Railway Magazine, January 1936, and CJ Allen’s Locomotive Practice & Performance, with additions by OS Nock, is all about the P2s and, in particular, over the Edinburgh to Aberdeen route. Train loadings in the detailed running logs were in the 475 to 500 ton range, over a very difficult stretch of railway – the very loads and railway these engines were designed for. The ‘performances’ ranged from ‘a little disappointing’ to ‘very fine’ and seem to have been determined as much by the driver’s intentions as engine capabilities.
The P2s were all pretty ‘experimental’ locomotives being built with different types of valve gear, boiler, and firebox arrangements, even the shapes changed, some were built with Gresley’s ‘classic’ Bugatti style streamling, others, like No.2001 Cock O’ the North, began life with the V front design, as pictured, and then became streamlined. In 1943 / 44 Gresley’s successor Edward Thompson rebuilt them all as A2 class 4-6-2s, a choice which was not without some rancour and division, but I am not going to add to it.
On the subject of rancour and division; one of the original P2s was named after one of the most unpleasant members of the Scottish ‘nobility’ ‘Wolf of Badenoch’, a.k.a Alexander Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan. Wolf of Badenoch, it seems, was a bit of a ladies man and not very fond of stroppy churchmen. His run in with Bishop Bur, Bishop of Elgin, ended with Badenoch burning down Elgin cathedral, a church, and monastic ‘hospital’. In today’s more enlightened times, a new P2 is under construction, by the same dedicated group of enthusiasts, who built No.60163 Tornado – we can only wish them well.
For anyone interested, I have written a book about my 60 years involvement with railways, on many levels, this is a link to it: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gricing-Real-story-Railway-Children/dp/1514885751
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