5025 was built by Vulcan Foundry in 1934 in Newton-le-Willows and is the oldest preserved black five.
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.
|March 1948||Crewe North|
|June 1948||Crewe North|
|October 1948||Crewe South|
|June 1958||Carlisle Upperby|
45025 was withdrawn from service in August 1968 at the end of steam operations on BR.
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.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Strathspey Railway||Undergoing overhaul||WEC Watkinson Trust|
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- 44806 (LMS 4806 & BR 44806)
- 44871 (LMS 4871 & BR 44871)
- 44901 (LMS 4901 & BR 44901)
- 44932 (LMS 4932 & BR 44932)
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- 45491 (LMS 5491 & BR 45491)