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No. 60143 Sir Walter Scott

Darlington Works No. 2062 carrying boiler No. 3944 with tender No. 763 emerged in February 1949. Construction was nearly half way through the class, it was one of two Darlington A1s and one from Doncaster to join the 20 already in traffic. Livery was apple green with black and white lining and old gold lettering and numerals. The owner’s name was along the tender sides, ‘BRITISH RAILWAYS’. It entered service from Gateshead (GHD) on 19th February 1949.  It was on Grantham shed on 27th March then later that day was seen on a down van train at Norton South Junction. The first recorded passenger working was the 17:35hrs King’s Cross–Newcastle of 6th March 1950. Next day, it was seen at Stockton at 11:30hrs double-heading the 19 coach Delaval–Holloway ECS with Class B1 No. 61258.

A colourised works' photo of No. 60143 at Doncaster - Ian McCabe

It was the 37th A1 to be repainted in express passenger blue with black and white lining in September 1950 following its first general overhaul and boiler change at Doncaster (boiler No. 29800 fitted). The locomotive also left the works carrying a name, a naming that was nearly halfway through the class, after the eminent nineteenth century novelist, a number of A1s carrying names from characters in his novels. The new colour scheme lasted barely a year, going during a heavy intermediate repair at ‘The Plant’ in September the following year, one of the earlier A1s to be repainted in BR green with orange and black lining. Already six had been done and No. 60143 was one of four repainted that month. Sir Walter Scott was back on the Delaval–Holloway ECS, seen at Stockton on 2nd October with 18 coaches and one six-wheeler then on the 27th with Class B1 No. 61256 plus 19 coaches, a six-wheeler and three four-wheelers. Express passenger trains included a down York-Newcastle of 14th June 1951, one via the Durham coast into Newcastle on 11th November plus the up ‘Flying Scotsman’ from Newcastle on 16th June 1951 and the up one into Newcastle on 2nd August 1952. The locomotive was in the capital on 22nd July 1953 as it departed King’s Cross with the 14:00hrs King’s Cross-Edinburgh train. No. 60143 revisited Doncaster for a further general overhaul during February 1953, leaving with boiler No. 29863, returning again throughout May 1954 for another one, this time leaving equipped with boiler No. 10595.  A typical example of its work was the 13 coaches hauled on the Leeds to King’s Cross train seen leaving Peterborough at 16:49hrs on 5th October 1954 but it once again called at ‘The Plant’ during October/November 1955 for another ‘General’ which included fitting boiler No. 29875. From 1954 to 1956 No. 60143 was seen on a number of named trains, the up ‘Tees-Tyne Pullman’, the up ‘Heart of Midlothian’ and ‘North Briton’ from Newcastle plus the up ‘Flying Scotman’ into and from Newcastle. Sir Walter Scott carried the later BR crest on its tender from 20th July 1957 following a very protracted overhaul at Doncaster lasting 155 days, the reason for which has not been recorded. In fact, No. 60143 seems to have been the A1 that visited Doncaster most frequently for heavy repairs, re-appearing there in August 1958 (boiler No. 29862 fitted) and June 1959 (boiler No. 29847 fitted) for general overhauls.

Sir Walter Scott dips the troughs at Muskham – Bill Reed

A transfer to Heaton shed (52B) was made in June 1960. It passed Bishop Auckland when trains were diverted off the main line between Darlington and Durham with a King’s Cross–Edinburgh passenger train on 28th October. Sir Walter Scott paid its final visit to Doncaster for a general overhaul during April and May 1961, leaving with its last boiler, No. 29850. It was in “immaculate” condition when photographed leaving Tweedmouth station on the RCTS ‘Borders Rail Tour’ of 9th July 1961, giving a good performance back to Newcastle reaching 80mph near Morpeth. Through much of the early 1960s No. 60143 was working north From Newcastle. In 1961 John Gilroy  recorded these runs at Heaton two miles north of Newcastle Central, northbound passenger on 14th August, on the down ‘Queen of Scots’ on the 17th and Friday 25th taking over a northbound passenger at Central from Class A3 No. 60060 The Tetrarch. On Saturday 14th October he saw it with five other A1s at Heaton shed. At that shed it was coupled to Class V2 No. 60835 The Green Howard on Thursday 2nd November. Workings of note in 1962 were a down goods at Newcastle on 24th March, the down CTAC excursion at Newcastle on 2nd June and the 09:04hrs Sunderland–Kings Cross ECS of 8th September which was terminated at York after which No. 60143 worked back to Newcastle.

Reallocation to Tweedmouth (52D) came on 9th September 1962 and a mix of work ensued.  Mainline passenger work included bringing the 15:00hrs ex-King’s Cross into Newcastle on the 10th, taking forward the Colchester–Glasgow train from Newcastle on 1st June 1963 and hauling the 1N24 Edinburgh–Newcastle. The 2G85 Berwick–Newcastle stopping train plus its return was worked a number of times from October 1962 to April 1963. On 31st May 1963 Sir Walter Scott was sighted on the 3G38 Berwick–Newcastle parcels.

Along with four other A1s it was reallocated to York North (50A) on 8th September 1963. It reached Newcastle a lot as it was frequently seen being serviced on Gateshead shed. On 2nd December it brought the overnight sleeper into King’s Cross, then on 1st February 1964 No. 60143 was on the 14:38hrs Newcastle–York and a photo from the 2nd shows it had lost its front numberplate.  Non-passenger work was the 3B13 Newcastle–York parcels of 4th April, the 6S27 Tyne Yard–Millerhill of the 9th and the 7E70 Millerhill–Ollerton of the 10th.  On 13th April No. 60143 was back on the 2G85 Newcastle–Berwick stopper. On 15th April it brought a passenger train from Lincoln into Newcastle. Its final logged working was the 2G85 Newcastle–Berwick on 28th April.  Withdrawal came on 6th May 1964. It was one of 10 sold to A. Draper of Hull for scrap. The last sighting was on 4th October on York shed where it had clearly remained out of use for some time. No. 60143 carried eight boilers, all to diagram 118. Its service life of 15 years 2½ months was exactly the class average.

Nos. 60126 Sir Vincent Raven and 60143 awaiting scrap, 4th October 1964 – Michael Denholm

This history was compiled by Phil Champion based on the RCTS book “Locomotives of the LNER Part 2A”, a database supplied by Tommy Knox of the Gresley Society, “The Glory and the Steam” by John Gilroy, “The Power of the A1s” by Gavin Morrison and various published photographs.  Revised and updated by Graham Langer, July 2020.