, he returned to Whitby to paint said wheel.

Sue arrived with the axle boxes at lunch time. These were unloaded, the engine hoist returned, and she returned with Barnie’s verniers.

Arthur, John, Tim and Paul spent the afternoon sorting out the Bridgeport.

I spent my time countersinking the T2 makers plates and searching for 3/8 BSW countersunk Allen bolts to cut to size.

Cake with tea in the afternoon.


Thursday 4th April 2019


I’ve been somewhat tardy with Hopetown reports during March. So, let’s try to make amends.

  • After a few weeks away with illness, Les Coughtrey returned on Thursday to continue thickness testing the boiler. Neal had spent an earlier Monday testing the thickness of the copper plates within the firebox. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson made thickness measurements over the water tanks.
  • Arthur Jenkins has spent the last few Mondays needle gunning the inside of the boiler barrel. This is now about 90% complete, but that residue is the awkward bits behind the longitudinal stays etc.
  • Paint has been stripped from the outsides of the frames to allow a check to be made for straightness using a piano wire. Paint has also been stripped from the vicinity of the horn guides in order to enable them to check that they are parallel to the frames.
  • Cylinder bores were cleaned by Neal Smedley. The RHS is quite deeply scored.
  • The slide valves have gone to William Lane foundry for new ones to be cast.
  • Paul and James Swainston have been dressing the piston rod ends.
  • Tim Williamson has removed all of the nuts within the saddle. Replacements have been made and fitted. One fitted bolt has been removed from the saddle midpoint joint and replacements manufactured. These replacements need turning to size and fitting. The main steam pipe and the blast pipe have been trial fitted to new studs.
  • Ashley Moor has checked progress with brass bits and continued servicing the remaining items.
  • Surface cracks have been dressed out of one of the horn stays.
  • The machinists have been busy turning spring hanger bolts and brake pins. They will be able to make more progress now that the swarf bins have been emptied.

All K1 bits have now been taken back to Carnforth.

An enormous load of pallets has been delivered. About half of these have been butchered for the stove, but summer is on its way and the need for such supplies has diminished. We need to find somewhere to store the excess.

During those warm early spring days we have made an early start with the loppers on the vegetation around the lines. Hopefully we have caught the worst of the brambles and wild roses before they have become a problem.


Thursday 28th Febuary 2019


This week we worked Monday afternoon to progress needle gunning the boiler barrel away from certain delicate ears. Arthur and John managed to clear about 20% of the barrel length, so it looks like all Mondays in March are going to be noisy. During the afternoon I managed to get a “buttermilk” gloss coat on the inside of the cab at the other end of the workshop. At about 17:00, Neal brought John Graham for what John described as his “annual visit to Hopetown”. He had a look at a few things with Neal, provided Neal with some advice regarding next steps with the loco, and left his thickness tester for Les Coughtrey.

We also had a visit from Paul Hutchinson who has removed about half of the “K1 goods out”. He gave Arthur a fairly sizable turning job, which Maurice Bell managed to progress on Thursday. And then we had a visit from Terry Newman.

Fourteen of us at Hopetown this Thursday. Andy brought in a packet of shortbread to accompany morning tea – much appreciated.

Les Coughtrey spent the day making thickness measurements over the boiler. He’s a little concerned about what appears to be a small but systematic discrepancy between Mark O’Brien’s readings and those from John Graham’s instrument in areas of pitting. Since he’s going to be at Grosmont today, he intends comparing Mark’s instrument. This may be a head size effect.

Paul Mason managed to remove old gasket material from the back head. The machinists spent the day turning pins for the K1 and turning spring hanger nuts. Derek Shorton and Steve Johnson managed to strip the paint from the other eccentric strap ready for NDT. Tim Williamson and Andy Bell managed to finish the dye penetration testing of the horn stays. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson almost completed cleaning between the frames. Harry Sams managed to dress both draw hooks, but there is considerable wear in one of the shafts which needs assessment. With the help of Colin Bowman, I managed to get some primer onto components which had been stripped for NDT, and passed.

Tim Williamson spent the afternoon with his soldering torch chasing leaks around an oil feeder/can brought from Grosmont. Tea time was spent arguing as to whether the device is called a feeder or a can or a pourer. Some were losing the will to live!



Thursday 21st February 2019


Fifteen of the usual suspects signed in; but we were also joined during the day by Les Coughtrey and a visit from Steve Hyman.

Arthur and John got the main door open, dust supressing curtains in place, compressor in action and started needle gunning the boiler inside of the boiler barrel. There was even more noise from certain people complaining about the noise. We gave up needle gunning and will come in again on Monday to progress this. Arthur and John retreated to the lathe and continued with the spring hanger nuts.

Colin Smith and Allan Wilson continued cleaning the frames around the motion. I stripped off spots of paint from the frame side of the tanks in preparation for thickness testing – looks like measles. My afternoon was spent applying another undercoat to the cab interior. Tim Williamson cleaned up the other coupling for NDT, then stripped the paint from the eccentric straps for NDT. Harry Sams fitted the blastpipe to the saddle to check the fit with the new studs and managed to grind the flanging from the brake blocks. Paul Mason ran the die nut down the studs in the back head bosses, though he feels having done so that most of these studs ought to be replaced. Andy Bell lapped in the non-return valves in the globe lubricators and with James Piercy managed to dye penetration test the RHS horn stays. Derek Shorton managed to saw much of the new firewood into lengths which will fit into the stove.

Steve Gibson polished out the marks from the radii of the LHS big end crank pin. The RHS radii were polished but there is a lot of water damage to the journal which could not be removed with emery cloth. Both journals have been re-greased.

Les Coughtrey arrived mid-morning after another appointment and continued working through the NDT list. Roy Marshall joined us later, though had a number of “secretary” things to do and people to see. He remarked that vegetation seemed to be springing into life again outside and that it may be time to tame the jungle again.


Thursday 14th February 2019


15 volunteers signed the book at Hopetown today. We were also joined by Les Coughtrey with his NDT kit, and later by Dave Wright who has damaged his leg playing badminton. Dave delivered firewood and made everybody tea before his early departure. (That’s 17 in total at a mid-week working party, we are getting close to numbers in the good old days at No 5 Depot.)

After allocation of the work from the job list, Richard Starrs from Darlington Borough Council (Project Manager, Stockton and Darlington Railway Heritage Action Zone) and a prospective historic building surveyor arrived for a quick visit. After that I had a trip to the shop for milk and biscuits, Smith and Allen for supplies and to M-Machine to collect a box of steel blanks which Neal Woods had ordered (currently on machinists bench).

Steve Gibson dismantled the big end straps for NDT, then got on with the ash pan. John Jones and Paul Mason extracted the slide bar bolts for NDT. Colin Smith and Allan Wilson continued cleaning the front section of the frames, but with John and Paul above, things were a little crowded. Tim Williamson finished cleaning the eccentric rods for NDT, then set about the couplings. He also slackened the eccentric straps 1 & 4 in readiness for NDT. Harry Sams fitted the new studs into the saddle but I don’t think managed to trial fit the blast pipe.

Maurice Bell was busy on the Harrison lathe and Arthur now has the Colchester lathe back together. Roy Marshall arrived after lunch and discussed some guarding issues with the machinists.

Andy Bell discovered that a steam heat valve shaft was badly bent and would need replacing. He’s found a suitable piece of brass for Maurice or Arthur to turn. We may need to source a tiny spring for this valve.

Colin Bowman did a fine job of tidying the workshop for the weekend. A good day’s work all round, bit things don’t look very different.


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