Britannia

The first of 55 express passenger locomotives built by British Railways, Britannia entered service in 1951 and worked the fastest services from London to East Anglia and latterly on the West Coast Mainline. She is now undergoing an overhaul to return her to mainline running condition.

15 Years
service
66 Years
of age
75 Miles
Per Hour
94 Tons of
engine

A new breed

The First Standard

As the first class built by to a new design 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's were amongst the most versatile locomotives in the BR fleet.

Our favourite video of Britannia, taken in the 1990s it shows the sheer power and speed of this amazing steam locomotive.

Fifteen years service

Working with BR

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.

Retirement

Britannia Enters Preservation

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.

A new age

The Royal Scot Trust

After two periods of running in preservation, Britannia became part of the Royal Scot Locomotive and General Trust in 2009. She made her third return to steam on the mainline.

An unfortunate series of setbacks in 2013 and 2015 have meant Britannia's recent mainline career has been somewhat curtailed and she is now awaiting an overhaul before being returned to steam.

Photography courtesy Andrew Shapland.