As Darlington Works No. 2061, No. 60142 emerged in December 1949 carrying boiler No. 2061. It was of three to come that month, two from Darlington and one from Doncaster joining the 20 already constructed. Livery was apple green with black and white lining and old gold for numerals and lettering. The tender carried the inscription ‘BRITISH RAILWAYS’ on its sides.

Allocation was to Gateshead (GHD), entering service on 2nd February 1949, the sixth of what was to be an initial allocation of a dozen A1s there. The first train noted was the 14:12hrs Darlington-Leeds on the 10th. It travelled the length of the East Coast Main Line, sightings up to the mid-1950 covering a passenger train at Aycliffe, Co. Durham, at King’s Cross and on Haymarket shed. Its first named train was ‘The Flying Scotsman’, the up thirteen coach train being taken from Newcastle on 24th June 1950.

Following its first general overhaul and boiler change (No. 29805 fitted), Edward Fletcher was named after the Newcastle and Darlington Junction Railway’s then North Eastern Railway’s Locomotive Superintendent from 1845 to 1882, the ceremony taking place on 30th October 1950 with naming by the Lord Mayor of Newcastle at Newcastle Central.  The locomotive had also been repainted in BR blue with black and white lining. With 37 already in blue and No. 60142 one of three repainted that month, it was among the last quarter of the class to be so painted. On 28th July 1951 No. 60142 again hauled the up ‘Flying Scotsman’ but this time from Edinburgh to Newcastle. It was also seen at West Hartlepool on the Durham coast line.

Edward Fletcher was among the earlier ones to go into BR green with orange and black lining in December 1951 following a heavy intermediate repair at Doncaster, one of five so treated that December to follow the dozen already painted green. The next few years gave some noteworthy workings. Having started the year undergoing a general overhaul at ‘The Plant’ (boiler No. 29871 fitted), on 25th February 1953 Edward Fletcher departed King’s Cross with the down ‘Northumbrian’ and returned with the up ‘White Rose’. On 11th April it worked the first up ‘Starlight Special’ between Newcastle and York then did its York-Newcastle working.  The up ‘Flying Scotsman’ was brought into Newcastle on 11th June 1953 while a month later No. 60142 took the down ‘Norseman’ from York to Newcastle. This pattern of working between the North East and Scotland was shown in many loggings from late 1954 to late 1956 with No. 60142 bringing the up ‘Flying Scotsman’ into Newcastle, leaving that city with the up ‘Heart of Midlothian’ or the down ‘North Briton’.  Ordinary passenger trains were worked over the border such as the York-Edinburgh train of 26th November 1955 which No. 60142 took forward from Newcastle at 21:27hrs as it did to the York-Edinburgh parcels of 11th February and 17th March 1956. Edward Fletcher was back in the English capital when it departed King’s Cross at 10:10hrs with a Glasgow train. It was back in the Scottish capital on 9th March 1957 when it pulled the 13:00hrs Glasgow-Edinburgh train.

Still sporting the early BR emblem, Edward Fletcher is seen at Haymarket shed – Bill Reed

The later BR crest was applied to the tender in March 1958 following another general overhaul at Doncaster which included fitting boiler No. 29823. A trip away from the East Coast Main Line came on 19th November 1958 when it was noted on Cambridge shed. While it was noted at Newcastle and Darlington in 1959 it also was seen on a number of overnight arrivals at King’s Cross. During a further general overhaul during November 1959 the locomotive was fitted with a Diagram 117 boiler, No. 29782.  At various times 16 A1s were fitted with these which had a round dome rather than a banjo dome and it was further forward (although the banjo cover was still used) and the barrel plates were thicker. Probably the furthest up the east coast No. 60142 had travelled came on 25th June 1960 when it brought a special train into Aberdeen at 11:50hrs.

A move to Heaton (52B) came in September 1960 to join the six A1s already there, however, it was often seen across the River Tyne at Gateshead shed being serviced. On 5th January 1961 No. 60142 brought a parcels train from the south into Newcastle platform 8 and was next recorded undergoing a general overhaul at Doncaster during June and July of that year, its last visit to ‘The Plant ‘ for a heavy repair, this one including the fitting of the locomotive’s last boiler, No. 10595, a reversion to the diagram 118 type.  Typical passenger trains were from Newcastle like its southbound run on 18th August 1961 plus the up ‘Northumbrian’ ten days later which it took to York where another A1 relieved it. ‘Namers’ include hauling ‘The Queen of Scots’ between Edinburgh and Newcastle and bringing the down ‘Flying Scotsman’ from King’s Cross to Newcastle. Other traffic included being on both up and down goods at Morpeth on 2nd June 1962 and taking over the 12:10hrs York-Edinburgh parcels at Newcastle on the 16th.

Edward Fletcher on Haymarket Shed in August 1963 – E.J.Kidd

A transfer to Tweedmouth shed (52D) was made on 9th September 1962 with eight other A1s from Heaton. On the 17th it worked one of that shed’s typical A1 duties of the time, the 2G85 Berwick-Newcastle and Newcastle-Berwick stopping trains, which it would work from time to time. As with most A1s now, workings were a mix of traffic. As well as the Berwick ‘stoppers’ No. 60142 was in charge of the up ‘Queen of Scots’ into Newcastle on 22nd September and a special York-Edinburgh from Newcastle at 11:15hrs. Goods trains included the 4S21 King’s Cross Goods-Niddrie Class C from Newcastle on 6th October and the Niddrie-Newcastle Class C of 1st December. Parcel trains hauled were York-Edinburgh ones. Again Edward Fletcher ventured as far north as Aberdeen but this time on a number of days as it departed Aberdeen with the 20:40hrs to Carlisle on 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th April 1963 while on the 5th it left Aberdeen with an Aberdeen-Wembley special. A longer run further south was the 3E30 Delaval-Holloway ECS on 8th April. Summer 1963 featured a number of workings between Newcastle and Edinburgh like the down ‘Anglo-Scottish Car Carrier’ of 14th June and 5th July and it 22:20hrs Edinburgh-King’s Cross which No. 60142 brought into Newcastle. A special train, ‘The Northern Venturer’ was brought into Newcastle by Edward Fletcher on 2nd August. After working the 3S46 York-Edinburgh parcels from Newcastle on 12th and on 13th September No. 60142 took the 08:26hrs Carlisle-Millerhill Class 4 goods.

Workings of No. 60142 in 1964 were generally between Edinburgh and the North East, the down Class C at Newcastle of 30th April, the Berwick ‘stoppers’ both ways on 11th June and the 2N83 Edinburgh-Newcastle of 17th August. However, it had been observed on Carlisle’s Kingmoor shed in April.

No. 60142 was transferred back to Gateshead (now 52A) on 25th October 1964. Its last recorded working was an up Class 7 into Newcastle at 11:23hrs on 26th January 1965. Withdrawal came on 14th June. With 28 already gone this was one of eight A1 withdrawals in June. It was sold to Hughes Bolckow of Blyth in July for scrap. On the morning of 5th August No. 60142 was seen being towed through Newcastle by Q6 No. 63366 along with fellow Gateshead A1s Nos. 60116, 60127 and 60132.

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 and various published photographs.  Revised and updated by Graham Langer, July 2020.