Famous locomotive goes full steam ahead

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TRAINSPOTTERS in the Kincardine and Mearns area were in for a treat last week when a famous steam locomotive passed through the area.

The Union of South Africa passed through stations including Laurencekirk, Stonehaven and Portlethen last Wednesday as it made its way from Edinburgh to Aberdeen.

The locomotive was carrying a group of sightseers as they travelled through Scotland in style enjoying champagne and food while they saw beautiful scenery from the historic train.

Built in Doncaster for the LNER, it was originally named the Osprey but entered service from the Haymarket shed in Edinburgh as the Union of South Africa.

It was allocated to Haymarket shed from new and had its only transfer to Aberdeen in 1962.

In October 1964 it pulled the last booked steam-hauled train from King’s Cross.

Union of South Africa was the last locomotive to be overhauled at Doncaster while in service.

It was withdrawn from service by British Railways in June 1966.

Since then, it has been preserved and kept running, undergoing an extensive overhaul in 2010.

The locomotive is the sister train of the Mallard, which broke the steam rail record by reaching 126 mph in 1938.