60532 Blue Peter

60532.jpg

The locomotive was out shopped at Doncaster by the newly formed British Railways in March 1948, painted in apple-green of the old LNER but numbered 60532 with British Railways on its tender sides. It was initially allocated to the North Eastern Region of BR at York where it worked principally over the east coast main line.

In the autumn of 1949, after an overhaul at Doncaster, where a number of modifications were made, including the fitting of a multiple valve regulator and a double blast pipe and chimney, together with kylchap cowls. 60532 was transferred to work in Scotland where it was primarily employed on Glasgow and Edinburgh expresses to Aberdeen. During steaming trials in 1951 between the single and double chimney A2s, 60532 achieved 100mph between Stonehaven and Montrose. Towards the end of its BR career the locomotive was allocated to Dundee and became the last Peppercorn Pacific to be overhauled at Darlington Works. In 1966 the locomotive was frequently requested for rail tours that saw it work as far afield as Holyhead and Exeter. Its final rail tour in October 1966 was over the Waverley route and the west coast main line over Beattock.

Motive power depot allocations.

Date Arrived Depot
March 1948 York
November 1949 Haymarket
January 1951 Aberdeen Ferryhill
June 1961 Dundee Tay Bridge
December 1966 Aberdeen Ferryhill

60532 was withdrawn from service on the 31st December 1966 and put into store.

Blue Peter was purchased for preservation in 1968 by Geoff Drury and with the involvement of the children’s BBC TV programme of the same name, was restored to working condition once more. Restoration was undertaken at York, Leeds and Doncaster Works where it was repainted in LNER apple-green livery as number 532.

It was moved to the Dinting Railway Centre where it did little running, and in late 1987 the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG) took charge of 60532 and A4 Bittern on long-term loan from the Drury family. Mr Drury and NELPG reached an agreement for the group to restore the locomotive to main line condition.

Restoration to BR livery as 60532 was carried out with much assistance from ICI Wilton and thousands of NELPG man hours. Around the end of 1991 the locomotive was moved to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) for running in. Early in 1992 the locomotive obtained its main line certificate and then worked many rail tours over the Settle and Carlisle, and as far north as Aberdeen.

In 1994, during the first run of a preserved steam locomotive from Edinburgh to Newcastle, 60532 suffered extensive damage during a catastrophic uncontrolled wheel slip.

During an unscheduled stop at Durham station the inexperienced footplate crew overfilled the boiler. As the train departed south across Durham viaduct an initial slip was poorly controlled by the driver, who then reopened the regulator too early, probably worried about stalling on the bank up to Relly Mill. The force of the initial slip caused the boiler to prime, carrying water over into the regulator valve and jamming it open. This allowed passage of steam through to the cylinders, perpetuating the slip and accelerating the driving wheels. When the driver attempted to wind the reversing gear back into mid-position to halt the slip, the force of the motion spun it into full-forward position, and the driving wheels reached a rotational speed of 140 miles per hour before the cylinder heads blew off and the motion disintegrated.

The driver suffered major injury to his arms, as a result of the screw reversing lever whipping around when he released it. The accident brought to light the importance of train crews being trained on the specific locomotives they were driving, rather than simply a common general instruction on steam locomotives. Neither the driver or fireman had ever worked 60532 before, and were unaware of the locomotive’s sensitivity to priming, which led to the accident.

The damage to the motion, cylinders and driving wheels was devastating. Moved to Thornaby MPD, the repair work took 18 months to complete. 60532 was then moved again to the NYMR for running in. At this stage the second whistle was disconnected, as in all videos of this locomotive after the event only the standard LNER whistle is heard. However, it is still in place behind the fireman’s side deflector. The locomotive resumed its mainline career in November 1996, working a charter from Middlesbrough to Preston via Newcastle and Carlisle.

In 1998 60532 ran an Edinburgh to London excursion to mark the 40th anniversary of the Blue Peter TV programme.

60532’s mainline certificate expired in September 2001 and after that it was then based at the NYMR, where it worked until the end of the 2002 season when its boiler certificate expired.

It was subsequently displayed at the Darlington Railway Centre and Museum. In May 2007 BBC Look North News reported that the locomotive was being moved into storage at Barrow Hill in Chesterfield, due to the renovation of the museum, and would not be returning.

After 60532 was moved to the Barrow Hill the NELPG hoped to raise £600,000 for restoration of the locomotive to main line running. There 60532 was repainted to British Railways apple green livery, similar to the first livery used on the A1 Class 60163 Tornado. However, in October 2014 the engine was sold by the Drury family to Jeremy Hosking under the ownership of the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust Ltd (RSL&GT), who moved the locomotive to the LNWR Heritage facility at Crewe in May 2015 with the intention of restoring Blue Peter to mainline running in 2018.

In May 2016 the boiler was lifted off the frames as part of the overhaul.

In early 2017 the middle cylinder, which is life-expired, was removed  A new cylinder was cast at H Downs Foundry at Huddersfield.

Home Base Current Status Owner
Crewe Under overhaul Jeremy Hosking under the ownership of the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust Ltd

 

60532 Dundee July 1965a.jpg

60532 Dundee July 1965.jpg

60532 Blue Peter on Dundee Tay Bridge shed-July 1965
60532 Carlisle October 1966 aa.jpg 60532 Blue Peter arriving at Carlisle on the Waverley route-October 1966
60532 Carlisle October 1966.jpg 60532 hauls the train back under the Waverley route bridge on the west coast main line before taking the train to Kingmoor shed-October 1965
60532 Barrow Hill 2015.jpg

60532 Barrow Hill 2015a.jpg

60532 Blue Peter at Barrow Hill Roundhouse underneath the Midland Railways three legged Shear Legs which were used for lifting locomotives-2015

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