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A little history of the class

The Princess Coronation Class is a class of express passenger steam locomotives built by the London Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and designed by William Stanier. They were an enlarged version of the LMS Princess Royal Class. Several examples were originally built as streamlined and at the time held the world speed record at 112mph, though the streamlining was later removed after WW2. The non-streamlined locomotives were often referred to as Duchesses, though to enginemen they were often known as Big Lizzies.

They were the most powerful passenger steam locomotives ever to be built for the British railway network, estimated at 3300 horsepower and making them far more powerful than the diesel engines that replaced them.

Three Duchesses have been preserved. (4)6229 'Duchess of Hamilton', (4)6233 'Duchess of Sutherland' have both seen action on main line railtours. The third, (4)6235 'City of Birmingham' was the centrepiece in the, now defunct, Birmingham science museum. (4)6235 was put in place and the museum built around her. (4)6235 is now located at ThinkTank in Birmingham.

[Source, and more info:

  • Power Classification: 7P, reclassified 8P in
  • Introduced: 19371948
  • Designer: William Stanier
  • Weights:
    • Loco: 105 t 5 cwt (Conventional), 108 t
      2 cwt (Streamlined), 108 t 10 cwt (Ivatt) .
    • Tender: 56t 7cwt
  • Driving Wheel: 6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
  • Boiler pressure: 250 psi superheated
  • Cylinders (4): 16 ½ " x 28"
  • Tractive Effort: 40,000 lbf (180 kN)
  • Valve Gear: Outside

    with rocking shafts (piston valves)

Train Wheel Vehicle Rolling stock Natural environment

Princess Coronation Class
46229 'Duchess of Hamilton' at Birmingham Railway Museum, in semi-streamlined condition

Photograph taken by Tivedshambo.

A long affair with the Duchesses

The image below is from the 1978 Hornby catalogue and shows a shop window that could have been taken of my local model shop in Wimbledon in the 70s. I was so envious of the kid in the catalogue as I would have loved that 'Duchess of Sutherland' model myself, but could never have afforded such a set in those days. I eventually bought one 30 years later.

Property Newspaper Product Smile Publication

The Royal Train

Building Train Tints and shades Font Rectangle

I bought the 'Duchess of Sutherland' model a couple of years back that came with the R2370 Royal Train pack. The loco hadn't been run on my layout as I didn't get around to adding a decoder to it. So to get it going I actually added a NEM 652 socket so that I could plug in the Lenz Gold-JST Silent-Back EMF DCC Decoder. There is enough space behind the motor for the 8-pin socket and plug and the decoder is secured on one side of the motor as the space in the boiler is a bit narrow for these old Lenz Gold decoders.

The tension-lock coupler was also removed and replaced with a #5 Kadee coupler fitted between the lower plastic plate and the tender frame using the original screw that held the tension-lock coupler. As you see, the height of the Kadee coupler works out just right and there is no need for any surgery.

Train Wheel Motor vehicle Vehicle Rolling stock

Bumper Office equipment Automotive exterior Gas Motor vehicle

Train Land vehicle Wheel Vehicle Rolling stock

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The locomotive runs smoothly, but it had a few issues. My initial gripe was that the back-to-back measurements were off by between 0.5mm and 1mm on every axel so that the wheels caused shorts on the points. After getting tired of the system tripping, I set the back-to-back measurement on all axels to 14.5mm. I bought the model second-hand, but I doubt that it had been run much and it felt a little stiff when starting-off so the loco was oiled and put on the rolling road for a while to run in the gears. Now it runs perfectly.

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Hornby has been producing Princess Coronation Class models for 40 years. Always popular models, streamlined or not, LMS crimson, BR maroon, green and blue.

And now for some Digital Sound

Hornby's first foray into Digital Sound Steam locomotive modes was theBR 46249 'City of Sheffield' released late 2008. See the review by Robert Best.

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Robert changed the stock speaker and reduced the volume by 30% to get a better sound out of the model. I reduce the sound of all my sound locos to about 20% volume anyway as there are usually a few on the layout at any one time.

BR 4-6-2 46240 'City of Coventry' Princess Coronation Class - Late BR with DCC Sound

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LMS 6240 'City of Coventry' was built at LMS Crew Works and out-shopped on the 31st March 1940 and being wartime was un-streamlined and liveried in Wartime black.

The locomotive's first shed was 1B at Camden, north of London. On passing to British Railways in 1948 it was renumbered 46240 and finished it's career working out of shed 5A at Crew North. 'City of Coventry' was withdrawn from service on 20th September 1964 and cut up by Cashmores of Great Bridge on 31st December 1964.

The Hornby Model

The model was released in March 2010 and hit the shops in Early April.

These days, I don't get many models as they come out. If you wait a few months, you will always find the model at a better price. The SRP of this model was £234.99. They are still available at between £175 and £200. Still a tidy sum for a model.

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I unboxed the model and set it on the programming track. I set the name and verified the CV settings. Most were fine - I just tweaked the volume dropping it down to 30% and set the acceleration delay to 12 seconds and the breaking delay to 6 seconds. The news ECoS way of describing the acceleration and breaking delay is by using seconds instead of increments of the CV value 0 to 64. The seconds of delay are basically the value of the CV variable, multiplied by 0.869. So a CV 3 setting (acceleration) of 14 give 12.166 seconds delay.

The loco ran very smoothly and without fault.

Here below are a few photos of the 'City of Coventry' model next to the earlier 'Duchess of Sutherland' model. Basically the same moulding except for a few differences - see if you can spot them.

I found the moulding finish on the 'Duchess of Sutherland' to be slightly crisper - perhaps due to more paint on the 'City of Coventry' or just an older mould.

The model is fitted with a flangeless pony truck wheel set, but a flanged wheel set is supplied. I added it to the model (see photo above), but later removed it as it was a sloppy fit and it shorted on some curved points. The flangeless pony truck wheel set actually ride above the track and don't cause any trouble.

Train Wheel Window Vehicle Building

Train Land vehicle Vehicle Rolling stock Track

Train Wheel Vehicle Rolling stock Track

I had a problem after running the loco for a few minutes. The sound suddenly just stopped. The loco still moved correctly, but no sound.

I reset the decoder, but nothing. I considered sending it back as I assumed the decoder was somehow defunct, but the thought of all the hassle just motivated me to look further at finding a solution.

Using the Loksound 3.5 decoder from the Hornby Black 5 model, I swapped out the decoder on the 'City of Coventry' model. Still no sound, but the model moved. The sound on the Black 5 worked (with the 'City of Coventry' sounds). So it was the wires or the speaker. After further investigation and checking the wires, I determined that the speaker was defunct.

Replacing the 28mm 100Ω speaker with two 20mm speakers in series, one in a housing and one taped to the underside of the coal load inside the tender, I managed to get everything working again. The two 20mm speakers sound as good if not better than the one 28mm speaker.

Here below is a shot of the model being run in a little on the rolling road.

Train Land vehicle Vehicle Rolling stock Track

A short video below of the 'City of Coventry' driving by the 'Duchess of Sutherland'. With these HD videos, you notice all the imperfections of the track including the stray bits of ballast that cause the model to 'jump' ;-)


A very nice model. Obviously remodelled on previous Duchess editions so no major new features or detail. Well finished off and smooth running. The sound is great and it really adds some atmosphere to the layout. A couple of DCC sound steam locos is all that is needed. I am looking forward to the streamlined LMS 'City of Chester' model from the 'Days Of Red And Gold' Train Pack coming out later this year.

Doug Teggin

June 2010
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