Historic steam train visits Melton station for final time
An historic steam train which has carried royal passengers visited Melton for the final time on Saturday morning before it is retired to a museum.
Crowds of onlookers were thrilled to see the A4 pacific No 60009 Union of South Africa at the town station and others stations along the route as it chugged its way north to York.
Melton station was busier then normal as the platforms, besides having passengers waiting for Leicester and Peterborough direction trains, were also packed with people eager to get a look at the steam train which is a sister steam locomotive to the world record holder Mallard.
Local steam enthusiast Paul Davies, who took this stunning photo, said: “My wife and I travelled on this train on Saturday and it was really amazing how many people young and old came out to watch it pass by - the loco crew ensured they were acknowledged when they could by lots of whistling.
“This was almost certainly its last time at Melton and also probably its last run on the main line as its certificate runs out on April 22 and it is destined to be retired by the owner to a museum in the near future.
“It was heading for York and having picked up passengers at Melton stopped once more at Ilkeston, which was also packed out with onlookers, arriving at York a few minutes early where again crowds were waiting for its arrival.
“Along the route lots of people were out at stations, bridges and other vantage points to see its journey north.”
The A4 pacific No 60009 Union of South Africa locomotive hauled the last booked steam hauled train out of Kings Cross in October 1964 and ended its British Railways service in Scotland two years later.
It was then bought by a Scottish farmer, John Cameron, who has owned it since and it has worked on the main lines of Britain as well as preserved railways since.
The highlight of its service was when it conveyed HM the Queen and Prince Philip to officially re-open the Borders Railway between Edinburgh and Tweedmouth in September 2015.