Skip to main content

No. 60161 North British

Erected at Doncaster with works’ number 2055 and fitted with boiler number 10598, No. 60161 was released into traffic on 19th December 1949 wearing BR express passenger blue livery with black and white lining and the early BR emblem on its tender.  Like is sister, No. 60160, the locomotive was initially allocated to Haymarket shed (HAY) for a career was to be spent entirely based in Scotland.  At the beginning of 1951 it was briefly transferred to the former Caledonian Railway shed at Polmadie (66A), moving there on 14th January (with No. 60160) but spending only a couple of months working Glasgow-Edinburgh-Glasgow diagrams before being transferred back to Haymarket on 11th March.  Having barely had time to take up its new duties on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) the locomotive was moved to Doncaster for a heavy intermediate overhaul on 18th May, emerging on 15th June with the name North British.  No. 60161 was the last (numerically at least) of the A1s to be given the name of one of the LNER’s constituent companies, in this case the North British Railway, which was established to connect Edinburgh to the border at Berwick and went on the build a network of lines in the borders region.  The nameplates applied to No. 60161 bore the railway’s coat of arms in an extended panel above the name.  On 2nd July the locomotive went to Cowlairs for unclassified repairs, one of only a small number of A1s to be overhauled at the former North British Railway workshops.  On 16th September No. 60161 was transferred back to Polmadie.  A1s Nos. 60152, 60160 and 60161 all had spells of duty at Polmadie, principally to work trains over the West Coast Main Line (WCML) to Carlisle or Crewe, working the 18:25hrs postal to Crewe and returning with the 00:50hrs ex-Birmingham as well as occasionally working the 21:25hrs sleeper from Glasgow to Carlisle, returning on the 03:34hrs down.  Whilst at the former CR shed the A1s also worked over the former Glasgow & South Western Railway line between Gretna and Glasgow St. Enoch and the Polmadie ‘Top Link’ turn taking the 08:40hrs Glasgow-Edinburgh and returning with 11:37hrs ex-Princes Street.

No. 60161 returned to Doncaster for its first general overhaul during October 1952, acquiring boiler No. 29807 in the process and being turned out in BR express passenger green with black and orange lining with the early emblem on 6th November.  In addition to the regular roster of work, North British was also recorded handling 11:15 Birmingham-Glasgow on 2nd May 1953 before it was once again re-allocated, back to Haymarket once more, on 29th June, where it would spend the next ten years.  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.  No. 60161 went through another general overhaul at ‘The Plant’ from 4th August until 2nd September 1954 being fitted with boiler No. 29838 in the process.  Sharing similar duties to No. 60160, North British was to be seen on a variety of ECML trains such as the up ‘Queen of Scots’ on 5th February, 23rd and 30th March 1955 as well as being a regular performer on the up ‘Heart of Midlothian’ on dates such as 21st and 26th February, 5th March and 21st, 27th and 28th May.  No. 60161 also became a rare but regular visitor to Cowlairs Works, returning there on no fewer than five occasions during 1955 for light and casual repairs before going back to ‘The Plant’ for another general overhaul during December of that year, gaining boiler No. 29823 at the same time.

In wonderful condition, North British passes Balgreen Halt (date unknown) – Ian McDonald

A credit to its home shed, No. 60161 is seen at Haymarket – Bill Reed

During 1956 the locomotive was recorded working a football special on 21st April Edinburgh-Glasgow but the rest of the ‘50s seems to have been spent on routine A1 duties on the ECML, interspersed with calls at Doncaster for overhauls, three ‘Light Casuals’ before a further general overhaul (boiler No. 29804) on 29th October 1957, as well as the odd interesting train such as a rugby special on 7th February 1959 then another general overhaul during June 1959 when it acquired a diagram 117 boiler, No. 29787.  The early ‘60s provided an increasing number of turns to Newcastle and the locomotive was regularly serviced at Gateshead shed before being stopped for its final ‘General’ throughout July 1961, receiving its last boiler, No. 10592.   As with fellow members of the class, North British was relegated to the ‘back row’ and its duties became increasingly mundane with very few named trains in the mix although it was a regular performer over the Waverley route to Carlisle and back with local passenger services, often working the 17:57hrs Edinburgh-Carlisle and returning on the balancing 09:20hrs Carlisle-Edinburgh during the summer of 1962, a year which also included parcels and freight trains such as the down Niddrie goods on 13th December.  1963 started with the locomotive spending February at ‘The Plant’ for light casual repairs before a return to working out of and into Edinburgh, many of the trains being Newcastle trips.  On 9th September 1963 the locomotive was transferred to St. Margarets shed (64A), in the company of Nos. 60159 Bonnie Dundee, 60160 Auld Reekie and 60162 Saint Johnstoun, to be officially withdrawn on 14th October.  After remaining in store for a number of months, North British was taken to Inverurie Works and scrapped along with Bonnie Dundee during March 1964, another A1 with a ridiculously short career, just 13 years, nine months and 25 days during which is had carried seven boilers.

Now in filthy condition, the locomotive is on shed at Aberdeen Ferryhill – Bill Reed

With its Stones lamps broken,  North British awaits its fate at Haymarket Shed, 1st August 1963 – E.J.Kidd

This history was compiled by Graham Langer based on a database compiled by Tommy Knox, with reference to the RCTS book ‘Locomotives of the LNER Part 2A’ and ‘Yeadon’s Register of LNER Locomotives’ as background.