ACE Trains E/28 British Railways 9F 2-10-0 Standard Class Locomotive
The Standard 9F 2-10-0 class is considered by many to have been the most successful and trouble-free of all standard designed locomotives of the British Railways (BR) era. The 9F class were extremely powerful locomotives and became the last in a series of standardised locomotives produced by BR in the 1950s. A total of 251 locomotives were produced by Robert Riddles following preparatory design work in both Derby and Brighton works. Class 9Fs represented the ultimate in British steam engine technology and were built in 11 batches with construction shared between BR’s Crewe (198) and Swindon (53) works. The 9F class, one of the largest classes of locomotives to be built in Britain, entered service in 1954 but regrettably railway modernisation saw to it that many of them had very short working lives – some lasting only five years of service.
Primarily intended for use on fast, heavy weight freight trains covering long distances, 9Fs despite their small driving wheels also undertook extensive mixed traffic and express passenger duties as they were able to demonstrate a good turn of speed. Due to design versatility the class was seen across the BR network; 9Fs were distributed evenly throughout London Midland, Eastern and Western regions with just a few on Southern metals but none based north of the border. 9Fs were particularly adept on fast turnaround freight services as they were able to complete round trips within the designated eight-hour shift of the footplate crew. The 2-10-0 wheel arrangement provided extra adhesion for heavy freight duties especially those handling loose-coupled mineral trains of up to 1,000 tons or more.
No: 92220 Evening Star entering service on 18th March 1960 was the last of the 9F class but also the very last steam locomotive to be built by BR at the Swindon works. Due to its celebrity status Evening Star was turned out in BR Brunswick Green livery normally reserved for express passenger traffic. When only five years old Evening Star was withdrawn from service following an accident and joined the National Collection’s preservation class. Evening Star and Nos: 92214 and 92245 were three of a group of 9F class locomotives that performed sterling work on the Somerset and Dorset line pulling an almost endless procession of holiday expresses to and from South Coast resorts. The powerful 9Fs were well suited to coping with 1 in 50 ruling gradient on the Bath extension which normally required double heading with many other locomotives. They were thus a frequent sight and particularly efficient with passenger traffic. Brunswick Green liveried Evening Star hauled Bournemouth bound regional expresses such as the ‘Pines Express’ during the summers of 1962 and 1963.
Most of the 9F class were painted in BR freight black without lining. In September 1982 preserved No: 92203 Black Prince, set the record for the heaviest train to be hauled by a steam locomotive in this country and hauled a 2,178 ton train out of the Somerset quarry field. Evening Star and Black Prince were two of nine 9F class of locomotives that survived the cutter’s torch in Barry when they were gradually withdrawn from service over a four year period from May 1964 until June 1968. Nos: 92134, 92207, 92212, 92214, 92219, 92240 and 92245 spent between 11 and 20 years in the scrapyard before they were acquired for preservation projects making the 9F one of the more numerous classes of steam locomotives now found working heritage and mainline railways.
As a mixed traffic locomotive the ACE 9F will look brilliant with a variety of coaches and freight wagons. Late crest Britannias will look superb running with the new BR Mk I and BR (S) Bulleid coaches.