Rare Princess Royal class nameplate goes under the hammer on April 1

By Geoff Courtney

A nameplate from one of the smallest express classes to operate in the BR steam era is to go under the hammer at a GW Railwayana auction on April 1. It is Duchess of Kent, from LMS Princess Royal No. 46212, a William Stanier-designed class of which just 13 were built.

Royal progress: LMS Princess Royal No. 46212 Duchess of Kent heads a Down express at Harrow on June 10, 1960. The Stanier-designed Pacific, which was withdrawn from Crewe North the following year, is near the location of one of the country’s worst rail crashes, in which 112 people lost their lives after a three-train collision at Harrow & Wealdstone station on October 8, 1952. A nameplate from the 1935-built locomotive will be going under the hammer at a GW Railwayana auction on April 1. COLOUR-RAIL/MJ READE/92417

The Pacific was the last to be built, emerging to traffic from Crewe works in October 1935. It was withdrawn from Crewe North (5A) in October 1961 after a service life that also included spells at Camden (1B) in London and Liverpool’s Edge Hill (8A), and cut up at Crewe in April 1962.

London trainspotters became used to the sight of these majestic locomotives at Euston on such expresses as ‘The Red Rose’, many of them totally unaware that in 1952 a member of the class had been involved in one of the country’s worst train crashes, at Harrow & Wealdstone station in the north-west suburbs of the capital.

On October 8 that year, three trains were in collision at the station, resulting in the deaths of 112 people and 340 injuries. One of the trains was a heavy 15-coach Euston-Liverpool express double headed by Princess Royal No. 46202 Princess Anne and Jubilee No. 45637 Windward Islands, both of which were so badly damaged that they were scrapped.

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