The Legacy of Gadwall
The Legacy of Gadwall 1

Episode number



Simon Martin


Simon Martin


Simon Martin
Charles Hawksworth
Jason Deene
Fiona Grey-staff


Simon Martin

Air date

July 4th 2008

Previous episode

Birds of a Feather

Next episode

Hawk Eyed!

"The Legacy of Gadwall" is the 10th episode of The British Railway Series: The End of the LNER.


In the weeks that follow Scott's outburst, little changes occur around Copley Hill shed. Whilst Stephen is repainted into BR black, and the other engines spend more time away from the yard and are happy, Sir Ralph is becoming more and more isolated from the engines, only acknowledging them by blowing his whistle. The others have still not figured what Scott meant, except for Stephen, who simply ignores the matter.

One day, Scott and Sir Ralph find themselves next to each other in the shed. Once again, Scott accuses Sir Ralph of being an impostor, saying that he is not the real Sir Ralph Wedgwood. The other engines soon start arguing with each other, until the Foreman comes to stop it. When Allen explains the situation, Scott claims that Sir Ralph is not the friend that he lost in York. Sir Ralph interrupts, saying that he actually is, but Scott doesn't know the whole story. Stephen agrees, and asks Scott who Sir Ralph really is. When Scott says that it must be Gadwall, Stephen proceeds to tell the true story...

By the late 1930's, the A4 Pacifics were becoming famous, and so was the man helping to rebuild and improve the LNER: Sir Ralph Wedgwood. It was soon decided to name an A4 after him, and they eventually chose Gadwall, No. 4469. He remained a fine engine, and was good friends with his fellow A4, Herring Gull, and Flying Scotsman. Stephen lived with them at King's Cross, but was due to head to York in 1942. The 3 engines did almost everything together, until 1939, when everything changed.

When the Second World War broke out, Herring Gull and Sir Ralph were transferred to York with Stephen. When the Badaeker Blitz began, the 2 A4s would spend every night trying to block out the sirens and bombs going off.

On the 28th April 1942, it was Sir Ralph's turn to pull the Night Scotsman from York Station. He was just preparing to leave, when the air raid sirens sounded. Everybody, including Sir Ralph's crew, quickly evacuated the station, leaving Sir Ralph alone, to await his fate in a dignified manner...

Stephen and Herring Gull saw an explosion from the shed, and realised that the station had been bombed. The next morning, Stephen was sent to take the coaches away, and he saw a dreadful sight: the beyond repair remains of an engine. Not being able to look any more, Stephen took the coaches away...

Allen suddenly interrupts, puzzled. Stephen confirms that Gadwall was the engine that was destroyed, but under the name of Sir Ralph Wedgwood. When Allen looks over at the Sir Ralph that is listening to the tale, Stephen continues the story.

One day, in 1944, Herring Gull backed down next to Stephen. He told Stephen that he did not want Sir Ralph's memory and legacy to vanish, and that he wished there was some way for him to live on. Stephen thought that this was a very loyal thing to say about a friend, and the 2 engines became firm friends after that. On that same afternoon, a man, Arthur Peppercorn, came to see Herring Gull. He told the A4 that the men in charge of the LNER had thought of renaming him "Sir Ralph Wedgwood" as a tribute to both the man and Gadwall. Herring Gull was honoured to take the name, as it was the perfect way to keep Gadwall's memory alive.

Scott never knew which of his friends had been destroyed in the bombing at York, and he didn't see either of them again. In 1945, the war ended, and soon after, the LNER became part of British Railways. The new Sir Ralph and Stephen were transferred to Copley Hill, where they met an unnamed A1 Pacific for the first time...

Stephen concludes the story by simply telling a miserable Scott that the Sir Ralph that stands before him is indeed his friend, Herring Gull. The Foreman sees that Sir Ralph and Scott need to talk to each other alone, and sends the others away, Stephen being the last to go.

Sir Ralph attempts to tell Scott that he was trying to keep Gadwall's legacy going, but Scott interrupts, asking Sir Ralph to forgive him. Sir Ralph accepts the proposal, but realises that the truth is now out. He reveals that when he was taken into the works after his failure, he saw both his old nameplates and Gadwall's. Sir Ralph had realised that he had betrayed his friend's memory by acting the way he once did, and so he vowed to do his best in everything he did to honour his late friend. Scott says that Gadwall would have been very proud of Sir Ralph.

The 2 engines are now once again friends. Scott and Sir Ralph always remember to have a chat whenever they can, and they always whistle to each other. However, whilst Sir Ralph's name lives on, it is the legacy of Gadwall that stays fresh in the engine's mind every day.



  • This was the last episode to be made by the entire BRWS Team.
  • This was the first episode to name the yard Copley Hill.
  • This was part 3 and the last part of the "Sir Ralph Wedgwood Trilogy".
  • This is the first and so far only episode in 4 parts, but these were removed when a Director's Cut was released in 2010.
  • The Director's Cut had actually existed since before its YouTube release on Simon Martin's Dailymotion account.
  • The original version of the episode featured the song "Danny Boy", sung by Carly Simon over the sequence of Gadwall's destruction. It was removed in the Director's Cut likely due to copyright issues.
  • Stock footage from Scott and the Herring Gull was used in this episode.
  • This remained as Simon Martin's most favourite episode.


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.