Sunday, 19 September 2021

Rail enthusiast bids to return locomotive plates

HE rescued Flying Scotsman from ruin 43 years ago and now Sir William McAlpine has set his sights on saving the iconic steam locomotive’s name plates too.

HE rescued Flying Scotsman from ruin 43 years ago and now Sir William McAlpine has set his sights on saving the iconic steam locomotive’s name plates too.

The millionaire businessman, who lives in Fawley Hill, intervened after one of the original plates was put up for auction. He contacted Bonhams to have the brass plate, which is worth an estimated £50,000, withdrawn from sale.

Sir William, 80, who is a railway enthusiast, owned Flying Scotsman from 1973 to 1996 and says the name plates “belong” to the locomotive.

He says they were removed after he had sold the engine but he wasn’t made aware of this until years later.

Sir William said: “I sold the engine to Tony Marchington and he took the plates off for safe keeping. He then put the locomotive into a public company, in which I bought shares, without the plates but didn’t say so. About 300 other people also bought shares but they were buying less than they thought.

“When I found out I didn’t think it was very good but there’s not a lot you can do. Marchington later sold the engine with the replica plates to the National Railway Museum and they didn’t know either. It affects the value of the locomotive as the plates are worth up to £50,000 each.”

Sir William believes the other plate might be in America, where the engine toured under Alan Pegler, who owned the engine before him. He said: “After I got in touch with Bonhams I also contacted the museum to let them know the engine didn’t have the original plates.”

Sir William hopes be able to reunite the plates with the engine, which has recently undergone a 10-year restoration by the museum in York.

He said: “The plates should be back on the engine. Hopefully Bonhams will speak to the owner and the museum might be able to acquire them. It’s so important the plates are returned as it’s not authentic otherwise. They belong on the locomotive.”

A Bonhams spokesman said: “The plates have been withdrawn from sale for more investigative work to be done on them. This is likely to take some time.”

Meanwhile, a nameplate from a steam locomotive named after Shirburn Castle, near Watlington, is to go under the hammer at the Great Central Railwayana Auctions next month.

The engine began its working life at Cardiff Canton in 1936 and then moved to Carmarthen in 1958 before being withdrawn in 1962 and sold for scrap.

The lot includes the matching cabside and smokebox number plates correspondence between the owner of the plates and the owner of the actual castle. It is expected to make up to £18,000.



HE rescued Flying Scotsman from ruin 43 years ago and now Sir William McAlpine has set his sights on saving the iconic steam locomotive’s name plates too.

The millionaire businessman, who lives in Fawley Hill, intervened after one of the original plates was put up for auction. He contacted Bonhams to have the brass plate, which is worth an estimated £50,000, withdrawn from sale.

Sir William, 80, who is a railway enthusiast, owned Flying Scotsman from 1973 to 1996 and says the name plates “belong” to the locomotive.

He says they were removed after he had sold the engine but he wasn’t made aware of this until years later.

Sir William said: “I sold the engine to Tony Marchington and he took the plates off for safe keeping. He then put the locomotive into a public company, in which I bought shares, without the plates but didn’t say so. About 300 other people also bought shares but they were buying less than they thought.

“When I found out I didn’t think it was very good but there’s not a lot you can do. Marchington later sold the engine with the replica plates to the National Railway Museum and they didn’t know either. It affects the value of the locomotive as the plates are worth up to £50,000 each.”

Sir William believes the other plate might be in America, where the engine toured under Alan Pegler, who owned the engine before him. He said: “After I got in touch with Bonhams I also contacted the museum to let them know the engine didn’t have the original plates.”

Sir William hopes be able to reunite the plates with the engine, which has recently undergone a 10-year restoration by the museum in York.

He said: “The plates should be back on the engine. Hopefully Bonhams will speak to the owner and the museum might be able to acquire them. It’s so important the plates are returned as it’s not authentic otherwise. They belong on the locomotive.”

A Bonhams spokesman said: “The plates have been withdrawn from sale for more investigative work to be done on them. This is likely to take some time.”

Meanwhile, a nameplate from a steam locomotive named after Shirburn Castle, near Watlington, is to go under the hammer at the Great Central Railwayana Auctions next month.

The engine began its working life at Cardiff Canton in 1936 and then moved to Carmarthen in 1958 before being withdrawn in 1962 and sold for scrap.

The lot includes the matching cabside and smokebox number plates correspondence between the owner of the plates and the owner of the actual castle. It is expected to make up to £18,000.



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