A-Z Archive: D Challenge

From my Archive I choose…

D is for Duchess

Duchess of Hamilton

46229 Duchess of Hamilton arrives at York

One of a class of 38 express passenger locomotives designed by Sir William Stanier for the London, Midland and Scottish Railway Company.   She entered service in 1938 and was withdrawn in February 1964 during the rapid dieselisation of British Railways.   Saved for posterity by Sir Billy Butlin she spent some years at Butlin’s Minehead holiday camp where children could play on her.   In 1976 she was loaned to the National Railway Museum and was subsequently purchased by the museum in 1987.   This photograph was taken in April 1985 when she operated the Yorkshire  Coast Express.   Recently she has been restored to her original streamlined guise, as she entered service in 1938 – Photo by Jon Benton available from the Railway Herald site.

Although the class became known as The Duchesses, they bore a mixture of names.   The majority were named after major British Cities.  Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary and King George VI were also honoured along with Princess Alice and Princess Alexandra.   The last but one member of the class fittingly bore the name Sir William A. Stanier F.R.S. 🙂


    1. I think the Duchesses were indeed beautiful – but I hesitate to call all modern trains eye-sores… there are some that I like! Thank you for passing by and leaving a comment 🙂

    1. Thank You Christine – Unfortunately, when fitting the streamlined casing she was made a static display so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait until they take it off again and give the boiler a full overhaul!

    1. I’m afraid they won’t all be Big Red and Steaming Tony, but I’m sure I can find some more interesting ones for future posts 🙂 As a point of interest, the Duchesses where right on the limit of how big you could build a locomotive within the old LMS loading guage!

  1. This is an absolute gem of a posting my friend, indeed
    the age of steam is alive with this fine example and I thank
    you for offering such a treat as this one truly is 🙂

    Have a great start to your Thursday 2e0mca


    1. Thanks Bob – I’m pleased to report that she is definitely not history 🙂 Although she is currently not steaming, I don’t doubt that a return to the mainline will happen again in the future. She is currently on static display in the National Railway Museum at York. Railway preservation has become almost an industry in its own right as enthusiasts rebuild lost classes from scratch – 60163 is a totally new steam locomotive built to the diagrams of the A1 Class.

  2. Beautiful locomotive !! 🙂
    That’s funny because when I first saw your photo, it makes me think about Harry Potter’s train. It looks more likely, they copy this one for the movies. ^^

    1. Hi Isabelle – the locomotive used in the films is a Great Western Railway Hall Class, number 5972. She’s named Olton Hall and you can read all about her here. I suspect that most GWR enthusiasts view the painting of one of ‘their’ engines maroon as an act of vandalism 😉

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