Crosti-boilered BR standard class 9F

Here's a  BR standard class 9F fitted with a Franco- Crosti boiler undergoing performance testing and pictured on the coaling road at Hurlford shed.

This locomotive shed was just south of the village, in the 'v' of Hurlford Junction, about 2 miles from Kilmarnock. The locomotive had probably run from Carlisle over the GSWR route but it is difficult to see whether this was a very demanding route for such a locomotive. However testing of the Austerity locos was also undertaken on the line between Carlisle and Hurlford in 1953 and the test train was then based at Durran Hill MPD. See Bulletin No:7.

The standard Class 9F locomotives were highly regarded and considered to be the most thermally efficient steam locomotives ever to operate in Britain. In 1955, numbers 92020-92029 were built with Franco-Crosti boilers, but the modification only improved them a little, and was not considered to be worth the effort, given that the end of steam in the UK was already in sight. They were subsequently re-built as conventional locomotives, the pre-heater sections were therefore removed leaving a single main boiler barrel smaller in diameter than those of the standard Class 9 locomotives, making them most distinctive.

Click on the image for a bigger picture - photo is from the author's collection

Hurlsford

Crosti 9F 92023 pictured at Hurlford shed whilst on test in the mid-1950's. The driver, inspector and a couple of firemen appear to be 'oiling round' as the oil can on the front might indicate.

The testing staff appear to be stringing out cables or replacing damaged ones. These sort of problems often occurred on tests - and still do today. Cables can be seen adorning the locomotive on the original photo.

The tender would probably contain bagged coal in the one hundredweight bags which were used for the controlled road tests.

Note the 'headcode' of WI - this has been noted on other photos of test trains from this era.

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