In 1949, the last remaining twentieth century London & North Western Railway express engines were lined up at Crewe for preservation – a Precursor, a Prince of Wales and a Claughton class. However, despite being set aside these glorious machines all met the cutter's torch and were lost for all time.
Tragically there are no preserved representatives of express engines from the LNWR in the 20th century with us today. Given this gap, those unfamiliar with Britain's railway heritage might be forgiven to think that the LNWR was a minor and incidental concern; a mere footnote in the rich
and colourful history of the railways of Britain. However what has come down to us by way of preservation presents a very distorted story. The South Eastern & Chatham Railway; a far smaller and less prosperous concern, confined to the south-east corner of England for instance has more engines in preservation than the LNWR, which at the time of grouping in 1923 was the largest of all railway companies with the most extensive network, extending from London in the south to Carlisle in the north and from Leeds and Peterborough in the east to Holyhead and Swansea in the West. The LNWR served most major cities in England and also had the largest fleet of engines and rolling stock. Its rich heritage was unmatched by any save perhaps the far better known Great Western Railway.
The LNWR was a justifiably proud and grand concern with a heritage extending way back to the dawn of rail in Britain. The company's constituents included some of the earliest railways in the world; the London & Birmingham Railway, which was the first intercity line into London; the Grand Junction Railway; and the world's first intercity rail link, the famous Liverpool & Manchester Railway. In its formative years the LNWR could claim legendary names such as Edmund Bury, Francis Trevithick, James McConnell and John Ramsbottom amongst its engineering pedigree and at its height, no locomotive works in the country could match the scale and output of Crewe.
It is hard to disagree that LNWR deserves its epithet 'The Premier Line' and yet today so little remains to remind us of its glory. Even LNWR's magnificent London terminus, Euston and its iconic Doric arch were senselessly demolished in 1962 despite considerable opposition. The LNWR George the Fifth Locomotive Trust has been established to right a wrong. We seek to create a unique representative of 20th century express locomotive from this endlessly fascinating enterprise.