Written by: GWR5029
The Magnificent LMS Princess Royal Class
An engine that is extremely iconic, named after arguably the most famous living person in Britain, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. This class was one of William Stanier’s first great masterpieces at the LMS.
The class is Stanier’s magnificent Princess Royal Class, and specifically the sole surviving prototype, 6201 ‘Princess Elizabeth’. This remarkable locomotive was turned out from the London Midland & Scottish Railway’s famous Crewe Works in November of 1933, the second of a batch, the initial being 6200 ‘Princess Royal’ which gave the class their name even though they were commonly know as the ‘Lizzies’ due to 6201. One of the most famous feats for this loco, was that in 1936, 6201 was selected to pull the longest, hardest, and fastest non stop run in the LMS’s rivalry with the LNER, a record she beat in both directions between London and Glasgow and on the return.
This run earned her fame and glory throughout LMS days and into BR where she served until 1961. Thankfully due to the heroic efforts of Roger Bell and the Princess Elizabeth Society, this famous loco, by then destined only for the scrapyard was saved for just over £2100, an engine today that is considered priceless. All of this prestige and fame, and this is only one engine, a further 10 more ‘production’ models with some slight front end and motion variations were made.
The 10 production models are represented in preservation by the first, 6203 ‘Princess Margaret Rose’ which sadly is currently inoperable awaiting funds for an overhaul. 46203 as she was then known was saved by Butlins Holiday Camps after British Rail retired her in 1962. This mighty engine received one final cosmetic restoration at Crewe and then was on display near a carpark until 1975 when the Midland Railway Centre stepped in and moved her to Butterley.
The Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust purchased the inoperable loco in 1985 for £60,000 (a far cry from 6201’s £2100) and she returned to the mainline in 1990. These are just the stories of 2 of these amazing locos which all lead long useful lives, however sadly one, the most unique, 6202 ‘the Turbomotive’ was wrecked months after its rebuild into ‘Princess Anne’ in the tragic Harrow and Wealdstone Incident.
The Princess Royal Class lead to Stanier’s later and bigger Pacifics, the Coronation Class, well known for today’s examples: the streamlined 6229 ‘Duchess of Hamilton’ and the unstreamlined 6233 ‘Duchess of Sutherland’ (which is also owned by the PRCLT with 6203). Both of these engines are already in TS2016 and delighting fans.
The Princess Royal Class including the 2 prototypes and 10 production models with the LMS ex-LNWR Royal Train (Saloons 800, 801, 804, 806, Restaurant 76, and possibly the Duke of Sutherland’s Saloon with a brake van and staff carriage) would make a fabulous add-on for Train Simulator attracting LMS fans, LNWR fans, express engine lovers, fans of royalty, and Anglophiles ■