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The Coronation

Introduced two years after the "Silver Jubilee" on 3rd July 1937, Clive and I described how this express evolved in the book but could only offer a limited number of illustrations. There were not, after all, many variations. Here, however, are some fresh views which will be presented in several parts and will build up gradually:

A - Before the service started
B - The service commences
C - The Observation Car
D - The spare set

New additions placed here temporarily.

B - In service

In brief, five A4s were built for the "Coronation":

4488 Union of South Africa
4489 Dominion of Canada
4490 Empire of India
4491 Commonwealth of Australia
4492 Dominion of New Zealand

The Down train left King's Cross at 4pm and the Up train, Waverley at 4.30pm.

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An undated view of the Down "Coronation" passing Ganwick behind A4 No 4489 Dominion of Canada. This is the northern, 3rd class end of the train led by a BTO-TO and TO-RT twins. The 1st class is near the London buffers end. Photo: LNER Press Section.

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Also undated but a little further north at Harringay, the Down train is hauled by 4490 Empire of India. Photo: Real Photographs.

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Yet another undated view but of the Up train at Cockburnspath headed by 4491 Commonwealth of Australia. This is the King's Cross buffers end of the train with the catering twin BTO-RT behind the tender. Photo: Photomatic.

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An August 1937 view also shows the Up train at Cockburnspath headed by 4491 Commonwealth of Australia. This picture by Wethersett was to form the basis of an LNER poster. Peter Lund used to have a framed copy behind his desk at work. Quite a sight! Photo: ER Wethersett.

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An undated view of the Down "Coronation" as it accelerates on the 4-track across the North York plain through Overton, a mile or two north of York. Overton Grange and Overton Wood are out of sight to the right, the nearest villages being to the south, Nether Poppleton and Skelton. The observation car is being carried. Unusually (in photographic terms), the loco in charge was 4482 Golden Eagle which had been built in December 1936 in LNER green livery and repainted blue in January 1938, which it is now carrying, so the date would have been summer 1938 or '39. Photo: Possibly Cecil Ord; his collection.

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A - Before the service started

I only know of a handful of pre-service pictures of the train:

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This Doncaster Drawing Office print is not dated but shows a complete "Coronation" train posing for its formal photograph. Seen from the carriage "A" end with the Observation Car at the far end. The twins in view are:

BTO-RT
FO-FO
TO-RT
TO-BTO
OBS

This is the other way round to the listing we gave in the book which was based on two pictures and a further three unpublished ones of northbound workings, which suggests that the above picture shows the south end of the train with carriage "A" at the London buffers end, in other words in the right order for sending to Edinburgh Waverley for an Up working to London. The chrome-plated carriage numbers are alas unreadable, even the leading BTO. Photo: LNER. author's collection.

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This is a mildly sepia postcard produced by the Locomotive Publishing Co. Ltd. (LPC for short) and because there are two views in the same place on the four-track on the slow line, it's possible to tell that they were "official" photographs taken with the train stationary. Alas, I cannot identify the location as there are few clues.

A4 No 4492 Dominion of New Zealand is in charge and the crew has been told to keep out of sight although a blurred head can be made out inside the cab. Compare with a pre-service view of the Silver Jubilee in which the crew hung out of the cab and had to be made to disappear by burning-in the side of the cab; it wasn't very elegant and this is far better. Technically speaking the train was an ECS working but clean new lights have been placed over the buffers signifying an Express. The print, showing white roofs and near-white upper panelling, has been doctored in the darkroom (long before Photoshop was invented) and this being hard to do evenly, I have tried to repair the unevenness so that it looks better. Photo: LPF, author's collection.

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The second picture was taken from the rear alongside the Observation Car and it is visible empty. Note the two unused lamp irons. On an ECS train there would have been a single tail lamp but this has clearly been removed for the picture. In service two lamp irons were carried. Personally, I think that the rear of the train looked better like this! Photo: LPF, author's collection.

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A few days before the public service started, a press trip was laid on, on 30th June 1937 between King's Cross and Barkston, and here it is near Potters Bar behind A4 No 4489 Dominion of Canada. The complete train can be seen with the Observation Car on the rear. Photo: Ken Nunn, LCGB.

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To be continued...

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