This week is the turn of the interlopers from the LNER that have ventured onto GWR’s domain, the Dawlish Sea wall. Apologies to all GWR purists!
Starting off are some pictures of Sir Nigel Gresley’s Streamlined Class A4’s. Originally there were 35 of these graceful engines built between 1935 & 1938.
Unfortunately one was damaged beyond repair by an air raid on the York engine shed in 1942. Mallard became world famous in 1938 when it broke the steam speed record with attaining 126 mph running down Stoke bank between Grantham and Peterborough. Mallard is not in operational condition and is on exhibition at the National Railway Museum in York. Two are overseas cosmetically restored but not in working order. “Dwight D Eisenhower” was presented at the end of British steam to the USA as was ”Dominion of Canada” which not unsurprisingly is in Canada. Both came over for “The Great Gathering” exhibition a couple of years ago where all 6 surviving members of the class were together. That leaves the 3 engines that have all come along the wall at various times but it looks like we won’t see any of them this summer as both Bittern and Sir Nigel are under heavy overhaul and Union of SA looks like remaining in Scotland.
Sir Nigel Gresley which was recorded on an enthusiast excursion towards the end of its days in BR service clocking 112mph. Unfortunately now the top speed allowed is 75mph on British lines. Seen here charging through Dawlish Warren station en route to Plymouth.
60009 Union of South Africa approaching Dawlish station with the Torbay express on a disappointing day weatherwise for the trippers. Fortunately on 9th June it was a bit brighter.
Union of South Africa seen here at Cockwood between Dawlish Warren and Starcross. The old and the new streamliners!
The most frequently seen A4 here on the sea wall has been 60019 Bittern which has appeared firstly in BR Express green but later reappeared in blue with valences added covering half of the wheels and numbered and named as former classmate 4492 Dominion of New Zealand running with two tenders to reduce it’s need for water stops. More recently it reverted to it’s true identity in LNER days as number 4464 Bittern as seen here entering Dawlish station and again rounding the curve at Langstone rock.
A fairly regular visitor is Class A1 60163 Tornado the new build completed in 2007. All 49 of the original engines being scrapped in the 1960’s. When new Tornado had an unlipped double chimney and Apple green livery as seen below rounding the curve at Dawlish Warren. Next the lipped chimney appeared and the livery changed to BR Express Green . This was followed by Tornado going back in time to when the BR Blue was introduced in 1949. However Tornado is now back in Apple Green. There are no current plans for it to run on the sea Wall this year , the nearest it comes is a visit to Exeter on April 2nd.
A very similar design to Tornado by A H. Peppercorn was the A2. The only survivor was 60532 Blue Peter. Not named after the Children’s TV programme or the Navy flag but in the LNER’s tradition for many of it’s express engines , a Derby winning racehorse. Blue Peter I believe has only passed along the wall once and that was on July 2nd 2000 when it ran from Bristol to Plymouth and back. The loco has not been operational since 2001 but is now at Crewe awaiting it’s place in the queue for a major overhaul and return eventually to main line work.
Another powerful LNER loco is the Gresley V2 and like the A2 had 6’2″ driving wheels as opposed to the A1& A4’s 6’8″ which gave better performance on heavy goods trains besides being excellent performers on all but the fastest expresses. The sole survivor of an original 184 engines was the first built in 1936 and named “Green Arrow” which was also the name of a newly introduced express goods service and these were just the engines for the job. They were so successful that building continued until 1950 and rated at 7P6F were equal to the likes of the “Flying Scotsman” in their power classification. Only 8 out of 184 were given names of regiments or Public schools but the prize for the longest ever to be cast in metal on a locomotive must be that which was on 60835 which gloried in being “The Green Howard, Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment. A grand total of 59 letters!
Regrettably I don’t have any photographs of either of these engines on the sea wall but I did see them both up at Barrow Hill fairly recently so enclose a picture from there.
Next along is the Thompson designed B1 No.1306 “Mayflower” which was the LNER’s equivalent to the LMS Black 5 or the GWR Hall mixed traffic engine. Whilst in BR service it did not have a name but in preservation has “inherited” the name from 61379 which went to the scrapyard in the sky! A total of 410 were built between Dec 42 and April 52. 40 of the earliest to be built were named after Antelopes, 18 after company directors and Mayflower named after the Pilgrim Fathers ship taking them to America. The shortest name was on 61018 “Gnu” , the opposite end of the spectrum fro the V2 mentioned earlier.They must have been struggling for Antelope names as Gnu is also known as a “Wildebeeste” which appeared on another B1 No.1010.
Finally and topically the LNER list wouldn’t be complete without including Gresley A3 60103 “Flying Scotsman” the first engine to achieve a proven 100mph.
After many years and disappointments and a whopping Ł4.2m it is back in business on the main line. It is currently being painted into it’s new livery of BR Express Green at the NRM museum in York where it will remain for a short while before doing a main line duty to London and then spending a couple of weeks at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway up at Grosmont working on their preserved line to Pickering. The nearest it it planned to be in the South west is by doing a double trip from Bristol to the West Somerset railway at Bishops Lydeard nr Taunton on May28th. Almost all of it’s tours and preserved railway tickets until the end of September are already sold out. Popular or what? The pictures are from May 2000 when it brought down an excursion from London for the Newton Abbot Transport 2000 exhibition. It was held at the signal before the Warren station for about 10 minutes hence the safety valves blowing. Apologies for the pictures scanned from photographs, it was before my digital age!
Good news on the loco front. I see that UK Steam are showing the Torbay Express in July is due to be hauled by LMS Express engine 46100 Royal Scot. This will be a first for the sea wall. In 2009 it had been overhauled after being a static exhibit at Bressingham in Norfolk for 40 years. Unfortunately an error had been made in the rebuilding and it has been waiting at Crewe until another rebuild has been completed. It has just started doing main line tours in Lancashire. It has now been repainted into BR Green so will look a bit different to my picture that I took in 2009.I’m sure the avid train enthusiasts on DB will be pleased to have a different engine to view. It is also in the pool for the Royal Duchy as well so we may see it 5 or 6 times. Yippee.
All photos and videos are the property of Colin Campbell.