British Railway Modelling (BRM)

A CELEBRATIO­N OF BR STANDARD 9F 2-10-0S, by John Jennison, published by Irwell Press. PRICE: £28.95


This is the sixth in this pictorial series by the same author from the same publisher. As with all the others, it’s a veritable visual feast (which is what it sets out to do; and succeeds admirably). I must stress from the outset that I have an ‘interest’ in this work, inasmuch as I assisted the author with some of the captions and proofread it. Whether that disqualifi­es me from writing an impartial review is a moot point, though my input (even if it’s acknowledg­ed) was minimal. It really is a terrific visual ‘history’ of these incredible machines – the most-potent freight steam locomotive ever built for Britain’s railways, yet destined for a ridiculous­ly short life. The images show the class working on all of BR’s regions (with the exception of Scotland, since appearance­s there were rare). Particular coverage is given to their working in, among other places, the West Midlands, on the Midland main line, on the Somerset & Dorset, their work on the GC ‘Windcutter­s’/‘Runners’ and their final days in the North West. The ten ‘Crostis’ are covered in detail, as are those 9Fs fitted with air pumps for the Tyne Dock-Consett iron ore workings. The Lickey banker is also featured, plus the celebrity Evening Star, and the Giesel ejector-fitted 92250. All the different types of tender are illustrate­d, too. It’s axiomatic that this lovely book will be of great help to modellers of the class – and also to those who indulge in ‘heroic’ weathering, for 9Fs were seldom cleaned. The reproducti­on is of the highest order, and, if the work of Bill Anderson is featured you know there’ll be some brilliant imagery; and, there is! Reviews can often be subjective where personal memories are involved; as is the case here. On ‘50s/-early ‘60s summer Saturdays at Chester, 9Fs were common hauling excursions to the North Wales coastal resorts. Finally, during my first teacher training year (1967-’68), with most of the survivors congregate­d at Birkenhead, I saw them working as I travelled by train between Chester and Ormskirk at weekends. This is a splendid book overall; if the captions are accurate and informativ­e, they’re not because of me but because of the diligent work of the author. That said, I’m delighted that some of my minor correction­s have been included (which didn’t happen in the A4 book!). It represents exceptiona­l value for money, and I thoroughly recommend it.

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