After a batch of five A1s built with roller bearings, No. 60158 saw a return to the original specification with plain bearings. Built as part of Lot No. 388, the locomotive was allocated work’s number 2052, emerging from Doncaster on 17th November 1949 carrying boiler No. 10595 and wearing BR express passenger blue livery, lined black and white with the early BR emblem on the tender, a rivetted examples with disc wheels. No. 60158 was unique in that from new it was fitted with the lipped chimney, an addition that only graced the rest of the class as they received overhauls in the early ‘50s. Like Nos. 60156 and 60157, the locomotive was initially one of eight A1s allocated to ‘Top Shed’ at King’s Cross (KX) from new. No. 60158 returned to Doncaster for a ‘Heavy Intermediate’ from 12th February until 9th March 1951 acquiring the name Aberdonian before it left. The name is another tribute to Scotland and the works of Walter Scott but also applied to the heavy sleeping car express between King’s Cross and Aberdeen, inaugurated in 1927 by the LNER. It was timed to depart King’s Cross at 19:40hrs with a journey time to Aberdeen of a little over 11 hours. By 1939 the train was departing King’s Cross at 19:30hrs. A restaurant car was provided as far as York. At Edinburgh, sections of train were disconnected to form services to Fort William and Mallaig, and Perth and Inverness. The Aberdeen section of the train called at Dundee, Arbroath, Montrose and Stonehaven, arriving in Aberdeen at 07:30hrs, a journey time of exactly 12 hours. The return journey left Aberdeen at 19:35hrs and arrived in King’s Cross 11 hours 50 minutes later. ‘The Aberdonian’ continued during the Second World War with extended journey times, and improvements were only achieved with the introduction of ‘Deltic’ locomotives, which reduced the journey time to 11 hours 10 minutes.
Aberdonian and Aboyeur during a locomotive change at Grantham on 1st May 1953 – Peter Townend
On 9th September 1951 the locomotive was transferred to Grantham (35B), the re-allocation a consequence of a decision to concentrate the A4s at ‘Top Shed’ and re-distribute the A1s across the length of the Eastern Region. No. 60158 was now one of ten A1s at Grantham, six of which were allocated twelve top link crews, two per locomotive, working two turns each weekday, the 10:00hrs Grantham-Newcastle and the 15:00hrs from King’s Cross, seven turns to London and one to York. Three of the locomotives made double trips to London daily totalling 420 miles, two covered a return run to Newcastle, a 326 mile round trip, and the sixth engine worked the Leeds express, 13:52hrs ex-Grantham, to London, returning with ‘The Aberdonian’ to York and returning with a parcels train, a crew change having been effected at Grantham during the second leg of this diagram which accounted for 376 miles. Grantham locomotives worked these heavy trains turn and turn about accumulating high mileages. Apart from routine East Coast Main Line (ECML) work, No. 61058 was recorded hauling a heavy troop train the Barnard Castle on 23rd May 1952 before being called back to Doncaster at the end of that year for its first general overhaul and boiler change (No. 29821 being fitted) and repainting in BR express passenger green, lined in black and orange. On 7th June 1953 Aberdonian was transferred again, this time to Copley Hill (37B), to work trains between Leeds and the capital or the North East but even this allocation was short-lived since, following another ‘General’ at ‘The Plant’ during April 1954 (including the addition of boiler No. 29803), the locomotive was transferred again on 2nd May back to Grantham. Trains of note during the next three years included the down ‘Flying Scotsman’ on 30th June, the up ‘Heart of Midlothian on 2nd July 1955 before promptly undergoing another general overhaul during the rest of that month including the fitting of boiler No. 29806.
Adventures during 1956 saw the locomotive fail at King’s Cross before it could depart with the down ‘Flying Scotsman’ on 12th April and hauling a Fred Olsen Line boat train to Newcastle on 23rd June, returning thence with the up ‘Heart of Midlothian’ but for much of the rest of the year Aberdonian seems to have been the favourite choice for the 10:20hrs King’s Cross-Leeds service, being frequently recorded on this train, exchanging this turn for the 20:20hrs King’s Cross-Edinburgh during November before progressing to the 06:45hrs King’s Cross-Grantham service at the end of that month. With the introduction of the 1957 summer timetable there were, Mondays to Thursdays, no fewer than five daily non-stop trains between King’s Cross and Newcastle. The number was reduced from five to four down on Fridays, when` the ‘Car-Sleeper’ did not run, although there were still five up. As a result of these alterations there were now eight through engine workings between King’s Cross and Newcastle. Aberdonian was re-allocated to ‘Top Shed’ at King’s Cross (34A) on 16th June. King’s Cross engines and men worked down on the ‘Morning Talisman’, the ‘Flying Scotsman’, the 15:15hrs Niddrie goods, the ‘Tees-Tyne Pullman’ and the 19:45hrs ‘Car-Sleeper’. The locomotives and crews returned from Newcastle on the following day on the 00:19hrs ‘Car-Sleeper’, the ‘Tees-Tyne Pullman’ and the ‘Morning Talisman’. It was reported that, “As a result of these developments, A1s Nos. 60125/58 and A3s Nos. 60066 and 60110 have been sent to King’s Cross and have been used on Newcastle duties in company with other A1s, A3s and A4s.” No. 60158 finished the year back at Doncaster for a further general overhaul, leaving carrying boiler No. 10595.
No. 60158 at King’s Cross on 4th August 1961 – Richard Greenwood
Interesting workings during 1958 included the up ‘Fair Maid’ on 14th March and the Niddrie goods on 23rd August but otherwise the locomotive’s schedule was much as detailed above. September saw No. 60158 pass through Doncaster for unclassified repairs promptly followed by its final transfer, this time to Doncaster shed (36A). The locomotive re-visited ‘The Plant’ for a general overhaul in April 1959 which involved fitting boiler No. 29811 before its return to ECML duties, now increasingly focussed on the northern section following the introduction of diesels at the capital end, particularly the ‘Deltics’, which resulted in accelerated journey times and a reduction in work for the big Pacifics. The early ‘60s found Aberdonian being serviced at sheds such as Gateshead and Darlington and only occasionally appearing at the ‘Cross although it made a further stay at Doncaster for another general overhaul from 13th August to 28th September 1960, leaving carrying boiler No. 29877. Some named trains still featured in No. 60158’s duty roster including the down ‘Queen of Scots’ on 27th January 1962 and, intriguingly, the engine was recorded working a hockey special between Doncaster and the capital on 10th March the same year. During September 1962 Aberdonian made its last call at ‘The Plant’ for a general overhaul, being outshopped with boiler No. 29862 and sporting a new coat of paint. Returning to traffic which now included parcels, freight and fish trains, No. 60158 was used less frequently on front line services and named trains became a thing of the past although it seemed to be a favourite for the 1A12 King’s Cross-Newcastle throughout 1963 and was frequently recorded on this train as well as less glamourous duties such as the 3E22 up express fish on 6th May and empty vans to King’s Cross on 9th October.
An undated study of No. 60158 in company with 9F No. 92178 at ‘Top Shed’ – Bill Reed
Aberdonian was withdrawn from Doncaster on 26th December 1964 although it lingered on for a while, stored at Darlington shed, but was eventually sold to Hughes-Bolckow, Blyth, during February 1965, being towed there on 10th March with Peppercorn Class K1 No. 62055 by V2 No. 60847 St. Peter’s School, York, A.D. 627 (which would be lucky to survive a few months more in traffic). No. 60158 had lasted 15 years, one month and nine days, slightly less than the class average of 15 years, two and a half months, having carried eight boilers, all of them diagram 118 types.
Aberdonian at Gateshead shed on 1st June 1964 – Michael Denholm
This history was compiled by Graham Langer based on a database compiled by Tommy Knox and with reference to the RCTS book ‘Locomotives of the LNER Part 2A’ as background.