King George V

Researching pictures for Dove Publishing’s Ford Centenary File turned up this 1965 C-registered Mark I Cortina alongside King George V, the 4-6-0 express locomotive by Charles Benjamin Collett, built in July 1927 for the Great Western Railway. First of the “King” class, No. 6000 was immediately shipped from Cardiff docks to the United States for the centenary celebrations of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, for which it earned a plaque and bell. Railway engines often had nicknames. “The Diver,” NBR224 built at Cowlairs and recovered from the Tay after the bridge disaster of 1879, remained on the rails until 1919. No. 6000’s soubriquet was, “The Bell” and according to Wikipedia was withdrawn by Western Region British Railways in December 1962, with 1,910,424 miles on the clock. So what about the publicity picture? Nobody at Ford seemed to know much, yet it looks as though it cannot have been contemporary because the Cortina’s C suffix was issued in 1965, four years after the locomotive was taken out of service. No. 6000 doesn’t look as if it has steam up although there is coal in the tender and the driver seems authentic. Was it languishing temporarily at the Swindon stock shed assigned to the National Collection in 1964? It was towed to London Stratford works, a temporary base for the Collection on 31 December 1966. Was it back in Swindon before being installed at the Swindon Steam Railway Museum in March 1968? It did sterling work hauling steam trains in the age of the diesel. In 1971 it hauled a Return to Steam Special from Birmingham Moor Street to Olympia. It then went from London to the Bulmer collection at Hereford, 525 miles, on 12 tons of coal and 125,000 gallons of water. It steamed until 1987 when its boiler certificate expired and went on exhibition at Swindon. No. 6000 was then swopped for British Railways Standard 9F 92220 “Evening Star”. All 89 tons of King George V (without tender, 137.5 tons in all) is now in the National Railway Museum, York. It has a 16.35in x 28in 4 cylinder engine. But no Cortina

Cortinas feature in The Ford Centenary File, published March 2011