LMS Stanier Class 7P "Princess Coronation" - Gateway to the LMS

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Stanier Class 7P "Princess Coronation"
LMS 7P Princess Coronation no. 6233 Duchess of Sutherland
Technical Data
No. Built : 38
Introduced : 1937
Wheel arrangement : 4-6-2 "Pacific"  
Although the "Princess Royal" class was a vast leap forward in LMS motive power,  improved services by the LNER to Scotland and the fashion for streamlined  locomotive design in the mid-1930's meant that the LMS needed something to top  the "Princess Royal" class. Stanier threw away a lot of his earlier design  policies inherited from the GWR and came up with what is considered to be his  finest creation, the "Princess Coronation" class (sometimes referred as the "Duchess", or occasionally the  "City" class); this despite the fact that he personally felt (and probably with  some justification considering later events) that streamlining was a waste of  time, at least with the facilities that the LMS had at the time. The LMS wanted  a engine capable of hauling long-range expresses in excess of 100mph; on the  29th June 1937, the first engine of the class 6220 "Coronation" exceeded these  expectations, reaching a speed of at least 113mph on the inaugural run of the  "Coronation Scot", the LMS's new London-Glasgow express (although the run nearly  ended in disaster when the express hit the Crewe approaches at excessive speed;  fortunately the train stayed on the track).

The effects of the streamline casing are debatable, but it is generally accepted  that the increased performance generated by the casing was usually offset by its  weight, and only became an advantage on high-speed, non-stop runs. The casings  also made maintenance more difficult, and it is not surprising, that with the  demise of the "Coronation Scot" train, the casings were eventually removed post-war,  and by the early fifties, all "Princess Coronations" were unstreamlined. As a  further improvement, smoke deflectors were added post-war. The class was  withdrawn between 1962 and 1964.
NumberNameLivery (as originally delivered)Built
6220CoronationStreamlined -Blue & Silver1937
6221Queen ElizabethStreamlined -Blue & Silver1937
6222Queen MaryStreamlined -Blue & Silver1937
6223Princess AliceStreamlined -Blue & Silver1937
6224Princess AlexandraStreamlined -Blue & Silver1937
6225Duchess of GloucesterStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6226Duchess of NorfolkStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6227Duchess of DevonshireStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6228Duchess of RutlandStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6229Duchess of HamiltonStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6230Duchess of BuccleuchUnstreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6231Duchess of AthollUnstreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6232Duchess of MontroseUnstreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6233Duchess of SutherlandUnstreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6234Duchess of AbercornUnstreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1938
6235City of BirminghamStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1939
6236City of BradfordStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1939
6237City of BristolStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1939
6238City of CarlisleStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1939
6239City of ChesterStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1939
6240City of CoventryStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1940
6241City of EdinburghStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1940
6242City of GlasgowStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1940
6243City of LancasterStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1940
6244King George VIStreamlined - Maroon & Gilt1940
6245City of LondonStreamlined - Wartime Black1943
6246City of ManchesterStreamlined - Wartime Black1943
6247City of LiverpoolStreamlined - Wartime Black1943
6248City of LeedsStreamlined - Wartime Black1943
6249City of SheffieldNon-Streamlined - Wartime Black1944
6250City of LichfieldNon-Streamlined - Wartime Black1944
6251City of NottinghamNon-Streamlined - Wartime Black1944
6252City of LeicesterNon-Streamlined - Wartime Black1944
6253City of St AlbansNon-Streamlined - LMS Postwar Black1946
6254City of Stoke-on-TrentNon-Streamlined - LMS Postwar Black1946
6255City of HerefordNon-Streamlined - LMS Postwar Black1947
6256Sir William A. Stanier FRSNon-Streamlined - BR Black1947
6257City of SalfordNon-Streamlined - BR Black1948
Preserved Members of the  Class
6229 "Duchess of  Hamilton"

Although 6229 is now part of  the British National Collection of locomotives, its survival is down to Billy  Butlin (of "Butlins Holiday Camps") who during the 1960s bought several  locomotives to be used as static exhibits at some of his holiday camps in order  to entice holidaymakers.  6229 was one of this locomotives, chosen because it  was the one that had gone to the United States just before World War II, and was  dispatched to Minehead in Somerset after withdrawal.  
However, seaside holiday camps  weren't the best places to display locomotives in the open air, and by the early  1970s, concerns were growing that the locomotives' condition were deteriorating due to the effects of corrosion and the general  public.   Blooms of Bressingham made an arrangement with Butlins to transfer all  of the Butlins' locomotives to their base in Norfolk, but in the end not all of  them would make it there; a legal challenge would ultimately result in 6229  ending up in the National Railway Museum at York on a twenty-year loan in 1975.   With the embargo on operating steam on British Railways no longer in force, the  plan was to restore 6229 to mainline operations, and the locomotive was steamed  again in 1980.  

A second overhaul took place  from 1985, at which point the NRM purchased the locomotive outright from  Butlins.   A second period back on the mainline began in 1990, producing some  record-breaking runs for preserved steam over the Settle and Carlisle route.  The second period ended in 1996, and the locomotive was retired back to York.    

Although it was intended to  overhaul 6229 back to operational condition, various issues at the end of the  1990s meant that proposed financing of the work never materialised.   However,  funds were raised to put the locomotive back into its original streamlined  condition, and this was completed in 2009. Whether the locomotive will ever  steam in this condition remains to be seen (and it is something I'd to like to  see).

6233 "Duchess of  Sutherland"

Like 6229, 6233 owes its  survival to Butlins.    It initially went to their Ayr holiday camp, but unlike  6229, it was successfully transferred to Blooms of Bressingham in 1971, who  attempted a major restoration of the locomotive for use on their short operating  track.   The locomotive was steamed in 1974, but problems soon developed and the  locomotive became a static exhibit in 1976.   Bressingham bought the locomotive  from Butlins in 1989.  
A study of the locomotive was  made in 1993 with a view to returning it to operational condition.  However the  estimated cost was prohibitive, and by this point storage space at Bressingham  was at a premium, and it would have been extremely difficult to undertake the  necessary work there.   The locomotive was sold to the Princess Royal Class  Locomotive Trust (owners of "Princess Royal" class 6203 "Princess Margaret Rose"  in November 1995, who restored it back to mainline status; the locomotive  running again in 2001.   
The locomotive has had a  succesful mainline career in the years since then, with perhaps the high points  being rostered to haul the Royal Train with the Queen in 2002, and then again  with Prince Charles in 2005.  It has been liveried in LMS Maroon, LMS Black (a  wartime livery), and in BR Green as 46233.  

6235 "City of  Birmingham"

Of the three surviving members  of the class, 6235 has the greatest claim to to have been "officially" saved for  the nation.  During the 1950's, Birmingham Museum of Science and Technology  approached British Railways with a view to displaying a steam locomotive, and  what better choice than the locomotive named after the city itself.   British  Railways agreed to the request, especially as the locomotive was guaranteed  a home, and after a cosmetic overhaul at Crewe (that could possibly have been  far more than cosmetic based on the time it was actually being overhauled), 6235  arrived in Birmingham in May 1966, where a purpose-built hall was built for it,  eventually being finished in 1972.

In 1997, the locomotive was  moved to Birmingham's new "Thinktank" museum, into a specially constructed new  hall (in fact the building couldn't be finished until it had been moved in), and  is still currently residing there at present.   At the moment, there are no  plans to steam the locomotive; removing it from Thinktank without demolishing  the building would pose a very difficult challenge, and even if it was,  converting it for use on the mainline in the 21st century would remove the  historical authenticity that the locomotive has (something that 6229 and 6233  lost during their respective restorations for mainline use in the preservation  era).  

[As a postscript, I would say  that it's a pity that neither 6220 "Coronation" or 6256 "Sir William A Stanier"  survived, given their historical relevance to the LMS.   6220 was considered by  Butlins in place of 6229, but they went with the latter instead because it was  the locomotive that had gone to the United States on a publicity tour just  before the Second World War.    That saying, without their contribution, we  would probably have no operational "Princess Coronation" class locomotives, and  only one operational "Princess Royal" class locomotive in  preservation.]
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