Class: Class A1
Designer: Sir Nigel Gresley
Weight: 159 tons
Purpose: Express Passenger
Information: The Class A1 locomotives were intended to replace ageing Ivatt 4-4-2’s on the East Coast Mainline between London and Newcastle. The entire Class was to be rebuilt commencing in 1928 and reclassified A3. One member of the class “Flying Scotsman” is arguably the world’s best known steam locomotive.
Details: Class A1 locomotives were designed under the guidance of Sir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Great Northern Railway (GNR), later to become London North Eastern Railway (LNER). The class comprised a total of 52-members, all built at Doncaster Locomotive Works. The first member was appropriately named “Great Northern” while other members took names of company officials and contemporary race horses.
In 1924 A1 class member 4472 “Flying Scotsman” was displayed at the British Empire Exhibition alongside the pride of the Great Western Railway Castle Class 4073 “Caerphilly Castle”. The Castle boasted a 10-percent tractive effort advantage and weighed nearly 20-tons less. Clearly outclassed, the A1 design was rife for improvement that resulted in the entire class being rebuilt commencing in 1928. Not until 1949 was the last A1 rebuilt to A3 specifications.
Members of the A1 class were all built with large 8-wheel tenders in order to cope with long non-stop workings between London and Newcastle. The unique corridor tender is associated with later A3 rebuilds and was not part of the original A1 design concept.
Later the class number was revived by both Thompson and Peppercorn; but although based on earlier A1 power classifications they should not be confused with the original Gresley design.
Locomotives were all turned-out in lined apple green livery of the GNR being appropriately up-dated under LNER ownership.
Only one member of the class survives, no. 4472 “Flying Scotsman”; which naturally remains in modified A3 guise.