Thompson's ‘A2/2s’ and ‘A2/3s’

Reality Check

Thompson's
‘A2/2s’ and ‘A2/3s’

Although the ‘Pacifics’ of the LNER are generally considered to be some of the best-looking locomotives ever built, there was one batch of locomotives that defied this rule. EVAN GREEN-HUGHES and ANDREW RODEN look into the history of the ‘A2/2s’ and ‘A2/3s’ which, while they looked ungainly, were an intelligent response to wartime pressures.

Reality Check
Above: ‘A2/2’ class ‘Pacifics’ 60503 Lord President and 60502 Earl Marischal wait to go off shed at Grantham on September 5 1953. The ‘A2s’ rebuilt from the ‘P2s’ were easily distinguished by their small smoke deflectors mounted either side of the chimney. T.G. Hepburn/Rail Archive Stephenson

1941 WAS A BLACK YEAR for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). The perennially financiallystrapped company was struggling to cope with the demands placed upon it by the war effort and the consequent reduction in engineering standards. Worse still, that April had seen the death of Sir Nigel Gresley, the world-famous locomotive engineer, who had produced some of the best steam engines in the world for the East Coast Main Line.

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