Andy reports that this could be the last work party this winter (but see below) as the NYMR has offered to finish off the last few mechanical jobs to get the Q6 back into traffic at Easter. They have already cast a new arch in the fire box and today they put the concrete in the smoke box. Also last week, the boiler was boxed up and filled with water so the loco could be weighed.
Today, Neal Woods and James Pearcy concentrated on slide bar and cross head alignment again - they are now experts on three piece crossheads! The left side was finished off and bump tested ready for full testing when the wheels first turn. The right side cross head top slipper was put in and the wire set up through it, shims were made and fitted to the slide bars. Unfortunately though, time was against them and, in spite of working late, the job could not be completed in the time available. The right hand piston is therefore still to fit.
Brian Armstrong re-fitted the cab floor and put various items for the running of the loco back on it. He also took on the public relations role and answered many questions from the very curious public who wanted to know about the other famous engine that was being worked on in Deviation Shed - and no, it was not No 29!
Peter Ellis finished off the new flexible intermediate axle box pipe work and also fitted some new tallies Andy had made to identify the lubricator pipe work.
Ian Pearson covered the newly painted front buffer beam to protect it from the concrete that was put into the smoke box base. He then went on to make some trimmings that were missing from the slide bar lubricators.
After a struggle, the left connecting rod was refitted, but not the big end as a new felt had to be made and left to soak in oil - the original one had been contaminated with sand.
Andy spent the morning working on the regulator handle filing the tapered square where it fixes onto the shaft. This had been built up with weld at M-Machine, but, unfortunately, a dummy shaft that had been made to ensure a tight fit was the wrong size, which meant the regulator handle was still slack on the shaft. On Monday the MPD will put some more weld into the square on two faces only and then file it down to ensure a tight fit.
There are still quite a number of jobs to be done to get the Q6 back into traffic, and the MPD staff will be tackling them next week. The in steam boiler insurance exam is booked for Wednesday morning, for which John Graham will be present. In spite of his earlier assessment, Andy has agreed that there will be a working party on Wednesday, to provide any help required with the steam test, and to tackle any consequential jobs that may be identified as required or are still outstanding. If nothing else then the Q6 requires a good overall clean before it re-enters service! And as the operating season starts again on Monday (tomorrow) there may even be the occasional steam hauled service train to watch go by. So if anyone else is available and wants to join the regular Wednesday team, they will be most welcome - there are a lot of biscuits to be eaten up, but no cake this week.
As for Saturday (Easter Saturday), Bryan Orange and the JVs are planning a work/training day. Assuming all goes well, they may be able to wave and take photos of our Q6 as it passes Deviation shed, but that will depend on completion of the outstanding jobs, a successful in steam test, and satisfactory running in. On those also will depend whether we call another working party for Saturday - as we have learnt, old steam locomotives do not give in that easily. However, regardless, hopefully the JVs will be able to do some much needed tidying up of the Shed and workshop. The arch formers etc. can go back into the corner of the workshop and there are some grey 20 litre oil drums cut in half that need cleaning and also putting into the workshop. All the 110v electrical equipment can be cleaned ready for the PAT testing in the summer.
More news after Wednesday.