The British Steam Locomotives series looks at the power and majesty of some of Britain’s most famous steam locomotives. Each programme covers an individual named locomotive or class and looks into its history, restoration and more recent workings.
Super Power British Pacifics:
One of the few positives to come out of the gloom of the inter-war years in Britain was the emergence of a new breed of powerful steam locomotives. First built by Sir Nigel Gresley, these 4-6-2 Pacifics represented the very pinnacle of express passenger locomotives across the networks. Gresleys A3 Class produced the impressive Flying Scotsman, now something of a household name. Their sleek, streamlined design and prodigious performances were enough to ensure the survival of their iconic status into the 21st Century.
GWR Mixed Traffic:
The Great Western Railways mixed-traffic classes revolutionised steam locomotive design in Britain. George Jackson Churchward, Chief Mechanical Engineer on the GWR from 1902 to 1922, successfully broke tradition with the introduction of his 43xx Class 2- 6-0 moguls. They would go on to influence future locomotive design, not just on the Great Western network, but across the entire nation.
Though passenger traffic came to play a huge part in the running of the railways, it was the movement of freight that first necessitated the laying of metals. As loads became heavier, the locomotives charged with hauling them grew accordingly. It was a trend that continued throughout the steam era, and one that produced some of the most powerful and rugged engines ever designed.
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