Posts Tagged ‘A4’

Sir Nigel pays a visit.

April 26, 2013

Yes, it is time for another steam train here. This is one of the steam specials which come through on my most local railway line every now and again. In fact this one was back on 3rd July 2008.

Sir Nigel Gresley was a very famous locomotive engineer. Before 1923 he designed engines for the Great Northern Railway but when the government decided that the dozens of companies should be merged into four, Nigel got the job designing the stock for the whole London and North Eastern Railway which served all of Eastern England and up into Scotland as well.

Amongst Sir Nigel’s very famous engines there is Flying Scotsman. This name was also used for a train running between London and Edinburgh but that loco still exists and has done main line tours locally.

Another one of Sir Nigel’s engines is Mallard. I always think of this as a strange name. Mallards are lovely waddly ducks. Mallard is the fastest steam engine ever. Ducks and engine seem poles apart. Mallard was one of a class of engines known as A4 pacifics. We train spotters often called them streaks. The streaks were Gresley’s streamlined engines for pulling prestige expresses. At some point one of them was named after him and it is this one that visited my local area.

Actually, I must have sneaked out of work for a short while, for this was taken at Pewsey.

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There are things that pretty well give away that this is a heritage train rather than an old picture. The track is continuous welded rail laid on concrete sleepers for one thing and the engine sports a headlamp for another. But there we have a Mallard look-alike heading west.

Later in the day Sir Nigel returned and this time I was able to snap the loco on my most local embankment.

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The engine was just coasting at the time but the fact that the photo was taken into the bright evening sky would have masked any steam.

Now a confession. These well-known locos are not by any means favourites of mine!

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