This early A1 entered service in November 1948. Already seven were in use, this was one of five completed that month – three from Darlington and two from Doncaster. It was noted in the Works on the 14th. Works No. 2054 had the Darlington finish of countersunk rivets to give a smooth finish to the cabsides and tender. It was turned out in LNER apple green with white and black lining with ‘BRITISH RAILWAYS’ lettering on its tender. As with other Darlington A1s numbers and letters were in LNER style old gold.

No. 60135 entered traffic from Gateshead shed on November 18th. This was the third of a dozen to be allocated there. It was noted at Darlington six days later. Its first recorded trains were ‘namers’, bringing the Up “Flying Scotsman” into Newcastle on December 22nd then January 22nd 1949. It ranged along the main part of the East Coast Main Line: Newcastle, Grantham and King’s Cross and on April 15th it was seen on Haymarket shed. The Down “Flying Scotsman” was hauled by No. 60135 on April 2nd presumably from Grantham where it had seen on shed. A couple of times in 1950 it was seen on the Delaval – Holloway ecs double-headed from Stockton (as far as Northallerton or Thirsk) at 11.30 am with B16 No. 61415 on April 4th and B1 No. 61069 on May 25th. On the latter they hauled eighteen bogie coaches, three six-wheelers and seven four wheel vehicles.

Naming and appearing in BR blue with black and white lining plus the early BR emblem on the tender both came in October 1950 and were about halfway through the class with 22 already dealt with and No. 60135 being one of three so treated that month. Madge Wildfire was one of seventeen A1s named after characters in Sir Walter Scott’s novels. She was a character from “The Heart of Midlothian” published in 1818, a mad woman also known as Magdalen Murdockson. The name “Madge Wildfire” had already been carried by a paddle steamer which sailed from 1886 to 1945, initially from the Clyde. Two months later No. 60135 worked a 7.25 pm Newcastle – Sheffield parcels. Named trains hauled in this guise included the Up “Heart of Midlothian” from Newcastle, the Up “White Rose” on August 11th 1952 and its Down working the next day. Several ordinary King’s Cross – Leeds or Leeds – King’s Cross trains were noted in this period.


Un-named No. 60135 at Chaloners Whin Junction with an up express in 1948 – Cecil Ord/RAS

Madge Wildfire was one of the later A1s to undergo a repaint into BR green with orange and black lining. It was one of three in December 1952 to follow the 44 already done. During the rest of the 1950s a variety of trains were worked. Named trains included Up “Flying Scotsman” into Newcastle, from there and also from Grantham to King’s Cross. Others were the “North Briton” Down from Newcastle and Up from Edinburgh – Newcastle, the “Heart of Midlothian” Up from Newcastle – Grantham then the Up “Tees Tyne Pullman” on December 28th 1959. Arrivals in Newcastle from the south or departures southbound were common. Some went up well into Scotland like the 8.35 pm Dundee – Edinburgh on January 9th 1954, a York – Edinburgh taken forward from Newcastle on September 24th 1955 and February 18th 1956 then the 7.20 pm Aberdeen – Edinburgh relief of July 3rd 1959. Starting off the main line No. 60135 was pulling the 12.15 pm from Glasgow Queen St. for York on May 1st 1957. Workings at the southern end included the 11.15 am King’s Cross – York train of January 9th 1957. This was six months before the later BR crest was applied to the tender. Parcels trains were exemplified with the 11.15 am arrival of the York – Edinburgh parcels into Newcastle and working the 7.15 pm King’s Cross – York parcels on January 7th 1957. The highlight was haulage of the Royal Train in 1954. On October 28th 60135 brought it into Newcastle at 8.14 pm from Bradford. Next day it took it up to Edinburgh.

No. 60135 was known as a good, if lively runner and a first-class steamer. This was shown when on New Year’s Day 1960 it took a late running twelve coach relief express originating at King’s Cross forward from Newcastle the 126 miles to Edinburgh in an hour and 45 minutes. This was ten minutes ahead of a “demanding” schedule on a “difficult road.” A number of fittings were not working though: speedometer, electric lights, tender coal water sprinkler and steam chest pressure gauge. This good run was in the same timings as later scheduled for the ‘Deltics.’

A move to Copley Hill shed along with No. 60115 happened in November 1960. It still reached Tyneside, being noted on Gateshead shed during February 17th 1961. A move across to Copley Hill with three other A1s came in April 1962.  Newcastle was reached with the 3.30 pm ex Manchester on April 19th 1962 then the 9 am ex Liverpool two days later. On the 22nd “Madge Wildfire” was on the Delaval – Holloway ecs. A trip down the main line came when it worked the “Queen of Scots” into King’s Cross on August 18th.

Withdrawal from service along with No. 60115 was on November 12th 1962. This was about a quarter of the way through the A1 withdrawals with twelve already gone. In its time No. 60135 had carried the class average of seven boilers. Its time in service was fourteen years, a year and two and a months less than the class average and it was to last for over six months longer being sent into Doncaster Works for cutting up on May 29th 1963.

This history was compiled by Phil Champion based on a database compiled by Tommy Knox, “The Pioneer” (A1 Steam Locomotive Trust) and with reference to the RCTS book “Locomotives of the LNER Part 2A” as background.