Railways #12 – Golden Arrow

A named train this time, running from London Victoria to Dover Marine. On 15 May 1929, the Southern Railway introduced this service, which continued until 1972, with a gap during the second world war.

Golden Arrow

So far, so good. Now for the part where I stick my neck out & wait for it to be promptly removed. I reckon the above image is supposed to date from 1948 – 1952, as the loco is still in Southern Malachite Green livery, but to me it looks as if the tender carries the words British Railways, rather than Southern. Now during this period the Golden Arrow was normally hauled by Bulleid’s Merchant Navy or Battle of Britain class locos. Interestingly the above does not carry a number on the buffer beam, nor apparently a nameplate. Which is strange as I believe all these locos were named. There are a number of images on the interweb, showing a very similar picture. So is this just a designer’s representation of a real image or am I as usual, chuffing up the wrong branch line.

Over to you or as railway types would say, “Here is your token”


  • Trevor Chalmers

    Yes, the old liveries did manage to continue, but up until 1951/52 the words “!British Railways” appeard on the loco, instead of Sothern Railway etc. After that date British Railways Brunswick Green appeared with the “Cycling Lion on Wheel” emblem on tender. British Railways after 1948 stopped the numbering on the bufferbeam. You are correct there should be a nameplate on the side of the loco , but it was often obscured by the Golden Arrow regalia,

    At the end of the day this is a beer label, and therefore only an approximate representation of a steam loco. On that basis I think the brewery or its adverting agent has done quite well. I think Oliver Bulleid would be happy with this one!

    Pete S. despite our recent email correspondence about Ivatt Atlantics I will give you 10 out of 10 for this one!

  • Pete S

    Hi Trevor. Many thanks for the contribution & the 10/10. The downside of course is that others may not contribute, but hey you win some you lose some.

  • Fascinated by beer labels

    Trevor is spot on with this. And it may deter further contributions, but not this one. My teenage memory is not the Golden Arrow, which went through Maidstone East and Ashford, but the Night Ferry, which went through Faversham and Gillingham. Always double headed by an L1 4-4-0 and a Bulleid Light Pacific or Standard Class 5. Now that would make a great label.

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