Dieselpunk + Steampunk Culture

Sunday Streamline #52: The Royal Pacific

During their visit to France in 1938, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth proceeded from Calais to Paris in Pullman car hauled by a streamline locomotive:

The loco chosen for the Royal train was the SNCF 231C78, the one and only C-class Super Pacific fitted with streamline shrouding. Initially designated Nord 3.1280, it belonged to the third batch of the 231C class, designed by Marc de Caso in early 1920s for Paris - Lille service. The task was to provide the railway with a top-performance steam locomotive capable of hauling a 300-ton passenger train at speeds up to 120 km/h. Being past and powerful, the Super Pacifics were somewhat conservative, lacking mechanical stocker for coal feed. Their cab was not fully enclosed, earning a nickname "The rendezvous of winds".

The 3.1280  entered service with Chemin de Fer du Nord, bearing a special "winged" livery. Soon the railway was absorbed into a new state-owned company, SNCF. The loco was renumbered and received a new color scheme, light blue. For the Royal visit, French and British national colors were added (you can see a color rendering here). The cab remained only partially enclosed:

The special train was a mix of former Nord and PLM stock. Pullman salon car, moderately streamlined, previously belonged to PLM:

By the way, there's a nice ad of Nord/PLM Pullman cars (by Jean Raoul Naurac):

During WWII, the streamline shrouding was removed. I haven't seen the full service record of the 3.1280/231C78 but it's known that the 231C-Class Super Pacifics were retired only in 1960s.

Some more pictures:

Watch a model of 3.1280 in its original 'chocolate' livery:

Special thanks to Joel Tasma and all the wonderful people of the Trains d'Histoire forum!

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Comment by lord_k on February 9, 2012 at 7:16am

Sometimes I wish the same.

Comment by Elvisrocks59 on February 8, 2012 at 8:18pm

I wish i had a time-machine 

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