Princess Elizabeth

Resource Type: Image | Posted on 25th November 2011 by Liam Physick

Here is LMS No. 6201 Princess Elizabeth, part of the Princess Royal Class of locomotives. Built at Crewe and launched on 3rd November 1933, and named after the future Queen Elizabeth II (then just seven years old, granddaughter of the reigning monarch George V), it was the second locomotive in that Class to be built, after No. 6200 Princess Royal, from which the Class took its name. Initially regarded as a poor steamer, and being the subject of an experiment to fit a stovepipe double chimney, in November 1936 it achieved national fame when it completed the run from Glasgow to London Euston on the West Coast Route in a record speed and distance for a steam-hauled passenger train on a non-stop run, covering 401 miles in five hours 44 minutes at an average speed of 70 miles per hour: this was also the fastest run ever between Scotland and England. This was a major publicity coup for the LMS, as the previous Anglo-Scottish record of six hours had been held by the London and North Eastern Railway’s Flying Scotsman service (not to be confused with the locomotive of the same name, which occasionally pulled this service), which used the East Coast Route, more flat and straight and thus more conducive to fast trains. The Princess Elizabeth’s driver, Tom Clark, was rewarded for his feat with the OBE. It went on to set more speed and endurance records and influenced the construction of other members of the Princess Elizabeth Class and the Princess Coronation Class, a streamlined version introduced in 1938. Numbered 46201 by British Railways, the Princess Elizabeth was first placed into storage in March 1961, but returned to service in two months. In October, it was again withdrawn and placed in storage at Carlisle Kingmoor, awaiting scrapping. However in January 1962, it once more returned to service to cover for diesel failures. In September 1962, the Princess Elizabeth was placed into storage for the third time and was finally withdrawn from service by BR the following month. In Feburary 1963, it was bought by Roger Bell of the Princess Elizabeth Locomotive Society for £2160: it has been in the Society’s ownership ever since. Initially, the preserved locomotive was housed at the headquarters of the Dowty Railway Preservation Society in Ashcurch, Gloucestershire, and later at the Bulmers Railway Society in Hereford. Its first steaming post-preservation came in 1975 at Rail 150, and the following year it made its first main-line tours: it remains a popular locomotive for such tours. In 1987, it became the first steam locomotive to enter the Crewe Heritage Centre, and also the first steam locomotive to enter the confines of Crewe station since the end of steam on British Rail in the 1960s: later that year, when the Centre opened to the public, the engine was inspected by none other than the Queen herself, the first time Elizabeth had viewed the locomotive named after her: she was presented with a model of the locomotive by Clive Mojonnier, then secretary of the Princess Elizabeth Locomotive Society. Since then, the Princess Elizabeth has set a number of firsts: the first steam locomotive to work out of Crewe in 20 years (in a trial in 1988), the first steam locomotive to run on the West Coast Main Line since the abolition of steam on BR, the first Princess Royal to work out of Euston in 41 years (in 2003), the first steam-hauled West Coast Main Line train from Liverpool to Euston since the 1960s (also in 2003) and the first-ever steam locomotive to work out of the present-day Birmingham New Street station (in 2010 - the station was rebuilt in the 1960s, and reopened in 1967 under a steam ban). In 2009, its main-line boiler ticket was extended to March 2012, and in 2011 it was relocated to the Tylseley Locomotive Works. One other Princess Royal locomotive has also survived: No. 6203 Princess Margaret Rose, on static display at the Midland Railway - Butterley

Princess Elizabeth

Tagged under: steam locomotives, rocket 150, tender locomotives, railway workers, british rail, diesel locomotives, grand cavalcade, drivers, london midland and scottish railway, pacific class locomotives

Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives

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