Edward Thompson: Wartime CME (Strathwood)

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In Edward Thompson Wartime CME the author, Simon Martin, has researched in detail the evidence regarding Edward Thompson’s time as Chief Mechanical Engineer at the LNER. Putting aside the generally accepted accounts pertaining to the alterations which Thompson authorised to be carried out on several of Sir Nigel Gresley’s locomotives, Simon has delved into the archives to discover the true facts concerning the allegations.

Examination of the LNER records, held in the National Archives at Kew Gardens, gave Simon an insight into the reasons behind Edward Thompson’s actions. Papers from meetings of the LNER board and their wartime Emergency Board show that during the Second World War the LNER was experiencing difficulties, and not just within the Maintenance Department. In Chapter 1 Simon presents the main papers he studied, which enabled him to see the full picture of what was happening at the LNER during this period. Following this, in Chapter 2, he looks at the problems which Thompson had to contend with and reviews the actions he took in his attempt to resolve them, the main solution being his standardisation programme. In Chapters 3 to 10 Simon goes on to give an overview of Thompson’s time on the railway, from the period just before Gresley's death to the way in which he handed the mantle of CME on to his successor, Arthur Peppercorn.

Simon examines each of Thompson's own designs, the work which was carried out on his predecessor's locomotives to bring the best out of them and the resources available at the time. At the end of the book Simon explains the formula he used which, along with the statistics in the LNER “Use of Engine Power” document (which covers the years 1942 to 1946 inclusive), enabled him to draw his conclusions regarding the competence of Edward Thompson’s judgements.

Contents include;

  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: New Evidence
  • Chapter 2: The L.N.E.R. in Wartime: Problems and Strategy
  • Chapter 3: 1941
  • Chapter 4: 1942
  • Chapter 5: The Stanier/E.S. Cox Report & Bert Spencer
  • Chapter 6: 1943
  • Chapter 7: The Rebuilding of the P2s
  • Chapter 8: 1944
  • Chapter 9: 1945
  • Chapter 10: 1946 & Great Northern
  • Chapter 11: Post Retirement
  • Chapter 12: Thompson’s Legacy
  • Chapter 13: Epilogue
  • Chapter 14: Strengths and Limitations of the Study
  • Special Thanks
  • Bibliography & References
  • Appendices

Features 82 colour and black & white photographs, along with a number of data graphs. Hardback. 184 pages.

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