Union of South Africa steams through Royston

LNER Pacific A4 class Union of South Africa coasts through Royston on its way from the Mid Norfolk R

LNER Pacific A4 class Union of South Africa coasts through Royston on its way from the Mid Norfolk Railway to Southall on Tuesday. Picture: Terry Hartga. - Credit: Archant

Steam train enthusiasts were out to see an historic locomotive go through Royston on Tuesday on a journey from Norfolk.


The LNER Pacific A4 class 60009 Union of South Africa is an LNER Class A4 steam locomotive built in Doncaster in 1937. It is one of six surviving Gresley A4s, currently operational and mainline certified.

The train was heading from Dereham to Southall in London in a journey organised by West Coast Railways, and the Crow understands it was meant to stop at Royston, but couldn’t ‘due to a late running express train’. The Crow is awaiting further details on this.

The crowds were out for its brief appearance, however, one man ready and waiting was Royston photographer Terry Hartga.

He told the Crow: “It’s always been a locomotive that’s been special to me.

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“It pulled my mum and dad on their honeymoon to Scotland in 1947, and I’ve still got my dad’s photograph album with his black and white image that he’s hand-tinted and coloured himself.

“I was lucky to be involved with the celebration of Mallard’s 75th anniversary of the fastest run by a steam locomotive at the National Railway Museum in York in 2013.

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“It was there that they had six engines of the same class together – one being brought over from Canada and one from the USA. Three were in steam and working order, the Bittern, Sir Nigel Gresley – and Union of South Africa.”

For more on train operator West Coast, which specialises in special and historic trains visit www.westcoastrailways.co.uk.

Video credit: Bradley Harris

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