The Legacy of Gadwall 5
Sir Ralph Wedgwood (I)
  • Number: 4469
  • Class: LNER A4 Pacific
  • Designer: Sir Nigel Gresley
  • Builder: Doncaster Works
  • Built: 1938
  • Configuration: 4-6-2
  • Disposition: Scrapped

Sir Ralph Wedgwood (I) (formerly Gadwall) was an A4 Pacific that was destroyed in an air raid during the Second World War who now haunts the railways as a ghost.


Gadwall was built in 1938 at Doncaster Works. When he was built, he became good friends with his brother, Herring Gull, and Flying Scotsman. Just before the war, Gadwall was chosen to be renamed after the Chief Officer of the LNER, Sir Ralph Wedgwood. Despite the name change, Sir Ralph remained a fine engine, and he, Herring Gull and Scott continued to be good friends, right up until the Second World War began.

Sir Ralph and Herring Gull were transferred to York along with Stephen, but despite the war going on, the two engines remained friends. On the night of the 28th April 1942, Sir Ralph was preparing to take the Night Scotsman from Platform 9 at York Station, when the air raid sirens sounded and everybody, including Sir Ralph's crew, fled the station for the safety of the bunkers, leaving the A4 to await his fate. The next morning, Stephen and his crew found Sir Ralph's remains in the wreckage of the bombed station. His tender and whistle were later given to other LNER engines.

Herring Gull begin to missed Sir Ralph very much by 1944, and he wanted to find a way to keep his friend's memory alive. On that very same day, Herring Gull found a way to do this: by being given the opportunity to be renamed "Sir Ralph Wedgwood".

In 1953, Sir Ralph's story was told by Stephen after Scott believed that the Sir Ralph that stood before him was an impostor. It mended the friendship between Scott and Sir Ralph, and it helped everyone understand Sir Ralph's unusual behaviour that he had been showing over the months.

Gadwall now haunts the railways as a ghost, appearing whenever an engine's final day is approaching. In 1959, his spirit appeared alongside Allen as he fell asleep at Copley Hill shed.


Gadwall was apparently a fine engine, who was friendly, but dignified.


Gadwall is based on the real No. 4469 Gadwall/Sir Ralph Wedgwood, a LNER A4 Pacific.


When he was destroyed in 1944, Gadwall wore the LNER wartime black livery. Before that, he wore the garter blue livery worn by most of his class.




  • There were a few innacuracies in The Legacy of Gadwall about Gadwall's death. He was actually destroyed in the sheds rather than the station, but, according to Simon Martin, that would mean that Stephen and Herring Gull would have to be present at the time of his death.
    • Also, it would mean paying tribute to more than one locomotive (A B16 No. 925 was also destroyed in the bombing.)
  • Had the first 10 episodes been released in their full form, Gadwall's status as the ghost in Episode 17 and 17x would've been made more clear.


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