What’s in the Shops – Rails limited-edition Princess Coronation Class

An unusual combination of postwar LMS black and BR numbering is applied to the Rails special-edition Hornby Coronation Class locomotive model, writes Nigel Burkin.

Stanier’s Coronation Class 4-6-2 locomotives were introduced in 1938 as express passenger locomotives for the West Coast Main Line as an upgraded version of the successful Stanier Princess Royal Class locomotives. Construction commenced with 10 locomotives in 1937, fitted with streamlining and other features making them ideal for fast expresses between London Euston and Glasgow Central together with other crack West Coast main line services.

Construction of the 38 locomotives took place over a very long period involving locomotives built with and without streamlining. Those locomotives built between 1944 and 1948 were not streamlined. At the same time, it was decided that the cost of maintaining streamlined locomotives far outweighed the savings in coal consumption and a process called ‘defrocking’ by railway fitters commenced in which streamlining was removed, leaving some streamlining features intact for a while, including the taper to the top of the smoke box, a feature modelled on the review model.

Livery application is smooth and opaque, covering fine detail well without drowning it! The lining is neat and of a consistent width over boiler bands, cab sides and tender.

Operation of long-distance trains on the West Coast main line required members of the class to be allocated to major depots between London and Glasgow to facilitate locomotive changes at key points of the journey. One of the features of the class is the fitting of a steam-powered coal pusher to the tender, which took a great deal of pressure off the fireman in keeping such large locomotives properly steamed for sustained high-speed running over long distances. There is documentation of the locomotives being used on express passenger trains on other routes and also being used to haul mail trains from time to time.

It is documented in many areas
that the class was subject to more liveries than many other locomotives at the time, making it an ideal subject for a manufacturer – there were numerous detail and livery differences between many of the class together with the mix of streamlined and conventional locomotives of the same class. In fact, there is a great deal of information published about this particular class of locomotive for those who wish to research the finer points of the design further – prestige locomotives always attracted more attention than humble freight engines and the Coronation Class seems to enjoyed more than its fair share of documentation and record keeping!

For the full article, see the April edition of Modelling – available on now!

For a complete list of stockists and how to get your copy, visit: www.railwaymagazinemodelling.co.uk/distributors

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