North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group

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J27 Blog

A log of activity concerning the J27.

NELPG - J27 Summer Holiday on the Wensleydale Railway


The J27 has been a regular performer on the NYMR since it came back into service on 17 May, and has covered over an estimated 2,000 miles. However, with the approach of the peak season Gold timetable, during which it will see little use, with the agreement of the NYMR it has been decided to accept a hire request from the Wensleydale Railway for the end of July/August.

The locomotive has now come out of traffic on the NYMR for a washout and will then move to Leeming Bar next week for its summer holidays. Its first train on the Wensleydale Railway is scheduled for 31 July, running the last two trips on the Purple timetable. It will then form the 10.45 and 14.45 departures from Leeming Bar on the Green timetable throughout August on Tuesdays through to Saturdays. The locomotive will work one final day on August Bank Holiday Monday on the Green timetable before returning to the NYMR later that week.

Operation is subject to the usual caveats on locomotive availability, but, in particular, that of footplate and support crew. These are being provided by the Group as part of the hire agreement, and I am particularly grateful to Richard Pearson for organising all this, and to Terry Newman, James Pearcy and Fred Ramshaw for their help and assistance.

If you are in the area, please do take the opportunity to visit and travel, to support both the Wensleydale Railway and the Group.


J27 Launch Train 21st June 2018


J27 approaching Grosmont station with empty stock for launch train - John Hunt

Looking absolutely splendid, the Group’s J27 65894 hauled a special ‘thank you’ train on a Grosmont - Pickering return working on Thursday 21st June for volunteers, Patron contributors and the organizations who’s grant contributions had supported the 12-year overhaul at a cost of some £450,000.


J27 backs down to its carriages at Grosmont for the launch trainwith driver Terry Newman and fireman Jon Bradley - Dave Bennett

The event was enjoyed by some 90 passengers with driver Terry Newman and fireman Jonathan Bradley in charge of 65894 for the day. The J27 smokebox was adorned with a blue star to acknowledge the consumption of Newkie Brown by those who saved her in 1966 / 67. Back in 1967 the J27 was similarly dressed hauling the last Silksworth branch train at the very end of North East steam.


Chris Lawson launching the J27 into traffic with a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale -  A J Scott

J27 at Darnholm Bridge on launch train - John Hunt

J27 on climb to Goathland on launch train - Maurice Burns

J27 in Newtondale on its launch train - Dave Bennett

She was certainly a star on the day and to send her off from Grosmont, Chris Lawson, the NELPG Chairman wet the front buffer beam of 65894 Newcastle Brown Ale prior to departure. At Pickering a traditional ‘group’ shot captured many of those who travelled. Grateful thanks are expressed to the NYMR for planning and enabling the charter and we look forward to the J27 establishing a regular pattern of working on the line.

J27 formal launch train passengers celebrating at Pickering Station - John Hunt

Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2018 21:40

Monday 11th June 2018


Have heard from Paul Middleton today that the J27 is on washout this week. It's 8 days early but he advises that when boilers are fresh off overhaul they tend to be full of cutting compounds and swarf etc. It should be available again by the end of the week.


Wednesday 23rd May 2018



Above Goathland on Sunday - Dave Pennock

Good reports from drivers on the J27 saying how good it is. It is now pulling the five coach teak (and the Class 26 on the 1230 yesterday) and whilst they feel it is more than capable of more, we have generally restricted it to five. Roy Marshall also delivered the new storm sheet to the locomotive yesterday, but found he had overestimated the length and has taken it away for some adjustment, hopefully to return next week.


Pulling away from Goathland on Sunday? - Dave Pennock

The 12.30 ex Grosmont with 5 teak coaches passing MPD - Steve Hyman

The 16.30 ex Grosmont passes Deviation Shed with the Pocket Rocket back on shed for examination and disposal - Steve Hyman

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 May 2018 15:12

J27 Enters Traffic on NYMR


The J27 pauses on its first in traffic journey at Goathland - Neal Woods

Today the J27 has entered traffic on the 16.30 departure from Grosmont, very appropriatly with Neal Woods as Driver, Terry Newman as Inspector, and Richard Worrell as Fireman. This is 3 months 1 day from its arrival at Grosmont MPD - a credit to all who completed the reassembly and commissioning. It is only 5 days short of 25th May, the anniversary of the date in 2006 when the J27 arrived at Hopetown for its last steaming 12 years ago.

Arrival at Pickering - Neal Woods

The loco performed well.


Driver Neal Woods (who oversaw so much of the overhaul) and fireman Richard Worrell pose in front of the smokebox - Terry Neman

The J27 after disposal stands in New Bridge yard - Neal Woods


So, at long last the North Yorkshire Moors Railway locomotive schedule for today reads:

Locomotives scheduled to run on Monday 21st May 2018

76079 - BR Standard 4

1264 - LNER B1

65894 - NER Class J27

D7628 - BR Class 25 "Sybilla"

The J27 is likely to be in traffic for a few days on the diagram below:

Pickering dep
Grosmont 12.05
Grosmont dep
Pickering 13.40
Pickering dep
Grosmont 15.05
To shed for exam.
Grosmont dep
Pickering 17.35
Last Updated on Monday, 21 May 2018 08:37

J27 pulls teak train to Pickering


Well, you do a report based on the latest plan and then, within hours you find that we have moved on to the next one! Today, the J27 has been to Pickering on the teak set with 80136 on the back.

J27 leaves Grosmont for its first run with the teak set to Pickering - Peter W. Robinson

The day started as expected, and Ian Pearson and Jon Bradley had a couple of light engine trips up towards Goathland with Neil Smedley and Les Harper - Steve Johnson also joined them for the first of those. The teak set then arrived at Grosmont with 80136 at 1205, the J27 backed on, and took the 1230 departure out to Pickering (see photos). It then came back on the rear of the train to Grosmont and up to the shed for disposal. It is now sitting on the wheeldrop road at the back of Deviation Shed. It will not be operating tomorrow, as an opportunity is required to sort out all the little jobs that have emerged form the last few days running. It is not clear at the moment whether it will be operating on Saturday, but it is booked to be working on Sunday with Terry Newman in charge. Then, subject to the usual caveats, it is still planned to have it in service on Monday, and subsequently, on the reduced formation teak set.


J27 stands at Pickering after its first run from Grosmont with the teak set

At that point, if it is then in service, these reports will cease, as its availability should appear on the NYMR website showing the locomotives in service each day. I will though report on any significant developments as and when they might occur.



J27 makes Light Engine runs to Goathland



J27 stands at Grosmont awaiting the off for a light engine run to Goathland 16 May 2018 - Ian Pearson

A day with a difference, where the NELPG's Q6 and J27 work came together, hence a combined report this week. A cool, grey, morning with a hint of rain, although it did clear up in the afternoon and there was even a touch of sun, when Ian Pearson, Jon Bradley, Bill Dobson, Steve Hyman, Alan Featonby (a member on a trip back home from Ontario, Canada) and myself gathered at Deviation Shed for the usual cup of tea. The plan was that Chris Cubitt and Charlie Woods would be taking the J27 up to Goathland on some light engine running in turns, and taking Steve and Alan with them. The rest of us would then continue working on the Q6.

However, Chris Cubitt was unavailable in the morning, and because Charlie had lots of electrical work to complete, he was pleased to find Ian and Jon were available to drive and fire the J27. Charlie already had oiled up the engine and Ian and Jon then took over the reins, and after some last minute fitting work and lots of successful vacuum tests, the J27 was ready to move down to the station, after getting water, by1120 am, taking Steve Hyman and Alan Featonby with them (see photos - don't they look happy!). With Ian driving the first two trips and Jon on the shovel, checks were made at regular intervals on bearing temperatures and all was found to be OK. Then, later on Jon drove and Steve fired, then Steve had a go driving with Jon tutoring him while Ian fired, and lastly Alan drove up to Goathland home signal tutored by Jon.

Steve Hyman Alan Featonby Ian Pearson and Jon Bradley on the J27 footplate at Grosmont 16 May 2018. - Ian Pearson

They were back on shed by 16.20 for disposal and with the fire dropped, the J27 was put back into the running shed on No 5 road and boiler filled. There were some problems with a sticking damper door at disposal, the ash pan sprays will need a little adjustment, and there is a list of other minor fettling jobs that were identified during running, but otherwise the locomotive was fine and ran very smoothly.

The same routine was to be followed today with Ian and Jon as crew, and, via the webcam, saw the J27 leave Grosmont light engine at 1100, with hopefully Neil Smedley and Les Harper on board, fitting in with available paths round the service trains. Assuming that concludes sucessfully, the next three days will see the J27 attached to the rear of service trains and getting in some mileage to Pickering, and, subject to no problems being identified, on Monday it will enter service on the Gresley teak set, which for operational reasons will be down to three coaches, as its regular daily turn. If anyone is out and about taking photographs of these events though, can I ask as Archivist, if any could be forwarded for me to go in the archive, as I will be away for the next week and will not be able to take any myself. I have also retrieved the J27 NER style dome from the boiler shop, and it is now on the floor just inside Deviation Shed by the gate next to No 5.

While several members were driving, firing and generally enjoying the fruits of a marathon 12 year overhaul of the P3/J27, Bill in the morning, and assisted by me after lunch, and even later in the afternoon by Chris Cubitt, set about the hydraulic testing of the Q6 superheater header. Bill had already asked Shaun Bowler of the NYMR to make 4 blanking plates and associated clamps last Friday, and these were used, together with 24 rubber "doggie balls" kindly lent by William Parish of the Essex Locomotive Society, currently working on the S15 boiler in Deviation Shed. The superheated side of the header was tackled first, and, after a number of tightenings of the enormous number of bolts and associated places for the rubber seals to leak, eventually a test pressure of 270 psi was reached, to the satisfaction of the NYMR boilersmith, Mark O'Brien.

The saturated side of the header is due to be tested on Saturday, so there will be a working party this Saturday after last week's late cancellation. There is also the stove chimney to finish off and get the flashing on the roof fixed before the stove itself dissolves in the rain - it is currently a very vivid orange colour! - never mind work to do on the Q6 itself.

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 May 2018 17:41

J27 passes formal steam test


Following a second succesful initial steam test last Friday at which the safety valves were set and a number of small rectification jobs identified, the J27 passed its formal steam test today in the presence of the boiler inspector. He pronounced himself very satisfied with what he saw. Richard Pearson was also present, and, with Paul Middleton, carried out an acceptance examination on behalf of the Group. Again, this identified a number of additional small jobs requiring attention, as would be expected after a major overhaul. In the afternoon, the locomotive was run up and down in the MPD yard, and, as no major issues came to light, went on a run up the bank light engine to Darnholm. That revealed no further problems and the bearings ran cool. Paul Middleton was very pleased with the way the locomotive ran and is looking forward to it being available for traffic.

The locomotive is now back on shed and will not be in steam tomorrow so that attention can be given to all the outstanding jobs. It will then be in steam on Wednesday, and possibly on Thursday, for running up and down the yard, and possibly up and down the bank to Goathland dependent on timing and availability of paths. The J27 will be out of steam Friday and over the weekend to allow for a water change, and hopefully will then start banking turns on service trains to get some running in mileage, before then taking charge of the teak set, either later in the week or early the one after. So it should be returned to traffic in the next ten days or so, barring any unexpected problems arising.

The way it has performed in these initial steamings is a great tribute to all those who have laboured so long and hard with the overhaul at Hopetown, so many thanks on behalf of the membership to them all.


Wednesday 9th May 2018


Just a short report this week. John Furness completed the painting and varnishing of the J27 on Tuesday. There are one or two small patches under the running plate which are our responsibility still needing attention, but Nigel Hall has those in hand. Nigel has also put a coat of black gloss on the BR style dome which remains in Deviation Shed. The locomotive has now been moved out of Deviation Shed and into the running shed, where a warming fire was due to be lit last night, ready for a second steam test today, essentially to check that the rectification work carried out on the safety valves had been successful and they could be set satisfactorily.

Subject to that, then the official steam test with the boiler inspector is scheduled for the morning of Monday 14th, which will be witnessed by Richard Pearson. He will also carry out a technical inspection on behalf of the Group, as part of the acceptance process. If those are all completed successfully, then it is the intention to keep the locomotive in steam all week for running up and down the yard, and, if that does not throw up any problems, then trips up and down the bank to Goathland in the spare timetable paths will follow as part of the running in process. Assuming all that goes to plan - and there are a number of ifs there - then playtime, for those who have indicated they want to have the opportunity, looks as if it is going to be next week. So be warned please. I know this is not convenient for all, but, dependent on how things go, there may be opportunities later on as running in progresses.

Once we have got past Monday, and have agreed arrangements with Piglet, I will email those concerned directly with the details. If anyone else wishes to be involved therefore, then please let me know before then.

I will circulate further progress (hopefully!) reports over the next few days as events unfold.



Wednesday 2nd May 2018


J27 at Grosmont ready for final painting by John Furness 2 May 2018 - Roy Marshall

Most of the work identified for rectification following the initial steam test has now been completed. Machining the safety valves has yet to be finished, and the nipping of a small leak in the steam pipe has yet to be tested before the bottom of the smokebox is concreted.

Weighing was successfully carried out on 1 May. The ash pan screens and basket have to be installed, along with one final union for the pipework in the cab. Piglet is planning to carry out another steam test in the latter part of next week, and the formal boiler inspector steam test has been arranged for 14 May. Subject to that being successful, running in can start, and, assuming no problems emerge, the J27 seems likely to be in service before the end of the month.

Playtime opportunities are dependent on the boiler inspector. If he is content that the J27 can be run up and down the MPD yard before 14 May, then it may be possible to do something towards the end of next week. If not, then it will be the week after, once the formal steam test has been successfully carried out. I will let know those who have indicated their wish to be involved as soon as I have anything definite. If anyone else wants to take up the opportunity, then please let me know as soon as possible.

In the meantime, the immediate focus is on finishing the painting of the locomotive. The back of the running shed was not suitable for that to be done, and while John Furness was able to prep the paintwork there, he wanted it moved to Deviation Shed once yesterday's rain had stopped, so he could work there uninterrupted. The rain duly stopped at lunchtime, and the traumas that occurred in making that move are recorded in my note on the Q6 activities yesterday (which I should correct in that it was the left hand side valve that was put in, not the right - the Q6 is smokebox first to Grosmont at the moment!) which I circulated this morning. While the J27 was stood outside the coaling plant waiting for the rest of the move to take place however, Roy Marshall took the attached photo for the record. It is now safely in Deviation Shed, and John Furness was going to give it a coat of black gloss today. He would then be back on Tuesday to varnish it, and once that has had an opportunity to harden, the second test steaming will take place.

In the interim, Devaition Shed will be open on Saturday, both for a Q6 working party, and also for the public 'Behind the Scenes Weekend'. It is important therefore that anyone there resists the temptation to touch the J27 paintwork or climb in the cab, either of which could damage the paintwork - hugely admire from afar please! Visitors will also be disappointed to see that the Shed inside swimming pool has disappeared.

Following the replacement of the missing guttering on Deviation Shed, the pit is now completely dry, in spite of the recent rain, and once we get a chance, the pit concrete floor can be swept and cleaned. The pump is also having a welcome break from action.


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