44806 (LMS 4806 & BR 44806)

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4806 was built in 1944 at Derby and later renumbered 44806 by BR following nationalisation in 1948.

LMS and BR motive power depot allocations.

Date ArrivedDepot
July 1944Toton
January 1948Saltley
February 1948Leicester Midland
December 1956Kentish Town
October 1957Nottingham
September 1964Burton
March 1965Speke Junction
April 1968Lostock Hall

In August 1968 44806 was withdrawn a few days before the end of steam operation by BR having been used as station pilot at Preston as its final dutiess. Initially it was preserved at Carnforth. The Carnforth motive power deport was established as a museum (Steamtown) by Dr Beet after his plan to operate the Lakeside Railway Estates Company (later the Lakeside and Haverthaite Railway) from Lakeside to Ulverston was cancelled as a result of the line being severed by development of the A590 road. Carnforth is no longer a museum as it is the base for West Coast Railways.

In preservation it was unusually well-travelled between museums and lines, although staying in the North West of England. Some years (1970-1973) were spent based in Accrington, with working excursions to a planned preserved line at Helmshore.

The Helmshore & District Railway Preservation Society had been formed in 1966 with the objective of opening the route between Stubbins Junction and Accrington. Although these exact plans never quite came to fruition after the station’s closure in 1972, most of the line survived as what is now the East Lancashire Railway. After less than two years the Society disbanded and the East Lancashire Railway Preservation Society, (ELRPS) rose from its ashes. The ELRPS had a more realistic objective to preserve and operate a shorter section of the route, between Stubbins Junction and Haslingden. 1969 saw the singling of the Bury – Rawtenstall line and demolition of many of the station buildings and footbridges including those at Summerseat, Ramsbottom, Stubbins and Rawtenstall to reduce maintenance liabilities. By 1970 the society had set up the East Lancashire Light Railway Company, (ELLRCo), as British Rail would only deal with an organisation to which it could permanently transfer its liabilities, an obligation which the society could not fulfil.

In 1973, 44806 was based for a short time at the newly reopened Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, as their largest and only tender engine. Operating a large tender engine was difficult though, on a line without a turntable. Whilst at Haverthwaite, 44806 was adopted by the ITV children’s TV series Magpie and named “Magpie”.

Haverthwaite did not have the workshop facilities for an engine of this length or weight, so it was moved to Steamport in Southport in 1974 which was on the site of the old Southport engine shed. It steamed here a few times in 1975 but in that year it was found to have a crack in the boiler, in the outer firebox which required major repairs.

Steamport staged its first joint exhibition with BR at Southport station in April 1980 and 44806 formed part of this.

These were busy times for the British steam preservation movement, with many new projects and scrapyard rescues all competing for attention, time and money. As a result, ‘Magpie’ languished. In 1983, with a wind-down of Steamport (Steamport later moved to the Ribble Steam Railway at Preston) owing to pressure over the site, Magpie moved to Manchester and the Museum of Science and Industry, as a purely static exhibit.

In 1993, travelled to the Llangollen Railway, where repair work began. This work took almost three years to complete, with a return to steam in September 1995. 44806 worked on the Llangollen for nearly ten years, first back as 4806 in black LMS livery with red lining, then once again as 44806 wearing the BR “ferret and a dartboard” tender badges with red and white lining.

Expiry of its 10 year boiler certificate in 2003 prompted another rebuild. The work this time was less serious, being mostly wear items such as boiler tubes, firebox stays and worn tyres. The work was completed successfully and it returned to steam in August 2007 and was back in service the following month. Her new livery was again BR period, but this time in unlined gloss black.

Since its initial preservation, 44806 had been privately owned by one man, Ken Aldcroft. Aldcroft died in 2003, and ownership of 44806 passed to his daughter. To commemorate Aldcroft’s 35 years of preservation (he owned it for ten years more than the original owners), 44806 was renamed Kenneth Aldcroft.

44806 Kenneth Aldcroft was continued to be based and working at the Llangollen Railway.

In July 2013, the locomotive was offered for sale, and was been purchased by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Historical Trust and the locomotive arrived at Grosmont in January 2014.

It had a bottom end overhauled at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) in 2015-2016 and returned to service there in July 2016.

44806 is currently running coupled to the tender of classmate 45428.

The boiler ticket expired in May 2017 but an extension was granted until 1st January 2018 when it was taken out of service.

In February 2020 it was revealed that the locomotive had been sold by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) to Peter Best. This was done to guarantee the future for the locomotive as the new owner will finance its overhaul which will be undertaken in conjunction with NYMR engineers. Following the overhaul the locomotive will re-enter traffic on the NYMR as part of the hired fleet.

It was reported in October 2020 that work on the overhaul had started at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. The boiler had been lifted from the frames and work had started to strip fittings and grit blast the boiler to remove lime scale in order to allow the insurance firm (British Engineering Services) to carry out a full inspection and report on the scope of the work required. It is then planned to invite quotes for the work and have that work started by the end of 2020.

In January 2021 the boiler was moved from Grosmont to New bridge for onward transportation to Riley and Son (E) Ltd at Heywood. The overhaul of the chassis is being undertake at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.

It is intended that the locomotive will operate on the rail network to Whitby but will not operate on other areas of the main line.

It was reported in March 2021 that the overhaul of the locomotive was on target to have it back in traffic in the spring or summer of 2023.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
North Yorkshire Moors RailwayUnder overhaul  Peter Best


44806 at Blackwell ascending the 1 in 37 Lickey Incline – date unknown
44806 departing from Bristol with a train for Gloucester – 1963
44806 being piloted by an unidentified black 5 approaching Wetmore near Burton on Trent – March 1964
44806 near Haddon Tunnel on the old Midland Railway in the Peak District – Date unknown but before 1967 when the line was closed.
44806 at Pleasington, Near Darwen - May 1968 .jpg
44806 at Pleasington, Near Darwen – May 1968

44806 on Lostock Hall shed – July 1968
44806 at Haverthwaite on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway Circa 1973
44806 inside Steamport at Southport – 1977
44806 at Steamtown, Carnforth
44806 at Southport – July 1983
44806 in the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester – 1991
44806 at Llangollen – May 1997
44806 running as 44801 on the Llangollen Railway – April 2009
44806 at Llangollen – April 2011
44806 at Llangollen – April 2011
44806 at Llangollen – April 2012
44806 at Carrog on the Llangollen Railway – September 2012
44806 heads towards Glyndyfrdwy from Carrog on the Llangollen Railway- April 2013
44806 on a photo charter on the Llangollen Railway - October 2013.jpg
44806 on a photo charter on the Llangollen Railway – October 2013
44806 at Moorgates on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway – May 2014
44806 at Grosmont on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway – May 2017

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