Heading for Yorkshire

There isn’t another locomotive in preservation which raises the controversy that No.60103 Flying Scotsman does. Everything from the shade of green to the ‘German’ style smoke deflectors has its share of supporters and detractors and we haven’t mentioned money or how much of what is before your eyes is ‘the real Flying Scotsman’ or the ‘Flying Money Pit’ as some refer to it.

In all the heated debate we some how seem to have lost sight of the simple pleasures which brought us to our hobby – watching, listening to and enjoying the smell of passing steam engines, taking their numbers, or their pictures as we did so. It must have been quite a treat for spotters along the S&C during the early 1960s when, in addition to their daily diet of LMS locos, the A3s were appearing regularly on the ‘Waverley’ and other Edinburgh – London St. Pancras services, south of Carlisle.

In the summer of 1960 Holbeck was already home to several A3s including Nos.60038 Firdaussi, No.60077 The White Knight,  and No. 60080 Dick Turpin which was one of the few not named after race horses, ‘Flying Scotsman’ was, of course, another, though she wasn’t  a Holbeck engine. Several more A3s, mostly from Gateshead, ended up in Leeds when they were cascaded down from the East Coast Main Line, as the Deltics and Type 4s took over. Some of the last A3s to be withdrawn were those shedded at Carlisle Canal, which spent their final days working freight services over the Waverley line to Edinburgh. One of them, No.60100 Spearmint, when she was at Haymarket, in her heyday, was the regular engine of the footplate author, driver Norman McKillop, aka Toram Beg, who wrote for Trains illustrated.

McKillop wrote the excellent, ‘Lighted Flame a History of ASLEF’, as well as a column in the Locomotive Journal, though he is probably better known for his writings about footplate work and life for a more general audience in books like, ‘Enginemen Elite’ and ‘Ace Enginemen’.

The photo shows No.60103 Flying Scotsman at Birkett Common, if I’m permitted an opinion I’d loose the German blinkers and the rest is just fine. However, I do think they looked very handsome in Apple Green with a single chimney.

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751

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