Though designed under the LNER, No. 60114 was constructed by the infant British Railways at Doncaster in 1948 as Works No. 2031. By 4th July it was seen in the Erecting Shop nearly complete, fitted with boiler No. 9659. On the 11th the un-named engine was on display for a week at a Locomotive and Rolling Stock exhibition at the ‘Plant’ resplendent in LNER apple green with ‘BRITISH RAILWAYS’ in block capitals on its lined tender (No. 731). It had a plain chimney. One commentator described it as looking extremely powerful. On 6th August it entered traffic from King’s Cross shed. Our first recorded sightings are on the 9th at Doncaster shed, being seen in Leeds Central station six days later, arrival from Leeds into King’s Cross (KX) at 14.40hrs on the 18th and hauling the 17.50hrs KX-Hull goods on the 20th. A brief return to its birthplace for non-classified repairs took place on the 24th; three similar visits were made in October. Sightings during the autumn were on the lower part of the East Coast Main Line: Potters Bar, Peterborough and Grantham. As the first of its class to be named, a naming ceremony was held at King’s Cross on 28th October.
No. 60114 W.P.Allen at Rochdale, 28th September 1963 – Richard Greenwood
W.P. Allen was a prominent trade union official who began his railway career on the Great Northern Railway then became a member of the Railway Executive. Naming a locomotive after such a person rather than directors reflects the fact that the A1s entered service during a Labour Government’s tenure. It was the only A1 to be named for eighteen months and the only one to carry a name while in apple green. A regular working throughout November was the 13.30hrs KX – Doncaster. Following a ‘light casual’ repair at Doncaster on 4th April, a series of comparative power trials with A2 No. 60539 Bronzino took place in early May 1949 with No. 60114 working the 13.00hrs KX – Leeds on the 3rd and 5th plus the 09.50hrs Leeds – KX noted on the 4th and 6th. Then the trials were on ‘The Flying Scotsman’ (No. 60114’s first prestigious workings) between 10th May – 13th between the capital and Grantham (10.00hrs out with 612 tons and 16.20hrs return with 640 tons). The A1 was recorded as steaming well with good riding and very smooth drawbar pull. Another named train hauled was the Down ‘Tees-Tyne Pullman’ on 9th June. Slightly off a normal run was working the 08.05hrs Newcastle – Paignton between York and Rotherham on 2nd July. In November 1949 W.P Allen was repainted in BR express blue with lion and wheel emblem on the tender while it was in Doncaster Works for general repairs, having entered the works on 10th October. It was one of the earlier A1s to appear in these colours; eight had been in blue before November (seven from new and one repaint) while No. 60114 was one of five to come out in blue that month (three new and two repaints).
After weighing at Doncaster on 8th March 1950 and a ‘light casual’ repair there that lasted eight days from 17th March the locomotive was recorded at Grantham on 7th April before a transfer to Copley Hill shed on 4th June. It was one of six reallocated (Nos. 60114/17/20/23/25/33) to join the half dozen already there. Duties included Harrogate to KX expresses. Around this period, the utilitarian plain chimney was replaced by the more aesthetically-pleasing lipped version during a ‘heavy intermediate’ overhaul from 21st February. Notable workings were a Down special from KX on 17th September 1950 and the Up ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ on 17th April 1951. No. 60114 was recorded at Haxey Crossing on a very cold 26th January 1952 and on 14th July of that year No. 60114 was taken to ‘The Plant’ for a general overhaul which included fitting Diagram 118 boiler No. 29836 when repainting into BR lined green took place. W.P.Allen was one of the later ones to be so treated; 34 had already been done and No. 60114 was one of a trio repainted that month, being recorded on York shed on 24th sporting its new livery. Following a ‘light casual’ during January, a further move to Grantham on 15th February 1953 was reflected in No. 60114 hauling of the 09.10hrs ex-Lincoln train into Grantham on 22nd July that year. It had moved with Nos. 60125/44 to join the eight shedded there. A variety of work on the East Coast Main Line and linking routes ensued. Exemplifying this are: taking a KX to Newcastle train forward from its home town on 1st September. 1954 saw No. 60114 in Doncaster for a general overhaul in January, receiving Diagram 118 boiler No. 29806 before a return to traffic on 25th February, being recorded hauling the Down ‘Flying Scotsman’ into Newcastle on 17th June and 19th June 1954; and heading a passenger train from Stockton on 3rd October. A football special from KX was worked to its Newcastle destination on 8th January 1955; a general overhaul on 14th June saw the locomotive fitted with Diagram 118 boiler No. 29874, before No. 60114 was released back into traffic on 20th July and whilst still working in the North East No. 60114 pulled the 08.40hrs South Shields – KX on 30th July. After a ‘light casual’ in January 1956 W.P.Allen was seen on shorter workings like the 06.40hrs KX – Grantham train on 4th October 1956, named trains featured like ‘The Tynesider’ (Down) on 18th and 26th December 1956. KX – York parcels was another turn, the 11.00hrs on 22nd November and the 20.40hrs on 1st December.
6th March 1957 saw W.P.Allen back at Doncaster for a general overhaul lasting a month, returning to traffic on 5th April carrying Diagram 118 boiler No. 29873. Reallocation to Doncaster took place on 2nd September 1957 to give that shed its sole A1 at the time though it was joined by several others over the next few months. Runs continued from KX – Newcastle as well as to Leeds and York/Hull, the 14.10hrs from the capital to York/Hull being a frequent turn on late 1957 and 1958. No. 60114 was on the Up ‘Heart of Midlothian’ from Newcastle on 21st January 1957 and the Up ‘West Riding’ on New Year’s Eve 1958. On 11th October 1961 it was seen with ‘The White Rose’ at Hatfield. Special or additional trains were also worked by No. 60114. It arrived at KX at 20.53hrs with a train from Catterick on 15th February 1957, worked the 09.20hrs extra out of KX on Christmas Eve 1958. An example of the common practice of changing engines on the ECML is the diagram for 12th September 1959: out with the 10.45hrs KX to Peterborough and return from there with the ex-10.10hrs Edinburgh. As late as 1958 No. 60114 still carried the early emblem on its tender although it gained the new crest during a general overhaul at Doncaster in October that year when it emerged with Diagram 118 boiler No. 29814.
Non-passenger workings also featured. After arriving with the train from Catterick on 15th February 1957 it departed KX at 23.00hrs on the parcels train to York. The locomotive was recorded on Doncaster shed on 30th August 1960 and 12th August 1961 saw W.P.Allen steam through Doncaster on an Up fast fitted freight. On 23rd March 1963 it was observed on an Up freight at York. On 10th April it was seen hauling the Up seed potatoes goods through Newcastle at 10.30hrs.
Passenger train diversions saw No. 60114 going via Cambridge instead of the ECML on 8th May 1960 before going to ‘The Plant’ for a ‘general’ on 19th of that month, being returned to traffic with Diagram 118 boiler No. 29831 on 13th July being seen on 31st July using the route via Bishop Auckland instead of the Darlington – Durham section of the main line. Several unusual workings were made later in the locomotive’s life, on 29th July 1961 it headed a Lincoln – Blackpool special through Doncaster, unfortunately on the 15th December of that year No. 60114 was involved in a quadruple collision/derailment at Connington, involving three freight trains and an empty stock working. No. 60114’s final visit to Doncaster for a general overhaul took place on 17th July 1962, the locomotive emerging on 19th August with boiler No. 29809 fitted. 1963 found the locomotive on Doncaster shed and 15th September and Blackpool was certainly reached on 28th September with a Gainsborough MRS special – no doubt for the illuminations. More unusual was seeing No. 60114 at Leicester Central on 1X46, a Women’s Institute special from Mexborough to Beaconsfield (for a trip to Bekonscot model village) and return.
No. 60114 at Doncaster MPD on 13th October 1963 – Philip Jackson
Even into the last year or two of its life W.P.Allen hauled named trains. It arrived at KX with the Up ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ on 4th April 1963, as well as being noted at the head of the Gainsborough Model railway Society’s excursion from Lincoln to Blackpool on 28th September that year and the Down ‘Flying Scotsman’ was brought by No. 60114 into Newcastle on 18th February 1964. The locomotive was recorded on Doncaster shed on 8th March and on 4th April it passed through Grantham on the ‘Tees-Tyne Pullman’, deputising for a diesel – a not uncommon practice for A1s during that period. Its last recorded ‘namer’ was the same train on 20th April although it was recorded on a Down Parcels train at York on 25th June. On 12th July No. 60114 took part in an epic Derbyshire Railway Society tour from Sheffield to Worcester Shrub Hill, handing over to a Great Western ‘Castle’ at that point before being serviced at Worcester Shed (85A); alas, as the result of an uncontrolled slip in the shed yard, W.P.Allen had to remain there until repairs could be effected, only returning north on 7th August by working the 11.41hrs Birmingham New Street to Newcastle relief service (1N72) on 8th August. W.P.Allen’s last recorded passenger train was a Down troop special on 11th September but parcels and goods trains continued to be worked. Newcastle was reached at 15.00hrs on a Down parcels from York on 13th December 1964 while on Christmas Eve it brought the 07.33hrs Aberdeen – KX parcels into York – the final logging of No. 60114 hauling a train; the day before it had worked the 10.20hrs Dringhouses – Tyne Yard goods.
W.P.Allen once again at Doncaster, this time on 4th April 1964 – Nigel Kendall
Withdrawal came on Boxing Day 1964, being the 22nd or 23rd member of the class to go along with No. 60158. It was still lying at Doncaster shed on 24th January 1965. On 3rd March it had moved, now lying withdrawn at Chater’s Bank, Gateshead. On the 9th it was seen being towed through Newcastle by B1 No. 61035 en route to Hughes Bolckow scrapyard in Blyth, Northumberland.
During its life No. 60114 was to carry eight different boilers. As the first of the class it had lasted longer than many others and its active life of sixteen years and four months was more than a year above the class average. The rush to dieselise shortened No. 60114’s lifespan but it had given very good service as the pioneer of an illustrious class.
This history was compiled by Phil Champion based on a database compiled by Tommy Knox and with reference to the RCTS book ‘Locomotives of the LNER Part 2A’ as background. Revised and updated by Graham Langer, April 2020.