John Speller's Web Pages Gresley "P-2" Class

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Gresley "P-2" Class Untitled Untitled
In these days when replicas are being built of locomotives like Gooch's "Firefly" and Peppercorn's "Pacific" classes, it is good to know that they are building a replica of one of the "P-2" Class 2-8-2s, among Sir Nigel Gresley's finest engines. The new-build locomotive is being named No.2007, "Prince of Wales". Designed to eliminate the need for the double-heading of express trains on the heavily graded route between Edinburgh and Aberdeen, these "Mikados" had 6' 2" driving wheels and a maximum tractive effort of 43,462 lb., making them the most powerful express passenger locomotives ever built in Britain.

Introduced in May 1934, No. 2001 "Cock o' the North" was fitted with smoke deflectors and Lentz rotary valve gear. No. 2002 "Earl Marischal" followed in October 1934, with Walschaerts' valve gear. The remaining four locomotives in the class, Nos. 2003 "Lord President," 2004 "Mons Mog," 2005 "Thane of Fife," and 2006 "Wolf of Badenoch," were completed in 1936, and had Walschaerts' valve gear and a streamlined front similar to the "A-4" Class "Pacifics." Nos. 2001 and 2002 were then rebuilt in September 1937 and October 1936 respectively into conformity with the rest of the class.

The "P-2" Class did splendid work, though there were some reports of them being less than kind to the curves. It was an act of absolute vandalism that Edward Thompson rebuilt them into "A-2/3" Class "Pacifics" from 1943 onwards. This was a disaster not least because the "A-2/3" Class "Pacifics" were by far the worst performing of any of the LNER 4-6-2s. Thompson was married to the daughter of Gresley's arch-rival Sir Vincent Raven, and it is thought that there may have been some bad blood between Thompson and Gresley.
LNER No. 2001 "Cock o' the North" as built
No. 2001 "Cock o' the North" as rebuilt
"Cock o' the North" on the turntable at King's Cross
Sir Herbert Nigel Gresley (1876-1941), Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Great Northern Railway 1911-1922 and of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923-1941. Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
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