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4-4-0 LNER Class D49 ‘Shire’ No.246 ‘Morayshire’

4-4-0 LNER Class D49 ‘Shire’ No.246 ‘Morayshire’ locomotive picture
Photo W.S. Sellar

On loan from National Museums Scotland. Operational.
LNER apple green livery.
Built 1928, LNER Darlington. (BR No.62712)

From the 1880s, the majority of Scottish express trains were hauled by tender locomotives with a four-wheeled bogie leading four driving wheels. By the time Britain's railways were reorganised into four large groups in 1923, many of these engines were old, and Nigel Gresley, as Locomotive Superintendent of the LNER, started looking at the provision of a suitable express passenger engine for intermediate duties in the North Eastern and Scottish areas. At the end of 1925 he gave his design to the Locomotive Works at Darlington, and the first of the new class of 4-4-0s emerged in October 1927. From then until February 1935 a total of 76 engines were completed. 'Morayshire' was out-shopped in February 1928.

The new engines had to be sufficiently powerful to match the big North British Railway Atlantic (4-4-2) locomotives on the East Coast Main Line and on the Waverley route. To achieve adequate power, they had three cylinders. The centre cylinder valves were driven by Gresley derived motion. Morayshire has an unusual feature in Woodward connecting rods.

No.246 was based variously at Dundee, Perth, Haymarket and St Margaret's. Withdrawn as the last remaining member of her class in July 1961, she was moved to Slateford Laundry in Edinburgh for use as a stationary boiler, and in January 1962 was put into store at Dalry Road Shed, Edinburgh.

In 1962 Ian Fraser, who had worked on this class of engine at Darlington, had become interested in the fate of 'Morayshire' and successfully negotiated purchase from BR. After a repaint at Inverurie Works, 'Morayshire' was officially handed over to the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh. In 1974 the Museum loaned the locomotive to the SRPS who returned it to steam just in time to attend the 150th Anniversary of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in August 1975. Used on main line railtours thereafter, the locomotive is now operational on the Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway.

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