Talk:LNER Gresley Classes A1 and A3

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Good article LNER Gresley Classes A1 and A3 has been listed as one of the Engineering and technology good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
April 14, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
April 24, 2008 Peer review Reviewed
Current status: Good article
WikiProject Trains / in UK / in Scotland / Locomotives (Rated GA-class, Mid-importance)
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edit·history·watch·refresh Aiga railtransportation 25.svg To-do list for LNER Gresley Classes A1 and A3:

Add a couple more pictures. Add a paragraph/section on the preserved A3 Flying Scotsman and new build A1 Tornado.

Nb. Tornado is in fact a Peppercorn Pacific, not a Gresley Pacific, so needs to be discussed on the Peppercorn A1 page. --Bulleid Pacific (talk) 13:55, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Specification Table[edit]

The Specification table contains at least one error - Common sense says that the fuel capacity should be 6-8000Kg, 820kg IS wrong. AHEMSLTD 20:01, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

I believe it was due to a missing 0 in the fuel weight in lb (18 thousand pounds sounds much more likely than 18 hundred), although I can't say how accurate that number is - apart from anything else, the Gresley Pacifics would have had at least two and probably three different tender designs during their career. Changed it for now. FiggyBee 13:43, 7 February 2006 (UTC)

Steam Trains, not Satire[edit]

For obvious reasons I am deleting much of the following passage: "No. 4472 Flying Scotsman is the only survivor of the class and has a strong personality to that of Liberal Party Leader, David Owen. His activities since being purchased for preservation in 1963 are such trips to USA and Australia have made him one of the best known and widely recognised steam locomotives in the world and a very good prime minister too." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:20, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

This character has been on the rampage in steam locomotive article for months. He sometimes makes valid edits, but seems to be obsessed with the Reverend Awdry's little world and equating locomotive "personalities" with politicians". I have tried reasoning with him but he is quite incorrigible and unfortunately may have to be blocked.--John of Paris 02:26, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Treatise on Pacific locomotive?s[edit]

The comments on slipping and driving techniques are very interesting. However they are rather specialised for the general reader and apply more to general questions of Pacific design or design of locomotives with idle trailing axles rather than being specific to the A1. They also bring in a lot of chronological confusion — mention of Kings, A4s and the performance of A3s on the Waverley route when we are supposed to be discussing the A1 is quite dizzying. I would hesitate to remove these comments but wonder if a better place could not be found for them with appropriate internal links. This would leave space for a more rigourous and detailed history of the class. For instance there is little mention of the 1925 exchanges with the GWR Castle locomotives nor the benefits brought about by long travel valves (the 100 mph run is just one of them and would probably not have been possible without them).--John of Paris 02:18, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

Wheel burn[edit]

I would also like to know more about the "wheel burn" problem. The only mention I have ever seen was in Brian Hollingsworth's bookon "LBSC" on the subject of his practical advice (page 101): "Even people from other departments found his advice good; for example at Darlington some years ago there was an "insoluble" problem of locomotives slipping at the end of of the down main platform. Because of serious wheel-burns rails had to be changed every few days and this had gone on for years. The curve had been eased at considerable cost (it involved alterations to the main platform) with negligible improvement. The only man for miles around to have read 'Curly on slipping' then made this point that even on a flat curve one wheel must slip; hence only one could 'bite'. He then suggested (to the derision of his colleagues) that the curve should be made sharper and hence shorter; this could be done so that just ahead of the water column at the spot where the driving wheels always came to rest, the track was dead straight. In desperation this alteration was carried out and Bingo! - no more problem, only a big undeserved boost to the Hollingsworth reputation." — Two points then: does anyone know of any other references to wheel burn? Did they occur in many places and were Gresley Pacifics the sole responsible? This all smacks to me of subtle weasel words.--John of Paris (talk) 12:54, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Rewriting article[edit]

Been having a go at a rewrite of this article trying to respect some sort of historical sequence that is rather lacking in the present version. Have put my efforts into User:John of Paris/sandbox 6‎. All are welcome with bucket and spade.--John of Paris (talk) 00:02, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

Am importing new version today.--John of Paris (talk) 15:35, 16 December 2007 (UTC)


The Union catalogue of many of the UK university libraries (Copac) shows a number of copies of "The book of the railway" by John Richard Hind, all dated 1927.

Unfortunately, that means it's still in copyright in the United States, and will be until 2022. (If the book had been published five years earlier (pre-1923) it would have been okay; but that would have been difficult for an image in LNER green...)

It is a very nice drawing. But if the busybodies come around, it may be hard to convince them that this pic is doing something that couldn't be replaced with free content -- eg a modern photo of a restored A3 under steam.

If there were official LNER posters that strongly emphasised the A3, one of those might be a better bet, as indicating not just what the engine looked like, but also how it could be (in fact was) used to promote the railway as a whole. Jheald (talk) 18:58, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for checking on all this! Well, I thought it was worth a try as the artist and author are certainly long-dead, the book long out of print (it was given to me as a lad by an uncle) and the publishing house no longer trading.
As you see from the photo used previously, it will not be easy to find a representative free image: the sole extant preserved A3 has a rather different appearance that goes back only to 1960 and so is in a strange hybrid condition that represents no period in its existence. When Alan Pegler bought the locomotive in 1963 he had the German deflectors and the KYLCHAP chimney removed in order to restore it to the "iconic" appearance. I believe that putting the KYLCHAP back in place was due to concern about lineside fires during hot summers that the apparatus did much to reduce, but as you see from the Flying Scotsman article nobody is happy with the present state of the locomotive. What it will look like after the current restoration is anybody's guess, but I can see no way out. Pre-1923? - well, as you see from the article, the first one was built in 1922, so that does not leave us much margin, does it? - and five years is out of the question.
There are certainly plenty of official LNER photos but how do you go about accessing them? If you could help me there I would be grateful.
As for the busybodies, it depends on their being able see the difference, but does this mean that WP should always remain at such a superficial level? I understand the legal problem, but the straitjacket imposed by these rigid rules will be the death of WP and open source content in general if some sort of compromise is not negotiated at high level - and soon.--John of Paris (talk) 09:39, 18 December 2007 (UTC)


I've assessed this as B class. Good solid work there, just needs a little more expansion. Mjroots (talk) 12:31, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. My mistake: the last to go was 60052 Prince Palatine in Jan 1966; have corrected this with added reference. Also restored link to Flying Scotsman locomotive article and took out price comparison as nobody has come up with the reference, even though requested. The disambiguation at the head of the page gives a link to the Peppercorn A1 article; this surely means that a paragraph here on the new A1 project would be irrelevant — it's not the same A1. --John of Paris (talk) 19:13, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

'Lap and Travel'[edit]

Part of my concerns about '...increased lap and travel...' in the Early Improvements section have been addressed. (Thanks JofP!) However, there is still the problem that the paragraph does not help the reader work out what 'lap and travel' are. A knowledgeable reader will (probably) guess that they relate to the valve gear, somehow, but (a) this is not stated, and (b) it assumes that the reader knows what the two terms actually refer to. It does not help that the valve gear article does not say what they are either (well, 'lap' is mentioned, but I needed to use a search tool to find it!)

Providing links to (new) subsections of the valve gear article would suffice (presumably neither lap nor travel would be appropriate :0) ) -- I don't think they need to be descibed in full here.

EdJogg (talk) 14:57, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Well it is hard to explain, not because the principle is complicated, but a lot of things are taking place simultaneously. It is however absolutely crucial to the understanding of the history of the Gresley Pacifics. On the other hand, if people only see jargon, what's the use? You are right, there does need to be a special article on the subject of valve events with blue links; I think we're making a reasonable start with this sort of question in the Steam locomotive article so we can take it from there. In the meantime let's try to sketch out the lap and lead issue here first and see if I can put it over simply.

The port is the passage by which the steam enters and exits the cylinder from the adjacent steam chest in which a sliding valve works. An ordinary double-acting cylinder needs two ports, one at each end; each port deals with steam going both in and out, in other words both admission and exhaust events. The valve controlling these has two valve heads each controlling its own port: as the valve travels, the leading edge of the valve head slides over the port, closing it off, then the valve continues its travel until the other side of the valve head uncovers the port, opening it up to the passage of steam again to exhaust it. One edge of the valve head (admission edge) controls inlet, the valve travels on until the opposite side of the head (exhaust edge) controls exhaust. A sliding valve (whether of the slide-valve or piston-valve type) has to simultaneously control both admission and exhaust steam at either end of the cylinder, and this is where it starts to get complicated. The problem is that the cylinder ends need to be open to exhaust for a longer period than admission, especially at high speed in order to give the exhaust steam time to get out. The wheeze (found in the 1840s) is to make a valve that overlaps the admission edges in such a way as to close the admission port early in the travel, in order be able to use the steam expansively whilst leaving the exhaust port at the other end still open for a short time more to ensure complete evacuation. It is obvious that that lengthening lap means that to carry out its task, the valve must travel a greater distance so it is also obvious that travel derives from lap (lead is a quite different thing). The reason why short lap/travel valves were the norm at the end of the 19th century is because piston speeds were lower and it was the custom to work at longer cut-offs, so if you wanted a fast engine, one way was to increase the size of the driving wheels, which of course reduced tractive power; it was also felt that increased travel meant increased wear, especially with the primitive lubrication of the period. As the early 20th century progressed and trains got heavier, the need was for both power and speed. At first the tendency was to increase boiler size, but taking this too far this upset the the nicely-balanced proportions between the the components that had previously been achieved, also in Britain they were getting to at the limits of the loading gauge. Other balances had to be found. Churchward was the bold pioneer in the matter of valve events and by 1905 had made the first necessary advances in this field (and others) Others followed after WW1; starting with Maunsell and soon Gresley, but unfortunately in his case the advance to long travel valves coincided with his first 3-cylinder Mogul loco with derived valve gear. Due to imperfect bearings, as play developed in the central pivot, long travel in the outside valves became overtravel for the inside valve that started hitting the end of the steam chest. A return to short valve travel was his makeshift expedient for preventing this, but it hamstrung fine locomotives by cutting off the exhaust too soon and choking the cylinders. This was the Pacifics' chronic ailment that allowed them to be easily out-performed by smaller GWR 4-6-0s in 1926. This story is very well told by Nock in his 1945 book of how the Pacifics were able to rapidly realise their potential as soon as the LNER people were able learn from "industrial espionage" of the GWR Castles apparently carried out in the dead of night on one of the visiting engines (I'm sure the GW people turned a blind eye, but they weren't going to give it to them on a plate). This is a classic example of Porta's metaphore: "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link".--John of Paris (talk) 13:24, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

Thank you John, that's very helpful. You could do worse than copy it over to the valve gear article!
You will see that I have modified the text slightly. The link to valve gear should suggest to readers that such terminology would be explained on the linked page. I think that article will need expanding though...and some graphics (animation, even) would be very useful.
EdJogg (talk) 13:33, 19 February 2008 (UTC)

GA passed[edit]

It would be churlish of me to refuse to list this article as a GA until what are a few minor problems are sorted, so I won't, as I trust this community of editors to address these minor points.

  • ibid is deprecated in references
  • There are some missing imperial to metric conversions

This is an informative and obviously well-researched article, and I congratulate all of the editors who have worked on it on producing such a fine piece of work. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 00:16, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Shouldn't Presevation be ref'd before it's passed? - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 01:46, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
If you disagree with my decision to pass this article, then please feel free to take it to WP:GAR. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 03:22, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not trying to get it delisted so I won't do that. I'm just noting this so the autor can make it buuletproof if they want, and you can also make your reviews bulletproof. There's some rule about a ref per paragraph or section; just thought you should know. I like to think of GA as a step to FA, and it would be brought up there. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 03:59, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I am quite familiar with the GA criteria, and I can assure you that there is no such rule. Criteria 2b) says "at minimum, provides in-line citations from reliable sources for direct quotations, statistics, published opinion, counter-intuitive or controversial statements that are challenged or likely to be challenged, and contentious material relating to living persons". It is true that some reviewers will insist on a minimum of one citation per section/paragraph even if the material doesn't strictly need to be cited by that definition. I am not necessarily one of those, however. At FAC, of course the interpretation tends to be rather more strict, and to be safe everything should be cited, likely to be challenged or not. --Malleus Fatuorum (talk) 13:21, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the dialog. I've watched reviews more than read the criteria. - Peregrine Fisher (talk) 15:57, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Article name is wrong!!!!![edit]

Just intercepted a comment at the FA Peer Review (Wikipedia:Peer review/LNER Class A1/A3/archive1). We have a serious problem with this article, and that is the slash in the title. This page is actually called "A3" and it is a sub-page of "LNER Class A1". This was discovered because the peer review process picked up the latter as the article title, and I just worked out what's going on!

So, folks. Suggestions for an alternative title please? (one without a slash, that is!)

EdJogg (talk) 17:33, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

The peer review issue has been manually resolved, so there is no need for a page move. However, it is worth being aware that use of slashes in article names causes 'problems'.
EdJogg (talk) 01:24, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Still wrong[edit]

The current lead pargraph begins:

The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Class A1/A3 represent two stages in the history of the British 4-6-2 "Pacific" steam locomotives designed by Nigel Gresley.

Now to my mind this is grammatically incorrect, although it does now match the current article title.

I would have said it should either start:

The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Classes A1 and A3 represent two stages ...

...which is what it was previously, or:

The London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) Class A1 and Class A3 represent two stages...

In either case, the article name should be changed to suit, with the bold text following LNER as the new title.

My personal preference is for the third version.

Thoughts, please? EdJogg (talk) 13:08, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

My thought on the issue is to standardise with the other LNER articles, and call it the LNER Gresley Classes A1 and A3, as although they were technically the same locomotive, they were distictly different in vital aspect of their design. --Bulleid Pacific (talk) 00:28, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

I'm thinking of acting on the previous suggestion. --Bulleid Pacific (talk) 14:02, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Crank setting[edit]

The article (as it stands) has the three cranks set at 120 degrees, but this is wrong. Because of the inclination of the middle cylinder (Nock has it at 1 in 8 or about 7 degrees) the crank angle differences were 120-113-127. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:09, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

True - the RCTS book Locomotives of the LNER, part 2A p. 36, agrees on 1 in 8, which calculates as 7.125° (rounded to 3 d.p.), so the outside cranks were 112.875° and 127.125° relative to the inside; however, the combined effect of the inclination and the crank displacement meant that the power impulses were 120° apart. I'll try to reword it. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:18, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
The angular offset of the central crank-pin is shown as 7 degrees 8 minutes on the drawing reproduced ('by courtesy of British Railways' - so presumably credible) in Nock's 'The Gresley Pacifics'. (talk) 16:08, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
7°8' = 7.1333° which is very close to 7.125°; or, 7.125° ≈ 7°7'30.059", which to the nearest minute is 7°8'.
What page in Nock? --Redrose64 (talk) 19:56, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Page 28 of ISBN 0-7153-8388-4; the 'New Omnibus Edition' (i.e. combined volume) (talk) 04:14, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't know why I'm all of a sudden; I was yesterday. (talk) 04:17, 14 November 2010 (UTC)


< using Gresley conjugated valve gear to derive the motion of the two outside valve spindles >

is putting the cart well before the horse. What the conjugation did was to derive the motion of the inside valve spindle from those of the two outside cylinders!! (talk) 02:16, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Quite correct. Will add missing words "to derive the motion of the inside valve spindle from the two outside valve spindles". --Redrose64 (talk) 11:22, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Trofimoff valves[edit]

Is there any authority other than ref. 23 (Reed's 'Profile') for the statement that these were fitted to one locomotive in 1935? I note, without further comment as to the truth of Reed's text, that the books by Bellwood&Jenkinson, Brown and Nock and, presumably, therefore, though I've not read it, the paper by Spencer make no mention of such a fitting. (talk) 21:40, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Long ton[edit]

I don't think this article about a British locomotive needs ELEVEN instances of the phrase 'long ton' (or tons) to remind the reader how large the ton is in the UK. The 'long ton' is almost unheard of in British English (which is what this article is written in) except among mensuration anoraks. (talk) 07:09, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

See WP:UNITS; imperial units should be given metric equivalents, and vice versa. It's unfortunate that there are three measures of mass which are roughly similar in magnitude (2,000 pounds (910 kg); 2,240 pounds (1,020 kg); 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lb)), very similar in spelling (ton, ton, tonne) and exactly the same in pronounciation, so we should clearly and unambiguously indicate which of the three is meant. Whilst it's a British loco, and to a British reader the ton is the "long" ton of 2240 lb, there will be a number of American readers of this (possibly because of fame; poss bcs of the time it spent in the USA in the 1970s), for whom "ton" means the "short" ton of 2000 lb.
The {{convert}} template has been used to achieve both conversion and disambiguation. It might be worth remembering that similar confusion can arise over liquid measures, where the pint (16 or 20 fl. oz.) and gallon (128 or 160 fl. oz.) show an even greater disparity between UK and US versions - the UK measures are 25% larger than the US. --Redrose64 (talk) 12:45, 16 January 2011 (UTC)
See WP:UNITS: Use fluid ounce explicitly to avoid confusion with weight, and specify, if it is Imperial, US or other fluid ounce.
The imperial gallon is about 20% larger than the US gallon. (talk) 08:42, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
No it's not: 128x25/100=32, so 25% of 128 is 32, and 128+32=160, therefore 160 is 25% larger than 128. However, since 160x20/100=32, so 20% of 160 is 32, and 160-32=128, therefore 128 is 20% smaller than 160. But note this thread primarily concerns units of solid mass, not of liquid volume. --Redrose64 (talk) 13:13, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it is: like the man said, see WP:UNITS: different fluid ounces! (See, for example, ) (talk) 23:03, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

This article needs to be split[edit]

The A1 and A3s were separate classes, one is a rebuild of the other. So they need to be split. Tony May (talk) 18:06, 8 March 2012 (UTC)

Not that different. The main difference was the boiler: Diagram 94 (pressed to 180 lb/ for A1, Diagram 94HP or 94A (pressed to 220 lb/ for A3. The cylinder dimensions were different it is true, but the same castings were used, just bored to different internal diameters (20" for A1, 19" for A3). They performed the same work, but the A3s did it more efficiently.
Printed books normally take the two classes together, which is a good hint that any attempt by us to segregate would lead to difficult judgements and duplication. --Redrose64 (talk) 20:10, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
anonymous, Wikipedia is not paper. You are covering two classes with one article, which is a recipe for disaster. An individual engine was either in Class A3 or it was in A1; there is no ambiguation there. The A1 should describe background, details and rebuilding to A3. The A3 article should describe rebuilding from A1 to A3, and then through to withdrawal. There is an article on LNER Pacific to cover the family in general. Tony May (talk) 20:19, 8 March 2012 (UTC)
The A1 and A3 are just as different as the A3 and A4. I have recently seen both the LNER Peppercorn Class A1 60163 Tornado and the LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman, and I can say, they are two very different locomotives.
Ah, no; the LNER used the designation "Class A1" more than once. The original A1 was introduced by the Great Northern Railway in 1922; two of these were inherited by the LNER in 1923, and they built 50 more, making 52. 51 of these were later rebuilt to Class A3. The other one - no. 4470, later no. 113 and BR no. 60113 - was much more drastically rebuilt in 1945 as the prototype of a new class, which confusingly was also called A1 (the survivors of the original A1 were reclassified A10 at this point), see LNER Thompson Class A1/1. 49 new locomotives built 1948-49 were based on that prototype, and again classified A1 (see LNER Peppercorn Class A1). Tornado is based on that last class.
So, yes the LNER Peppercorn Class A1 and the A3 are very different; but it's not the same A1 as is covered by this article. --Redrose64 (talk) 23:11, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

Future to build Blink Bonny[edit]


Look I know I shouldn't have to say this, but one day I would like to build a replica of Blink Bonny number 60051 to be A3 only, but this will be in the future, but it won't happen now, (talk) 05:17, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Rebuilding error[edit]

< Eventually all of the A1 locomotives were rebuilt to A3 specifications. >

Not 1470 (talk) 10:25, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

Amended. --Redrose64 (talk) 11:18, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:LNER Gresley Classes A1 and A3/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Initial assessment at start class as it clearly met that.

B class assessment:-

  • It is suitably referenced, and all major points are appropriately cited. = yes
  • It reasonably covers the topic, and does not contain major omissions or inaccuracies. = yes
  • It has a defined structure, including a lead section and one or more sections of content. = yes
  • It is free from major grammatical errors. = yes
  • It contains appropriate supporting materials, such as an infobox, images, or diagrams = yes
Comments:- Is there a reference for Salmon Trout being last of class withdrawn? A couple more pictures would be better, maybe a paragraph/section on the preserved A3 and new build A1 could be added. Mjroots (talk) 12:22, 20 January 2008 (UTC)

Last edited at 14:06, 2 June 2008 (UTC). Substituted at 21:29, 29 April 2016 (UTC)