LMS Princess Coronation Class 6229 Duchess of Hamilton
6229 was built in 1938 at Crewe as the tenth member of its class and the last in the second batch of five red streamliners, complete with gold speed cheat stripes (the original five 6220-4 having been given a unique Caledonian blue livery with silver stripes). In 1939 no. 6229 swapped identities with the first of the class 6220 Coronation and was sent to North America with a specially-constructed Coronation Scot train to appear at the 1939 New York World's Fair. There was therefore for a while a blue 6229 Duchess of Hamilton in the UK and a red 6220 Coronation in the USA. R.A. Riddles drove for most of the tour, owing to the illness of the assigned driver. The locomotive (though not its carriages) was shipped back from the States in 1942 after the outbreak of the Second World War, and the identities of the locomotives were swapped back in 1943.
6229 was painted wartime black livery in November 1944. Her streamlined casing was removed for maintenance-efficiency reasons in December 1947 and she was then given the LMS 1946 black livery. In 1948 she passed into BR ownership. BR added 40000 to her number to become 46229 on 15 April 1948. She was painted in the short-lived BR blue livery in April 1950, but was soon repainted on 26 April 1952 into Brunswick green. The semi-streamlined smokebox was replaced with a round-topped smokebox in February 1957, and in September 1958 she was painted maroon. The lining was BR style to begin with; then in October 1959 she received the current LMS style lining which she has carried for all her years in preservation.
46229 was saved from the scrap yard along with her classmate 6233 Duchess of Sutherland, as a result of Sir Billy Butlin's efforts to place these locomotives as children's playground exhibits at his holiday camps. The third preserved member of the class 6235 City of Birmingham was donated by British Railways to Birmingham City Council for preservation within the Birmingham Industrial Museum.
Having started construction work in the winter of 1961, the new £2million Butlins Minehead camp opened to the public on 26 May 1962. Duchess of Hamilton and LB&SCR A1 class Knowle were added in 1964, after being transported there by Pickfords.
Under a camp refurbishment and modernisation programme, the locomotives left the holiday camp in March 1975 via railhead access at Minehead railway station and the then closed West Somerset Railway. In 1976, the Friends of the National Railway Museum accepted the locomotive from Butlin's on a twenty-year loan deal, and immediately began to restore and preserve it. It first ran as the Museum's flagship locomotive in 1980 and was operational until 1985. After purchasing the locomotive from Butlin's in 1987, after an extensive overhaul it resumed running in 1989, withdrawn from main line duty in 1996 when its seven-year boiler ticket expired.
From 1998 to 2005, 46229 was a static exhibit in the National Railway Museum, standing next to Mallard. In September 2005 the National Railway Museum announced that the streamlining would be re-instated, returning the locomotive to its original appearance. This work was undertaken at Tyseley Locomotive Works and on 18 May 2009 it was returned to the National Railway Museum, going on display in a new exhibition called "Duchess of Hamilton Streamlined: Styling An Era". The locomotive is currently on display next to a 1933 Chrysler Airflow, with plans but no timescale to return her to steam in the future.
In popular culture
The Duchess featured in the 1986 documentary Steam Days with Miles Kington on a journey over the Settle to Carlisle Railway. The presenter meets Kim Maylon, the principal engineer who looked after the locomotive at the National Railway Museum in York, for the engine's preparation before its epic trip.
Although not mentioned in the text, the Duchess appears alongside Thomas and Mallard in The Railway Series book Thomas and the Great Railway Show, on the occasion of Thomas's visit to the National Railway Museum, York.
She features in the 1983 film The Dresser starring Albert Finney and Tom Courtenay. Albert Finney's character, an ageing actor, arrives late just as the train is pulling out of the station. He shouts at the top of his voice 'Stop, That, Train!'
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