Saturday, August 01, 2015

The Duchess

It is a privilege to be able to get up close to Princess Coronation Class 46233 Duchess of Sutherland.

The locomotive was hauling the Railway Touring Company's 'Cumbrian Mountain Express' today from Liverpool to Carlisle via Settle, and return via Shap. Here it is on arrival at Carlisle.

First class is the way to travel on these railtours, for those who can afford it. Here is Pullman coach 'Sapphire' looking good in a rake of West Coast Railways' and SRPS coaches.

Class 47 No 47760 was on the rear of the train. Here, the Duchess is heading off round the Upperby loop, in readiness for the return journey, while the passengers enjoy a couple of hours in Carlisle.

And here we are facing south on Platform One, brewing up for the departure down the West Coast Main over Shap.

The locomotive would have travelled this route often in its working life. It was built in 1938 by Crewe Works for the London Midland and Scottish Railway. It regularly hauled express passenger services such as ‘The Royal Scot’ between Glasgow Central and London Euston.

The Duchess was retired in 1964, and sold to Butlins. Now, I remember clearly there being a big locomotive outside the Butlins camp at the Heads of Ayr. I wondered if that was Duchess of Sutherland, and if there was a photo of her there.

And an image search pointed me to this site, where I found the photo above, much as I remembered it, although I'm not sure that clear blue skies were ever much in evidence when I travelled that way in the late 1960s! The Duchess remained at Ayr until 1971. Go here to read about all the locomotives save by Billy Butlin.

In 1996, the locomotive was acquired by The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust, and, by 2001, was back in operation!

We're off! The sight, the sound, and the smell, were all part of today's 'steam fix'!

Photos © Skip Cottage

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