LNER 60009 Union of South Africa

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LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 60009 Union of South Africa
60009 20121020.jpg
60009 Union of South Africa (2012)
Built By LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway, Doncaster
Configuration 4-6-2
BRBritish Rail or British Railways rating BRBritish Rail or British Railways: 8P6F
Status Non-operational, on static display
Loco Number 60009
Other Numbers LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 4488, LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway 9
Built 1937
Designed By Nigel GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941
Type A4 Streak
1966 Preserved
1990 Arrived on the SVRSevern Valley Railway as ‘guest’
1995 First noted as part of SVRSevern Valley Railway home fleet
2006 Left the SVRSevern Valley Railway

Steam Locomotives

60009 Union of South Africa was a former SVRSevern Valley Railway resident, having first arrived in 1989 but being referred to as a 'guest' until 1995. The locomotive left in 2006.


The A4 Class of streamlined 4-6-2 'PacificLocomotive with a 4-6-2 wheel configuration' steam locomotive was designed in 1935 by Nigel (later Sir Nigel) GresleySir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer (CME) of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941, the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway CMEChief Mechanical Engineer. The locomotives were used to haul express passenger trains on the East Coast Main Line route from London Kings Cross via York and Newcastle to Edinburgh, Scotland. One of the class, 4468 Mallard, holds the world record as the fastest steam locomotive.

60009 Union of South Africa was built at Doncaster in 1937. The locomotive was originally numbered 4488 and was to have been named 'Osprey' (Mallard and Bittern are the other surviving A4s named after birds), but was out-shopped as Union of South Africa after the newly formed Union. 4488 originally carried streamlined valances, but these were removed in 1942. Post-War the locomotive was renumbered 9 by the LNERLondon & North Eastern Railway in 1946; following nationalisation BRBritish Rail or British Railways changed this to 60009.

Union of South Africa worked out of the Edinburgh Haymarket and Aberdeen sheds until withdrawn by BRBritish Rail or British Railways in June 1966. The locomotive was purchased by John Cameron the following month[1].


60009 was based in Fife, Scotland until 1994, first on the now defunct Lochty Private Railway and subsequently at Kirkcaldy (working occasional tours from there), Markinch and Thornton.[1]

60009 first arrived on the SVRSevern Valley Railway on 24 February 1989 for a contract heavy overhaul.[2] This was completed in just under a year with the locomotive, temporarily renamed 'Osprey', making test trips on the SVRSevern Valley Railway on 17-18 February 1990.[3] Following this overhaul, 60009 began to operate main line rail tours throughout the United Kingdom.[1] She returned to the SVRSevern Valley Railway for minor repairs on 28 December 1991, having accumulated 25,000 miles since the overhaul and reverted to 'Union of South Africa'. During this visit she took part in the 'Mince Pie Specials' and the Spring Steam Gala, and also fitted in a return trip to Scotland before departing on 24 April 1992.[4]

60009 visited the SVRSevern Valley Railway for further repairs in early 1994, mainly involving a new liner for the middle cylinder.[5] These repairs were completed in time for an appearance at the Autumn Steam Gala in September 1994 (at which she was still regarded as a guest), before departing again in October.[6]

In summer 1995, SVRSevern Valley Railway News described the locomotive for the first time as part of the SVRSevern Valley Railway 'home fleet', referring to a forthcoming return for that year's Autumn Steam Gala.[7] Following further mechanical attention, including welding a steel patch insert into the top of the driver's side back plate to repair a deep fracture, the locomotive again returned to the main line duty. An early 1996 rail tour was notable a high speed pass through the Kidderminster main line station with 12 coaches in tow,[8] while later that year the locomotive unfortunately set light to a length of the Settle and Carlisle line, requiring a diesel pilot for the rest of the trip and subsequent attention to the spark arrestor.[9] Further main line work followed, although in December 1996 42968 notably deputised for 60009 on a Crewe to Carlisle Cumbrian Mountain Express.

1997 marked the end of 60009's 7 year 'main line ticket' and she returned to the SVRSevern Valley Railway in January of that year, spending the summer in service as a 'home' locomotive while awaiting another contract overhaul to return her to main line standard.[10] This began in spring 1998[11] but took considerably longer than the first overhaul, mainly due to problems with the rest of the SVRSevern Valley Railway's fleet which culminated in the 2000 'boiler crisis'. 60009 was eventually returned to steam in Summer 2001.[12] Resuming her main line career, in February 2002 60009 became the first A4 to work over the South Devon Banks since 60033 'Seagull' in the 1948 locomotive exchanges.[13] Further appearances on the SVRSevern Valley Railway included the Autumn Steam Galas in 2002 and 2004.[14] Summer 2005 was mostly spent in Bridgnorth Works for a valve and piston repair, replacement of small boiler tubes and finally the inspection and re-certification of the middle big end following the failure of a similar locomotive.[15]

Late summer 2006 saw 60009 move to Crewe to be fitted with OTMROn-Train Monitoring Recorder, a device similar in principle to the flight data recorder found on aircraft equipment, after which owner John Cameron expressed the wish to base the locomotive again at Thornton Depot near his Fife home,[16] where she would join his other locomotive 61994 The Great Marquess.

In 2017 it was announced that 60009 would be withdrawn from active service at the end of the existing boiler ticket and be housed permanently in a new 'Farming and Railway Visiting Centre' at Balbuthie, St Monans with 61994 The Great Marquess.[17] Planning consent was refused and a revised application, excluding the railway aspect, was agreed in November 2019.[18]

After ending main line service, 60009 continued to work at the East Lancashire Railway until being withdrawn in October 2021 with boiler problems, some three months before the planned end of ticket. The locomotive was moved into the Bury Transport Museum as a static exhibit in May 2022. Planning permission for 60009 & 61994 to be housed inside an existing building at Balbuthie was granted in October 2022.

60009 achieved several hundred railtours in preservation, and details of these may be found on dedicated railtour sites such as Six Bells Junction and UK Steam.

See also

Former Residents


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wikipedia
  2. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 92
  3. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 95
  4. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 101/102
  5. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 111
  6. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 113/114
  7. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 115
  8. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 118
  9. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 119/120
  10. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 122/125
  11. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 126
  12. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 137
  13. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 139
  14. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 141/144
  15. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 151
  16. SVRSevern Valley Railway News 155
  17. Steam Railway Magazine 27 January 2017
  18. 'East Neuk farm visitor centre given go-ahead but without the locomotives previously proposed', The courier.co.uk, 15 November 2019 (Retrieved 7 January 2020)