Blue Peter, a Steam Locomotive

Picture of Blue Peter, a 4-6-2 configuration steam
locomotive. She was never blue
Blue Peter


Built: Was built at Doncaster Works in 1948 for LNER.


Description: Designed by Arthur Peppercorn; an A2 class (4-6-2) locomotive. Blue Peter was never blue, but was named after a famous racehorse of that time, Blue Peter 3.
Leading wheel diameter 38in, driving wheel diam 74in and trailing wheel diam 44in.
Loco weight 101 tons; length 66ft 6in.
Initially had one chimney but was fitted with a double chimney in 1949. Tractive effort 40,430 lbf.


Duties: Allocated to the North Eastern Region of BR at York to work on the East Coast Main Line. Later was allocated to Aberdeen and used mainly on express passenger services between Aberdeen and Edinburgh. In 1966 it was allocated to Dundee and became the last Peppercorn Pacific to be overhauled at Darlington Works. Was often requested for rail tours as far as Holyhead and Exeter. Its final rail tour was in October 1966 over the Waverley Line and the West Coast Main Line over Beattock, after which she was placed in storage.


Significant Events: In 1994, during the first run of a preserved steam locomotive from Edinburgh to Newcastle, it suffered extensive damage from an uncontrolled wheelslip. During a stop at Durham station the crew overfilled the boiler. As the train departed south across Durham Viaduct the driver opened the regulator too early while trying to control a wheelslip. The force of the slip caused the boiler to prime, carrying water over into the regulator valve and jamming it open. This allowed steam to pass through to the cylinders, accelerating the driving wheels. When the driver tried to wind the reversing gear back to mid-position to halt the slip, the force of the boiler span it into full-forward position. The driving wheels reached a rotational speed of 140 mph before the cylinder heads blew off and the motion disintegrated. The driver suffered major injury to his arms, as a result of the screw reversing lever whipping around when he released it. After extensive repairs it resumed work in November 1996, working from Middlesbrough to Preston via Newcastle and Carlisle.
In 1998 it ran an Edinburgh to London excursion to mark the 40th anniversary of the Blue Peter TV programme in which it had featured several times, passing through Durham on the way.


Retirement: Blue Peter is the sole survivor of the 15 of this class produced. Now preserved by the North Eastern Locomotive Preservation Group (NELPG) at Barrow Hill Engine Shed in Derbyshire.


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