One of two surviving 94xx class locomotive’s, 9400 was the first and one of the last steam locomotives to be built by the GWR. A member of the National Collection, it currently resides in STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway. Hawksworth’s 9400 class were the heaviest class of pannier tank to be built by the Great Western Railway that eventually numbered a remarkable 210 examples – although only the first ten were built by the GWR, the remainder by British Railways.Classified by BR as 4F they were the most powerful class of pannier tank built. They were built after a request in 1947 by Sir James Milne (the General Manager of the GWR) for a more modern pannier tank class be built to replace the 57xx/8750 classes.
They became well known as banking engines on the Lickey Incline and also as Paddington station pilot’s – a common site in the London terminus. Unfortunately, their biggest claim to fame is that they were a wasteful investment, as their duties for which they were designed (heavy shunting) soon disappeared. Nor were they particularly easy locomotives to operate as shunters, as their controls weren’t very accessible. They were soon replaced by diesel shunter’s. One member of the class – 8447 had the shortest working career of any BR steam engine that lasted about four and three quarter years.
One other locomotive from the 94xx class has been preserved – 9466 which can usually be found at the Buckinghamshire Railway Centre. Despite it’s history, the class is nevertheless impressive to see and I would very much like to catch 9466 in action one day – possibly on the mainline!