LNER Class A4 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Sir Nigel Gresley
2011-04-24 SirNigelGresley.jpg
60007 on the Forth Circle in April 2011
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
DesignerNigel Gresley
BuilderDoncaster Works
Serial number1863
Build date30 October 1937
 • Whyte4-6-2
 • UIC2'C1h3
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Leading dia.3 ft 2 in (0.965 m)
Driver dia.6 ft 8 in (2.032 m)
Trailing dia.3 ft 8 in (1.118 m)
Boiler pressure250 psi (1.72 MPa)
Cylinder size18.5 in × 26 in (470 mm × 660 mm)
Loco brakeSteam
Train brakesLNER/BR: Vacuum
Now: Dual air and Vacuum
Performance figures
Maximum speed112 mph (180 km/h)
Tractive effort35,455 lbf (157.7 kN)
OperatorsLondon & North Eastern Railway
British Railways
NumbersLNER 4498,
LNER 7 (from 1946),
BR 60007 (from 1948)
Official nameSir Nigel Gresley
Withdrawn1 February 1966
Current ownerSir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust
DispositionOperational, mainline certified

LNER Class A4 4498 Sir Nigel Gresley is a preserved British steam locomotive built by Doncaster Works for the London & North Eastern Railway in 1937.


At the Rocket 150 celebrations in May 1980
60008 at Bewdley station on the Severn Valley Railway in March 2009
60007 at Barrow Hill in April 2009
4498 in July 2017
60007 at Bristol Temple Meads station in July 2008

As with the other members of the 35-strong class, Sir Nigel Gresley wore many liveries throughout its career. It was released to traffic on 30 October 1937 in the standard LNER garter blue of the A4 Pacifics. New numbers and letters for the tender in stainless steel were added in a general overhaul 16 January 1939. Sir Nigel Gresley was repainted into wartime black with LNER markings on 21 February 1942. The next repaint was into black with NE markings on 20 October 1943, as a cutback. After the war, Sir Nigel Gresley regained LNER garter blue livery with red/white lining on 6 March 1947.

With the formation of British Railways came new liveries and Sir Nigel Gresley was painted into British Railways dark blue with black and white lining on 27 September 1950. The final livery change was into British Railways brunswick green livery on 17 April 1952. In preservation, Sir Nigel Gresley wore garter blue (with stainless steel letters and numbers as 4498 added later) from 1966 until its overhaul in the late 1990s, when it gained its current British Railways blue livery as 60007. This livery was retained again after the 2006 overhaul. Upon completion of its 2022 overhaul, it entered service in wartime black.[1]

Technical Details[edit]

As with the earlier LNER A4 Pacifics, Sir Nigel Gresley was built with single chimney and side valances covering the wheels. The valances were removed to aid in maintenance on 21 February 1942. Sir Nigel Gresley gained its double chimney and Kylchap double blastpipe on 13 December 1957. 60007 also gained AWS equipment on 27 September 1950. A Smith-Stone type speed recorder was fitted on 30 June 1960.

Sir Nigel Gresley has had twelve boilers in its career: 8961 (from new); 8946 (from 4483 Kingfisher), 21 February 1942; 9489 (new boiler), 6 March 1947; 29271 (from 60024 Kingfisher), 27 September 1950; 29319 (new build), 17 April 1952; 29306 (spare), 19 October 1953; 29321 (from 60010 Dominion of Canada), 12 March 1955; 29314 (from 60026 Miles Beevor), 13 April 1957; 29324 (from 60015 Quicksilver), 13 December 1957; 29331 (new build), 16 April 1959; 27970 (new build), 7 October 1960 and finally 27966 (from 60016 Silver King), 25 October 1962.

Sir Nigel Gresley had two tenders in its career: 5329 from new build to 8 August 1943 and then 5324 from that time.


Built for the LNER in 1937, and the 100th Gresley Pacific built. Its Doncaster Works number was 1863. It was originally numbered 4498. It is a 4-6-2 locomotive to the same design by Sir Nigel Gresley as the more famous Mallard.

Locomotive 4498 was actually due to receive the name Bittern, originally suggested for 4492 (later Dominion of New Zealand). So the story goes, an LNER enthusiast who worked in the Railway Correspondence & Travel Society, realised in time that 4498 was the 100th Gresley Pacific locomotive and the suggestion was made that the locomotive be named after its designer. The name Bittern was later carried on 4464.

Sir Nigel Gresley was allocated to Kings Cross Top Shed from new. As LNER locomotive 7, it was reallocated to Grantham on 23 April 1944, but sent back to Top Shed on 4 June 1950. Top Shed kept 60007 until the depot was closed, then Sir Nigel Gresley was reallocated to New England shed on 16 June 1963. Sir Nigel Gresley was then allocated to St Margarets shed, to work the Edinburgh - Aberdeen trains, until final shed allocation was to Aberdeen on 20 July 1964.

Sir Nigel Gresley received a repaint at Doncaster Works 25 February 1938, and larger coal space was also provided as the locomotive was displayed at an exhibition in Manchester. Sir Nigel Gresley was also used for the opening of the Rugby Locomotive Testing Station from 23 August - 8 October 1948. 60007 was placed onto the rollers without her tender and run up to high speeds to monitor the coal and water usage of the locomotive.

Sir Nigel Gresley is the holder of the postwar steam record speed of 112 miles per hour (180 km/h) gained on 23 May 1959 and carries a plaque to that effect. As with Mallard's record, this was descending southward from Stoke Bank, but unlike Mallard's run which was a special attempt, this was with a full train of passengers returning from an excursion to Doncaster Works. The excursion exceeded 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) on two other occasions on the same day. As the nominated member of the British Transport Commission's Eastern area board, Alan Pegler was on the locomotive's footplate that day.[2]


Withdrawn from service by British Railways on 1 February 1966, it was targeted by the A4 Preservation Society, which was soon renamed the A4 Locomotive Society, to rescue the locomotive from the cutter's torch. This was achieved, and the "Streak" was moved to Crewe for refurbishment.[3] Fellow A4 No 60026 Miles Beevor also subsequently visited the former LMS works after its own withdrawal, and its three pairs of 6 ft 8 in driving wheels were transferred to No. 60007 because they were in a far better condition than those on the newly saved engine.[4]

For a long period of its preservation, Sir Nigel Gresley was kept at Steamtown Carnforth, at the old locomotive depot. This was a prime location for her mainline operations, being the only mainline A4 after 1973 other than Union of South Africa. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Mallard's record run on 3 July 1988, the National Railway Museum assembled three of the four UK-based A4 Pacific locomotives at the museum, the first time this had ever been done in preservation. Early in July 2008, SNG joined its three sibling locomotives in the UK for a display at the National Railway Museum in York.

During 1994, Sir Nigel Gresley spent some time at the Great Central Railway then at the East Lancashire Railway. The locomotive then moved to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 1996, and is now based there. It is owned by Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust and operated by the A4 Locomotive Society on behalf of the trust.

In 2010, Sir Nigel Gresley underwent repair at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway after its winter overhaul in 2009/10 revealed that extensive work and repair was needed on the tubing,[5] and since then the locomotive has had two other significant mechanical failures,[6] though these were also resolved.

60007's boiler ticket expired in September 2015, and the locomotive was therefore withdrawn from service for another overhaul which was carried out in public view at the National Railway Museum in York.[7] The boiler was sent to the Llangollen Railway for overhaul and was reunited with the locomotive frame on 7 November 2019.[8] Having been substantially completed, it was taken by road to Crewe Diesel TMD for Locomotive Services Limited to complete the overhaul in September 2021.[9][10] It was moved by road to the Severn Valley Railway in March 2022 to be run in, operating its first passenger carrying service in April 2022.[11][12]


Sir Nigel Gresley was the first tender locomotive model released in OO gauge, and produced in both clockwork and 3-rail 12v DC electric forms by Hornby for the launch of their new Dublo system in 1938. It was modelled with a heavy diecast 'Mazak' body and chassis, and finished in contemporary LNER Garter Blue livery with side skirts and tin-plate corridor tender. The casting was modified to remove the sideskirts on commencement of postwar production in 1947, when realistic Walschaerts valve gear was fitted to reflect the locomotive in early BR ownership.[13]

Bachmann released several models of 60007; Weathered Single Chimney, Weathered Double Chimney and Pristine double chimney all in BR Express Passenger Blue. Hornby also released three models; one with a support coach and one without one, all having double chimneys and in BR Express Passenger Blue. Hornby sold their third model in 2013 for the Great Gathering Range along with the other surviving members of the class.

Hornby also marketed an N-gauge model of 'Sir Nigel Gresley' (as catalogue item 'N214').[14] This N-gauge model was actually manufactured by Minitrix of (the then) West Germany in 1983, as Minitrix article number '51-2946-00'.[15]


  • Clarke, David (2005). Locomotives in Detail: 3 Gresley 4-6-2- A4 Class. Ian Allan Publishing. ISBN 0-7110-3085-5. An overall history of the Gresley A4 class, as well as unparalleled details about the class and individual members.
  • Yeadon, W.B. (2001). Yeadon's Register of LNER Locomotives: Volume Two: Gresley A4 and W1 classes. Booklaw/Railbus is association with Challenger. ISBN 1-871608-15-5. Histories of the A4 and W1 classes of locomotive with details of repairs and liveries etc.


  1. ^ Sir Nigel Gresley turns black The Railway Magazine issue 1447 October 2021 page 64
  2. ^ "Obituary - Alan Peglar" (PDF). The Times. 25 March 2012. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  3. ^ Inaugural run of Sir Nigel Gresley The Railway Magazine issue 793 May 1967 page 29
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 11 September 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Chime - Voice of the Sir Nigel Gresley Locomotive Preservation Trust, the quarterly journal of the A4 Preservation Society.[full citation needed]
  6. ^ Steam Railway issue 409 December 2012 page 56
  7. ^ "Steam Locomotives".
  8. ^ Sir Nigel Gresley's boiler moves to Llangollen Steam Railway issue issue 461 2 December 2016 page 9
  9. ^ Sir Nigel Gresley turned out in war time black Steam Railway issue 523 17 September 2021 page 14
  10. ^ Sir Nigel Gresley emerges from York workshop in LNER wartime black Heritage Railway issue 285 1 October 2021 page 47
  11. ^ A4 Sir Nigel Gresley back in steam on the Severn Valley Railway after overhaul Heritage Railway issue 292 14 April 2022 pages 10/11
  12. ^ Iconic LNER steam locomotive Sir Nigel Gresley returns to action at the Severn Valley Railways Spring Steam Gala Severn Valley Railway 13 April 2022
  13. ^ Foster, Michael (1980). The Hornby Companion Series - Hornby Dublo Trains (1st ed.). London: New Cavendish Books. p. 92. ISBN 0-904568-18-0.
  14. ^ Heath, J.F. "Classic UK Minitrix Models". Classic UK Minitrix Models - The Pacifics. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  15. ^ Heath, J.F. "Classic UK Minitrix Models". Classic UK Minitrix Models - History. Retrieved 13 September 2020.

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