Philip D. Hawkins - Duchess of the Night
LMS & BR Birthday Card featuring 46228 Duchess of Rutland
Larger and more powerful locomotives had been a priority for the LMS and when William Stanier took over as Chief Locomotive Superintendent he designed two classes of express passenger locomotive that revolutionised travel on the West Coast Main Line.
The first of these were the “Princess” class, closely followed by the “Princess Coronation” class, so called because of their introduction into service in 1937, year of the coronation of King George VI. Due to the similar names, enginemen and enthusiasts immediately started to call them “Duchesses”, after the names given to a large number of the class.
One of the most powerful locomotives ever made in the U.K, the Duchesses did great work before and during WWII, at which time they had the “Bathtub” streamlined casing removed for ease of maintenance. Active until the end of steam on the Midland region, three have survived into preservation. 46229 “Duchess of Hamilton” has recently been rebuilt with her streamlined casing and is on show at the National Railway Museum, York.