60009 Union of South Africa (LNER 4488, LNER 590, LNER 9 & BR 60009)


60009 was built in 1937 at Doncaster and entered service as 4488 in June of that year and was assigned the name Osprey but was renamed Union of South Africa. It later carried the name Osprey during the period 1990-91 due to political opposition to apartheid in South Africa.

with the name Golden Shuttle although it was originally intended that it be named Sparrow Hawk which was later given to 4496. It was renamed Dwight D. Eisenhower after World War II and renumbered 8 in 1946 under Edward Thompson’s LNER 1946 renumbering scheme. After nationalisation in 1948 British Railways renumbered it 60008.

The springbok plaque on the side of the locomotive was donated in 1954 by a Bloemfontein newspaper proprietor. Only the one plaque was fitted on the left hand side of the locomotive. Two cast Springbok plaques were given to John Cameron in the mid 1970s and these were mounted on the cabsides. They have since been removed during overhauls but the original boiler side plaque remains. 60009 is fitted with an American, Crosby chime whistle in common with other members of its class.

Union of South Africa was allocated to Haymarket in Edinburgh from new and remained there until May 1962 when it was transferred to Aberdeen Ferryhill for working the express service to Glasgow.

On 24 October 1964 60009 hauled the last booked steam hauled train from Kings Cross. It was twenty minutes late through Grantham owing to a broken rail at High Dyke. It was withdrawn from service in June 1966.

During it’s working life 60009 gained the highest mileage of all the A4 class locomotives, ran the fastest non-stop run from London-Edinburgh, the longest non-stop run between London and Edinburgh (flood deviation) and became the last steam locomotive to be overhauled at Doncaster Works.

Union of South Africa was purchased by John Cameron in July 1966 and 60009 was preserved on the now-defunct Lochty Private Railway in Fife, Scotland, travelling the 1.5 miles of track near Anstruther.

In 1973, the engine left the Lochty Private Railway by road and was taken to Ladybank to be rerailed on the National Network, from there it was taken to Kirkcaldy and was based in the former goods shed and worked occasional tours based from the Fife town. After a few years at Kirkcaldy, it moved to Markinch and took up residency in the former good shed where it stayed until May 1994 with the exception of a couple of years in a shed in the yard at nearby Thornton.

Following the 1989 overhaul, 60009 started to work railtours all over the United Kingdom. It has since accumulated the highest mileage of any locomotive in the class.

In May 1994, the locomotive left its Markinch base for the last time albeit on the back of a low loader bound for Bridgnorth and repairs. Its route took it over the Forth Road Bridge and in doing so became the only steam locomotive to cross both the Forth Bridge and the adjacent Forth Road Bridge.

After a repair in January 2007, it left the Severn Valley Railway and went to Crewe for fitment of on-train monitoring recorder (OTMR) equipment. In April 2007 it returned home to Scotland, with the Railway Touring Company’s The Great Britain railtour being the first work and thence to its new base at Thornton. During 2007, it hauled the regular Scarborough Spa Express from York to Scarborough via Knaresborough, Harrogate and Leeds.

In 2008, it was continuing to work with the Railway Touring Company, scheduled to pull trains running between York and Edinburgh on several occasions during the first half of 2008. Union of South Africa appeared at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway LNER Festival 2008, along with 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley and 60019 Bittern, the first time that all three locomotives were together in preservation.

In 2010 the boiler certificate expired and 60009 began a two year overhaul at Crewe to return to steam in mid 2012 to haul its first tours for the West Coast Railway Company in July of that year.

On 9 September 2015, 60009 hauled a train carrying H.M. Queen Elizabeth II along with Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to officially re-open the Borders Railway between Edinburgh Waverley and Tweedbank. The locomotive subsequently operated railtours on the line throughout September.

In the Autumn of 2016 60009 was moved to Ian Riley Engineering for repairs to its running gear.

The locomotive steamed again in early April 2017 and ran on the East Lancs Railway before undertaking load tests on the main line later that month.

In November 2017 a number of issues were identified which resulted in 60009 being taken out of service for repairs which were anticipated to be completed by early December.

The boiler certificate expires in July 2019.

After the boiler certificate expires 60009 will be housed in a new museum which the owner intends to build in Fife.

Home Base Current Status Owner


John Cameron
60009 crewe 2010 tender from 70013.jpg 60009 Union of South Africa (minus boiler) at Crewe Heritage Centre between tenders of 70013 Oliver Cromwell and 46100 Royal Scot-2010
60009 Crewe Heritage Centre with 46100 80136 2010.jpg  

The cab and other bits of 60009 Union of South Africa at Crewe Heritage Centre-2010. Behind is 46100 Royal Scot and 80136.
60009 60019 York 2013.jpg 60009 Union of South Africa, with 60019 Bittern in front, in the National railway Museum at York-2013
60009 Burrs 2014.jpg 60009 Union of South Africa on a 3P20 Parcels Charter at Burrs Country Park on the East Lancashire Railway-2014
60009 brooksbottom Viaduct 2014.jpg 60009 Union of South Africa on a 3P20 Parcels Charter crossing Brooksbottom Viaduct on the East Lancashire Railway-2014
60009 Ramsbottom 2014.jpg 60009 Union os South Africa on a 3P20 Parcels Charter leaving Ramsbottom on the East Lancashire Railway-2014
60009 61994 Bury 2014.jpg 60009 Union of South Africa passing 61994 The Great Marquess at Bury on the East Lancashire Railway-2014
60009 Bury 2014.jpg  

60009 Union of South Africa at Bury on the East Lancashire Railway-2014
60009 Burrs.jpg 60009 Union of South Africa at Burrs Country Park on the East Lancashire Railway-2017
60009 Burrsa.jpg 60009 Union of South Africa at Burrs Country Park on the East Lancashire Railway-2017
42023-East Lancs Railway-Rawtenstall-2018- 60009 Union of South Africa.jpg 60009 Union of South Africa at Rawtenstall on the East Lancs Railway-2018

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