Brian Morris recalls the various locomotive classes he used to see.

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 2nd November 2012 by Liam Physick

Brian Morris talks about how he keeps cigarette cards which depict locomotives, and how these help him identify different locomotive classes. He refers to the Coronation Class, but wrongly states that they were numbered from 6200 to 6233: in fact they were numbered 6220 to 46257 (the last locomotive in the Class, City of Salford, was built after nationalisation and so only ever carried its British Rail number, with the hypothetical LMS number increased by 40000). He is also mistaken to say that the Coronation Class included the Princess Elizabeth and the Princess Mary Rose - he seems to have confused the Coronations with the earlier Princess Royal Class, the only two surviving members of which are the Princess Elizabeth and the Princess Margaret (not Mary) Rose. However, the Coronation Class did include 6221 Queen Elizabeth and 6222 Queen Mary, named, respectively, after the wife and mother of the reigning monarch, George VI. Nor were any Coronation Class locomotives named after Dukes, though 10 of them were named after Duchesses - the Class did include 6231 Duchess of Atholl, but no Duchess of Connaught. Next, Brian mentions the Royal Scot Class, a class of 70 London, Midland and Scottish Railway 4-6-0 tender locomotives built in 1927 and 1930: all were, as Brian says, named after army regiments. Between 1943 and 1955 they were all rebuilt with Type 2A boilers, forming what was known as the Rebuilt Scot Class. They were withdrawn from service between 1962 and 1966. Two have been preserved: 6100 Royal Scot (originally 6152 The King’s Dragoon Guardsman, it permanently swapped identities with the Class prototype in 1933 ahead of a tour of the United States and Canada), currently owned by the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust and based at Pete Waterman’s LNWR Heritage workshops in Crewe; and 46115 Scots Guardsman, owned by the West Coast Railway Company, which hauled the Olympic torch in 2012, deputising for Flying Scotsman, whose overhaul at the National Railway Museum has taken far longer than expected. Next Brian refers to the Jubilee Class and remarks that you could identify the class a locomotive belonged to not just by its number but by the time of day it ran. After school, he and his friends would rush out to see the prestigious Red Rose express set out from Lime Street to Euston. Brian also remarks on how he was familiar with the different wheel arrangements on locomotives, though he makes an error in referring to a 2-5 locomotive, as each set of wheels is always an even number. Finally, he mentions that he and his friends were usually allowed onto the Edge Hill platform for free to watch the locomotives go past.

Interviewee: Brian Morris

Interviewee Gender: Male

Interview Transcript

Brian: I still have my cigarette cards . . .

Jodie: Ah!

Brian: . . . which had railway trains and you used to come out with these in case you saw one or, you didn’t ever, the only ones you ever saw was the Coronation trains, and they were numbered 6200 all the way up to about 6233, and they were named after Princess Elizabeth, Princess Mary Rose, and then they went on to the Dukes, the Duke, Duchesses, Duchess of Connaught, Duchess of Atholl, all those, and so they were the Coronations, and then the Royal Scots, they were named after the regiments and then the Jubilee Class (indecipherable), so every little boy knew his railway trains, and could tell them by their number and even by the time they were going.

Jodie: Oh, so there’s a real, so a lot of the, the kids round this area used to look at the trains, did they, was it quite a common thing, yeah?

Brian: Oh, yeah, I mean it was, the moment school ended, we were out like a shot to see, because, at 12 o’clock, the Red Rose express left Lime Street for London, she was what we would call a crack train, she was always one of the royals. You see, with big engine power, but in theory, would always keep the pace, I mean, I’m no engineer, I wouldn’t know what was (indecipherable), and, at four o’clock, we had a, a one that came into Liverpool, and we’d all be out for the 10 past four!

Jodie: Yeah! (both laugh)

Man: (indecipherable) today.

Brian: Those are the simple, we were very simple kids, weren’t we? We didn’t need televisions or computer games or anything like that . . .

Jodie: Well, it’s much better not to have those things, isn’t it, especially children?

Brian: Well, in a, in a way, you learn some, you didn’t realise, I mean, ask a kid what a 2-6-2 is now and they wouldn’t know what you were talking about. It meant two fore wheels, six driving wheels and two at the back, or something like that (Jodie laughs), so you’d tell, “Oh, I saw a 4-6-2 the other day and I saw a 2-5, 2-4 or whatever.” (Jodie laughs) Those were the days!

Jodie: Yes, oh . . .

Brian: But, you know, we used to, they’d theoretically charge us a penny to come on here, platform ticket, penny platform ticket, and of course, most of them let us through without paying.

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Categorised under: Landmarks, Landscapes & Locomotives

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