Saturday, 22 August 2009
We had a trip to York today, for one reason; to see the Duchess.
I've always liked the class ever since Miles Kington covered it, and 46229 Duchess of Hamilton in particular, in one episode of his BBC series Steam Days, so to see it in its current stae was a must! Restreamling the Duchess has been comprehensively covered in the mainstream railway press but I wanted to show it here because it is still an wonderful achievement!
I could have stared at the loco all day; it is very imposing, far more than I thought it would be. It provides an interesting contrast with the LNER A4, of which 4468 Mallard 'lives' within the museum. I must have been an awesome sight in the 1930s to see machines like this bursting out of towns blackened by smoke and dirt from the industrial revolution and endless steam hauled trains passing by. It's shame the LMS Duchess and LNER A4 aren't standing alongside each other but hopefully this may happen at some point.
I really hope the 6229 can be restored to working order again. The sight of this on the mainline would be wonderful. I'd much rather see this than Flying Scotsman restored. Scotsman seems to be a millstone round the National Railway Museum's neck - it should have been cosmetically restored in the first instance so its appearance was accurate; either in BR green with its smoke deflectors and double chimney or back to an authentic LNER condition in apple green, not some hideous halfway house. It could even have been placed next to the museum's blue A4 to show two East Coast veterans together and allow the public excellent access to it.
If you are anywhere near York, go and see the streamlined Duchess, it is a very worthwhile trip!