A mixed-traffic locomotive designed by Sir William Stanier in 1934 ‘Black 5’s, as they were known by enthusiasts, totalled 842 by the time the last was built in 1951. Numbered 5212 by the LMS our engine was produced by Armstrong Whitworth at their works in Newcastle in 1935 and gained the British Railways number 45212 after nationalisation. The engine started life in Bradford and was withdrawn from Lostock Hall (Preston) in 1968 but not before having the distinction of heading the final steam-hauled revenue-earning service for British Railways on 4th August 1968.
It was bought by the KWVR straight from British Railways and arrived here in October 1968. The engine is ideal for use on the KWVR’s heaviest services being able to easily handle a six coach train on this steeply graded line.
The locomotive has now been the subject of a rebuild to mainline condition thanks to a unique agreement between the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and the Bury-based engineering company Riley & Son (E) Ltd. As part of a ten year agreement, 45212 has undergo a major overhaul which will allow it to operate on main line specials. Additionally, it will spend three months per year on the Worth Valley Railway and is also likely to visit other heritage railways around the country.
Now restored, 45212 successfully completed running in trials at the KWVR Autumn Steam Spectacular and has returned to Bury for final fitting out ready for mainline work. It is expected that the locomotive will work on the West Highland line and other charter services across Great Britain, where it will be operated by the expert main line steam train crews of West Coast Railways who are considered to be the leading operators of main line steam in the UK.
In recent years the locomotive has been based at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where it had been overhauled by Mr Peter Best. Its nine years of reliable service under his guidance undoubtedly led to it being considered for main line operation by the new caretakers.