LMS Princess Coronation Class 6229 Duchess of Hamilton London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) Princess Coronation Class 6229 (British Railways number 46229) Duchess of Hamilton is a preserved steam locomotive.
LMS 4-6-2 PRINCESS CORONATION - 6229 DUCHESS OF HAMILTON
Built Streamlined : Crewe Sept 1938
Identity Change : Dec 1938 - 6220 Coronation
Identity Change & Double-Chimney fitted : Mar 1943 - 6229 Duchess of Hamilton
Streamlining Removed ('Semi') : Oct 1947
Curved Smokebox Top Removed : Jan 1957
Withdrawn from BR service : Feb 1964
Mainline Certified : May 1980
Mainline Re-certified : Mar 1990
Last Appearance in final BR form : Sep 2005 - Crewe Works Open Day
Curved Smokebox Top fitted ('Semi') : Tyseley May 2006
Re-streamlined : Tyseley May 2009
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 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. Duchess of Hamilton survived at Minehead Holiday Camp and it returned to steam on the main line under the auspices of the Friends of the National Railway Museum. The Museum accepted the locomotive from Butlin's in 1976 on a twenty-year loan, and purchased it in 1987. It first ran as the Museum's flagship locomotive in 1980 and was operational until 1985. After an extensive overhaul, it resumed running in 1989 and was finally 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. She is one of three preserved Duchesses, the others being 6233 Duchess of Sutherland and 46235 City of Birmingham.
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.
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 Duchess's custodian at the National Railway Museum in York for the engine's preparation for 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!'
Race for Speed I
The Golden Age
For many the newly streamlined LMSR locomotive Duchess of Hamilton, the
star in a new exhibition at the National Railway Museum (NRM), represents
the glory days of steam. As the storm clouds of war began to gather
across Europe, steam was enjoying a golden age in 1930s Britain.
London North Eastern Railway (LNER) ran the east coast main line between
Kings Cross and Edinburgh, with its famous flagship express train The
Flying Scotsman. Its archrival was the London Midland and Scottish
Railway (LMSR) which operated the west coast main line from Euston to
Glasgow with its top performing service, the Royal Scot.
The top business men in the country had to travel frequently between the
capital and the North, so both companies had to prove themselves to be
the finest railway in the world to get their share of this influential
From 1896, right through the formation of the Big Four by the Government
in 1923 and beyond, LMSR and LNER and their predecessor companies had
agreements not to compete on speed for the Scottish run. Both trains took
a leisurely 8 hours 15 minutes to cover the 400 miles.
However, in the early thirties the two companies realised that road
travel was beginning to threaten the railways' monopoly on long distance
journeys. LMSR and LNER acknowledged they had to invest in speed in order
to stay ahead and abandoned their earlier agreement. The gloves came well
and truly off and an epic duel for the speed crown began in 1932.
The duel would be led by two figures – Sir Nigel Gresley, chief
mechanical engineer for LNER and his LMSR counterpart, Sir William
Although LMSR sat at the top of the railway tree, running over 9,620
route miles and employing 233,000, it had many problems inherited from
its constituent companies, the main one being the small locomotives
favoured by the Midland Railway.
When Stanier was appointed as Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1931, LMSR
locomotives still tended to be underpowered. The former Great Western
stalwart soon made a persuasive case for a new passenger express
locomotive that would be the answer to everyone’s prayers. His brief was
simple; a machine that could run non-stop between London and Glasgow,
improving journey times and saving money.
His first attempt at creating a super-machine, the ‘Princess Royal’ class
ruled the route until 1937.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost
1935 Chrysler Airflow C1 and Duchess of Hamilton National Railway Museum York
The Chrysler Airflow was produced by the Chrysler Corporation from 1934-1937. The Airflow was the first full-size American production car to use streamlining.
The Airflow was a design classic but a commercial flop.
In Britain they were sold as the Chrysler Heston and were built at Kew near London.
The LMS Princess Coronation Class 6229 Duchess of Hamilton was built in 1938 at Crewe as the tenth member of its class and the last in the second batch of five red streamliners.
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.
The locomotive 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.
46229 was saved from the scrap yard along with 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. Duchess of Hamilton survived at Minehead Holiday Camp and it returned to steam on the main line under the auspices of the Friends of the National Railway Museum.
Race for Speed II
However Stanier and his designers were soon forced back to the drawing
board when LNER and Gresley laid down the gauntlet in 1935 with a new
breed of super sleek, super speedy locomotives – the A4 Pacifics.
Well before Mallard became the fastest locomotive of all time, the A4
Pacifics swept away the competition and made the LNER’s Silver Jubilee
service the pinnacle of railway travel. They were fast and looked fast.
On 29 September 1935, one of the locomotives, Silver Link, made its
inaugural journey from Kings Cross station to Edinburgh. It reached 112
mph, breaking all previous records.
LNER journey times were slashed and there was a sense of style and
glamour about the Silver Jubilee that was winning business. By comparison
the LMSR looked old-fashioned and slow.
LMSR were under intense pressure to retaliate and in 1936 the decision
was taken to run a new flagship train between London and Glasgow called
the Coronation Scot. This was named to celebrate the coronation of King
George VI in 1937 and, to run such a high profile service, the LMSR
needed to develop a new express engine that would be more powerful and
more reliable than anything currently on the rails.
Stanier and his team, chief draftsman Tom Coleman, Stanier's personal
assistant Robert Riddles and Crewe works manager Roland Bond, went back
to the drawing board to devise the Princess Coronation class locomotive.
The Coronations differed from their predecessors, by having bigger
boilers and larger driving wheels.
However, keeping ahead of the opposition was not just down to speed.
Style and luxury were also key factors when trying to impress the movers
and shakers of the age. Even the names of the locomotives and services at
LMSR imparted a sense of sumptuousness with their royal connotations.
Art Deco was a popular international art design movement from 1925 until
1939, affecting all spheres of society, from art to architecture. A
parallel movement within Art Deco, Streamline Moderne was influenced by
the modern aerodynamic designs emerging from a variety of fields,
Part of the LNER A4s’ appeal was their fashionable appearance.
Gresley had paid homage to the 1930s passion for Art Deco with his sleek
outer casing and so his new locomotive was seen as elegant, glamorous,
functional, and modern, along with the service it hauled. LMSR had to
respond to the appetite for streamlining with the Princess Coronation or
risk looking behind with the times.
Back in 1931, LMSR had commissioned research into streamlining, but
Stanier wasn’t convinced of its usefulness, having visited the US and
Germany to study it first hand.
However, he was soon overruled by the marketing team, who realised the
importance of image with regards to commercial success. Thanks to the
overwhelming need for positive publicity, Stanier and his team were then
forced to design the decorative streamlined casing which became an icon
of the era.
With a typical no-nonsense attitude, Stanier is supposed to have said ‘I
have decided it is better to please a fool than tease him; they can have
their bloody streamliners if they want them but we will build five proper
ones as well’.
If LNER’s A4s were the sports car of their day, the Princess Coronations
were the larger and more luxurious muscle car. The first Princess
Coronation Class locomotive, Coronation, was completed at Crewe on 1 June
1937 – an Art Deco vision of curving silver stripes against a blue
On 29 June 1937, waved off by staff involved in her construction,
Coronation made its inaugural run, reaching 114 mph. LMSR had finally
entered the competition – and in fine style. The way was paved for
Coronation’s successors including the most famous of them all in latter
years, the maroon and gold Duchess of Hamilton.
The Coronation Scot service reached unparalleled levels of luxury, not
only were the locomotives visually stunning with their rounded bodies and
metallic Art Deco stripes, the carriages also were an Art Deco fan’s
Different timbers were used in each carriage, varying from English oak to
Australian maple and walnut. Furnishings and trimmings were blue, green
and brown, each train being completed in one colour. The floors were
covered with Wilton carpeting. Fitting in with the Art Deco themes were
the metal fittings, finished satin matt chrome in the first-class
carriages, and oxidised Venetian bronze in the third-class.
Each nine-coach train seated 82 first and 150 third-class passengers,
with a firm emphasis on dining with two kitchen cars included in the
make-up of each complete set.
From its launch on 5 July 1937, the Coronation Scot ran five days a week
and proved extremely punctual. It was a worthy response to the LNER’s
challenge and spectators lined the platforms at Euston and Glasgow to
watch the new sinuous streamliners.
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The re-streamlined Duchess of Hamilton draws many admirers here. But few, if any, can boast as deep an understanding of Stanier’s masterpiece as the visitor I showed onto its footplate last week. The visitor in question had over 50 years of footplate experience, and his memories brought 6229 back to life.
Climbing onto the footplate was an emotional moment. Tired by the effort of climbing up, he stood staring at the mass of gauges, handles, leavers and wheels.
“Do you want to sit down?” I asked.
“No, no,” he assured me – he was just taking it all in. It felt strange after so many years to stand where he had stood as a young fireman (and later driver), and he needed a moment to gather his thoughts.
Thoughts gathered, he explained how the ‘mileage’ men hated the streamlined casing. How it rattled, banged and crashed like an ill fitting tin hat, as they raced at 90 miles an hour along the West Coast Main Line. Worse, you could not find leaks, as the boiler was hidden by that damn casing. Why have we put it back?
Not convinced by my explanation, he picks up the fireman’s shovel and laughs. “No man could wheel this for six hours.” The shovel is wrong, too heavy. “These engines were veracious monsters, with an endless need for coal. It was like feeding the fires of hell trying to keep them fed.”
He explained the drivers chose their fireman and then you worked as a team, even taking turns firing: it was the only way the beast could be fed. You carried an extra shovel – your hands were so wet with sweat, the shovel could fly out of your hands into the firebox. It was back-breaking, gut-wrenching work.
So why did he do it?
You got extra money, and there was some pride in working the top services. Only twelve Polmadie drivers, known as ‘mileage men’, were chosen – and you wanted to be one of them. Imagine: you’re just a working bloke, and you’re put in charge of something like this. And paid to do it.
We talked on for another 15 minutes. Then, clearly tired, he climbed down to rejoin his family. I closed up the footplate and returned to my desk, reflecting on the powerful insights first-hand experience throws on this wonderful collection.
Race for Speed III
In 1939, No. 6229 Duchess of Hamilton, now the star of a new exhibition
at the National Railway Museum, became the most famous Princess
Coronation of all time when she was shipped to America to take part in
the New York World‘s Fair, renamed and numbered as Coronation.
Art Deco was strongly adopted in the United States during the Great
Depression for its practicality and simplicity, while still portraying a
reminder of better times and the ‘American Dream.’
The 1939-40 Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was Streamline Moderne's
finest hour. Many countries around the world participated, and over 44
million people attended its exhibitions in two seasons. Here, the ‘World
of Tomorrow’ showcased the cars, kitchens and cities of the future, along
with a robot and a remarkable new device called the television.
Everything was streamlined, from the Chrysler Airflow car, to radios and
The Fair was divided into different zones, including a transportation
zone. As railroads were a major form of transport for both passengers and
freight in 1939, as airlines are for passengers today in the United
States, this was a major global showcase for the rail industry. Many
visitors to the Fair would have arrived in New York by railroad, and most
visitors had at least a moderate interest in the subject.
As the latest locomotive to come out of the Crewe workshop, it was
decided that Duchess of Hamilton should be the LMSR flagship at the
World’s Fair. As Coronation had already achieved international
recognition thanks to the breaking of the speed record and the
association with the Coronation Scot service, the Duchess took on her
class mate’s name and number.
To wow the world, the LMSR came up with a new maroon and gold colour
scheme as a change from the blue and silver livery used on the first
generation of Coronation Scot locomotives and carriages. Seven coaches
and a first class sleeping car were painted Crimson Lake with gold speed
lines and sent across with the matching Duchess of Hamilton at the head,
complete with the bell and electric headlight that were mandatory on the
Duchess of Hamilton shared the stage along with important historical
objects displayed by the various railroads and manufacturing companies,
such as the Tom Thumb (locomotive) engine. The Pennsylvania Railroad
(PRR) had their S1 engine on display. This engine was mounted on rollers
under the driver wheels, and ran continuously at 60 mph (97 km/h) all day
The Americans took Duchess of Hamilton to their hearts, on a tour around
the US in the lead up to the World Fair, crowds lined the tracks to see
her pass and on arrival in New York the crew was greeted by a welcoming
Beginning of the End
When war broke out in 1939, it spelled the end of the line for the
glamorous streamlined trains. The LMSR was ‘temporarily’ nationalised and
a speed limit of 45mph was imposed on the railways, effectively bringing
about the end of the fast expresses.
Once the austerities of World War II kicked in, Art Deco slowly lost
patronage in the West. The style which had represented such hope and
optimism began to be derided as gaudy and presenting a false image of
The war effort came first, and in the UK, luxury travel was abandoned and
the special coaches were put into storage. Locomotives were stripped of
their streamlined casings to ease maintenance.
Instead of coming home to a hero’s welcome after the success of the
World’s Fair, Duchess of Hamilton was stranded in the US, eventually
returning in 1942 to a very different Britain to the one she’d left
Like the other less well-known LMSR streamliners, she was painted black,
and some years later her now out-of-date decorative casing was removed –
she became a functional workhorse for harsher times.
After the war, the process of nationalisation and the advent of diesel
and electric technology gradually put an end to the age of steam. The
streamliners had had their day and many ended up on the scrap heap.
Resurgence of Streamline
In 1964, none other than Sir Billy Butlin came to the rescue to save two
of the Princess Coronation class locomotives Duchess of Sutherland and
Duchess of Hamilton by using them as children’s climbing frames and
activity areas for his holiday parks.
Duchess of Hamilton, the once proud giant of the tracks, still had the
potential to draw the crowds even without the streamlined casing that had
wowed the world back in the glory days of Art Deco.
In 1976 the NRM started a 20 year loan agreement with Butlins which then
turned into the full purchase of Duchess of Hamilton in 1987. The
locomotive was returned to steam in 1980 and hauled frequent excursion
trains until her last boiler ticket ran out in 1996.
The main significance of the Princess Coronations lay in their Art Deco
streamlining and to tell the story of the quest for style and speed the
NRM needed to show the public the sensational spectacle that was the LMSR
The decision was made to re-streamline the Duchess of Hamilton at Tyseley
Locomotive Works in Birmingham and restore what post-wartime austerity
stripped away. This complex project is now complete and the locomotive is
set to take centre stage along with a classic 1934 Chrysler Airflow car
in an exciting free exhibition at the NRM opening on 20 May 2009.
Streamlined: Styling an Era uses a combination of display panels and
video footage to explore the links between 1930s society, engineering and
design: Streamlining is about to enter a new glorious era.
Duchess of Hamilton: Streamlined - Styling An Era runs at the National
Railway Museum, York until December 31 2010.
I'll believe corporations are persons when Texas executes one.: LBJ's Ghost