45025 (LMS 45025 & BR 45025)

45025 at Newtonmore - June 1982.jpg

5025 was built by Vulcan Foundry in 1934 in Newton-le-Willows and is the oldest preserved black five. It cost £5,540 when new.

The locomotive was based in Scotland from August 1934 until October 1935 when it moved to Edge Hill.

In 1939 it was hauling an express passenger train from Euston to Stranraer (pilot to Royal Scot class engine 6130) when it was in collision with locomotive 9169 (LNWR 0-8-0 class G2A) which was attaching a van to the rear of an Inverness train at Bletchley, Buckinghamshire. Four people were killed and more than 30 were injured.

BR motive power depot allocations since 1948.

Date ArrivedDepot
January 1948Bletchley
March 1948Crewe North
June 1948Longsight
June 1948Crewe North
October 1948Crewe South
December 1948Willesden
June 1958Carlisle Upperby
June 1963Lancaster
April 1966Carnforth

From February 1968, 45025 was regularly rostered on the last BR steam hauled named train (Belfast Boat Express) from Manchester to Heysham. It often achieved a speed of 80mph whilst hauling this train before ceasing to do so in May 1968.

45025 was withdrawn from service in August 1968 at the end of steam operations on BR. Its last task was to double head with 45390 on the Carnforth- Hellifield-Lostock Hall leg of the Locomotive Club of Great Britain ‘s Farewell to Steam railtour in early August 1968.

The locomotive was purchased by Scottish railway heritage pioneer, Ted Watkinson, in the late 1960s for the proposed preserved railway between Aviemore and Grantown-on-Spey which was to become known as the Strathspey Railway. For a railway in the Highlands, the obvious locomotive was a Stanier-designed black five. Many of these operated out of Inverness shed in LMS and British Railways days from 1934 to 1960. They were affectionately known as Hikers by Highland railwaymen in recognition of their capability on steeper gradients.

The locomotive eventually selected was British Railways 45025 which had worked on the Highland main line during its first year. As the Strathspey Railway was not ready to utilise 45025 it was loaned to the Worth Valley Railway (Later the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway). It was overhauled by the Hunslet Engine Company in 1969 and then went to Haworth for running in on the Worth Valley Railway and operated there until 1974.

It then went for an overhaul at Andrew Barclay’s works in Kilmarnock in May 1975 before running between Aviemore and Boat of Garten started in August 1975.

It served on the Strathspey Railway and mail line tours until 1994 when it had to be taken out of service for major repair and restoration work.

The owner (Ted Watkinson) died in 1981 and in 1999 the WEC Watkinson Memorial Trust was created in his memory.

The WEC Watkinson Trust worked hard to raise the necessary £354,000 required to initiate the locomotive’s four year restoration programme.

Work on the overhaul of 5025 began at the beginning of 2012. This was due to having grants or promises of support from the Strathspey Railway Company, the Strathspey Railway Trust, the Heritage Lottery Fund (£50,000) the Strathspey Railway Association and the significant amount which had already been raised from supporters though appeals.

Major progress has been made on the locomotive and tender frames, axleboxes, motion, dragboxes and valve gear at Aviemore and on the major rebuild of the boiler, reprofiling of the tyres of the locomotive and tender wheels and construction of a new tender tank at Riley Engineering of Bury.

The WEC Watkinson Trust had hoped that the locomotive would return to service in 2015 but the scale of the work required will mean that the overhaul will be one of the most comprehensive rebuilds of a main line locomotive in preservation. The work includes replacement of the front ten feet and rearmost four feet of the frames, new cylinders, new bufferbeams, running plates, anall-new cab, tender tank and inner tender frames and much more.

The boiler was overhauled by Riley & Son Locomotive Engineering at Bury (and later Heywood).

The WEC Watkinson Trust originally hoped to return 45025 to service in 2015, however owing to the amount of work needed, a more realistic aim is for completion is towards the middle / end of 2017.

As of early 2017 a number of activities were underway to restore the locomotive to steam.

In December 2017 the frames were lowered back onto the bogie and driving wheels. This followed a complete rebuild of the front end, with replacement cylinder castings and new front bufferbeam and new sides to the smokebox saddle.

The boiler was overhauled by Riley & Son (E) Ltd at Heywood and following testing in June 2019 it was returned to the Strathspey Railway the following month.

In October 2019 the boiler (still out of the frames) was warmed over the course of a week to check for leaks before a formal hydraulic and steam tests were undertaken.

In February 2020 the boiler was lifted back onto the frames following an out of frames steam test in the previous month.

In March 2021 the boiler passed its final in-frames hydraulic test which started the ten year boiler certificate. It moved under its own steam in May 2021which was the first time since 1993 following an overhaul which has cost around £450,000.

As part of the overhaul the locomotive has been returned to as close as practical to its as built condition. This means the chimney is now 2½ inches taller in line with the first fifty built at Vulcan Voundry. It also has been fitted with a domeless boiler and the step between the frame plates has been removed. There are a number of other changes which are less visible.

The engine will run as 5025 with a LMS black lined livery.   

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Strathspey RailwayOperationalWEC Watkinson Trust
45025 on Llandudno Junction shed – June 1965
45025 heads a parcels train late at night at Preston – 1967
45025 on Newton Heath shed - March 1968.jpg
45025 on Newton Heath shed – March 1968
45025 at Farrington Curve Junction near Preston - April 1968.jpg
45025 at Farrington Curve Junction near Preston – April 1968
45025 at Hest Bank - May 1968.jpg
45025 at Hest Bank – May 1968
45025 on the short branch from Sandside to Arnside - Summer 1968.jpg
45025 on the short branch from Sandside to Arnside – Summer 1968
45025 on Carnforth shed next to a Peak D77 – August 1968
45025 at Carnforth – August 1968
45025 at Haworth on the KWVR – July 1969
45025 at Newtonmore - June 1982.jpg
45025 at Newtonmore – June 1982
45025 at Drumochter Summit – June 1982
45025 near Edendon on the climb to Druimuachdair with the Speyside Express – June 1982
45025 at Aviemore on the Strathspey Railway - June 1986.jpg
45025 at Aviemore on the Strathspey Railway – June 1986
45025 under overhaul at Aviemore on the Strathspey Railway – August 2018
45025 at Aviemore on the Strathspey Railway on the day it was launched back into traffic – July 2021

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