‘Lizzie’ moves to Carnforth
‘Duchess’ overhaul prompts move of beleaguered ‘Princess Royal’ to West Coast headquarters.
WE DON’T KNOW WHETHER OR NOT THE BOILER WILL HAVE TO COME OFF CLIVE MOJONNIER
In a surprise development in late February, sidelined Stanier ‘Pacific’ Princess Elizabeth was to move from Butterley to West Coast Railway Company’s workshops at Carnforth, where restoration to full main line working order is to be carried out. Owners of the LMS 4-6-2, the 6201 Princess Elizabeth Locomotive Society, had only recently agreed for re-tubing and other outstanding repairs to be undertaken as a contract by their hosts at Butterley, the Princess Royal Class Locomotive Trust – but the search for a new restoration base became a priority when the PRCLT announced that no work could be carried out on ‘Lizzie’ for at least another seven months – because of commitments to maintaining and repairing their own Stanier ‘Pacific’, No. 46233 Duchess of Sutherland. It is understood that some of the replacement boiler tubes ordered for the ‘Princess’ and delivered to Butterley have been used by the PRCLT to overhaul Duchess of Sutherland, which was withdrawn owing to tube failure in late 2017 (SR476), but will be replaced. With the forging of a new agreement with West Coast Railways, ‘Lizzie’ was due to be hauled, together with a support coach, to Carnforth on February 22, in a formation ‘topped and tailed’ by WCRC diesels. 6201 Society members were informed of the sudden change of tack by Chairman Clive Mojonnier, in a letter dated February 4, in which he explains: “No maintenance work whatsoever, including replacement of the small tubes, can be undertaken at the West Shed, Butterley, for at least seven months.” The 6201 Society board had taken the view that a move to a different restoration base was “in the best interests of the locomotive.” Mr Mojonnier told Steam Railway: “We don’t know whether or not the boiler will have to come off, as we were previously advised. West Coast will give the engine a full examination, and we’ll take it from there.” When asked if Princess Elizabeth could yet return to main line action in 2018, he replied: “I’ve no idea. How long is a piece of string?” ‘Lizzie’ was the subject of a £280,000 overhaul at Tyseley Locomotive Works from 2013, and returned to the main line in August 2016, but was withdrawn again after only four months with weeping boiler tubes. A series of appeals was subsequently launched by the 6201 Society to raise a further £100,000 for further repairs said to be necessary, but the public response to those fund-raising efforts has been muted. The society is said to be ‘still progressing’ a £50,000 insurance claim for loss of earnings, when the ‘Princess’ was out of traffic.