50 YEARS ON: The end of the A4 Pacifics… NOT!

September 5, 2016 celebrates half a century since the final workings of the streamlined A4 Pacifics in BR service. Fred Kerr recalls the last fortnight of their Scottish operations – and notes how the future was not as bad as many feared.

The fireman of A4 4-6-2 No. 60024 Kingfisher takes a breather at Gleneagles on August 22, 1966 during a stop of the 1.30pm Aberdeen – Glasgow Buchanan St service.
The fireman of A4 4-6-2 No. 60024 Kingfisher takes a breather at Gleneagles on August 22, 1966 during a stop of the 1.30pm Aberdeen – Glasgow Buchanan St service.

As a child in post-war Edinburgh my memories veered between the Caledonian hooters of the Pickersgill 0-4-4T that I heard each night working the Leith North to Princes St services as they passed near my home and the chime whistles of the LNER A4 Pacifics as they passed through Princes Street Gardens, which I frequently visited to see them en route to and from Edinburgh Waverley on their various duties.

My parents moved to England in 1956 and my subsequent awareness of number taking from around 1958 quickly made me conscious that the Haymarket fleet of A4s were considered rarities to local enthusiasts, who quickly became envious of my annual visits to relatives in Edinburgh and the opportunity to sample the rarities on ‘home’ territory.

Read more in the latest issue of Heritage Railway

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