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Study In Steel – 1935 London Midland & Scottish Railway – Watch the “Princess Arthur of Connaught” being built

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We have not featured anything steam-powered recently and this post should more than make up for it.  We were fortunate to find a fascinating series of films produced by The London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS). They take us into the Crewe workshops to watch a Princess Royal Class steam locomotive being built. The locomotive seen during the film is no. 6207 and was named “Princess Arthur of Connaught”.

In the film you will be able to witness some extraordinary scenes showing the casting of huge iron and steel castings. Also featured is the art of forging alloy steel to produce the many high-strength parts needed in locomotive practice.

All of the interesting manufacturing details shown here, all relate to the automobile, as what was learned in early locomotive construction, was then applied to the motor car. If you enjoy this film take a moment to send us a comment and if enough of you reply, it we will show more of the series in the future. You can learn much more about the LMS here.

Preview photos (below) of some of the scenes that you will see on this outstanding film.

                          Loco

16 responses to “Study In Steel – 1935 London Midland & Scottish Railway – Watch the “Princess Arthur of Connaught” being built

  1. Talk about labor intensive, This is really amazing, and kind of scary at the same time. With all that heavy equipment and materials being haled about, and very little in the way of safety for the workers I can’t even begin to imagine how many were injured or killed. Notice, no ear or eye protection, no protective coveralls or gloves. These were real workers which I’m sure many paid dearly for. It’s just down right humbling.

  2. As Mr. Greenlees points out, “defiantly not an OSHA approved shop.” I too noticed the lack of gloves, goggles, and helmets; moving the heavy parts over unconcerned men below them, and thinking how poorly they were being paid, to make this amazing steam machine, which was already obsolete due to the new diesel engines waiting in the wings. Oh, and loved the berets for head protection! I enjoyed this. Thank you!

  3. Do we know what became of this engine? Unlikely to still be in service. Any rail historical folk out there who can tell us?

    Thanks,
    Jim.

    • Hi Jim

      This loco was withdrawn in November 1961, and scrapped at Crewe works, (where it was made) in May 1962.

      Two of the class are preserved, numbers 46201 and 46203.

  4. I really enjoyed the video . I have enjoyed your entire photo site and check on it every few days. I am always amazed at the the old photo’s and videos with their simplicity and straight forward approach to manufacturing. The lack of ordinary safety in the workplace is apparent. It was a different and much simpler world in those days. Thanks for all the great photo’s and information.

    • Looks like many people really like this type of film, as it has gotten the highest number of hits of any post on The Old Motor.

      We are glad you enjoyed it and look for more from this series in the near future. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Thanks very much for posting this film! Very interesting, from a North American perspective is that those 6200 series locomotives had four cylinders, two inside the frame, two outside. The boiler’s capacity for steam generation must have been very finely engineered. Here in North America, two cylinder machines were the norm (mostly mounted outside the frame). There was some experimentation with three-cylinder machines, but this in the early 1900s and the engineer with his long-snouted oil can could not readily lubricate any center drive and valve linkage. Britain and Europe were more advanced in their use of 3 and 4 cylinder, single-frame steam locos. Perhaps by then, the locomotive builders had developed mechanical lubrication and achieved the maximum steam generating capacity of those fireboxes and boilers.

    The work environment is, indeed, startling by today’s safety standards. Although it surprises us to see the foundry and assembly shop crews conduct their work with such apparent ease, this was at least partially balanced by the fact that apprenticeships weeded out those not suited to the work, and fostered strong teamwork by those who persisted. Not to say it was perfect, but skill and good teamwork could do a lot to make such heavy work safer than we tend to think.

    Bravo to this film, and we look forward to more!

  6. Jim, Two Princess Royals survive of thirteen, 6201 Princess Elizabeth and 6203 Princess Margaret Rose. 6201 was visible on TV on the bridge at the start of the Queen’s Jubilee river cavalcade, when the BBC berks failed to observe that, when new, it was named after her as a young princess!
    The class were nicknamed “Lizzies” and were superceded by the “Duchesses” (three surviveof thirty-eight). Reference “the L M S Pacifics” byJ W P Rowledge. I saw them all except 6202.

  7. Thank you for this outstanding film document!
    Casting of the cylinder block was most interesting to me cause documents of such foundry work are extreme rare! As fan of GSC who once produced their famous one piece locomotive beds I am fascinated by those scenery!
    Please carry on posting such rare films!
    Asteamhead

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