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Locomotive: War Department 2-10-0 Gauge: ‘OO’ Proposed by: Richard Foster, Editor
There are very few big, sexy locomotives that haven’t been offered ready-to-run in ‘OO’ before – and there aren’t many bigger than the War Department 2-10-0. While the WD 2-8-0 version has been part of the Bachmann Branchline range since 1999, no-one has yet touched its bigger cousin in ‘OO’. I think this is a missed opportunity. Anyone into modelling military railways would want one, as would anyone modelling the immediate post-war period. BR’S 25-strong fleet might have been allocated to Scotland, but they made regular forays down the West Coast Main Line, so you’d have an excuse to run one on any steam-era layout. And who could resist their looks? They’re more substantial than the WD 2-8-0s, yet more slender and daintier than their spiritual successor, the ‘9F’. The most eyecatching were, of course, Nos. 600 Gordon and 601 Kitchener that worked on the Longmoor Military Railway. You never see such a bright, colourful livery on such a big locomotive so they immediately grab your attention. It’s difficult to imagine the sight of Gordon at Woking in 1966, contrasting with the dirty greens and blacks of BR’S trains.
What is it?
The tide of war turned in favour of the Allies in 1942 and brought a demand for locomotives to move supplies both in this country and abroad, before and after the anticipated invasion of Europe. Robert Riddles, Director of Transportation Equipment for the Ministry of Supply, designed a new locomotive – an austerity version of the Stanier ‘8F’. But an even lighter locomotive was needed to run on hastily repaired track, so Riddles and his team put together a longer, more powerful version, using a 2-10-0 design for its lighter axle load. All 150 were built by North British Locomotive Company, with one, WD No. 73755 Longmoor, becoming the 1,000th British locomotive shipped to Europe after D-day.
What would make it viable?
Photographic evidence suggests that the WD 2-10-0s remained relatively unchanged throughout their careers, a boon to prospective modellers. BR No. 90774 was easy to spot because of its flamboyant North British nameplates. You can always tell Kitchener apart, owing to the large headlamp in front of the chimney (fitted in the mid-1950s), its twin airpumps and, later, because it was oil-fired, the oil tank in the coal space. There are lots of liveries to go for: War Department, which lasted into the 1950s, BR black with both pre- and post-1956 emblems, and Longmoor Military Railway blue – all would suit British layouts. You could also offer Nederlandse Spoorwegen and Hellenic State Railways liveries for WD 2-10-0s in Dutch and Greek service too.
Can I see a real one?
Three survive in Britain: No. 600 Gordon is at the Severn Valley Railway, No. 73652 is at the North Norfolk Railway in pseudo-br livery, and No. 73672 ‘Dame Vera Lynn’ is at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. Longmoor is displayed at the Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht, while several 2-10-0s survive in Greece, including No. 964, which is still operational. Have your say Do you agree with Richard’s argument? Go to https://goo.gl/ek2wub and post your wverdict.