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The Princess Royal Pacifics (Hardback)

Colour Books Photographic Books Transport > Trains & Railways

By Tim Hillier-Graves
Imprint: Pen & Sword Transport
Series: Locomotive Portfolios
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 200
ISBN: 9781473885783
Published: 8th January 2018



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When Stanier joined the LMS in 1932, as their CME, he was expected to breathe new life into this ailing giant. Since its formation it had steadily lost ground to its main rival, the LNER. In Doncaster, Nigel Gresley and his team, with an eye to advancing locomotive design at the same time as making the company commercially successful, had quickly begun producing a series of high performance and iconic Pacific engines to pull their high profile express trains. Their impact left the LMS trailing in their wake.

Under previous CMEs, the LMS had concentrated on 4-6-0 designs to pull their express services, but many felt they lacked sufficient power and had little to offer in performance or glamour when compared to their rivals.

Stanier, heavily influenced by his mentor, George Churchward, his work on the GWR and the potential of the Pacific design, saw such a class as essential to the success of the LMS. And so the Princess Royal Class came into being, against a background of some opposition and cultural differences. Despite this, they proved their worth and became popular with their crew and managers. Within a few short years, however, their premier position in the company had been taken by a very worthy successor, the Princess Coronation Class.

Overshadowed and often overlooked, they tend to be seen as a stepping stone to something better. Yet, in reality they stand up well to the closest scrutiny, and this book tells the story of these engines through the eyes of those who came into contact with them. They also best represent the impact William Stanier had on locomotive design and best describe the way he changed the culture of the LMS to allow it to grow successfully. It is a story of great endeavor and courage that can only be told by revealing and discussing political, social, economic and engineering issues.

There have been many fine accounts of the LMS Pacifics in general and the Princess Royals in particular, and this is one of the very best.

The book is superbly illustrated with many photographs and engineering drawings, I have reviewed many books for the RO and it is my privilege to have had this brilliant volume.

Railway Correspondence and Travel Society

The author is to be congratulated on his research which is deep and includes many revealing quotes.
The range of photographs is excellent and contribute greatly.

No LMS devotee should be without this book.

Friends of the National Railway Museum

There have been numerous books on these magnificent machines but for enthusiasts of Stanier and the LMS this is a 'must have' book for your collection...

... Author Tim Hillier-Graves does an excellent job in describing the technical features of the engines, how they were constructed and the trials and tribulations of commissioning them...

... Altogether a very enjoyable, readable and informative book representing good value.

Model Engineer – reviewed by Paul Carpenter

Definitely a must for LMS fans, this book covers the genesis of the class under William Stanier with his formative years at Swindon. It looks at inspirations for the class abroad, the internal politics of the LMS and problems in building and testing a new class. R.A. Riddles’ little known technical specification is reproduced as an appendix, giving useful engineering information. There’s a chapter about life on the footplate drawing on the recollections of East End boy Laurie Earl, later a crack driver, and a section about the Turbomotive spinoff. Unusually this includes potted biographies of people involved, not only locomotive engineers. In all a very good book.

Society of Model & Experimental Engineers


Barnsley Chronicle, February 2018

Article: 'Local resident publishes locomotive history book' as featured in

White Horse News, 1st February 2018

About Tim Hillier-Graves

TIM HILLIER-GRAVES was born in North London during 1951. On leaving university he served as an officer with the Royal Navy, seeing wide service on land and sea. For much of this time he specialised in weapon development projects, specifically missiles and heavyweight torpedoes, and worked alongside BAe, Marconi Space and Defence Systems and McDonnell Douglas in the process. In support of this work, he undertook prolonged periods of study and research at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and the Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham. Late in his career he changed specialisms to become Head of Investigations for the MoD’s Estates Organisation. From this he moved on to become Head of Finance and Planning and then into Human Resource Management where he specialised in outsourcing to industry. Then as an Assistant Director he took on responsibility of housing for military personnel. He retired in 2011 to focus more fully on writing biographies and books related to military, aviation and engineering matters.

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