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Book Review
Riddles Class 9F 2-10-0
Locomotives in Detail 7, Riddles Class 9F 2-10-0
  • Riddles Class 9F Cover

by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

LOCOMOTIVES in Detail, 7
Riddles Class 9F 2-10-0S
by David Clarke
Ian Allan Publishing
ISBN 978-071103246-0

The Locomotives in Detail series are specifically published with modelers and historians in mind. All are highly regarded. This is certainly the best book you can get if you want to build a 9F. The author, David Clarke, is a partner in a model locomotive kit manufacturer.

British Railway's magnificent 9F 2-10-0 steam locomotive, one of the ultimate expressions of steam locomotive technology, summarized by my British steam authority, “I can remember the 9Fs. They had dreadfully short lives. Ironic, as they were also vastly better than even Robin Riddles could have hoped for. Here was a heavy freight dragger that could haul a passenger train at speed if required.”

The 9F was born of the birth of British Railways. British Railways was created in 1948 when England nationalized her proud railroads. New power was needed but the myriad of existing excellent designs was deemed inefficient to carry the system through its modernization plan. Building and operating more of those locomotives was too costly. Thus, a plan was devised to create a stable of standard new locomotive designs. “The object was to design a range of standard locomotives that could run on any of the regions and include the best practices from all sources.” A committee to design this new concept was created and headed by R.A. Riddles. Riddles had a remarkable career with the London, Midland and Scottish Railway, and 1939-43 Director of Transportation Equipment. In that capacity he designed England’s War Department (WD) "Austerity" class 2-8-0 and 2-10-0 locos. World War Two also introduced him to American engines, notably the US-built S160 class 2-8-0. The committee was influenced by these and other American examples, steam locomotive technology from around the world, and locos of England’s "Big Four":
* London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS)
* Great Western Railway (GWR)
* London and North Eastern Railway (LNER)
* Southern Railway (SR)

The 2-10-0 was not common in the UK and other members strongly recommended the globally successful 2-8-2 design, but Riddles overruled them. Thus began the gestation of the 9F. Knowing that post-war England would be short of manpower, every effort was made to build a steam loco that was not what steam loco were–labor intensive. Riddle’s Class 9F 2-10-0 was a resounding success. Two hundred fifty were built in ten batches, tailored for specific regions, from 1954 to 1960, numbered 92000-92250; the last British standard gauge steam locomotive built was 9F No. 92220 ‘Evening Star.’ Different batches of these locomotives featured a variety of different appliances, such as the unique Franco-Crosti water preheater boilers, single and double stacks, mechanical stokers, and five different types of tenders.

While these engines were highly regarded by railroaders, the last 9F was withdrawn from service in August, 1968.
The book
Hardback 9 by 7 inch format with 96 pages, containing 150 black & white and color photographs, line art to 4mm scale (OO, or 1/76 scale), and informative charts. This history is brought to you in seven parts:

• Introduction
• Chapter 1, Design
• Chapter 2, Construction
• Chapter 3, In Service
• Chapter 4, Tenders
• Chapter 5, Liveries & Names
• Chapter 6, Preservation

Mr. Clarke has created a concise and detailed book. I find it easy to read and well presented. However, there are no anecdotal or reminiscent accounts by engine crewmen, something I value in historical works.

While many of the remarkable photographs were taken of working 9F’s, many are of today’s preserved engines in museums. Some of these preserved locomotives are operational, hauling enthusiasts.
Obviously, this work is a labor of love by Mr. Clarke. Well presented and easy to read, this highly detailed book should be in the bookcase of anyone interested in the history and/or modeling of the Riddles Class 9F 2-10-0, British steam in particular, and steam locomotives in general. Full of captivating photography, the modern high quality color photos of the ‘real deal’ are superb, and in the reviewer’s opinion, worth the book!
Highs: Photography. Well presented text. Tables of build-batches.
Lows: No anecdotal or reminiscent accounts by engine crewmen.
Verdict: These modern high quality color photos of the ‘real deal’ are superb, and in the reviewer's opinion, worth the book!
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:1
  Mfg. ID: 0-7110-3246-7
  Suggested Retail: $29.95
  Related Link: Ian Allan Publishing
  PUBLISHED: Jul 10, 2008
  NATIONALITY: United Kingdom

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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    LOCOMOTIVES in Detail, 7 Riddles Class 9F 2-10-0S by David Clarke Ian Allan Publishing
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    LOCOMOTIVES in Detail, 7 Riddles Class 9F 2-10-0S by David Clarke Ian Allan Publishing
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    LOCOMOTIVES in Detail, 7 Riddles Class 9F 2-10-0S by David Clarke Ian Allan Publishing