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 230 sq ft (21 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 50 sq ft (4.6 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Withdrawn 1962–1964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 is a class of express passenger steam locomotives designed by William Stanier. They were an enlarged version of the LMS Princess Royal Class. Several examples were originally built as streamlined, though this was later removed. The non-streamlined locomotives 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 3300 horsepower and making them far more powerful than the diesel engines that replaced them.[1]


Initial construction[edit]

The first five locomotives, Nos. 6220–6224, were built in 1937 at Crewe. They were streamlined and painted Caledonian Railway blue with silver horizontal lines to match the Coronation Scot train they were built to haul.[2] Stanier was absent from the LMS during the period in which the design was developed, and the chief draughtsman at Derby, Tom Coleman, was responsible for most of the detailed design.[3] It was Coleman who designed the streamlined casing.[2] The streamlining is probably best described as reminiscent of an upside down bathtub and was fitted largely for publicity reasons.[citation needed] 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] The casing was tested in a wind tunnel, and retained after it was found to be as good as other forms of streamlining.[3] In use its aerodynamic form failed to disturb the air sufficiently to lift the exhaust from the chimney, thus obstructing the driver's vision with smoke.[4]

Prior to the introduction of the Coronation service, No. 6220 underwent speed trials with a special train in 1937. Just south of Crewe, the train achieved a speed of 114 miles per hour (183 km/h), beating the previous record for a steam train (held by the LNER) by a slim margin. 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. After this incident, the LMS and LNER agreed to stop dangerous record-breaking runs which were in effect publicity stunts.[citation needed]

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

The second five locomotives of the class, Nos. 6225–6229, were also streamlined, but 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 coaches. Although a prototype for this was built and exhibited in America it was never put into service due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 1938 a batch of five locomotives were built without streamlining, starting with 6230 "Duchess of Buccleuch". Further locomotives to the streamlined design, covering numbers 6235-6248 were built in 1939, 1940 and 1943. More unstreamlined locomotives 6249-6252 were built in 1944, followed by 6253-6255 in 1946. The final two locomotives were constructed to a modified design, with roller bearings, by George Ivatt and were built in 1947 (No. 6256) and 1948 (No. 46257). In 1948, British Railways were nationalised, and the class's numbers were changed; in common with other LMS locomotives, 40000 was added to the original numbers. No. 46257 was completed after nationalisation.

Early modifications[edit]

Single chimneys were initially fitted to Nos. 6220–6234 when built. These were replaced with double chimneys between 1939 and 1944. From No. 6235 onwards, the locomotives were built with double chimneys.

Smoke deflectors were added from 1945 due to drifting smoke obscuring the crew's forward vision. The last five locomotives were completed with smoke deflectors fitted.

An unusual feature of 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 loco's fireman to meet the high demands for power during the non-stop run of 299 miles (481 km) between London Euston and Carlisle Citadel, when operating the Royal Scot train to and from Glasgow Central.

Removal of streamlining[edit]

The streamlining was removed from the fitted locomotives from 1946 onwards. 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. 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 last one to retain the sloping top was 46246 in 1959.


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.[5] 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.[5] The second batch of streamlined locomotives, Nos. 6225-6229, were painted in crimson lake, with banding in gold lined with vermilion and black.[5] Nameplates had a black background.[6] 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,[7][8] to be painted crimson lake as No. 6220,[5] 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.[9] 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.[9]

Streamlined locomotives Nos. 6245-6248 were outshopped at Crewe in 1943 in plain black.[10] 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.[10]

In March 1946 No. 6234 Duchess of Abercorn was painted in a blue/grey colour.[11][12][13] 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.[14]

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.[15]

No. 6234 was painted in BR experimental lined black in October 1948.[16][17] 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.[18] Between October 1955[18] and December 1957,[19] all 38 locos carried it concurrently, the only livery the entire class carried.[20] Locomotives allocated to the Scottish Region remained green until withdrawal.[19]

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.[19][21] 46245 was the first, in December 1957; a further fifteen examples followed between May and November 1958.[19] 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.[19]

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);[22] the BR experimental dark blue livery (nos. 46224, 46227, 46230–2, 46241);[23] and the BR experimental lined black livery (nos. 46226, 46234, 46238, 46246, 46248, 46251, 46252, 46256).[24] The early BR crest was applied from 1949, this in turn was replaced by the later crest from 1956.

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.[25]
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.[26]
  • 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.[27]
  • 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.[28][29]
  • 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.[30]


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, p. 3.
  2. ^ a b Haresnape 1989, p. 123.
  3. ^ a b Bellwood & Jenkinson 1976, p. 73.
  4. ^ Bellwood & Jenkinson 1976, pp. 73-74.
  5. ^ a b c d Haresnape 1989, p. 115.
  6. ^ Haresnape 1989, p. 125.
  7. ^ Talbot 2002, p. 60, plate 77.
  8. ^ Jennison et al. 2009, p. 19.
  9. ^ a b Haresnape 1989, p. 124.
  10. ^ a b Haresnape 1989, p. 138.
  11. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, pp. 105,143,166.
  12. ^ Jennison et al. 2009, p. 49.
  13. ^ Binns 1988, p. 18.
  14. ^ Haresnape 1989, p. 139.
  15. ^ Haresnape 1989, pp. 140-141.
  16. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, pp. 143,148,150,166.
  17. ^ Jennison et al. 2009, p. 51.
  18. ^ a b Hunt et al. 2008, p. 153.
  19. ^ a b c d e Hunt et al. 2008, p. 157.
  20. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, p. 136.
  21. ^ Jennison et al. 2009, p. 118.
  22. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, pp. 145,147–8.
  23. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, p. 148.
  24. ^ Hunt et al. 2008, p. 150.
  25. ^ Hoole, Ken (1983). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 4. Redruth: Atlantic Books. p. 48. ISBN 0 906899 07 9. 
  26. ^ Earnshaw, Alan (1989). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 5. Penryn: Atlantic Books. p. 30. ISBN 0-906899-35-4. 
  27. ^ Vaughan, Adrian (1989). Obstruction Danger. Wellingborough: Patrick Stephens Limited. pp. 18–19. ISBN 1-85260-055-1. 
  28. ^ Trevena 1980, p. 45.
  29. ^ Rolt & Kichenside 1982, p. 288.
  30. ^ Earnshaw 1991, p. 34.
  31. ^ a b c Hunt et al. 2008, p. 166.


  • Bellwood, John E.; Jenkinson, David (May 1976). Gresley and Stanier: A Centenary Tribute. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 0-11-290253-7. 
  • Binns, Donald (1988). LMS Locomotives at Work - 2, Coronation Class 4-6-2. Skipton: Wyvern Publications. ISBN 0-907941-32-X. 
  • Doherty, Douglas (1973). The LMS Duchesses. ISBN 0-85242-325-X. 
  • Earnshaw, Alan (1991). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 7. Penryn: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-50-8. 
  • Haresnape, Brian (1989). Railway Liveries 1923-1947. Shepperton: Ian Allan. ISBN 0-7110-1829-4. 
  • Hunt, David; Jennison, John; Meanley, Bob; James, Fred; Essery, Bob (2008). LMS Locomotive Profiles, No. 11 - The 'Coronation' Class Pacifics. Didcot: Wild Swan. ISBN 978-1-905184-46-0. 
  • Jennison, John; Meanley, Bob; Essery, Bob; James, Fred; Hunt, David (2009). Pictorial Supplement to LMS Locomotive Profile No. 11 - The 'Coronation' Pacifics. Didcot: Wild Swan. ISBN 978-1-905184-62-0. 
  • Jenkinson, David (1982). Profile of the Duchesses. Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86093-176-5. 
  • Jenkinson, David (1980). The Power of the Duchesses. Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-86093-063-7. 
  • Longworth, Hugh. British Railway Steam Locomotives 1948-1968. ISBN 0-86093-593-0. 
  • Mannion, Roger J. (1996). The Duchess, Stanier's Masterpiece. ISBN 0-7509-0903-X. 
  • Powell, A.J. (1991). Stanier Locomotive Classes. ISBN 0-7110-1962-2. 
  • Powell, A.J. (1986). Stanier Pacifics at Work. ISBN 0-7110-1534-1. 
  • Roden, Andrew. The Duchesses: The Story of Britain's Ultimate Steam Locomotives. ISBN 1-84513-369-2. 
  • Rolt, L.T.C.; Kichenside, Geoffrey M. (1982) [1955]. Red for Danger (4th ed.). Newton Abbot: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8362-0. 
  • Rowledge, J.W.P. (1975). Engines of the LMS, built 1923–51. Oxford: Oxford Publishing Company. ISBN 0-902888-59-5. 
  • Rowledge, J.W.P. (1987). LMS Pacifics. ISBN 0-7153-8776-6. 
  • Sixsmith, Ian (1998). The Book of the Coronation Pacifics. ISBN 1-871608-94-5. 
  • Talbot, Edward (2002). The Coronation Scot, The Streamline Era on the LMS. Stafford: Edward Talbot. ISBN 0-9542787-1-2. 
  • Talbot, Edward (2011). LMS POWER, The 'Coronation' Class. Stafford: Edward Talbot. ISBN 978-0-9542787-5-5. 
  • Trevena, Arthur (1980). Trains in Trouble. Vol. 1. Redruth: Atlantic Books. ISBN 0-906899-01-X. 

External links[edit]