The Britannia Story

1951 - 2016

As she passes her 65th birthday we take a look back at the life and career of the very first British Railways 'Standard' locomotive.

Explore the history of Britannia with us
Royal Scot Locomotive & General Trust

The Royal Scot Locomotive & General Trust are the proud owners of Britannia and have restored her to running condition.

Icons Of Steam operate Britannia on behalf of the Royal Scot Trust on the mainline and preserved railways of Britain.

Learn more about the Royal Scot Trust

Britannia was built in 1951, making her the youngest locomotive in our fleet.

As the first class built by British Railways the Britannia's incorporated design features from the engines of the former 'Big Four' railway companies. Capable of working fast express passenger trains and more menial freight work, the 'Britannia' class were amongst the most versatile locomotives in the BR fleet.

After her construction at Crewe works, Britannia entered service in 1951. For the early part of her life she was based in London and East Anglia, working fast boat train services to the eastern docks. In her later years she was transferred north west, to work heavy trains on the West Coast Main Line from Manchester, Carlisle and Glasgow.

She was eventually retired in May 1966 and was initially mooted to become part of the National Collection. This was not to be and she instead passed into private hands. She is now in her third running period since leaving British Railways, her last overhaul having been completed in 2010.

Britannia can now regularly be found working excursion trains on the national rail network, as well as visiting preserved railways across the country.

Learn more about Britannia's past
Shot by Bob Green.

Facts & Figures

The Basics
Designer Robert Riddles
Company British Railways
Class Standard Class 7MT
Built At Crewe Works
Entered Service January 1951
Number of Class 55
B.R. Number 70000
Power Class 7MT
Wheel Arrangement 4-6-2
Boiler Pressure 250psi
Fire Area 42 sq ft
Cylinders 2, both outside
20in x 28in
Driving Wheels 188cm diameter
Tractive Effort 32,150 lbf
Valve Gear Walschaerts
In Service
Loco Weight 94 tons
Max Speed 100+ mph
Coal Capacity 6,400 kilograms
Water Capacity 19,000 litres
Range 300+ miles
Withdrawn May 1966
Max Speed 75mph
Range 100 miles
Last Overhaul 2010
Boiler Ticket Expires 2017
TOPS Number 98700
Owner Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust
Current Status Operational