A Moment in Time

On this day, 1 May 1928 Gresley Class A1 No. 4472 Flying Scotsman hauled the very first non-stop Flying Scotsman train 392 miles from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley on the London & North Eastern Railway. This was the longest scheduled non-stop run in the world at the time, and was made possible by a unique type of corridor tender designed by the LNER’s Chief Mechanical Engineer Nigel (later Sir Nigel) Gresley. He is said to have tested the idea by putting together chairs in his Hadley Wood home to see if he could squeeze between them. The tender enabled the driver and fireman to changeover en route since the distance between London and Edinburgh was considered to be too long to be worked safely by a single crew.

Original black & white photograph from the Gresley Society collection colourised by Ian McCabe


Seen in the cab, just prior to departure, are the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Charles Batho, Nigel Gresley & driver Albert Pibworth of King’s Cross. Driver Pibworth worked the train with fireman Goddard to near Tollerton north of York where they were relieved via the corridor tender by Gateshead driver Tommy Blades and fireman Morris. The inaugural southbound train was worked by fellow A3 No 2580 Shotover, the crew being driver Henderson and fireman McKenzie from Haymarket and driver Day and fireman Gray from King’s Cross.

By Philip Benham (with help from Ian McCabe of the Gresley Society)

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