A week in the life of the Motive Power Department from Nick Simpson, MPD Manager, in the lead up to the Annual Steam Gala...

Tuesday 20 September
Prep day for the shed, begins at 4.45am with the duty fitters and cleaners booking on. The locos for the day are examined by the early fitter and lit in preparation for service.

Fitter clocks on at 5.30am to take the right hand cylinder cover off No. 92134 to find the source of a reported knock, cover removed, little end split and con rod dropped by 6.30am

Pit dug out of yesterday’s ash.

Fitting staff on site from 7am and the boiler team begin washing out the Q6.

Staff travel over to Harrogate to get our tyre profile gauges calibrated.

The wooden patterns for the cast iron products continue to be made in house.

New air compressor feet being fabricated on site by plant and machinery team. 

The 9F has cylinder liner, cylinder cover and head cleaned, before the new piston rings are gaped.

J27 fitting out begins following it stay replacement.

Coaling begins.

Second fitting staff shift begins.

Hartland’s final rows of stay holes are marked out by the a boilersmith and apprentice.

Ultrasonic axle testing contractor now on site to examine Repton and 5428 (both pass).

NELPG on site to work on final fitting out of the J27. The boiler hand rails are fitted and all the remaining post washout jobs are all wrapped up on the Q6.

NYMR builders on site to carry on with the female toilet fitting out and building the door frame and stud wall.

Contractors on site to lay a new office floor.

Cleaner dig out road 4 track outside the running shed for a required track repair the following day and P-Way on site to measure up and assess the job.

YMJ apprentices go to T.T.E. college

No. 37403 has an electrical issue fixed. 

10am monthly staff meeting held with all at the M.P.D. to discuss final preparations for the gala plan with the shed staff.

10.30am, shunting begins using No. 12139 in the back field so that Sir Nigel Gresley’s support coach can be sited near an electrical hook up point for the duration of the A4’s stay.

Scaffolding around No. 44806’s tender is lowered for the shunting.

Shed induction carried out for a member of staff.

On D7628 the engine rebuild continues, working on the bottom liner and cleaning up ready for repair.

9F piston rings are fitted, cover replaced and little end refitted. The drain cock pipes go back on and the loco is ready for a steam test the following day.

Armstrong Oilers catch up meeting to see how work is progressing.

Drilling on Hartland's boiler begins, final welding jobs on the boiler discussed including location of ashpan stubs.

Duty fitter shift change and refill the coaling stage.

Q6 has its plugs and mudhole doors installed, boiler refilled with water and a warming fire is lit for steam test in the morning.

New MPD flower bed finished and primed ready for positioning at the gala.

Marketing arrive at site for Gresley’s arrival with press to take images and get interviews in the build up the gala event.

No. 4498 arrives to the column with its support coach, coach shunted to the back field and engine goes to the pit for acceptance exam.

No. 31128 is started and moved off the boiler shop ramp so that the A4 can park there for its gala preparations

Works van to P-Way yard to pick up a section of track that has been cut to length for 4 roads repair.

Marketing catch up chat.

Coal delivery to the coal stage.

Builders and contractors sign off.

First shift clocks off

J27 jobs finished off.

No. 85, No. 29, J27 and 9F are fires lit for steam test.

Second shift clocks out.

Late fitter examines in bound locomotives from the days traffic.

Locos stabled by the crews.

Late fitter locks up and signs off at 9pm.

All this could not be achieved without my team, whether paid, volunteer, owning group, division manager or contactor that was a epic shift we all pulled, gala buzz is defiantly with us and around the shed and we are ready, many thanks to all involved.