‘SA’ train ride for queen to mark reign

2015-09-10 09:45
A train fit for a queen: Nr 6009, aka The Union of South Africa, with the springbok plaque on the side, donated on April 12, 1954, by a newspaper owner in Bloemfontein. The train belongs to the LNR Class A4 steam locomotives that still hold the steam

A train fit for a queen: Nr 6009, aka The Union of South Africa, with the springbok plaque on the side, donated on April 12, 1954, by a newspaper owner in Bloemfontein. The train belongs to the LNR Class A4 steam locomotives that still hold the steam (Getty Images)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

KEEPING it short, Queen Elizabeth yesterday told her subjects her ­becoming the longest reigning ­British monarch was not a record she ever aspired to.

The British queen yesterday obliged the masses who wanted a event to mark her record reign by interrupting her holiday at Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands to ­inaugurate a new £294 million ­Scottish Borders Railway. (Read who was there on page 6).

While barely patient with all that noblesse oblige, the queen did get to ride from Edinburgh in another stately record holder, the Union of South Africa LNER Class A4 steam locomotive Nr 6009.

The elegant A4 steam locomotive was designed by Nigel Gresley in 1937 — the yearher father King George VI was crowned.

These streamlined locomotives have since come to symbolise ­Britain’s dominance on rail, as well as that era’s fascination with speed.

There are today only six of ­Gresley’s LNER Class A4 ­locomotives in working condition and licensed to run on mainlines.

Ironically, the queen’s departure by helicopter to ride on what is still one of the word’s fastest steam trains was delayed by thick mist over ­Balmoral yesterday, and of course her ride in the A4 did not get close to the world speed record for a steam locomotive of 125 mph — more than 201 km/h — set by the 4468 Mallard A4 on July 3, 1938.

Pietermaritzburg’s many train spotters will however be quick to ­remind that the unofficial record was actually 126 mph, as marked on the dynamometer car.

Originally numbered 4488 and ­also named after a bird — the Osprey — Nr 6009 was built later than the Mallard and only named the Union of South Africa when Britain wanted to show political goodwill and ­support for the new Union of South Africa. When apartheid was at its height in the early 1990s, Nr 6009 however went back to being called Osprey. She only got her “working” name back after being sold as scrap to John Cameron in 1966.

Cameron has since had 6009 restored to mint condition at its base at Bridgnorth on the Severn Valley Railway, where 6009 regularly appears on mainline steam specials.

While the queen yesterday said she personally has no truck with her long reigning record, one suspects she did appreciate the speed record still held by the grand old steam ­ladies of her teenage years

Read more on:    queen elizabeth  |  train

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.