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 It was withdrawn from service in June 1966.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 the summer of 1991, when political unrest associated with apartheid continued in South Africa, the locomotive ran as scrapped classmate 60027 Merlin until September of that year.
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 at the end of April 2019 but it has been suggested that this could be extended.
After the boiler certificate expires 60009 will be housed in a new museum which the owner intends to build in Fife. These plans were dealt a blow when planning permission for the museum was refused although this is likely to be challenged.
In March 2019 it was announced that following the examination by the boiler inspector the locomotive was certified to run for another 14 months until mid 2020. This is subject to a further examination halfway through the period.
After a number of issues which prevented the locomotive from hauling some main line trains it underwent a successful loaded test run in February 2020. This allows it to operate again on the main line.
The plan was that following the expiry of the boiler certificate the locomotive would go into storage – possibly at Bo’ness.
The locomotive completed its last main line trip in March when it hauled the Yorkshireman from Ealing Broadway to York via the Midland Main Line. The hoped for trip in Scotland to end its main line activities was cancelled due to the Corvid-19 pandemic. The boiler certificate expires on 22nd April 2022.
There was a hope that the locomotive would manage to steam back to the East Lancs Railway before the boiler certificate expired. There was also a desire to see the engine running on the East Lancs Railway until 2022.
The locomotive was at York when the lockdown due to Corvid-19 started so could not be moved. It was subsequently diesel hauled to the East Lancs Railway in October 2020.
It has been confirmed though that it will spend a year on the East Lancs Railway.
The locomotive hauled a test train on the East Lancs Railway in April 2021. This was its first move under its own steam in nearly a year.
The final run of Union Of South Africa was scheduled to be on the East Lancs Railway on Monday 3rd January 2022. In October 2021 it was revealed that the locomotive had been withdrawn from service due to a fault with the boiler tubes. Due to the location of the tubes and the small amount of time left on the boiler certificate it was not deemed viable to fix the fault.
It is intended that 60009 will be on display at Bury during the Autumn Steam Gala in October. This will be the last time to see the locomotive before it heads elsewhere for retirement.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Out of service||John Cameron|
- 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley (LNER 4498, LNER 600, LNER 7 & BR 60007)
- 60008 Dwight D Eisenhower (LNER 4496, LNER 598, LNER 8 & BR 60008)
- 60010 Dominion of Canada (LNER 4489, LNER 591, LNER 10 & BR 60010)
- 60019 Bittern (LNER 4464, LNER 603, LNER 19 & BR 60019)
- 60022 Mallard (LNER 4468, LNER 707, LNER 22 & BR 60022)