LMS Coronation Class

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LMS Princess Coronation Class
Duchess of Hamilton - 2006-05-06.jpg
46229 in so called 'semi-streamlined' condition at Tyseley, 6 May 2006.
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer William Stanier
Builder LMS Crewe Works
Build date 1937–1948
Total produced 38
Configuration 4-6-2
UIC class 2′C1′ h4
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Leading dia. 3 ft 0 in (0.914 m)
Driver dia. 6 ft 9 in (2.057 m)
Trailing dia. 3 ft 9 in (1.143 m)
Minimum curve
  • 6 chains (120 m) normal
  • 4 12 chains (91 m) dead slow
Wheelbase 62 ft 11 in (19.177 m)
 • Engine 37 ft 0 in (11.278 m)
 • Drivers 14 ft 6 in (4.420 m)
 • Tender 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m)
  • Streamlined: 73 ft 9 34 in (22.498 m)
  • Conventional: 73 ft 10 14 in (22.511 m)
Height 13 ft 3 in (4.039 m)
Loco weight
  • Streamlined: 108.1 long tons (121 short tons; 110 t)
  • Conventional: 105.25 long tons (117.88 short tons; 106.94 t)
  • 6256/6257: 108.5 long tons (122 short tons; 110 t)
Tender weight
  • 6220–6255: 56.35 long tons (63.11 short tons; 57.25 t)
  • 6256/6257: 56.50 long tons (63.28 short tons; 57.41 t)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 10 long tons (11.2 short tons; 10.2 t)
Water cap 4,000 imp gal (18,000 l; 4,800 US gal)
Firebox type  
 • Firegrate area 50 sq ft (4.6 m2)
 • Model LMS type 1X
 • Tube plates 19 ft 3 in (5.867 m)
 • Small tubes 2 38 in (60 mm), 129 off
 • Large tubes 5 18 in (130 mm), 40 off
Boiler pressure 250 psi (1.72 MPa)
Heating surface 2,807 sq ft (260.8 m2)
 • Tubes and flues 2,577 sq ft (239.4 m2)
 • Firebox 230 sq ft (21 m2)
 • Heating area 822–856 sq ft (76.4–79.5 m2)
Cylinders 4
Cylinder size 16 12 in × 28 in (419 mm × 711 mm)
Valve gear Walschaerts for outside cylinders with rocking shafts for inside cylinders
Valve type Piston valves
Performance figures
Tractive effort 40,000 lbf (180 kN)
Power class 7P, later 8P
  • LMS: 6220–6256
  • BR: 46220–46256
Withdrawn 1962–1964
Preserved 6229, 6233, 6235
Disposition Three preserved, remainder scrapped

The London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) Coronation Class, also known as Princess Coronation Class, is a class of express passenger steam locomotives designed by William Stanier. They were an enlarged and improved version of the LMS Princess Royal Class. Several examples were originally built as streamlined, though the streamlining was later removed. The non-streamlined locomotives built during 1938 were often referred to as Duchesses, though to enginemen they were often known as Big Lizzies.

They were the most powerful passenger steam locomotives ever to be built for the LMS network, estimated at around 3,300 horsepower (2,500 kW), making them far more powerful than the diesel engines that ultimately replaced them.[1]


Design History[edit]

Although the prior introduction of the Princess Royal class had provided the LMS with more powerful locomotives to be used on the main line between London Euston and Glasgow Central, it could be seen by 1936 that more such locomotives would be needed, particularly as it was intended to introduce a new non-stop service between those cities. Initially, it was planned to build five more Princess Royals, but the Chief Technical Assistant and Chief Draughtsman at the LMS Derby Works, Tom Coleman, persuaded Stanier that he could design a locomotive that was more powerful, more reliable and easier to maintain. Stanier was convinced and plans were put in progress to construct five locomotives of the new class.[2] When Stanier was called on to perform an assignment in India, Coleman became responsible for most of the detailed design in his absence.[3]

Just as the new design was approaching finalisation, the LMS marketing department threw a spanner into the works. The London & North Eastern Railway (LNER) had recently introduced its streamlined Class A4 locomotive which had captured the imagination of the public, and the marketing department persuaded the board that the new locomotives should be streamlined too. This was problematic in that the new design was so large that it only just conformed to the maximum loading gauge for the main line and it was sufficiently heavy that it was close to the Civil Engineer's maximum weight limit. Nevertheless, Coleman managed to design a streamlined steel casing that hugged the locomotive so tightly that it could still meet the loading gauge requirements. The casing weighed some 5 long tons (5.6 short tons; 5.1 t), but Coleman managed to save an equivalent weight in the locomotive itself.[4][5]

The streamlining is probably best described as reminiscent of an upside down bathtub. The casing was tested in a wind tunnel, and retained after it was found to be as good as other forms of streamlining.[3] After introduction it was subsequently found that its aerodynamic form failed to disturb the air sufficiently to lift the exhaust from the chimney, thus obstructing the driver's vision with smoke.[6]

Construction History[edit]

The first five locomotives, Nos. 6220–6224, were built in 1937 at the LMS Crewe works at a cost of £11,641 each.[7] Starting with No. 6220, Coronation, they were streamlined and painted Caledonian Railway blue with silver horizontal lines that was repeated on the coaches of the Coronation Scot train they were built to haul.[5]

In 1938 the second five locomotives of the class, Nos. 6225–6229, were also built streamlined (at a cost of £11,342 each)[8] commencing with No 6225 Duchess of Gloucester. They were painted in the more traditional crimson lake, with gilt horizontal lining. This was to match the standard LMS stock and a planned brand new Coronation train made up of articulated 1939 coaches. Although a prototype for this trainset was built and exhibited in America it was never put into service due to the outbreak of the Second World War.[9]

Stanier, the designer of the locomotives, felt that the added weight and difficulty in maintenance due to the streamlining was too high a price to pay for the actual benefits gained at high speed.[citation needed] Therefore in 1938 a third batch of five locomotives was built, Nos. 6230-6234, without streamlining at a cost of £10,659 each.[10] The first of this batch was No. 6230 Duchess of Buccleuch.

6229 "Duchess of Hamilton" on display at York after re-streamlining at Tyseley

During 1939 and 1940, a fourth batch of ten locomotives (Nos. 6235-6244} was built in streamlined form commencing with No. 6235 City of Birmingham. The names of cities for the locomotives seems to have been adopted because the LMS was fast running out of names of Duchesses. These locomotives came at a cost of £10,838 each.[11] It can be seen that the names of the cities in this batch were intended to be in strict alphabetical order. This came to an end when No. 6244 City of Leeds was patriotically renamed King George VI in 1941.

The fifth batch consisting of four locomotives, Nos. 6245-6248, appeared during 1943, the first being No. 6245 City of London. The individual costs varied between £10,632 to £11,777.[12]

In 1944 another batch of four, Nos. 6249-6252, was at last built in unstreamlined form, commencing with No. 6249 City of Sheffield. The cost of these locomotives was £11,644 each.[13] A follow-up batch of three locomotives (Nos. 6253-6255) was built in 1946 commencing with No. 6253 City of St. Albans and this batch came at the inflationary cost of £15,460 each.[14] At last the hanging smoke issue was addressed and smoke deflectors were incorporated into the design of this batch.

The final two locomotives were constructed to the modified design of George Ivatt who had taken Stanier's place following the latter's retirement. . The first, No. 6256 built in 1947, was the last of the class to be built before nationalisation and it was therefore named in honour of its original designer Sir William A. Stanier, F.R.S.. The unveiling of the nameplate was performed by Stanier himself.[15] In 1948, the privately owned railways were nationalised and incorporated into British Railways. It was within this new regime that No. 46257 was completed - in common with other LMS locomotives, 40000 had been added to the original numbers. The spiraling costs after the Second World War, combined with the design changes, resulted in the individual cost of these locomotives escalating to £21,411.[16]


The original design of tender, which came to be known as Type 'A' was designed for the first ten streamlined locomotives. These were of welded tank construction and included side sheets extending from the rear of the tender, presumably to prevent drag from eddies between the tender and the leading coach. 28 of these were constructed to be coupled with all the 24 streamliners (Nos. 6220-6229 and Nos. 6235-6248) as well as four of the unstreamlined locomotives (Nos. 6249-6252).[17] In practice, it would seem that the side sheets made it more difficult to access the water filler as well as the couplings.

A second, more traditional design followed for the initial batch of five unstreamlined locomotives (Nos. 6230-6234). Again they were of welded tank construction, but lacked any of the streamlining add-ons. Even without the streamlining Type 'B' tenders were distinguishable from Type 'A' by having a slightly different profile at the front and steps and handrails at the rear.[17]

The third design initially was Type 'C1' and it was paired with the three locomotives Nos. 6253-6255. It was partially riveted and resembled a Type 'A' at its front end and a Type 'B' at the rear. The design was quickly followed by Type 'C2'. The only difference from the 'C1' was that it possessed a lower front edge. Only two 'C2's were built and they were coupled to the last two of the class, Nos. 6256 and 6257.[17]

Whilst nearly half of the class remained wedded to their original tenders, others received new partners. After the Second World War, when the streamlined tenders were de-streamlined, it was difficult to spot any mismatches. The most readily visible mismatches were those of locomotives Nos. 6249-6252 where pre-produced Type 'A' streamlined tenders were married to unstreamlined locomotives.[18]

An unusual feature of all Coronation Class tenders was that they were fitted with a steam-operated coal pusher to bring the coal down to the firing plate. When this was in operation a plume of steam could be seen rising from the rear face of the coal bunker backwall. This equipment greatly helped the locomotive's fireman to meet the high demands for power during the non-stop run of 399 miles (642 km) between London Euston and Glasgow Central, when operating the Coronation Scot train.


Double chimneys[edit]

Single chimneys were initially fitted to Nos. 6220–6234 when built. Following a successful trial using No. 6234 Duchess of Abercorn on 26 February 1939, these were replaced with double blastpipes and chimneys between 1939 and 1944. From No. 6235 onwards, all the locomotives were built with double blastpipes and chimneys.

Smoke deflectors[edit]

Following a report by George Ivatt in 1945, smoke deflectors were introduced due to drifting smoke obscuring the crew's forward vision.[15] The first locomotive to be fitted with smoke deflectors from the outset was No. 6253 City of St. Albans in September 1946. All the following four locomotives included this feature. The first unstreamlined locomotive to be retrofitted was No. 6232 Duchess of Montrose in February 1945 and the last was No. 6251 City of Nottingham in August 1948.

Removal of streamlining[edit]

George Ivatt's 1945 report also recommended the removal of all streamlining casings and it was removed from the fitted locomotives from 1946 onwards.[15] It had been found to be of little value at speeds below 90 mph (140 km/h), and was unpopular with running shed employees as it caused difficulty of access for maintenance. The first step towards de-streamlining was carried out during the Second World War when many of the streamlined tenders had their side sheets cut away at the rear of the tender. Many photographs exist showing this measure.[19][20] The removal of the streamlining proper commenced in April 1946 with No. 6235 City of Birmingham. All de-streamlining coincided with the fitting of smoke deflectors apart from No. 6227 Duchess of Devonshire which had to wait from August 1946 to February 1947 to receive its deflectors. Only three locomotives were still streamlined at the end of the LMS period and they had been stripped by the end of 1949. Only 46243 City of Lancaster carried its British Railways number while streamlined.

Initially, locomotives that had previously been streamlined could be readily recognised by a sloping top to the front of the smokebox; however, all were eventually re-equipped with rounded smokeboxes. The sloping top led to the train-spotters' nickname of Semis (i.e. semi-streamlined). The first locomotive to receive a circular smokebox was No. 6221 Queen Elizabeth in September 1952. The last one to retain the sloping top was 46246 City of Manchester which appeared with its new smokebox in May 1960.

Final modifications[edit]

The final two locomotives Nos. 6256 and 6257 William A. Stanier, F.R.S and City of Salford were given many new features. In order to raise the mileage between general overhauls from 70,000 to 100,000, measures were taken to decrease wear to the axle bearings and hornguides through the use of roller bearings and manganese steel linings. Other modifications included a cast steel trailing truck, rocking grate, hopper ashpan and redesigned cab-sides.[15][21]


46227 'Duchess of Devonshire' working hard to climb to Beattock Summit in 1957

The first five locomotives, Nos. 6220-6224, were painted in Caledonian blue with banding in silver-coloured aluminium paint.[22] Wheels, lining to the edges of the bands, and the background to the chromium-plated nameplates were painted in a darker blue, Navy or Prussian blue.[22] The second batch of streamlined locomotives, Nos. 6225-6229, were painted in crimson lake, with banding in gold lined with vermilion and black.[22] Nameplates had a black background.[23] LMS Shop Grey was carried briefly in service on 6229 Duchess of Hamilton from 7 September 1938 until its return to Crewe Works later that year, on 9 December 1938,[24][25] to be painted crimson lake as No. 6220,[22] in preparation for the 1939 visit to the New York World's Fair, USA. Insignia for both liveries was in unshaded sans-serif.

The non-streamlined Nos. 6230-6234 were painted in a special version of the standard crimson lake livery.[26] The locomotives were lined out in gold bordered with fine red lines, with serif lettering and numerals in gold leaf and vermillion shading. Handrails and sundry small external fittings were chrome-plated, as were the nameplates, which had a black background.[26]

Streamlined locomotives Nos. 6245-6248 were outshopped at Crewe in 1943 in plain black.[27] The following batch, Nos. 6249-6252, were outshopped without their streamlined fairings, but with streamlined tenders, again painted unlined black with red-shaded yellow numerals and lettering.[27]

In March 1946 No. 6234 Duchess of Abercorn was painted in a blue/grey colour.[28][29][30] This was the colour of a proposed new post-war livery, one version of which had a pale straw yellow line along the running plate, yellow and black edging to cab and tender, and unshaded sans-serif numerals and lettering.[31]

No. 6256 Sir William A. Stanier FRS was outshopped in 1947 in black, with lining and edging in maroon with fine straw yellow lining. Lettering and numbering were in a sans-serif grotesque font, in yellow with an inner maroon line.[32]

No. 6234 was painted in BR experimental lined black in October 1948.[33][34] No. 46257, which was completed after nationalisation, was turned out in BR black.

BR Blue was carried by 27 of the 38 locomotives, the first two being so painted in May 1949. One locomotive is known to have carried the blue livery until June 1954.

BR Green was introduced in November 1951 with 46232 Duchess of Montrose.[35] Between October 1955[35] and December 1957,[36] all 38 locos carried it concurrently, the only livery the entire class carried.[37] Locomotives allocated to the Scottish Region remained green until withdrawal.[36]

BR Red was carried on 16 locomotives from the late 1950s: Nos. 46225-6, 46228-9, 46236, 46238, 46240, 46243-48, 46251, 46254, 46256 allocated to the London Midland Region.[36][38] 46245 was the first, in December 1957; a further fifteen examples followed between May and November 1958.[36] The style of lining varied: the first six repaints into crimson (including 46245) were lined out in the LMS style; the last ten received the BR style of lining as used on the standard green livery; no. 46247, originally lined in the LMS style, was given the BR style in July 1959; and by November 1961 those with the BR lining were repainted to match 46245.[36]

From September 1964, a yellow diagonal stripe on the cab side denoted a restriction not to work under the 25kV overhead wires south of Crewe. Within a short time of this being applied, the remainder of the class were withdrawn.

After the formation of British Railways in 1948, some locos ran with tenders carrying BRITISH RAILWAYS lettering. This was applied to three different liveries: the LMS-style lined black livery (nos. 46224, 46225, 46236, 46257);[39] the BR experimental dark blue livery (nos. 46224, 46227, 46230–2, 46241);[40] and the BR experimental lined black livery (nos. 46226, 46234, 46238, 46246, 46248, 46251, 46252, 46256).[41] The early BR crest was applied from 1949, this in turn was replaced by the later crest from 1956.


Between 1937 and 1939, two significant records were set by locomotives of the Coronation class. Before the introduction of the Coronation service, No. 6220 headed a special train of invited guests from London Euston to Crewe on 29 June 1937. Just south of Crewe, the train (disputably) achieved a speed of 114 miles per hour (183 km/h), narrowly beating the previous British record for a steam locomotive (held by the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER)). Insufficient braking distance had been left before entering a series of crossover points at Crewe, and although the train held the rails, much crockery in the dining car was smashed.[42][43] The LNER was to gain its revenge on 3 June 1938 when Class A4 No. 4468, Mallard regained the British and world records with a recorded maximum speed of 126 miles per hour (203 km/h).[44]

Following an earlier test using No. 6234 Duchess of Abercorn which indicated that the locomotive's power was compromised due to its single blastpipe, a double blastpipe and chimney were installed.[45] On 26 February 1939, a retest was undertaken and No. 6234 hauled a train of 20 coaches, including a dynanometer car, from Crewe to Glasgow and back. Even though the load was 610 tons, the train was propelled up the climbs to the summits at Shap and Beattock at unprecedented speeds. Drawbar horsepower (the power conveyed directly to the 20 coach train) was frequently over 2,000 hp (1,500 kW) and a maximum of 2,511 hp (1,872 kW) was recorded. This remains the official British record for a steam locomotive to this day.[46][47] Because there were unmeasured variables, the horsepower at the cylinders could only be estimated; Cecil J. Allen thought it to be 3,333 hp (2,485 kW) whilst O. S. Nock was more conservative at 3,209 hp (2,393 kW).[48][49]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 21 July 1945, locomotive No. 6231 Duchess of Atholl was hauling an express passenger train which overran signals and collided with a freight train that was being shunted at Ecclefechan, Dumfriesshire. Two people were killed and 3 were injured.[50]
  • On 21 July 1947,locomotive No. 6244 King George VI was derailed at 60 mph (97 km/h) near Polesworth, Warwickshire due to the poor state of the track following the years of neglect throughout the Second World War. Coaches piled up behind it and five passengers were killed and an unspecified number injured.[51]
City of Nottingham.
  • On 17 April 1948, locomotive No. 6251 City of Nottingham was hauling a mail train which was in a rear-end collision with a passenger train at Winsford, Cheshire. In the first major accident for the newly formed British Railways, 24 people were killed.[52]
  • On 25 April 1949, locomotive No. 46230 Duchess of Buccleuch was hauling a passenger train that overran a signal and was derailed at Douglas Park Signal Box, Motherwell, Lanarkshire. The signalman was suspected of having deliberately moved points under the train.[53]
  • On 8 October 1952, locomotive No. 46242 City of Glasgow was hauling an express passenger train when it overran signals and crashed into a local passenger train at Harrow and Wealdstone, Middlesex. Another express passenger train ran into the wreckage. In the second deadliest railway accident in the United Kingdom, 112 people were killed at the scene and 10 more died later from their injuries.[54][55]
  • On 3 February 1954, locomotive No. 46250 City of Lichfield was hauling a passenger train that was derailed inside Watford Tunnel, Hertfordshire due to a broken rail. The rear three carriages became divided from the train at Watford Junction station, with one of them ending up on the platform. Fifteen people were injured.[56]


Stock list[edit]


Three Duchesses have been preserved. (4)6229 Duchess of Hamilton, (4)6233 Duchess of Sutherland which have both been in service on the main line hauling railtours. The third locomotive, (4)6235 City of Birmingham, was the centrepiece in the now defunct Birmingham science museum. The locomotive was put in place and the museum built around her. (4)6235 is now located at ThinkTank in Birmingham.

Following a successful appeal run by Steam Railway Magazine, 46229 was re-streamlined. The locomotive was moved to Tyseley Locomotive Works, where the work was carried out. The project was completed in 2009, and the locomotive returned to York on 18 May, now wearing her pre-war number 6229 and taking her place at the heart of a new National Railway Museum temporary exhibition. Currently only 46233 is operational and still has a mainline certificate. 'Duchess of Sutherland' is owned by The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust and is based at the West Shed, Midland Railway-Butterley, Derbyshire.



  1. ^ Roden 2008, p. 103.
  2. ^ Roden 2008, pp. 18-19.
  3. ^ a b Bellwood & Jenkinson 1976, p. 73.
  4. ^ Roden 2008, pp. 23-25.
  5. ^ a b Haresnape 1989, p. 123.
  6. ^ Bellwood & Jenkinson 1976, pp. 73-74.
  7. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 5-13.
  8. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 14-20.
  9. ^ Roden 2008, p. 49.
  10. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 26-34.
  11. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 36-55.
  12. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 57-60.
  13. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 62-66.
  14. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 68-72.
  15. ^ a b c d Roden 2008, p. 64.
  16. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 73-77.
  17. ^ a b c Jenkinson 1982, pp. 2-3.
  18. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 3,66, Plate 168.
  19. ^ Jenkinson 1982, pp. 19,42,48,52,59, Plates 34,96,114,125,144.
  20. ^ Talbot 2011, pp. 100-104,106, Plates 147-150,154-157,159.
  21. ^ Nock 1984, p. 146.
  22. ^ a b c d Haresnape 1989, p. 115.
  23. ^ Haresnape 1989, p. 125.
  24. ^ Talbot 2002, p. 60, plate 77.
  25. ^ Jennison et al. 2009, p. 19.
  26. ^ a b Haresnape 1989, p. 124.
  27. ^ a b Haresnape 1989, p. 138.
  28. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, pp. 105,143,166.
  29. ^ Jennison et al. 2009, p. 49.
  30. ^ Binns 1988, p. 18.
  31. ^ Haresnape 1989, p. 139.
  32. ^ Haresnape 1989, pp. 140-141.
  33. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, pp. 143,148,150,166.
  34. ^ Jennison et al. 2009, p. 51.
  35. ^ a b Hunt et al. 2008, p. 153.
  36. ^ a b c d e Hunt et al. 2008, p. 157.
  37. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, p. 136.
  38. ^ Jennison et al. 2009, p. 118.
  39. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, pp. 145,147–8.
  40. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, p. 148.
  41. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, p. 150.
  42. ^ a b Nock 1984, pp. 82-83.
  43. ^ a b Roden 2008, pp. 26-31.
  44. ^ Nock 1984, p. 86.
  45. ^ Roden 2008, pp. 38-42.
  46. ^ a b Roden 2008, pp. 42-46.
  47. ^ a b Nock 1984, pp. 86-87.
  48. ^ Roden 2008, p. 46.
  49. ^ Nock 1984, p. 87.
  50. ^ Hoole 1983, p. 48.
  51. ^ Talbot 2011, p. 83, Plates 117-118.
  52. ^ Earnshaw 1991, p. 30.
  53. ^ Vaughan 1989, pp. 18–19.
  54. ^ Trevena 1980, p. 45.
  55. ^ Rolt & Kichenside 1982, p. 288.
  56. ^ Earnshaw 1991, p. 34.
  57. ^ a b c Hunt et al. 2008, p. 166.


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External links[edit]