London & North Eastern Railway A4 Class "Sir Nigel Gresley"

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The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) A4 Class locomotives were designed by its legendary chief mechanical engineer Sir Nigel Gresley. Designed for speed, the A4s featured three cylinders, 80” driving wheels and could generate 35,455 lbf of tractive effort. There were 35 locomotives in the class.

LNER 4498, named “Sir Nigel Gresley”, like the other locomotives in the class, was built with a single chimney and side valances covering the wheels. During World War II the valances were removed to aid in maintenance. In 1957 it was fitted with a double chimney and Kylchap double blastpipe to promote better free steaming characteristics of the locomotive.

Sir Nigel Gresley set the official post-war speed record for steam traction of 112 mph on the 23rd May 1959. (Another A4 Class locomotive, LNER 4468 Mallard, is the holder of the absolute world speed record for steam locomotives at 126 mph.)

When British Railways was formed Sir Nigel Gresley war renumbered 60007. It was withdrawn from service on 1 February 1966 but saved from the scrapper’s torch by the A4 Preservation Society (the A4 Locomotive Society).The locomotive continues in operation and has had 12 boilers and two tenders over its lifetime.

I think this machine certainly ranks as one of the most beautiful locomotives ever built and it performs as well as it looks.