Now in LMS livery and looking very smart, Class 5 4-6-0 No.5428 is about to cross over the Goathland – Pickering road at Moorgates, close to the summit of the climb from Grosmont. With any locomotive engineer there is, understandably, a tendency to concentrate attention on their express engine designs. In Stanier’s case this is his Cornonation Class Pacifics and to a lesser extent his Princess Class. However, for my money his most succesfull locomotive was the one pictured here.
The Black 5 proved to be robust, reliable, a good steamer and loved by the crews who worked on them, myself included. They are well proportioned and uncluttered in their outline and, when called upon, had a fair turn of speed too. I have seen timing logs of them deputising for A4s on the ‘Saint Mungo’ from Glasgow to Aberdeen and, to within seconds, keeping time. Their performances on some of the last steam services in the North West were the stuff of legend – the Belfast Boat Express became their star turn, in its latter days.
I can’t speak for others but, I’m looking forward to seeing a pair of them double-heading the ‘Citadel’ from Manchester to Carlisle and back on the 8th & 10th of next month. I did work on the 5s between Leeds and Manchester and Leeds to Morecambe and you can read about my time on them in part 1 of my memories of being a fireman in the last years of steam – here’s the link.
One happy customer commented – ‘Just read part 1 Enjoyed it – a lot.’