Steam Locomotive Profile No.5: The A4 Pacifics - Gresley's Streamliners
The Gresley A4 Pacific locomotives were introduced by the London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1935, and can truly be described as a legendary class of British steam locomotive design.
Their wedge-shaped streamlined appearance was something both very revolutionary and impressive on the eye when the first A4s burst onto the scene during a period that many regard as the most glamorous era of railways in Britain. Competition was very strong between the LNER and the LMS as both strived to provide the best service, with regard to luxury and the time taken to travel between London and Scotland.
The competitive edge between the two giants of the railway scene in Britain at this time developed into what became known as "the Race for the North", with both companies doing their level best to have the fastest service. This ultimately led to A4 No.4468 Mallard achieving a speed of 126 miles per hour in 1938, the fastest speed ever attained by a steam-powered railway locomotive.
This programme features cine archive footage of the A4 class in action towards the end of their working life, along with up-to-date sequences of No.60007 Sir Nigel Gresley, No.60009 Union of South Africa, and No.60019 Bittern in action in today's preservation era.
Shots are also included from the National Railway Museum, York when No.60008 Dwight D Eisenhower and No. 4489 Dominion of Canada crossed the Atlantic to join in the celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of Mallard's record-breaking feat. 80
Produced by - On Track Productions
Running time - 80 Minutes