Final journey for the king of the railways

He was the man whose engineering skills put Doncaster on the global railway map forever - and 75 years ago next week, the world waved goodbye to Sir Nigel Gresley on his final departure.

Thursday, 31st March 2016, 7:09 pm

It was on April 5, 1941 that the steam locomotive icon passed away after a short illness. But three quarters of a century on, his amazing railway creations live on and his name is synonymous with Doncaster and some of the globe’s most famous locomotives.

For it was Sir Nigel who gave the world both the Flying Scotsman and Mallard, arguably the two most famous locos the world has ever seen - and of course, both were born in Doncaster at Hexthorpe’s famed and esteemed Plant Works.

Born on 19 June 1876 in Edinburgh, he was raised in Netherseal in Derbyshire andfter attending school in Sussex and at Marlborough College, Gresley served his apprenticeship at the Crewe works of the London and North Western Railway and gradually made his way through the railway ranks.

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By 1923, he had been appointed Chief Mechanical Engineer of the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway.

He was the designer of some of the most famous steam locomotives in Britain, including the LNER Class A1 and LNER Class A4 4-6-2 Pacific engines.

The A1 pacific Flying Scotsman, was the first steam locomotive officially recorded over 100 mph in passenger service, while an A4, number Mallard, still holds the record as the fastest steam locomotive in the world at 126 mph.

He was awarded a knighthood by King Edward VIII in 1936 and was buried in St Peter’s Church, Netherseal, following his death at the age of 64 in April 1941.

A memorial was unveiled at Edinburgh Waverley in 2001 and Doncaster’s Sir Nigel Gresley Square is among Doncaster tributes to the pioneer.