The LNER Gresley A4 is one of the most iconic express locomotives in Great Britain, with its streamlined casing a classic symbol of the attitude towards speed and design in the 1930s, which saw increased competition to the railways from road and air travel. The LNER Board knew they had to make travel between the major cities faster, more comfortable and more reliable.
Nigel Gresley, the LNER’s Chief Mechanical Officer, travelled on the Fliegende Hamburger diesel locomotive in Germany and was impressed by its streamlining. However, he realized it was only efficient at high speeds. Gresley was certain that a modified A3 Pacific, with streamlining, could haul greater loads than other locomotives at the same speed or faster and a series of trials were conducted to confirm the A3’s suitability.
With the trials successfully completed, the LNER Board gave Gresley the go-ahead to create the “Silver Jubilee” streamlined trains, the first of the new streamlined A4s. The streamlining of the A4s’ steam circuit, higher boiler pressure and extension of the firebox to create a combustion chamber made them more efficient than the A3 as they consumed less coal and water- especially later on when they were also fitted with a Kylchap double chimney. This improved their free steaming capabilities further.
Their streamlined design not only made them capable of high speeds but created an updraught of smoke, obscuring the driver’s vision, a major problem on the new Class A4 engines. The story goes that during wind tunnel testing, after several unsuccessful efforts to get the smoke to lift clear, a thumbprint was inadvertently left on the clay model just behind the chimney. This succeeded in clearing the smoke and was incorporated into the final design.
Dominion of Canada was one of the LNER A4s designated to haul the Coronation train in 1937 in the special Garter Blue with red wheels livery which would go on to become the standard livery of the Class. The five locomotives designated for this service also had enhanced silver trim on parts of the running board. Dominion of Canada was introduced on the 4th May 1937 as Woodcock, before having its name changed to the British Empire derived Dominion of Canada in June, again due to its role as a powerplant behind the Coronation train.
After a long service life, the locomotive was withdrawn on the 29th May 1965, becoming one of six A4 locomotives to be preserved. The locomotive is preserved in the Canadian Railway Museum where it is fitted with its unique Canadian Pacific Railroad bell. The locomotive returned to the UK for two years as part of the Great Gathering celebrations and has since been shipped back to Canada where it remains preserved.
Hornby Dublo A4 models feature a diecast body, just as their original Hornby Dublo counterparts would have seen. This is coupled with enchanted decoration which when paired with the diecast of the boiler provides a realistic finish to the body. The models contain a 5 pole motor with flywheel and are DCC ready with an 8 pin socket. These models will also contain a detail bag containing etched nameplates and headboards, allowing the model to be displayed as it would have appeared at the Great Gathering.
There are no reviews yet.