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Travel North - 52: North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group, Work Undertaken in Steam Preservation

Updated on May 3, 2019

Over 50 years Keeping North Eastern Steam Alive - Keeping You Abreast Of Developments

A measure of achievement by dedicated enthusiasts to maintain a visible presence since 1966
A measure of achievement by dedicated enthusiasts to maintain a visible presence since 1966 | Source

[This page will be periodically updated according to news received through e-mail bulletins and the group's own quarterly news magazine, NELPG NEWS]

NELPG's Q6 63395 celebrated her 'official' 100th in January, 2019 with a pint bottle of 'Newky broon' (Newcastle Brown Ale). Wouldn't have done her pipes any good, only wet her whistle! She'd been 'outshopped' from Darlington North Road December 1918
NELPG's Q6 63395 celebrated her 'official' 100th in January, 2019 with a pint bottle of 'Newky broon' (Newcastle Brown Ale). Wouldn't have done her pipes any good, only wet her whistle! She'd been 'outshopped' from Darlington North Road December 1918 | Source

Q6 63395's short 'holiday' away from her usual haunts... and she reached her 100th birthday on 2nd December, 2018, since leaving Darlington's North Road Works

NELPG's chairman Chris Lawson e-mailed me 18th September to let me know that Q6 63395 would make a short visit to the Severn Valley Railway along with Britannia Pacific Class 70000 "Britannia". With "Britannia" she was based at Bridgnorth facing the Kidderminster direction.

NYMR Senior Fitter Barney Casey travelled with the NELPG crew and support team during her stay on only her second 'away fixture' to another heritage railway. She is due back at Grosmont 24th September for the NYMR's Autumn Steam Gala 28th-30th September, 2018 to appear with J27 65894.

K1 62005 will still be away at the time, and J72 69023 is still at Hopetown, Darlington, undergoing work there.

(Chris Lawson, Chairman NELPG)

*See below for coverage on NELPG's T2/Q6 from completion on 2nd December, 1918 at North Road Works, Darlington, County Durham

Q6 63395 appears along with J27 65894 several times on several of the B&R and Marsden Rail series of DVDs. If you buy any of the North Eastern based sequences watch out for them. For instance 65894 appears on Marsden Rail No. 13 "Brakevan to Whitby" on the last branch pick-up to Helmsley in Ryedale. At the time she was allocated to York shed, as was K1 62005 in the mid 1960s, which also appears more than once on different duties. Class J72 69023 was built as one of the last batch to a Worsdell design. A Tyneside allocation, she was then transferred to Departmental service as No. 59 at North Blyth until withdrawal and rescue by Ron Ainsworth, who had her painted in the style of a Newcastle Central station pilot and named 'Joem' after his parents Joe and Emma. She was sold to the Derwent Valley Light Railway in 1977 and subsequently bought by Paul Ainsworth, who put her up for auction in 1982, coming to a deal with NELPG for £10,250 less than half the original auction price. A grant was awarded by the Science Museum to the tune of half the negotiated price.

Number 34 of the series, "Steam In The North East" also features NELPG engines
Number 34 of the series, "Steam In The North East" also features NELPG engines | Source

1966 was a year for sporting triumphs. We won the World Cup, didn't we? Another event was overshadowed by the performance of Bobby Moore and his lads...

This was a get-together of like-minded enthusiasts who considered British Railway's bid to end steam traction altogether on the UK's metals over-hasty. Among the enthusiasts who assembled by the lineside in the last throes of North East steam working some felt it worth a go to save some of our industrial heritage from the efficiency of the scrap yards to win a part of British Railways' booty and make some cash for themselves. Interesting one of the scrap merchants' names was Cashmore.

So there was some local interest in seeing a report in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle of 26th October, 1966 - less than a year before the end of steam in the region - that announced a gathering of the founder members of the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG) two days later at the Bridge Hotel on the north bank of the Tyne - appropriately close to Robert Stephenson's High Level Bridge.

The meeting took place in an upstairs room attended by John Arnott Brown, Bob Anderson, , Mick Denholm, Godfrey Valentine, J. Calderwood, Russell Wear, Dave Johnson, Alan Kane, J. Gallow, John Newbegin, Alan Wharram, John Shaw, Robin Daw, Kevin Gould, Chris Smyth, Peter Proud, Neville Stead, Richard Wheeler and Kevin Hudspith. How many of the original nineteen were able to attend the 50th anniversary dinner at the Bridge Hotel on 28th October, 2016? Certainly regrets were expressed at the passing of some and the inability of others to attend because of sickness or distance.

On that memorable evening a majority vote elected.to buy a J27 0-6-0 on price consideration alone, although a sizeable minority had opted for the Q6 0-8-0 and a few were interested in buying both. The kitty stood at 5s 6d (27.5 pence) after the tab was paid for the hire of the room. Kevin Hudspith, Peter Proud and Kevin Gould were the far-sighted members who had called that first meeting and initiated forming the NELPG. For a full account of events you could do worse than to invest in a book titled "Keeping North Eastern Steam Alive", that chronicles the group's history and progress over the past half-century.

I've been a member of NELPG for some years now, and a Patron Member for a little less. For my £7 monthly contribution I'm entitled to a few perks, including trips ehind one of the group's locomotives on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) if I can get there for those dates (being a NYMR.shareholder also entitles me to a free ride from Pickering to Whitby on AGM days, if I can get there...). I've been on one or two days out and visited both Hopetown and Deviation Shed on open days and at other times when I can. Being a steam enthusiast brings a few emotional moments when a veteran locomotive is steamed for the first time after long overhauls. It's a grand life... at times

Sunday, May 20th saw the return to public timetables on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway of NELPG's Class J27 65894

Class J27 (North Eastern Railway Class P3) 0-6-0 65894 starts from the Down Platform with a three-coach Gresley teak set on the 16.30 working to Pickering (strictly speaking 'Up from Grosmont) (Neal Woods)
Class J27 (North Eastern Railway Class P3) 0-6-0 65894 starts from the Down Platform with a three-coach Gresley teak set on the 16.30 working to Pickering (strictly speaking 'Up from Grosmont) (Neal Woods) | Source
65894 gets the 'right away' from the platform at Goathland (Neal Woods)
65894 gets the 'right away' from the platform at Goathland (Neal Woods) | Source
65894 arrives under the footbridge at Pickering on the 'U'p platform and.... (Neal Woods)
65894 arrives under the footbridge at Pickering on the 'U'p platform and.... (Neal Woods) | Source
The crew and fellow NELPG works personnel take a bow near the front of the engine - see below for 'introductions' (Terry Newman)
The crew and fellow NELPG works personnel take a bow near the front of the engine - see below for 'introductions' (Terry Newman) | Source
Class J27 65894 in July, 1967, Monkwearmount two months before the end of steam in the North East
Class J27 65894 in July, 1967, Monkwearmount two months before the end of steam in the North East | Source
Thornaby Shed (51L), 65894 and 63395 at rest between turns early in 1967 before withdrawal and purchase by NELPG
Thornaby Shed (51L), 65894 and 63395 at rest between turns early in 1967 before withdrawal and purchase by NELPG | Source

NELPG Sunday 20th May, 2018, Grosmont Station near Whitby, North Yorkshire Moors Railway

Ex-NER/LNER/BR(NE) Class J27 65894 left Grosmont on the 16.30 Pickering service with a three-coach Gresley LNER livery teak set. Two days of 'fettling' preceded the scheduled departure. Some minor jobs needed to be identified during previous trial running-in turns, and further running-in turns on the Sunday to ensure all was in good oder.

Driver was Neal Woods, Terry Newman the inspector to mark the huge contribution both had made to the long overhaul leading to the welcome return to service of this steam veteran. All involved in the last few weeks commented on how smoothly the locomotive ran. It was a great tribute to them for the time and effort they had put in over the years at Hopetown (North Road, Darlington, former S&DR carriage works) in the overhaul..

Richard Worrell fired, Richard Pearson also attended, having carried out a second technical inspection of the locomotive to check on oil,, water and coal consumption and make necessary adjustments. The report from the crew was that 65894 performed well.

65894 will take this three coach teak set on Pickering-Grosmont runs on the diagram below:

Pickering 11.00 - Grosmont. 12.05; Grosmont 12.30 - Pickering 13.40; Pickering 14.00 - Grosmont 15.05; to shed for routine examination, Grosmont 16.30, Pickering 17.35

With the locomotive back in service rostering will be in the hands of the MPD, details on the NYMR web site. It is likely her regular diagram will be the teak set as illustrated, with service gaps for washouts and any running maintenance that might prove necessary.

Now the J27 is back in service Dave Pennock has arranged a formal launch train for the Press and contributors to the overhaul on June 21st. See the Steam Locomotive Preservation press for their coverage.

*June 19th: 65894 has so far done over 650 miles on the NYMR since May, when I posted the information above, running trouble-free and riding smoothly. A strong old girl - 100 years+ old - she will be in regular service on the 11.00 Pickering departure with a five coach Gresley teak set (courtesy of the LNER Coach Association based at Pickering). The return working from Grosmont will leave 12.30, again from Pickering 14.00 and Grosmont 16.30. If she stayed on the NYMR during the GOLD timetable period during the height of the season that ends 1st September she would see only occasional use. However NELPG is in talks with the Wensleydale Railway, who would like to see a replacement for the J72 'Joem' on Leeming Bar-Redmire turns. She would be able to handle the same trains with ease. Whether that will come to fruition remains open and I'll keep you posted here.

Information courtesy of Chris Lawson, Chairman NELPG


Previously, in mid-May, 2018 at Deviation Shed, Grosmont, 65894 underwent steam trials

65894 undergoes steam tests and 'fettling' at Deviation Shed, mid-May, 2018 (Neal Woods)
65894 undergoes steam tests and 'fettling' at Deviation Shed, mid-May, 2018 (Neal Woods) | Source
65894 rests at Pickering after testing (Neal Woods)
65894 rests at Pickering after testing (Neal Woods) | Source
NER Drawing, Class P3 0-6-0 inside cylinder mineral and branch goods locomotive
NER Drawing, Class P3 0-6-0 inside cylinder mineral and branch goods locomotive | Source

Class J27, designed 1906 as Class P3 by Wilson Worsdell, NER Loocomotive Superintendent

[Weekly progress reports on 65894 are posted on the NELPG website. To keep up with developments go to 'Locomotives', then 'J27' or any of the four NELPG locomotives, J27, J72, K1, or Q6 and click on the appropriate blogs - see link below]

In the move from Hopetown Works at Darlington a small problem with a signalman who had failed duty due to illness was overcome. All went ahead on Monday, 19th February as planned. Chris Cubitt manned the diesel that would tow 65894 on a trial run. Dave Tibbett was guard on the brakevan that brought up the rear, with Paul Hutchinson and Adrian Dennis riding as fitters on the engine. Paul reported all went smoothly on the move,

"Mechanically it could hardly have been better. Only the left leading side rod bush got any more than cold. There was, however, nothing to worry about at any time and it had completely settled down by the time we got to Grosmont. the cylinder block warmed up a little (to 60 degrees C), but with the large volumes of air being shifted this was not surprising. I tried the reverser at several cut offs and the engine and I agreed that 50% was about right. We stopped regularly to check around and to dose the pistons and valves with lubricating oil. Speed was limited to 10 mph. We tried it at 15 mph for a while but it quickly became apparent that this was just a little too fast for the front end. The engine and tender rode very well. All of this bodes well for when the engine runs under its own power. well done to Neal Woods who oversaw much of the work that was tested today".

Engine and tender were split, the tender put into Deviation Shed behind the Q6 (63395) tender whilst the engine was shunted into the Fabrication Shop for checking over and onset of work. To make space 'Hartland' (ex-Southern Region Pacific) was moved out of Deviation Shed and No. 8 road freed for the No. 29 Weltrol from behind the Q6, along with 'Lucie' which had been in the Fabrication Shop. Components were unloaded from the tender with additional items being brought from Hopetown by Nigel Hall in numerous vanloads over the following work sessions. Finally the cab, the front sandboxes, chimney and spare springs were moved by h.i.a.b on Saturday, 3rd March, the cab fitted onto the frames. From then there was considerable activity. Phil Naylor finished de-rivetting the old smokebox wrapper and started with preparing the smokebox for when the new one would be fitted as advised by the NYMR shed staff being the most cost-effective way of taking the job onward. The smokebox door front plate was re-erected and squared off ready to take the new wrapper - delivered from Teesside that same afternoon. It was in two halves to make fitting easier and work was expected to start the week beginning 12th March. At the end of the month the tender was filled with coal, the tank watered. Minor leaks were found and solved. The outer cladding would prove a prickly problem, though, as the top longitudinal crinoline that led from the cab front to the dome was about a half inch out (off centre) at the dome end. Whilst possible to fit the first sheet, time-consuming adjustment and refitting of new fixing holes was a vexing problem on the next sheet and a decision was made to weld in a new piece to to centre it and allow the cladding to be fitted. Aside from that work was about on target for week commencing 8th April.. It would not be until 27th April that the first steam test could be held. The cladding was eventually fitted with two new sheets round the firebox... following which the mechanism to operate the sandboxes needed adjustment after installation. What it is to be a grand old centenarian lady, eh? Work will involve checking and more adjustment during winter maintenance in order to avoid more headaches for the 2019 season. .

You can find more from the blog on the website.

[Incidentally, Class J27 65894 features early in Marsden Rail DVD Volume 13 "Brakevan To Whitby" introduced by the man himself, when taking a brakevan tour - extra van for paying passengers - of the western edge of Ryedale between Malton and Kirkbymoorside via Helmsley and Gilling. The engine was based at the time at York North (50A). Very interesting footage for those with an eye for local 'flavour'. NELPG's various locomotives crop up often throughout the North Eastern selection - up to 35 with Q6 63395, J72 69023 and K1 62005 sometimes joining J27 65894 in the same DVD].

Thursday-Friday afternoon, 30th-31st August, Leyburn on the Wensleydale Railway - her last days of operation, 65894 shows her mettle on the way to Redmire

Driver Terry Newman keeps watch as the tank fills on 65894 - the water crane is fairly new, fed from a water tower on the north side of the line
Driver Terry Newman keeps watch as the tank fills on 65894 - the water crane is fairly new, fed from a water tower on the north side of the line | Source
A footplate visitor is shown around the controls and working parts in the cab
A footplate visitor is shown around the controls and working parts in the cab | Source
Some of said moving parts on show through the cab side window - fireman's side, featuring the traditional white enamel tea can and cup (with handle, centre), shortly to be joined by one for the driver
Some of said moving parts on show through the cab side window - fireman's side, featuring the traditional white enamel tea can and cup (with handle, centre), shortly to be joined by one for the driver | Source
Terry Newman watches for the green flag from the guard at the back of the train...
Terry Newman watches for the green flag from the guard at the back of the train... | Source
And we're off, west to Redmire with fireman Pete James taking a rest to let cleaner Tom Noble shovel the black stuff
And we're off, west to Redmire with fireman Pete James taking a rest to let cleaner Tom Noble shovel the black stuff | Source
 After a tiring day up and down the line, 65894 takes a well earned breather prior to her return to the NYMR, an inspection and short rest before the Autumn Steam Gala, 28-30 September, 2018
After a tiring day up and down the line, 65894 takes a well earned breather prior to her return to the NYMR, an inspection and short rest before the Autumn Steam Gala, 28-30 September, 2018 | Source
65894 passes Crake Hall level crossing on her last but one day of running on the Wensleydale Railway (note photographer's vintage car to the right of the gates)
65894 passes Crake Hall level crossing on her last but one day of running on the Wensleydale Railway (note photographer's vintage car to the right of the gates) | Source
The day before I arrived at Leyburn another Wensleydale Railway Association member took this view of a different crew on duty
The day before I arrived at Leyburn another Wensleydale Railway Association member took this view of a different crew on duty | Source

What accurate modelling options are there for Class P3/J27?

In 7mm scale ('O' Gauge) we have a first class offering from DJH Kits
In 7mm scale ('O' Gauge) we have a first class offering from DJH Kits | Source
The DJH kit when made up by a professional hand can be quite a stunner, as witnessed by these two images provided by the kitmaker
The DJH kit when made up by a professional hand can be quite a stunner, as witnessed by these two images provided by the kitmaker | Source
Down a size to 4mm scale, Dave Bradwell's kit is no lazy hike through the instruction pages, and has been described as over-complicated to assemble. A fair alternative I've heard is the Dave Alexander kit. You pays your money and takes your choices
Down a size to 4mm scale, Dave Bradwell's kit is no lazy hike through the instruction pages, and has been described as over-complicated to assemble. A fair alternative I've heard is the Dave Alexander kit. You pays your money and takes your choices | Source
Roy Marshall, NELPG Company Secretary is also a keen modeller in 2mm/N Gauge. He sent me this image of two of his Union Mills Class J27 conversions to J26 (65747 and 65748 were allocated to West Hartlepool - 51C) .
Roy Marshall, NELPG Company Secretary is also a keen modeller in 2mm/N Gauge. He sent me this image of two of his Union Mills Class J27 conversions to J26 (65747 and 65748 were allocated to West Hartlepool - 51C) . | Source

Not exactly "Stop Press", as the news was broken to me in an e-mail last week:(weekending 27th January, 2019)

The e-mail came from online (and warehouse) model retail outlet Hattons about a forthcoming release they have planned with Oxford Rail, a manufacturer - so far - of good quality wagon models. Now Oxford Rail intends to launch a Class J27 0-6-0 with the following running numbers in the following liveries:

1214 in early LNER livery, company cypher as "L&NER";

1010 in later LNER black;

65887 in BR black with early crest ('cycling lion');

65817 in BR black with late crest (lozenge).

I know which I prefer, and have e-mailed for a reminder when available and at what price (current estimate is £104). I shall re-number at least one, as I aim to get more than one over time, to 65894, shedded in the early-to-late 1950s at York. She can be seen in the Marsden Rail dvd "Brakevan to Whitby", along with - I think - the K1 62005 and Q6 63395. All three feature in other Marsden Rail features (roughly one hour long) and show all the locomotives owned by NELPG at work over the years up to withdrawal.

Oxford Rail CAD image via Hattons' e-mail release, 4/3/2019

The Hattons Oxford Rail J27 release banner shows 65894 near Goathland on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) with an engineer's train of ballast hoppers and mineral hopper with a Midland(?) mineral brake van
The Hattons Oxford Rail J27 release banner shows 65894 near Goathland on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) with an engineer's train of ballast hoppers and mineral hopper with a Midland(?) mineral brake van | Source
One of the CAD images of the Oxford Rail J27, to be released on sale later this year (2019), in LNER and BR early and late liveries
One of the CAD images of the Oxford Rail J27, to be released on sale later this year (2019), in LNER and BR early and late liveries | Source
J27 65816 rests between duties at her home shed, West Hartlepool (51C) in early British Railways days - note the loco behind, her tender still in LNER livery
J27 65816 rests between duties at her home shed, West Hartlepool (51C) in early British Railways days - note the loco behind, her tender still in LNER livery | Source

Class J72, designed 1898 originally as Class E1 by Wilson Worsdell, NER Loco Superintendent

Seen here in 1951 under construction at North Road Works, Darlington as BR(NE) 69023 - used prmarily on pilot/shunting duties at York, then Newcastle-upon-Tyne Class E1 built 1898, further batches under LNER (1930s) and BR (1950s) photo: HD Bowtell
Seen here in 1951 under construction at North Road Works, Darlington as BR(NE) 69023 - used prmarily on pilot/shunting duties at York, then Newcastle-upon-Tyne Class E1 built 1898, further batches under LNER (1930s) and BR (1950s) photo: HD Bowtell | Source
69023 stands proudly after overhaul at the workshops of ICI Wilton on Teesside, resplendent in her livery (as it was when she was station pilot at Newcastle-upon-Tyne (R Pearson)
69023 stands proudly after overhaul at the workshops of ICI Wilton on Teesside, resplendent in her livery (as it was when she was station pilot at Newcastle-upon-Tyne (R Pearson) | Source
Class J72 0-6-0 tank locomotive arrives at Hopetown, Darlington on a low loader for overhaul, mid December, 2004 (R Pearson)
Class J72 0-6-0 tank locomotive arrives at Hopetown, Darlington on a low loader for overhaul, mid December, 2004 (R Pearson) | Source
A fracture in the cylinder block was the main reason for work needed, with other jobs arising. Here the cylinder block is lifted from the frames
A fracture in the cylinder block was the main reason for work needed, with other jobs arising. Here the cylinder block is lifted from the frames | Source
The cylinder block has been split for investigation into damage and possible causes. With these veterans one job can very easily lead to another... and another
The cylinder block has been split for investigation into damage and possible causes. With these veterans one job can very easily lead to another... and another | Source
The cylinder block is refitted to 69023. A step in the right direction to getting her back on the rails again as a revenue earner!
The cylinder block is refitted to 69023. A step in the right direction to getting her back on the rails again as a revenue earner! | Source

With the operating future of 65894 becoming clearer with a return to steam forecast, the future of J72 69023 became uncertain.

Despite great efforts being made the firebox turbeplate still leaked and a decision was made to retube, which would take NELPG to the official withdrawal date of 25th Augut, 2018. The cost of the retube would have been met from earnings (on the Wensleydale Railway) up to the time of withdrawal from service. However, as the small tubes were being removed it became clearer that the tubeplate was worse than thought. The holes for the tubes had noticeable size variations and thus the ligaments - solid copper between tube holes - also revealed size variations.

Before taking further action it was decided to seek advice from the boiler inspector. On his visit to Hopetown he suggested the ten yearly overhaul be undertaken straight away as he was unhappy with the state of the tubeplate. Additionally, access to the interior of the boiler is severely restricted until five longitudinal stays, the regulator and regulator rod are removed. Moreover a slim volunteer was needed, who was willing to go into the boiler. Following consultation the decision was taken to defer work being undertaken until the following committee meeting when an overall review of the group's locomotives - 69023 included - would be considered.

Recently 'Joem' has been very popular, with numerous requests to hire her. It would be a disservice to her popularity to leave her to languish indefinitely in a shed. The committee decided to take on the ten yearly overhaul with the following conditions in mind:

1. That this would go ahead as finances allowed; 2. Someone with relevant experience would have to be on hand to lead the overhaul; 3. The workforce to undertake the overhaul at Hopetown would need to be recruited from the technical membership.

Class K1 designed Arthur Peppercorn 1947, produced from 1948 under British Railways at various sites

62005, still in British Railways' hands on the 3 Dales Railtour, May 1967. Later that year Viscount Garnock bought the engine as a source of spares for his K4 2-6-0 'The Great Marquess' before handing her over to NELPG
62005, still in British Railways' hands on the 3 Dales Railtour, May 1967. Later that year Viscount Garnock bought the engine as a source of spares for his K4 2-6-0 'The Great Marquess' before handing her over to NELPG | Source
The K1 in LNER Darlington green livery at the 1975 S&DR 150 event, Shildon. The group ballots members by post on their preferred choice of livery after each overhaul
The K1 in LNER Darlington green livery at the 1975 S&DR 150 event, Shildon. The group ballots members by post on their preferred choice of livery after each overhaul | Source
K1 62005 heads B1 61264 and a train of British Railways Mark 1 passenger stock at Corrour in October, 2002
K1 62005 heads B1 61264 and a train of British Railways Mark 1 passenger stock at Corrour in October, 2002 | Source
October, 2003, 62005 cruises by Loch Eilt on the West Highland line between Fort William and Mallaig
October, 2003, 62005 cruises by Loch Eilt on the West Highland line between Fort William and Mallaig | Source

Winter maintenance work on K1 62005 is ongoing, where re-assembly has been begun

Work on the trailing coupled axleboxes is complete with the wheelset refitted. Several hornstay bolt holes were reamed and new bolts fitted. Honing of the left-hand piston valve lines was completed, the valve refitted complete with new rings. the left-hand piston was refitted - also with new rings - as was the re-metalled crosshead. The union link pin bush was replaced in this crosshead, and the union link and combination lever refitted. The left side of the engine was effectively complete.

A good start was made on honing the right-hand valve liners, the front liner done and the back one well on the way to completion as at the time of publication of the NELPG NEWS, April 2018 edition. The right-hand crosshead was returned from remetalling, and with the piston was ready for refit. A sample superheater element was removed to check its state, found to be good and was refitted. In the smokebox the ejector exhaust was repaired and refitted, and the blower supply pipe had a new flange fitted.

The bottom line however is that work on the K1 was still running behind and there was a lot to be done before the engine left Carnforth. Full weekends were being worked to complete the work in time but as ever it was the same stalwarts who kept turning up - considering also the bad weather probably kept willing members from showing up, as cross-Pennine traffic was hit by abnormal weather..

Class Q6, designed 1913 as Class T2 by Vincent L Raven, NER Locomotive Superintendent

Class Q6 63395, Seaton Bank, County Durham August 1967, shortly before withdrawal by BR(NE) and purchase by NELPG
Class Q6 63395, Seaton Bank, County Durham August 1967, shortly before withdrawal by BR(NE) and purchase by NELPG | Source
63395 on display with an information board on her running plate  awaits overhaul work at NELPG's shed near Deviation Shed, Grosmont, 1994 (R Pearson)
63395 on display with an information board on her running plate awaits overhaul work at NELPG's shed near Deviation Shed, Grosmont, 1994 (R Pearson) | Source
63395 in mid-overhaul stands outside Deviation Shed  January 2007 with her smokebox awaiting attention (R Pearson)
63395 in mid-overhaul stands outside Deviation Shed January 2007 with her smokebox awaiting attention (R Pearson) | Source
Junior Volunteers - the next generation pose by the smokebox door of 'centenarian' 63395 at Deviation Shed. These are our technicians of the future, learning the terminology and tools used in overhauling a locomotive to take it into the future.
Junior Volunteers - the next generation pose by the smokebox door of 'centenarian' 63395 at Deviation Shed. These are our technicians of the future, learning the terminology and tools used in overhauling a locomotive to take it into the future. | Source

Very good progress was made on the mechanical side of the overhaul on 63395.

Help in a number of tricky areas was gratefully received from the shed staff at Grosmont. With the left-hand side big end machined the mechanical side will be practically done aside from valve setting and weighing. The result will be necessary jobs rapidly coming to a close, although more work will be available with progress being made on the boiler. Speaking of which, new copper ferrules have been made, some flue seats cut. There are many more to complete, together with welding repairs on the front tube plate. The delay has been brought about by the NYMR's need to advance winter maintenance work on their own locomotive fleet. Work on the tubes needed to be completed before the Q6 could be moved next to the boiler shop for the tubes to be expanded and beaded over. The new superheater elements were expected to arrive on 2nd April.

Outstanding jobs to be done at the time of the NELPG NEWS publication numbered fifteen in all.

In her hundredth year, Q6 63395 went 'abroad' (out of the North East) for the first time to the Severn Valley Railway

 63395 leaves Bridgnorth shed in the rain for the 1300 departure, 21.9
63395 leaves Bridgnorth shed in the rain for the 1300 departure, 21.9 | Source
Leaving Bewdley with the 15.15 ex-Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, 21.9
Leaving Bewdley with the 15.15 ex-Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, 21.9 | Source
Taking the Falling Sands viaduct over the River Stour with 10.00, 21.9
Taking the Falling Sands viaduct over the River Stour with 10.00, 21.9 | Source
Approaching Hay Bridge to behin climb on Eardington Bank from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth
Approaching Hay Bridge to behin climb on Eardington Bank from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth | Source
Crossing Victoria Bridge with the 15.15 from Kidderminster, 21.9
Crossing Victoria Bridge with the 15.15 from Kidderminster, 21.9 | Source
Final curtain on the SVR at Arley, 23rd September, 63395 takes the 13.15 Bridgnorth-Kidderminster - she'll be on her way back to Grosmont for the Autumn Steam Gala as I write this, 15.50, 24th September.
Final curtain on the SVR at Arley, 23rd September, 63395 takes the 13.15 Bridgnorth-Kidderminster - she'll be on her way back to Grosmont for the Autumn Steam Gala as I write this, 15.50, 24th September. | Source

From being out-shopped at North Road Works, Darlington on 2nd December, 1918

Vincent Raven's Class T2 0-8-0 No. 2238 would be kept occupied through the latter years of the North Eastern Railway's existence, through the slacker years between the wars in her LNER guise from 1923, latterly numbered 3395 and into British Railways' ownership in 1948 as 63395.

She would be kept busy during the years of rebuilding Britain, through the Austerity years of the late 40s and early 50s and an economic boom... until modernisation loomed. Modernisation meant dieselisation, set in motion from the mid-60s onward. The writing was on the wall for the hundreds of steam locomotives allocated to North Eastern sheds 50A York to 54D Consett (latterly to 55G Bradford Hammerton Street after part of the Midland Region was re-allocated to the North Eastern). Steam sheds in the region were reduced in number to just two by September, 1967.

Two NER classes most associated with industry in the North East were P3 0-6-0 and T2 0-8-0, re-classified J27 and Q6 respectively by the LNER. British Railways kept the classifications inherited from the LNER on the eastern side of England and Scotland. The North Eastern Railway's needs were simple, straightforward: no-nonsense power and as much as it could muster for its no-nonsense customers. By wartime, 1914-18 the needs were met by two distinct classes of locomotive of six and eight coupled wheel tender locomotive. Many of these would survive not one but two world wars, and would succumb only to the cutter's torch. One hundred and twenty Class T2 locomotives were built between 1913 and 1921 for working not only heavy coal trains but steel and oil as well. Steel was needed for ship-building, power stations, more steel plant, bridges and replacement rails for those damaged by bombing in WWII amongst other loads.

Built to Vincent Raven's design, these handsome, powerful machines had superheated boilers and steam reversing gear No. 2238 was one of eight built to complete a special order by the War Office to replace those sent to France, and to carry on operating vital freight haulage, especially coal for the Royal Navy's capital ships, at a time when all materials had been required for the war effort.

In his Class T2 Raven produced a locomotive that could be driven 'all out' - full regulator and full forward gear - over indefinite periods on anything up to mineral train speeds. In 1915 examples of Class T2 underwent dynamometer trials on 700 ton trains between Newport near Middlesbrough and Shildon near Darlington, affording impressive performances, comparing very favourably with the recently introduced electric locomotives Raven had introduced on the route. Class T2, (LNER Class Q6) proved extremely successful in continuing an NER tradition for reliable freight haulage. To consolidate their success their design was never amended, although some - including LNER No. 3395 - were to sacrifice their self-trimming tenders to the famed NER three cylinder 'Atlantic' Class 4-4-2 in exchange for the conventional type.

On being shopped out 2238 was passed on to Gateshead to be run in and then allocation to Blaydon followed, where she stayed two-and-a-half decades before crossing the North East from shed to shed between Tyneside and the Humber. From 1947-59 in British Railways ownership she was at Selby shed (50C) until transfer to Darlington (51A), on to Consett (54D) before a final allocation to Sunderland (54A) in May, 1965. Trips to Vane Tempest colliery were her standby duties, along with South Hetton colliery, Seaham as well as between Tyneside and Teesside. In September, 1967 she was due to be sent for scrap when NELPG stepped in.

Two dozen of Class Q6 were still in traffic when NELPG was founded in 1966. Gradually they were withdrawn and sold locally for scrap. In the first quarter of 1967 withdrawals from Tyne Dock (54B), Sunderland and West Hartlepool (51C) left seventeen of the class. By the originally planned June, 1967 cut-off date for steam only seven were left. The survivors worked daily flat-out, Tyne Dock's last two on 1st July. Now 63344, 63387 and 63431 remained at West Hartlepool and 63395 at Sunderland.

At the inaugural meeting NELPG founder members voted by a narrow majority to preserve a J27 sooner than a Q6. Following the success of the J27 appeal for funds when 65894 was bought on 1st December, 1967 thoughts turned to buying a Q6. Funds would not quite reach the purchase price, however. If funds were available, though, which one would they go for? All the remaining members of Class Q6 were in a sad state, as were those of Class J27, having run 60,000 miles on heavy duty since their last overhaul. No expert inspection was made of the two survivors but it was decided on to ask for one to be put aside for purchase by them. The locomotive chosen happened to be 63395, partly because she'd been overhauled at North Road Works in September, 1965. Also she was a favourite with enthusiasts who had cleaned her unofficially and taken pictures of her with smoke (arranged by obliging crews).

Meanwhile reliable contacts were made with the original British Railways engineering managers at Newcastle-upon-Tyne - many of whim had a soft spot for steam, although the same men could as easily consign her for scrap. One of these was the late John Bellwood, Tractive Engineer for the North Eastern Region. He was involved in preservation on the newly re-opened Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. John gave permission for 63395 to be set aside until June, 1968 pending funds being raised for the balance on 63395. The appeal for funds to save the last Q6 was launched early in December, 1967, yet news of the appeal could not be released until the following month. After the elation of writing out the cheque for 65894 a body blow came when the group received a letter from BR(NE) on 5th December, 1967, stating;

"Locomotive No. 63395, together with other locomotives, has been disposed of by competitive tender and I regret it is not available for offer to you".

This was staggering news, especially in the light of earlier guarantees. Worse would follow. She was scheduled to be towed from what was considered a safe haven at Tyne Dock to Hughes Bolckow's Blyth scrap yard the next day. Next, however, to the surprise and joy of group members the diesel locomotive crew rostered to accompany the engine did not show on duty that day. Theories abound about how this came about, some suggesting the famous Newcastle Brown Ale might have played a part. It is more likely that John Bellwood intervened, having set 63395 aside in the first place, and cancelled the tow to give NELPG's Committee time to act.

Soon an emergency Committee meeting went into all possible ways in which 63395 could be rescued from the cutter's torch, the last of Vincent Raven's North Eastern Railway heritage. The Managing Director of Hughes Bolckow was not long in realising NELPG's desire to save the locomotive. He was in a quandary about how to get round a blanket BR contractual ban on re-sale, a standard condition that applied to all UK scrap dealers - equally to Dai Woodham's yard on Barry Island in South Wales, that sold off many of those that came into his sidings.

NELPG's chairman Bryce Greenfield had, in the course of buying 65894, developed a good working relationship with ARPS Chairman Peter Manisty, who set up a meeting with the BR Board that brought a welcome result (for which the whole preservation movement ought to be thankful. Peter relished the challenge and left the meeting having changed those standard terms of the BRB sales contract, in itself an amazing feat. For the first time ever locomotives could now be re-sold for preservation, and 63395 looked secure.

She stayed at Tyne Dock pending further meetings with Hughes Bolckow and a deal was agreed at last whereby the scrap yard would be assured the additional £200 over that they paid to BR. So £2,300 needed to be raised in the course of five months, and payments were agreed in stages. To put you in focus, it had taken a year to raise the £1,400 to rescue 65894. As if this were not hard enough, several other preservation groups made similar appeals elsewhere for schemes to buy B1 4-6-0 61306. Class A2 4-6-2 65032 'Blue Peter' and Class J21 0-6-0 65033 - saved five days before the due date of being towed to the scrap yard. J72 0-6-0 tank engine 'Joem' was rescued by Ron Ainsworth, as I've mentioned. Against this uncertain financial backdrop - with changes happening daily - that NELPG was faced with raising the then steep sum of £2,300. Drastic action was needed and an emergency newsletter was circulated amongst the membership for donations. The reaction was unforeseen. From £464 on 31st December to fund swelled to £1,316 by 5th January, 1968. This was beyond belief, a hefty £500 being one of the larger amounts donated by then Vice President Brian Hollingsworth, an amazing contribution at the right time. On 1st April the Committee could report 63395 had been bought for £2,300. She is a lucky survivor, the last steam locomotive Hughes Bolckow bought for scrap that never rolled into their yard, a tribute to the enthusiasts' enthusiasm.

With no further delay the Q6 was towed to Thornaby shed (51L) west of Middlesbrough and stored in the roundhouse as restoration work was undertaken by NELPG volunteers. A successful steaming was the result of hard work, with a well anticipated further move to the NYMR on 20th June. A marriage of convenience - NELPG had two locomotives with no fixed abode and the as yet little-known NYMR had a railway with no sizeable locomotives to run on it. Although the Q6 had been out-shopped from Thornaby in BR black livery a ballot was taken amongst members that expressed their wish to adopt the LNER freight unlined black as No. 3395. In time for the Stockton & Darlington Railway 150th commemoration she was re-liveried as NER Class T2 2238.

Although the T2/Q6 made her debut on the NYMR on 25th June, 1970 she has been out of traffic for periodic overhaul. Following her withdrawal at the end of the 1982 operating season she was not to see service again before 2007, having undergone a seven year overhaul partly financed by the Heritage Lottery Fund. She was in regular use until 2012 with an average of over 4,500 miles in service per year. After a boiler overhaul at Crewe in 2012-13 she returned to traffic in 2014 - not for long! Axlebox repairs in 2017 allowed her to resume running in 2018 in time for her centenary. Her highest mileage in a year achieved since preservation was 7,296 in 2016, 54.762 in total to date on the NYMR.

Whilst the locomotive has spent much of her preservation time on the NYMR, she has been away from the railway a few times, the first being on display at Newcastle Central Station in 1972, and again in 1975 when with J27 65894 and K1 62005 she appeared at the Shildon S&DR 150 anniversary celebration. More recently she has appeared at the National Railway Museum's Shildon 'Locomotion' site, a visit to the Great Central Railway in 2009 and the Severn Valley Railway (see pictures above) in September, 2018. To celebrate her hundredth year on 2nd December, 2018 she took the 12.00 working from Grosmont to Pickering. A grand old dame showing she still had it in her on her Centenary!

North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group's 50 year history

You can buy the book from Amazon or you can contact NELPG direct for a copy/ copies:
You can buy the book from Amazon or you can contact NELPG direct for a copy/ copies: | Source

NELPG is a charity run by volunteers...

Members' ages run from early teens as Junior Volunteers to octogenarians - early members, some railwaymen, who joined at the first meeting in the Railway Hotel, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Past retirement age, still involved in one way or another they'll go on being railway men. It's a hobby, all the same, keeping these engines on the rails and overhauled on a regular basis with grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and elsewhere in view of the lasting pleasure they bring to tourists and enthusiasts alike.; associations are formed with preserved, re-opened railways and national networks to demonstrate that steam - however old - is still alive and reaches young or old in the same way. The sight of a steam locomotive can bring a lump to the throat, a tear to the eye of those - like me - who can recall travelling behind a steam locomotive from the North East to Kings Cross Station, London, until the early 1960s.

Join NELPG and help keep these veterans in steam even if only by your monthly contributions. Some of you might even be technically versatile and willing to have a go at learning how to tell a big end from a cylinder block, and fixing it.

"We're all unpaid volunteers. Our pride comes from what we do and how we work together with our 'team-mates'. Be one of us".

Volunteers crowd around K1 62005 at Hellifield on the Settle & Carlisle Railway on their way to the West Highland Line. Maybe you'll be a volunteer with them, or support their work. Maybe you'll travel to Fort William or the Kyle of Lochalsh to visit
Volunteers crowd around K1 62005 at Hellifield on the Settle & Carlisle Railway on their way to the West Highland Line. Maybe you'll be a volunteer with them, or support their work. Maybe you'll travel to Fort William or the Kyle of Lochalsh to visit | Source

Having raised the subject of model options for the Worsdell Class NER P3/LNER & BR J27, what about NELPG's other engines in model form?

They are all available in either 7 mm or 4mm scale for OO/EM/P4 finescale gauges in kit form, or - unlike the P3/J27 - also in ready-to-run form.

Beginning with the Worsdell designed NER E1/ LNER-BR J72 0-6-0 tank locomotive, this has been available for some years through Bachmann Branchline, previously Replica (and the sharp-eyed amongst you might spot a Replica model at an exhibition on the used model stands). My version is the earlier split-chassis Bachmann Branchline, and painted to look like the common or garden shunter as opposed to the 1951-built station pilots that were liveried with the NER and BR armorials and allocated finally to Newcastle-upon-Tyne station where they moved passenger and parcels stock.

The Raven NER 0-8-0 T3/LNER-BR Q6 was newly introduced mid-2017 by Hornby in several liveries and with the early or late tender and motion guards. They are excellent runners (I've got a pair with the 'unicycling' lion emblem on the tender, one late, one earlier).

And finally Hornby also brought out the North British-built K1 2-6-0, also in 2017 with both BR emblems, of which I have two 'unicycling' lions. The numbering didn't need to be changed as they were numbered for the BR(NE) region.

All I need now is to get a Dave Alexander (recommended by fellow DOGA members) Class J27 kit... Maybe two? The class was very numerous between Tyneside and Selby, especially north of the Tees. None were allocated outside the region as far as I know. For details of the engines and their allocation within the region consult the NELPG 50 book featured above.

Bachmann Branchline Class J72 0-6-0 tank engine in LNER black livery from the box. The later 1951-built version is also available as owned by NELPG with NER and BR armorials, late of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central Station
Bachmann Branchline Class J72 0-6-0 tank engine in LNER black livery from the box. The later 1951-built version is also available as owned by NELPG with NER and BR armorials, late of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Central Station | Source
An only example I have of the Bachmann Branchline J72. Number 68689 of Middlesbrough shed (51D) looks suitably careworn from standing out in the rain since the shed buildings lost all rooves to bombing in WWII
An only example I have of the Bachmann Branchline J72. Number 68689 of Middlesbrough shed (51D) looks suitably careworn from standing out in the rain since the shed buildings lost all rooves to bombing in WWII | Source
The Hornby Class Q6 0-8-0 with late crest, Catalogue R3426 in a 'natural' model setting - but where's the lineside fencing?
The Hornby Class Q6 0-8-0 with late crest, Catalogue R3426 in a 'natural' model setting - but where's the lineside fencing? | Source
One of my two Hornby Class Q6 locomotive models, this being 63343 of Haverton Hill Shed (Billingham, Teesside)
One of my two Hornby Class Q6 locomotive models, this being 63343 of Haverton Hill Shed (Billingham, Teesside) | Source
Hornby K1 62015 (Cat 3242) - i'd be inclined to renumber the model to 62045, a Darlington allocation (easy enough, with Hollar Models' paste on a cotton bud to remove the '1'
Hornby K1 62015 (Cat 3242) - i'd be inclined to renumber the model to 62045, a Darlington allocation (easy enough, with Hollar Models' paste on a cotton bud to remove the '1' | Source
This is one of my two Hornby Class K1 62064 of Stockton-on-Tees (51E) in the early 50s. Some amount of weathering makes a model look real, Smiths three link couplings (on Q6) or Jackson screw couplings and cast brass vac pipes are a must on a K1
This is one of my two Hornby Class K1 62064 of Stockton-on-Tees (51E) in the early 50s. Some amount of weathering makes a model look real, Smiths three link couplings (on Q6) or Jackson screw couplings and cast brass vac pipes are a must on a K1 | Source

© 2018 Alan R Lancaster

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    • alancaster149 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alan R Lancaster 

      13 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Lawrence, some of these old gals have seen service with three railway companies since their build date, and the eldest - the NER's P3/ LNER-BR(NE) J27 was designed by Sir Vincent Raven before WWI. The NER T3, LNER-BR(NE) came out just after WWI, also a Raven design from before WWI. Both saw service in the North East. until withdrawal in September 1967. Have you had a look at the NELPG web site? Lots of information there, isn't there. Exhaustive, you might say. Look in on this page from time to time as I intend to update information on the different locos. Good on yer for looking in.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 

      13 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Alan

      Good to see these 'old gals' coming back into service.

    • alancaster149 profile imageAUTHOR

      Alan R Lancaster 

      14 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Hello girls, the Gresley teak stock is based - in this case - on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway as the property of the LNER Coach Association.(see also TRAVEL NORTH - 13: RE-OPENED RAILWAYS.) The K1 is hired annually by the West Highland Railway from the Kyle of Lochalsh to Fort William (traditonally the territory of the Gresley Class K4 2-6-0 such as "The Great Marquess", on the fish trains to Glasgow, now a tourist line that skirts several lochs and crosses the Glenfinnan concrete viaduct built by Sir Robert Macalpine, dubbed 'Concrete Bob', as the viaduct is built entirely of concrete). The J27 will operate on the NYMR for some time this season, and hopefully the Q6 will join her before the season ends in November. One of the engines may replace the J72, favoured on the Wensleydale Railway recently, and there's always the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (Bronte country) to consider. On one of your visits to Canny Yatton, Mary, you could squeeze in a trip from Whitby to Pickering to visit your nephew on a train hauled by one of the NYMR's engines, some that ran locally in British Railways days such as the BR Class 3 2-6-0 or BR class 4 2-6-4 tank engines transferred from London in the mid-1950s. You could stop off at Goathland, where the "Heartbeat" TV series was filmed, take a seat in the Goathland Hotel that subbed as the "Aidensfield Arms" with actor Derek Fowlds (ex "Yes Minster") as landlord. You can get off an on a train on a rail rover ticket, ask at the booking office (on the NYMR) or ask the train ticket collector if you board at Whitby.

      Bronwen you can buy a DVD online from the NYMR. I have two, "From The Footplate". of BR Standard class 4 80135 on its way from Pickering to Grosmont (51 minutes), or a history of the Whitby & Pickering Railway titled "Moors Steam Endeavour" presented by Graeme Aldous as he travels south from Whitby. (65 minutes). Whitby is James Cook country, as you know, and he was in Canada when General Wolfe was there, as he was in Australia and New Zealand later in his sea-going career. There's a Hub Page about that on my profile as well.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      14 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Such an interesting and comprehensive article! The old steam trains had such character and evoke so many happy memories. Although I never travelled on the ones you write about, I really enjoyed the read.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      14 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      This is amazing what a group of committed volunteers could do. I would love to travel in this train.

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