Locomotive nicknames

Dow's British steam horses: Often much better than the official names are the nicknames given to locomotive classes by the men who have to drive and fire and maintain them. Channel Packet, the first of the Southern 'Merchant Navy' Pacifies, was promptly twisted into 'Flannel Jacket' , which aptly describes the 'air-smoothed' covering worn by the class. On the same railway the B1 Wainwright 4-4-0's rejoice in the nickname of 'Flying Bedsteads'. The ubiquitous and beautiful Midland compounds of the L.M.S are appropriately called 'Crimson Ramblers', even though they have now lost their matchless red livery. The F4 and F7 2-4-2 tanks of the L.N.E.R were always known respectively as 'Worsdell Gobblers' and 'Crystal Palaces', the latter because of their commodious cabs with side-windows. There were 'Jumbos' and 'Cauliflowers' on the L.M.S. There were 'Bulldogs' on the L.N.E.R and there are still 'Bulldogs' on the Great Western and Southern. Some six-coupled goods engines of the old Great Eastern were sarcastically nicknamed 'Swifts' because of their notorious sluggishness, and on the old North Eastern certain 4-4-0s were called 'Waterburys' because of their record for punctuality. There are, or were, 'Bashers', 'Pom-Poms', 'Paddle Boxes', 'Tishys' and 'Woolworths'—the list is almost endless.

Even when only one engine of a class has been built a nickname has soon been coined. In fact, the experimental 4-6-4 No: 10,000 of the L.N.E.R became known as the 'Hush-Hush' locomotive before it emerged from Darlington Works, because of the conditions of great secrecy under which it was built. But when No. 10,000 did appear a friend of Gresley, the designer, had a much better name—he called it 'Galloping Sausage'.