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No. 60149 Amadis

Emerging from Darlington Works in May 1949 bearing boiler No. 3962, No. 60149 (Works No. 2068) was built after over half the class had been completed. Already 31 had been delivered.  No. 60149 was one of two to come in May from Darlington and two from Doncaster. Livery was apple green with black and white lining, old gold used for numerals and letters plus ‘BRITISH RAILWAYS’ on the tender. It was the last of Grantham’s (GRA) initial allocation of four A1s, entering traffic on 31st May. Sightings were between the capital and the North East such as at Oakleigh Park and Darlington.

Soon No. 60149 was on the move. It joined two York A1s in moving to King’s Cross (KX). It arrived there on 10th October 1949 to join five already there. With two new builds the next month arriving No. 60149 was part of an allocation of eleven A1s. Just five months later, on 19th March 1950 it was transferred back to Grantham shed (now 35B). Exactly, one month later it was reallocated back to King’s Cross (now 34A).

A change in colour came with repainting into blue with black and white lining in October 1950 following a general overhaul at Doncaster that saw it fitted with boiler No. 29807. This was well down the class, being one of a pair that month following 38 already in blue. While most A1s had their nameplates fitted at Doncaster Works during general repairs No. 60149 along with No. 60128 emerged without them. The nameplates were sent to King’s Cross shed which fitted them in December. Naming was roughly half-way through the class with 28 already named and No. 60149 was one of four named that month. Its name ‘Amadis’ was one of 13 racehorses carried by the class in the LNER tradition. Amadis had won the 1909 Doncaster Cup.

Amadis was the first A1 to be repainted in BR green with orange and black lining following a heavy intermediate repair at Doncaster in August 1951. From 9th September that year it was back on Grantham shed.  Steam crews complained of steam coming into the cabs of the A1s and causing them discomfort. There were various causes of this, one being the exhaust pipe from the steam brake, in consequence Nos. 60149 and 60156 had their pipes directed into the ashpan, this modification probably taking place during a further general overhaul at Doncaster in October 1952 (boiler No. 29822 fitted). Workings for this named, green A1 were a down passenger from King’s Cross on 30th June 1952, the down ‘Flying Scotsman’ from Grantham to Newcastle on 21st July 1953 and the 11:10hrs King’s Cross-Leeds on 20th September. During August 1953 it was photographed arriving at King’s Cross with a relief train from Lincoln of LMR stock and concluded the year with another general repair during October which included the fitting of boiler No. 29826. On 21st October 1954 No. 60149 took over the down ‘Flying Scotsman’ at Grantham from No. 60144 which had brought it from the capital. A number of times in 1955 and 1956 Amadis was seen bringing the down ‘Flying Scotsman’ into Newcastle. After a general overhaul at ‘The Plant’ in April 1955, No. 60149 carried a Diagram 117 boiler (No. 29785), one of 16 class members to carry them at various times.

In BR green with the early emblem, No. 60149 hustles its train through Hatfield in 1957 – Robin Gibson

Amadis with the 15:15hrs King’s Cross-Niddrie goods, 30th May 1957 – Peter Townend

Following a further general overhaul during August, leaving Doncaster bearing boiler No. 29870, Amadis was back to King’s Cross shed for the third time on 16th September 1956. Many departures were noted from the capital with No. 60149 leaving on passenger trains bound ultimately for Edinburgh, Newcastle, Perth, Leeds as well as those for Grantham and Peterborough. A goods train was seen behind the engine on 27th September 1956 when it left with the 15:15hrs King’s Cross-Niddrie goods. On 21st December 1956 it failed at Hitchin with the up ‘Northumbrian’.  A photo of No. 60149 on 19th June 1957 on that same working seen in the north London suburbs was used as a BR publicity photo. Named trains pulled from King’s Cross over the next two years were ‘The Talisman’, ‘The Tees-Tyne Pullman’, ‘The Yorkshire Pullman’, ‘The Aberdonian’, ‘The Northumbrian’ and ‘The Heart of Midlothian’.  Around 1957 No. 60149 was recorded as reaching 97mph on the lower section of the East Coast Main Line and on 29th April Amadis was on the down eleven coach ‘Yorkshire Pullman’, driven by Bill Hoole with Allan Garraway firing plus Alan Pegler and Inspector Goodhand accompanying them to Doncaster.  The engine had been reported for rough-riding but it steamed splendidly and was extremely powerful uphill, as was typical of the class. It left King’s Cross on time and despite suffering 12 minutes of delays arrived at Doncaster five minutes early.  Fresh out of ‘The Plant’ following a general overhaul and now carrying boiler No. 10594 and with the later BR crest was applied to the tender, Amadis worked its most prestigious train on 26th June 1958 with the Royal Train between King’s Cross and Sleaford, one leg of a journey conveying HM the Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh to Lincoln and Scunthorpe, Class B1 Nos. 61258 and 61074 handling the next leg.  The Royal party visited the docks and steelworks.  Amadis continued in the limelight during July that year, on the 17th it was called on to haul a special for the launch of turbine oil tanker Overseas Explorer at the Furness Shipbuilding yard, Peter Townend, the King’s Cross shedmaster, recording the ‘bullshine’ applied by his staff for the occasion in the following photos.

Amadis, immaculate at ‘Top Shed’ on 17th July 1958 – Peter Townend

Amadis passing Belle Isle on ‘The Launch Special’ (Madge Wildfire behind) – Peter Townend

After alternating between three spells each at Grantham and King’s Cross sheds, Amadis was transferred to Doncaster (36A) on 28th September 1958. Passenger workings were between Newcastle and King’s Cross like the Newcastle-Doncaster train of 12th October 1958 and the up morning ‘Talisman’ arriving at King’s Cross on 23rd December.  The locomotive concluded the decade at Doncaster, having a general overhaul during the Christmas period and receiving boiler No. 29875.  By contrast to much of its previous work, it was seen on the 16:50hrs Leeds Central-Doncaster local passenger train on 10th May 1961 at a time when Doncaster had more A1s than it had work for them.

Amadis backs onto its train at King’s Cross, 1st September 1962 – Eric Vogel

No. 60149 on Doncaster shed, 4th April 1964 – Nigel Kendall

No. 60149 spent most of November and December 1961 at ‘The Plant’ having its final general overhaul and being fitted with the last boiler it carried, No. 29823.  By 1962 No. 60149 was seen on a greater mix of work as happened generally to the rest of the class in this period. The 1A12 King’s Cross-Newcastle passenger on 17th October 1962 was followed by returning with the 3E22 Aberdeen-King’s Cross from Newcastle. On 29th November it worked the up BP tanks through Newcastle. Passenger trains included an Aberdeen one into King’s Cross and on 8th January it had worked the 3G34 York-Newcastle parcels. Amadis pulled a Hull-King’s Cross special from Hull on 21st June 1963. The ‘Anglo-Scottish Car Carrier’ was hauled between King’s Cross and Newcastle on 25th September.  Amadis was withdrawn from service on 7th June 1964, one of two that month in addition to the 16 A1s had already been withdrawn. Yet on the 13th it hauled the 1A17 10:10hrs Edinburgh-King’s Cross from Newcastle. On 23rd June it was lying withdrawn on Doncaster shed. In January 1965 it was sold for scrap to Cox & Danks of Wadsley Bridge.

An undated view at Grantham (the reversed headboard bears the chalked inscription, “Return to Copley Hill 56B) – Bill Reed

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 Power of the A1s” by Gavin Morrison and various published photographs.  Revised and updated by Graham Langer, July 2020.