"Gresley On Line"
Sir Nigel Gresley ~ his locomotives ~ and the societies which continue his legacy.
Sir Nigel Gresley was one of the leading British locomotive designers of the age of steam. A mechanical engineer of great skill, he also had the imagination and boldness to innovate, a flair to organise and to lead, an artist’s eye for line and proportion, and a touch of showmanship.
He first made his mark designing carriages for the Great Northern Railway. His designs were stylish and modern, and when in 1911 the post of Locomotive Superintendent fell vacant Gresley, though still quite young for so senior a post, was appointed. He was now in charge of the running, repair and maintenance of all of the railway’s locomotives and rolling stock, and of all new design. He produced a range of successful, modern locomotives. The most impressive was the massive, graceful ‘Pacific’ which was unveiled in 1922. Gresley, as its creator, was a rising star. On 1st January 1923 the Great Northern Railway was merged with several others to form the London and North Eastern Railway. Gresley was appointed its Chief Mechanical Engineer, the post he held until his death in 1941.
He designed railway vehicles of all kinds and functions, but it was his Pacifics above all which made his reputation. The first entered service in 1922; over the next 13 years he refined the design, which reached its zenith with the streamlined ‘A4’s ~ one of which set the still unbroken speed record for steam.
Gresley’s Pacifics were always crowd-pullers; big, fast, elegant, they caught the public’s eye and the attention of the media. There were other spectacular designs too, such as the puissant P2 ‘Mikados’, built for speed and power over the demanding main lines of Scotland, and the revolutionary No. 10,000, an attempt to adapt the marine water-tube boiler for railway use ~ not very successful, but a brave experiment, and it attracted much attention. In addition, Gresley was active in the engineering institutions, he served on government committees, he undertook consultancy work for the government. By the early 1930s he was at the top of his profession, while his renown amongst enthusiasts had become iconic.
The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust Ltd
In 1937 the 100th Gresley Pacific was built, and the railway honoured her designer by giving the locomotive his name. Sir Nigel Gresley, now bearing the British Railways number 60007, was saved from scrapping in 1966 by a small group of determined men, who set up the A4 Preservation Society. This became the A4 Locomotive Society Ltd, and later evolved into the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust Ltd. The Trust, a registered charity, is dedicated to keeping the locomotive running, so that new generations can experience the glory of a great steam locomotive in action and learn about it, and to keep alive something beautiful.
March 2005 ~ the Trust now has its own official website at:www.sirnigelgresley.org.uk. Follow the link for:~
Latest news of Sir Nigel ~ How to become a member ~ The Trust's Sales Page - all profits go towards maintaining and running No 60007 ~ and much more
SNGTrust at "Gresley On Line" ~ this site's own page about The Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust Ltd.
The Gresley Society
The Gresley Society exists to encourage interest in Sir Nigel Gresley’s life and work, to gather and preserve information, to study and to inform. It has recently been involved in the setting up of public memorials, as a means of informing a wider audience.
The Gresley Society ~ An introduction to the Society.
This page has given a brief account of Sir Nigel’s life and most notable achievements. The Gresley Reference contains more information, including articles Sir Nigel Gresley ~ The Personality Behind the Engineer by Derrick Hasted, Mallard ~ How A4 'Mallard' achieved the world record speed for steam, 1933 ~ how it appeared to people at the time, plus a guide to LNER Locomotive Classes. (The two series of articles by Mel Haigh, on A4 Pacific names and numbers An A4 by Any Other Name, and A Tangle of Tenders on how A4 tenders were moved around, have now moved to the official SNGLPT website.)
A message from the Site Editor:~
If you would like to contact me, my address is:~ Sue@gresley.org.uk
I will do my best to answer questions. However, please bear in mind that I run this site single-handed, in my spare time, and my time is limited, so I may not be able to answer your questions quickly. Also, I do not own or have immediate access to any photo collections. But I will help you if I can.
Site editor ~ Sue McNaughton
Site last updated ~ 16 March 2005
Flying Scotsman ~ the only surviving non-streamlined Gresley Pacific; perhaps the most charismatic, almost certainly the most famous, steam locomotive of all ~ is now owned by the National Railway Museum.
London and North Eastern E-Group. News and discussion of LNER interest.
LNER Coach Association. There was much more to Gresley's work than just locomotives.
The Locomotive and Carriage Institution Gresley was very active in supporting professional and educational organisations. This is one of them.
Sir Nigel Gresley page. A further source of information.
LNER Pacific Workings. This site is planned to contain, when complete, all available records of workings by LNER Pacifics. A valuable resource for the serious researcher.
National Railroad Museum (U.S.A.) Now home to A4 Pacific 4496 / 60008 - Golden Shuttle / Dwight D. Eisenhower - now featured in The Eisenhower Project.
Links to sites dealing with more general railway topics can now be found on the Links page.