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The 6½ hour schedule for the 401½ mile journey required a powerful Class 8P locomotive, and Crewe Work's was designated the task of building Sir William Stanier's streamlined 'Princess Coronation' Pacific, a development of his earlier 'Princess Royal' class - the first of which, No 6220 Coronation, emerged from Crewe's Erecting Shop in May 1937 sporting the most imaginatively designed air smooth casing painted in a striking blue livery with silver stripes.Of course, the fierce rivalry between the pre-grouping companies on The introduction of the LNER's high speed streamlined 'Silver Jubilee' service between London and Newcastle in 1935 was a truly outstanding event in railway history; Gresley's Class A4 'Silver Link' achieved a British railway speed record of 112½ mph.A few weeks later I met the doyen of young train spotters called Bonzo.Aged thirteen, he was a veritable professor on railways, who taught me all I needed to know about the Stanier 'Black 5' two-cylinder 4-6-0s with Belpaire fireboxes, tapered boilers and outside Walschaerts valve gear; the 3-cylinder express variant 'Jubilee' class and rebuilt 'Royal Scots', and the 4-cylinder 'Princess Royal' and 'Coronation' class Pacifics.In order to get the best performance out of the loco a section of the WCML's maximum speed limit was raised for the attempt, but it wasn't until the special train got perilously close to Crewe that the LNER record was eventually beaten - the LMS claimed a peak of 114mph recorded on the chart of the loco's speed-recorder.(Below) Needless to say, black & white photography cannot possibly do justice to loco liveries, and one can't rely entirely on early colour photography which is prone to fading with age, so thank goodness for 'Elegant Steam' - a superb website featuring the artwork of Don Marshall, who illustrates the liveries of British steam locomotives and rolling stock - a joy to behold if you like looking at beautiful and elegant machinery.I have studied this photo on numerous occasions and I do not think it is 46220. I haven't the foggiest idea how I missed it; I mention elsewhere on this site about getting up close and personal with a photographer's work in Photoshop, but in this case I obviously didn't get close enough!The number on the cabside is definitely not 46220, I think it is 46235; this loco also had the crown motif attached above its nameplate. Bob Johnstone has added his comments on the Guest Book page; Bob writes - 'Another update I'm afraid.
It emerged from the works with a double chimney, streamlined casing and painted in red and gold livery.
City of Birmingham still has its fantastic 'semi' smokebox in the picture, so it can't be June because that was replaced in May.
It is most probably still in its short-lived blue livery at this stage.
With so few members of the class (total 38) it was rare opportunity to obtain a nameplate at auction; it went under the hammer for £28,000 at a Sheffield Railwayana Auction in December 2008.
Click here to visit the company's fascinating site.