Ian reports two red hot sweltering days at Grosmont on Wednesday and Thursday with our first working parties for three months, and held under COVID 19 secure control measures. With Bill Dobson, Nigel Bill, Jon Bradley, and a late running lan Pearson on Wednesday, and Nigel, Ian, Steve Hyman and Ed Bolam on Thursday. Also on site on Wednesday were Bryan Orange, Andy Wiffin, Piglet and Gordon Wells. They were sorting out a mains water supply to Deviation Shed to provide a much needed direct water supply (other than in the pit!) for hand washing and filling the kettle. A potable water supply pipe was found by the coaling plant, and a pipe is planned to be run from this to Deviation Shed, with a sink fitted just inside the north end of the workshop. Until that work is carried out, the kettle and washing up bowl are having to act as a temporary substitute for the required regular hand washing.
On the Q6, work started on Wednesday with loosening the bolts holding the bands around the cladding. Not a speedy job as Nigel apparently found out, with bolts turning and requiring someone, suitably social distanced, holding the nut at the other side. It did not help with different sizes of nuts and bolts, meaning many trips back to the workshop for spanners. Two bands were undone, the first and third from the cab but not removed. Bill then suggested that a trial fit of the new main steam pipes be carried out, just in case they needed some final adjustment and sending back for fettling. They are very heavy, but were carried down to the smokebox and, with help from Barney and Chris Kelly, they were installed. They fitted OK but were left for removal the next day. Thanks to Barney and Chris for their time and assistance.
Down at the running shed, the S15, No 825, was lit up after its superheater elements repair. A steam test was due the next day.
On Thursday, the first job was to open the side and No 7 Road roller shutter doors to let the air blow through, as it was extremely hot in Deviation Shed. Then Nigel, Ed and Ian removed both main steam pipes which had been fitted the day before. These have been placed either side of the engine and can now have the flanges properly welded. Steve has implemented an inventory system so, as items are removed, they are numbered and identified and a location put on. He removed the steam reverser valve and part of the operating arm. This was logged, along with its steam pipe and copper washer, and put into store. The engine and tender were split as recommended by Barney.
Lunch was had alfresco in the picnic area with social distancing.
After lunch, more work was carried out undoing some of the cladding bands, although No 6 band was the only one actually removed. The others won’t come off until the hand rails and ejector pipe are removed. The boiler bands have been numbered 1 to 6, starting at the smokebox end with No 1. Nik Proctor, who had been steam raising on the S15 to test the elements, came and gave a hand during the afternoon to loosen the ejector pipe union in the cab, and also disconnected the exhaust pipe in the smokebox. This pipe and the hand rails are still to remove. The piece of handrail that surrounds the top of the smokebox and lamp bracket was taken off however.