LNER Class A4 4488 Union of South Africa

LNER Class A4 4488 Union of South Africa

Infobox Locomotive
name="Union of South Africa"

caption="Union of South Africa" at Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway
railroad=London and North Eastern Railway
officialname="Union of South Africa"
roadnumber=4488, renum 60009
currentowner=John Cameron
disposition=Operational, certified for mainline use
60009 Union of South Africa is an LNER Class A4 steam locomotive.


Built for the LNER in 1937 and originally numbered 4488, it was named after the then newly-formed Union of South Africa. Although it had previously been allocated the name "Osprey" on 17 April 1937, when it came out of the paint shop on 29 June, it had been renamed. "Osprey" name plates were fitted to the locomotive during the 1980s and early 1990s due to the politics of the time. Its name has since reverted to Union of South Africa. The works number of Union of South Africa was 1853; the plaques are located in the cab itself and not on the exterior cab sides as is the usual practice.


The springbok plaque on the side of the locomotive was donated on 12 April 1954 by a Bloemfontein newspaper proprietor. Only the one plaque was fitted on the left hand side of the locomotive. The position has changed on a couple of occasions: originally the plaque was on the boiler side, being moved to the cabsides in preservation. Recently, the plaque has reverted back to the historically correct position. 60009 is also fitted with a South African Railways-type chime whistle.


Union of South Africa has worn many liveries throughout her career. The first livery she wore was as 4488 in garter blue, applied on 19 April 1937. The next livery applied was LNER wartime black on 21 March 1942. This livery was amended on 14 August 1943 when the "L" and "R" were removed to confuse potential spies, leaving the all-black locomotive with just "NE" on the tender. 21 February 1947 saw Union of South Africa regain garter blue with red and white lining. Her number was changed to just "9" on 12 January 1946, under the renumbering scheme of Gresley's successor, Edward Thompson. She gained a stainless steel number 9 during this repaint. 4 August 1949 saw 60009 applied with the experimental British Railways dark blue livery (as 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley is wearing currently in 2008). Finally on 2 October 1952, Union of South Africa was painted in British Railways brunswick green livery. She has worn this livery throughout preservation to date.

Technical Details

As with all 35 of the Gresley A4 pacific steam locomotives, Union of South Africa was fitted with streamlines valances, or side skirting, when she was built. This was found to hinder maintenance and, like her sisters, it was removed. 4488 lost her valances during a works visit March 21 1942.

60009 has been fitted with 14 boilers during her career: 8951 (her boiler from new-build), 9129 (a new-build boiler fitted November 9th 1940), 8955 (from 4492 Dominion of New Zealand, January 13 1945), 9128 (from 2512 Silver Fox, February 9 1946), 8957 (from 4490 Empire of India, May 5 1948), 9027 (from 60028 Walter K Whigham, August 4 1949 - this boiler was renumbered 29279 on November 23 1950), 29285 (from 60032 Gannet, April 22 1954), 29278 (from 60013 Dominion of New Zealand, November 18 1958), 27965 (a new-build boiler, February 17 1960), 27961 (from 60024 Kingfisher, July 19 1961) and 29337 (from 60023 Golden Eagle, November 6 1963).

60009 has had five tenders through her career of two differing types. The first tender she had was a 1928 pattern streamlined corridor tender. This was a rebuild of a tender fitted to a Class A1 or A3 beforehand, being streamlined and fitted to 4488 from new. This was later changed for a new-build streamlined corridor tender from 1948 - 1963. Currently 60009 is fitted with a 1928 pattern streamlined corridor tender, allowing her cab crew to be changed whilst the locomotive is hauling passenger trains, a feature demonstrated on 9 August 2007 Scarborough Spa Express. The tenders she has had were: 5325 (April 17 1937 - March 22 1948), 5636 (May 5 1948 - May 14 1948), 5591 (May 14 1948 - July 16 1963), 5332 (November 6 1963 - June 1 1966) and 5484 (July 17 1966 - September 10 1966).

60009 had a double chimney fitted on November 18 1958. This feature was first fitted to 4468 Mallard back in 1938. As the safety requirements were tightened after the Harrow Rail crash, Automatic Warning Systems or AWS was fitted to all locomotives. 60009 was so fitted on February 17 1960. At the same time this was done, a Stone-Smith type speed recorder was also fitted.


Union of South Africa was allocated to Haymarket shed in Edinburgh from new and May 20 1962 she had her only shed transfer to Aberdeen.

On 24 October 1964 it hauled the last booked steam hauled train from Kings Cross. It was twenty minutes late through Grantham owing to a broken rail at High Dyke. It was the last loco to be overhauled at Doncaster whilst in service. 60009 was withdrawn from British railways service on June 1 1966.


Purchased by John Cameron in July 1966, 60009 was preserved on the now-defunct Lochty Private Railway in Fife, Scotland. There the mighty A4 travelled the 3 miles of track near Anstruther. Now, she travels all over the country visiting many preserved railways and hauling mainline steam specials such as the Torbay Express.

It has accumulated the highest mileage of any locomotive in the class. In January 2007, it left the Severn Valley Railway, where it was based for many years and went to Crewe for fitment of on-train monitoring recorder (OTMR) equipment. In May 2007 it was moved to Scotland to work the Railway Touring Company's The Great Britain railtour and thence to its new base at Thornton. Whilst this is its home shed it travels widely south of the border with its dedicated support team working tours all over England. Last summer it hauled steam specials to Scarborough from York via Knaresborough, Harrogate and Leeds.

In 2008 it was continuing to work with the [http://www.railwaytouring.co.uk Railway Touring Co] and was scheduled to pull trains running between York and Edinburgh on several occasions during the first half of 2008. Union of South Africa appeared at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway LNER Festival 2008, along with 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley and 60019 Bittern (This was the first time that all 3 locomotives were together in preservation). Also 4771 Green Arrow, B1 61264 and J15 65462. This was Green Arrow's last appearance before its boiler certificate expired and the National Railway Museum have no plans to overhaul it.(RCB)

On the 3rd of december it will be taking a christmas special to bath passing through many places such as Reading Also at it was at the national railway muesum hiden away on the 11th of august 2008



* cite book
first = David
last = Clarke
title = Locomotives in Detail: 3 Gresley 4-6-2- A4 Class.
publisher = Ian Allan Publishing
ISBN: 0 7110 3085 5
year = 2005
An overall history of the Gresley A4 class, as well as unparalleled details about the class and individual members.

* cite book
first = W.B.
last = Yeadon
title = Yeadon's Register of LNER Locomotives: Volume Two: Gresley A4 and W1 classes.
publisher = Booklaw/Railbus is association with Challenger
ISBN: 1 871608 15 5
year = 2001
Histories of the A4 and W1 classes of locomotive with details of repairs and liveries etc.

External links

* [http://www.railwaytouring.co.uk/2007pages/7UK07_00scarboro.htm The Railway Touring Company's site - operator of the steam-hauled "Scarborough Spa Express" - details of the 2007 timetable]

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