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An A4 by Any Other Name

Part Seven

In 1946, along with the renumbering scheme, a start was made in reinstating the Garter Blue Livery, the precursor to this was Nº4496 given the garter blue livery on 25/9/1945 on being renamed DWIGHT D EISENHOWER.

Having dealt with the renumbering in Part 6 and noted the re-application of Garter Blue livery as and when it coincided with the renumbering, some of the following, of necessity, unfortunately repeats parts of that information.

Nine months after Nº4496 was re-liveried, appropriately Nº2509 became the first engine to receive the Garter Blue livery, and cut out letters and numbers to truly inaugurate the commencement of the re-application of the Garter Blue livery on the A4s, leaving the Works after a Light Repair on 14/6/1946, and carrying its new number 14.

Next came Nº4492, to be renumbered 13, and receive the Garter Blue Livery, and presumably have the New Zealand Coat of Arms re-applied to the cab side, after a General Overhaul on 17/8/1946. Nº24 had been Nº 585 for a short period, and was then renumbered 24 at Haymarket Shed on 5/5/1946, leaving the Works on 31/8/1946 after a General Overhaul, with Garter Blue Livery, and cut out letters and numbers. Nº4482 was next to be re-liveried, leaving Works after a General Overhaul on 28/9/1946, but strangely still carrying its old number (4482, this and LNER presumably being applied in Gold Shaded Red Transfers). This situation was resolved when the engine returned to Works for a Non Classified Repair, and emerged on 22/11/1946 carrying a cut out 23 and LNER.

To avoid getting a repetitive strain injury from all the typing, please take it as read that all the engines in the following list, all received Garter Blue Livery and Cut Out letters and numbers on the dates shown.

Nº4499 to Nº2 --- General Overhaul 11/10/1946

Nº20 ---- General Overhaul 26/10/1946 (this Engine was only renumbered to 20 from 4465 on 15/9/1946, nine days before entering Works on 24/9/1946)

Nº4 ---- General Overhaul 14/11/1946

Nº4500 to Nº1 ---- General Overhaul 16/11/1946

Nº4490 to Nº11 ---- General Overhaul 30/11/1946 (Plaques Re-fitted ?)

Nº4495 to Nº30 ----General Overhaul 7/12/1946, this was the last engine to be renumbered at the Works. The remainder had all been renumbered previously, and received Garter Blue livery and the necessary Cut Out Letters and numbers as follows :-

Nº18 ---- General Overhaul 28/12/1946

Nº27 ---- General Overhaul 25/1/1947, prior to this, plaques from the Royal Naval Air Station, H.M.S. Merlin were fitted to the cab side on 25/6/1946.

Nº90 ---- General Overhaul 21/2/1947 (Plaques Re-fitted ?)

Nº70 ---- General Overhaul 06/3/1947

Nº19 ---- General Overhaul 07/3/1947

Nº60 ---- General Overhaul 02/4/1947

Nº21 ---- General Overhaul 30/4/1947

Nº32 ---- General Overhaul 03/5/1947

Nº16 ---- General Overhaul 10/5/1947

Nº29 ---- General Overhaul 04/6/1947

Nº30 ---- General Overhaul 21/6/1947

Nº30 ---- General Overhaul 21/6/1947

Nº31 ---- General Overhaul 01/8/1947

Nº12 ---- General Overhaul 09/8/1947 (Plaques Re-fitted ? )

Nº17 ---- General Overhaul 25/9/1947

Nº28 ---- General Overhaul 1/10/1947 and re-named WALTER K WHIGHAM (The then current Deputy Chairman).

Nº15 ---- General Overhaul 4/10/1947

Nº26 ---- General Overhaul 1/11/1947 and re-named MILES BEEVOR

Nº10 ---- General Overhaul 20/11/1947 (Plaques Re-fitted ?)

Nº33 ---- General Overhaul 5/12/1947

Nº34 ---- General Overhaul 10/12/1947

Nº25 ---- General Overhaul 31/12 1947 --- Officially the last A4 to be overhauled by the L.N.E.R.

BRITISH RAILWAYS came into being 1/1/1948, but unfortunately as no clear policy had been decided with regard to liveries, the individual works carried on as they had always done, painting the engines in their own liveries. The only concessions to indicate the new ownership were BRITISH RAILWAYS substituted for the former Company Titles, and eventually re-numbering into block sequences when the powers that be got themselves sorted out.

To confirm this lack of policy on liveries, Nº8 DWIGHT D EISENHOWER left the works after a Light Repair on 6/1/1948, still in Garter Blue and with its Stainless Steel Numbers and Letters still in place. Nº30 GOLDEN FLEECE followed suit, leaving works after a Light Repair on 19/1/1948. Nº29 WOODCOCK also retained its L.N.E.R. identity, leaving works on 19/1/1948 after a Light repair, with livery, numbers and letters still intact. In fact the livery, numbers and letters survived another visit to works on 28/2/1948 for another Light Repair. However Nº4 WILLIAM WHITELAW did not fare so well, ex- works from a General Overhaul the day after Nº29 on 20/1/1948, it carried a suffix E painted above the Stainless Steel 4 on the cab side, and with the letters removed from the tender and replaced by a hand painted BRITISH RAILWAYS, in 9" high Silver / White Letters. Strangely the Nºon the front was still shown as 4, in 7½" high Silver / White, but without the E suffix, and the Garter Blue Livery was retained. Next out of works was Nº5 SIR CHARLES NEWTON after a General Overhaul, on 28/1/1948, regaining its Garter Blue Livery, Nº5, and L.N.E.R.. This seems to be the last of the class to truly regain its L.N.E.R. identity despite now being in B.R. ownership. Engines passing through the works from hereon received the Garter Blue Livery until a positive decision was made on the New British Railways livery in 1949, that is apart from four engines that were repainted in an experimental Livery in Mid 1948 (More of this later).

Next with the E suffix and BRITISH RAILWAYS was Nº21 WILD SWAN out of works on 5/2/1948 after a General Overhaul. In works, for a General Overhaul from 16/1/1948 until 5/3/1948, Nº 22 MALLARD was the last engine to regain the Garter Blue Livery. (After the Wartime Black.) It got the Stainless Steel Nº22, with E suffix, but sadly never got the L.N.E.R. on the tender, having to settle for the painted BRITISH RAILWAYS. The plaques to commemorate the World Speed Record were also fitted at this time. Leaving Works after a General Overhaul on 11/3/1948 Nº27 MERLIN was the last recipient of the E suffix.

By now the major decision to renumber the British Railways Locomotive Fleet had been taken, and this had the effect of adding 60000 to the existing numbers of the Ex- L.N.E.R. Locomotives. So the number sequence for the A4 Class would be 60001 to 60034.

The first engine to receive its new number was 60007 SIR NIGEL GRESLEY, ex – works from a Light Repair on 24/3/1948. Garter Blue was retained, the cab side had 12" high Silver / White numbers, the Tender had 9" high Silver / White letters, and the front number between the buffers was 5½" or 6" high in Silver / White Paint (can anyone confirm the height of the front numbers, the R.C.T.S. Part 2A quotes 7½" high, but I think this is wrong. Looking at the photos of Locomotives so numbered leads me to believe that the 5½" or 6" dimension is more correct). Two other engines received this style of re-numbering, Nº60034 on leaving the works from a Non Classified Repair on 24/3/1948, the engine being also re-named LORD FARRINGDON at this date. Nº 60023 was the only other engine to receive this re-numbering style leaving the works after a General Overhaul on 25/3/1948.

From hereon the front number on the locomotives would be displayed on a plate with integrally cast 4¼" high numbers, this plate to be fixed on suitable brackets on the slope of the streamlined front, just above the boiler centre line. These numbers were to be in the Gill Sans style, which was not unfamiliar to the former L.N.E.R., however for some strange reason when casting the new plates Doncaster used what is described as Modified Gill Sans, which curled the tail of the six over, and the tail of the nine under. The Modified Six had also been used in the painted cabside and front numbers to 60007, 60034 and 60023 above. Nº60033 was the first to be fitted with the new front plate emerging from a Non Classified Repair on 16/4/1948, again some of the paperwork gives the date of re- numbering as 10/4/1949, when the engine was still in the works. Nº 60009 General Overhaul 5/5/1948, Nº60002 General Overhaul 14/5/1948, and Nº 60013 General Overhaul 25/5/1948 were the next to be renumbered.

NºE-4 was in the works for two days 24–25/5/1948 to exchange Tenders with Nº 10000 (as it still was, being renumbered 60700 18/6/1948), and the opportunity was taken to give it its new number 60004.

At about this time a relevant event was taking place, namely the Locomotive Exchanges. The Ex- L.N.E.R. Locomotives chosen to take part were Nos. E-22, 60033 and 60034. All three engines had the backs of their Corridor Tenders modified to allow the Water Columns on other lines to be swung into position over the filling hole. Nos. E-22 and 60033 ran throughout the exchanges without any changes in number style. In early May Nº60034 ran between Kings Cross and Leeds with the front number painted between the buffers, in late May it ran between Euston and Carlisle with the front number displayed on the cast plate fixed to the top of the smoke box casing. There is no record of the engine visiting the works in this period, so it must be assumed that the plate and supporting brackets were fixed at King’s Cross Shed approximately mid May.

26/5/1948 saw Nº60012 leave the works after a General Overhaul. NºE-27 went into the works on 21/5/1948 for a light repair, and became the subject of a livery experiment. Discussions had taken place as to what should be the "Standard " Liveries for all the Rolling Stock of British Railways. Various colour schemes were tried and exhibitions held but no firm decision was taken. In order to give the public at large a chance to voice their opinions, several engines from each of the new Regions of British Railways were painted in experimental liveries. Four of the A4 Class were chosen to take part in the experiment, and all got the same colour, which was described as a deep Ultramarine Blue, which to the average man in the street was best described as "Purple", this being lined out in red cream and grey allegedly as per the lining used by the former London North Western Railway. The Lining was applied to all the cladding bands, along the edge of the footplate over the top of the cylinders and down and round the buffer casing. Panels were formed on the cab and tender sides, and the Black parabola was edged with this lining, all as per the dotted lines in the Sketch below. 

Diagram

Nº60027 left the works on 2/6/1948. With the application of the cab side lining panel space was at a premium, so the plaques from H.M.S. Merlin were moved on to the middle cladding panel on the Boiler.

The introduction of the lined panel on the cab side also meant that the 12" high numerals would not fit the space available, so in consequence they had to be reduced to 9" high, which made them match up with the 9" high lettering on the tender.

Nº60031 left the works after general Overhaul on 4/6/1948, followed three days later by the "Purple" liveried Nº60028 after a Light Repair on 7/6/1948. Nº 60016 followed next on 11/6/1948 after a General Overhaul. Another "Purple" Liveried engine was next, Nº60024 leaving after a General Overhaul on 18/6/1948.

Nº5 which had managed to avoid getting its B.R. number in January 1948 became Nº60005 on leaving works after a Non Classified Repair on 9/7/1948. Next out of works after a General overhaul was 60001 leaving on 14/7/1948. Nº60029 became the fourth A4 to be given the "Purple" Livery, the official date being given as 16/7/1948, for completion of the General Overhaul. The engine may have been retained by the works for an open day which was possibly held at the end of the month. I may be wrong on the date , but I certainly remember a brand new Nº 60114 standing out in the yard, and climbing onto the footplate of WOODCOCK in the Paint Shop, and exiting via the Corridor Tender. The next engine to leave the plant was over in the shops, No 60030 GOLDEN FLEECE nearing the completion of a General Overhaul, duly leaving on 30/7/1948. NºE-21 was next to be renumbered during a Light Repair, leaving as Nº60021 on 29/9/1948, closely followed by Nº60020 on 1/10/1948 after a General Overhaul.

On the 8/10/1948 Nº60007 left the works on completion of a General Overhaul, which had been so timed as to enable the engine to be used for the opening ceremony at the new Rugby Testing Station on 19/10/1948. The front number plate was fitted at this time, superseding the previously painted number. Both the cab numbers and tender letters were of the same height, 9", in Silver/White Paint. Nº60019 and No 60018 were next out of works after General Overhauls on 14/10/1948 and 16/10/1948 respectively. Nº10 was in works for a Light Repair 16-27/10/1948, emerging with its new number 60010, but unfortunately without its cab side Canadian Plaques, which were never re-fitted.

Nº60008, General Overhaul, 29/10/1948 ---- Nº60006, General Overhaul, 2/12/1948 ---- Nº60015, Light Repair, 17/12/1948 ---- Nº60003, General Overhaul, 4/3/1949 ---- Nº60011, General Overhaul, 17/3/1949 ---- Nº60017, General Overhaul, 27/4/1949, complete the list of engines which received B.R. numbers on to their Garter Blue Livery

In March 1949 it was decided that the Standard Colour for Express Passenger Engines would be Medium Blue (unofficially described as a version of the old Caledonian Railway Blue Livery), with broad Black flanked by narrow White Lining.

At the beginning of May 1949 there were still four A4 Class engines at work in Garter Blue Livery and carrying their L.N.E.R. numbers, namely Nos. 14, 25, 26, and 32. There was one other engine in Garter Blue and carrying the temporary B.R. number, and that was E-22 Mallard.

Editor's Note:~ All dates quoted above are given in the British format of Day/Month/Year
Researched and written by Mel Haigh,
Education Officer, Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Trust Ltd.
First published in Chime 125, Autumn 2002
Continue to Part Eight
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