ACE Trains E/19 Stanier Black Five 5P/5F – BR 5MT 4-6-0 Ex LMS and BR Locomotives
The Stanier LMS Class 5 4-6-0 locomotive – also known as ‘Stanier Fives’ – became universally labelled as the ‘Black Five’ because of their distinguishing black livery with limited level of red lining. They were a powerful mixed traffic locomotive class designed with a ‘do anything’ and ‘go anywhere’ mentality that appealed to their drivers. The Black Fives like the Jubilees combined the best of both GWR and LMS practice proving to be one of the most enduring locomotive class to be seen anywhere in the UK. Apart from the Black Fives names they were also known as ‘Mickies’ or simply as ‘Black uns’ because of their mixed traffic designation. Like their crimson painted Jubilee cousins they were used throughout the LMS network and then more extensively following railway nationalisation surviving until the very last day of BR mainline steam. They were one of the most successful class of locomotives ever designed in Britain with a total of 842 being built between 1934 and 1951 at a number of locations which included Horwich, Derby and a large allocation at Crewe where they were used on a wide range of duties to London, Carlisle and along the north Wales coast line to Llandudno and Holyhead. Interestingly, a large batch were built by outside contractors – Armstrong Whitworth and Vulcan Foundry. From 1947 Black Fives were turned out with experimental modifications such as the fitting of roller bearings, the adoption of Caprotti valve gear and double chimneys.
Only five Black Fives between 1936 and 1942 received names during their mainline working lives: No: 5154 ‘Lanarkshire Yeomanry, No: 5155 ‘The Queen’s Edinburgh’, No: 5156 ‘Ayrshire Yeomanry’, No: 5157 ‘The Glasgow Highlander’ and No: 5158 ‘Glasgow Yeomanry’. Following nationalisation Black 5s were renumbered and eventually all 842 in the class received numbering from 44658 to 45499. Because of their ability to handle a variety of duties they were popular with both traffic managers and the drivers alike and particularly suited for Scottish based workings (including the Highlands) which were barred to other heavier classes. Both Black Fives and Jubilees were associated with the former Midland Railway route from St Pancras to Manchester. ‘The Palatine’ and an alternative service known as ‘The Peak Express’ were introduced in 1938. ‘The Palatine’ was reintroduced in 1957 following the war years with Kentish Town shed based Black 5s such as No: 44822 hauling train loads of up to 14 coaches. Black Fives were used on ‘The Thames-Clyde Express’ service from St Pancras to Glasgow which originally commenced in 1927 in LMS colours and then reintroduced again in 1949. Black Fives became synonymous with the Waverly route to Edinburgh, the Settle and Carlisle line to Leeds and secondary express services from Manchester and Blackpool.
Another 1927 LMS introduced named train was ‘The Manxman’ which operated between Euston and Liverpool Lime Street. This was a summer months only restaurant car boat train service reintroduced by British Railways in 1951 linking with the Isle of Man ferry and was frequently headed by Black Fives No: 45379 and other Black Fives were particularly associated with heavily laden boat trains such as ‘The Northern Irishman’ an overnight sleeper service between London and Stranraer Harbour introduced in 1952. This boat train had its origins from the early days of the 20th Century operating out of St Pancras in Midland Railway colours (known as ‘The Paddy’) before being moved to Euston by LMS in 1923. Black Fives such as No: 45126 were used on the Stranraer boat train service up until 1967. The cross-country ‘Devonian’ was one of the 1927 named train services created by LMS and ran between Bradford and Paignton. Invariably it would often be headed by Black Fives as far as Bristol when a GWR locomotive would lead the remainder of the journey.
In BR times Black Fives were a mainstay of everyday passenger traffic traversing the metals outside of their usual haunts with inter-regional workings being noted for outstanding performances right up until the final days of steam. Because of the mixed-traffic status many also worked on semi-fitted freight, parcels trains, local stopping trains, holiday trains and Bank Holiday excursion services to almost anywhere in the country from Scotland, the north of England, the Midlands and East Anglia and the South. Nos: 44856 and 45198 could be seen in the New Forest hauling the Poole to York and Bournemouth to Newcastle through services during mid-1965 whilst as late as 1966 some 35 different Black 5s worked the south western division between Southampton and Basingstoke – the most common being Nos: 44942 and 45493 which were kept in a surprisingly clean condition. Black Fives took over most inter-regional workings to the south coast when Western Region motive power was ousted in October 1965. A pair of Black Fives were also kept as motive power to pull the Royal Train.
Similarly, elsewhere in Southern territory No: 45493 appeared on the route west of Salisbury to Exeter. Over the Somerset and Dorset line a number of Black Fives were allocated to Bath shed finding their way further south and west to Evercreech Junction, Templecombe and beyond. In the north west Black Fives based at Carnforth provided the backcloth to the end of steam in Britain. They were used on the ‘Belfast Boat Express’ to connect with ferries at Heysham Harbour with a service from Manchester Victoria. Black Fives had the distinction of providing the motive power for the last steam-hauled boat train services in the UK when No: 45342 hauled the final Manchester Victoria service at 8.55pm on 4th May 1968 whilst No: 45025 signalled the end of an era the next day hauling the last steam-hauled service with the rather bland modernity of BR corporate blue coaching stock from Heysham Harbour to Manchester.
A couple of months later on 11th August another Carnforth based Black Five No: 44871 was one of the locomotives used on the famous ‘Fifteen Guinea Special’ which was the very last steam-hauled service on British Railways. Black Fives were withdrawn between 1962 and 1968 but a total of 18 made it into preservation. Currently No: 44871 frequently provides the motive power for the summer season steam-hauled ‘The Jacobite’ specials on the 41 mile West Highland line linking Fort William, Glenfinnan, Arisaig with Mallaig. Many of the preserved Black Fives now have assigned names.
The ACE Black Five as a mixed traffic locomotive provides many opportunities to run the locomotive as express passenger, local stopping passenger, parcels, goods and mixed-freight trains in both LMS and BR eras. The ACE Black Five will look particularly attractive with inter-regional workings and in the later BR era corporate blue and grey livery.