60800 Green Arrow (LNER 4771, LNER 700, LNER 800 & BR 60800)

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Green Arrow is the only surviving British 2-6-2 tender locomotive. It was completed at Doncaster Works in June 1936.

The locomotive was initially allotted the number 637, and fitted with curved nameplates over the middle driving wheels. The official photographs were taken with this livery. Before entry into service the number was altered to 4771, and the curved nameplates were replaced with straight nameplates mounted on the sides of the smokebox.

The locomotive was later allocated number 700 in 1943, but this was never carried and was revised to 800 in April 1946, and that number was applied by the LNER in November 1946, and 60800 by British Railways in February 1949.

The name Green Arrow was taken from that of the LNER’s express parcels service, its appropriation for the class leader allegedly came as a flash of inspiration to R A Thom, then Works Manager at Doncaster, while he was shaving.

In 1955 on the grounds of expense the Works Manager at Darlington suggested recourse to three separate cylinders, which was agreed. During 1956-1962 many of the class (about one third) were rebuilt with three independent cylinders, which were then distinguished by the provision of outside steam pipes. It was decided though that Green Arrow would not be rebuilt with independent cylinders so that the locomotive could be retained as a true pre-war engine.

4771 carries a 1944-built boiler, despite the fact that a numbers of new V2 boilers were still being made at Darlington as late as 1960-1962 despite rapidly advancing dieselisation.

Green Arrow spent almost all of its working life under BR ownership based at Kings Cross. The only time not at Kings Cross was in 1953 when it spent a few weeks at Woodford Halse on the Great Central Railway in Northamptonshire. The reason for the locomotive being at Woodford Halse was to make it available in case the Southern Region required additional engines to cover the duties of Merchant Navy class locomotives. These had been taken out of service following the 35020 Bibby Line suffering a fractured crank axle on the central driving wheel whilst approaching Crewkerne station in April 1953. To cover the withdrawal of the 30 engines of the MN class, locomotives from other British Railways regions were drafted in to deputise (Britannias, ex-LMS Class Fives, ex-LNER V2s and B1s, were despatched to both South Western and South Eastern Divisions of the Southern Region). In the event 60800 was not required and returned to Kings Cross at the end of June.

The locomotive was withdrawn from service in August 1962 and since it had been selected for preservation, it was restored at Doncaster Works, where the work was completed in April 1963.

Almost ten years of storage then followed, during which it was moved several times. A transfer from Doncaster to Hellifield occurred in October 1964; the locomotive was moved to Wigston in Leicestershire in 1967 – this was intended to be the final temporary home, since it was intended that Green Arrow would become one of the permanent exhibits in a Municipal Museum which was proposed for the nearby city of Leicester. However, before the museum was ready, demolition of Wigston locomotive depot was scheduled, and the locomotive was sent south to the Preston Park shops of the Pullman Car Company in September 1970.

The National Railway Museum (NRM) was then being planned, and in November 1971 Green Arrow was selected for the National Collection, items from which would form the main display in the NRM. The locomotive was again moved, this time to Norwich depot in January 1972, where it was returned to working order; the first trial trip, to Ely, was on 28 March 1973. The restoration was carried out by the former Norwich shedmaster (Bill Harvey) and the Norfolk Railway Society. It then commenced a series of runs at the head of special trains, before being moved to Carnforth in July 1973.

In March 1978 Green Arrow became the first steam locomotive to haul a train on the Settle to Carlisle route in ten years.

In 1987 the locomotive was taken out of service following the discovery of boiler leaks. The industrialist Dr Michael Peagram provided £100,000 sponsorship which enabled the locomotive to return to main line running in August 1998.

Green Arrow the ran in preservation until being withdrawn from service in April 2008 after suffering a boiler failure whilst running on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, shortly before its boiler certificate expired.

Its boiler repairs have been determined as achievable, however the NRM are not currently willing to meet the cost involved in replacing the ‘monobloc’ cylinder casting. A crack in this means the casting now needs to be replaced before the locomotive can work again. Green Arrow is on static display at Locomotion at Shildon.

In 2015 it was announced that Green Arrow is one of the planned exhibits for the Great Central Railway’s proposed railway museum located at Leicester North station. The withdrawal of the National Lottery Heritage Fund support for the museum was a major blow to the project and cast doubt on the whole project.

In March 2019 the new operating strategy published by the National Railway Museum made reference to Green Arrow being selected for consideration for a return to main line running. There remains no definite plan to overhaul the locomotive and any potential steam would be in the period up to 2034 that the operating strategy covers. The expense and the complexity of any overhaul means that the overhaul is not regarded as a priority.

In February 2021 the locomotive was moved to the Danum Gallery Library and Museum at Doncaster on a three year loan from the National Railway Museum. . It is planned that another locomotive will replace Green Arrow within the three year period.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
Danum Gallery Library and Museum at DoncasterOn static displayNational Railway Museum

NRM Object Number{1975-7025}

60800 Green Arrow on York shed
60800 Green arrow, 49395 and 44027 in store on Leicester shed – 1970
60800 Green arrow at Carnforth - October 1973.jpg
60800 Green Arrow at Carnforth – October 1973
60103 Flying Scotsman and 60800 Green Arrow on Carnforth shed – June 1975
60800 Green Arrow at Rainhill ar part of the Rocket 150 cavalcade – May 1980
60800 Green Arrow leaving Tay Bridge - June 1987.jpg
60800 Green Arrow leaving Tay Bridge – June 1987
60800 Green Arrow in front of 92220 Evening Star at Edinburgh Waverley - April 1986.jpg
60800 Green Arrow in front of 92220 Evening Star at Edinburgh Waverley – April 1986
60800 Green arrow at Carlisle - May 1989.jpg
60800 Green arrow at Carlisle – May 1989
60800 Green Arrow at Lunds - September 1989.jpg
60800 Green Arrow at Lunds – September 1989
60800 Green Arrow passing Dent on a Carlisle to Hellfield train – September 1989
60800 Green Arrow at the National Railway Museum at York – 1992
60800 Green arrow at Hull - September 1999.jpg
60800 Green Arrow at Hull – September 1999
60800 Green Arrow on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway - October 1999.jpg
60800 Green Arrow on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway – October 1999
60800 Green Arrow nearing Ribblehead whilst heading to Carlisle – December 1999
60800 Green Arrow heads away from Malton heading for Scarborough – February 2002
60800 Green Arrow at Crewe works – May 2003
60800 Green arrow on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – June 2007
60800 Green Arrow runs round the train at Cheltenham on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway – August 2007
60800 Green Arrow at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway – August 2007
60800 Green Arrow in the National Railway Museum at York – July 2013
60800 Green Arrow in Locomotion at Shildon – January 2016
49395, 34051 Winston Churchill, 60800 Green Arrow & 790 Hardwicke in Locomotion at Shildon – May 2016

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