FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Shire survivor

Posted in England, Peterborough by folkestonejack on February 16, 2015

In the mid twenties Nigel Gresley, one of the greatest locomotive engineers of the steam age, began to design a new locomotive for intermediate express duties on the LNER network. The result was the D49 class of 4-4-0 locomotives, each named after a shire county or fox hunt. Seventy-six locomotives of this class were built at Darlington works between 1927 and 1935, mostly allocated to the Scottish and NE areas.

I have long wanted to see the sole survivor from this class in steam, but as the locomotive (No. 62712 Morayshire) is normally based at the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway this is not so easily arranged! My last attempt failed rather miserably as she was not rostered for service when we were in the area, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that a number of photocharters had been organised by Timeline Events for the start of 2015 at locations much further south. I opted for a day on the Nene Valley Railway at Peterborough.

Class D49 locomotive No. 62712 Morayshire

Class D49 locomotive No. 62712 Morayshire

Unfortunately, the weather forecast for today’s photo charter made grim reading, particularly with the threat of heavy rain from midday until mid-evening. I’m not complaining – this is the chance that you always take with a photo-charter but it is a little more frustrating when you know that the forecast for tomorrow is for sun all day long! Conditions aside, Morayshire was a wonderful sight in steam.

Morayshire had the longest working life out of her classmates prior to preservation, having been one of the earlier locomotives to have been built (in February 1928) and she was the very last to be withdrawn (in July 1961). The late Ian Fraser, a former LNER locomotive engineer, purchased the locomotive and donated her to the Royal Scottish Museum, ensuring the long term survival of an example of the class.

Morayshire heads towards Peterborough in light rain

Morayshire heads towards Peterborough in light rain

For most of her time in preservation she has worn the familiar LNER apple green livery, but for the last 18 months of her boiler ticket (which expires at the end of 2015) she was repainted in the BR lined black livery that she wore at the end of her working life. After her overhaul she will return in apple green.

Morayshire can be seen at the Nene Valley Railway’s 35A New England Steam event this weekend (21st and 22nd February 2015), which marks the fiftieth anniversary of the closure of New England Shed to steam.