Class: Princess Class
Designer: Sir William Stanier
Weight: 159 tons
Purpose: Express Passenger
Information: Introduced in 1933, the Princess Class was the first Pacific type locomotive built by the London Midland & Scottish Railway. Purpose designed to cope with the increasing traffic and loads associated with the prestigious “Royal Scot” London to Glasgow passenger service.
Details: Ever increasing train size and a publicity race for prestige passenger traffic to the North were factors leading to the design of a Pacific steam locomotive by the LMS.
Sir William Stanier took over as Chief Mechanical Engineer with the LMS in 1932 and is credited with the success of the Princess Class. The LMS was the largest constituent of the four grouped railway companies. Prior to the Princess Class being introduced in 1933, the LMS had relied on venerable 4-6-0 Royal Scot’s and Patriot classes, plus a multitude of dated 4-4-0 designs having to be double headed in order to haul their respective services.
The first batch consisted of two locomotives being built at Crewe and entering service during 1933. The design has been said to have been strongly influenced by the new Mechanical Engineer’s tenure with the GWR and particularly form lessons learned from the Castle Class locomotive design. Appropriately the design was enlarged for the longer distances and higher tonnage associated with practical LMS requirements. Eleven more locomotives were turned-out in 1935 bringing the Class total to 13; although the third member built was not originally built as a “standard” Princess. Originally built as Turbomotive No. 6202, she was a class to it-self being designed as a one-off experimental design using steam turbines, as opposed to cylinders for steam propulsion. By 1952, the locomotive was rebuilt by British Railways to the conventional Princess Class design.
A number of liveries were carried by class members, some being repainted on numerous occasions. Liveries included the as built LMS crimson Lake with gold lettering, Utility black (during war time), BR experimental blue, BR green, and later BR maroon.
The first locomotive with-drawn was a result of severe accident damage in the Harrow and Wealdstone disaster. On October 8, 1952; only weeks after being rebuilt, No. 46202 re-named “Princess Anne” was written-off due after the wreck that sadly resulted in 112-deaths and 340-injuries.
Between October 1961 and November 1962 the entire class had been with-drawn. Two members; 6201 “Princess Elizabeth” and 6203 “Princess Margaret Rose” survived and both can be seen into active retirement under steam.