92203 Black Prince
article by: Ian Crowder
9F class 2-10-0 no. 92203 Black Prince, one of the last steam locomotives built for British Railways and one of the last to be built at Swindon. It is pictured here complete with the David Shepherd wildlife Foundation headboard, the charity founded by its owner and which will be represented at GWR175. There will be opportunities to visit the footplate of this engine (Photograph: Ian Crowder)
1959: BR 9F class no. 92203 Black Prince, built at
Owned by artist and wildlife conservationist David
Shepherd, resident at Toddington
One of the most popular locomotives on the Honeybourne Line,
Black Prince, is a standard class 9F 2-10-0, one of the last of 251
to be built at Crewe and Swindon for heavy freight traffic. 9Fs
were widely distributed throughout the UK including the Western
Region. 92203 was delivered in 1959 to Bristol and worked passenger
trains over the hilly Somerset & Dorset Railway, before moving
north to Birkenhead, where it was employed handling iron ore trains
from Bidston docks to Shotton steelworks - just the sort of work it
was designed for. But despite being intended for freight, 9Fs found
themselves in charge of passenger trains on occasions, proving
themselves capable of speeds of up to 90mph. Most infamously, the
last of the class, Evening Star, worked the prestigious 'Red
Dragon' express between Cardiff and Paddington on a number of
occasions, comfortably maintaining the express
The BR Modernisation Plan meant that the class had a lamentably
short life, 92203 working for little more than eight years before
being bought by artist and wildlife conservationist David Shepherd (who will be visiting
the railway during GWR175). Following purchase, the engine was
delivered under its own steam to the embryonic Longmoor Military
Railway preservation centre (now closed) in 1968 and named Black
Prince, in due course moving to Eastleigh, and then the East
Somerset Railway, before taking up residence at Toddington.
You can read a profile of the 9F class with several pictures of
them working over the Honeybourne Line here.
2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the last of the
class and the last steam locomotive built for British Railways: no.
92220 Evening Star, which is now on display at STEAM, Swindon.