The GER Express before the First World War
This was the East Anglian locomotive par excellence, and supreme on the Norfolk Coast Express (Liverpool Street to North Walsham) avoiding Thorpe (i.e. Norwich) Station by using the Wensum curve. I believe it would have gone right through to Cromer, but I think the coal or water would have run out. This was in Edwardian times, when the North East Norfolk coast was a highly fashionable place to be. I cannot claim to remember seeing a CLAUD, although I must have done so. The last one was withdrawn and scrapped in 1960 when I was eleven and well acquainted with railways. As this photo shows, someone in my family (it would have been my father) took a picture of a Claud in the early days of Nationalisation. The Lion had not yet made an appearance and just the words BRITISH RAILWAYS were painted in white on the tender side. They had all been reboilered using Gresley pattern ones by the time I arrived on the scene.
They were always a popular subject for artists and photographers, even in their rebuilt form. In their original shape with a smaller boiler and a pierced arrangement under the splashers they were even more beautiful. The drawing shown (right) gives you some idea of these features. You can also imagine the locomotive in Royal blue and scarlet Great Eastern livery to get the full effect.
The last of the Clauds had been withdrawn and was due to scrapped, but it was offered for sale at scrap value of £1500 if anyone wanted it for preservation. Alan Bloom mentioned this at the AGM of the Norfolk Traction Engine Club, but only one other member was at all interested although the club possessed the funds. The members were apparently only interested in road engines and not railway locomotives, and all the Claud Hamiltons were scrapped. I would far rather have seen one preserved than 10 LBSC “TERRIER” tanks. Surely 5 would have been enough.
THE BLOG FOR THE HISTORY OF EAST ANGLIA