Kensington Sulzers meet the Royal Train

Due to extensive engineering works outside Euston station one Sunday in the 1970s, many long-distance West Coast trains started and terminated at Kensington Olympia and here a set of empty stock to form a Scottish service is brought into one of the West London platforms by double-headed Sulzer Type 2 Class 25s. On the adjacent platform stands the empty stock of the Royal Train which then consisted of some pre-grouping vehicles as well as Mark 1 coaches.

Due to extensive engineering works outside Euston station one Sunday in the 1970s, many long-distance West Coast trains started and terminated at Kensington Olympia and here a set of empty stock to form a Scottish service is brought into one of the West London platforms by double-headed Sulzer Type 2 Class 25s. On the adjacent platform stands the empty stock of the Royal Train which then consisted of some pre-grouping vehicles as well as Mark 1 coaches.

This photograph raises lots of questions that I would love to know the answers to. Peter Collins seems to think that the diversion of some trains to Kensington Olympia from Euston was in the early 1970s, but can anybody get any closer than this? The trees seem to be in full leaf, so sometime between May and September; but which year? Can anybody actually identify the train, and really pushing the bounds of optimism the pair of Sulzers actually used?

I am no expert in the Royal Train, but does anybody have any details on the make up of the train in the early 1970s. There is a Mk1. Sleeper within the rake of coaches in blue/grey livery and also a maroon restaurant car. In addition there are two of the dedicated Royal Train saloons, but which ones I am unclear.

Whatever the service is, there is a buffet available for passengers given the contents of the trolley on the platform, although there doesn’t seem much if the service is a long distance one; half a dozen milk bottles won’t last long!

The photo captures the era when British Rail was moving away from steam and into the diesel era, at least when looking at the left hand side of the image. Look to the right half, and we see semaphore signals and steam era coaching stock (Royal or otherwise).

If anybody can help with further information, then please make contact through the form below, or via social media.

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2 Replies to “Kensington Sulzers meet the Royal Train”

  1. David J. Hayes.

    Hello there.

    I might be able to add more detail to this image if I may. The use of four-character headcodes on BR was officially discontinued as from January 1976. Assuming this picture was taken summer 1974, the 5S22 headcode being displayed would indicate that this was either the 18:08 SuX or 18:10 SuO empty stock move from Willesden Carriage Sidings to Kensington Olympia (due around 6:30pm) to form 1S22, the 20:55 Mon-Sun Motorail departure to Perth. The pair of Class 25’s would no doubt work 1S22 to the Willesden area, from where an electric locomotive would take the train forward. From 14th-25th October 1974, 1S22 was booked to run thrice-weekly (MWFO), as were the associated 5S22 empty stock moves.

    Hope this is of some use.

    Cheers.

    Dave.

    Reply
  2. David J. Hayes.

    Hello there.

    I did post a comment a while back, but wasn’t sure if it was received, hence this re-submission. The image is pre-1976, as the use of four-character headcode displays on locomotives wasn’t officially discontinued by BR until January 1976. Assuming the image is a summer 1974-dated scene, 5S22 was the 18:08 SuX or 18:10 SuO empty coaching stock move from Willesden Carriage Sidings to Kensington Olympia, which was due to arrive there around 6:30pm. The stock would then later form 1S22, the 20:55 DLY (Mon-Sun) Motorail departure to Perth, which the pair of Class 25 locomotives would work as far as Willesden (West London Junction) from where an electric locomotive would takeover.

    Hope this is of use/interest.

    Cheers.

    Dave.

    Reply

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