What makes it special?
The tide of war turned favour of the Allies in 1942 and brought a
demand for locomotives to move supplies both in this country and abroad, before and after the anticipated invasion of Europe. Robert Riddles, Director of Transportation Materials for the Ministry of Supply, designed a new locomotive – an austerity version of the Stanier ‘8F’.
But an even lighter locomotive was needed to run on hastily repaired track so Riddles and his team put together a longer, more powerful version, a 2-10-0, with a larger boiler but lighter axle load. All 150 were built by North British Locomotive Company, with one, WD No. 73755 Longmoor, becoming the 1,000th British locomotive shipped to Europe after D-Day. BR bought 25 and three survive in the UK.
Why are they so special?
There are very few big, sexy locomotives that haven’t been offered ready-to-run in ‘OO’ before. But the WD 2-10-0 is one. The 2-8-0 version has been part of the Bachmann Branchline range since 1999 but, so far, no one has touched its bigger cousin.
I find They have intriguing blend of looks. They’re bigger and meatier looking than the 2-8-0 but more slender and daintier than, say, a ‘9F’. There’s an interesting strangeness to BR’s Nos. 90750-774, because they were confined to Scotland and didn’t and the 2-8-0 became . Partly that’s down to the way that BR livery siYou expect to see a 2-8-0 but that sloping firebox
The biggest draw is, of course, Nos. 600 Gordon and 601 Kitchener, that worked on the Longmoor Military Railway. You never see such a bright, colourful livery on such a big locomotive so they immediately grab your attention. It’s difficult to imagine what a sight that Gordon made at Woking in 1966, amidst the dirty greens and blacks of BR’s trains.
Gordon lasted in service after the end of BR steam too, and remained in action at Longmoor until 1969.
What would make it viable?
Photographic evidence suggests that the WD 2-10-0s remained relatively unchanged throughout their careers, a boon to prospective modellers. BR No. 90774 was easy to spot because of its flamboyant North British nameplates.
You can always tell Kitchener apart due to the large headlamp in front of the chimney (fitted in the mid 1950s), its twin airpumps and, later, because it was oil-fired, with the oil tank in the coal space.
There are lots of liveries to go at: War Department, which lasted into the 1950s, BR black with both pre- and post-1956 emblems and Longmoor Military Railway blue would suit British layouts. You could also offer Nederlandse Spoorwegen and Hellanic State Railways liveries for WD 2-10-0s in Dutch and Greek service too.
Where can I see one?
Three survive in Britain: No. 600 Gordon at the Severn Valley Railway, No. 73652 is at the North Norfolk Railway in pseudo-BR livery and No. 73672 ‘Dame Vera Lynn’ is at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. No. 73755 Longmoor is displayed at the Spoorwegmuseum in Utrecht whilst several 2-10-0s survive in Greece, including No. 964, which is still operational.
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