Crosti-boilered BR standard class 9F

In 1955, ten of the BR standard class 9Fs (92020-92029) being constructed were fitted with Franco- Crosti boilers in an experiment which promised a 10% improvement in performance

Here are some photos of 92023 on test at the Rugby Locomotive Testing Station and later at Kilmarnock during its road testing period and 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 but it was reported at the time as hauling 14 coaches northbound on the GSW route beyond Dumfries

Road testing of the Austerity locomotives was also undertaken on the line between Carlisle and Hurlford in 1953 and the test train was then based at Durranhill MPD at Carlisle. 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 ten of them 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 - photos are as credited

92023 on the rollers at Rugby Locomotive Testing Station sometime in the summer of 1955

Warwickshire Railways (

92023 in the yard at Rugby Locomotive Testing Station between testing on the rollers

Warwickshire Railways (

92023 on the turntable at Hurlford in October 1955

Nick Deacon collection


92023 pictured at Hurlford shed whilst on road testing in October 1955. 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 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.

Author's collection

Re-built 92023 at Wolverhampton High Level in 1966

Oxendale-mac - Flickr

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