EARLY MAIN LINE RETURN FOR 6201 LOOKS UNLIKELY
Published at 16:53 on Sunday 15th October 2017
Tags: 6201, Princess Elizabeth, LMS, Princess Royal, Main Line Steam
A sight that it is hoped will be seen again in the not too distant future. LMS 'Princess Royal' Pacific No. 6201 Princess Elizabeth heads away from the stop at Whittlesford with the 'Cathedrals Express' bound for Norwich on 11th November last year. Stephen Baxter
The ongoing saga surrounding the future of LMS ‘Princess Royal’ Class No. 6201 Princess Elizabeth continues, albeit with no tangible progress in actual remedial work on the locomotive.
The ‘Princess’ has been sidelined at The West Shed, at Swanwick Junction on the Midland Railway-Butterley, since late 2016 due to the failure of a number of small tubes. As a result of this ‘Lizzie’ had to be withdrawn from five booked charter workings with the consequential loss of revenue, which is now the subject of a claim through their insurers.
Further investigations at that time identified other work which was required, as well as the boiler inspector requiring the boiler to be lifted from the frames, a previous inspection of the boiler had been satisfactorily undertaken without the need for a boiler lift.
However, in his report to the members of The Princess Elizabeth Locomotive Society (TPELS), Chairman, Clive Mojonnier, details a frustrating period that commenced with another boiler inspection by a different inspector, which was undertaken on 22nd March. Unfortunately his report, dated 24th March and addressed to Simon Scott, who is now the chief mechanical engineer for No. 6201 as well as Duchess of Sutherland, was not received at The West Shed. Moreover, no-one other than the boiler inspector knew of its existence until it was mentioned at a meeting with him at Tyseley on 3rd August.
A further meeting took place at The West Shed some 14 days later, where representatives from Tyseley, updated the boiler inspector of work they had undertaken while the loco was in their charge. Later the inspector along with Tyseley’s Alistair Meanley carried out a further inspection of the boiler and smokebox, which identified that more non-destructive testing should take place, and Mr Mojonnier added that “there was a way forward to return 6201 to mainline operation within a few weeks”.
However, when the boiler inspector’s report was submitted he had “altered some opinions since our meeting of 17th August”. The Chairman closed his report by commenting that discussions are ongoing with all parties concerning the boiler work and the new requirements of the boiler inspector.
Mr Mojonnier has since told Railway Herald that as a consequence of further investigations another boiler inspection is likely soon, which hopefully will clarify the way forward so that the necessary fund raising can commence to deal with all the outstanding engineering issues with No. 6201. However, at the moment an early main line return for Princess Elizabeth looks unlikely.