On the eve of what is billed as one of the greatest railway events of the decade, it was decided we should republish our A4 locomotive profiles. Here are 3 of them, in build order; 60009, 4489 & 60008. The Concluding 3 will follow after the event.
Tomorrow, a special blog post will be posted including some of the first images courtesy of one of the UK Heritage Hub’s numerous contributors. A full article, along side numerous special A4 features will be available in Issue 24 of our e-zine, to be released on the 12th July.
LNER A4 4-6-2 60009 ‘Union Of South Africa’
Built in 1937 at Doncaster, LNER works number 1853 was released to traffic on 29th June 1937 and allocated to Haymarket shed, where she would remain until 1962. The eleventh of Sir Nigel Gresley’s streamlined A4 pacifics, 4488 originally held the name ‘Osprey’ from her completion on 17th April 1937. She was painted garter blue and renamed ‘Union of South Africa’ on 28th June 1937. The first garter blue liveried A4, she had red backed chromium plated nameplates, stainless steel letters, numbers and trim. The works plates were mounted inside the cab to make room for her cab side crests. 4488 is documented as the only A4 to have had polished tyres in pre-war service.
In common with the fleet, 4488 received wartime black and lost her valances on a works visit between 31st January and 21st March 1942. The numbers and letters were simply painted over.
4488 continued operating in her wartime livery until 21st February 1947, when the garter blue livery was restored. By this time, she had received the number 9, under Edward Thompson’s renumbering scheme.
The next change came about with the advent of British Railways, when her number was again changed, to 60009 on 5th May 1948. 60009 also received her first 1935 pattern corridor tender.
60009 had her final coat of garter blue removed and received the BR Express passenger blue livery on 4/8/49. Although favoured by the Eastern region, the Western region (ex GWR) detested it. It proved not to wear well in service and lasted just over three years on 60009.
The long guard irons were removed on a works visit between 21st August and 2nd October 1952, with 60009 emerging from Doncaster wearing the early BR green livery, the first of 61 consecutive years wearing BR green as of 2013. The springbok plaque was fitted on 12th April 1954, for the first time giving BR spotters the tell-tale sign that none other than Union of South Africa was approaching.
The double kylchap blast pipe was fitted on a works visit between 8th October and 18th November 1958, with the loco receiving her late BR crest sometime during or after this period. Her speed indicator and AWS were fitted on another works visit, ending 17th February 1960.
60009’s next notable change was her first and only service shed move, to Aberdeen on 20th May 1962. The last notable points of Union of South Africa’s service life are she was the last steam locomotive to be normally repaired at Doncaster works (emerging on 6th November 1963), and she was the last A4 to work a regular BR service out of Kings Cross on 24th October 1964. Withdrawn on 1st June 1966, 60009 had by this time regained a 1928 pattern corridor tender (5332), which was removed and replaced with tender 5484 (ex W1 60700) which she has been coupled to since.
Union of South Africa was saved for preservation by four Scottish Businessmen in July 1966, John Cameron being the continual owner of the engine, keeping her in impeccable working condition ever since. 60009 spent a number of years on the three mile long Lochty Private Railway, with a return to the main line in 1973
Between 1973 and 1990, Union of South Africa was worked on heritage lines and the main line in the same guise, albeit with a few changes to the cabside, with the locomotive gaining springbok plaques on both sides in place of the crests. 60009 unfortunately missed the 50th anniversary line up of
Mallard’s record at the National Railway Museum, York in 1988 and on emergence from restoration in 1990, the political situation in South Africa prompted a reversion to the name Osprey, with 60009’s works plates remaining mounted inside the cab – her most notable tour in this period being the Forth Bridge Centennial.
60009 spent the 1991 season masquerading as two long lost classmates, those being 60004 William Whitelaw on 16th February 1991 and 60027 ‘Merlin’ for the Spring and Summer seasons. ‘60027’ had the left hand boiler side plaque and cabside works plates fitted.
The political situation had died down by the end of summer 1991 and 60009 appeared back in preserved service on 19th September 1991 with her name restored. 60009 then spent a period including the author’s birth year, 1996, with black backed nameplates and the early BR crest on the locomotive’s tender sides. The springbok plaque and cabside crests had now been restored to their prototypical positions.
Come 2002 and 60009 had completed another restoration to main line operating condition, and resumed service on many prestigious tours, including the Scarborough Flyer and the first in the series of Great Briton tours.
60009 finally got to meet her surviving UK based sisters in 2008. First at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s LNER gala, working alongside 60007 (4498) Sir Nigel Gresley in BR express passenger blue and 60019 (4464) Bittern, recently restored to mainline condition, in late BR green. This gala was also the last working period of sole surviving LNER V2 4771 (60800) Green Arrow. The second meet in July 2008 was, like the 1988 meet up, at the National Railway Museum, York. Shed 50A and its surroundings had changed considerably since the last event. Here, 60009 was lined up with 60007, 60019 and 4468 (60022) Mallard, taking part in a three chime salute as she passed with a rail tour departing York.
60009 went on to spend another season of steaming in 2009, and it was eventually decided to send her to Crewe heritage works for a full restoration in 2009. News was generally kept silent on the A4’s progress and she returned to traffic in August 2012 after completing a series of running in trials out of Crewe. She again appeared in late BR green, except with a different type of parabolic curve, done in house at Crewe. Although it differs considerably from the parabolic curves on the other five surviving A4’s, similar arrangements were seen and photographed in the later BR days, most notably on 60019 Bittern and 60024 Kingfisher.
60009 worked a few Scarborough Flyer tours in September, being displayed for a period after on the National Railway Museum’s turntable at York. The period of display at York was cut short, as 60009 was chartered to the NRM’s outlet in Shildon, county Durham to meet the two repatriated A4’s, 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower and 60010 Dominion of Canada. During one afternoon / evening of this event, the privately owned 60022 smokebox number plate was temporarily fitted to 60009. Although requested, 60007 could unfortunately not make the event.
60009 started the 2013 season with a slight cosmetic change, with the restoration of the cab spectacle plates to their bronzed condition. The locomotive had her boiler barrel repainted at the end of January 2013 by Heritage Painting at York, making their mark on a fourth A4 pacific, having repainted 60008 and 4468 and painting the new cabside crests for 4489. 60009 is at the time of publication of this article, based at 10A Carnforth, WCRC base. Being transferred there at the end of January to work the Cumbrian Mountain Express, along the world famous Settle and Carlisle route, an Eastern and Western region fan favourite.
LNER A4 4-6-2 4489 ‘Dominion Of Canada’
Built in 1937 at Doncaster, LNER works number 1854 was released to traffic on 4th May 1937 for running in trials. The twelfth of Sir Nigel Gresley’s streamlined A4 pacifics, 4489 originally held the name ‘Woodcock’. It is speculated that the originally intended name for the locomotive was ‘Buzzard’, although the plates were never cast.
The first chapter in 4489’s history involved her being the only A4 to wear photographic / works grey, with lined apple green wheels which she wore until 17th May 1937
4489 was renamed ‘Dominion of Canada’ on 15th June 1937, painted garter blue with Canadian whistle, black backed chromium plated nameplates, stainless steel letters, numbers and trim. The works plates were mounted inside the cab. She re-entered service on the 15th and was put into service hauling the Coronation. 4489 received her Canadian Pacific bell on 11th March 1938 and had her nameplates repainted to a red backing. The locomotive was based at Kings Cross top shed.
4489 suffered a collision at Hatfield, requiring remedial attention at Doncaster between 31st January and 18th March 1939. 4489’s bell was steam operated and the operating system was removed after an incident when the bell wouldn’t stop ringing. In common with the fleet, 4489 received wartime black and lost her valances on 21st February 1942. The numbers and letters were simply painted over.
4489 continued operating in her wartime livery until 20th November 1947, when the garter blue livery was restored. By this time, she had received the number 10, under Edward Thompson’s renumbering scheme.
The next change came about with the advent of British Railways, when her number was again changed, to 60010 on 27th October 1948. The bell remained, but the whistle was removed, along with her crests. The works plates were left inside the cab. There were plans for tests at Stratford regarding the Canadian whistle during the development process of the British Railways standard fleet, but they never took place.
Garter blue finally became redundant for the British Railways Eastern region in 1950, when on 29th September, 60010 received the Express passenger blue livery. Although favoured by the Eastern region, the Western region (ex GWR) detested it. It proved not to wear well in service and lasted less than two years on 60010.
By the time 60010 entered the paint shops again, lined green had taken over as the BR express passenger livery and 60010 emerged from Doncaster on 8th May 1952 in BR green.
Her long guard irons had been removed by this point and on a works visit between 19th November and 27th December 1957, her bell was removed and double kylchap blast pipe fitted. Her speed indicator was fitted on another works visit, ending 15th October 1960.
During this period, 60010 received the BR late crest and underwent a number of shed, tender and boiler changes. She moved to Grantham on 7th April 1957, and back to Kings Cross top shed on 15th September 1957. Her final shed allocation in England was New England (Peterborough) shed on 16th July 1963. 60010 enjoyed the A4’s ‘Indian summer’ from
Aberdeen shed, moving there on 27th October 1963.
Withdrawn on 29th May 1965, 60010 lay forlorn behind the sheds at Darlington, hidden by the undergrowth. Her chimney and other fittings were removed for either 60024 or 60004, both in at Darlington at the time of 60010’s withdrawal. 60010 was set for the scrap line, but ended up at Crewe works in August 1966, with cosmetic restoration and shipment to Canada on the cards.
With the locomotive restored to her last BR guise, but this time with the works plates fitted on the cab sides and a red backed nameplate, 60010 was shipped in pristine condition, to Exporail, Quebec, Canada on 10th April 1967. The bell was not re-fitted, due to the restrictions of the double chimney, although it was shipped across with 60010.
Unfortunately due to a lack of funding, 60010 deteriorated over the years. She remained structurally sound, although general wear and tear showed significantly. 60010 suffered a small shunting incident a few years ago, leading to a damaged nose panel.
The cosmetic restoration to 1937 condition started at the end of October 2012, and by 21st December had progressed to the point where the locomotive was sanded ready for primer with valancing panels fitted, rods removed, cab primed and damaged panel removed.
The locomotive’s double chimney and blast pipe have now been removed, with the bell currently being trial fitted. The ongoing cosmetic restoration has been featured in the UK Heritage Hub since the beginning.
Since this article was compiled, the locomotive’s cosmetic restoration has been completed. It has since moved to York and now on display in the Great Hall.
LNER A4 4-6-2 60008 ‘Dwight D. Eisenhower’
Built in 1937 at Doncaster, LNER works number 1861 was released to traffic on 4th September 1937 for running in trials. The nineteenth of Sir Nigel Gresley’s streamlined A4 pacifics, 4496 originally held the name ‘Golden Shuttle’, for the West Riding service. The locomotive had a 1936 pattern streamlined corridor tender and wore garter blue with stainless steel trim and numbers. 4496 was based at Doncaster initially, before moving to 34A – Kings Cross top shed on 29/09/37.
4496 continued operating in this condition (with a move to Grantham on 4/12/39) until 30/01/42 when she received the LNER wartime black livery. The ‘L’ and ‘E’ on the tender sides were removed on 12/03/43.
4496 was renamed ‘Dwight D. Eisenhower’ on 25/09/45, less than a month after the end of WWII. The locomotive was the first to regain garter blue livery on 25/09/45, with the unveiling and renaming ceremony at Marylebone station.
Thompson’s renumbering scheme took effect on 4496 during a works visit to Doncaster ending on 23/11/46, with Dwight D. Eisenhower emerging with ‘8’ on the cab sides. The locomotive’s next change was again to the number, British railways adding 60000 to all Eastern region locomotives, with Dwight D. Eisenhower becoming 60008. The locomotive had another shed move, back to Kings Cross top shed on 04/06/50.
60008 remained in garter blue with British Railways lettering on the tender until 14/06/50, when BR express passenger blue with early crest was applied. With a general dislike from the Western region and a tendency to wear quickly, the express passenger blue livery was quickly phased out, with 60008 receiving early crest BR green on 09/11/51
Her long guard irons were removed between 17/05/54 and 18/06/54 and another shed change took place on 07/04/57 to Grantham. On a works visit between 03/07/58 and 20/08/58, her double Kylchap blast pipe was fitted. Her speed indicator was fitted on another works visit, ending 30th June 1960.
During this period, 60008 received the BR late crest and underwent a number of shed, tender and boiler changes. She moved back to Kings Cross top shed on 15th September 1957. Her final shed allocation in England was New England (Peterborough) shed on 16th July 1963. 60008 was withdrawn on 20/07/63 and was immediately sent to Doncaster for a cosmetic restoration.
60008 was hauled to Southampton docks on 22/04/64 by SR Merchant Navy 35012 ‘United States Lines’ for the official handover to Green Bay National Railroad museum. The locomotive was handed over by Dr Beeching on 27th April 1964 and subsequently shipped over to the USA, set for residence in Green Bay, Wisconsin. 60008 spent the first few years in Green Bay on outside display, with the condition of the finish and the locomotive’s tender deteriorating rapidly. A repaint took place in the mid
1980’s, 60008 receiving her distinctive incorrect Brunswick green livery with painted rods and nameplates. Following many calls for repatriation, an agreement was finally reached in 2012 for 60008 to be temporarily repatriated along with 60010 for the Mallard 75 celebrations. Both locomotives hit UK shores in October 2012, being united as complete locomotives at Shildon in the evening of 06/10/12
60008’s third cosmetic restoration in preservation started at Shildon, with the locomotive’s frames and cab interior finished before the move to York for extensive reconstruction of the tender, cab sides and boiler cladding and final painting.
The cosmetic restoration was finished in late 2012 after many hours or hard work by the team from Heritage Painting, after which is was placed on display in the Great Hall next to sister locomotive ‘Mallard’.
There she shall remain until the end of the year when she will move to Shildon for the final part of the ‘Mallard 75’ celebrations during the first months of 2014.