The year is 1933. The London and North Eastern Railway runs a daily prestige express, the Flying Scotsman, between London and Edinburgh, and for the past five years during the summer this train has been scheduled to run the 392-mile journey without stopping. It is an impressive feat, though the timing is leisurely. (This is due to a long-standing agreement which was made to put a stop to racing between the railway companies running the eastern and the western routes between London and Scotland.) The train is hauled by Mr Gresley’s A1 and A3 Pacifics – the streamlined A4s are still in the future, as is Mr Gresley’s knighthood. The experimental water-tube engine no. 10,000 appeared in traffic three years ago, and its unconventional appearance has excited much comment.

This year, Odhams Press has published “The Pageant of the Century”, a compilation of news and other topical pictures covering the years from 1900 to 1933. It has also published “The Wonder Encyclopedia for Children”. The pictures and texts below are taken from these books.


“A RACE between air, land, and water! Mr. de Havilland in an aeroplane, Mr. J. W. Shillan, and the L.N.E.R. express race along the River Ouse for a distance of three miles. The train – although travelling at 8o m.p.h. only – won, largely owing to navigational difficulties experienced by the aeroplane and speedboat.”
The locomotive is Gresley Pacific no. 2549 Persimmon.
“EXPRESS LOCOMOTIVE NO. 10,000 – the newest L.N.E.R. high-pressure compound express, built at Darlington to the design of Mr. M. N. Cresley. No. 10,000 is seen beside previous types of engine. The curiously shaped boiler, without steam-dome or safety valve, was designed to economise fuel; the sunken chimney and the sloping front of the engine show traces of stream-lining.”

Extract from “Jogging and Speeding Round the World”
(Wonder Encyclopedia for Children)

In this country we have cause to be proud of our trains, for just as we gave the idea of engines and railways to the world, we still hold the blue ribbon records for speed, endurance and safety.

The fastest train in the world is the “Cheltenham Flier” express which covers the 77.3 miles from Swindon to London in 67 minutes, an average speed of 69.16 miles an hour. On one occasion this schedule was well and truly beaten, a new world record run being made. On this trip the 77.3 miles were covered in 56 minutes 47 seconds, the average speed being no less than 81.68 miles an hour. The top speed touched was 92 miles an hour, and no less than a mile a minute was reached within two minutes of the start.


The famous “Rocket”, built by George Stephenson, won a prize of £500 a hundred years ago, and pulled a heavy load at a steady speed of nearly thirty miles per hour. Its success, in spite of adverse criticism, led to the adoption of railway transport for passengers and goods.

The record of express railway trains for the highest average speed over the longest possible distance, or the world’s longest non-stop run, has been put up and held by the two “Flying Scotsman” day express trains, which every week-day in the summer cover the complete distance between London and Edinburgh – 392 ¼ miles – in 7 ½ hours, an average speed of 52.3 miles an hour. With wheels turning and mechanism moving for seven and a half hours at speeds varying from eighteen to eighty miles an hour these trains are certainly unique.

The old and the new. On the left stands the famous engine “Locomotion No. 1”, the first locomotive made for a public railway. It ran its first journey in 1825. On the right, cutting across the veteran’s tracks, is the “Flying Scotsman”.

The pacific type engines used are fitted with corridors through their coal tenders, along which relief enginemen walk from the trains to the footplates after half the journeys have been completed, as the strain of driving and firing for two hundred miles is thought to be enough for any engine driver or fireman.


The giant “Flying Scotsman” sets out on his morning stroll! Here he is, full of throbbing power, rattling out of the station to begin his journey to Edinburgh. This is the longest non-stop run in the world.
The “Flying Scotsman” says how-d’you-do to his brother by giving a piercing whistle before dashing past him on the vast iron road between London and Edinburgh. This daily greeting of the two giant expresses, which takes place near Alne Station, shows us the marvel of railway timing.

But whilst this country holds all the records for train running, the penalty of having been the first to develop railways has affected the size of the locomotives which can be used. The limits of possible height and width for British railway engines has long been reached, and whilst the railways of this country have done especially well with their small engines, the locomotives of other lands are vastly bigger and more powerful. In America, for example, a single engine has been built which is able to pull a train weighing 3000 tons. Provided with a twelve-wheeled tender, this mammoth locomotive carries with it as fuel some 13,500 gallons of water and twenty tons of coal.

But every locomotive on the railways is built for a particular job, and it would be wasteful and unnecessary to build huge engines where smaller ones will do the work equally well. In the great family of railway locomotives, therefore, there are all manner of types and classes of engines, from the smallest shunting tank type locomotive to the heaviest and largest express passenger or heavy freight.

One of the most remarkable express engines in the world is the strange-looking four-cylinder compound locomotive, No. 10,000, built for the “Flying Scotsman” expresses. This engine is hooded and stream-lined to throw the smoke and steam clear of the driver’s look-out windows, and although it carries 5000 gallons of water and nine tons of coal, the object of its construction was to run on less fuel than other types of engines. The boiler and controls in this locomotive are similar to those used on a torpedo boat destroyer of the navy, and the experiments which are being made with it will be of great help in building locomotives for the railways in the future, which may be patterned on this strange-looking machine.

Here is the famous “Hush, Hush” engine known as “The 10,000”, built for great power and speed by the L.N.E. Railway. Note the peculiar shape of the body, so designed to offer least resistance to the wind.