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Friday, 12 August 2011

Surviving 'King'

In this post, 12th August 2011, I am comparing a 'King' class locomotive, as reproduced in an early British Railways' era painting and modern jigsaw puzzle, with a recent photograph of the same locomotive.

The first photograph features a wooden jigsaw puzzle of one of Charles Collett's giant 4-6-0s, No.6023 King Edward II, reproduced from a Malcolm Root painting. This 500-piece puzzle, titled Cornish Riviera 6023, was made appropriately by King International of Holland, and is still in production. The locomotive is heading the famous 'Cornish Riviera' express at the equally famous (or infamous) Dainton Bank, the third stiffest incline on the British mainland. The 2-miles long bank is situated on the GWR main line beginning at Stoneycombe in South Devon and includes Dainton Tunnel. To storm the incline the locomotive is shown at full power in Malcolm's painting, belching out exhaust of almost volcanic proportions from its copper-capped chimney. The signal box and quarry sidings are authentic. The BR blue colour for large express locomotives was trialled in 1948 and a slight variation was used from 1949. The GWR were unimpressed, however, and reverted to their own 'Brunswick Green' a short time later.

For comparison, as I don't have a  modern jigsaw equivalent in my 400-strong collection, I have used a photograph from a friend of mine, Alan Rigby, who photographed the locomotive this year following its return from restoration. Alan took the shot on the 5th June 2011 at Thuxton on the Mid Norfolk Railway where it was being 'run in'. The locomotive was purchased in 1989 by the Great Western Society from previous owners Harvey's of Bristol (makers of the famous of sherry); the cost, £16,000. She was moved from Bristol to Didcot Railway Centre, by train, for restoration and first appeared for public viewing, in steam, at Didcot on 2nd and 3rd of April 2011. The locomotive livery is almost identical in both images.