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.