LNER Pacifics contrasted 1922-2016


The London & North Eastern Railway led the way for the 4-6-2 to become the preferred wheel arrangement for British express steam power. Brian Sharpe delves into the contrasting way the various types evolved.

The later successful developments of the LNER’s Pacific fleet are seen at Barrow Hill Roundhouse in the shape of Peppercorn A1 No. 60163 Tornado and A2 No. 60532 Blue Peter, along with the older Gresley A4 No. 60009 Union of South Africa. So far it has not been possible to arrange a line-up of A1, A2, A3 and A4 Pacifics in preservation. BRIAN SHARPE

The London & North Eastern Railway had 140 Pacifics by the end of its existence in 1947, already more than any of the other ‘Big Four’ companies and with 63 more being built by BR after Nationalisation, the Eastern, North Eastern & Scottish region’s sizeable fleet of 203 LNER-designed 4-6-2s became some of the best-known engines in the history of British steam power.

They came in a surprisingly large number of different varieties though and the ones which made it to the end of the Pacifics’ long reign in 1966/67, looked very different to the first two which had rolled out of the Great Northern Railway’s Doncaster works in 1922, all set to revolutionise travel on the East Coast Main Line.

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