Welcome to Locoyard’s Model of the Week Blog Post! Today we have an example of arguably one of the most versatile steam locomotives ever constructed – the Stanier Black 5!
Built in 1945 at Horwich Works, 44932 is a member of a class that totaled a very impressive 842 locomotives! Stanier’s “Black 5” is probably the best known “do anything, go anywhere” mixed traffic steam locomotive that has ever been produced in the UK.
It certainly wasn’t the first though! It was heavily influenced by the GWR Hall class that proceeded it. As an aside, the first member of the class, number 5020 was completed in August 1934. Interestingly the first Black 5 was built by a contractor – the Vulcan Foundry who beat Crewe by 6 months! Despite this, it was 5000 – the locomotive that should have been the first that has since been preserved at the National Railway Museum.
This locomotive started life as LMS 4932 and was renumbered 44932 in 1948 when LMS was absorbed into British Railways. At nationalisation, it was based at Blackpool Central (South), at a time when Black 5’s were still being built new. Production only ceased in 1951, when the design was superseded by BR Standard class 5MT – a very similar machine. A BR Standard 5MT class has previously featured as a model of the week – click here to read more.
44932 was withdrawn in 1968 from Burnley’s Rose Grove shed, but was one of 18 members of the class fortunate enough to survive the cutters torch and be preserved.
Since preservation, 44932 has become a regular, consistent performer on the mainline. Originally based at the now defunct “Steamtown” Carnforth, 44932 has had several spells on the Mainline. During the late 1970’s and the 80’s it ran in a light shade of BR Green which was not popular amongst purists… after all, a black 5 is by definition black!
The locomotive is currently owned by the West Coast Railway company and was last overhauled in 2010, so should be on the mainline circuit for some time to come.