Bit of Choccie box for a Wednesday.
The LMS Ivatt Class 4 2-6-0 is a class of steam locomotive primarily designed for medium freight work but also widely used on secondary passenger services. The London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) built 162 of this type between 1947 and 1952, but only three were built by the LMS before nationalisation in 1948. Designed by H.G. Ivatt, they were classified 4F by the LMS and 4MT by BR. In BR days they were used extensively across the system, being prevalent on the London Midland region and to a lesser extent elsewhere, notably on the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway, an East Anglian line that had previously been joint owned by the LMS and LNER, where they became the dominant locomotive type. They were also used for a short period on the Somerset and Dorset Joint Railway, but were quickly transferred elsewhere, never to return, because of poor steaming on the line's long and steep gradients – this was before modifications were made to the design which improved steaming notably.
Only one example survived into preservation, No 43106, the final member of the class in service, which was based at Lostock Hall depot, near Preston. Its last operational turn was just before Easter in 1968, but its last turn was interrupted by a derailment in Colne Goods Yard. Since 43106 had already been selected as the best of the remaining small group, a 'search party' was despatched on Easter Tuesday to survey the damage. It was felt that damage was so minimal the prospective owners would investigate the ease of a repair. On its return to Lostock Hall, the locomotive was repaired by fitters from Carnforth, that repair exists to this day. However it derailed again at Lostock Hall when being prepared for a test run in late July. It was steamed for the final time by British Railways on 1 August 1968 and departed at about 15:30 with one member of its new owning consortium on board. This was only after lengthy discussions to get the locomotive moved in live steam before 4 August, the end of steam operation on BR. The journey was carefully routed to limit movement 'under the wires', via Frodsham, Chester and Shrewsbury. The journey through the West Midlands continued via Wolverhampton High Level towards Bescot and Pleck Junction, where after a movement around a triangular junction to ensure it arrived the 'right way round' the light engine continued on the Stourbridge Junction where it stabled overnight in the exchange sidings, now part of the extensive car park. On 2 August it continued on to its new life in preservation on the Severn Valley Railway appearing on the front page of the Shropshire Journal with three of its new owners giving it a much needed clean. It is affectionately known as theFlying Pig, although many railwaymen referred to the Ivatt 4s as Doodlebugs.
A major overhaul of the locomotive was completed in 2009 and it is currently operational after having damage repaired that it received during a derailment at Hampton Loade soon after returning to service.