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No. 60159 Bonnie Dundee

No. 60159 was allocated work’s number 2053 and was completed, fitted with boiler No. 10956, at Doncaster on 24th November 1949, entering traffic in BR express passenger blue with black and white lining but carrying the plain chimney rather than the lipped one fitted to No. 60158.  The locomotive was initially allocated to Edinburgh Haymarket shed (HAY) at the start of a lifelong association with Scotland.  Haymarket A1s were allocated regular drivers in the No. 2 Link, replacing A3s in that role, although the sixth engine remained Gresley Class A4 No. 60012 Dominion of New Zealand.  Maintained to a very high standard and always immaculate, the Haymarket A1s worked all the former LNER main lines out of Edinburgh but rarely worked south of Newcastle but did find their way to Glasgow, Perth and Aberdeen.  From 6th June 1951 until 13th July the locomotive was back at Doncaster for its first heavy intermediate repair, emerging from the works bearing the name Bonnie Dundee. ‘Bonnie Dundee’ is the title of a poem and a song written by Walter Scott in 1825 in honour of John Graham, 7th  Laird of Claverhouse, made 1st Viscount of Dundee by James VII of Scotland (James II of England) in 1688. When William of Orange overturned James in 1689 in what was called the Glorious Revolution, Claverhouse was one of the few Scottish nobles who remained loyal to James. After trying to influence the Convention of Estates of Scotland on James’s behalf, at some danger to himself, he led his cavalry out of Edinburgh to carry on the struggle in the field and was killed at the moment of victory in the battle of Killiecrankie (1689). His forces were subsequently defeated at the Battle of Dunkeld.  The older tune ‘Bonny Dundee’ adapted by Scott had already been used for several songs appearing under variations of that title and referring to the bonnie town of Dundee rather than to Claverhouse.  Scott’s song has been used as a regimental march by several Scottish regiments in the British Army.

Bonnie Dundee at Haymarket, Edinburgh, wearing BR green with the early emblem – Bill Reed

Early records show No. 60159 employed in a wide variety of work including trains originating and returning to Crewe on 14th and 15th October 1951 before being called into ‘The Plant’ for an intermediate overhaul from 18th November 1952 until 19th December to be turned out wearing BR express passenger green lined black and orange with the early emblem on the tender. Bonnie Dundee was seen having casual repairs at Haymarket in June 1953 and back at Doncaster during March 1954 for its first general overhaul which included the addition of boiler No. 29823.  Following its return to traffic the locomotive it started to clock up a number of named trains, notably the up ‘Heart of Midlothian’ on 14th August, and the up ‘Queen of Scots’ on 9th and 16th October and again on the 29th December, adding the down ‘Flying Scotsman’ to the tally on 26th March 1955, although it never worked any of these trains further than Newcastle.  No. 60159 finished that year with a further visit to ‘The Plant’ for another general overhaul which included fitting boiler No. 10598.  The rest of the ‘50s were much the same, a cycle of work in and around Edinburgh mixed with trips to the works for overhauls, a ‘General’ during May 1955 (boiler No. 29867) and unclassified and light repairs in October 1957 and January 1958 and a further ‘General’ at the end of the same year (acquiring boiler No. 29805 during that one).  One interesting working is recorded at the end of 1958, the 10:10hrs York-Yarmouth service but history does not relate how it was dragooned into that job!

No. 60159 near Glenfarg on the 7.55pm Perth-Edinburgh in 1963 – W.J. Verden Anderson / RAS

The early 1960s produced little change either and although the locomotive was noted being serviced on Carlisle Canal shed an numerous occasions, most the time it was dealt with at Gateshead after hauling trains to Newcastle, for instance the up ‘Queen of Scots’ on 8th October 1960.  Bonnie Dundee received its final boiler during a general overhaul at Doncaster in April/May 1960 and, once back at work, was used on increasingly menial work such as the 3S46 York-Edinburgh parcels train on 12th February 1962, although it did work this one throughout, the 2G85 Berwick-Newcastle mail on 10th December and, more interestingly, the 1N05 Birmingham-Newcastle into Newcastle on 22nd of the same month.  Its last recorded working of a named train was taking the down ‘Flying Scotsman’ from Newcastle to Edinburgh on 4th June 1963, thereafter the only regular passenger work seems to have been the 09:20 Edinburgh-Perth on which it was rostered on a number of occasions.  After spending its entire working life at Haymarket until that date, on 9th September 1963 the locomotive was transferred to St. Margarets shed (64A) along with classmates No. 60160 Auld Reekie, No. 60161 North British and No. 60162 Saint Johnstoun, only to be withdrawn from there a few weeks later, on 14th October.  After a ridiculously short and uneventful working life of just 13 years, 10 months and 20 days, Bonnie Dundee was scrapped at Inverurie works at the beginning of 1964.

No longer looking cared-for, Bonnie Dundee in its namesake town in 1963 – Nick Totty

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.