The London & North Western Steam Locomotive Trust was recently the recipient of a historically significant piece of railway memorabilia.
A supporter of the Trust, who at the time of receipt was a young 16 year old lad living near Blackpool and who now resides in Australia has most generously donated the whistle once belonging to the last operational Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway class 4-6-0 in service. The engine in question was a Hughes design (one of the rebuild ‘Dreadnoughts’), BR no. 50455 of the class pictured below, and was withdrawn from Blackpool shed in 1951.
The donor was verified the providence of the item, also pictured below with an accompanying letter, a handbill for the last passenger train hauled by the loco (a Blackpool to York excursion) and even a piece of coal from the day! A photo of the engine on the day can be found in Barry Lane’s book ‘Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Locomotives’ published by Pendragon Press. This special excursion took place on sunny Sunday, 1st July 1951 in conjunction with the Stephenson and Manchester Locomotive Societies.
The L&Y whistle donated to the trust is to be auctioned at the Crewe Railwayana Auction at Crewe Heritage Centre on Saturday 26 April. It is expected that a free vintage bus service will be available from Crewe Railway Station on the day. We invite all our readers and supporters to attend and to spread the word.
We hope that the sale of this most important historic relic of a handsome and sadly long lost class will raise a good sum that will go towards the building of our LNWR George the Fifth!
We are delighted to announce that the revered Stephenson Locomotive Society will publish an article written by founding Trust member Bruce Nixon concerning the LNWR George the Fifth class ‘Ptarmigan’ and its epic run in the forthcoming issue of the SLS Journal due out on the 15th March.
The Stephenson Locomotive Society came into existence in 1909 and is the preeminent society in the UK dedicated to the study of rail transport and of railway locomotion specifically. Named in honour of George Stephenson, its membership has included amatuers and professionals alike including great British CME’s such as William Stanier and Oliver Bulleid and the brilliant French mechanical Engineer Andre Chapelon. The SLS was instrumental in the preservation of the magnificent Stroudley LBSCR 0-4-2 ‘Gladstone’ for the National Collection and for the benefit of future generations. The SLS houses a vast collection of photographic and drawing material amassed over 100 years, which members have access to.
Of particular interest given our Trust’s aims is that the SLS is the custodian of a genuine LNWR survivor – Orion – an LNWR Alfred the Great class and the last surviving Webb Compound in the world. While Orion happens to be 9 1/2″ scale, she was built at Crewe Works by the London & North Western Railway over 100 years ago thus making her a genuine LNWR locomotive. Irrespective of her diminutive size, Orion is one of only a handful of former LNWR locomotives surviving in preservation anywhere in the world, to any scale, which makes it an important and fascinating piece of heritage.
We are excited and humbled to have an article about the feats of the Georges and about our efforts to build a new member of this class featured in the journal of the SLS. For those interested in joining the ranks of this illustrious society with its proud history, not least in the areas of preservation and heritage and its commitment to the study of railway transport old and new should visit the Society’s website: