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Fig 1: 4472 Flying Scotsman about to pass under Lindley’s Lane bridge near the Corner Pin Club on a St Pancras to Cleethorpes railtour on 29th March 1969. Photo Credit: Arthur Upchurch Jnr.

4472 Flying Scotsman at Kirkby-in-Ashfield

In February 2023 the world famous steam locomotive, Flying Scotsman, not to be confused with the express train of the same name, celebrated its centenary. As Nick Pigott stated, the title ‘world’s most famous locomotive’ irritates him but he has yet to discover a diesel or electric locomotive, which is better known. Flying Scotsman was completed at Doncaster works in February 1923 and the Nigel Gresley designed locomotive was originally classified as A1 class. In January 1947, it was reclassified as an A3 class locomotive which most railway enthusiasts from 1950’s and 1960’s onwards will remember it as.

It was withdrawn from service by British Railways in January 1963 and was purchased by Alan Pegler for £3,000. In preservation, it hauled steam rail-tours all over Britain. Between 1963 and 1969, it headed several rail-tours, which passed through Kirkby-in-Ashfield. These were on a variety of former Midland (MR), Great Northern (GN) and Great Central (GC) lines in and around the town.

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Fig 2: A3 60048 Doncaster passing under Lindley’s Lane bridge on the GC main line in the early 1950’s. Photo Credit – Kirkby Heritage Centre

In the early 1950’s, 60103 Flying Scotsman, was allocated to Leicester GC loco shed for a time and most certainly would have passed through Kirkby-in-Ashfield on the GC main line hauling express trains such as the Master Cutler. At this time the GC was still designated a Manchester to London main line. Frank Ashley’s photograph (Fig. 2) of A3 Doncaster passing under Lindley’s Lane GC bridge at Kirkby South Junction on a down passenger train is perhaps the only local photograph we have from this period.

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Fig 3: 4472 Flying Scotsman passing Kirkby-in-Ashfield East station on 11th September 1965 with a London bound railtour. Photo Credit: Malcolm Rush

1963, 1964 and 1965 Flying Scotsman railtours through Kirkby-in-Ashfield

In preservation Flying Scotsman’s first appearance through Kirkby-in-Ashfield in its apple green LNER livery, was on 19th May 1963 on a diverted Gainsborough Locomotive Society railtour returning from Southampton. The diverted rail-tour ran via the Pye Bridge to Kirkby-in-Ashfield former MR line passing through Kirkby-in-Ashfield East station at fifteen minutes past midnight. Amazingly, fifty local railway enthusiasts got to know about this diverted railtour.

On 15th June 1963, 4472 headed the Great Central Railtour from Sheffield Victoria to London Marylebone. It travelled via the Chesterfield loop, being the last passenger train to run over this part of the GC. This section of line had closed to regular passenger trains on 5th March 1963. Footage out of a carriage window from this railtour appears on the Marsden Rail video No. 10 Sheffield Victoria to Nottingham Victoria and features brief highlights of passing over the Kirkby-in-Ashfield to Pye Bridge line and passing Annesley GC sidings.

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Fig 4: 4472 Flying Scotsman passing Annesley Colliery GN junction on the GC Railtour on 18th April 1964. Photo Credit: David K Dykes

4472 headed another Great Central Railtour on 18th April 1964, which travelled from Sheffield Victoria to London Marylebone via the former Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast (LDEC) line at Beighton Junction to Shirebrook North (Langwith Junction). Locally this line was known as the Clog and Knocker. From Shirebrook North it took the former GN Leen Valley extension line through Sutton-in-Ashfield, joining the GC main line at Kirkby South Junction. This railtour also features on the Marsden Rail video No. 10 with fleeting glances of passing Sutton-in-Ashfield Town and entering the north portal of Annesley Tunnel.

On 11th September 1965, 4472 passed through Kirkby-in-Ashfield East station (Fig. 3) heading a Gainsborough Model Railway Society railtour from Lincoln Central to Kensington Olympia. The railtour returned from Kings Cross via the East Coast Main Line (ECML). Local rail enthusiast, Malcolm Rush, witnessed this railtour passing through Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

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Fig 5: 4472 Flying Scotsman about to pass under the by then closed GN Leen Valley Extension line with a Cleethorpes bound railtour on 22nd February 1969. Photo Credit: David Lowe

1969 Flying Scotsman railtours through Kirkby-in-Ashfield

In a short space of time early in 1969, 4472, now fitted with its double tender, passed through Kirkby-in-Ashfield twice on northbound railtours via the former MR Pye Bridge to Kirkby-in-Ashfield line. The first one on 22nd February 1969, a Flying Scotsman Enterprises Cleethorpes bound No.1 Mystery Tour, was in a blanket of snow. The railtour travelled via the GC Kirton Lindsey/ Brigg route. 4472 failed at Cleethorpes and the return railtour travelled by diesel via Lincoln, Newark and the ECML to Kings Cross.

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Fig 6: 4472 Flying Scotsman just about to pass under the former GN Leen Valley extension line on the Pye Bridge to Kirkby-in-Ashfield line on 22nd February 1969. Photo Credit: Graham Upchurch

Local rail enthusiasts Graham Upchurch and David Lowe photographed this railtour as it climbed the steeply graded Pye Bridge to Kirkby at a point where it passed under the by then closed former GN Leen Valley Extension line which 4472 had passed over just less than five year previously. Brush Type 4 (Class 47) D1545 banked the railtour from Pinxton to Kirkby-in-Ashfield.

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Fig 7: People at the Corner Pin Club (left) waiting to see 4472 Flying Scotsman pass through Kirkby-in-Ashfield with a railtour on 29th March 1969. Photo Credit: Arthur Upchurch Jnr collection

Another Flying Scotsman Enterprises No. 3 Mystery railtour passed through Kirkby-in-Ashfield northbound via the Pye Bridge to Kirkby-in-Ashfield line on 29th March 1969. The Cleethorpes bound railtour travelled via various lines in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire, returning to London Kings Cross via the GN Grimsby, Firsby and Boston line, Sleaford, Barkston South Junction and the ECML.

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Fig 8: 4472 Flying Scotsman passing over Station Street level crossing on 22nd February 1969. Photo Credit – Kirkby Heritage Centre

References

 

Marsden Rail Video No.10, Sheffield Victoria to Nottingham Victoria, 1995

 

Six Bells Junction website, https://www.sixbellsjunction.co.uk

 

The Elizabethan Railway Society monthly magazine, Vol.2, No.6, June 1963.

 

The Railway Magazine, Scotsman Centenary, February 2023.