Malcolm Crawley

Malcolm was a Doncaster Works premium apprentice 1947–52 under Arthur Peppercorn, Tornado’s designer. A retired BR engineer, Malcolm worked on the design, construction and maintenance of the original class A1s.

Malcolm started paid railway life in May 1947 with the LNER as a Premium Apprentice in Doncaster Locomotive Works. Following National Service with a Royal Engineers Transportation Squadron, mostly doing leave train inspection in Hamburg, he returned to Doncaster to be offered either to become an erector in the Crimpsall shops, now sadly demolished, or to enter the Locomotive Drawing Office. His section leader was one who had been involved with many of the Gresley designs and of course those which followed. He had laid out the wedge front for the streamlined locomotives and was responsible for the design of the Thompson B1. Following this he became a Head Office Mechanical Inspector and spent three years riding around on the railway. He was responsible along with others for the acceptance testing of the new fleet of diesel electric locomotives from type 2 to type 5.  After being moved on, some years he was Training Officer until he escaped to a job in the new Divisional Maintenance Engineer’s organisation at Newcastle, involved mainly with footplate staff management. This was at the end of steam and he was able to use his training experience in ensuring that there were sufficient men trained on the various traction types. I was involved also in the planning process and staff consultation to close several of the steam depots and to change staffing levels for the lesser needs of the new age. When there was no longer enough work him he was moved on to the Divisional Operating Manager’s team.

Then an opportunity came to apply for an operating job back in Doncaster and Malcolm became Movements Assistant dealing with the development of the Doncaster Resignalling Scheme. When a chance came to return to engineering arose, and with some encouragement from the Divisional Maintenance Engineer, he moved to Area Maintenance Engineer at Doncaster, about 25 years to the day after he had left Carr Loco as an apprentice. Here he was involved with not only locomotives but with carriage, wagon and plant also.  After a about a year he lost the footplate staff to the Area Manager and he could concentrate on the engineering. One of the most satisfying parts of this job was his involvement in the development of our graduate and sandwich course student engineers, guiding them through the IMechE’s Monitored Professional Development Scheme. It was in this capacity that he became involved with the legendary Richard Hardy. Reorganisation was to disturb all this.

However, the railway was changing and when his boss asked him to compile a list of those who might be prepared to take redundancy, he suggested that his name be put on the top, leaving in March 1988 after almost forty one fascinating years. In the 1990’s Malcolm became involved with the team building Tornado and spent many hours at Darlington Locomotive Works.  A true gentleman, Malcolm was an inspiration to all those involved in the building and now operation of Tornado and was always available to share his wisdom and experience.  He was also Chairman of The Gresley Society Trust and President of the LNER Society.  Sadly Malcolm died on 19th February 2012.

Vice President Malcolm Crawley shovels the first coal into Tornado's firebox