Saturday, 1 December 2012

NRM Post 3: Reunion with "Union"...

Hi everyone. Well here is post 3 of 3 from our visit to the NRM. Having found out earlier in the week that "Sir Nigel Gresley"; the blue A4; would be visiting York on a railtour from the North, I decided that I would make the effort to try and seek her out. Even as we stood in the chilly south yard at the NRM, I heard the familiar note of an A4 chime whistle on the wind, as the graceful 4-6-2 came in through the suburbs with her lengthy train. The engine dropped off the passengers and stock in the historic York station before drawing out with her support coach towards the NRM service area, directly in front of the Great Hall entrance, off Leemans Road. As we stood inside the Great Hall I saw plumes of steam on the horizon before a green tender - not a blue one - appeared pushing a support coach. The green livery could only mean one thing: it was 60009 "Union of South Africa". Asking around in the yard I managed to find out that the sister engine: "Gresley": had failed the week before on a similar tour and so "Union" was deputising. Last time I saw this engine she was just beginning her overhaul at LNWR's in Crewe, back in November 2009. She looked to be in a sorry state then...see here. Since then the engine has been fully restored and returned to the mainline this summer. She was built in 1937 at Doncaster and based at Haymarket shed in Edinburgh from new, retiring from Aberdeen in 1966, after only 4 years with her 'new' shed.
Today the engine looked graceful in the winter sun, as she took coal from the NRM's JCB, in the shadow of the Great Hall. She is now owned by John Cameron, who also owns the lovely 3-cylinder Gresley K4 "The Great Marquess" which, coincidentally, was sat just a stones throw from the A4, hiding in the paint store at the NRM, only just visible through a very small window. The JCB quickly loaded the A4 with her all important fuel whilst the support crew checked her over.
Having spotted the A4 in her shining green we walked back into the warmth of the NRM. It was freezing outside today.
Thanks very much for reading folks. It was very nice to see the A4 again today, in much better condition than the last time. Thanks guys. Sam.

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