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No. 60127 Wilson Worsdell

Notable for being the first A1 to appear brand new in the BR express passenger blue livery with black and white lining plus the early lion and wheel emblem on the tender, No. 60127 entered service from Heaton shed on 13th May 1949. Built as works No. 2044, it was the 14th Doncaster A1 and the 32nd A1 to be built. Only a dozen others appeared in blue from new. Four class members were to enter service that month but No. 60127 quickly achieved prominence by being exhibited at Peterborough for arts week from the 21st to the 27th. Back at Heaton it was third of a quartet of A1s allocated there, joining Nos. 60116 and 60126 delivered a month earlier and followed by No. 60150 in June. This shed’s A1s normally hauled trains to York, Leeds and Edinburgh but No. 60127 could also be found further south on main line. The first logging was Newcastle-King’s Cross train hauled into York on 22nd August 1949. It was noted on Doncaster shed on 10th October while on 16th January 1950 it had certainly reached King’s Cross, derailing in the station while waiting to depart with the 17:35hrs train. Other visits that year, like arriving at 13:35hrs on 9th March 1951 and leaving with the 17:35hrs, passed without mishap. Services worked round the Durham coast were typified by the 11:15hrs departure from Stockton on 5th October 1949 with 11 coach Newcastle-Liverpool train and the Bristol–Newcastle working of 10 LMR coaches which arrived at Stockton on 18th May 1950. Naming after an eminent North Eastern Railway C.M.E is recorded as in September. However, a double naming ceremony took place at Newcastle central on 30th October with No. 60142. Already 20 A1s had been named. Around this time the Flaman speed recorder was removed. While visits were made back to Doncaster works for various classes of repair, Wilson Worsdell made the much shorter trip from Heaton across the River Tyne to Gateshead works on 13th November 1952 for non-classified repairs.

An un-named No. 60127 at Doncaster weigh-house in new blue livery in May 1949 – Peter Townend

Repainting in BR green took place in March 1952, one of trio done that month and about half-way through the programme for the class with 23 already dealt with. Workings continued along the main line with sightings from Newcastle to King’s Cross. Wilson Worsdell’s first recorded goods train was the 15:40hrs Hull-London fish train hauled into the capital on 11th January 1954and on July it bought a Leeds-King’s Cross passenger into the terminus. Workings into Scotland were first arriving at its destination at 10.48am. On 27th June No. 60127 hauled the 16:18hrs north from Newcastle to the Scottish capital. Around this period the smokebox numberplate and handrail were transposed as part of an effort to eliminate difficulties fitting train headboards to the A1s. An unusual working was double heading the 13:03hrs Newcastle–Birmingham on 13th June 1956 with Peppercorn A2 No. 60539 Bronzino. Typical runs though were like 26th July as the A1 followed the normal practise of hauling part of a longer distance working; Wilson Worsdell took the 10:08hrs Newcastle–Swansea as far as new York where B1 No. 61096 took over and came back on the 10:30hrs ex-Liverpool (bought in by ‘Black 5’ No. 45216) leaving York at 13:49hrs.

On 1st August 1959 Wilson Worsdell is seen at York – Geoff Parrish

The first logging of No. 60127 on a named train was the down ‘Queen Scots’ from Newcastle on 24th April 1957. Several times over the next few years it was rostered for this train. On 20th August 1960 No. 60127 hauled the up train into Newcastle and left with the down working. Also noted were couple of ‘Talisman’ expresses into Newcastle. Back in 1958 a couple of changes to the engine’s appearance took place. The late BR crest was applied to the tender, No. 60127 being among the last A1s so treated. In July the Thompson diagram 117 boiler off A2 was put on No. 60127. The round dome on this was concealed by a dummy banjo dome but it could be recognised as the dome was further forward, being centred on the second cleading band. Sixteen A1s had these boilers at various times, Wilson Worsdell carrying this until October 1959 when it received a normal boiler off No. 60141. In November 1961 it received another Thompson boiler from A2 No. 60537 which it carried until withdrawal. Other notable workings included hauling a diverted up express along the Leamside line in Co. Durham on 14th May 1959 and the 07:00hrs Newcastle–Edinburgh on 20th August. During 1960 and 1961 the locomotive was noted being serviced a number of times on Gateshead shed.

Along with No. 60116 Hal o’ the Wynd, No. 60127 had been shedded at Heaton since new.  In September 1962 they, along with 10 others, were reallocated to Tweedmouth to haul goods and regular passenger trains.  This marked a shift northwards in Wilson Worsdell’s regular travels, instead of Edinburgh to King’s Cross it was Newcastle to Aberdeen.  On the 22nd it brought the up ‘Anglo–Scottish Car Carrier’ into Newcastle.  A common working for Tweedmouth A1s was the 07:28hrs Berwick–Newcastle stopping train, No. 60127 was first seen on this on 28th September and took its turn on this over the next two years.  It was diagrammed for all stations to/from Edinburgh trains and covered for diesel failures.  Evidence of working through to Aberdeen includes pulling the Aberdeen–Carlisle goods from the granite city on 5th November 1962, the 14:00hrs Up fish from Aberdeen as far as Perth on 11th February 1963 returning with the 17:05hrs ex-Glasgow to Aberdeen.  Other non-passenger work included the 3G38 Berwick–Newcastle parcels on 22nd March and 26th April.  In contrast to the more secondary nature of Wilson Worsdell’s recent work it hauled the prestigious ‘Queen of Scots’ Pullman from Edinburgh to Newcastle on 24th May.

Wilson Worsdell is seen at Newcastle on 28th May 1964 - Michael Denholm

The final logs for No. 60127 were quite a mixture.  On 28th July 1964 it hauled an Up extra for the ‘Flying Scotsman’ into Newcastle after which it was serviced on Gateshead shed then took a Down passenger from ‘Central’.  It was seen on a breakdown train there on 5th September.  On 18th October Wilson Worsdell was transferred to Gateshead shed.  Sightings locate it on shed, in the yard and at the ash tip.  Shed staff told visitors that No. 60127 was steamed, minus nameplates, solely for the purpose of cleaning the bogies of diesels such as English Electric and Brush Type 4s.  Throughout its life it had carried eight boilers, now it was being used precisely for that, a stationary boiler.  Withdrawal from service came on 14th June 1965, one of eight A1s withdrawn that day.  It lay at the shed’s ash tip until at least 12th July when it was sold to Hughes Bolckow of Blythe for scrapping.  Having worked for 16 years it had survived slightly longer than the average for the class.

Shorn of nameplates, No. 60127 ekes out its life at Gateshead – Bill Reed 

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