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Top 5 Must Have Locomotives

Top 5 Must Have Locomotives

As you all know, we are absolutely MAD about wooden railway - especially our Heritage Locomotives (we have a whole section dedicated to them on our website!) So we thought it was about time that we shared with your the top 5 must-have Heritage Locomotives from Bigjigs Rail. This is no easy feat with over 17 to choose from. Here are our top 5:

1. Flying Scotsman

The 4472 Flying Scotsman was built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) by Sir Nigel Gresley in Doncaster. It was employed as a long-distance express train and ran the 10am London to Edinburgh - after which it was named.

The Flying Scotsman was notable for having set two world records for steam traction; becoming the first steam locomotive to be officially authenticated at reaching 100mph on the 30th November 1934, and then setting a record for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive when it ran 422 miles on 8th August 1989.

The Flying Scotsman was retired from service in 1963 after covering over 2 million miles and is now at rest in the National Railway Museum, York. The locomotive toured extensively in the United States and Australia and has been described as the world's most famous steam locomotive.

2. Mallard

The 4468 Mallard was built in Doncaster, England in 1938 - and is the record holder of the world speed record for steam locomotives. The A4 class was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley to power high-speed streamlined trains. The wind-tunnel-tested, aerodynamic body and high power allowed the class to reach speeds of over 100 mph.

The Mallard came to fame when it recorded 125.88 mph on the 3rd July 1938 on the slight downward grade of Stoke Bank south of Grantham on the East Coast Main Line. It broke the German 002's 1936 record of 124. mph. The Mallard covered almost one and a half million miles before it was retired in 1963. It was restored in the 1980s but has not operated since and now since in the Great Hall at the National Rail Museum, York.

3. Stephenson's Rocket

The Stephenson's Rocket was an early steam locomotive of 0-2-2 wheel arrangement and was built in 1829 in Newcastle. The Rocket was built for and won for the Rainhill Trials that were held by the Liverpool and Manchester Railway in 1829 to choose the best design to power the railway.

Though the Rocket was not the first steam locomotive, it was the first to bring together several innovations to produce the most advanced locomotive of its day. It is the most famous example of an evolving design and became a template for most steam engines in the following 150 years. In 1862 the Rocket was donated to the Science Museum where it still exists.

4. Duchess of Hamilton

The 6229 Duchess of Hamilton was built in 1938 in Crewe as the tenth member of its class complete with gold speed cheat stripes. The locomotive had somewhat of an identity crisis after swapping identities with the 6220 Coronation and was sent to North America to appear at both the New York World's Fair and the Second World War. It wasn't until September 1958 that she was painted her maroon colours, previously being both black and blue.

The Duchess of Hamilton was saved from the scrap yard but Sir Billy Butlin who wanted to place these locomotives as children's playground exhibits at his holiday camps - and was added to the Minehead holiday camp in 1964. The National Railway Museum loaned it from Butlins in a twenty-year loan deal where they began to restore and preserve it, and shortly after 1987, they purchased it. The Duchess of Hamilton is now displayed in the National Railway Museum, currently on display next to the 1933 Chrysler Airflow.

5. Black 5 Engine

The Black 5 is a class of 4-6-0 steam locomotives. First introduced by William Stanier, the engines were built between 1934 and 1951. The Black Five was a mixed-traffic locomotive and extremely versatile.

Only five Black Fives ever received names during their working lives, these were: Lanarkshire Yeomanry, The Queen's Edinburgh, Ayrshire Yeomanry, The Glasgow Highlander and the Glasgow Yeomanry. As of January 2022, there are six Black 5s in traffic, five which have full main line certificates.

All of these wonderful locomotives come in packaging that includes information about the evolution and working life of the engine, upon which the replica is based. Which one must you have?

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