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A BRIEF HISTORY OF SIR NIGEL GRESLEY

A4 Class 4-6-2 Sir Nigel Gresley was built at the Doncaster Works of the London & North Eastern Railway as part of order number 341 of January 1936 and was the 100th locomotive built to the designs of the LNER''s Chief Mechanical Engineer, Sir Nigel Gresley. Painted in Garter Blue and with thin Red and White lines to separate the smokebox Black from the Garter Blue in the form of a parabolic curve and with Coronation Red wheel centres. Initially with silver guilt letters and numeral transfers, with blue shading, stainless steel ones were fitted from December 1937.

Signed Works Photo

Doncaster works photograph featuring and signed by Sir Nigel Gresley.
Photograph © The Gresley Society / Geoffrey Hughes Collection.

26th November 1937 Nº4498 was named in a ceremony at Marylebone, performed by the Railway's Chairman, William Whitelaw. The suggestion to name the 100th Pacific in honour of the CME came from Mr K Risdon Prentice, co-author of the RCTS book Locomotives of the LNER 1923-37, without which the engine may well have been called Bittern.

30th November 1937 Allocated on loan to King's Cross Shed.

25th February 1938 Permanently allocated to King's Cross Shed. 4498 then settled down to express passenger duties that included the high speed Silver Jubilee, Coronation and Flying Scotsman services.

30th June 1938 4498 was chosen as the engine for the introduction of new air-conditioned rolling stock for the Flying Scotsman, working a train of invited guests.

On Flying Scotsman

4498 at New Southgate in 1939 whilst working the (non air conditioned) down "Flying Scotsman".
Photograph © The Gresley Society / Geoffrey Hughes Collection.

30th November 1938 to 16th January 1939 First general overhaul carried out at Doncaster.

September 1939 Due to the start of WWII 4498 (along with all the A4 Class) was taken out of traffic and stored whilst passenger traffic was re-timed to average speeds of 45 m.p.h. and a maximum allowed of 60 m.p.h.

4th December 1939 The demands of traffic meant that an agreement had to be reached whereby every large engine able to turn a wheel could be brought back into traffic.

5th April 1941 4498's designer, Sir Nigel Gresley, died in office.

9th January to 21st February 1942 Another general overhaul carried out at Doncaster during which the valances over the wheels were removed to make maintenance easier during the war. Repainted into wartime Black with LNER on the tender.

8th August 1943 A tender swap saw the tender from 4485 Kestrel attached to 4498 with just NE on the tender sides.

13th September 1943 to 20th October 1943 Having run 100,177 miles since the 1942 overhaul another general overhaul was carried out at Doncaster.

23 April 1944 4498 was transferred temporarily to Grantham shed to avoid the possibility of the locomotive being damaged by German flying bombs.

17th March 1945 to 4th May 1945 Last wartime overhaul carried out.

12th January to 6th March 1947 General overhaul at Doncaster after which the engine was turned out in Garter Blue with Red wheel centres once again, but carrying the new number 7. The valances were not restored to the engine.

26th September 1947 7 went into Doncaster for a light repair, the last under LNER ownership.

1st January 1948 The railways nationalised into British Railways, which required renumbering of the majority of engines. LNER engines to have 60000 added.

24th March 1948 Following a light repair the engine emerged carrying its new number of 60007, the first of the A4s to be renumbered. Still painted in Garter Blue but with Silver/White letters and numbers. 60007 carried on the front of the smoke box rather than down between the buffers.

23th August 1948 to 8th October 1948 General overhaul to prepare the engine for the opening of the Rugby test plant. Still in Garter Blue and with Red wheels but with the letters BRITISH RAILWAYS now on the tender sides.

19th October 1948 60007 Sir Nigel Gresley used for the opening ceremony of the Rugby test plant, a joint venture between the LMS and LNER that had been stalled by the war, though 60007 (as with all the other A4s) was never formally tested there.

27 September 1950 60007 is outshopped bearing the new Class 8 express livery of "Medium Blue" with lining of broad Black flanked by narrow White. The tender carried a new crest in the form of a Gold (Yellow) lion, straddling a Red wheel, with a Black band horizontally across the diameter of the wheel, carrying the legend BRITISH RAILWAYS in White letters. These were, at the time, handed so that the crest faced forward on both sides of the tender.

2nd August 1951 60007 emerges from general overhaul in Green, the first A4 to be so painted, after British Railways had decided to abandon the Blue Class 8 livery.

17th April 1952 Following another general overhaul the lining to the engines and tenders followed the guide lines previously set out for the Blue livery, but this time the Black was edged with orange.

28th September 1952 60007 hauls a special train, "The Centenaries Express" to mark the centenary of the opening of King's Cross station and of the "Towns Line", the direct link between Werrington Junction (Peterborough) and Retford via Grantham and Newark.

South of Thirsk

60007 pictured just south of Thirsk on the ECML in 1953 or 1954.
Photograph © Brian Wright

From April 1957 New crests based on the British Transport Commission's heraldic crest, which can be described as a crown, with a lion standing erect inside the crown, facing left, and holding a wheel between its front paws, the whole being enclosed in a roundel, with BRITISH RAILWAYS being displayed on either side of the roundel in rectangular panels, start being applied to the A4 tenders.

3rd June 1956 60007, with Bill Hoole on the regulator, was honoured with working the Royal Train from King's Cross to York overnight with Her Majesty the Queen on board.

13th December 1957 60007 was fitted with a double Kylchap 1K/1C type exhaust. The BR version being slightly different in design from the Kylchaps fitted by the LNER to four A4s in 1938. However, the results were very effective.

10th March 1959 to 16th April 1959 During another visit to Doncaster Works was the first A4 to have a Smith-Stone speed indicator.

23rd May 1959 With Bill Hoole on the regulator and Alf Hancox on the shovel 60007 achieves the post-war speed record of 112 m.p.h. on Stoke Bank.

August to 25th October 1962 60007 was back in Doncaster for its last overhaul to be carried out there.

17th June 1963, "Top Shed" at King's Cross is closed and 60007 is reallocated to 35A, New England shed in Peterborough.

6th July 1963 60007 achieved 103 m.p.h. down Stoke bank, with the LCGB "Mallard Commemorative" railtour, which ran from London to York and return.

10th & 11th October 1963 The last observed workings of 60007 in the south were on the tenth with the 13:47 Doncaster to King's Cross service, and on the eleventh with the 13:15 King's Cross to York service.

20th October 1963 60007 was loaned to the Scottish region and operated the three-hour express workings between Aberdeen and Glasgow.

3rd November 1963 60007 was transferred to 64A, Edinburgh St Margaret's shed and later in the month put into store at 64C Dalry shed.

During July 1964 (date uncertain) 60007 came out of store and transferred to 61B Ferryhill shed.

26th September 1964 60007 worked the RCTS railtour, the "Scottish Lowlander", working Carlisle to Edinburgh via the now closed Waverley route.

South of Thirsk

60007 is about to take over from 46256 Sir William Stanier on the "Scottish Lowlander" tour at Carlisle.
Photograph © Paul Aston

10th & 11th May 1965 60007 paid a final visit to a workshop in BR ownership at Inverurie.

4th January 1966 The last known run by 60007 in BR revenue earning service was the 17:30 Aberdeen to Perth.

7th January 1966 60007 was taken out of service, having been said to have accumulated 100,000 miles since last overhaul. In total, the locomotive had run about 1.5 million miles in LNER and BR revenue earning service.

1st February 1966 60007 condemned after just 29 years service but was safely stored behind the coaling stage at Aberdeen Ferryhill as the effort to preserve the engine had begun on 13th December 1965.

11th March 1966 60007 was purchased by the A4 Preservation Society for £4,500 in run-down condition and requiring a full general overhaul. At the time Crewe was the only works on British Railways still doing such work, and even there time was almost up on steam repairs. It was fortunate that the Society was just in time, and on 28th June 1966 60007 was moved south, hauled by an LMS Black 5.

The overhaul would finally cost £13,741 11s 2d and on 24th January 1967 a steam test took place, then by February painting was in progress.

5th March 1967 4498 emerged in Garter Blue livery with Red wheels, Black backed nameplates and Gold letters and numerals.

1st April 1967 4498's inaugural railtour took place with a run from Crewe to Carlisle, returning via the Settle and Carlisle line, during which a speed of 92 m.p.h. was recorded.

23rd October 1967 4498 ran a last railtour before the imposition of British Rail's steam ban, "The Border Limited" to Carlisle via Shap, during which 96 m.p.h. was recorded.

31st July 1968 Having been offered a new home by the National Coal Board at Philadelphia, Co Durham, 4498 worked light-engine 212 miles via Carnforth, Carlisle, Blaydon, King Edwards Junction, High Street Junction, Pelaw, and Penshaw North and onto the NCB system. At Philadelphia the only regular operation was the occasional weekend steaming to allow A4LS members the chance to fire and drive the locomotive over a few hundred yards of the Lambton main line.

2nd October 1971 British Rail's steam ban is lifted. During the 1970s 4498 works a number of excursions including to Bulmers of Hereford in 1974 (from where there were a number of excursions between Chester, Shrewsbury and Newport). These paved the way for the "Cumbrian Coast Express" runs over the Settle & Carlisle line to the Cumbrian Coast.

August 1975 4498 took part in the celebrations at Shildon to commemorate 150th anniversary of the opening of the Stockton & Darlington Railway in 1825.

28th September 1975 4498's last run from Sheffield before returning to Philadelphia for a complete boiler re-tube and overhaul.

30th April 1977 4498 departed Philadelphia light engine to York and was placed on the turntable in the NRM for a society dinner that night. The following day there was a circular journey via York, Leeds, Carnforth and Carlisle starting from Newcastle upon Tyne. This allowed the locomotive to transfer to a new home at "Steamtown" in Carnforth.

30th December 1978 4498's first "Santa Special" under the auspices of SLOA with steam haulage between Carnforth and Sellafield and Flying Scotsman up front for the return to Carnforth.

24th to 26th May 1980 4498 was at Rainhill for "Rocket 150", the anniversary of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

York Circular

4498 at York on 1st July 1979 with one of the York Circular trains.
Photograph © Chris Cole.

21st January, 1985 4498 was at Marylebone for the launch of a set of five postage stamps depicting steam engines, chosen because she was the only locomotive of the five depicted to have actually been preserved. This included a personal appearance by Terence Cuneo, who had painted the illustrations for all five stamps.

26th January 1985 Following on from the appearance at Marylebone five days earlier the first outward and return train to Stratford-upon-Avon, SLOA's "Thames-Avon Express", steamed out of Marylebone station at 10:50 a.m.

26th November 1987 With Viscount Whitelaw as guest of honour, a re-dedication ceremony was held at Marylebone on the same platform where 4498 had been named by his grandfather William Whitelaw, the then chairman of the LNER, in 1937. The train then proceeded to Gerrards Cross, for a birthday dinner at the Bull Hotel.

5th September 1992 4498 ran the first excursion after another overhaul, going on to work many more.

20th April 1994 4498 was temporarily renamed as David Harrold Ward, who had been a friend of the A4LS for many years, to mark his retirement when the locomotive was hired out to InterCity Special Trains for an exclusive farewell tour.

15th October 1994 60007 appeared in BR Blue having been repainted and renumbered during a stay at the Great Central Railway.

5th November 1994 Three weeks later special plaques commemorating the 112 mph run in 1959, were unveiled by Alan Pegler at Loughborough, before a large gathering of SNGLPT members.

112 m.p.h. plaque

The plaque carried by 60007 to commemorate the event.
Photograph © Andrew Houghton

30th September 1995 saw 60007 working a train heading for Carlisle, via the West Coast Mainline and Shap summit whilst based at the East Lancashire Railway. This was the first steam trip to run over the route since 1968 and marked a return to the route on which Sir Nigel had made its first run in preservation in 1967.

25th October 1997 A special "Julian's Farewell" train for the Society's President who had passed away in January. The train ran from York, routed through Northallerton, Low Fell, Carlisle, Skipton, Leeds and back to York. During the water stop at Garsdale there was a minute's silence.

6th June 1999 saw 60007's last run from King's Cross before the locomotive's Main Line Certificate expired. After that 60007 made her way to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, where further running was still permitted thanks to a re-tube, thereby extending the boiler certificate to the full 10 years allowed

In January 2002 the overhaul began, with support from the Heritage Lottery fund, returning to traffic in summer 2006 fitted with air braking capability, the mandatory TPWS (Train Protection Warning System) and OTMR (On Train Monitoring Recorder) safety systems now required for operating on the main line.

23rd July 2006 60007's first day back in service on the NYMR.

5th July 2008 60007 works the first leg of the day of "The Coronation" from King's Cross to York before handing over to 60009 Union of South Africa for the leg to Tyne Yard.

6th July 2008 60007 works the second leg of the day of "The Coronation" from Tyne Yard to York before handing over to 60019 Bittern for the return leg to King's Cross.

23rd May 2009 60007 hauled an anniversary train 50 years to the day commemorating when the 112 mph record was set.

9th October 2010 60007 had a warming fire lit having been been out of traffic with boiler problems requiring re-tubing.

17th October 2010 60007 now happily back in service on the NYMR.

16th April 2011 60007 hauls the second leg of the "Great Britain IV" railtour from Tyne Yard to Edinburgh Waverley.

24th April 2011 60007 hauls the SRPS "The Forth Circle" on two circuits from Linlithgow via Dunfermline to Dalmeny and then Dalmeny via Dunfermline to Inverkeithing.

June 2011 to 13th April 2012 60007 was unfortunately out of traffic again for repairs to the firebox.

18th June 2012 60007 hauls "The Torch Bearer" on the NYMR carrying the Olympic Flame on its journey to the 2012 Olymics.

Torch Bearer

Fitting the headboard for the "Torch Bearer" from Grosmont to Pickering.
Photograph © Ian Smith.

During October 2012 60007 was fitted with the GSM-R cab radio system.

3rd to 17th July 2013 60007 takes part in the Great Gathering of the six remaining A4 Class engines at the National Railway Museum.

15th to 23rd February 2014 60007 takes part in the Great Goodbye of the six remaining A4 Class engines at Shildon.

10th April 2014 60007 hauls "The Cathedrals Express" to Kingswear and in so doing becomes the first steam engine to work along the Dawlish coast line after the disatrous storms of February 2014 which washed away both the sea wall and the track.

30th September 2015 60007's final day in service before another protracted overhaul begins.

17th November 2015 60007 and coach towed from Grosmont to the NRM at York for the start of the overhaul in the museum workshop.

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