Steam locomotive 60009 Union of South Africa set for year at East Lancs Railway

60009 Union of South Africa
Credit: Callum Calvert

It has been confirmed that Ex-LNER A4 No. 60009 Union of South Africa will run at the East Lancashire Railway for a year once the Coronavirus crisis has come to an end.

Today, 60009’s mainline certificate has come to an end – after 29 years on the mainline with LNER and British Rail, and a further 47 years under John Cameron’s ownership.

Currently, there are no plans for an overhaul after a year at the East Lancashire Railway.

What is your favourite memory of 60009? Let us know in the comments below!

A brief history of 60009’ Union of South Africa’

60009 Union of South Africa is an LNER Class A4 steam locomotive. It was built in 1937 at Doncaster Works. The ‘A4’ was a common sight on the East Coast Mainline between London and Scotland. 60009 is one of six surviving A4s.

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  1. loads of fantastic memories including roaring down Sharnbrook bank at 84 mph when i was on board and seeing her race along the east coast mainline for the last time

  2. This looks like this is to run down its boiler ticket then. John Cameron has been saying for some time that No 9 will not go through another overhaul, so if you want to see or ride behind it (once this awful Covid 19 thing is past) it might be prudent to do that earlier rather then later. Should anything occur with the loco while on the ELR ( eg leaking tubes or the like) that may bring about its premature withdrawal and then be highly unlikely to see any further use as a result.

  3. No 9 has always been a favourite. I took my 7 year old son on an Edinburgh to Aberdeen and back trip back in the 1980s. He now fires on heritage lines. I always make an effort to see it on the all too rare trips on the ECML north of Newcastle and I even managed to get a decent photo of it at Cramlington recently. Never overly gleaming but always purposeful, doing what it was made to do all those years ago.

  4. My favourite memory of No.9 is back when I worked at Bounds Green and she was “marooned” there for five weeks after “allegedly” causing a flashover in Winchmore Hill “tunnel” on the return leg of the King’s Cross to Peterborough Nene Valley charter back in 1994. I had to walk past her everyday on my way to my office, breathing in the wonderful smells emanating from her, life can be a bitch sometimes! Never mind her retirement, Sir Nigel will be back soon, viruses permitting.

  5. Great memory of walking through the corridor tender one Sunday at 65a in early sixties. Also tearing through longniddry during my summer holidays hauling named expresses.

  6. Best memories are watching on many occasions, ‘Union’ screaming on the up or down fast through Doncaster in the early 60s before exile to Scotland on the 3 hour Aberdeen Glasgow before withdrawal by BR. I was then glad to see her at Thornton Jct in 1968 when taken on by John Cameron, who provided us enthusiasts with the opportunities to see her perform for many more years. Thank you John.

  7. I was an enthusiastic train spotter in my younger days (now 78 and fortunate to have managed 59 years unbroken service with ‘British Rail”). Our stomping ground was ECML – Doncaster to Retford. Sitting at the end of Retford station and looking for the exhaust smoke 5-6 miles into the distance towards London
    was a memory l still have, whilst sitting on Doncaster station and the Gresley Pacifics blasting along the fast line was an experience and a half to a 14year old. I often thought we were sat in the wrong place as any incident would have wiped us out.
    Didn’t stop my engineering career in locos, carriages and wagons, including MR, ScR, GCR.
    Grandfather was a ganger on the LD&ECR (the Clog and Knocker).

  8. First met No 9 at an exibition at the old Cally Works in Springburn Glasgow in the mid 70s. Managed to get on the footplate. FANTASTIC!

  9. My fondest memory of No9
    Was when I filmed her as she came down to England for the first time in preservation. We were positioned
    High on the fells on Eastern side of mallerstang and No9 was southbound on a perfect day. You saw the whistle before you heard it across the valley. Just wonderful.

  10. First ‘spotted’ Union of South Africa at Sinclairtown Station in Kirkcaldy in 1958 but lost a bit of enthusiasm at the end of steam in Scotland in 1966/67. Been on many railtours behind No 9 from 1073 to date but the biggest thrill was in 1972 when on a bus crossing Bennochy Bridge near Kirkcaldy and I could not believe what I was seeing. Union of South Africa wasin staem just outside the old goods shed! Never jumped off a bus so quickly and ran to the station. A great memory! Can see I will have to visit the East Lancs a few times during the next 12 months.

  11. Like a few of us, I volunteered at Lochty from I think 1970, and on a few turns fired her (Tommy Farrell was the driver). I then assisted with getting her loaded onto 2 step frames. one for the engine and the other for the tender. Never did a night shift at Kirkcaldy, but still remember the first main line outing, I think she did from Inverkeithing to Dundee. Did a few night shifts at Markinch getting her ready for the following days run. Have ordered the book.

  12. ‘No.9′ was pretty rare in London in the 50’s however in 1960 and 61 she seemed to replace 11,12 and 27 as the Lizzy regulars. Although ’24’ Kingfisher which was my last to cop, became a regular in the south east when it was all but over! Like my children, I loved them all equally.


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