The farmlands of Cornwall are well known for the production of… Clotted Cream. And very bad for the health of tourists it is too 😉 Cornwall has much else to share – beautiful scenery, maritime heritage and mining, come to mind. But one thing Cornwall could not be claimed to be is a prairie so why the title?

A visit to the Bodmin and Wenford railway will answer that question – the 45xx Prairie tank working the passenger services in the dying days of the tourist season. So, why Prairie? In America steam locomotives of a 2-6-2 wheel arrangement were referred to as prairies in much the same way as 2-6-0’s were referred to as Mogul’s in Europe. The names stuck. So a 45xx of the old Great Western Railway is a Prairie Tank and much loved by GWR enthusiasts. 5552 on the Bodmin and Wenford Railway is a classic example of the type 🙂

Our day out at the Bodmin and Wenford Railway gave us the the chance to sample one of these engines in its home environment and the atmosphere was great. Please see the photos and enjoy…

Bodmin General
5552 stands in Bodmin General Station with a service to Boscarne Junction
5552 Runs Around Her Train
5552 Runs Around Her Train
The Crew
The Crew
5552
Drifting Steam and 5552
Bodmin General
Bodmin General – The Age of Steam

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   She entered service in 1938 and was withdrawn in February 1964 during the rapid dieselisation of British Railways.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. 🙂