HoPes of ‘union’ rePrievE FOr tHE wHOlE OF 2019
Could ‘Number Nine’s’ working life be prolonged beyond the spring? The ‘A4’s’ owner John Cameron says he will know the answer to whether “we can get an extension” by Christmas.
Whisper it softly, but that would allow Union of South Africa to carry on beyond its current drop-dead date of April/May, while it waits to take up permanent residence on John’s farm north of Edinburgh. While not dropped, plans for a visitor centre at Balbuthie went awry in October when the scheme was thrown out by Fife Council (SR486); in November, the former Scottish Region chairman was hoping for a new hearing in January, “fingers crossed”.
Such a reprieve before ‘Number Nine’ goes cold for the very last time would certainly be welcomed by many – not
least Kelly Osborne from the Railway Touring Company, a promoter that has nurtured its use of the ‘Streak’ over many years.
“Our hope is that it will be given its extension and we will be able to use it throughout 2019”, she said in November. RTC is already starting to pencil in possible trains later in the season for the former Haymarket ‘Pacific’.
So, while the man who saved No. 60009 from BR in 1966 and has looked after it ever since is still moving ahead with his plans, followers of his ‘A4’ – and that surely means most of us – might just be in for a Christmas present…
A wee bit longer with ‘Nine’ before its fire fades forever…
How much longer? ‘number nine’ has just come to a stand at Paddington with the return november 24 ‘Bath Christmas Market’, complete with a 1920s-style ‘Flying Scotsman’ headboard. Jack PallisteR