WATCH: Streamlined steam locomotive’s last tour?


Saturday 7th March saw 60009 Union of South Africa potentially haul her final ever mainline railtour, hauling The Yorkshireman from Ealing Broadway to York. 

Throughout preservation, 60009 Union of South Africa has hauled railtours across the United Kingdom and 7th March would see her haul what could be her last tour before withdrawal for potential retirement. 

The tour she hauled was The Yorkshireman which is run by The Railway Touring Company, this being the 1st of the year.

The next Yorkshireman tours for 2019 are set for 20th June, hauled by 60103 Flying Scotsman & 17th October which is set to be hauled by 6233 Duchess of Sutherland

The Yorkshireman would see 60009 head through places such as Luton, Flitwick, Bedford, Kettering, Melton Mowbray, Loughborough, East Midlands Parkway, Ilkeston, Alfreton, Chesterfield, Swinton (South Yorkshire), Goldthorpe, Pontefract Baghill & Church Fenton.

Saturday 7th March would also see 70000 Britannia haul The White Rose from Crewe to York & return via the Hope Valley & Calder Valley Line. This tour would be diesel hauled from Shrewsbury to Crewe and return. 

The White Rose is a railtour ran by Saphos Trains and runs ‘steam-hauled’ from Crewe to York and return via the Hope Valley Line & the Calder Valley Line. There are two more White Rose tours due to run in 2020. 22nd August, starting at Wolverhampton and 19th December, running as The Christmas White Rose – also starting at Wolverhampton. Locos for these tours are to be announced but will be from this pool of locomotives:

  • 34046 Braunton
  • 45231 The Sherwood Forester
  • 46100 Royal Scot
  • 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley
  • 70000 Britannia 

The White Rose would see 70000 head through places such as Acton Bridge, Warrington Bank Quay, Salford Central, Manchester Victoria, New Mills Central, Edale, Hathersage, Grindleford, Sheffield, Meadowhall, Swinton (South Yorkshire), Goldthorpe, Pontefract Baghill, Church Fenton, Castleford, Wakefield Kirkgate, Brighouse, Hebden Bridge, Todmorden & Rochdale.

In this video, RailView would capture the A4 at places such as, 

  • Slitting Mill, near Staveley, Derbyshire passing through at 12:52, 8 minutes late.
  • Goldthorpe, passing through at 13:10, on time. 

In this video, RailView would capture Britannia at places such as, 

  • Grindleford, passing through at 11:38, 2 minutes late.
  • Goldthorpe, passing through at 12:11, on time.

Info about 60009 Union of South Africa: 

  • Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley
  • Built by The LNER in 1937 at Doncaster Works
  • She was withdrawn from BR in 1966
  • Her original name was Osprey
  • Her second/current name is Union of South Africa
  • John Cameron purchased her in 1966 who is her current owner

Info about 70000 Britannia:

  • Designed by Robert Riddles
  • Built by BR at Crewe Works in 1951.
  • She was the very first BR Standard Locomotive ever to be built.
  • In 1952, she hauled the funeral train for King George VI
  • Withdrawn from BR service in 1966.
  • She was purchased for preservation 1970.
  • She returned to steam in 1978
  • She is currently owned by the Royal Scot Locomotive & General Trust.
  • She is based at Crewe Diesel Depot
  • Her current livery is BR lined Brunswick green with late crest.
  • Britannia is operational and regularly hauls mainline railtours around the UK.

Here are some photos of 60009 Union of South Africa & 70000 Britannia at Goldthorpe. 

Have you any fond memories of 60009 Union of South Africa? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. My favourite engine. Remember back to the 60’s seeing her & the other Scottish pacifics thundering through Dunblane on the 3hour expresses. Happy days. Didnt realise back then I’d be bored because it was No 9 & not 26 or 34 for a change.

    • The fact that you kept seeing No. 9 rather than 26 or 34 was a tribute to how much more consistent and reliable performer she was . Before her work on those 3 hour expresses , she was , along side 27 Merlin and 24 Kingfisher one of Haymarket m.p.d.’s pet favourites for the Elizabethan non stop between
      Waverley and King’s Cross . Also she was probably the last locomotive to exceed a three figure speed down Stoke Bank , in 1964 if memory serves me right .

  2. She was always at Leuchars airshow in the 80s and I have very fond memories of being allowed to blow the whistle on 2 occasions. Very much appreciated and probably happened at the right time in my life to help stoke the flame of steam enthusiasm which will last forever.

  3. Way back in the day, me and my neighbour’s were “exploring” … we were all about 8 to 10 at the time.. we “found” this great machine in a shed at it became ours.. we’d walk about 2 miles and creep in there and just sit and look at her… as far as we were concerned, nobody else knew about it. It was ours.. many moons have passed, I’m 53 now, and live hundreds of miles away, but I still look out for her.. technical ability and money only goes so far, and if she’s to be parked ip, theres nothing i can do about that, but she made so many little lads jaws drop, even in a quiet dark shed..

  4. Yes and they are ALL operated by Hoskins-can’the you see whathe the long term.future is for our heritage steam railway? give you a clue unless Hoskins IS stopped snafelling up all our main line locos under auspices of his company very soon he will push the ordinary folk off our glorious trains completey-mark my words!!

  5. The fact that you saw No. 9 so often rather than Ferryhill’s 26 or 34 on the 3 hour expresses was a testament to how consistent and reliable she was . Until it’s demise , in the face of the Deltics , in September 1961 Haymarket’s favourite s for the Elizabethan non stop working between Waverley and King’s Cross were nos. 9 , 24 and 27 . Their 4 other A 4s ( 4 , 11 , 12 and 31 ) were chosen for chosen less often for this exacting work . Also If memory serves me rightly No. 9 was also probably the last steam locomotive to exceed a three figure speed down Stoke Bank . On a commemorative railtour in 1964 ?

  6. Very fond memories of Kingfisher on Ferryhill shed with Gresley parked in the scrap line during an expedition around Scottish steam in April 1966 with a British Railways RailTour ticket. Missed Number 9, but what beautiful machines they are.

  7. I still have fond memories of sitting in the cab of Britannia at the 1951 Festival of Britain where it was exhibited together with 2? other locomotives in a pavilion erected on the site of a former turntable.

  8. I remember seeing ‘9’ as Osprey back in the mid-90’s. She was doing runs across the Fife circle. I also did the rail tour to the Scottish Borders back in 2015. Sounded great. Shame she’s going to be pulled off the mainline.


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