Gordon is supposed to be an experimental precursor of Sir Nigel Gresley's A1 Pacific design for the GNR in 1922, and conceived at the famous Doncaster Works in Yorkshire, affectionately known to locals as “The Plant”. Apparently, owing to various problems, Gordon was rebuilt at Crewe with new curving footplate, unique square buffers, Stanier two-cylinder motion and Walschaerts valve gear (check the crosshead in two slide bars), and then supplied with a six-wheel LMS-style tender to replace his eight-wheel GNR tender.The A1 boiler is easily distinguished by the rear curve of the footplate, with the firebox sides extended below the driving wheels in a smooth, angled line. At the outset of the LNER's history in 1923, the new GNR engine beat Raven's rather similar NER Pacific in trials. It thus became the LNER's top-link passenger locomotive for the next decade, until Gresley went in the wind-tunnel and produced the graceful streamlined A4, still the fastest steam engine on rails. Of the production build, No. 4472, then 103, and hence on BR No. 60103, “Flying Scotsman” is arguably the most famous steam engine in England. It was the first authenticated loco to travel over 100mph and hauled the crack express of the same name from London King’s Cross to Edinburgh Waverley, in 1928 the longest regular non-stop run in the world. After an exhaustive million-pound overhaul following his purchase by Dr. Tony Marchington in 1996, a triumphant run from King’s Cross to Doncaster in 1999 witnessed the track lined with spectators and his new owner giving lumps of coal from the tender to an adoring crowd in the manner of a rock star. However, as of April 5, 2004, No. 4472 has been acquired by the National Railway Museum in York after a successful public appeal Sadly, "Flying Scotsman" is the only example of the A3 remaining in existence.
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