Darlington Works No. 2055 was constructed in November 1948 with boiler No. 3924. The first record of it was on the 20th. It was one of five turned out that month, three from Darlington and two from Doncaster. It was painted in LNER apple green with white and black lining with ‘BRITISH RAILWAYS’ on the tender. Numbers and letters were in old gold. As with all Darlington examples countersunk rivets were used to give a smooth finish to the cabsides and tender.
Entering traffic from Copley Hill (COP) on 26th November it was to be one of five A1s initially allocated there. It was noted at Doncaster on 23rd December but its first recorded working was on the up ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ on New Year’s Day 1949. It worked between Leeds and the capital both on ordinary passenger trains and named expresses like bringing ‘The Queen of Scots’ into Leeds on 28th May and taking the 11:30hrs down ‘Queen of Scots from King’s Cross on 2nd July.
A transfer to King’s Cross shed (34A) took place in May 1950. Naming and repainting into BR blue with black and white lining and the early BR emblem on the tender took place that December following a heavy intermediate repair. Though one of the earlier A1s built, No. 60136 was one of four named that month to join 28 others already with names. It was well down the class for appearance in blue. With 41 already that colour No. 60136 was one of two repainted in December. Its name Alcazar was one of the thirteen racehorse names bestowed on A1s. Alcazar had won the St. Leger in 1936, alcazar is a type of castle built for kings in Spain and Portugal and derives from an Arabic word. On 2nd February 1951 No. 60136 was seen at Darlington with the thirteen coach down ‘Flying Scotsman’.
A transfer to Grantham (35B) was made in January 1952 along with eight other A1s. A repaint into BR green with orange and black lining was done in January 1952 as one of four to join the 18 in green already. Following its first general overhaul in April 1953 which included fitting boiler No. 10599, workings generally seemed to range between the capital and Newcastle but one occasion of note was the locomotive’s involvement in taking HM the Queen south from Aberdeen on 18th May 1953, a working which was unusual in that involved attaching three royal coaches to the up ‘Aberdonian’ thus increasing the weight of an already heavy train; No. 60157 Great Eastern worked the section from York to Peterborough whence No. 60136 Alcazar took it on to King’s Cross. During a period that was interrupted by a further ‘General’ over Christmas 1955 (boiler No. 10596 fitted), a number of times in 1955 and 1956 Alcazar brought the down ‘Flying Scotsman’ into Newcastle though on 18th December 1956 it departed King’s Cross with the down 10:00hrs ‘Flying Scotsman’. Another named train hauled by No. 60136 was ‘The Northumbrian’, the 10:00hrs up train from Newcastle on 23rd June then the 12:20hrs down train from King’s Cross on 25th September. When it pulled the down afternoon ‘Talisman’ on 9th September 1957 its eight coach rake included the ex ‘Coronation’ twin-set. In October it was a regular performer on the 10:20hrs King’s Cross-Leeds. Many times that year and in 1957, departures from London on ordinary passenger trains were noted, the most common being the 10:20hrs to Leeds, the 20:20hrs for Edinburgh and the 05:50hrs to Grantham. After earlier workings in the day on 5th and 6th December 1956 it hauled the additional 19:30hrs King’s Cross-Grantham.
No. 60136 Alcazar on a down train approaching New Barnet Station in 1957 – Robin Gibson
Acazar at ‘Top Shed’ on 30th April 1957 – PeterTownend
On 7th April 1957 Alcazar transferred back to King’s Cross shed. The locomotive re-visited Doncaster for another general overhaul during June 1957, receiving boiler No. 29863 in the process and the later BR crest was applied to the tender, the locomotive probably losing its Stones generator and electric lighting at the same time. It still worked as far as the North East with a sighting on an up passenger at Usworth near Chester-le-Street on 8th September. This locomotive had a reputation for particularly bad riding so it was sent to Doncaster works in November where it was found that the middle cylinder had been set with no expansion allowance and an A4 type bogie was fitted. Indicator shrouds were fitted to the front of the engine to monitor performance on King’s Cross-Newcastle trains and the riding was much better. Each day from 25th – 29th November 25th it worked the 07:43hrs York-King’s Cross and 14:10hrs return. A trip to Scotland came in February 1957 as it was seen on the up ‘Flying Scotsman’ from Edinburgh to Newcastle on the 11th.
No. 60136 ‘Light Engine’ at Doncaster 10th April 1961 – Mike Mountford
6th April 1958 marked a transfer to Doncaster shed (36A) but it went back to King’s Cross shed on 3rd August. On 5th April 1959 No. 60136 was reallocated back to Doncaster with four other A1s, returning to ‘The Plant’ in May for another general overhaul, leaving with boiler No. 29861 fitted. Notable sightings were the up ‘Master Cutler’ from Retford to King’s Cross on 13th December 1960 and the up ‘Tees-Tyne Pullman’ descending Holloway bank on 9th September 1961, a year interrupted by its final visit to Doncaster for a ‘General’ which include the fitting of its final boiler, No. 29784, a Thompson Diagram 117 boiler with thicker barrel plates and the round dome further forward. More mundane was the 14:05hrs Leeds-Doncaster local of 30th June 1961. Between that September and July 1962 No. 60136 was serviced a number of times on Gateshead shed. Leeds- King’s Cross trains were worked too as on 24th August and the opposite direction also. The afternoon ‘Talisman’ was taken from Doncaster to King’s Cross on 30th May. On 30th August Alcazar was the standby engine seen stationed just south of Doncaster station at 10:45hrs but was in full cry though when seen picking up water at speed from Langley troughs with its train of ex-LNER coaches and BR Mk Is on 9th September. Four times in September and October No. 60136’s diagram was the 1A12 Newcastle-Tyne Commission Quay passenger (though the A1 would come off at Newcastle) to return on the 3E22 up fish train. On 10th January 1963 Alcazar was on the 12:40hrs King’s Cross-Doncaster passenger. The last workings noted were the 1A39 09:30hrs ex-Glasgow to King’s Cross from Newcastle on 6th April 1963, the same train on the 9th even though it was booked for A4 haulage, then an up special into King’s Cross on 11th May.
An undated image of Alcazar in late, work-stained condition near Grantham – Bill Reed
Six boilers were carried by No. 60136 instead of the class average of seven. Alcazar was the eighth A1 withdrawn when its turn came on 22nd May 1963. It lasted 14 years and 6 months, 8½ months less than the A1 average. Unlike others it did not languish long and a week later it was taken into Doncaster Works for cutting up.
This history was compiled by Phil Champion based on the RCTS book “Locomotives of the LNER Part 2A”, a database supplied by Tommy Knox of the Gresley Society, “The Pioneer” (A1 Steam Locomotive Trust) and various published photographs. Revised and updated by Graham Langer, June 2020.