Friday, 16 September 2016

"Flying Scotsman" Comes To Tyseley...

Hi all. In the steam preservation sector, if there is one name that shines brighter than all others it has to be the LNER A3 Pacific "Flying Scotsman". Built at Doncaster in 1923, "Scotsman" has gone on to become arguably the worlds most famous steam engine and the continued media hype surrounding her return to active service this year can only fuel that fire. Over the weekend of September 16th-18th, Tyseley Loco Works was to welcome the famous A3 to its Birmingham site for a special event held in her honour. The pacific arrived from her National Railway Museum home in York on the Tuesday, with the event set to begin this morning. There would be 6 locomotives in steam in total, shuffling around the site for the enjoyment of the public. Pre-booked ticket sales had been very strong indeed and a busy weekend was anticipated. I arrived at the site of the former 84E shed at around 7:30am this morning. After spotting "Scotsman" from afar, I was put to work lighting up and oiling up Pannier Tank No7752, currently painted in London Transport livery as 'L94'. 52' was joined by younger sister 9600 and the little Peckett 0-4-0 No1...
"Two Panniers and a Peckett"
Checks were made on and around the locomotive before lighting a good pile of paraffin soaked rags on the shovel. When the flame gets going you can throw the blaze down onto the grate and begin adding the wood...
"A Friday Morning Fire for GWR 7752"
Built by the North British Locomotive Company in 1930 as GWR 7752, the red Pannier has been under the care of Tyseley since her retirement from LT service in 1971. She was the last steam locomotive to operate on London Underground and her former London colours were added in 2011 to commemorate 40 years since that final run in the capital. This morning, 52' came around quite sharpish whilst I scurried around her with the oil cans. The Panniers employ the traditional Stephenson's valve gear and access (when you aren't over a pit) is under the tanks whilst lying on the running board. The two 0-6-0s would be working the shuttle train up & down the site throughout the weekend and the BR Black No9600 soon went off to collect the stock. Once the coaches had been dragged clear of the points, 52' was brought out and onto the back. Watering then ensued...
The Panniers were then moved down into Platform 2 road so that "Scotsman" could be removed from her resting place in Platform 1. The event was to open at 11am this morning and the famous pacific had to be in place on the turntable ready for the arrival of her admiring public. The A3 was hauled up the site by the Class 08 diesel before coming down the middle road with drain cocks hissing loudly. She was quite a sight during this rare moment of bright sunshine...
Whilst "Scotsman" was being photographed on the turntable, the Panniers were moved to Platform 1 road with the shuttle stock. The Gresley A3 would spend the rest of her day in Platform 2 offering tender walks and footplate visits whilst behind her in the Pullman cars the team would be serving Afternoon Tea. With the first passengers loaded, we began to offer the shuttle rides. Leaving the platform, 9600 would haul us up to the yard extremity before we brought the train back down with 52' in charge. Each outing would involve three trips up and down the yard, allowing those on the platform to photograph the full length of "Flying Scotsman". I spent a while firing 52' before being moved on to driving 9600...
"Pannier Tank No9600 of 1945"
The rest of the day involved many shuttle trains. Up and down the yard we steamed with many happy passengers aboard. Tyseley was certainly a busy place today. The weather was changeable: a mix of overcast and sunny spells...
"7752 Meets The World's Most Famous Engine"
9600 is a beautiful engine to drive. The cab layout is like most other Panniers but this one in particular is just like a new un'. Everything is tight as if brand new and there isn't a knock or a bang anywhere. She is a lovely machine and just does what you want. Here we see an afternoon view looking forward from the fireman's side of 9600...
As the day drew towards its close the sun really came out. It was warm and bright and allowed me to get another good capture of the workhorse 9600...
We did our last shuttle service at around 4pm before 52' was shunt released and allowed onto the middle road for disposal. I then set back the stock on Platform 1 road for stabling overnight before the black 0-6-0 was taken down into the yard to meet up with her red sister. The Pannier's were then stabled for the night, apart from a quick trip down towards the gate for coaling as both bunkers were running on dust by now! After a most enjoyable day, I wandered over to have a look at the mighty A3. With the public having now gone home it was much easier to grab some unhindered shots of Gresley's famous engine...
"Scotsman"s fame has become something unrivalled in the steam sector and the love the public have for her is just remarkable. Her rise to fame began in 1924 when she represented the LNER at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley, becoming something of a company flagship. As built she was 1472 but was renumbered 4472 and named just before the exhibition. In 1928 the famous "Flying Scotsman" non-stop services began between London Kings Cross and Edinburgh and 4472 hauled the first train. By then she had the 8-wheeled tender which could hold 9 tons of coal and had a water scoop, in order to allow the engine to complete the 392 miles non-stop. Her large tender was also of the corridor variety, allowing a crew change on route without the need of a service stop. The commencement of these non-stop runs was no doubt the beginning of her fame as her own name is still very much associated with that famous train. In 1934, "Flying Scotsman" became the first steam engine to officially top 100mph. The GWR's "City of Truro" had claimed to have done it in 1904 but it was never proved. 4472 was rebuilt as an A3 pacific (she was originally an A1) later in her life and was renumbered 60103 by BR in 1948. The three-cylinder class were also fitted with Kylchap exhausts and double chimneys under BR which very much improved their performances.

Though fairly well known, "Flying Scotsman" was not put on the original National Collection list of engines and looked set for the scrapyard when withdrawals of her class commenced. Luckily, Alan Pegler stepped in and saved the A3 following her final run in BR service in January 1963. He bought her outright, with an agreement to operate her on BR metals until 1973. Pegler had the engine returned to as near original condition as possible, with corridor tender (she lost her corridor tender in 1936), single chimney and LNER livery. The engine went on to operate specials on the main line even after the end of BR steam in 1968. By then, "Flying Scotsman" was the only steam locomotive operating on the British main line network. Pegler, knowing that watering facilities would soon be in short supply, had also bought a second corridor tender and so 4472 ran for a time with two. After a tour of the USA in the early 1970s, "Flying Scotsman"s owner was close to bankruptcy and the engine ended up stranded on US soil with debts to be paid. William McAlpine stepped in to save the engine in 1973 and she returned to Britain. Since then, having been owned by Pete Waterman and Tony Marchington too, the engine was bought by the NRM in 2004. After a painstaking £4 million overhaul that took 10 years to complete, she finally returned to service in BR guise with double chimney and smoke deflectors early this year. I could go on forever about the history of 4472: there is just so much to say but nothing you can't read about elsewhere. Here we see the footplate of "Flying Scotsman" as the engine beds down for the night at Tyseley...
"On The Footplate of Flying Scotsman"
I think the engine looks very nice in her BR form. The single chimney and LNER livery is lovely but when you're at the stage that you'd have to pretty much completely rebuild the engine again to get her back to single chimney form, she may as well stay authentic and keep her well performing double chimney arrangement...
The engine will be on display at Tyseley for another two days before heading off to the Severn Valley Railway next week. It was a pleasure to see her again today and to stand on her footplate. I think this is the first time that "Flying Scotsman" has featured on this blog, apart from in bits at York that is. I did travel behind her on a Tyseley trip to Didcot in 2005 but that was before the blog started. A final view tonight of the famous pacific...
"60103 'Flying Scotsman' Beds Down At Tyseley"
Thanks for reading guys. Its been a lovely day with Pannier tanks and the famous A3 at Tyseley and now its time for home, a cuppa' and a wash before we do it all again tomorrow! Many thanks all, Sam...

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