Getting up a head of steam with the Streamlined Princess Coronation!
Hello and welcome to another instalment of The Engine Shed – the monthly blog powered by the Hornby Development team. We have another in-depth look at new 2018 tooling for you in this edition, as we shine the light on the Streamlined Princess Coronation.
While offering you all the details from behind-the-scenes with the Streamlined Princess Coronation, we also have a few other projects to update you on with the latest samples that have been received here at Hornby HQ. Of course, with Chinese New Year having its annual impact on the samples we’ve received, and what we’re working on right now, there’s not quite as much as we would have liked (we’ll share the J36 Decoration Samples with you as soon as we can!). Although there’s still plenty to feast your eyes on.
Lastly, there’s one of the biggest events in the model railway calendar happening tomorrow, with The London Festival of Railway Modelling kicking off at Alexandra Palace. Hornby will be in attendance, and we’ll close out the blog with the details.
The Streamlined Princess Coronation took its place in the 2018 range in three different liveries. The first, 6221 ‘Queen Elizabeth’ (R3623) appearing in the instantly recognisable Caledonian Blue, with 6244 ‘King George VI’ (R3639) in the iconic LMS Crimson Lake. Last, but certainly not least, 6229 ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ (R3677) rounded out the 2018 offering – a model that fans of the Princess Coronation will be keen to get their hands on.
However, as always, before we get stuck into the detail on our forthcoming models, we should take a look at the history behind these engines.
The Princess Coronation Class was the LMSR's response to the LNER's streamlined A4 Pacific locomotives. The original streamlined shape arose from tests conducted by the LMS Research Department on Sir William Stanier’s Princess Royal Class locomotives. Stanier was said to be ambivalent about the economic value of streamlining but was aware of the publicity value that such a design would generate.
While the locomotive design was undoubtedly down to Sir William Stanier FRS, his absence from the LMS on secondment to India, along with Sir Ralph Wedgewood of the LNER, meant that much of the streamlining design on the Coronation Class was carried out by his Chief Draughtsman at the Derby Works, Tom Coleman.
6221 Queen Elizabeth at Shap 27/8/1937. Photo: James R. Clark/Rail Archive Stephenson
The first of the Class, 6220 'Coronation', entered service in June 1937, the year of King George VI’s Coronation and on its trial run on 29th June, the locomotive set a British steam speed record of 114 mph. Throughout the rest of June and July, 6220 'Coronation' was followed by a further four locomotives built to the same style. All were finished in LMS Caledonian Blue, with silver stripes and were matched by three sets of specially modified and similarly liveried Stanier Period III coaching stock for the Coronation Scot train, which commenced service on 5th July.
The next five locomotives, Nos. 6225 - 6229, incorporated some draughting modifications to the body and were painted in the more familiar LMS Crimson Lake, to match the existing express carriage stock.
Compared with the de-streamlined Duchesses, the Coronations showed a 2% reduction in coal consumption, although the accuracy of this figure has been widely debated. Either way, they were certainly considered more economic to run and so a further fourteen locomotives, Nos. 6235 - 6248, were built with streamlining. These locomotives, as well as having the draughting modifications, were fitted with a double chimney.
6221 Queen Elizabeth at Brinklow 22/9/1937. Photo: T.G. Hepburn/Rail Archive Stephenson
What did become clear, especially through the operating conditions experienced during the wartime period, was that servicing and repair tasks were greatly hampered by the casing. It also decreased forward vision, as well as amplifying sound to the extent that some crews commented that the casing generated more noise than the steam exhaust.
Wartime running, being subject to speed restrictions, meant that the streamlined casing could not deliver on its cost benefits by running at high speed. In October 1945, the Acting CME of the LMSR, George Ivatt, recommended that the casing be removed, although many of the Type A tenders had already had their rear streamlining cut away. Authority was given in December 1945 and in April 1946 the first engine, ‘City of Birmingham’, was defrocked, which was how the fitters referred to the process of removing the streamlined casing.
6221 Queen Elizabeth at Polmadie 29/8/1938. Photo: T.G. Hepburn/Rail Archive Stephenson
For R3623 6221 ‘Queen Elizabeth’ life started as second of the Class, leaving Crewe Works in June 1937 for Camden Shed and covering just under 31,000 miles that year (compared to nearly 68,000 in 1938).
In 1939, 6221 moved to Crewe North for a month, briefly returning to Camden before being allocated to Polmadie on 25th November 1939. Whilst here, the streamlined casing was removed on 28th June 1946.
6221 Queen Elizabeth at Crewe, as new 1937. Photo: W.H. Whitworth/Rail Archive Stephenson
R3639 6244 ‘King George VI’ left Crewe Works in July 1940 for Camden Shed, having been originally named as ‘City of Leeds’ and covering just over 33,000 miles during the rest of 1940.
Loaned to Polmadie briefly for a month in 1940, the locomotive spent the war years allocated to Camden and whilst here it was renamed as ‘King George VI’ in April 1941. The streamlined casing was finally removed on 4th September 1947.
6220 Coronation in the USA, October 1940. Photo: Colour-Rail
Of all the Princess Coronation Class locomotives, there can be no doubt that R3677 6229 ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ has had the most varied and chequered history, and its current position at the centre of the National Railway Museum's Great Hall is entirely deserved.
Built at Crewe in 1938 as the last of the streamlined Coronations, ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ entered service on 10th September. At the same time, the LMSR had accepted an invitation from the organisers of the World's Fair in New York to send a streamlined train out to the exposition and as the newest of the Coronations, 6229 was selected, with the name and numbers being swapped with 6220 ‘Coronation’.
Preparation of the train took place at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's workshops, before embarking on an epic 3,121 mile tour that visited 38 town and cities, arriving at New York's Sunnyside Yard on 14th April 1939. The World's Fair Exposition ran from 30th April to 30th October but the declaration of war between Britain and Germany on 3rd September 1939 led to the LMS taking the decision not to repatriate the locomotive.
In 1941, with Britain's railways at crisis point, the risky decision to return the locomotive was taken and it arrived back at Cardiff on 16th February 1942. Returning to traffic on 18th March after a visit to Crewe Works. With the intense pressure on the railway network, it was April 1943 before the names and numbers could be reinstated to the correct locomotives and normality resumed for 6229 ‘Duchess of Hamilton’.
In November 1947, 6229 ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ became the penultimate member of the streamlined Coronations to have the casing removed, with the locomotive's tender following suit in January 1948. The story of ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ as a streamlined locomotive could well have ended there, were it not for the showmanship of Billy Butlin. 46235 ‘City of Birmingham’ was chosen as the sole official preservation locomotive of the Coronation Class and on withdrawal from traffic on 15th February 1964, the future looked bleak for ‘Duchess of Hamilton’. There was no great preservation movement at that time to save locomotives from the scrapyard, but Billy Butlin decided that he wanted four engines as attractions at some of his holiday camps and so ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ ended up at Minehead holiday camp from the start of the 1964 holiday season.
In 1970, Butlin decided to re-home his locomotives and in 1974 it was suggested that 6229 ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ would make an excellent choice as a major exhibit for the fledgling National Railway Museum at York. In 1975 the deal was concluded, and the locomotive was re-housed at York, cosmetically restored to its 1963 British Railways livery and condition.
On 14th April 1980, after substantial fundraising, 6229 ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ finally returned to steam, running as the Museum's flagship locomotive between 1980-1985 and 1989-1996, when the last boiler ticket expired. Following a massive fund-raising appeal by readers of Steam Railway magazine, the locomotive was re-streamlined at Tyseley Locomotive Works to Network Rail gauging regulations, returning to the National Railway Museum on 18th May 2009 as a centrepiece exhibit alongside 4468 ‘Mallard’.
As for the Hornby models, the Streamlined Princess Coronation has never been far from our thoughts. A favourite with many members of the team here, it was felt that a new model could be offered with unparalleled detail.
We have seen a few comments online since the new tooling was announced, that perhaps a modern Streamlined Princess Coronation was not required, that previous versions are sufficient for those collectors and modellers who have one. We believe this could not be further from the truth, especially with the level of detailing we can now offer.
Looking at the models themselves, we’ve made allowances for (where applicable) a huge number of different features and body detailing. These include a sliding cab roof, flanges over the front bogie (where the cylinder bypass valves had to be hidden), the Hudd ATC apparatus, speed recorders, different handle positions on the front casing, streamlined lamps, the correct sandbox filler caps, brake blocks, different chimneys, slotted front steps, the extra catch on the front casing for those that needed it and extra access panels. This is not forgetting the streamlined tenders, both with and without shroud too.
When added up, these differences and details will offer a model unlike any other out there in the marketplace and that definitely makes the work worthwhile. If, like us, you’ve had a Streamlined Princess Coronation on your mind for years, this model is likely to ‘scratch the itch’ once and for all!
The Streamlined Princess Coronation shares the same chassis as last year's Duchess, as that locomotive was designed with the streamlined version in mind. However, the body and tenders are completely new tooling and share nothing with the old version.
With no surviving example of a Streamlined Princess Coronation in existence (as mentioned at the start of the year, the ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ at the NRM isn’t in original configuration), we relied upon the quantity and quality of reference material and drawings available to us.
However, that’s not all we have for you on the Streamlined Princess Coronation. Like us, many of you will have been blown away by the evocative artwork that has been supplied alongside these models. Produced by Stephen Millership, his artwork was the perfect fit for us and it took pride of place in the 2018 Catalogue.
Stephen himself states on his website, “Another childhood dream come true, my Duchess of Hamilton illustration appears in the Hornby Catalogue 2018, chuffed.” Stephen also took to Twitter to express his delight at being featured on this new project.
If you’d like to know more about Stephen’s artwork, please visit his website as we can attest that he is an absolute pleasure to work with and we hope you’ll be seeing his artwork with Hornby again soon.
Unfortunately, there’s no samples to show you of the Streamlined Princess Coronation just yet, however, you can be sure that as soon as we have them they’ll be included in The Engine Shed. While you have seen the Engineering Sample in this edition, there’s one more item that we have for you. Here we can present the planned decoration for the R3623 6221 ‘Queen Elizabeth’ model. Often, we skip showing you this step and just include the Decoration Sample itself, but with no model we felt the artwork was the next best thing – enjoy!
We’d like to bring your attention, in particular, to the separate decorated cab detail, lining on the silver lines themselves, and the winged lights, offering even more detail on this model. We’ve also got an extra image here of the wheels, which shows a real ‘point of difference’ from the older incarnation of the Streamlined Princess Coronation.
As we mentioned at the start, there are one or two more samples that we have to show you. The first is another Engineering Sample, which shows the model in an early state during the production cycle. This sample is, of course, for the Rebuilt Patriot, R3614 5521 ‘Rhyl’ and R3633 45534 ‘E. Tootal Broadhurst’.
Lastly, for our samples, there’s a Decoration Sample of the R3630 A4 ‘Woodcock’. Appearing in LNER lined apple green, we hope this image offers you a great idea of what’s to come later in the year as we approach release.
It’s that time of year again as The London Festival of Railway Modelling is upon us. Taking place at the historic Alexandra Palace, Hornby will be in attendance with a stand and all the latest models and samples. The team will be on hand ready to answer your questions, pass on any suggestions and chat about any subject you like (well … maybe not any subject).
‘Ally Pally’ is always an incredible experience for us, and being one of the closest events to us, almost feels like home turf. We look forward to seeing all of you who are lucky enough to be able to attend and wish anyone travelling to the event a safe journey.
That’s all we have for you this month and we do hope you’ve enjoyed March’s blog. We had actually initially pencilled in another subject but, much like you, we can occasionally be left with our fingers crossed waiting for deliveries. Despite that, the Streamlined Princess Coronation is a fantastic project and one we've been eager to tell you about for some time (it's only fair following the Lord Nelson and J36 after all!). There’s likely to be a lot more to come on the Princess Coronation (especially given all the additional detailing) and we’ll be sure to share it all with you as soon as we can.
As we always ask, please do let us know what you think about this edition in the usual places: Facebook, Twitter and our Official Forum. It’s incredibly useful for us to hear from you, so please make yourself heard online.
We’re planning to be back in April (on the 20th), where we hope to offer our slightly delayed retrospective.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of The Engine Shed, and until next time,
The Engine Shed Team
© Hornby Hobbies Ltd. All rights reserved.