Yesterday, Wednesday 22th of April 2020, saw the mainline boiler certificate expire for London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) A4 Class No.60009 “Union of South Africa”. We take a brief look back through recent years.
Mainline Career between Summer 2012 and April 2020
Following an overhaul carried out LNWR’s workshop at Crewe, 60009 underwent a series of test runs starting on Monday 16th of July 2012, where ‘running in’ showed issues such as hot boxes on the tender.
These issues were sorted in time for “Union of South Africa”‘s first booked mainline tour, the North Wales Coast Express on Sunday 22nd of July 2012, which the engine hauled throughout the summer.
From then onwards 60009 has mainly been based on mainline, travelling to destinations across the UK, from North Wales as mentioned above to the length of the famous East Coast Mainline. Visits to heritage lines have been made where possible, such as the East Lancashire Railway.
On several dates between 2013 and 2014, “Union of South Africa” took part in celebrations for the 4468 “Mallard”‘s 75th anniversary since breaking the world speed record for steam traction on Sunday 3rd of July 1938.
This saw 60009 displayed with the five other surviving LNER A4’s, 4489 (60010) “Dominion of Canada”, 60008 (4496) “Dwight D. Eisenhower”, 60007 (4498) “Sir Nigel Gresley”, 4464 (60019) “Bittern” and 4464 (60022) “Mallard”.
The next event 60009 took part in was the reopening of the Borders Railway between Edinburgh Waverley and Tweedbank on Wednesday the 9th of September 2015, with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip Duke of Edinburgh and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on board.
“Union of South Africa” almost didn’t haul the train, as a few weeks before it suffered a hot box on one of the coupled wheel axleboxes and required repairs at the South Devon Railway.
On Saturday the 7th of March 2020, 60009 hauled its last mainline tour on its current mainline boiler certificate, which was The Yorkshireman.
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