British Railways Standard Class 9F
The British Railways BR Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 is a class of steam locomotive designed for British Railways by Robert Riddles. The Class 9F was the last in a series of standardised locomotive classes designed for British Railways during the 1950s, and was intended for use on fast, heavy freight trains over long distances. It was one of the most powerful steam locomotive types ever constructed in Britain, and successfully performed its intended duties. The class earned a nickname of ‘Spaceships’, due to its size and shape. In profile daylight can be seen between the frames and the boiler.
At various times during the 1950s the 9Fs worked passenger trains with great success, indicating the versatility of the design, sometimes considered to represent the ultimate in British steam development. Several experimental variants were constructed in an effort to reduce costs and maintenance, although these met with varying degrees of success.
The total number built was 251, production being shared between Swindon (53) and Crewe Works (198). The last of the class, 92220 Evening Star, was the final steam locomotive to be built by British Railways, in 1960.
92203 – Black Prince
No. 92203 was built by Swindon and delivered on 6 April 1959. When withdrawn in November 1967 after a working life of less than nine years, it was working the heavy iron ore trains out of Bidston Dock, Birkenhead to Shotwick Shotton steelworks, and worked the last steam-hauled ore train in November 1967. The locomotive was purchased straight from BR by the artist David Shepherd for £3,000 and moved to the Longmoor Military Railway. He named her Black Prince, a name never carried by 92203 in British Railways service.
On closure of the LMR, 92203 moved to Eastleigh Depot and then, in 1973, to the East Somerset Railway, where it was based until 1998. During this period 92203 visited several other heritage railways and in September 1982 hauled the heaviest freight train in Britain, 2,198 tonnes, at Foster Yeoman’s Tor Works. After being overhauled at the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway in 2004, she worked there until 2011. She then moved to the North Norfolk Railway and re-entered service there in 2014 after receiving an extensive overhaul. She was purchased by the railway in 2015.