Class: Class A4
Designer: Sir Nigel Gresley
Weight: 167 tons
Purpose: Express Passenger
Information: Class A4 locomotives were introduced in 1935 as part of a modern streamlined train named Silver Jubilee. One member of the class; 4468 Mallard achieved the authenticated world speed record for steam of 126-MPH during 1938.
Details: Class A4 locomotives were designed by Sir Nigel Gresley for the London North Eastern Railway (LNER) and introduced in 1935 to inaugurate a modern stream-lined train, the Silver Jubilee, scheduled to operate between London Kingís Cross and Newcastle. A total of 35-locomotives were introduced between 1935 and 1938.
The A4 design was based around the sound principals used for construction of the successful A3 class. Improvements included the use of a higher pressure boiler, larger firebox, and improved steam circuits; all contributing to the ultimate success of the class A4. Externally the A4 was significantly different from the A3ís primarily due to the streamlined casing. This feature probably had little to do with the improved running characteristics and ultimate speed records set by the class. Streamlining did help with aero-dynamics by up-lifting steam away from the drivers vision, a problem inherent with the A3 design and partially rectified in later years by fitting smoke deflectors. Lower streamlining casings were removed during the 1940ís to facilitate maintenance and not replaced.
Initial locomotives were all named with Silver as part of their names in recognition of the services provided for the Silver Jubilee train. After the success of the class was assured on the Silver Jubilee service additional locomotives were built taking on names of various birds and Common-Wealth countries. Some of the locomotives named after less conspicuous birds were later re-named after honoured individuals, such as Sir Nigel Gresley himself.
Mainline steam was abandoned in Britain during the 1960ís. Until 1962 all members of the class were operational with the exception of 4469 Sir Ralph Wedgewood which was destroyed by a wartime bombing raid in 1942. In later years remaining members could be found on various humble non-Top Link services, including hauling of mixed goods trains, mostly in Scotland. The last two members of the class in operation were Bittern 60019 and Kingfisher 60024, both with-drawn in September 1964.
Due to the success and popularity of the class; 6 members were set aside for preservation. Out of the six, two have found homes abroad in museums; one 60010 Dominion of Canada is a static display in her namesake country near Montreal, Quebec and a second 60008 Dwight D. Eisenhower, also a static display is located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA. Speed record holder Mallard herself is currently a static display at the National Railway Museum in York.