In November 1933 an order was placed for a further five P2 class locomotives, however soon after it was decided to only proceed with one locomotive. The new engine followed in numerical sequence from Cock o’ the North and gained the number 2002 and also the Doncaster works number 1796. The first diagram for the engine had been issued in October of that year showing piston valves and a single chimney, something Gresley soon changed to a double chimney like sister engine No. 2001. As construction progressed the drawing office issued an instruction for the nameplate to be cast as “The Earl Marischal” although an amendment was soon issued by the drawing office to produce the nameplates as “Earl Marischal”.
Although substantially similar to Cock o’ the North, Earl Marischal differed in detail to ostensibly allow for comparison between the two locomotives. From the outset No. 2002 was equipped with piston valves operated by Walschaerts/Gresley valve gear and two injectors. The tender also differed from No. 2001 by using a standard LNER non-corridor high sided riveted tender running on disc wheels. The engine was completed and entered traffic on the 6th October 1934 and assigned to Doncaster shed. The engine soon undertook running in trials before entering regular service on Doncaster to King's Cross trains. At this point the engine was fitted with 5 7/8” diameter blastpipe tops and No.3 taper blocks. During the early runs the engine struggled to maintain full working boiler pressure, with sharp drops in pressure when running and it only returning to higher pressure when at station stops. The blast pipe diameter was soon changed to 5 ¾” in January 1935 and the results achieved in operation proved satisfactory.
A cigarette card purporting to show Earl Marischal in its original form (actually No. 2001) – P2SLC Collection
No. 2002 is cleaned by shed staff, note the original outline and valve gear – P2SLC Collection
With piston valves the locomotive had very different characteristics to the poppet valve equipped Cock o’ the North. No. 2002 soon gave problems with smoke clearance and the locomotive returned to Doncaster on the 15th March until the 17th April 1935 to be fitted with two somewhat ungainly smoke deflectors. These were placed over the outside of the casing next to the smokebox fitted 17” from the base and 6” at the top. The original front of the casing had its leading edge cut back 12” and the beading discarded. Although of unconventional appearance the deflector plates worked and solved the issues of drifting smoke.
Whilst working trains to London No. 2002 had a minor mishap at King’s Cross shed on the 29th December 1934 with the pony truck wheels becoming derailed. Examination at the scene could not find anything wrong with both the locomotive or the track and the engine was returned to Doncaster on the 2nd January 1935 hauling the No.2 braked goods from King’s Cross. At Doncaster the locomotive was pushed round a tight curve (used for testing the P2 and A3 class locomotives before entering traffic) to see if it would derail again. The P2 did not derail but the shunting engine pushing No. 2002 came to grief, derailing itself. However someone noticed a slight movement in the wheel as it turned and on further examination it was discovered the axle was slightly bent. This was repaired and a modification made to the swing link to allow greater movement, a modification later applied to No. 2001 and the remaining four locomotives during construction. The engine soon returned to regular duty and performed well before being transferred to Haymarket shed in Edinburgh on 9th June 1935 where it remained for thirteen days before being transferred onwards to Dundee shed.
Earl Marischal being serviced, clearly showing the A4 front and smokebox arrangement – P2SLC Collection
In October 1936 the next batch of four P2 locomotives had been completed and Earl Marischal entered Doncaster works for overhaul. The latest batch of P2 engines had been built with a full streamlined front end similar to the A4 class locomotives. Whilst undergoing overhaul No. 2002 was rebuilt to match the new locomotives with fully streamlined front end. The engine returned to traffic and was sent back to Scotland to continue its duties on the Edinburgh to Aberdeen mainline. Earl Marischal was withdrawn from traffic and rebuilt as a Pacific locomotive in June 1944 having completed 360,907 miles as a 2-8-2 type locomotive.
Entering traffic as a Pacific the engine returned to Aberdeen Ferryhill shed. In May 1946 the engine was renumbered 502 and then further re-numbered 60502 in June 1948. The engine was transferred to Edinburgh Haymarket September 1949 followed by another transfer to York two months later. Like the rest of the A2/2 class No. 60502 was plagued by troubles and frequently visited the works at Cowlairs, Inverurie and Doncaster for repairs. On the 26th June 1961 Earl Marischal entered Doncaster works for the final time. The locomotive had run 673,947 miles as a Pacific giving a total of 1,034,854 miles during the total life of the locomotive. This total was the highest mileage of any of the class and the only engine to exceed one million miles. No. 60502 was the final member of the class to be cut up, going under the cutters torch on 3rd July 1961.