Around 1914, the Great Central Railway's Chief Mechanical Engineer, John Robinson, designed a 2-10-2 class for heavy freight trains, which would be set to be built at Baldwin Locomotive Works. However, the breakout of World War I prevented the construction of these locomotives. So what if this class wasn't proposed?

The Great Central Railway 9S Class is a class of 2-10-2 "Santa Fe" locomotives designed by John G. Robinson for fast, heavy freight trains on the Great Central Main Line. It was the most powerful steam locomotive type on the Great Central Railway, and performed successfully on its intended duties. The class was given the nickname of "Baldwins", due to its builtplace, Baldwin Locomotive Works.

In January 1914, John George Robinson made a visit to the USA alongside other people. Upon arrival to the USA, Robinson visited the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, to which he saw the S 2-10-2 Class locomotives. Robinson took inspiration from this class, and after returning to the United Kingdom, he designed a new 2-10-2 Class, which construction would take place at Baldwin Locomotive Works. The design was approved by the GCR's General Manager, Sir Samuel Fay, and an order of 10 locomotives was sent to Baldwin Locomotive Works.

The design included a custom boiler, firebox, and tender, based on the S Class. The locomotives weighted in total 121 tons. The design carried driving 5'3'' wheels, and 4 cylinders, to which the outside cylinders were 20x26'', and the inside cylinders 19x26''. The 9S' had a tractive effort of 53,934lbf and a maximum speed of 75 MpH (120 km/h). By September 1914, the first 10 9S' were completed, and were shipped to Great Britain.

The 9S' proved to be successful locomotives, hauling heavy freight trains on the Great Central Main Line from Sheffield to London. At the time, they were the strongest class of locomotives in Great Britain. In February 1915, a further batch of 10 locomotives were ordered from Baldwin Locomotive Works and arrived in December. The 9S' were numbered 1260-1280, and shopped out in GCR Black. Upon grouping in 1923, they became S2 in the LNER system, and were renumbered 6260-6280. They were also superheated at Doncaster Works in March 1924.

In 9 October 1940, during the Blitz outside Liverpool, No. 6262 was damaged by flying derbis. The locomotive was repaired at Doncaster Works, and returned to service in 14 October. In 1948, the S2's were given the power class 8F, though they would later be reclassified as 9F in January 1954, with the introduction of the 9F 2-10-0 Class. They were also renumbered 63820-63840.

Withdrawals occurred between 1954 and 1964, with most being sold to Doncaster Works for scrap, and the rest were sold to St Margaret's Shed.

Only 2 examples survived into preservation; No. 1260 was preserved by the Canadian Railway Museum in 1966, and has ever since been painted in a custom blue livery. it was also named Shenandoah Valley upon arrival. No. 6262 was preserved by the National Collection in 1962, and as of October 2022, its currently running on the Great Central Railway in Leicester.

Art of the GCR 2-10-2 by Robin Barnes.
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