LNER 4-6-2 A4 Class – The Thirties. No. 2510 Quicksilver (1936), No. 4494 Osprey (1937), No. 4464 Bittern (1938) (N. Gresley) Steam Locomotive Print Click/tap the image to view a larger version


The A4s were designed by H. N. Gresley to haul the LNER’s new streamlined service between London and Newcastle which was introduced in autumn 1935 and named ‘Silver Jubilee’ to mark the 25 years of King George V’s reign, with the first four appearing in silver livery to match the train. Further batches were built to work the LNER’s other high-speed train services.

Scale: 5 mm/ft

Paper Size: A3 420 mm x 297 mm (16.5 in x 11.75 in)


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No. 2510 Quicksilver – 1936

No. 2510 was the second A4 built and joined No. 2509 Silver Link in working the ‘Silver Jubilee’ service. The first four had streamlined corridor tenders built for them which enabled the footplate crew to be changed en route, although it was not needed for the ‘Silver Jubilee’.

The class were initially fitted with standard length buffers with the coupling hook in a pocket in the front casing. This made coupling hazardous and after a fatal accident the front buffers were made longer and the coupling hook moved forward – this became standard for the class. No. 2510 had this modification in July 1936 and is the condition shown.

Built: (Doncaster) September 1935. Withdrawn: December 1962.

No. 4494 Osprey – 1937spacer

No. 4494 was part of the third batch (Order No 341) and appeared in standard LNER green, with a parabolic curve on the smokebox, this made it a better match for the standard teak carriages. After the initial silver theme the intention was the name the rest of the A4s after birds which were noted for fast and/or powerful flight. The name Osprey was originally given to No. 4488 but this was changed to Union of South Africa in June 1937 and the name given to No. 4494.

After the initial four silver A4s the smokebox plating became fully welded – the first four with riveted smokebox plates kept them right up to withdrawal. From No. 4488 onwards extra cab ventilators were fitted.

Osprey was attached to a 1937 streamlined corridor tender which differed from the 1935 batch in that the division plate went right across the tender top, unlike the 1935 tenders which had the water filler boxed in with a gap between this and the tender sides. Also the rear plate had a modified profile at the top.

Built: (Doncaster) August 1937. Withdrawn: December 1962.

No. 4464 Bittern – 1938spacer

No. 4464 entered traffic in the then standard A4 livery of LNER garter blue. This had first appeared when the ‘Coronation’ service was introduced in 1937 between London and Edinburgh.

As Bittern was not intended to work the long non-stop services it was attached to a non-corridor streamlined tender. Bittern’s tender was originally attached to A3 No. 2752 Spion Kop.

From No. 4462 onwards the rear skirting plate was split into two which enabled it to be more easily removed for maintenance.

Built: (Doncaster) December 1937. Withdrawn: September 1966.
It has been preserved.


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