Constructed by North British Locomotive Company of Glasgow, Scotland in 1951.
The R class were to be the "final word" in express passenger steam locomotives. The large wheel diameter and large boiler size were intended to replace the remaining A2 class locomotives on services such as the Overland, but by the time they were ordered the B class diesel locomotives had taken over. As a result they were relegated to secondary services or stored, only running to clear a bumper grain harvest.
The total working life of the class was 16 years, with the last of the class withdrawn in 1967.
R704 was shown on display at the 1951 Festival of Britain, and carries a large commemorative plaque on the side of the cab, as well as unique stainless steel boiler bands.
Photo by Andrew Henderson