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No. 60134 Foxhunter

This, Darlington Works’ fifth A1, was constructed under an LNER January 1947 order for 23 Darlington A1s. When engine (fitted with boiler No. 3919) and tender No. 754 emerged as Works No. 2053 in November 1948 seven of the class had previously been completed. It was one of five (three Doncaster and two Darlington) to enter service that month. It was turned out in LNER style apple green with white and black lining but with ‘BRITISH RAILWAYS’ lettering but unusually, the top lining on the tender side was only three-quarters of the way up. Old gold was used for lettering and numbers, as on the LNER. Being Darlington built, countersunk rivets were used to give a smooth tender and cabsides. It was one of nineteen to have a Flaman speed recorder fitted from new.

Allocation on 5th November was to Copley Hill shed (COP) to become one of five based there. It was noted nine days later in Darlington station. Its first recorded working was on 4th December with the 15:10hrs up into King’s Cross. Its regular duties were between Leeds and the capital, a number of workings being noted like the 12:45hrs Leeds–King’s Cross on 2nd April 1949. However, it could still work into the North East as when No. 60134 was seen at Darlington again on 5th February. On 9th April 1949 it was seen on the down ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ in the London suburbs. Five days later it was on the up ‘Yorkshire Pullman’.

Following a general overhaul, a repaint into BR blue with black and white lining plus the early BR tender emblem came in March 1950 as one of three that month to join the seventeen already in blue. Its name was fitted that October, again one of three dealt with. As twenty-two A1s were already named this means it was half-way through the naming process. One of thirteen racehorse names carried by A1s, Foxhunter was an illustrious horse, the property of Mr. E.Esmond, he had won the 1932 Doncaster Cup.  Coincidentally it was also the name of one of the horses which took part in the British Show Jumping Team at the 1948 Summer Olympics where he won a bronze medal with Harry Llewelyn riding. That year he won the King George V Gold Cup as well.

In June 1951 No. 60134 revisited Doncaster for a general overhaul including the fitting of boiler No. 29842.  Examples of No. 60134’s workings were a down express from King’s Cross on 9th August 1952 and the up ‘West Riding’ on 13th November, however, on the latter No. 60134 failed at Hitchin and was still on Hitchin shed a week later. It was one of the last to appear in BR green with orange and black lining in February 1953, the 47th A1 so painted. Back in 1950 No. 60134 had been fitted with the mechanical parts only of the Hudd Automatic Train Control (ATC) system but in early 1953 it was one of ten hurriedly fitted with a modified form of the ATC system. A working of another named train, ‘The Queen of Scots’ between Leeds and King’s Cross Foxhunter was photographed in 1953.

Some of its workings were to and from Grantham. On 21st July 1953 Foxhunter worked a Leeds– King’s Cross train as far as Grantham to return on the 14:18hrs ex-King’s Cross to Leeds. Named trains from the capital included the down ‘Bradford Flyer’ on 21st September and the down ‘West Riding’ on 5th May 1954. Workings were made further afield. On 6th June it was seen in the North East in Newcastle. On 30th July it hauled the Sunderland – South Shields ECS then the 10:13hrs South Shields–King’s Cross. 19th September found it on the 20:35hrs King’s Cross–York parcels. Later 1954 records show some of its workings between Leeds and the capital when Pullmans were often hauled, 12th October ten Pullmans on the 07:50hrs KX–Leeds then the same load on the 16:45hrs return, ten coaches 07:50hrs KX–Retford, the 22nd with ten Pullmans 12:05hrs KX–Leeds when the steam brake was sticking on the engine, the 26th with thirteen coaches KX–Leeds to return on the 16:35hrs Leeds–KX, 16th November again with nine Pullmans 12:05hrs KX–Leeds then ten Pullmans on the same train on 22nd December.

No. 60134 Foxhunter standing at platform 1, King’s Cross, Circa 1957 – Robin Gibson

No. 60134 on ‘The Yorkshire Pullman’ at Welwyn in 1957 – Robin Gibson

Foxhunter returned to Doncaster in July 1956 for a general overhaul and replacement boiler (No. 29835) thereafter late 1956 and early 1957 show No. 60134 regularly on Pullmans and other King’s Cross–Leeds trains. It hauled the Down ‘Queen of Scots’ from 17th – 20th September, 5th, 13th and 27th – 31st October then on 2nd and 3rd March 1957. ‘The Harrogate Sunday Pullman’ was worked on 23rd September 1953 then the up ‘Yorkshire Pullman’ into the capital on 6th April 1957. From September 1953 to January 1957 No. 60134 could often be found on the 13:18hrs or 15:40hrs or 18:15hrs King’s Cross-Leeds. Foxhunter assisted A4 No. 60005 Sir Charles Newton between Sandy and King’s Cross on 14th November 1957. A return to ‘The Plant’ for a general overhaul in May 1958 saw the locomotive leave carrying boiler No. 29837.  Logged runs in 1959, 1960 and 1962 show it on the up ‘Queen of Scots’ from Leeds a lot. In May 1958 the later BR crest was applied to the tender. No. 60134 visited Doncaster again in March 1960 and received boiler No. 29839 during a ‘General’.  On 16th March 1962 Foxhunter was seen waiting in one of Leeds Central’s Up bay platforms with coaches to attach to the Bradford portion of a King’s Cross express.

 Foxhunter tears through Grantham on a Pullman train in 1962 – Cedric Clayson

In April 1962 No. 60134 moved from Copley Hill where it had been one of ten A1s to Ardsley (56B) along with three other A1s, Nos. 60121, 60131 and 60135. ‘The Queen of Scots’ was still hauled, as on 25th May and 5th June from Leeds to King’s Cross. Other runs to the capital continued like the twelve coach Leeds Central-King’s Cross express on 7th July. Foxhunter passed through Doncaster Works during September that year for its last overhaul and final boiler, No. 29801.  Work during 1963 included the 18:28hrs King’s Cross-York parcels on 22nd January and 3rd March, an extra Wakefield-King’s Cross passenger on the 9th then an up freight seen in the London outskirts on the 13th.

A transfer to Neville Hill (55H) along with Nos. 60118, 60131, 60146 and 60154 was made on 28th July 1963.  From then on Foxhunter worked north of Leeds regularly on summer Saturday extras to Glasgow and taking the 06:29hrs ex-Birmingham-Gourock CTAC special from Leeds to Glasgow on 3rd August and on the 23rd No. 60134 was seen at Ayr.  It was noted working the ex-Marylebone car sleeper into Glasgow in October.  The five A1s worked summer relief trains on the Settle and Carlisle line in 1964/65 as well as substituting for failed diesels between Leeds and Newcastle. Runs to the North East for No. 60134 included being serviced on Gateshead shed on 6th August 1963, then hauling the extra 1Z72 into Newcastle on 5th May 1964, bringing the 1N67 ex-Manchester into Newcastle on the 19th then being serviced on Gateshead shed afterwards and also from the 29th – 31st. Working the ex-St. Pancras overnight train into Carlisle at 04:49hrs to leave eleven minutes later brought No. 60134 to the north west border country on 5th June. It was used further north east with the 2G85 Newcastle-Berwick stopping train on 29th June.

No. 60134 at Newcastle Central station on 1st June 1965 – Michael Denholm

A very clean Foxhunter at Grantham, date unknown but in late condition – Bill Reed

The last recorded working was a down passenger train at Darlington on 31st July 1965. A sighting of No. 60134 at Neville Hill shed was made on 21st August. Withdrawal on 4th October 1965 came later than many other A1s and with 36 already gone it was one of ten to go that month. It had carried five boilers, all of them diagram 118 designs, whereas the class average was seven. It was in service over a year and a half longer than the A1 average, 16 years 11 months as opposed to 15 years 2½ months. This was the fourth longest-serving A1. In November 1965 Foxhunter was sold to T.W.Ward, Beighton for scrap.

This history was compiled by Phil Champion based on the RCTS book ‘Locomotives of the LNER Part 2A’,’The Pioneer’ (A1 Steam Locomotive Trust), a database supplied by Tommy Knox of the Gresley Society and various published photographs.  Revised and updated by Graham Langer, June 2020.