Tag Archives: Crewe works

The Last Pacific

One  might argue that this locomotive, No.71000 Duke of Gloucester, was the final outcome of the Locomotive Exchange Trials, held 70 years ago this month, so far as express passenger designs are concerned. In a class of one, No.71000 Duke of Gloucester, was, sadly, never entirely successful during her BR career, and gained a reputation for being heavy on coal and water, as well as being an indifferent steamer, at times. Her construction, at Crewe Works, in 1954, came at almost the same time as a number of major changes to the railway industry, which meant there was little enthusiasm to resolve the issues and less than a decade after entering service, in 1962, she was put out to grass.

Rescued from Barry in 1974 The Duke returned to steam on the Great Central Railway in 1986. The preservationists not only restored a locomotive thought to be beyond repair, by many, they also delved into the steaming and coal eating issues too. The subsequent modifications, especially to the draughting arragements, improved matters substantially. And some of her performances, during  rail tour appearances, particularly on the Appleby – Aisgill climb and over Shap were a revelation.

No.71000 Duke of Gloucester is also the last engine I travelled behind, as an invited guest, on  a tour  in June 1990,  over the Settle  – Carlisle line. The  occasion formed  part of celebrations for  the Middleton Railway’s 30 years in preservation.  I recall spending some time, with my head out of the window, listening to the racket being made by The Duke  – a very different sound to the Bulleid Pacifics I had worked on during my own footplate days.

If you have enjoyed my blogs – I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, from trainspotter, via steam age footplateman, to railway author and photographer, this is a link to it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751





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Ivatt first and last


Henry Ivatt’s  career as a railwayman began at age 17, as an apprentice to John Ramsbottom, at the LNWR works in Crewe, in 1868 – in 1895 he was named as Chief Mechanical Engineer for the Great Northern Railway. Old Henry was a bit of an innovator, he’s credited with introducing the  4-4-2 Atlantic wheel arrangement to Britain; and  the engines he designed, for the GNR, with this wheel arrangement, ‘the Ivatt Atlantics’, made his ‘name’ as a locomotive Engineer. Ivatt is also given some credit for adding Walschaerts motion to standard British locomotive building practice, as well as designing a carriage window latch, which  became an industry standard.

In 1911, H N Gresley replaced Ivatt as CME for the Great Northern Railway, and we all know how that worked out. However, 1911 wasn’t the end of the line for the Ivatt family connection to locomotive design. In 1904 Henry’s son, Henry George Ivatt, commonly known as George Ivatt, began a railway apprenticeship, like his dad, at the LNWR’s Crewe Works. In 1945, George too became a CME, on the LMSR, and like his dad he was a bit of an innovator, being credited with the introduction of the Ivatt ‘twins’ Nos.10000 and 10001, diesel locomotives built at Derby with the help of English Electric.

George was also responsible for the designs of the train and banking engines in the photograph. The train engine No.43106, normally resident on the Severn Valley Railway, is usually referred to as ‘the flying pig’, a rather unfortunate nick name, which was given to the class as a whole. The banking engine is Ivatt’s 2-6-2MTT No.41241. It was on one of these engines that I did my very first ‘official’ firing turn, station pilot at City Station in Leeds, a long time ago now.

PS Henry Ivatt did six months as a fireman during his apprenticeship!!

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