Although intended for construction in 1939, the first V4, No. 3402 didn’t emerge from Doncaster until March 1941, being out-shopped in fully lined apple green, differing from No. 3401 in being fitted with a steel firebox having a Nicholson thermic syphon. It was sent straight to Scotland, initially to Edinburgh Haymarket shed to work trains in the Perth and Fife areas before both were moved to Glasgow, Eastfield in 1943 to work the west Highland line. At the same time as their transfer to Eastfield both locomotives were repainted in wartime unlined black with ‘N E’ initials on the tender. Stays on No. 3402’s copper firebox kept breaking, so it was quickly decided to replace the entire firebox including the thermic syphon. Hence from 1945, No. 3402 had a boiler and firebox to the same design as No. 3401. In 1946 No. 3402 was re-numbered 1701 under the Thompson scheme and regained LNER apple green in 1947/8, albeit with the simplified, un-shaded numbers and letters.
The V4s proved to be faster on the easier sections of which failed to flatter the tendency of the K4s to ride more roughly. Although the Edinburgh crews had few problems firing the V4s, the Glasgow men sometimes struggled to manage the wide grate, being used to the deep grates of the ‘Glens’ and K2s. With the nationalisation in 1948 the locomotive was re-numbered again, this time as No. 61701 although it continued to carry its green livery until 1950 when both engines received BR mixed traffic, lined black livery. In 1954 the locomotives were transferred again, this time to Aberdeen to work fish trains; the GNoS section had retained a stud of Gresley-boilered B12/1s because of their low axle load and the V4s were an ideal replacement.
No. 61701, probably at Eastfield, in early BR condition – Real Photographs
With their boilers due for renewal and there being no appetite at BR to produce two, unique replacement boilers, both V4s were withdrawn in 1957, No. 61701 on 26th November 1957.