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Originally numbered 4806 by the LMS, it had 40000 added to its number under British Railways after nationalisation in 1948. 44806 was one of the last locomotives to be withdrawn from service, surviving until 1968, the last year of steam on British Railways.
|Toton||18A||15 July 1944|
|Leicester||15C||28 April 1948|
|Nottingham||16A||9 December 1956|
|Kentish Town||14B||15 December 1956|
|Nottingham||16A||18 October 1957|
|Burton||17B||12 July 1964|
|Speke Junction||8C||26 June 1967|
|Lostock Hall||10D||30 March 1968|
44806 was an early candidate for preservation, moving directly from BR to the "Steamtown" collection at Carnforth, where it was housed in the same locomotive depot where steam's final fires had been dropped only recently. This meant that it was not subjected to the years of neglect and parts-stripping at Woodham Brothers scrapyard in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales which was the fate of many.
In preservation, it was unusually well-travelled between museums and lines, although staying in the North West of England. Some years were spent based in Accrington, with working excursions to a planned preserved line at Helmshore. Although these exact plans never quite came to fruition after that station's closure in 1972, most of the line survived as what is now the East Lancashire Railway.
In 1973, 44806 was based for a short time at the newly reopened Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, as their largest and only tender engine, but operating a large tender engine was difficult on a line without a turntable. Whilst at Haverthwaite, 44806 was adopted by the ITV children's TV series Magpie and named "Magpie". The Magpie programme was always in competition with the BBC's comparable Blue Peter programme, which had earlier adopted the LNER A2 Peppercorn 532 Blue Peter, conveniently built under that name.
Shortly after this, a crack was found in the boiler of 44806, in the outer firebox. Haverthwaite did not have the workshop facilities for an engine of this length or weight, so it was moved, this time to "Steamport" in Southport. These were busy times for the British steam preservation movement, with many new projects and scrapyard rescues all competing for attention, time and money. As a result, 'Magpie' languished. In 1983, Magpie was moved to Manchester and the Museum of Science and Industry, as a purely static exhibit.
Return to steam
In 1993, 44806, with its 20-year-old firebox crack, travelled to the Llangollen Railway, where repair work began. This work took almost three years to complete, with a return to steam on 15 September 1995. It worked on the Llangollen for nearly ten years, first back as 4806 in black LMS livery with red lining, then once again as 44806, wearing the BR "ferret and a dartboard" tender badges with red and white lining.
Return to steam again
The expiration of the locomotive's 10-year boiler certificate prompted another rebuild. The work this time was less serious, being mostly wear items such as boiler tubes, firebox stays and worn tyres. The work was completed successfully and 4806 returned to steam on 29 August 2007 and was back in service on 14 September. The new livery was again BR period, but this time in unlined gloss black. The engine was not re-fitted with its Magpie nameplates.
Since its initial preservation, 44806 had been privately owned by one man, Ken Aldcroft. Aldcroft died in 2003, and 44806 passed to his daughter Ms Renee Wyatt. To commemorate Aldcroft's 35 years of preservation (he owned 44806 for ten years longer than the original owners), 44806 was renamed Kenneth Aldcroft.
44806 Kenneth Aldcroft was based and working at the Llangollen Railway. 2008 was the 40th anniversary of the end of British Railways steam, and of 44806's own preservation. In July 2013, the locomotive was offered for sale, and was purchased by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
Until January 2018 when its then boiler certificate expired 44806 operated trains on the NYMR only between Grosmont and Pickering because it did not have mainline equipment fitted. In February 2020 following two years of storage no 44806 was sold from the NYMR to Peter Best and the overhaul is now underway to return the engine to operational condition. On completion of its present overhaul the engine will remain at the NYMR for use on their regular passenger trains. The engine will also become part of the NYMR based fleet of engines which is approved to run between Grosmont, Whitby and Battersby as its owner intends to operate the engine on the mainline. However, it will not venture onto the mainline beyond Battersby.
44806 Passing Helmshore signal box while on her way to the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0 4806.|
- "44806 Magpie history". Archived from the original on 24 July 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2008. (many photographs)
- "A History of the East Lancashire Railway". East Lancashire Railway. External link in
- "Llangollen Railway". Llangollen Railway. Archived from the original on 21 March 2008. Retrieved 1 May 2008. External link in
- https://www.railadvent.co.uk/2020/02/new-owner-for-black-5-steam-locomotive-44806.html New Owner for 44806