Sunday, 2 October 2011

Funeral Locomotive of King George VI, Dover Priory Railway Station, Kent, UK

A view of the BR Britannia Class 7MT 4-6-2 no 70000 Britannia Steam Locomotive hauling the 12-coach Cathedrals Express as she passed through Dover Priory Railway Station at 5.47 pm on Thursday 7 April 2011:

British Railways Britannia Class 7MT 4-6-2 no 70000 Britannia Steam Locomotive with 12-coach Cathedrals Express. Pulled train from Norfolk to London following George VI's death on the 6th of February 1952 at Sandringham House, Norfolk.
(Click this BR Britannia Steam Locomotivetext link to see the largest size)

For many years, Britannia had her cab roof painted white. This was to commemorate her pulling the funeral train of King George VI - of "The King's Speech" film fame - from Norfolk to London following his death on the 6th of February 1952 at Sandringham House, Norfolk.

This visit to Dover was part of the Britannia's debut Main Line railtour after two test runs - and she was right on time! The route was from Oxford - Canterbury - Oxford, calling at the following stations:

Outward Journey (Headcode 1Z71 )

Oxford depart 09:22
Reading 10:08
London Kensington Olympia: 11:26
Maidstone East 12:53
Ashford Int 13:24
Canterbury West arrive 13:45

Return Journey (Headcode 1Z73 )

Canterbury West depart 16:51
Minster 17:14
Deal 17:28
Dover Priory 17:47
Folkestone Central 18:01
Ashford Int 18:17
Headcorn 18:28
Paddock Wood arrive 18:39 (water)
Paddock Wood depart 18:54
Tonbridge 19.13
Seven Oaks 19.23
Orpington 19.35
Bromley South 19.53
London Kensington, Olympia 20.42
Slough 21.19
Reading 21.47
Didcot Parkway 22.10
Oxford 22.45

A headcode is a train reporting number used by railway staff in Great Britain to identify a particular train service. For example, the The Cathedrals Express began as 1 (Express) Z (Special) 71 (ID number).

The Britannia

British Railways (BR) standard class 7 (also known as Britannia class), number 70000 Britannia is a preserved steam locomotive/steam train.

The 70000 Britannia was built at Crewe, completed on January 2, 1951. She was the first British Railways standard locomotive to be built and the first of 55 locomotives of the Britannia class. The locomotive was named at a ceremony at Marylebone station (London Marylebone) by the then Minister for Transport Alfred Barnes on 30 January 1951 (the day before I was born!). For her entire operational life, she was allocated to Norwich Thorpe engine shed.

Britannia was withdrawn in May 1966, after 15 years of service.

BR Standard Class 7 Specifications

Power Type: Steam
Designer: Robert Riddles
Builder: BR Crewe Works (built 1840 by Grand Junction Railway)
Build date: January 1951 – September 1954
Total production: 55
Configuration: 4-6-2
UIC classification: 2'C1'h
Gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)
Leading wheel diameter: 3 ft 0 in (0.914 m)
Driver diameter: 6 ft 2 in (1.880 m)
Trailing wheel diameter: 3 ft 3½ in (1.003 m)
Length: 68 ft 9 in (20.96 m)
Width: 8 ft 8¾ in (2.66 m)
Height: 13 ft ½ in (3.98 m)
Axle load: 20.50 long tons (20.83 t)
Weight on drivers: 61.50 long tons (62.49 t)
Locomotive weight: 94.00 long tons (95.51 t)
Tender weight: BR1: 49.15 long tons (49.94 t), BR1A: 52.50 long tons (53.34 t), BR1D: 54.50 long tons (55.37 t)
Tender type: BR1 (40), BR1A (5), or BR1D (10)
Fuel type: Coal
Fuel capacity: BR1/BR1A: 7.0 long tons (7.1 t), BR1D: 9.0 long tons (9.1 t)
Water capacity: BR1 4,250 imp gal (19,300 l; 5,100 US gal), BR1A: 5,000 imp gal (23,000 l; 6,000 US gal), BR1D: 4,750 imp gal (21,600 l; 5,700 US gal)
Boiler: BR1
Boiler pressure: 250 psi (1.72 MPa)
Fire grate area: 42 sq ft (3.9 m2)
Heating surface: Tubes and flues: 2,264 sq ft (210.3 m2)
Heating surface: Firebox: 210 sq ft (20 m2)
Superheater area: 718 sq ft (66.7 m2)
Cylinders: Two, outside
Cylinder size: 20 × 28 in (508 × 711 mm)
Tractive effort: 32,150 lbf (143.0 kN)
Factor of adhesion: 4.23
Career: British Railways
Power class: 7MT
Number: 70000–70054
Axle load class: Route availability 8; BR (WR): red
Locale: Eastern Region, London Midland Region, Scottish Region, Southern Region, Western Region
Withdrawn: June 1965 – August 1968
Disposition: Two preserved, remainder scrapped

(Source: Wikipedia)

History of Dover Priory Train Station

The Victorian Dover Priory opened on 22 July 1861 as the temporary terminus of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR). It became a through station on 1 November 1861 with the completion of a tunnel though the Western Heights to gain access to the Western Docks area, where LCDR created Dover Harbour station.

Initially the station was known as Dover Town but was renamed in July 1863.

The photo was taken from the Folkestone Road road bridge during an evening cycle ride around town: Robsons Yard - Eastern Docks - Prince of Wales Pier - Robsons Yard.

More information (including sources used) can be found on this photo's original webpage at:

The Funeral Locomotive of King George VI, Dover Priory Rail Station

Also see:

The Oliver Cromwell 70013 Steam Locomotive, Dover Priory Rail Station
Canterbury Tornado 60163 Steam Locomotive, Dover Priory Rail Station
Dover Priory Rail Station, Folkestone Road, from the Western Heights
Night Panorama of Dover Priory Rail Station from the Western Heights

For a partial view of the old Dover Marine Railway Station building (Western Docks) see:

Lord Warden House at Daybreak, Admiralty Pier, Western Docks, Dover

An Urban Dover industrial archeaology and History photo.

All photos relating to trains and rail transport are indexed under the Dover Priory Rail Station, Railway and Railway Station category labels.

Clickable thumbnails of most railway-related photos from the main Panoramio Images of Dover website are available on this blog on the Urban Page (also linked to below the blog title).

The main site Panoramio photos are each accompanied by a Google Earth satellite map. However, the images are smaller than those on the Images of Dover Blog and the captions are less well formatted.

John Latter / Jorolat

Dover Blog: The Psychology of a Small Town

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