It was compulsory, wasn’t it, for those of us of a certain age.
I didn’t see all the A4s (few of us did, given that one was
destroyed in the war) - withdrawals had begun when I first
sat on the platform at Northallerton, notebook in hand, in
the early 60s. The best remaining examples spent their last
years in Scotland. But there were still several around. 60026
“Miles Beevor” (whose wheels, I believe, are those now
bearing 60007) was a frequent sight, and I have a clear
memory of the silver fox still in place on no. 60017, reduced
to hauling a freight train - and a sooty piece of scale (was it?)
which landed on my sandwich as 60029 “Woodcock” tore
through on an express.
The story of later years needs little retelling. I never saw nos. 8
and 10 before they became trans-Atlantic Pacifics, but the other
four survivors have passed in front of the lens at various times,
on the main line and the heritage lines. It was great to see
Mallard in action, 25 years ago. That was the 50th anniversary
year of the great event; this year’s “Great Gathering” marked
the 75th... Great Gathering? More of a Stupendous Scrum. Great
to see them all together though. Had to be there...