Historic train carriages designed by South Derbyshire's Sir Nigel Gresley have been vandalised. Thugs smashed the windows in the varnished teak carriages and caused damage to the inside of them. They are used on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway.
The carriages were parked on sidings on the railway line at Pickering and were targeted by vandals overnight between 10pm on Saturday, July 22, and Sunday, July 23.
The eight carriages dating from 1930 to 1950 are no stranger to attention, as they have appeared in top TV period drama Downton Abbey and the recent film remake of Dad’s Army.
The vandalised carriages featured designs from Sir Nigel Gresley, a descendant of the family from Swadlincote. The steam locomotive engineer was brought up in Netherseal before starting a career designing locomotives that became a well loved sight on Britain’s railways.
Sir Nigel, of course, is most famous for the design of the fastest steam locomotive in the world, the Mallard.
In April 2016, a statue of Sir Nigel was unveiled at King's Cross Station in London, which caused controversy over moves for a duck to be included with the statue standing next to Sir Nigel as a link to his famous Mallard train.
Chris Price North Yorkshire Moors Railway’s general manager said: “We were absolutely devastated to discover the extent of the damage to our precious carriages, lovingly restored and maintained by our dedicated team of volunteers over many years.
“The tireless restoration work will begin again as the entire trust commits to restoring the set to its former glory for the enjoyment of all visitors – we will not let the vandals win.”
The teak carriages are now owned by several groups and individuals after being restored by the London and North Eastern Railway Coach Association. The carriages are maintained and used regularly on the railway. The trust, which runs the railway takes more than 350,000 passengers on 18-mile journeys using heritage steam and diesel trains across Yorkshire.
North Yorkshire Police have since arrested two 17-year-olds in connection with the vandalism. They have both since been released while under investigation.
Who was Sir Nigel Gresley?
Nigel Gresley was born in Edinburgh on June 19, 1876, but was raised in Netherseal, South Derbyshire. He is part of the Gresley family – where the areas Church Gresley and Castle Gresley originate from.
The engineer is credited with the design of some of Britain’s most famous steam locomotives. He was the chief mechanical engineer of the London and North Eastern Railway. One of his locomotives, the famous Mallard, set the record for being the fastest in the world, recording speeds of 126mph in 1938. The world’s most famous steam engine, the Flying Scotsman was built to his design.
He worked as chief mechanical engineer of the Great Northern Railway between 1911 and 1922, before moving on to London and North Eastern Railway.