Q17.04 – Patriots at Nuneaton

Query Corner – top page

Q17.04. Patriot at Nuneaton. In the early 1960s a member travelled on a special from Leicester to Leamington Spa for the Illuminations. At Nuneaton an unrebuilt Patriot was put on the train. According to the Leicester Mercury newspaper for that period, specials from Leicester to Leamington for the Illuminations were advertised to run on Saturday 10th September 1960 and Saturday 9th September 1961, which was the last year of the Illuminations. Nuneaton is believed to have had an allocation of five or six unrebuilt Patriots from December 1960 to the Autumn of 1962, which would suggest the more likely date would have been 9th September 1961. Does anyone have any records for 1960 or 1961 that could suggest the locomotive’s identity? (John Foston: 17180)


I have some information for you re this query; my notebooks plus STNs come in handy, along with help from Chris Coates of WCML Saturday Sightings. 45548 LYTHAM ST. ANNES visited Blackpool several times on Saturdays during mid 1961 while shedded at Nuneaton, those known being:- 22nd July – (unadvertised train) 1P56 Bletchley-Blackpool Central via Lytham 5th August – 1P12 Birmingham-Blackpool North and return 1B17 at 11.45 26th August – 1Z63 Nuneaton-Blackpool Central-Nuneaton Co-Op Sports Club 2nd September – 1Z62 Nuneaton-Blackpool SOUTH (extremely rare!) for the Illuminations. and finally 30th September 1T07 – 10 coach Adex from Stoke Golding to Blackpool North, returning at 22.20 This train arrived at Blackpool with 45548 piloted by MR 1000, probably from Crewe; the Compound was required as pilot to 60022 MALLARD on its’ 00.05 return heavy 12 coach Northern Rubber Special (Alan Pegler) to Doncaster and Retford, needed to get over Copy Pit when no banker was available. It was reported to have been detached at Hall Royd Jn, Todmorden. Almost certainly, this was the last time the loco was ever used. Thus, 45548 did in fact pass its’ namesake stations just once in 1961, and it had made very few appearances in the 1950s. (Peter Fitton: 8166)

The useful BRDatabse site reveals six Patriots were allocated to 2B Nuneaton. four were ex 2A Rugby, transferred on 31st December 1960, 45533 Lord Rothermere, 45537 Private E. Sykes VC, 45541 Duke of Sutherland and 45548 Lytham St. Annes. All but 45533, withdrawn on 16th September 1961, were withdrawn on 9th June 1962. 45538 Giggleswick transferred from 1A Willesden on 14th January 1951 and was the last of its class at Nuneaton to be withdrawn on 22nd September 1962. 45542, which carried no name transferred from 24K Preston on 22nd July 1961 and was also withdrawn on 9th June 1962. All had been scrapped by November 1962. The date one of these engines was on the Blackpool Illuminations train would therefore definitely have been 9th September 1961 so now it is over to any records around that time that might identify which was used. Pictures exist online of 45538 (May 1962) and 45548 (July and late September) either on Blackpool shed or on a Blackpool bound train. 45548 appears to have been a regular visitor perhaps because of its local Lytham St Annes association. (John Baxter: 22775)

Further to John Baxter’s answer in the October RO, could I please point out that the dates he quotes are all week ending dates rather than actual (‘on’) dates. So for example 45542 was withdrawn in the week ending 9th June 1962. Also, the Engine History Card at the National Railway Museum for 45533 records it as being withdrawn from Edge Hill in the week ending 15th September 1962, not 9th June 1962. (Ross Woollard: 11364)