Tributes to Yorkshire railwayman who was 'one of the last great figures of steam' and who worked on Mallard and Flying Scotsman
Peter Townend, who has died aged 98, started his career as an LNER apprentice at Doncaster Plant Works back in 1941, and worked his way up to be shed master at London King’s Cross – overseeing the care of the Mallard and other famous locomotives in the A4 class.
He was the last person to hold the post, as in the early 1960s the phasing out of steam engines began. In later life he often visited the A4 locomotives he remembered being built in their new homes as part of museum collections.
After retirement in 1984, he continued to advise on heritage projects and was one of the last living links to the steam age.
The National Railway Museum said: “We are deeply saddened by news of Peter N Townend’s passing last week. One of the last great figures from the age of steam, Peter was responsible for fitting the double chimney and deflectors on Flying Scotsman in the late 1950s. He also had responsibility for Mallard (along with Flying Scotsman and Green Arrow) as shed master at King's Cross.
"Peter later supported and advised this museum on many projects and will be greatly missed.”
His son Mark added: “Very sad to announce the death of Peter Townend, my father, on 18/10/23, aged 98. A 1940s premium apprentice at LNER’s Doncaster Works, he later became shedmaster at Kings Cross and wrote his first book 'Top Shed' about the depot and station. One of the last great men of steam.”