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No. 60120 Kittiwake

The seventh of Arthur Peppercorn’s A1s, No. 60120 emerged from Doncaster as Works No. 2037 in December 1948 – the first of a trio to emerge that month. Resplendent in the customary LNER-style apple green with white and black lining but with its owner’s name in white block capitals on the tender sides, it entered service from King’s Cross shed (34A) on the 12th. It was the second A1 to be allocated to ‘Top Shed’ when new and was to be followed by another six over the following year. The first reported sightings were at Cambridge ten days later then at West Hartlepool on the 30th. The first visit back to its birthplace cam on 23rd January 1950 from where it emerged on March 31st after general repairs, now carrying BR express passenger blue. Already four A1s had been repainted and No. 60120 was one of three more to be done that month. Naming came in May; just two had been named before then but Kittiwake was one of a quartet so embellished that month. Only half a dozen A1s were called after birds. Nevertheless this choice of topic for naming maintained a fine LNER tradition. Around this period the Flaman speed recorder was removed and a lipped chimney replaced the plain original.

Transfer to Copley Hill shed came on June 4th. Workings settled down to trains between west Yorkshire and London. Again, it was one of three to be repainted in the same month; this time in BR green with the early emblem on the tender, in October 1951. Four others had been repainted earlier. Kittiwake’s first recorded train in this guise was the 07:30hrs from Leeds to King’s Cross on February 10th 1953. The up ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ of November 15th 1955 is the first recorded named train and the down ‘Queen of Scots’ was noted several times in October and November 1956. Between then and January the following year a number of King’s Cross – Leeds trains were logged with the most common being the 15:40hrs.  In May 1957 the later style of tender crest was applied. The ‘White Rose’ was worked at various times in the second half of 1959.  Of note was 20th June when Kittiwake hauled the 09:10hrs down ‘White Rose’ and returned to the capital on the 11:00hrs ‘Queen of Scots’. The only other named train for No. 60120 was the down 17:52hrs ‘West Riding’ on 1st August which followed its 11:15hrs working of the up ‘Yorkshire Pullman’.


Kittiwake at Grantham on 16th August 1962 – Cedric Clayson

The 1960s show a wider range of work. West Yorkshire was still the main focus as exemplified by a round trip from Bradford to the capital on 29th April 1960 and the 10:37hrs Harrogate – King’s Cross on 23rd July. A less common appearance was the 08:55hrs from Filey to Newcastle on 18th June. Several sightings on Tyneside now appear. A number of times between 1960 and 1962 Kittiwake was serviced at Gateshead shed (52A). On 14th October 1961 it hauled the 08:05hrs ex-Birmingham into its destination of Newcastle and departed later with an up class C express goods – the first non-passenger logging for No. 60120.  14th April 1962 saw Kittiwake work the additional 12:00 noon passenger King’s Cross – Newcastle, be serviced at 52A then leave Newcastle on the 22:25hrs departure. Other workings of note that year featuring the Tyneside city were; arriving with the down Anglo-Scottish Car Carrier on 1st September; coming in on the 24th at 17:52hrs with the 1F50 Scarborough – Glasgow; and leaving the next day with the 1E14 ‘Queen of Scots’. Other non-passenger work was the 18:28hrs King’s Cross – York parcels of 15th May and 13th June 1963. An unusual visit was to Lincoln shed on 6th July. A Smith-Stone speed recorder was fitted during this period.

No. 60120 Kittiwake with a northbound train – June 1962 – Cedric Clayson

The final stage in No. 60120’s life came with a transfer to 50A (York) on 8th September 1963. Most sightings now were along the ECML. For example, the 1A79 Edinburgh – King’s Cross was taken forward from Newcastle on 17th September while No. 60120 was seen in the same city with the 3S46 York – Edinburgh parcels on 8th October. Three days before the latter Kittiwake was observed at St. Margarets shed in Edinburgh. After 25th October’s haulage of the 4E01 Millerhill – King’s Cross goods from Newcastle and subsequent stabling on York shed, the last three workings noted were parcels. However, the final one was back in its old west Yorkshire territory when No. 60120 was seen at Mirfield on a York parcels on 7th January 1964.  No. 60120 was withdrawn due to damage sustained in a collison with the rear of an up freight train stopped for examination at North Otterington (Nr Northallerton) on the ECML in the early hours of 16th January,1964. The A1 was running south light engine at the time.   Along with No. 60153, Kittiwake had the fewest boilers in its lifetime with only four. Entry into Darlington Works was for scrapping which took place on 28th January.

Epitaph – only hours after the collision, No. 60120 is seen at York – Richard Postill

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.  Extra information from T.D. Whittaker. Revised and updated by Graham Langer, May 2020.