The 31st A1 to enter service, No. 60126 was based on the North Eastern Region throughout its life – very appropriate considering the name it was to carry. It was first noted unpainted in the Doncaster works paint shop on 15th April 1949. It emerged as works No. 2042 (and the 12th A1 built there) in lined LNER apple green which one commentator has described as a startling sight in post war Britain. Indeed, it was the last Doncaster-built A1 to be painted in this colour from new. Working life for No. 60126 began from Heaton on the 27th. Heaton A1s were used on traditional workings to York, Leeds and Edinburgh. The East Coast Mail Line was traversed on most of these runs. However, we know that No. 60126 could often be found on trains using Durham coast line. On 11th June it passed Eaglescliffe at 08:58hrs with a Sunderland-King’s Cross train of 14 coaches. On 29th March 1950 it left Stockton with an 11 coach Newcastle–Liverpool working. It travelled further south: back on 24th June 1949 it was seen hauling the 07:53hrs Saltburn-King’s Cross through Doncaster while on 9th September the same year it arrived at King’s Cross at 18:00hrs with a train from Newcastle.
Brand new at Doncaster on 1st May 1949 – Peter Townend
Repainting into BR express passenger blue took place in July 1950 while No. 60126 was in Doncaster works for general repairs, one of four so treated that month. Previously 17 A1s had been painted in the new colours. Naming after an eminent North Eastern Railway engineer, and its final one, was performed by the Mayor of Darlington on 3rd August. This was one of six A1s named after chief mechanical engineers of two constituents of the LNER: three from the NER and the others from the GNR. Other changes around this time were the replacement of the plain chimney by a lipped one and the removal of the Flaman speed recorder. For much of the time Sir Vincent Raven worked much as before with a few visits to new destinations. The first named train recorded was the up 12 coach ‘Northumbrian’ from Newcastle on 17th January 1951. No. 60126 was one of the earlier ones to receive BR green livery; only six had been repainted earlier and it was one of a quartet done in October. The following 3rd March found it at Sheffield Victoria. Trips down the main line were evidenced by sightings at Doncaster shed on 6th April and at Hitchin shed on 13th December. Visits further north included the 07:30hrs Edinburgh-Aberdeen train on 15th August 1953 returning with the up ECS from Aberdeen at 14:10hrs. Sir Vincent Raven’s first logged goods working was the following month when it headed west through Newcastle on Heaton sheds class D duty. While heavy repairs were carried out at Doncaster works there were several instances of work at Gateshead such as casual light repairs from 20th – 24th April 1953.
During general repairs at Doncaster in March 1954 tender No. 745 off No. 60126 was swapped with No. 60122’s tender No. 740. The first trains to Leeds on record were the 11:00hrs on 17th September and 24th 1955. Two instances of double-heading occurred in 1956, on 16th June it hauled the 13:03hrs Newcastle- Birmingham with No. 60116 Hal o’ the Wynd while on 8th September it brought the 08:05hrs Birmingham-Newcastle into Newcastle with A2/3 No. 60511 Airborne. About this time the smoke box handrail and number plate were transposed while in 1957 the later BR crest was applied to the tender. While there are a few records of named trains hauled by No. 60126 in print a photo dated c.1958 shows it leaving Edinburgh with the up ‘Queen of Scots’. Trains via the Durham coast were still worked as shown by a Newcastle-King’s Cross passenger on 7th September 1958. No. 60126 hauled the Up Highlands car sleeper on 22nd August 1959 between Newcastle and York, the train having left Inverness behind a pair of Black 5s. Main line diversions on 18th September 1960 and 23rd April found No. 60126 working through Lincoln.
No. 60126 storms away from the ‘Cross on 1st August 1962 – Peter Townend
After a dozen years at Heaton No. 60126 was re-allocated to York on 10th September. By now the Smith-Stone speedometer was fitted. Most workings tended to be between the capital and Newcastle such as the 17:35hrs down train on 4th April 1962. Earlier, the down ‘Heart of Midlothian’ was hauled from King’s Cross on 13th January. 23rd June’s taking of a Peterborough-Edinburgh train forward from Newcastle to its destination showed that Sir Vincent Raven could still travel over the border; specials and non- passenger workings began to feature as much as regular passenger turns.
Sir Vincent Raven on shed at Gateshead, New Year’s Day 1964 – John Arnott-Brown
Specials seen included a Brandon-Walker train on 16th June 1962 and a CTAC train at Newcastle on 3rd September. Non-passenger workings were the up seed potatoes seen at Newcastle on 3rd December, a down parcel train noted at York on 23rd March 1963 and a Healey Mills-Forth Yard goods arriving at Newcastle on 11th June. The last recorded passenger was the 1N30 Glasgow-Scarborough from Newcastle on 6th July 1963 while the final goods noted was an up train seen at Pillion (Sunderland) at 19:16hrs on 8th August. The only record for 1964 was a sighting in York shed yard on 2nd May.
Sir Vincent Raven, dead on York shed 2nd April 1964 – Nigel Kendall
Withdrawal for Sir Vincent Raven came on 18th January 1965. In March it was sold for scrap to A. Draper of Hull. Its working life of 15 years and 9 months was slightly longer than the average. It had carried seven different boilers.
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 with additional information from Richard Ardern.