‘Number nine’ returns to the main line

By Cedric Johns

After an 18-month wait for A4 followers and owner John Cameron to see and hear 4-6-2 No. 60009 Union of South Africa back on the main line, further valve repairs were carried out and ‘number nine’ was given a test run from York to Scarborough on June 16.

The next day, the engine departed from York light engine to Stewarts Lane in the hands of DB Cargo.

LNER A4 Pacific No. 60009 Union of South Africa makes an unscheduled stop at Newark Northgate en route from York to Stewarts Lane on June 17. JOHN STORER

The A4 was heading for London as it was required to head a private charter round the Surrey Hills circle for Stagecoach on Tuesday, June 20, but the engine stopped at Newark where lubrication problems were discovered. It continued its journey as far as Conington loop where its progress was halted again because of lineside fires south of Newark, which had resulted in delays and cancellations of ECML expresses.

A DBC diesel was summoned to haul the A4 onwards to Stewarts Lane. After the June 20 trip, the 4-6-2 was due to move to the Mid-Norfolk Railway for its steam gala on June 24/25.

Network Rail’s Western Region immediately imposed a steam ban resulting in A1 Pacific No. 60163 Tornado having a diesel pilot on the first ‘Torbay Express’ of the season next day, although the diesel was at least coupled inside Tornado for the return.

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