Suitable rolling stock: LMS rolling stock of the period.
Revered at the time as being the most powerful steam locomotives ever to operate in Great Britain, the Princess Coronation Class locomotives were a stunning representation of Art Deco opulence and a true endorsement of the modern machinery of the time.
Developed from the ‘Princess Royal’ Class, William Stanier, later to become Sir William Stanier introduced the first 5 of the ‘Coronation’ locomotives in 1937 and these appeared in a striking blue livery with silver stripes along the side of the boiler. This livery matched the new Stanier coaches that were built for the express passenger train service, ‘Coronation Scot’, which operated between London and Glasgow between the years of 1937 and 1939 and was so called to celebrate the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
Stanier was not altogether in favour of the locomotive’s streamlined casings but tests proved that it was effective. Although further additions to the Class were built with the streamlined casing, eventually the design was dropped so that the final members of the Class were built in the more traditional manner. By the late 1940s those Coronation locomotives that had been built with streamlining had by then had their casings removed.
The Princess Coronation Class, No. 6229, ‘Duchess of Hamilton’, was outshopped on the 30 September 1938 from the LMS Crewe Works resplendent in a Crimson Lake livery and complete with streamlining. The locomotive operated throughout the Second World War during which time the ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ was painted in Wartime black. In 1947 the locomotive’s streamlining was removed giving the locomotive a more imposing traditional look.
In February 1964 the ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ was withdrawn from service, which heralded a new period in the life of such an imposing locomotive. This period in the locomotive’s preservation history commenced with the ‘Duchess’ as a static exhibit at Butlin’s Holiday Camp, Minehead in 1964 where it remained until March 1975. During that year ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ was removed from Butlin’s and placed on loan to the National Railway Museum for an agreed period of 21 years. In 1980 after an extremely extensive overhaul locomotive ‘6229’ once more moved under its own power. The ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ quickly became the NRMs flagship locomotive and remained so for 5 years until the locomotive was due for another major overhaul. 1987 saw the ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ being purchased from Butlin’s by the NRM and in 1989 the locomotive once more returned to the rails, operating for 6 years after which due to the expiration of the locomotive’s boiler ticket the ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ was eventually placed on static display at the NRM, York.
During the years of the ‘Duchess’ being on display it was decided that the locomotive should once more be fitted with streamlining and so it was in May 2009 that the ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ was placed once more as an exhibit at the National Railway Museum fully streamlined and in the Crimson Lake livery of the LMS.
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