6235 was originally built in 1939 at Crewe, and entered LMS stock in July 1939. As built it was streamlined and was the first to be fitted with a double chimney (previous locomotives being built with single chimneys and later modified). Its livery was LMS crimson lake with cheat lines, but during the Second World War it acquired austere unlined black livery. Though it carried the name City of Birmingham from new, 6235 was officially named at a ceremony at Birmingham New Street on 20 March 1945, and a special coat of arms plate was then fitted above the nameplate. The streamlining was removed for maintenance reasons in April 1946, making 6235 the first streamliner to be destreamlined, and at the same time it was fitted with smoke deflectors, and livery continued to be black.
6235 passed to British Railways ownership in 1948, and in March was given the BR number 46235, which was applied in May. It was one of the engines given the short-lived blue livery for top express passenger engines in 1950. In April 1952, the semi-streamlined sloping smokebox front was replaced with a round-topped smokebox. 46235 was repainted into BR Brunswick Green livery from April 1953, and it retained this livery through until withdrawn from service in September 1964.
Unlike many locomotives 46235 City of Birmingham spent its entire working life under BR based at Crewe North depot.
46235 was prepared by BR for preservation, and after storage at Nuneaton Shed, moved to the Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry, which was built around the locomotive. After closure of that museum 46235 was moved into Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum in 1997 where it remains on static display.
City of Birmingham has not been steamed in preservation.
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