Saturday, 16 June 2012

A visit from a Duchess!

My wife and I, along with many others, stood on Poulton-le-Fylde railway station in predictably wet and windy weather, to welcome the 'Duchess of Sutherland', hauling a special train to Blackpool from Sheffield.

6233 'Duchess of Sutherland' was outshopped in July 1938 from Crewe Works and was part of the third batch of her class. These were unstreamlined, painted in LMS standard crimson lake livery and had a single chimney and no smoke deflectors and an estimated cost of £13,800 each.
First view of the approaching Duchess
6233 was initially allocated to Camden, London. She acquired a double chimney in March 1941 and because of drifting smoke acquired smoke deflectors in September 1945 before being painted in postwar LMS black livery in September 1946.

With the creation of British Railways on 1 January 1948 she was allocated to Crewe North depot and given her BR number 46233 in October 1948 being repainted in BR Brunswick green livery in 1952 or early 1953. In June 1958 she was allocated to Carlisle Upperby before eventually being withdrawn from Edge Hill depot in February 1964. During her 25 years service she ran 1,650,000 miles - the second highest mileage by any member of her class.

Following her withdrawal from service she was acquired by Butlins Heads-of-Ayr holiday camp, Scotland in October 1964. Later moved to Bressingham Steam Museum she was subsequently acquired by The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust and restored to working order at the Midland Railway - Butterley within 5 years at a cost of over £350,000.

On 6 March 2010, 6233 was rolled out in LMS lined black livery, which will be carried for 2010, before major overhaul.

On 3 March 2012, 6233 was rolled out in "authentic (Brunswick) green" livery, as used by British Railways during the early 1950s, at the Midland Railway - Butterley following her major overhaul.

On 11 June 2002, the restored Duchess was the first steam locomotive to haul the Royal Train for 35 years, transporting Queen Elizabeth II on a tour to North Wales, from Holyhead to Llandudno Junction, as part of her Golden Jubilee.

It was lovely to see this historic locomotive, particularly as we have a large print by David Weston in our dining room, showing her in red livery at Camden and also wonderful to know that so many people, including the young, still have an enduring passion for steam.

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