Nick Simpson, Grosmont Motive Power Department Manager, takes us through a few of the jobs the team are working on this November.

Work on rebuilds begins in November after a busy season. The steam locomotives enter a period of extensive examination and repairs after starring all year around the railway. This work includes full annual exams on the mechanical motion, annual exams on the boilers, tyre measurements, booked repairs undertaken, valve and piston exams, crack testing, ashpan exams, washouts and insurance steam exams ready for the season once more.

Work has begun on No. 76079 and No. 80136, all the motion is removed and stored after cleaning, measuring for wear and exams from both engines and currently No. 80136 is in the wheel drop awaiting the wheel set removal, these will then be sent away for tyre turning, both these two engines have been chosen to be first in as they will be needed to form the basis of next year's operating fleet in the spring.

Next the fitters attention turns to the valve and piston exams for both these machines, the rods are stripped, valves and pistons extracted and bores measured. The rings are assessed for wear and if required new valve and piston rings machined on site. No. 76079 so far is the first of the fleet to be assessed and it will need rings this time. We are also due on site contractors to machine the blast pipe base on No. 92134, the base had suffered after sitting in the open after withdrawal from BR and now is the best time of year to sort this job and reassemble the removed blast pipe and spark arrestor.

Also in this time we need to keep in mind that we have December services to run so we cannot just strip every loco to bits, this year the J27, Q6, No. 8 and No. 5428 should form the running fleet for Santa with No. 37264, J27 and No. 5428 on washout this week, our apprentices are training on washout so they are operating the hose under supervision from the Boilersmiths.

Both of these machines are having repairs rectified as were booked from October. Today there was No. 92134, No. 76079 (minus its tender), Repton (No tender), J27, No. 5428 and No. 8 all in the running shed either being taken to bits or being put back together for traffic, we also mustn’t forget the reindeer name plates that need dusting off for fitting for Santa’s trains.

Busy in the running shed, it's a full time job in itself keeping a check on parts, issuing tasks in the correct order, feeding work to the machine shop at a rate that it will not be over run, working on the locos, shunting and arranging contractors to shed for our running and boiler departments and their managers.

Hope Santa has a good visit and we make him and his elves proud!

Read the October MPD Engineering Blog.