Regarded by many as the ultimate and best British Railway Standard class, the 9F is also generally considered the finest heavy freight locomotive built in Britain. It is the only locomotive built in the UK with a 9F classification and also is unique due to it sharing very few of its components with other standard classes.
Designed to be capable of pulling 900 tons at an average of 35 miles per hour, after a few teething problems were ironed out they soon proved themselves of greater feats, managing to pull loads of more than 1,000 tons. They also proved more than capable of express passenger duties, although their smaller driving wheels and lack of speedometers meant that British Railways soon put a stop to these! One notable feat followed a failure of a BR Standard 7MT Britannia class hauling the “Red Dragon” on June 27th 1960. 92220 Evening Star was brought in as a replacement and kept to the schedule perfectly, running up to estimated speeds of 90MPH. Notably in doing so, it used less coal then either a GWR Castle class or BR Britannia class would be expected to!
The class had a habit of doing everything asked of it very well and this has continued into preservation where preserved lines have found them efficient, economical and reliable.
92220 Evening Star was the 999th and locomotive built by British Railways and the Swindon built machine was finished differently as a result. It was painted in lined Brunswick Green and given a copper capped double chimney.
92220 can be found in the National Railway Museum York on static display. It is one of nine to have survived. In preservation, despite their size the 9F’s continue to impress, being reliable, economical and easy to maintain. Overall, they are an excellent locomotive class and it is quite fitting that the last built BR locomotive was so good!