Coronation Scot trivia

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

Random facts about the Coronation Scot that don't (currently) fit elsewhere.

Evolution

  • At one point, the streamlined locomotives were going to have a gold-coloured metal fairing, and were going to be "golden trains". This may well have been partly inspired by the Coronation, and perhaps also a slight attempt at oneupmanship against the LNER, whose "Silver Jubilee" train used silver-coloured A4 locos. In the event, the idea turned out not to be practical. (WOT127)

Photography

  • The publicity photographs of the "red" Coronation Scot under steam in the UK before it was shipped to the US seem to have been taken in black and white. As a result many of the images of the "blue" Coronation Scot subsequently used on promotional products show a front headlight that shouldn't be there - they're actually publicity photos of the "red" train in the UK, with its "US" headlight but without the "US" bell, hand-colourised blue.
  • Many of the initial LMS publicity photographs have a strange, surreal "matt" quality to them, with very sharply-defined lines, crisp shadowing, and an odd absence of reflections. This isn't due to the photographs being artistically "touched up" (although this may have happened, too) - publicity photos were often taken before a loco had been given its final glossy colour paintwork, while it was still in "factory grey". The matt grey undercoat photographed better, and since the photos were being taken in black-and-white, nobody would notice that the locos were grey. For 6220 Coronation, a version of the loco's stripes and other painted markings were supposedly added in white paint for the benefit of the photographer.

Driver Clarke

  • The Coronation Scot's "Driver Clarke" was presented by a medal by the King.
  • "Driver Clarke" appeared in adverts for model trains in Meccano Magazine "Driver Clarke says: 'They're Fine'".
  • "Driver Clarke" also appeared in newspaper ads for Cadbury's Milk Chocolate in 1938, which said that his daughter always made sure that he had a bar of Cadburys with him on the long-distance express journeys, for energy.

Coronation Scot vs Mallard

  • The A4 Class Silver Link had set a new speed record of 112 mph in 1935.
  • Coronation 6220 was measured at 112 mph on its publicity run in 1937, but the cab speedo said "113", so it was logged as a 113mph run, creating a new world record.
  • Mallard snatched the title away the following year in 1938, with a measured speed of 125 mph (cab speedometer reading: "126").
  • So officially, the Coronation/Duchess Class locomotives hold the record for being Britain's most powerful steam locomotives, while the A4 Class holds the record for being the fastest.
  • Some Coronation-Class enthusiasts gripe that the Mallard's higher speed record was perhaps not entirely fair. To reach ~125mph, Mallard was driven so hard that some of its parts melted, and it had to be taken away for a service. On the other hand, Coronation's speed run was limited not by how hard the loco could be driven, but by the available track on its railway company's lines. Coronation's high-speed run ended with the braking train clatterring though a curve and a set of points at the end of the run, with flames streaming from its brakes as it ran at twice the track's permitted speed, making the occupants wonder if they were about to derail. Coronation's speed run was already too fast for the available section of LMS track, and if track length hadn't been an issue it could presumably have been driven harder and faster. Ignoring the near-derailment, Coronation didn't need any special attention after its run.
  • After the Coronation's brush with near disaster and the Mallard's temporary meltdown, the train companies seem to have decided to put an end to their constant competition to leapfrog each other's speed records. At least Britain held the speed record! However, German train enthusuasts grumbled that since there wasn't a standard for fairly judging locomotive speed under standard conditions, that maybe the Borsig might have been the legitimate title-holder.
  • There were also stories from some US train drivers that perhaps some of their bigger locomotives might also have occasionally bested the Mallard's record ... but unofficially, since going at those speeds would probably have broken the local railway operating rules.

Repurposing

  • Kitchen Car 3088 has had an especially eventful history (supplied by The Kingfisher Line Blog). Originally built in 1936 by Gloucester Carriage & Wagon Co., it was adapted for the Coronation Scot in 1937, converted into an Inspection Saloon in 1958, then used as a computer office, left BR and was restored in 1985 as a Camping Coach, and now sits at Titley Junction Station, where it's hired out as bed and breakfast accommodation.

Other trains with similar names

  • Because different train companies were competing to provide the fastest and most prestigious high-speed train service between London and Scotland, there are other trains with "Scot" in the title, which gets confusing. To make things worse, they were also competing to show themselves to be be the most patriotic, which led to different trains and locos with "Royal", "Coronation" or "Jubilee" in the name.
  • 1935 was the 25th anniversary of George V coming to the throne in 1910, so the LNER called their new 1935 streamlined train hauled by streamlined 1935- A4 locos "Silver Jubilee", and gave the first A4 locomotives names with "silver" in, starting with 2509 Silver Link, and initially painted them silver, just to make sure that people noticed.
  • George V died in 1936, and was briefly succeeded by Edward VII, who then promptly abdicated, again in 1936. This rather took the shine off LNER's "Silver Jubilee" promotional naming.
  • May 1937 marked the coronation of the new King, George VI, so LMS named their new 1937 class of locomotives the "Coronation Class", the first being 6220 Coronation (which featured a crown above its nameplates), and named their new streamlined train the Coronation Scot.
  • By this time, LNER wanted to catch up in the promotional stakes, so they revamped their recent "Silver Jubilee" train and launched a new version of the train as "The Coronation". This confused some commentators no end, and there's at least one contemporary newspaper article about the A4-hauled LNER "The Coronation" train that refers to it erroneously as the "Coronation Scot".
  • The LNER "Coronation" train was streamlined at both ends, with a "beaver tail" observation car at the rear end with a slanted back (during summer months). The LMS "Coronation Scot" train finished more abruptly.
  • Just to make matters even more confusing, there was also the Royal Scot train service (1861-, Euston-Glasgow), which ran on the West Coast line and was hauled by various locos including the Princess Royal Class and the Coronation Class, and which at one point also had its own named loco class (Royal Scot Class, 1927-), initiated by locomotive 6100 Royal Scot. As with the later Coronation Class and 6220 Coronation, an example was sent on tour to the US (to the "Century of Progress" fair in Chicago in 1933), under an assumed name and running number. This led to a certain amount of LMS "Century of Progress" literature in the UK.