57, Stanley Street, Rothwell, Kettering, Northamptonshire, England.
By the time this appears in print, steaming somewhere down the Eastern side of the U.S.A. will be one of the most famous of the old Steam Express Passenger Locomotives of the British Isle, 'London North Eastern Railway' number 4472 'Flying Scotsman.' This famous locomotive was designed by, (Sir) Nigel Gresley, and was built in 1922. She was first steamed for regular work with L.N.E.R. in January of 1923. The engine was first listed by L.N.E.R. as a 'Pacific' Class A1, later it was listed as an A10, and still later modified with a higher boiler pressure to become a Pacific Class A3. The works number is 1564, and it was built at the Doncaster works. The original L .N .E.R. number for it was 1472N; later it was given its most famous number, L.N.E.R. 4472, and at the same time given the world famous name, 'Flying Scotsman.' In 1946 it was re-numbered 502, then 103. When the railways were Nationalized, British Railways first numbered it, BR E103, and later 60103.
In 1963, British Railways (now renamed, British Rail) were well on the way to scrapping all steam stock in favour of diesel, diesel electric, and whatever else may follow. In that year, 'Flying Scotsman' was made redundant and was due to go into the scrap yards and under the cutting up torch. This proved to be more than a gentleman named Alan Pegler could take as he had loved the sight and sounds of this particular locomotive for all of his life. After frantic negotiations with British Railways, he was allowed to purchase, 'Flying Scotsman,' virtually during the last days of its existence, and he paid 3,000 pounds for it. He also had written into the bill of sale contract, a clause which would allow him to use the locomotive for 'enthusiasts specials' in all regions of British Railways. Today, it is the only Steam locomotive to be found running on the British Rail lines and the contract allows it to continue using the rails until the end of 1971. After then, it remains to be seen what will happen, because British Rail are refusing all other applications which would allow other preserved main line steam locomotives to go out on the rails.
When Alan Pegler purchased 'Flying Scotsman,' he straight away had it restored to its original L.N.E.R. livery, a splendid 'Apple Green' colour, and bearing the famous number, L.N.E.R. 4472.
Today, wherever 'Flying Scotsman' travels on its many week-end journeys with enthusiasts specials, thousands upon thousands of people gather all along the route to see once again the thrilling sight of a main line steam locomotive pulling an express passenger train. And what a wonderful experience it is. I have seen it many times, but I shall never forget a wet and windy March morning in 1968.
'Flying Scotsman' was using the former L.M.S. lines (London, Midland and Scottish), leaving St. Pancras Station London, and traveling to the North of England with a train load of enthusiasts. Our local newspaper had published the story that the locomotive would pass through Kettering in Northamptonshire at 9:31 am. Now myself, and as it turned out, many other people, recalled that a good vantage point to watch the trains go by, was 'The Blue Bridge,' a road bridge over the line built of Blue Bricks, situated out in the country on a minor road leading from Kettering to the village of Rushton; the distance being two miles from Kettering and the same from Rushton. Well the wind blew and it rained and was quite cold, a thoroughly miserable morning, not brightened at all by the stinking diesels passing by. At 9:30 am the bridge was crowded with people and this little country road was lined with Cars (Automobiles), and all eyes were looking down the two mile stretch of line to Kettering. The line curves before it enters Kettering Station. At 9:32 the rain stopped, but the wind was blowing strongly across the fields. Now you must remember that none of us had set eyes on a steamer on the main lines for over 6 years and the dozens of children had never even seen one. AND THEN IT HAPPENED!! Out of sight from us around that bend was 'Flying Scotsman,' but we all knew it was coming because a thick cloud of smoke was traveling at speed across the skyline. Around the bend it came thundering up the stretch of line towards us and that horrid cold and wet morning became a glorious memory which nobody on the Blue Bridge will ever forget. As the locomotive drew nearer we could see its shining Green, polished to mirror brightness, and leaning out of the cab was none other than Alan Pegler himself. He caught sight of the crowds of people and waved a rag or handkerchief? And as 4472 was about to go under the bridge, it blew us a big blast on the whistle.
Flying Scotsman is usually kept in sheds at Doncaster in Yorkshire, England. When (Sir) Nigel Gresley designed the Pacific type locomotives, he used 3 cylinders with a conjugated valve-gear, the Walschaert radial gear on both also working the valves of the inside cylinder through levers.
The Pacific wheel arrangement is, 4-6-2. Driving wheels 6 ft. 8 in. Cylinders (3) 19 in. x 26 in. Piston valves diameter 8 in. (Piston valves operated by Walschaerts valve gear: motion for middle valve conjugated from that of outside valves.) Length: 70 ft. 5 in. (without second tender, the second tender has been added to carry water alone, after watering points had been demolished on British Rail). Weight. Engine only: 96 tons. With one tender: 154 tons 3 cwt. With extra tender over 210 tons. Purpose: Express Passenger. Boiler pressure 220 lb. per sq. in. Tractive Effort - 32,910 lb. (superheated).
Page 5 of your 'May/June' issue shows three photographs sent in by A.R. Shade of Ohio. I have no idea when they were taken, but it looks as though a railway is under construction. Bucyrus, the name on the digger in the top picture is familiar, as many of the modern electric diggers (draglines) or whatever you call them in U.S.A. used for mining iron ore in the Midlands areas of England, carry this name. Up to the 1940's, I can recall seeing similar steam diggers to the ones pictured, at work in local ironstone mines. Our locomotives used in the ironstone mines for hauling out the loads of ore, were different to the American of course, and it is only recently that many of them have been taken out of service and replaced by diesels. That in itself (the ironstone workings) is a whole separate story of steam, but I will enclose a recent picture of a typical English ironstone steam locomotive.
My study of your magazine, leads me to wonder whether American Showmen, those who travel with fairs and with circus, ever used Steam Road Locomotives to haul their loads. Such locomotives are the pride of the 'Traction Engine Rallies' held in U.K. And I am enclosing a picture of my favorite. It is the 'Burrell' named 'Dreadnought,' which once belonged to the famous Showland family, the Hollands. Many years ago it used to haul, 'Hollands Golden Dragons.' It was last used about 1948 by Hollands to haul their 'Moon-rocket.' It is now preserved and owned by W.H. Dorman, who has restored it to the Holland livery of years ago. It is my favorite because I used to meet this locomotive as a boy every year as it came down the road to our annual fair. That is another fantastic and lasting memory and I am so thankful that Bill Dorman has restored it, and takes it to the Traction Engine Rallies.
Bill Mason, who used to drive 'Dreadnought' is still alive and lives at Spalding, Lincolnshire.