WD Austerity 2-8-0

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WD Austerity 2-8-0
WD Austerity 90733 Haworth Loco Yard.jpg
90733 at Haworth, 15 July 2007
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Designer R.A. Riddles
Builder
Build date 1943–45
Total produced 935
Specifications
Configuration 2-8-0
UIC classification 1′D h
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Driver diameter 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Locomotive weight 70 long tons 5 cwt (157,400 lb or 71.4 t)
Fuel type Coal
Boiler pressure 225 lbf/in2 (1.55 MPa)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 19 in × 28 in (482.6 mm × 711.2 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort 34,215 lbf (152.20 kN)
Career
Power class 8F

The War Department (WD) "Austerity" 2-8-0 is a type of heavy freight steam locomotive that was introduced in 1943 for war service. A total of 935 were built, making this one of the most-produced classes of British steam locomotive.

Overview[edit]

The Austerity 2-8-0 was based on the LMS Class 8F, which until that point had been the government's standard design. Various modifications were made to the 8F design by R.A. Riddles in order to prioritise low cost over design life. These included a boiler of simpler construction which was parallel rather than tapered and a round-topped firebox rather than a Belpaire firebox. The firebox was made of steel rather than the rarer and more expensive copper.

The North British Locomotive Company (NBL) of Glasgow built 545 (split between their two works at Hyde Park and Queen's Park) and the Vulcan Foundry (VF) of Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire, built 390. North British also built a larger 2-10-0 version.

WD numbers Builder Works Nos. Quantity Date
800–879 NBL (Queen's Park) 24891–970 80 1944
7000–49 NBL (Hyde Park) 24971–25020 50 1943
7050–7149 VF 4866–4965 100 1943
7150–7262 NBL (Hyde Park) 25021–170 113 1943
7263–7299 37 1944
7300–7416 NBL (Queen's Park) 25171–320 117 1943
7417–49 33 1944
7450–64 VF 4966–80 15 1943
7465–7509 4981–5025 45 1944
8510–30 NBL (Queen's Park) 25321–70 21 1944
8531–59 NBL (Hyde Park) 29 1945
8560–8611 25371–435 52 1944
8612–8624 13 1945
8625–8718 VF 5026–5119 94 1944
9177–9243 5120–86 67 1944
9244–9312 5187–5255 69 1945

WD nos. 800–879 were ordered as LMS Class 8F. No. 9312, the last one built, was named Vulcan when new. NBL builder's plates were not all in correct sequence, and were mixed up between the two works as well as between batches. All locomotives had their WD numbers increased by 70000 prior to shipping to mainland Europe; those completed after 5 September 1944 carried their 70000 series numbers from new. All but three (WD nos. 77223, 77369 and 79250) saw service with the British Army in mainland Europe after D-Day.[1][2]

Post-war disposal[edit]

After the end of the conflict, the War Department disposed of 930 locomotives (Two engines being retained by the War Department and three being scrapped).

After the Second World War, 200 were sold to the LNER, who classified them as "Class O7" and numbered them 3000–3199. In 1948, 533 more were purchased by the British Transport Commission.

With the creation of British Railways, the 733 locomotives were renumbered into the 90000–90732 series. Only one of these, No. 90732, was named, becoming Vulcan after the Vulcan Foundry where many of the locomotives were built.

In 1946, 12 were exported to the British colony of Hong Kong to work the Kowloon-Canton Railway. Six were scrapped in 1956, but the final two survived until September 1962.

The other 184 locomotives remained in mainland Europe, mostly working in and around the Netherlands for Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

Finally, one went to the USATC in an exchange for an USATC S160 Class locomotive in the Postwar exchange of WD and USATC locomotives.

No. of engines Country Company Class Local numbers
733 Great Britain British Railways (BR) BR ex-WD Austerity 2-8-0 90000–90732
184* Netherlands Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) NS Series 4300II 4301–4537 (with gaps)
12 Hong Kong Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) KCR ex-WD Austerity 2-8-0 21-32
1 United States US Army Transportation Corps
* Of the NS engines, 2 subsequently were sold to Swedish State Railways forming SJ Class G11.

Postwar WD service[edit]

Two locomotives continued to be held in WD stock, seeing service on the Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire, along with two of the WD Austerity 2-10-0s and other smaller locomotives. In the WD 1957 renumbering scheme, they were renumbered 400/1. Details were as follows:

WD No. WD 1957 No. Name Builder Works No. Date built Notes
77337 400 Sir Guy Williams North British (Queens Park) 25205 1943 Name previously on 78672
79250 401 Major General McMullen Vulcan Foundry 5193 1945

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 2 July 1941, a locomotive of the class was hauling a freight train which was in a head-on collision with an express passenger train at Slough, Berkshire. Five people were killed and 21 were injured.[3]
Main article: Soham rail disaster
  • On 2 June 1944, WD locomotive No. 7337 was hauling a freight train which caught fire as it approached Soham, Cambridgeshire. The train comprised wagons carrying bombs. The train was divided behind the burning wagon, with the front portion being taken forward with the intention of isolating the wagon in open countryside. Its cargo detonated at Soham station, killing the driver and the Soham signalman and injuring the trains' fireman and guard. Soham station was severely damaged, but the line was re-opened within eighteen hours. For their actions, Benjamin Gimbert and James Nightall were awarded George Crosses.
  • On 17 September 1950, WD locomotive No. 77195 ran away from Nevill Hill Locomotive Shed, Leeds, Yorkshire and subsequently crashed through buffers at Marsh Lane Goods Yard, Leeds.[4]
  • On 2 December 1953, locomotive No. 90048 ran off the end of the loop at Billingham, County Durham whilst hauling a train. An express freight train ran into the wreckage and was derailed.[5]

Preservation[edit]

One WD 2-8-0 has survived. Vulcan Foundry works No. 5200 was repatriated from Sweden to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway. It was SJ number 1931. It was overhauled to its original condition, finished in 2007, which involved building a new cab and tender, become BR "No. 90733". After test runs, 90733 ran its first passenger train on Monday 23 July 2007.

Gallery[edit]

77509 being unloaded at Hong Kong (1947) 
90323 fresh out of Swindon Works (1954) 
90074 at West Hartlepool shed north-east of England (1967) 

See also[edit]

References/Further reading[edit]

  • J.W.P. Rowledge Heavy Goods Engines of the War Department Vol. 3 Austerity 2-8-0 and 2-10-0
  • Roger Tourret Allied Military Locomotives of the Second World War

References[edit]

  1. ^ Boddy, M.G.; Brown, W.A.; Neve, E.; Yeadon, W.B. (November 1983). Fry, E.V., ed. Locomotives of the L.N.E.R., part 6B: Tender Engines - Classes O1 to P2. Kenilworth: RCTS. pp. 118, 119. ISBN 0-901115-54-1. 
  2. ^ Pollock, D.R.; White, D.E. (1946). The 2-8-0 and 2-10-0 Locomotives of the War Department 1939-1945. Anerley: RCTS. pp. 11–34. 
  3. ^ Earnshaw, Alan (1989). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 5. Penryn: Atlantic Books. p. 29. ISBN 0-906899-35-4. 
  4. ^ Trevena, Arthur (1981). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 2. Redruth: Atlantic Books. p. 34. ISBN 0-906899 03 6. 
  5. ^ Hoole, Ken (1983). Trains in Trouble: Vol. 4. Truro: Atlantic Books. p. 8. ISBN 0-906899-07-9. 

External links[edit]