London Midland & Scottish Railway Class 5MT (‘Black 5’) 4-6-0 No. 45212

Having had the distinction of heading the last revenue earning train for British Railway in 1968, 45212 is now back on the mainline, operating on trains throughout the UK.

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 The engine started life in Bradford and was withdrawn from Lostock Hall (Preston) in 1968 but not before having the distinction of heading the final steam-hauled revenue-earning service for British Railways on 4th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 undergone a major overhaul to allow it to operate on main line specials. Additionally, it, or an alternative member of its class if 45212 is unavailable, 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 2016 Autumn Steam Spectacular, returned to Bury for final fitting out ready for mainline work and took up its duties on the West Highland line in 2017 and across the UK network, where it is operated by the expert main line steam train crews of West Coast Railways one of the leading operators of main line steam in the UK.

Part of the agreement with Riley’s is that the locomotive returns to the KWVR each year for a period of operation and in 2019 returned in November and handled all the Santa Steam Specials on the lead up to Christmas.