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A new chapter in British railway history was written in the summer of 1937, when streamlined express trains began to run between England and Scotland. The LNER express “Coronation” reached Edinburgh in six hours from King’s Cross; by “The Coronation Scot” of the LMS, Glasgow was put within six and a half hours of Euston.

“THE CORONATION SCOT ” on its record-breaking run of June 29, 1937

“THE CORONATION SCOT ” on its record-breaking run of June 29, 1937. For this test one kitchen car was taken off the train, the load behind the tender being eight coaches, totalling 270 tons gross. On the down journey from Euston to Crewe No. 6220 Coronation, hauling the train, averaged 100 miles an hour for ten miles on the descent from Whitmore (Staffs), and reached a momentary “peak” of 114. On the return journey the unprecedented average of 79·7 miles an hour was kept up over the 158·1 miles from Crewe to Euston.

SOME of the most remarkable advances ever known in British railway speed provided a suitable railway celebration of the Coronation year of 1937. By the introduction of new streamlined trains - the “Coronation” of the London and North Eastern Railway and “The Coronation Scot” of the London Midland and Scottish Railway - these two companies brought the journey times between London, Edinburgh and Glasgow down to figures never previously known. Even the record times of the famous “Race to Aberdeen” of 1895 are now being beaten daily by trains which are more than three times the weight of those which achieved the historic exploits of that year.

To the London and North Eastern Railway belongs the credit, not only for having introduced into Great Britain the streamlining of locomotives which has helped to make such sustained high speeds as these a practical proposition, but also for having demon-strated that steam, produced from British coal, can be relied on for service of this kind without resort to diesel power and the use of imported oil This LNER experience has been gained with the streamlined “Silver Jubilee” express, which began to run between London and Newcastle-on-Tyne on September 30, 1935.

During the intervening two years, the “Silver Jubilee” has maintained a time of four hours daily between King’s Cross and New-castle, inclusive of a stop at Darlington, and this has required a timetable booking of 70·4 miles an hour in either direction over the 232·3 miles between London and Darlington For the first time in British railway history, also, this schedule, with due allowance for “service slacks”, has necessitated sustained speeds of 70 miles an hour and over up gradients as steep as 1 in 200, and max-imum speeds of 90 miles an hour downhill and on the level.

So successful has been the working of the “Silver Jubilee” that towards the close of 1936 the LNER announced that it would celebrate Coronation year by putting into service a new streamlined express which would cut the then fastest time of 7 hours 20 minutes from King’s Cross to Edinburgh by 80 minutes, and make the entire run of 392·7 miles in six hours, at an average speed of 65·5 miles an hour throughout.

Shortly afterwards the LMS authorities announced the advent of a similar train over their route, to cover the 401·4 miles between Euston and Glasgow in 6½ hours, at an average of 61·7 miles an hour. Both trains are now accomplished fact, having begun their daily running on Monday, July 5, 1937.

For the “Coronation” service the London and North Eastern Railway has built new trains of nine cars which in many ways differ entirely from anything previously seen in Great Britain. Each train comprises four “twin” units - articulated on the well-known principle devised by Sir Nigel Gresley, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the LNER - and an observation car.

Articulation consists in supporting the ends of two adjacent coaches, through the medium of a cast steel frame, on the same bogie truck, so that the two coaches of an articulated “twin” rest on three bogies, with twelve wheels in all, instead of on four bogies, with sixteen wheels. In this way weight is saved. Each “twin” measures 114 ft 9-in overall, but the articulation constitutes, in effect, a joint in the centre, providing the necessary flexibility for passing round curves. With the 54-feet tail car, each “Coro-nation” train measures, without the locomotive, 513 feet in length.

IN A FIRST-CLASS COACH of the LNER “Coronation”

IN A FIRST-CLASS COACH of the LNER “Coronation”. The aim of the designers has been to combine the advantages of the open vestibule car and of the compartment vehicle. Semi-partitions, with doorways framed in aluminium architraves, divide the sections, each of which has four swivelling armchairs. The decorative schemes have been the subject of special study. The cars are air-conditioned and insulated, as far as possible, against noise.

The observation car is a remarkable vehicle. It has been proved by experiment that to obtain the maximum value from stream-lining a train, for the purpose of reducing air resistance, the rear end should be shaped similarly to the front end. So, in just the same way as the casing of the streamlined A4 Pacific locomotives used by the LNER rises in a wedge shape from the buffers to the top of the boiler, behind the chimney, the roof of this tail coach has been carried in a curve right down to the buffers. It has been calculated that this shape will save 35 horse-power in the pull of the locomotive at 100 miles an hour.

Set in the slope of the rear end are the observation windows, which have been moulded to the required shape in a special type of glass substitute that is largely used in aeroplane construction. The correct working out of all the curves which go to make up this rear end is a triumph of the coach-builder’s art. So that this “beaver tail”, as it is called, may always be at the rear end of the train, it has to be detached at the end of every journey, turned on a turntable, and worked round to the opposite end of the train.

From the front of the locomotive to the extreme rear end of the train, the “Coronation” is, therefore, fully streamlined. Between each pair of coach bodies rubber “fairings” are fitted, giving the needed flexibility on curves, and joining the coach-sides in such a way that there is no gap between the coaches. Thus the train presents one smooth surface from end to end.

Completely Air-Conditioned

The appearance of the locomotives is by now familiar, as they are of the same type as has now been in use for some time on the “Silver Jubilee”; the wedge front serves the double purpose of cleaving through the air and of throwing the air ahead of the engine upwards in such a way as to catch the column of exhaust steam from the engine chimney, and carry it well up over the driver’s cab.

“DOMINION OF CANADA”, one of five LNER A4 Pacifics entrusted with the haulage of the “Coronation”

“DOMINION OF CANADA”, one of five LNER A4 Pacifics entrusted with the haulage of the “Coronation” between King’s Cross and Edinburgh. These locomotives have been painted in Garter blue to tone with the train; the wheels have dark red spokes and polished rims; the letters, figures and fittings are in stainless steel. The leading dimensions and those of the LMS locomotive Coronation, illustrated below, are given in the table below.

A beautiful colour scheme has been adopted for the exterior of the “Coronation”. The locomotives are painted in Garter blue, with dark red spokes to the wheels and polished rims; the letters, figures and fittings on the engines are in stainless steel. Garter blue is used also for the coach bodies below the waistline, and Marlborough blue above, with stainless steel mouldings running the whole length of each coach. The lettering and numbers, as well as the word “Coronation” on each car, are in stainless steel also. Another big “Coronation” appears right across the back of the observation car, below the windows, and looks impressive against the blue background.

It is the interior of this train, probably, that strikes the most novel notes. First of all, the designers have made a special study of the ways in which noise can be reduced to a minimum, if not eliminated altogether. Sound insulation of the coach bodies is provided throughout the train; there is virtually nothing in the cars that is capable of rattling; even the cutlery used at meal-times is provided with specially designed flat handles so that it may not move when the train is in motion. Moreover the ventilation is so good that in the hottest weather the windows may be kept closed.

This has been made possible by a special air-conditioning plant, which draws filtered air into each car through hidden inlets behind the seats at floor level, and exhausts it through grilles which form a part of the decorative ceiling lights. This is effected with such thoroughness that the air in each car is completely changed every three minutes. The temperature of the air is thermostatically controlled, so that an even temperature is maintained in the cars in all weathers.

THE “CORONATION” at King’s Cross

THE “CORONATION” at King’s Cross, the chief London terminus of the LNER. The train is streamlined from end to end. There are four “twin” articulated units; each unit rests on three instead of four bogies, the centre bogie supporting the ends of two adjacent coaches. At the rear end of the train is the observation car. Between each pair of coach bodies rubber “fairings” are fitted, giving the needed flexibility on curves. The train is painted in two shades of blue, Garter blue below and Marlborough blue above the waistline.

Internally the cars have been designed in such a way as to give all the spaciousness of an open Pullman vehicle, and at the same time a measure of that privacy in which the Englishman delights. Except for the doors between the coaches, therefore, the train is open from one end to the other, but the cars are divided by suitably shaped partitions into sections. In the third class the seats in a section vary in number from six to fifteen, and parties of varying size can thus be accommodated together.

In the first-class coaches the semi-partitions, with doorways framed in aluminium architraves, are placed between each pair of seats and the next, four armchairs being thus provided in each section. From the doorways ornamental aluminium wings, parallel to the gangway, protect the passenger from all possibility of draught.

Each first-class passenger thus sits in a kind of alcove, in a comfortable armchair which is arranged to swivel, so that he

can turn his chair at 45 degrees to look out of the window, and stretch out his legs without interfering with the comfort of his neighbour. Further, the tables in these cars taper outwards from the gangway side to the window side, and the passenger is able to preserve the same position when having tea or dinner. Beautiful colour-schemes have been adopted, worked out with the help of “Rexine” panelling, uncut “Moquette” for the chair upholstery, thick pile carpets and a new form of decoration in aluminium.

Electric Kitchens

In the third-class cars armchair seats are provided for each passenger, two abreast on one side of the gangway and a single seat on the other. Delicate shades of “Rexine” wall covering, “Moquette” upholstery, carpets and aluminium decoration similar to those in the first-class cars provide for travel in the same restful surroundings and noiseless conditions. The scheme of the train is completed by lavatories furnished with all the latest ideas in colour, vestibules far more spacious than those to which passengers are generally accustomed in Great Britain, kitchens equipped, as is now the standard on the LNER, for electric cooking and, last of all, the deep armchairs of the observation car.

As to accommodation, each “Coronation” train leads off from the north end with a “brake third” - that is, brake compartment and third-class car - containing twenty-four seats; then a third-class car with forty-two seats; a combined third and kitchen car with fifteen seats; another third-class car with forty-two seats; two first-class cars in succession with twenty-four seats each; another fifteen-seater kitchen third; another third brake, with thirty seats; and last of all the tail car. This has fourteen seats in all, and may be used by passengers of either class on payment of a small supplement.

Apart from the observation car, therefore, there is accommodation in all for 168 third-class and forty-eight first-class passengers, in a train which weighs 312 tons. Even if the cars are filled to capacity, roughly 29 cwt of coaching stock have to be hauled on the “Coronation” trains for every passenger conveyed. Such is the cost to the railway of modern luxury travel.

LMS Railway. No. 6220, Coronation

IN THE ERECTING SHOP at Crewe Works, LMS Railway. No. 6220, Coronation, the first of a new class of high-speed Pacific locomotives built for the London-Glasgow service, is seen above partly streamlined. On the extreme left is the smokebox of the second engine of the class. Five of these streamlined locomotives were built by the LMS in 1937.

FRONT END of LMS streamlined Pacific No. 6220, showing the four cylinders, the steam chests and the upper framing. Each of the LMS Pacifics of this class has four single-expansion cylinders 16½ in diameter by 28 in stroke.

Less of novelty characterizes “The Coronation Scot” trains of the LMS Railway. The standard design of bogie coach has been used, and each train is made up of nine cars, with a total weight of 297 tons, and a length of 540 feet; each train is partly comp-artment and partly open stock. At one end there is a 57-feet first-class brake coach, with four compartments and a coupe, seating eighteen; then a 57 feet corridor first, with five compartments and another coupe, seating twenty-two; an open-vestibuled first diner, 65 feet long, seating forty-two; a kitchen car, 50 feet long; two 57-feet open third-class vestibuled cars, seating eighty-four between them; another 50-feet kitchen car and another 57-feet open third, seating forty-two, behind that; and finally a 57-feet third-class brake, seating twenty-four in four compartments. The remainder of the 540 feet in total length is made up by the buffing gear between the coaches, which is largely eliminated by the LNER method of articulation.

Each of the LMS trains therefore carries a total of eighty-two first-class and 150 third-class, but as in this instance the passengers in the compartments pass into the restaurant cars on either side of the kitchens for their meals, space being reserved for this purpose, the effective seating in each train is rather less than the total of 232 seats. No attempt has been made to streamline the coaching stock of “The Coronation Scot”, which has the usual square-ended coaches standard in London, Midland and Scottish practice.

the first-class accommodation of “The Coronation Scot”

THE PRIVACY OF A SEPARATE COMPARTMENT is to be found in the first-class accommodation of “The Coronation Scot”. Each full-size compartment holds four passengers; there are also two coupes accommodating two passengers each. Each compartment is panelled in a distinctive Empire wood, embellished with appropriate inlays. In addition to the compartment carriages, there are open saloons, similarly decorated. All the passenger cars are air-conditioned.

A striking external colour scheme of Coronation blue has, however, been adopted for engines and coaches. The most arresting feature of the colour scheme is a series of parallel silver bands, beginning in the centre of the engine buffer-beam, sweeping upward V-shaped in two graceful curves round to the two sides of the locomotive, and then continuing horizontally down the full length of the train.

Internally, many handsome kinds of timber have been used for the panelling of the coaches, such as Australian maple butt, Queensland maple, Canadian mountain maple, Australian walnut, English olive ash, Nigerian kevazingo and others, beautified with various inlays. A particularly interesting feature of one car has been the use of timber recovered from the piles of Waterloo Bridge, London. Each train, indeed, provides a study in timber, for small ivory plates inside the coaches describe to the passenger all the different timbers that have been used. Tubular strip electric lights and chromium fittings complete a distinguished decorative scheme. The “Thermotank” system of heating and ventilation is provided in all the passenger coaches of the train. A complete change of air is given by three-speed fan motors in five, four or three minutes.

From the engineering point of view, however, the chief interest attaches to the locomotives. Although several features are common to the LMS and LNER locomotives used on these high-speed services, there are also various differences. The LNER relies on three-cylinder propulsion, whereas the LMS locomotives have four cylinders. In the former the cylinders are 18½-in diameter by 26-in stroke, and in the latter 16½-in diameter by 28-in stroke. The LNER adheres to the 6 ft 8-in diameter driving wheel which it has standardized for express passenger work, but the LMS has increased the 6 ft 6-in wheels of its previous Pacifics to

6 ft 9-in for this high-speed travel.

“CORONATION,” the first of five LMS streamlined Pacifics

“CORONATION”, the first of five LMS streamlined Pacifics specially built for the haulage of “The Coronation Scot” between Euston and Glasgow. These engines, which are painted blue with silver bands, to match the train, are developments of the Princess Royal class of Pacifics. One of these, No. 6201 Princess Elizabeth, set up new records between London and Glasgow on November 16 and 17, 1936 (see below), and demonstrated the feasibility of a 6½-hours service between the two cities.

In both types two sets of Walschaerts valve-motion are used to provide for steam distribution to all cylinders. The piston-valves of the two inside cylinders of the LMS engine are operated by rocking levers, and the inside piston-valve of the LNER engine is worked by an ingenious system of levers, patented by its designer and derived from the outside motions.

The secret of efficient running at high speeds is the ability to work the locomotives with their regulators wide open, and at very short percentages of cut-off. Experience with the “Silver Jubilee” of the LNER, for example, has proved that uphill speeds of 70 miles an hour can be maintained without difficulty when the engines are cutting off at no more than 15 to 18 per cent of the stroke. Relatively long valve-travels are needed for this type of working, coupled with as high working pressures as are reason-ably possible: both types of engine, therefore, carry boilers pressed at 250 lb to the square inch.

A boiler of larger size has been fitted to the LMS streamlined engines than to the previous Pacific engines of that company, and two particularly important changes are an increase in the area of the firegrate from 45 to 50 square feet, and in the superheating surface from 623 to 856 square feet, a much larger superheater than before being provided, with 40 elements. The LNER has always been a believer in high temperature superheat, however, and no change has been made in the standard 43-elements superheaters of the previous series of these engines, whose 749 square feet of superheating surface have given satisfactory results. Other leading dimensions of the LMS and LNER locomotives appear in the table below.

The LNER, as usual with its Pacifics, has attached an eight-wheeled tender, with a capacity of 8 tons of coal and 5,000 gallons of water; the coal is sufficient for the through journey between London and Edinburgh, but the water is replenished from time to time from the water-troughs while the train is running. Space in the LNER is taken up by the unique corridor passage (used on no other railway in the world) passing from the footplate to a vestibule connexion at the rear end of the tender, which in its turn is coupled up to the leading coach, thus affording through communication between the train and the locomotive.

The LMS uses a six-wheeled tender, with space for 10 tons of coal and 4,000 gallons of water. Troughs on the LMS are spaced at closer intervals than on the LNER, so that the smaller water capacity is adequate for the purpose. A novel detail of the LMS tender equipment is a steam operated coal pusher, which pushes the coal towards the fireman, and reduces the amount of shovelling to be done.

The last week in June 1937 witnessed some remarkable trial runs made by both trains, “The Coronation Scot” of the LMS on June 29, and the “Coronation” of the LNER on the following day. For “The Coronation Scot” test one kitchen car was taken out of the train, leaving a tare load of 263 tons, and a gross load, including passengers, of 270 tons behind the tender. The engine was No. 6220 Coronation.

AT THE START OF THE TEST RUN on June 29, 1937, “The Coronation Scot” leaving London

AT THE START OF THE TEST RUN on June 29, 1937, “The Coronation Scot” leaving London. The engine is No. 6220 Coronation, the first of the five streamlined Pacifics built in 1937 for the haulage of high-speed trains on the LMS. On the test run Coronation, with 270 tons gross behind the tender, ran from Euston to Crewe, 158.1 miles, in 2 hours 9 minutes 46 seconds, at an average speed of 73.1 miles an hour. The return journey was completed in an overall time of 1 hour 59 minutes from start to stop. These times were respectively 5¼ and 16 minutes ahead of the special schedule of 2¼ hours. In the summer of 1937 “The Coronation Scot” was booked to cover the distance in 2 hours 24 minutes in either direction in the course of its non-stop runs between Euston and Carlisle.

On the down journey from Euston the principal feature was the extremely high speed developed on the descent from Whitmore (Staffs) towards Crewe, which was the most suitable gradient on the journey, in length, steepness and straightness, for this purpose. Having passed Norton Bridge (Staffs) at 60 miles an hour, the engine Coronation accelerated up gradually rising grades to 85 miles an hour and, eight miles later, with no further assistance from gravity than three miles down at 1 in 177 and the remainder at easier inclinations, was travelling at 113 miles an hour. The Hasler speed indicator on the locomotive showed a momentary “peak” of 114 miles an hour. For ten miles an average of 100 miles an hour was maintained.

Average of 89·0 Miles an Hour

On the return journey from Crewe to Euston, the record feat was achieved of maintaining a start-to-stop speed of 79·7 miles an hour for the entire distance of 158·1 miles. From Betley Road, near Crewe, to Kilburn (London) a “flying” average of 83·3 miles an hour was kept up for 150·3 miles, in spite of the severe slowings necessary round the curves at Stafford and Rugby; from Welton (Northants) to Kilburn, 72·3 miles, the average was as high as 89·0 miles an hour. This has only once previously been beaten in Great Britain, on the trial trip of the LNER “Silver Jubilee” in September 1935, when an average of 100 miles an hour was maintained for forty-three miles and an average of 91·8 miles an hour for seventy miles continuously.

IN EITHER DIRECTION “The Coronation Scot” runs without a stop between Euston and Carlisle, 299·1 miles, in 4 hours 43 minutes

IN EITHER DIRECTION “The Coronation Scot” runs without a stop between Euston and Carlisle, 299·1 miles, in 4 hours 43 minutes, at an average speed of 63·4 miles an hour. These runs were - in the summer of 1937 - the longest two in the world booked at over sixty miles an hour.

The speeds of the LNER “Coronation” trial on the following day were not quite so high, but the engine Dominion of Canada was hauling a train 50 tons heavier - 320 tons as compared with 270 tons - and the gradients of the LNER main line, which include several lengthy stretches at 1 in 200, are the steeper of the two, so far as concerns the first 150 miles of each route from London. The chief exploits of the LNER test were on the up journey from Grantham, when the train was worked up to 109·1 miles an hour in descending from Stoke Summit to Peterborough. But even more impressive, in the output of power needed, was the work up the long ascent from Arlesey (Beds) to Stevenage (Herts), of which the 8·4 miles were covered at an average speed of 80·9 miles an hour, and with nothing lower than 76½ miles an hour up the final five miles at 1 in 200.

Between the two test runs there was this difference, that the LMS speeds were far higher than those which will normally be required in the running of “The Coronation Scot”, whereas the LNER locomotives will need to maintain little short of this standard of performance on every trip, so far as concerns the running south of York. North of York, the demands of the LNER timing are not quite so exacting. But the half-an-hour’s difference between the LNER and LMS overall times has a material influence on performance. For example, on August 3, 1937, the up “Coronation” covered 17·6 miles at 100 miles an hour between Corby (Lincs) and Werrington, touching a maximum of 106.

A BOOKING OF 2 HOURS 37 MINUTES from King’s Cross to York made the down “Coronation” the fastest train in the British Empire in the summer of 1937.In the tables accompanying this chapter the point-to-point timing of the two trains throughout their journeys are given, and it is interesting to analyse these in relation to the gradients over which these speeds have to be maintained. Out of King’s Cross the LNER rises through two tunnels on a gradient of 1 in 105 to 1 in 110, and after a level interlude the ascent continues with 7¾ miles at 1 in 200 from Wood Green to Potter’s Bar. This sustained climbing makes the allowance of only 18½ minutes for the first 17·7 miles out to Hatfield particularly difficult.

A BOOKING OF 2 HOURS 37 MINUTES from King’s Cross to York made the down “Coronation” the fastest train in the British Empire in the summer of 1937.

From Stevenage, 28½ miles out, the line begins to fall, and continues on easy grades until the Ouse is crossed near Huntingdon; from Hitchin to Huntingdon, 27 miles in 19 minutes booked time, demands an average of 85·3 miles in hour over this length - the highest on the journey. Through Peterborough speed must be reduced to 20 miles an hour because of the curve, and then follows another particularly strenuous piece of work, for the 72·8 miles an hour timing from Peterborough to Grantham includes the entire ascent to Stoke Summit, 15¼ miles in length, and leading to the highest point reached by the main line between London and York, exactly 100 miles from London.

After that comes the equally lengthy descent to the Trent Valley at Newark, and then fairly level track to York, broken by the slowing to 30 miles an hour over the swing bridge which carries the main line over the River Ouse at Selby, and various other service slacks to 60-70 miles an hour at different points. To York, 188·2 miles from King’s Cross, the allowance of 157 minutes requires a start-to-stop average of 71·9 miles an hour, which makes the down “Coronation” the fastest train in the British Empire (summer of 1937).

An important safety precaution on the “Coronation” - as also on “The Coronation Scot” of the LMS - is the equipment of the locomotives with self-recording speed indicators. These not only provide the driver with visual indication of his speed but also maintain on a moving roll of paper a continuous record of the rate of travel throughout each journey. Thus the operating authorities are able to check the speed at which each curve on the route has been traversed and to watch the running of the train generally.

North of Darlington the train runs into the colliery areas of Durham and Northumberland, where the mining has caused subsidences at various points, compelling reduced speeds. There are also the “service slacks” through Durham and Newcastle-on-Tyne.

In consideration of the gradients and curves, the timing is more energetic when the Scottish border has been crossed. There is a long climb from Berwick up to Grantshouse (Berwickshire), which is the highest point on the entire route. Grantshouse is approached from the south by long stretches of 1 in 200 gradient; on the north side the line drops sharply for miles at 1 in 96, and then more gently to Dunbar. The only other gradient of note is the mile-and-a-quarter rise at 1 in 78 through Calton Hill tunnels into the Waverley Station at Edinburgh.

SETTING OUT FROM LONDON on its test run of June 30, 1937, the “Coronation”, headed by No. 4489, Dominion of Canada

SETTING OUT FROM LONDON on its test run of June 30, 1937, the “Coronation”, headed by No. 4489, Dominion of Canada. With a gross load of 320 tons behind the tender, this LNER locomotive attained a speed of 109½ miles an hour.

The London Midland and Scottish main line differs altogether from that of the London and North Eastern by being considerably easier in its gradients for the first 236 miles from London - as far as Carnforth (Lancs) - and then far harder. Out of Euston terminus the gradient is steeper than out of King’s Cross, being at between 1 in 70 and 1 in 105 for the first mile. From Camden, at the summit of this incline, there is then no steeper gradient than 1 in 330 for more than 150 miles. On easy inclinations the main line swings up to Tring, amid the Chilterns, drops to Bletchley (Bucks) and Wolverton, rises again to Roade (Northants) and falls slightly to Weedon, climbing again to Kilsby Tunnel and falling to Rugby.

Onwards to Stafford and Whitmore the gradients are even slighter, and not until the descent from Whitmore to Crewe, where there is a fall of miles at 1 in 177 followed by another fall of 3¼ miles at 1 in 269, is there any inclination worth mention. North of Wigan there are some sharper gradients, but they are mostly short, the worst being the 1½ miles at 1 in 104 from Wigan up to Boar’s Head (Lancs); and through the coal mining area round Wigan there is generally some restraint on speed.

After Carnforth some hard work lies ahead. At Milnthorpe, in Westmorland, 243 miles from Euston, begins the climb to Shap Summit. For 13 miles, to Grayrigg Station, the ascent is continuous, steepening gradually from 1 in 173 to four miles at about 1 in 125 and two at 1 in 106; then there is a level “breather” of 5½ miles, through some fine mountain scenery, before 1½ miles up at 1 in 146 usher “The Coronation Scot” on to the final pitch of 4½, miles at 1 in 75 up to Shap Summit, 915 feet above sea level.

On the north side the ascent from Carlisle is virtually continuous for 31 miles, first for 4 miles at 1 in 131 to Wreay (Cumberland), then for 7½ miles averaging about 1 in 200 to Calthwaite, after which conditions are easier until Penrith has been passed; but the climax is reached with an unbroken 7¼ miles at 1 in 125, and 3¼ miles beyond, that which are but little less steep, before Shap Summit is breasted.

Finally there are the formidable gradients in Scotland. As far as Beattock (Dumfriesshire), the line is mostly uphill, with 16 miles in all as steep as 1 in 200; then comes Beattock bank proper, for 10 miles straight off at between 1 in 69 and 1 in 88. Yet “The Coronation Scot” must pass Summit, 49·7 miles from Carlisle, and 1,014 feet above the sea, in 50 minutes.

In the reverse direction most of the severe climbing is concentrated between Uddingston, 8½ miles, and Craigenhill Summit, 24 miles out. Sharp undulations then follow to Lamington (Lanarkshire), gradual climbing from there to Elvanfoot, and a final 2-miles ascent at 1 in 99 to the Summit. From Lockerbie (Dumfriesshire) to Gretna, going south, is one of the fastest stretches of the journey of “The Coronation Scot”, the train being timed at 79·4 miles an hour.

OBSERVATION CAR of the “Coronation” LNER express

OBSERVATION CAR of the “Coronation” LNER express. The correct working out of the curves of this “beaver tail” vehicle is a triumph of the coachbuilder’s art. The observation car, which is available for passengers of either class on payment of a small supplement, is not articulated, as it has to be detached at the end of every journey and worked round to the opposite end of the train.

[From part 31 published 28 September 1937]

You can read more on the Silver Jubilee in Railway Wonders of the World, and you can read more on “Hydroplane Speed Records” and “The World’s Land Speed Record” in Wonders of World Engineering.

Britain’s Streamlined Expresses