One of heritage railway’s best loved and most respected figures, Sir William McAlpine, has joined the thousands of people calling for the mallard to be reinstated on Sir Nigel Gresley’s proposed statue. Sir William, who is Patron of the Gresley Society, added his name last month to those petitioning the statue’s commissioners (the Gresley Society) for a change of heart over the mallard.
Sir William McAlpine, a former director of the construction company Sir Robert McAlpine, is best known in railway circles for rescuing the Gresley-designed A3 Flying Scotsman from a financially calamitous tour of America, getting the locomotive shipped to the UK from where it was stranded in San Francisco, and returning it to running condition. Flying Scotsman went on to enjoy mainline working here and abroad, and is currently undergoing restoration at the National Railway Museum.
Sir William runs the standard gauge Fawley HIll Railway in the grounds of his home near Henley-on-Thames, and actively supports many other heritage railway projects. He is currently chair of Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway, and he established and chairs the Railway Heritage Trust which was set up to assist the operational railway in its preservation and upkeep of listed buildings and structures, and to facilitate the transfer of non-operational premises and structures to outside bodies willing to undertake their preservation.
Sir William joins over 2,150 other people who have signed the petition to date, which has the support of editors Robin Jones (Heritage Railway), Nigel Harris (RAIL magazine) David Wilcock (Steam Railway Founding Editor), Nick Pigott (formerly Railway magazine); best-selling railway authors Don Hale OBE, Michael Williams and Christian Wolmar; top railway artists Malcolm Root FGRA, Philip D. Hawkins FGRA, Jonathan Clay GRA and Matthew Cousins GRA; plus leading figures in heritage railway including Andrew Scott, former Director of National Railway Museum and John Scott-Morgan, founder of the British Overseas Railways Historical Trust.