Steam locomotive saved from scrap by Mirfield man is transformed into ‘Platinum Purple’ for Queen’s Jubilee


Ripon-based T&R Williamson, holder of the prestigious Royal Warrant, played a key role in transforming one of the country’s most popular steam locomotives into ‘Platinum Purple’.

Along with its eye-catching new livery, the Taw Valley locomotive will be renamed Elizabeth II following a public vote by its keepers Severn Valley Railway, which operates a 16-mile heritage line in Shropshire and Worcestershire.

The move has even captured the imagination of leading UK model company Hornby, who are producing a limited edition collector’s model of the new-look locomotive, with just 1,500 available.

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One of the country’s most popular steam locomotives is transformed into ‘Platinum Purple’ for the Queen’s Jubilee

This regal painting is the latest in a long line of landmark heritage projects where restoration experts have turned to specialist paints and protective coatings from T&R Williamson to help bring them to life.

These include Stephenson’s Rocket, The Flying Scotsman, The Orient Express, The Royal Opera House, the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as The Royal Mews and Royal Carriages.

Group Chairman Abubaker Sheibani said: “Receiving a Royal Warrant of Nomination in 2011 marked one of the proudest moments in our 247-year history.

“We are one of less than 800 specialists in their field globally to have achieved this prestigious and rare distinction, so we are delighted to have been able to extend this royal connection to this unique project.

The train receives its purple paint

“It’s a fitting and truly memorable way to commemorate Her Majesty becoming the first British monarch in history to reign for 70 years.”

Taw Valley – named after a river in Devon – was built in 1946 and operated in Ramsgate, Brighton and Salisbury before being withdrawn from service in 1964.

In 1980 it was saved from scrapping in Wales by the late Bert Hitchen, Mirfield’s former road cycling champion, who became increasingly involved in the preservation of the railways after leaving the sport.

Its restoration began at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway before entering service with the Severn Valley Railway in 1988.

The undercarriage was repainted in T&W Williamson’s Spec 81 paint, Purple SP01353, to match the Platinum Jubilee’s official color and its Spec 81 Undercoat Madder.

The renaming and repainting will only be a temporary measure – later this year the locomotive will return to its original name and green livery.

A 500ml tin of “Platinum Purple” paint was created for customers to keep as a memento of the occasion.

The box will be filled with traditional sweets and the lid will feature a coin slot so that after eating the treats it can be used as a savings box for future generations.


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